Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Realization of a Dream

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Saturday is a big day for me. It?s the culmination of an intense training process. It?s the day I (hopefully) see a dream become a reality.

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On Saturday, I will be running my first half marathon. I started to enjoy running about 4 years ago, but didn?t really get serious about it until a year ago. This time last year, I struggled to run 1 mile without stopping. On Saturday, I plan to run just over 13. I never thought I would be a distance runner, but the more I run, the more I love it.

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Throughout the last year, I?ve had the help of some awesome friends from ACC. Guys who got up early, sometimes even on Saturdays. Guys who ran through the cold of winter. Guys who ran in the rain and snow. Guys who pushed me when I wanted to give up. I feel truly blessed to have such good friends.

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My race starts at 7:30 on Saturday morning. I?m running in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in Champaign. I?ll be running with my Dad, my brother and his wife, and 2 of my uncles. I don?t know about them, but I?m excited, nervous, anxious, and even a little scared. My goal is to finish in under 2 hours. I?ll post my time when I get the official results.

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Grace,
?Chris

Freedom From the Cage

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I very much appreciated and was struck by the illustration Chris shared in his message yesterday of our sin nature being like a cage. Before I became a Christian, I was stuck in a cage, barred in on all four sides, and was forced to listen to some dude barking orders at me from outside the cage. The cage is my sin, and the guy giving orders is my sin nature. When I crossed the line of faith in Christ and became regenerated, I was brought out of that cage and no longer had to take orders from my sin nature – I was free! I have been given the capacity to please God and live for Him! And yet, sometimes I still decide to get back in that cage and take orders from the sin nature.

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When we think about it in these terms, it doesn?t really make sense why we would ever get back in the cage and listen to the sin nature again, does it? So it made me wonder, why do we do it? Here?s a few reasons why I think we sometimes give in to our sin nature, even though we no longer have to:

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-We are creatures of habit. If we?ve been struggling with a certain sin our entire life, it doesn?t just go away the moment we put our faith in Christ. Old habits die hard. (Romans 7:18-20)

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-Everyone else is doing it. Sometimes it?s just easy to go with the flow and mimic what the culture and the world around us is doing, even though God tells us that we have been set apart to live for Him. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

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-It?s easy. All it takes is one little decision, one turn down the wrong path, and we find ourselves taking orders from Mr. Sin Nature again. (James 1:14-15)

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-It feels good. Sin often brings us pleasure, but it is always short-lived. (Hebrews 11:24-25)

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Despite the fact that we do still sin as Christians, the Bible teaches that we will have an attitude of repentance when we do sin. Not only that, but there will be evidence (fruit) in our lives that we are followers of Christ, if we have truly placed our faith and trust in Him.

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Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to indwell us and to give us the ability to live for You and to please You. Strengthen us by the power of that same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who lives in us, to say no to sin and to live the life that You have called us to live. In Jesus? Name, Amen.

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~Scott

Honduras Trip

I?m really excited for our Honduras mission team. They leave in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow…well before the sun comes up. I watched them yesterday as they headed off for their final team meeting. Their excitement was contagious and made me wish I was a part of the team (maybe next time!). I?m sure they are going to have an amazing trip and pray that God would use them in big ways in Honduras. I hope you?ll join us in praying for the team!

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Dave
?Judy
?John
?Chris
?Elissa
?Lois
?Ann
?Cathy
?Mark

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I?m looking forward to hearing all about their trip when they get back. Make sure to join us for church on Sunday, May 2nd to hear their stories. Assuming they have internet access (a likely possibility) you can follow the trip on twitter here www.twitter.com/acc_missiontrip

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Check out this video of the landing they will be making at Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa.

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Grace,
?Chris

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Corlew?s Bucket List

Twelve things I want to do before I kick the bucket:

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1.?I want to get a hole-in-one in disc golf.

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2.?I want to read a book to my grandchildren. (When I have some.)

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3.?I want to take a cross country trip on a train.

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4.?I want to have such a confidence and trust in God that worry would be an ancient memory.

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5.?I want to witness the Cubs win the World Series.

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6.?I want to read both volumes of Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God; I’ve tried numerous times and have never gotten very far.

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7.?I want to actually witness a tornado up close. (But not too close!)

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8.?I want to thwart a bank robbery and then when I’m interviewed on TV I’ll say, “I just did what anyone would have done. The real heroes are policemen and firefighters and those serving in our military.”

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9.?I want people to constantly encourage me to have a 2nd helping of dessert because I’m getting too skinny.

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10.?I want to play a set of tennis on a grass court.

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11.?I want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail – all 2,200 miles; when I get to the summit of Mt. Katahdin I will thank Jesus for hiking with me, kiss the ground and take off my hiking boots and never wear them again.

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12.?I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I accomplished all that God wanted me to do here on earth – no more / no less.

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Some of these are more likely than others but I think we should always dream, hope and have some personal goals. Whether I check most of these off or not doesn’t matter a whole lot because either way – I’ll have had a great life: I had all the blessings found in Christ, a fantastic wife and awesome children and a life’s calling as a pastor that has been the best job in the world!

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What’s on your bucket list?

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Peace,
?Dave

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On the bench? OR In the game?

My Men?s small group (Soul Purpose) is reading through the book Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden. The following quote stuck out to me

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Yet when we turn from the biblical standard of the first-century church to the reality of the church today, we see a relatively small percentage of people who move beyond Sunday worship into the life and ministry of a congregation or who experience ministry as a way of life. The 80/20 rule seems impossible to transcend…If we study the ministry profile of volunteers, we find that a fairly steady 20 percent serve the 80 percent who are consumers of their efforts. Conversely, this means a`high percentage of spectators are filling the pews.

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Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden, p 24-25

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My immediate thought after reading this was, “maybe true of other churches, but not of ACC!” I?ve heard this statistic many times. I?ve even witnessed it in other churches, but I honestly think ACC breaks the rule on this one. I believe one of the strengths of our church is a high level of volunteerism. Which I find very exciting. It?s exciting because a high level of volunteerism suggests ownership. I love that our church has so many people that take ownership in the vision and ministry of ACC. When you volunteer, in a real way, you are saying I?m a part of this place and I want to see it succeed.

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I?d love to hear from some of you on this. Where do you serve at ACC? What do you like about it? How did you get plugged into that ministry? This is your opportunity to talk up the ministry you are involved with…you just might inspire someone else in our church to join you!

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Grace,
?Chris

When Satan is in your Face

11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
? 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

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These words from the 1st chapter of the gospel of Mark popped me right between the eyes this morning. Do you see the seemingly gross incongruity between verse 11 and verses 12-13?

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“I love you Son. I am proud of you. I believe in you. I’m backing you. I approve of you Son.”

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“So I’m going to lead you into the wilderness for the next forty days without any food, without any friends – to tangle one-on-one with the devil. Have fun Son – love you!”

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When we go through difficult times why do we so quickly assume that God doesn’t love us? Or that he is ticked off at us? Or that he has somehow forgotten about us?

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God’s purpose for each of us is to make us like Jesus and make us fit for his service. Our personal comfort and “happiness” is not our Father’s chief concern. That means that he can be delighted with us and yet allow us to endure periods of severe testing. It was no coincidence that the Father explicitly articulated his love for Jesus just prior to forty days of satanic pounding. It was Christ’s knowledge and assurance of his Father’s love that helped him endure.

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My family and I have gone through some rather hellish times in the past. I wish I could tell you that I never doubted God’s love or wisdom but I did. My personal circumstances didn’t seem to jive with a loving God watching out for me. Some days I was barely hanging on – to my faith or my sanity.

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Are you going through a brutal time right now? Hang in there. Pray. Lean heavy on Christian friends. Dive into the Psalms. Go for a walk. Listen to some good music. Cry, kick, scream – but do not succumb to the lie that your Father does not love you.

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When the time of testing was complete – God used his Son to save the world. He wants to use you in unimaginable ways as well.

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Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
?I Peter 4:12-13

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God loves you. Hang in there.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Music for my Soul

It never ceases to amaze me how much music can minister to the soul. I can think of so many times in my life where a song connected to what was going on deep inside my heart. Yesterday was one of those times. As my small group was finishing up our meeting, Scott and Jim were working on some sound/tech stuff in the auditorium. They put on some music and the first song that played was Everything Falls by Steve Fee (You may have heard it on the radio recently). I immediately felt overwhelmed…my heart knew what was going on even before my head did. Here?s the chorus from the song

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When everything falls apart, your arms hold me together
?When everything falls apart, you?re the only hope for this heart
?When everything falls apart, and my strength is gone
?I find you might and strong, you keep holding on
?You keep holding on

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I so relate to these words. So often my best efforts aren?t good enough. Or, I?m faced with a problem that I just can?t get my head around. Or, I don?t live up to my own expectations. At the end of the day, everything can fall apart, but God holds all things together.

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Here?s a video of Steve Fee talking about how this song has ministered to some people in the midst of tragedy.

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Grace,
?Chris

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Facebook Fast

I just completed a 40 day fast. Not as hard as I thought it would be, but hard nonetheless. 40 days without Facebook.

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I am not ashamed to admit that I love Facebook. I enjoy keeping up with friends – people who were teenagers in my youth group over 20 years ago, people I went to high school with (or even grade school!), current friends from ACC, distant relatives that I normally only see at funerals…

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It is a great communication tool. I keep up with the daily lives of people in my congregation and I keep them updated on what’s going on with me. I regularly see both praises and prayer requests being passed back and forth. Good stuff. On-line community is possible.

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Facebook can also be a huge time waster. Downright addictive. A poor substitute for personal, face-to-face interaction.

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I suppose like a lot of things in life – good in moderation but harmful in excess.

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I love my Facebook friends and I’m glad to be back among them. Just not too much.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Good Friday – “It is finished”

“It is finished.” Just three words in this sixth saying of Christ from the cross. Some have taken this phrase to mean that Jesus’ life is finished. That what Jesus is saying here is that his life has come to an end…that His time is over. But if we stop here and think that all this phrase mean is that Jesus’ life is over, we are missing so much. Notice Jesus doesn’t say “I am finished,” He says “IT is finished”. The difference may seem subtle, and in fact, if you’re not reading carefully, it’s easy to overlook, but the significance of the word “IT” cannot be overstated. When Jesus says “IT is finished,” He is saying that the work of God is finished; that the very purpose of Christ coming to the Earth has been fulfilled. The purpose for which He came is of course to save us, to bring us back to God. Jesus’ words here clue us into the spiritual significance of His death on the cross. His death has paid the penalty for our disobedience.

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But if we stop here and think that all this phrase means is that Jesus’ life is over, and that He has paid the price for our disobedience, we’re still missing some of the truth of this phrase. This phrase in English is three words, but in the original language is just one word. The tense of the word describes an action that is completed but has ongoing significance. If we were to be completely literal in translating it, we would say something like “It is finished, and continues to be finished for all time”. Christ uses this word in this specific tense to communicate the total perfection and completeness of His death to pay for our sins. Unlike the sacrifices in the Old Testament that needed to be carried out again and again, Christ’s death is sufficient once, for all time. There is nothing we can do to add to our salvation. In fact, we insult the work of Christ on the cross when we think that we need to do anything for our salvation. For those who are believers, all we have ever done and will do has been completely forgiven through what we commemorate today. There is nothing left for us to do but to believe.

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One man learned this all important truth as he talked with an old, English evangelist. The evangelist had finished his tent meeting and the crowd had pretty much all dissipated. As he was busy taking his tent down, a man approached him and asked him, “What must I do to be saved?”

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“Too late!” said the evangelist, in a very matter of fact way, “Too late, my friend, too late!”

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Of course very startled, the man replied, “Oh, please don’t say that. Surely it isn’t too late just because the meeting is over?”

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“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking him straight in the eye, “it is too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with His last breath! What more could you want?”

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Then and there the truth dawned upon the man. There was nothing for him to do to finish the work that the Lord Jesus Christ had perfected at the cross. There was nothing for him to do but to fall to his knees and accept the Savior and His finished work of grace.

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It is finished, and continues to be finished for all time!

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Grace,
?Chris

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