Monthly Archives: June 2010

Boston Bound

Today, Friday, our High School Mission Team leaves for our trip to Boston, MA. We?ll be driving half way today, staying near Buffalo, NY tonight. On Saturday, we?ll drive the rest of the way to Boston. We don?t have to be to our mission site until Sunday evening, so we?ll have a full day to do some site seeing in Boston. We?ll be at our mission site Sunday – Friday and will have opportunities to serve in the community throughout the week. You can follow our trip on www.twitter.com/acc_missiontrip I?ll be texting in several updates each day.

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We?d really appreciate your prayers for (1) Safe travel, (2) Health, and (3) Hearts open to how God wants to use us and what he wants to teach us.

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Here?s a list of our team members

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Chris
?Eric
?Carla
?Jenae
?Tim
?Curt
?Samantha
?Bridget
?Jonathan
?Kevin
?Mark
?Christina
?Benjamin
?Sam
?Jonathan
?Erika
?Darshaun
?Sandra

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Be sure to be here for church on July 4th to hear from our mission team. Thanks!

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Chris

A Belly Full of Beans!

It was called a PLANNED FAMINE – sponsored by World Vision, it was a program for youth groups where you’d go 30 hours without food and get sponsors to support you financially – all proceeds went directly to hunger relief projects. I was about 17 at the time. I thought it was a cool idea – I was excited!

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It turned out to perhaps be the longest 30 hours of my life (up until that point in time!). I thought I was going to starve to death – I was ready to gnaw off my left arm! Being a teenage boy, my appetite was always ravenous – I felt somewhat noble going hungry for such a good cause but nevertheless – I was famished.

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We broke our 30 hour fast together with a potluck cook-out. As I was driving to our cook-out the clock hit the long anticipated 30 hour mark. I immediately pulled off alongside the road and singlehandedly devoured my contribution to the potluck – an entire crock-pot full of my mom’s baked beans! Undeterred in my quest in my own personal hunger relief project, I then proceeded to the picnic and ate 10 hotdogs.

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The weird thing is I didn’t even get sick.

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Thus was my inauspicious introduction into the spiritual discipline of fasting. Over the years I have fasted for various reasons – seeking God’s guidance with a big decision, praying for the deliverance of a friend involved in demonic activity, just to express my humility before God and worship him more fervently and numerous other PLANNED FAMINES (remember – I was a youth pastor for many years).

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Unfortunately fasting is not a holy habit that I have practiced with any kind of regularity. I think that has been a mistake.

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Jesus expected his followers to fast.

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16″When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

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Jesus did not say “If you fast” but “When you fast”.

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14Then John?s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
? 15Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” Matthew 9:14-15

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Jesus’ followers were not fasting when he was with them – but once he was gone – “Then they will fast.”

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In light of my study on the ancient spiritual discipline of fasting this past week I have committed myself to begin making this habit a regular part of my training to be godly.

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Our NEXT STEP from this past Sunday was to fast for 24 hours. Will you take up that challenge? Will you voluntarily abstain from food for spiritual purposes and see how God might use the experience in your life? I hope so!

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Peace,
?Dave

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World Cup Reflections

It happens every 4 years. I really don?t follow soccer (football for you purists) any other time, but I LOVE the World Cup. I know very little about the players and what teams are any good, but none of that matters. It?s exciting to cheer on my team and be a part of one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

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I think we can all relate to that…wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. In fact, I believe it?s the way God designed us. Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote in his Confessions

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“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

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I?ve experienced the truth of this in my own life. It?s so easy to slip into the habit of trying to find fulfillment through other avenues…money, possessions, recognition, and the list could go on and on. I continually have to be reminded that those things don?t bring lasting fulfillment. True fulfillment stems from finding my place in God?s story – His redemptive work in this world.

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God created each of us to be in a relationship with Him. That?s the biggest thing we could ever be a part of and the only place our hearts will ever find rest.

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Grace,

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Chris

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P.S. The US plays Algeria on Wednesday, 6/23. We need a win to advance to the next round. It?s going to be an exciting match.

Many Troubles

I read this today in Psalm 34:19 –

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A righteous man may have many troubles,
? but the LORD delivers him from them all;

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I needed that. I needed a reminder that being a child of God does not make me immune to the troubles of this world. There is no plastic bubble protecting me from evil and misfortune. Life is full of trouble – and sometimes it’s hard – real hard.

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As I’ve grown older I long for heaven more and more. I know that my troubles will then be but a distant memory. Paul phrased it this way –

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For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)

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God knows the trials we endure and he will one day reward us for persevering. He will make it worth it to hang in there.

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Are you feeling tired and discouraged? About to give up?

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This life is really very short. Never forget this – the best is yet to come!
?Peace,
?Dave

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Thoughts from a funeral

We had another funeral in IA this week. Lisa?s grandfather passed away last Sunday. His wife passed away a few months ago. Grandpa has been in poor health for a number of years. Although it?s never easy to deal with losing a loved one, it certainly wasn?t unexpected in his case.

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Something the pastor said at the funeral has been on my mind. The pastor mentioned that each gravestone has a set of dates with a dash in between. That little line, represents a life. He asked us “how are you living your dash?”

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As I?ve pondered that the past few days, I?ve thought about the times where I?ve gotten stuck in everyday routine, just sort of taking life as it comes. I?ve thought about the times that I?ve spent “living for tomorrow” instead of being fully present today. I?ve also thought about what kind of family memories I?m creating…what stories will my family tell at my funeral?

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For me, that question, “how are you living your dash?” was a great reminder that life is happening now and I need to make the most of every day.

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Grace,
?Chris

An Idea of Biblical Proportions

It had never really even occurred to me before…

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It wasn’t until the summer after my freshmen year of high school that such a thought even crossed my mind. It was a mind boggling concept. A revelation with huge implications.

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To read my bible. By myself. On my own. In a place other than church. On a day other than Sunday.

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I went to a week of camp on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, at a beautiful little camp called Sunset Lodge in Glenn, Michigan. It was a fantastically fun 7 days full of volleyball, swimming, great friends and dynamic chapel services – enthusiastic singing of praises to God and messages from the bible by a guest speaker.

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Each morning before breakfast about 15 minutes was set aside for each of us to get off on our own and prayerfully read our bible. Sitting on a bluff, overlooking the lake I heard God. I experienced him in a way like never before. It was thrilling. I looked forward to that every day. They called it having a “quiet time”.

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Once I got home I tried to make it an almost daily habit. I started writing notes in the columns of my bible and underlining verses that especially stood out to me. It was life-changing.

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Some 36 years later I’m still reading my bible. On my own! Even on days other than Sunday!

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How about you? When did you start reading your bible? What motivated you?

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Peace,
?Dave

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Favorite Vacation?

We (my family) had a great time camping last weekend. We got together with 3 other ACC families and camped at a state park outside the Wisconsin Dells. It was my first time camping with little kids (and a pregnant wife!). We had 5 kids in the group, all under 3. As I?m sure you can imagine, that made for some interesting moments and lots of great memories.

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Lisa and I were talking about the trip and both agreed that we came back more tired than when we left. Maybe that?s just the way it is when you?re camping with a 17 month old. :)

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I?ve thought a lot this week about how my perspective on vacation has changed. As a kid, I was bored if we weren?t going somewhere or doing something on vacation. As an adult, I?d be happy to lay by the pool or sit and read a book the whole vacation.

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How about you? What?s your ideal vacation? Where would you go? What would you do? I?d love to hear from you.