Monthly Archives: March 2010

Good Out of Bad

Awesome faith stories yesterday morning at ACC. I love when we baptize people; the stories of how God broke through into their lives are amazing!

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I noticed a theme; a thread that ran through every story: Major life crisis.

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Drug abuse. Hard core addiction to pornography. Alcoholism. A nasty divorce. Jail time.

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Different issues. A wide variety of personal pain.

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Same result every time: Finding strength and meaning and hope and deliverance in Jesus Christ.

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God brings good out of bad situations. He takes people who are broken and full of despair and infuses into them healing and joy. At our lowest moments God intervenes.

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I think of how the disciples must have hit rock bottom as Christ’s battered body was taken down off the cross. Little did they know that miraculous new life was just a few days away.

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Just when life seems hopeless…

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Peace,
?Dave

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A call from an old friend…

I got a call this morning from an old friend – Ben. I met him at the summer camp I worked at during my time in college. My first year as a camp counselor, he was one of my jr high camper. We kept in touch and actually worked together on staff at the camp for a few summers. He?s currently finishing up college and doing youth ministry. Ben?s a great guy! He called because he had been reading in his Bible this morning and thought of me. Rather than just continue on with his day, he chose to call me. In the course of our conversation he told me how much our friendship had impacted him and that his decision to be a youth pastor now stems from those years together at camp.

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Wow! First off, I think he gives me way more credit than I am due! Ben was a solid kid when I met him and he certainly had lots of godly men and women around him at camp and in his church. I?m just one person in a long line of people who poured into his life. Which made me think about my own life…who would be on my list to call and thank? My list is long for sure!

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How about you? Who would be on your list? How about giving them a call or writing them a letter? I can?t think of a better way to say thank you for the investment they?ve made.

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Grace,
?Chris

Attack of the Zombies (Almost)

I was reading this morning in John 11 – the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

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I love the climactic moment when Jesus shouts, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43)

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Jesus had to preface his command with the specific name of Lazarus – otherwise it would have been like the night of the living dead or the attack of the zombies – everybody in that cemetery would have been popping up out of the ground!

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That is power! That is the resurrection power that is promised to me on judgment day. That is the power I experienced already as God as God brought new life to me though I was dead as a door nail spiritually. (What is a door nail, anyways?) And that is the power I continue to experience as God incrementally renews me from the inside-out.

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As we approach Easter let us remember and be thankful that Christ has called us by name also – to arise and live for Him!

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Who are you planning to invite to our Easter Celebration services on April 4th? Begin praying now and boldly invite someone you care about!

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Peace,
?Dave

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Mission in Life

I?ve been at a youth ministry training conference the last half of this week. It was great! Lots of good information. I wanted to share with you one thought that really stuck out to me.

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In regard to developing a vision/mission for our youth ministry, the following advice was given to me: The vision has to come from what?s in my heart…from who God created me to be…the mission to which He has called me. The following equation really helps unearth that.

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Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission in Life

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I think this applies to a lot more than developing a vision for the youth ministry! This is a process each of us should wrestle through. Dave talked recently about Spiritual gifts and how God calls each of us to participate in the church, not just observe. I think to really find our place in God?s work, we need to take a look at this equation.

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What Burdens you? For me, it?s students (middle and high school especially). I feel burdened for them. I want to help.

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What are you passionate about? For me, it?s helping people grow in their relationship with God. It fires me up to hear about the things God is teaching someone. I love hearing stories of lives that are changed by the power of Jesus Christ.

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Related to the first 2 areas, what would you like to see happen? For me, I want to see students connected in meaningful relationships with each other and with God.

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Combining all these things brings us to our mission in life…the cause God has called us to be a part of. For me, it?s helping students live a Christ-centered life.

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If you can related to my mission in life, maybe serving in the youth ministry is something you should consider. If not, that?s ok too…God has called and equipped each of us differently. If you haven?t already, I hope you?ll take some time to figure out what mission God has called you to.

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Grace,
?Chris

The Mystery of God

I often get questions from people about God. Hard questions. Real hard questions; the kind of questions that learned theologians and philosophers have been debating for centuries.

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In recent years I have grown increasingly comfortable giving a three word answer: “I don’t know”.

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I can hardly even begin to understand God and his ways. One of my favorite retorts – used only half-jokingly is: “I usually don’t understand my wife – let alone understand God!” (Spoken like any truly honest husband!)

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I think that if puny little me could fully understand God – then he wouldn’t be a very impressive God.

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So I’m cool with that. In fact, I actually take comfort in that. I do not need all the answers in order to trust him. His created world and the Scriptures reveal him to be powerful, loving, merciful, just and omniscient. My own personal spiritual journey has shown me this to be true. God has “proven” himself to me over and over again.

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What I do know about God is enough. He is trustworthy. I can worship him, serve him and love him even if I don’t have all the answers.

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You can too.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Keeping a healthy balance

I?m currently in the middle of a very busy couple weeks. In the midst of the busyness, I?m trying (sometimes with more success than others) to keep a healthy balance of things that refuel me. For me, that means things like:

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Family Time Making sure to eat meals with my family, talking with my wife, and even getting down on the floor and playing with my daughter. These times remind me of the unique roles I play as Husband to Lisa and Father to Rachel.

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Reading I LOVE sitting in a coffee shop with a good book. Having a little one at home makes this one difficult sometimes. I?ve had to scale back my expectations of my amount of reading time, but I know that I can?t go without this one.

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Exercise There?s all sorts of information about the importance of exercise for our emotional/mental well being. I don?t know much about that, but I do know that when I stick to a regular workout schedule, I have more energy and feel better about my day. When I?m stressed out, sometimes the best medicine is to head to the gym or go out for a run.

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How about you? What do you do to refresh yourself? What kind of activities recharge you? I?d love to hear from you.

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Grace,
?Chris

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Gifts for the Common Good

(by guest blogger Allison Bies)
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?One of the most encouraging aspects of the Upward Basketball and Cheerleading league is seeing people serve according to their God-given design. This happens to be one of ACC?s core values!

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Many volunteers are needed to help the program run successfully. People of all ages help in a variety of ways. Some serve behind the scenes, and others are in a more public role. Spiritual gifts of service, administration, leadership, evangelism, and teaching are very much at work during the entire Upward season.
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?Here are some of the ways people help:
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?- Coach
?- Instructional referee
?- Time clock worker
?- Concession stand
?- Collecting Awards Program donations
?- Transportation for our Awards Program entertainer
?- Set up and clean up
?- Coordinating cheerleading routines
?- Explaining the gospel to children
?- Presenting halftime devotions
?- Supporting children on game days
?- Prayer
?- Advertising the league
?- Evaluating players

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Upward provides a way for people with different talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts to jump in. Volunteers can serve one time for a few hours or all season long. Basketball enthusiasts or those with no knowledge of sports work together. I myself lack a strong grasp of basketball?s technicalities!
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?Finally, many volunteers are from ACC, but some do not attend our church. I see Upward as a community ministry and great picture of the body of Christ working together to lead families to God. This is a clear illustration of the spiritual gifts described in Romans 12:4-8. Many people who serve came to ACC through Upward, so it?s awesome to see them giving back to the program.
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?Saturday games continue through March 13 with our Awards Program on March 14. Please come by to watch a game, support the concession stand, and cheer on the players!

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Looking Upward,
?Allison

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Doing the Honorable Thing

“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10b

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This past Sunday I briefly mentioned three reasons why we should honor one another:

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1.?Each person at ACC is created in the image of God. That means every person is inherently deserving of being treated with dignity and respect.
?2.?Each person is our brother / sister in Christ. We are family.
?3.?Each person has a unique contribution to the local body of Christ known as ACC. That means that every person is important and needed.

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In keeping with my challenge to you to specifically honor someone at ACC this week, I’d like to select a few people to honor right now:

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1.?Kimi Straus – a true prayer warrior for our church and for me personally, she goes out of her way to send me encouraging cards and words of exhortation.
?2.?Jim Volz – whether he is blowing snow, replacing light bulbs, unclogging the downspouts or a myriad of other little projects, he is quietly working behind the scenes to help maintain our building and grounds.
?3.?Janice Barnet – she maintains our food pantry – stocking it, rotating out the expired food, keeping it neat and orderly. She is always faithful to the task.
?4.?Glenn Pederson – heads up our tech team, overseeing scheduling, routine maintenance of the equipment and helping train new volunteers – he’s been doing this for years now!
?5.?Carol Rech – sees to it that we have coffee and refreshments ready to serve every single Sunday! She also willingly heads up any church-wide eating events we might have.

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These are just a few examples of selfless, largely behind-the-scenes kind of people at ACC. The truth is – our church is full of people like this; people who volunteer their time and energy on behalf of others and Christ’s kingdom. I could go on and on as I think of key volunteer ministry leaders like Melissa, Anne, Adrin, Su, Jim, Alison, Jamie, Carol and Bob. For every name I mentioned there are probably 3 or 4 other names I could have mentioned. Thanks to each one of you who faithfully serve at ACC. I appreciate you more than you could know – Awana workers, growth group leaders, Sunday school and nursery workers, ushers, greeters, Oasis and Pit Sop leaders, musicians and vocalists, techies, all the Upward crew – everybody serving – I love you man!

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How about you? Who would you honor for their ministry among us?

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Peace,
?Dave

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