Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Best-Laid Plans…

The past 2 weeks haven?t gone according to plan. I don?t mean that in a bad way, just that my calendar/appointment book and what actually happened look very different. This has caused me to think a lot about one of my favorite songs. Here are some of the lyrics:

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Well this day?s been crazy
?But everything?s happened on schedule,
?from the rain and the cold
?To the drink that I spilled on my shirt.
??Cause You knew how You?d save me
?before I fell dead in the garden,
?And You knew this day
?long before You made me out of dirt.

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And You know the plans that You have for me
?And You can?t plan the end and not plan the means
?And so I suppose I just need some peace,
?Just to get me to sleep

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Table for Two written by: Derek Webb
?Caedmon?s Call, Album: 40 Acres

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I don?t know about you, but I find tremendous comfort in the sovereignty of God…knowing that God is in control. Nothing is a surprise to Him. Everything happens on schedule.

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Grace,
?Chris

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One Dozen Random Thoughts

1.?I really like To Kill A Mockingbird. I am currently reading it again – I bet I’ve read it 25 times.
?2.?My next book is The Courage To Be Protestant – comes highly recommended by a friend.
?3.?How did curling get to be an Olympic sport? Does anyone really understand the rules??
?4.?I am ready for spring – the snow is getting tiresome.
?5.?Today is my father’s 85th birthday. I respect him more than any man I have ever known. Happy Birthday pops!
?6.?I really need to improve my prayer life. I have become lazy, inattentive and disorganized with my prayers.
?7.?April 17 and September 1 – two days that I already know I’ll be sitting in Wrigley Field!
?8.?It is really hard to effectively coach 1st and 2nd grade boys in the game of basketball. Herding cats sounds easier.
?9.?I’m looking forward to going to Honduras April 24 – May 1 with the team from ACC. I wish I spoke Spanish though.
?10.?My recommendation for a most excellent restaurant for breakfast? Check out Rise and Dine (www.risendinecafe.com ) on Milwaukee Avenue – just south off Dundee in Wheeling. They have awesome food and a great fireplace!
?11.?Christ is at work changing lives. I see it all over the place. It is exciting to watch. I need to pray more.
?12.?My wife got mad at me for sharing in my sermon yesterday that she can tie shoes with her toes. Oops! Now she’ll be upset that I blogged about her special talent.

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That’s it. I’ll stop there.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Observing Lent?

I?ve had several conversations with people in the last few days about Lent. Some of the things I?ve heard people are giving up are chocolate, fried foods, tv, and caffeine. I had an interesting conversation with a parent after junior high youth group last night. She mentioned that she is giving something up for Lent, but is also taking something on…putting a new practice in place in her life. An interesting idea. Not what I typically think of when I think of Lent, but certainly an appropriate idea. Whether giving something up or taking something on, the purpose is to prepare our hearts for Easter.

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To be completely honest, I?ve never really observed Lent. By that I mean, I?ve never officially given something up for 40 days leading up to Easter. It hasn?t been a conscious decision on my part not to participate in Lent, it just wasn?t a part of my upbringing, and so it?s not normally on my radar. Don?t get me wrong, I?ve normally do something to prepare my heart for Easter, just not your typical Lent traditions.

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I?m curious…do you observe Lent? What are your reasons? Do you give something up? Take something on? Love to hear from you on this!

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Grace,
?Chris

The Road to ACC

It always amazes me the wide variety of ways people find their way through the doors of ACC.

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Just tonight we had our Next Steps class – a class for new attenders to orient them to life at ACC and learn more about us. As we got started, I asked everyone to share how they ended up at our church. 6 people – 6 different routes:

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•?Their kids played in Upward basketball last year and they have been attending here ever since!
?•?Her polling place at nearby Tahoe Village in Wheeling burned down so her polling place became ACC for the last few years. Voting here eventually caused here to come check us out!
?•?Her grandchildren attended summer day camp here and she drove by here all the time!
?•?She downloaded sermons off our website and after a lot of listening decided to come listen in person!
?•?They were here for a MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers) garage sale and knew a faithful ACCer from their place of work.
?•?Having just relocated to this area and having two young children they were looking for a church that had a MOPS ministry.

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I think it is so interesting how God uses so many different ways to assemble a local body of Christ.

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I’m here because they needed a senior pastor back in fall of 2005!

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How about you? How did you find your way to ACC???

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Peace,
?Dave

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Oasis Winter Retreat ?10

Today is the 4th Annual Oasis Winter Retreat (Oasis is our high school youth ministry). I?m excited! I love winter and I love retreats! We?re heading up to Lake Geneva Youth Camp with a group of about 15 students and adults (Lisa and I are bringing Rach along too). We?ll have lots of time to hangout, go snow tubing, tobogganing, play broomball (think ice hockey without skates and with broom-like sticks), and basically have a great time. Retreats can be a ton of fun. The thing I love the most about retreats are that they allow us to get students away from everyday life and help them focus in on their relationship with God. Our goal is to encourage and challenge students to take their faith to the next level this weekend. Our theme this year is Amplify. We want students to Amplify the message of the Gospel in their lives and to Amplify the message to their friends. I would love for you to pray for us this weekend!

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Grace,
?Chris

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Safe Christianity???

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What a striking visual image of the big mistake far too many of us are making.

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Father, deliver us from the insidious desire to “play it safe”. Teach us what it means to step out in faith, be bold, take risks and leave fear behind. Amen.

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May that prayer be answered for me personally and for us as a church.

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Peace,
?Dave

Question #5
?As believers, what is our role when it comes to taking care of the planet, creation, in light of God renewing all of creation?

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I?m so glad some one asked this question! I?m known as the “green guy” around the church office. I?ve been known to pull recyclables out of the garbage from time to time. I believe there are clear Biblical reasons to take care of the earth. Here are some of my reasons why.

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1 – It?s God?s creation. Genesis introduces us to God as the creator. Viewing all the earth as God?s creation is the starting point. Colossians 1:16 says this “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” The earth (and everything in it) is ultimately God?s creation. As such, it has value in and of itself, not just as a means to an end. Nature has value because God created it. Humans are placed in a somewhat different category because we are the only part of God?s creation that bears his image.

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2 – We have a responsibility. Some argue that God has given mankind the right to rule over creation and as such it is our right to use it however we want no matter what the consequences. A quick read of Genesis 1:26-28 shows us that God did indeed entrust mankind with the power to rule over creation. BUT, I would argue that the example of authority that we see from God in scripture is one of service and love, not selfish exploitation (Jesus washing his disciples feet comes to mind).

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3 – The principle of stewardship. Understanding the Biblical principle of stewardship is essential here. Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord?s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” God has entrusted us with authority over his creation, but it?s still his! The principle of stewardship teaches us that everything belongs to God (the earth, our lives, our finances) and we are just managing it temporarily. Because it?s not ours, we need to be careful to manage it properly. In Leviticus 25:23 God says to the Israelites, “?The Land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.?”

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4 – It?s about loving others. Our decisions affect others. When we choose to pollute the environment or not to recycle some one else pays the consequences…often those less fortunate than us. The clearest example that comes to mind is poor farming practices. Run off from farm fields pollute water sources. Not a huge deal for those who can afford water purification, but those who can?t will suffer. Our decisions affect others. Philippians 2:4-8 talks about us not looking only to our interests, but also to the interests of others. We have a responsibility to view our decisions through the lens of loving others.

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All this being said, we need to understand that creation care is important, but not our primary goal as a church. Ultimately the church of Jesus Christ is about bringing people into a relationship with God. I strongly believe that we can and should take care of the earth, but ultimately it?s only temporary…it will perish when God creates a new heaven and a new earth, but souls will live forever.

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Here is a link to an article with some simple suggestions on how we can better care for the earth. http://bible.org/article/create-me-green-heart I?d love to hear some of your suggestions in this area. Feel free to leave a comment ;)

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Grace,
?Chris

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Question #4: What’s the importance of church traditions for the believer? How much should we know of where we, as the Church, have come from, our history?

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I think church tradition and church history are both very important subjects for Christians to think about and learn from. It has been said that “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”, and I think there is a lot of truth to that statement. When we delve into this subject, we find that there are many points in history where the church did not faithfully represent Christ, such as the history of racism in this country, or any instance of killing in the name of Christ. On the other hand, there is a lot from our history that we can cherish and learn from, such as the Apostle’s Creed, or men of God such as Martin Luther and John Calvin who have changed and shaped the church as we know it.

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It is important to remember that we should not be governed by church tradition; instead, we need to be governed by Scripture alone. We use Scripture as our objective standard that we make decisions by and live by, not church tradition or history. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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With that said, it is nice to know that we do have church history to look back on when we face issues in the church today. In other words, we don’t need to start from scratch and “reinvent the wheel”, because most of the issues the church deals with today have been dealt with at one time or another in the history of the church.

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Lastly, it is encouraging to look back through the history of the church and see how God has preserved it through the ages, just as He said He would in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus said to Peter, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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~Scott

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Question #3
?If loved ones of ours have passed away not as Christians, will we see them in heaven? Will we be able to see them again?

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This is a tough question. Not tough because it?s complicated or confusing…in fact it?s just the opposite. It?s tough because scripture is very clear. It?s tough, because the answer is difficult to hear.

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Scripture makes it completely clear that Jesus Christ is our only hope for salvation. Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There?s not another option. Another passage that comes to mind is Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” A simple, yet sobering message. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. A narrow road for sure, but a road that is open to everyone. To quote a David Crowder Song “Oh happiness, there?s grace enough for us and the whole human race.”

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To directly answer the question, scripture is clear that only those who put their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation go to heaven. The destiny of those who don?t put their trust in Christ is hell. So…no, we will not see them in heaven. But the question remains…will we see them again? Luke 16:19-31 gives us a very vivid picture of this kind of situation. Jesus tells a parable (this story didn?t literally take place…it?s an earthly story, with a heavenly meaning) about a rich man and a poor man. The rich man passes away and goes to hell where he is tormented. The poor man goes to heaven. The rich man longs for the poor man to come and alleviate his suffering. He is told that there is “a great chasm” that separates them and that there is not crossing from one side to the other. The decisions we make in this life carry with them eternal consequences.

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This is why ACC believes so strongly in our mission to show the world the life changing power of Jesus Christ, through lives of full devotion in authentic community. There is no decision more important than what we chose to do with Jesus Christ. Let us be bold in reaching out to our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members! If you have questions about becoming a Christ-follower please don?t hesitate to contact our church office to talk to a member of our pastoral staff.

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Grace,
?Chris

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Question #2
?What is the rationale for having the congregation stand during the performance of music?

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I don’t think standing during the musical portion of our worship service is a biblical mandate; however, there are verses that do give instruction to stand and worship God (see Psalm 22:23, 2 Chronicles 20:19, and Nehemiah 9:5). Certainly we can sing praises to God while we are sitting, kneeling, or in any other posture. So it’s not a “have-to”, but here are some reasons why we ask the congregation to stand when singing:

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It communicates that the music is not merely a performance where the audience is watching what is happening on stage. Rather, everyone is invited to actively participate in singing the praises of God. This is why I’ll often say, “Please stand and sing with us.”

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It communicates respect for the God we are worshipping. In our culture, standing for someone important is a sign of respect. Much like we will often stand at the reading of God’s word or stand when someone prays.

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It is one way we respond physically with our bodies to what God is doing in our hearts and minds. Our bodies naturally respond to what affects our souls. For example, when you’re watching the football game and your team scores a touchdown, you jump up with your hands in the air. It’s the same reason why some people raise their hands or close their eyes when singing praises to God.

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Again, I wouldn’t say standing when singing is a biblical requirement. If someone wants to sit down in order to reflect more on what they are singing, or simply because their legs are tired, that is perfectly alright.

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~Scott

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