Monthly Archives: January 2010

Learning to Walk

Rachel (my daughter) is 13 months old as of this week. She had a check up on Thursday and we are thankful for a normal, healthy little girl. She?s been standing up and “walking” when holding onto things for several months now. Recently, she?s started to take steps on her own. It?s been so fun to watch her learn how to walk. I?ve been told that our lives as we know it are about to change. I believe it. She?s super active as it is, once she?s more mobile, I can only imagine…

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As I?ve watched Rachel learn to walk, I couldn?t help but notice some parallels to how we grow spiritually.

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SLOW. Spiritual growth is often a slow process. A baby doesn?t just decide to walk. It takes time. It takes lots of trial and error. It takes falling, maybe even getting hurt a few times. It can be the same way with spiritual growth.

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SWIFT. In contrast to the first point, often times spiritual growth is rapid. Some days, a baby will make very quick progress. While the overall process may be slow, steps along the way may happen very rapidly. There can be times in our spiritual lives where we grow like weeds.

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STUBBORN. Often times spiritual growth is hindered due to stubbornness. When walking gets too difficult, a baby is content to crawl…it works, and it?s easier. Unwillingness to change can hinder spiritual growth.

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STUCK. It?s easy to get stuck in a rut spiritually. A baby needs help learning to walk. She can?t do it on her own. Sometimes it takes God expanding our vision for what our spiritual life could be to help us get out of the rut we are in.

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Whatever situation you find yourself in, I hope you continue to prioritize your walk with Christ.

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Grace,
?Chris

Charity Reveals the Heart!

Are you a generous person?
?The work of Christ here at ACC and around the world depends upon followers of Christ to give sacrificially and generously.

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I truly believe that giving your money to the local church is the greatest investment you can make!

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I thought the graphic below was very interesting and very well done so I wanted you to see it! Thanks to Eugene Cho. http://eugenecho.wordpress.com

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So why are Americans so often characterized as being selfish, greedy and uncaring? Compared to who??
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Peace,
?Dave

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Charity Graphic

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Scripture Writing

About a year ago, at a youth ministry conference, I was introduced to a devotional practice called scripture writing. It?s simple, yet I?ve found it to be very powerful. The title gives it away entirely. In essence it?s just writing out Scripture. It calls to mind the practice of the scribes who so many years ago copied by hand manuscripts of the Bible (many we still have today). I?ve found that as I write out scripture, I pay attention to it in a different way. It forces me to slow down, focus on each word, and to see how the words are connected. After writing it out I like to go back and come up with some way to visually represent the passage. For me, having little to no artistic ability, that normally means underlining main ideas, drawing arrows, maybe some sentence diagrams…things like that. We did this exercise at Oasis (our high school youth group) a couple weeks ago. I loved how some of our more artistic students visually portrayed the passage. Some drew several little pictures within the text, others drew one picture to portray a take away point, still others simply wrote out a key phrase they wanted to take hold of. The thing I like most about Scripture writing is that it engages heart and mind as we creatively interact with God?s word. Below is an image I created at www.wordle.net. It?s the text of John 15:1-17. Enjoy!

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Grace,
?Chris

Friends

This past weekend was definitely a time for me to connect with old friends.

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Friday night Bill and Mary came over for a chicken fried steak dinner (one of my wife Karen’s specialties!). We lived next-door to them in Waukegan from about 1993-2000. Great neighbors. Generous, kind people. We attend and look forward to their Christmas party every year! It was so nice hanging with them for a few hours.

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Showing up at our 9AM service on Sunday was Dave and Pam. Been friends since 1990. We worked together with the high school youth group for many years at Immanuel Church – a lot of great times and incredible ministry experiences. We have a lot of history together – I would trust my life with either of them. We only got to visit for a few minutes before and after the service but it was sweet!

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Showing up all the way from Racine, Wisconsin for the 2nd service – and then joining us for lunch – was Fred. I hadn’t seen or even talked to Fred in well over 20 years! We were best buds back in the day – playing basketball, summer camp, totally involved in the same youth ministry in Joliet ( www.cycjoliet.org ) , proud alumni of Joliet Central high school. Though it had been over 20 years – we picked up right where we had left off – as if no time had passed (though our receding hairlines and expanded waistlines proved otherwise!).

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Wow! It was a full and rich weekend!

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I’ve been thinking about how old friends are such a blessing. God so enriches our lives through relationships – friends who touch our lives over the years. Friends who leave an indelible impression on us – alter who we are for a lifetime. I am prompted to both thank God for lots of excellent friends in my past but also to praise him for all the great friends I have here and now.

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When is the last time you tracked down an old, long lost friend? (Facebook is great for that!) When is the last time you verbalized your appreciation to a friend? When was the last time you thanked God for your friends – both past and present?

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Peace,
?Dave

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Haiti Relief

I?m sure much of your thoughts/prayers have been with the people of Haiti this week, as have mine. I hope that all the pictures and news coverage hasn?t made us calloused to the severity of this issue. I can?t imagine the pain and suffering so many Haitians are currently experiencing. As the body of Christ we need to respond!

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To quote Pastor Dave from one of enews messages this week:

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We believe this is a clear call for the body of Christ to respond in a sacrificial and generous manner. I John 3:17-18 tells us: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
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?For the next two Sundays we will be collecting cash donations for the relief work in Haiti. We will funnel our gifts through the ministry of Compassion International.

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I hope you will join us in doing our part to bring hope to Haiti.

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Grace,
?Chris

I Wish We?d All Been Ready

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Growing up in the 70?s as a church kid I will never forget a movie that scared the hooey out of me. It wasn?t a vampire or werewolf movie or “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or even a gory drivers ed scare film like “Red Asphalt”. It was a low budget Christian film called “A Thief in the Night”. It was about the rapture and the horror of being left behind to face the tribulation and the forces of the Antichrist. It was disturbing to say the least. I remember a lot of people praying to get right with God as a result of that flick! As was the saying: “Get right, or get left!”

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The theme song for this movie was a powerful, haunting song written by the grandfather of Christian rock – Larry Norman. I remember many nights at camp sitting around the campfire singing this song. Man, would we get the goosebumps! This video is a cover of the song by DC Talk (remember them??).

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I will always get goosebumps from this song.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Upward 09-10

This week was the start of Upward Basketball and Cheerleading Practices. It was a very exciting week as players met their coaches and teammates for the first time, got their uniforms, and started preparing for their first game on Saturday, January 23rd. We have about 150 kids signed up this year and have seen growth in just about every age division. The ACC gym will be heavily used for the next 3 months. We appreciate your prayers for safety and for many people to hear and respond to the Gospel message.

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Have you found a place to contribute to the success of Upward? Here are some ways to get involved:

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-Prayer Team
?-Referee
?-Concession Stand Worker
?-Awards Program
?-Game Day Set up or Clean up
?-Come enjoy a hot dog, watch a game, & talk to some new people

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Contact the church office for more information or to sign up.

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Grace,
?Chris

More Word – Less Gut!

On December 31, 2008 I blogged these thoughts for 2009:

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* For most of this year, if not the entire 365 days, I plan to mega-saturate myself in Romans 12. Maybe memorize it??
?* I?m going to drop 20-25 pounds. Mark my words – by 2010 you?ll be calling me “Slim”.

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So how did it go? Well, I’m glad cared enough to ask! Let me give you a quick update:
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??* I actually memorized Romans 12 in its entirety by about July 1st. Wow! I hadn’t memorized that big a chunk of scripture for many, many years! The experience was excellent. I found it to be very laborious and slow at first but easier as I progressed – I’m not sure if that was due to simply getting my brain into a “memorizing mode” or if I was actually reconnecting brain circuits that had been dormant for a long time! Either way – it was pretty cool. Committing it to memory was so beneficial – it allowed me to think about it and pray through it while on the treadmill, hiking, showering – wherever / whenever! It also allowed the Holy Spirit to bring it to mind at times when I needed the encouragement or a rebuke. I got a little tired studying it / meditating on it the entire year so I started reading elsewhere in the bible by mid-November but God definitely used Romans 12 to teach and humble and challenge and grow me! Now I have begun to memorize II Timothy 4:1-8. (More on that soon!)

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* I lost exactly 25 pounds! I placed myself under the care of Dr. Sue Park ( www.parkwellness.com ) in September. It hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be but I definitely couldn’t have done it without being accountable to her and heeding her directives. I now sleep better, have more energy and I fit into my pants. I intend to lose another 20-40 pounds. This too has been a very spiritual experience as I have had to depend upon God for the needed self-discipline. Okay, maybe you’re not calling me “Slim” but how about “Less Paunchy Man” or “The Gutless Wonder”?

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Peace,

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Dave

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4 Awesome Years

4 years ago today, ACC took a chance on a young good-looking guy fresh out of college. Today marks my 4 year anniversary at ACC. It?s been an awesome 4 years. I love our church. I tell people all the time, “If I wasn?t on staff at ACC, I?d want to attend church there”. I feel tremendously blessed to have ended up at such a great church and pray that God would continue to use ACC to reach our community.

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I hope you?ve had a relaxing first day of 2010 and are considering the next steps from my sermon last Sunday. In case you forgot them here they are again:

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– I will prioritize my spiritual growth in 2010
? – I will join a small group
? – I will develop my personal growth plan

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Grace,

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Chris