Occasionally I’m asked for my recommendation of good books to help grow our relationship with God. So I’ve compiled a list of my top picks. I am not a voracious reader (that would be my wife Karen!) but I do read! These suggestions are just my personal faves – no more, no less. Borrow or purchase for yourself – these books rock. They have all been influential in my life.
??My top ten – in no particular order:
??•?The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg??o?With great humor and in a very down to earth style Ortberg outlines some basic practices you can engage in to develop your relationship with God.
•?The Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God by Larry Osborne??o?Extremely insightful – answers the questions that you thought you were the only one asking about life as a Christian – perfect for those of you who sometimes feel like you’re just not cut out to be a Christ follower.
•?10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne??o?Bang! Bang! Osborne unceremoniously shoots down stuff people commonly believe about God, the bible and life – but it just ain’t true! Especially great book for the new believer and others without much of a bible background.
•?The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer??o?An absolute classic – best for those who sense that something is missing – but desperately want more! A deep read but worth it – I promise!
•?The Prayer God Longs For by James Emery White??o?Awesome encouragement for developing your prayer life – White unpacks the Lord’s Prayer unlike any other author.
•?Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels??o?Basic, practical steps to sharing the good news of Jesus with those around us – it simply begins with a walk across the room. Very helpful.
•?Out of the Salt Shaker by Rebecca Pippert??o?A practical guide to sharing your faith without coming off like a freak. Pippert gives you the confidence that you can do it!
??•?The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George Hunter??o?A look at how St. Patrick impacted a pagan Ireland for Christ in the 5th century and the proposal that the same strategy could help us to reach the post-Christian, post-modern world in which we live. Fascinating.
•?Just As I Am by Billy Graham??o?No one has shared the gospel with more people in their lifetime than Billy. He is a personal hero of mine and his life of faith is very inspirational. A big book that goes down like soft-serve vanilla ice-cream. You will love it.
??•?The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer??o?A study of the attributes of God. Tozer asserts that the most important thing about you is what you believe about God. Seeing God in his glory, as who He truly is – will change your life indeed.
Have you already read any of them? What other suggestions would you give someone
Wow, has it been a busy two weeks for Children’s Ministry activities. During the week of July 11th, ACC was jam-packed with campers for our annual day camp. We had 90 sign up, 88 show up, and when we add in the preschoolers and infants, ACC had 100 kids learning about how “God is Wild About You” through the VBS Pandamania Curriculum.
Each morning, the campers rotated through different stations, each of which focused on a specific Bible Point for the day:??
- Day 1 – God Made You
- Day 2 – God Listens to You
- Day 3 – God Watches Over You
- Day 4 – God Loves You, No Matter What
- Day 5 – God Gives Good Gifts
??One of the highlights for me as a director was a text message I received from a parent: “I really enjoy the parent letters that you send home each night. (My daughter) answers me each night when I ask her the questions you provide.” It’s so nice to hear when the kids get it! The week would not have been possible without the fantastic people who helped both throughout the week and behind the scenes! Thanks to all of you!
This week, the ACC gym has been full of children participating in the Halo Hoops basketball camp. This is the 5th year that Halo Hoops has been here at ACC, led by Dave Davies and assisted by Dave Dixon. What an energetic week it has been! The children have been honing their basketball skills, while learning about the message of salvation through Christ. The gospel was presented to the children on Thursday, and of 60 children participating in the program, 25 made a decision to follow Christ! Praise God!
Our goal in children’s ministry is to equip each child with the tools and knowledge needed to lead Christ-centered lives. It is through wonderful programs such as day camp, Halo Hoops, and Upward Basketball and Cheerleading, that we are able to reach some children who may never otherwise hear about God’s love and desire for them. It is through our Sunday School and Awana program that we are able to reinforce the gospel for the children who participate in those programs. ACC’s mission is “To be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ”. I am blessed to be a part of this process for children.
This past Sunday at ACC we looked at the letter to the church in Smyrna recorded in Revelation 2:8-11. If you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. Jesus told the church in this letter that they would go through persecution and suffer because of their faith in Christ. Some of them would even be killed for their faith. Notice that Jesus didn?t promise an easy life or even long life to the people in this church. But He did promise that if they were faithful in this life, they would be rewarded with eternal life in heaven.
All of us go through trials and suffering at different points in our life. The question for each of us is: how will I respond when I am met with suffering? Will I be faithful to God with my life and remember His promises, or will I turn my back on God and walk away? I have always been struck by verses such as John 16:33 – “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” It doesn?t say if you have trouble – it says you WILL have trouble.
One of the purposes of the church is for believers to encourage and pray for one another as we endure suffering together. I love how we closed the services at ACC yesterday by inviting people going through suffering to come forward and be prayed for. It is such a powerful picture of the church being the church and doing what it was intended to do!
We also began with a reminder that many Christians in other countries are still persecuted for their faith in Christ today. We are called as the Church Global to pray for our brothers and sisters of the faith who are being persecuted. Will you take a moment right now to watch the video below and then pray for Shafia and others like her who are being persecuted
The high school youth ministry leaves for our Adventure Trip this evening. We?re headed to Colorado for a week of fun in the Rockies. We?ll take our time driving out there, staying overnight in churches along the way. We?ll arrive at camp (near Colorado Springs) Sunday afternoon. Monday – Thursday we?ll spend the day doing different adventure activities, high ropes course, rock climbing/rappelling, whitewater rafting, and a peak climb (hike to 14000 ft above sea-level and then back down). Each evening, we?ll have a chapel session where we?ll worship and learn together. Friday morning, we?ll begin our drive home and should be back at ACC on Saturday evening, 7/23.
I?m really excited about this trip. The opportunity to spend a whole week with students away from the distractions of everyday life opens the door for some great ministry to happen. The adventure activities should stretch and challenge us and provide some great on the spot learning and discussion. Please join me in praying for great and safe trip.
P.S. If you?d like to follow our trip, you can do so on twitter.??http://www.twitter.com/acc_missiontrip??I?ll be sending in short updates and pictures each day.
The storm raced through here like a freight train on Monday morning. I watched in awe from a window here at the church. The wind was driving the rain so hard that I was feeling a mist through the closed window!
It looked and felt like a tornado (one of my life goals is to be an eyewitness to a tornado!) but, alas, there was no funnel. Nevertheless it tore up many of the trees on our church property. Green leaves were stripped off and littering the ground. Huge branches were everywhere; the kind of branches that you need a chainsaw to clear.
That is when our volunteer heroes showed up. Rick Abbott, Adrin Smith and Paul Swan arrived and spent the better part of their day picking up – dragging – cutting branches. In the 90 degree heat. No pay. Very little thanks. (Okay, they did get free Gatorade.) They were indeed very manly men.
I love it! That is the spirit of servanthood. Jesus modeled it. Rick, Adrin and Paul modeled it. He asks us to model it. Numerous people here at ACC model it – including the dozens of volunteers running our Day Camp this week.
The church is the quintessential volunteer organization. Without your generous, sacrificial involvement – we are nothing. So I thank God for every one of you that faithfully volunteers at ACC. All of you rock!
May God continue to increase the number of those committed to humbly serving.??Peace,??Dave??
What a great week! This past week, was the student ministry?s @Home Mission Trip. 13 middle and high school students joined together to make a difference in our community. Tues – Thurs we served at a local summer enrichment camp put on by Greater Wheeling Area Youth Outreach (GWAYO). You can learn about the important work they are doing among the poor in our community by clicking here. We spent the afternoon working with kids age 4 – 13. We played games, did arts & crafts, and helped w/ their reading development program. It was a very rewarding experience and opened our eyes to some of the needs in our area. On Friday, we spent the day at Great America to cap off a great week of serving.
I?m proud of our students. They worked hard and continually put others before themselves. It?s a privilege to walk alongside them as they grow in their faith.
When I was in high school my youth pastor suggested that if Christ were to walk through the door right now that we would all drop to our knees in fear and awe. I thought that was a stupid idea. I was convinced that we might run up and give him a hug or a high five or at least a hardy handshake. But drop to my knees? Come on! This is Jesus my friend. Approachable. Humble. Accessible.
But after reading the description of the post-resurrection, glorified Christ and John’s response (Revelation 1:12-18) I am not pretty sure that my youth pastor was right! Jesus’ power, strength and authority is no longer muted as it was during his 33 years on earth. He is now, and for all eternity, most definitely large and in charge.
This past Sunday we kicked off our 8 week study of the 7 churches in Asia Minor that Jesus addressed in a personal letter. What we learned in this introductory message is foundational to the entire teaching series – so if you weren’t here – please take the time to listen to the podcast.
This coming Sunday we’ll be looking at the church in Ephesus. Read Revelation 2:1-7. Come ready to answer one penetrating question with brutal honesty: Have you forsaken your first love
A little Independence Day Quiz for you to enjoy.??
I got a 21…don?t know much about the amendments. Comment below with your score…no cheating! Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!