The following image has been all over my facebook feed this past week.
What do you think? Agree or disagree
?I find it interesting for 2 reasons.
1 – I agree with the statement that judging others is more of a indictment of our own character than it is of their character. I appreciate it for that idea.
2 – The number of likes, comments, and shares on Facebook suggest that this statement really strikes a cultural nerve. I see here a rallying cry for our culture. A culture that is determined to justify sin. “Don?t judge me!” is the underlying message. “I can live however I want to live. If you have a problem with that, it?s your problem, not mine.” As a believer in absolute truth and the authority of God?s word, I don?t appreciate this sentiment. The human heart is wicked and deceptive. We need an outside perspective on our behavior. God has given us that perspective in His word. Where the word is clear, we can be clear. In those cases, a judgement of someone?s actions is most certainly an indictment against them. Don?t get me wrong…As followers of Christ we need to be clear about sin, but we need to do so in a loving, respectful way.
Yesterday we cancelled both of our Sunday morning worship services to hold our 4th annual Faith in Action Sunday. Our t-shirts read: “Don’t go to church! Be the church!” And that is what the morning is all about.
We get busy by: collecting non-perishable food items for the Wheeling Township food pantry – by manning 10 different grocery stores soliciting donations and going door to door at over 1,200 homes surrounding our church. We also helped at the homes of 12 elderly folks needing assistance with basic yard work and household maintenance – most of these referred to us by the township.
I always look forward to this day – it might be my most favorite Sunday of the entire year. Why
?1.?I appreciate our strategic partnership with Wheeling Township. They do a lot of good for a lot of people and they are always looking for more volunteer help. They already have the systems and programs in place – they already have the established clientele – it only makes sense for us to come alongside of them in the name of Christ to help our community. The people on staff there do a great job.??2.?I enjoy walking the neighborhood as we hang over 1,200 door hangers the week prior – to warn the residents that we are coming for their food donation on Sunday morning. First, because I just enjoy walking! Secondly, because I like praying for each home as I approach it and wandering what ACC could do to help reach them with the good news of Christ. ??3.?I love watching the people of ACC serve with such enthusiasm. Whether its walking their legs off to cover their neighborhood zone by noon or by working past noon to get their home project done for the elderly – some even return on Monday or later in the week to finish up!??4.?I love hearing the stories our people tell of the conversations they encounter as a result of their service. People want to know why. The volunteerism often mystifies them! People often express heart-felt appreciation. Occasionally we even get the chance to pray with someone or invite them to church.??5.?I get pumped to see the huge pile of collected food in the corner of the gym on Sunday night. This year we collected over 4,447 food items!??6.?I personally need the reminder that our love and ministry must go beyond the 4 walls of our church. We must be the hands and feet of Christ day in and day out – not just the last Sunday in September!
A big “THANKS” to all of you who served.
??My son, Josiah, turned one on Thursday. I can?t believe he?s already a year old. At the same time, it feels like he?s always been a part of our family…I can?t imagine our life without him.
Some of my favorite memories of him this past year:
- The day he was born. The pregnancy was stressful in the end – he was breech for a bit and it was a long labor. None of that mattered as I held him in my arms that day.
- The first time I had him and Rachel on my own. He cried for almost an hour! He?s a Momma?s boy for sure. We?re good now, but he still prefers Mom.
- When he started laughing. He?s got an infectious giggle. He?s such a happy boy and I love watching his personality emerge.
- When he started walking. He?s very mobile now…He?s big, strong, and fearless. We may be looking at a future middle linebacker.
- Watching him DEVOUR his cupcake on his birthday. Rachel nibbles her food…Josiah inhales his. He had cupcake everywhere. So fun!
Fatherhood brings indescribable joy to my life. I?m so thankful for the family God has blessed me with and look forward to many more birthdays together, Lord willing.
You ever use an expression or phrase that doesn’t make sense
?Today I stopped by someone’s home and found it was abandoned – to my surprise, they had moved out completely. In recounting this to Carolyn I said, “The house was as empty as a tomb.”
As I walked away I chuckled as I realized the expression is normally, “Quiet as a tomb.” Tombs are, indeed, normally occupied!
“Empty as a tomb”? I guess my faith in our resurrected Lord was showing itself in places I hadn’t intended!
Fuel, the Men?s ministry here at ACC, just started up a new round of small groups (Band of Brothers groups as we call them). That time has become a nonnegotiable in my schedule. I so look forward to starting my Thursday mornings rubbing shoulders with some of the men of our church. This Fall, we?re reading through and discussing the book King?s Cross by Tim Keller. We?re just a couple chapters in, but I?m loving it already! The following quote hit me really hard:
“Self-centeredness makes everything else a means to an end. And that end, that nonnegotiable, is whatever I want and whatever I like, my interests over theirs. I?ll have fun with people, I?ll talk with people, but in the end everything orbits around me.”
I don?t think of self-centeredness in these terms often enough. I?m pretty good at dressing it up and convincing myself that I?m not being self-centered…I just have strong opinions, or doing it this way makes the most sense, or this is what?s best for everyone. The reality is we all like to get our way. But when I think of self-centeredness in terms of making everything else a means to an end (my end), it makes me sick. That?s not who I want to be. My opinion/wants/desires aren?t worth that cost. Self-centeredness is not something to play around with. It?s in direct contradiction to what we see modeled in the life and death of our Savior.
Philippians 2:5-8??Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!??
Yesterday on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we showed this video – followed by a simple presentation of the gospel. 8 people (that we know of) crossed the line of faith as they placed their trust in Jesus Christ. So awesome!!
If you weren?t with us yesterday – please take 15 minutes to watch this. It is powerful! If you were with us – watch it again and / or share this link with a friend.
The powerful lesson that this pilot?s story illustrates is: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” I Peter 3:18
Our youth ministry kicked off a new ministry year this past week. It was so good to be back together. I love this time of year. The students excitement level is off the charts. The incoming students (6th & 9th graders) bring a new energy to the group. The new upperclassmen (8th and 11/12th graders) begin to find their place as the “leaders”. And, we tend to see lots of visitors. On top of that, as we stand at the beginning of the ministry year, there?s so much potential ahead of us. There?s a sense of wonder as I think, “what is God going to do this year in our ministry?” That?s a feeling I know a lot of us have been feeling around here recently. It?s an exciting time to be part of the ACC Family.
If you are interested in keeping up with what?s going on with our youth ministry, I?d encourage you to check out our webpage www.acchurch.org/student. You can also find us on Facebook: ACC – Pit Stop Middle School Ministry and ACC – Oasis High School Ministry.
If you have a son or daughter in middle school or high school, I?d love to have them join in on the great things going on in our youth ministry. Please let me know if there?s anyway I can help with that.
Probably every generation has its own defining moment. December 7, 1941 – the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then, November 22, 1963 – the assassination of President Kennedy. For this generation it was September 11, 2001 – the coordinated attack of terrorists, turning passenger jets into giant bombs, that brutally ended the lives of 2,976 people.
Like you, I remember exactly where I was when I first became aware of what was unfolding on that crisp autumn morning. I was working out at Gold’s Gym in Gurnee when I watched the earliest TV reports of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I got to my office to hear of the Pentagon being hit. I raced home to watch the news coverage just in time to see the first tower crumble to the ground.
It was so incredibly surreal to watch hundreds of people die. I felt sick. I was scared. But the most disturbing reality was that I knew our world would never be the same again. I felt as if our very foundations were rocked to the core.
How would I, as a follower of Christ, respond? What would I say to my youth group the next night at our weekly meeting? What could I say to my own children? What could I possibly say to bring comfort? To bring God’s perspective to such senseless tragedy
?Psalm 11??1 In the LORD I take refuge. ?? How then can you say to me: ?? “Flee like a bird to your mountain. ??2 For look, the wicked bend their bows; ?? they set their arrows against the strings ??to shoot from the shadows ?? at the upright in heart. ??3 When the foundations are being destroyed, ?? what can the righteous do?” ?? 4 The LORD is in his holy temple; ?? the LORD is on his heavenly throne. ??He observes the sons of men; ?? his eyes examine them. ??5 The LORD examines the righteous, ?? but the wicked and those who love violence ?? his soul hates. ??6 On the wicked he will rain ?? fiery coals and burning sulfur; ?? a scorching wind will be their lot. ?? 7 For the LORD is righteous, ?? he loves justice; ?? upright men will see his face.
When very little else in our world is certain or safe, what we know for sure is this:
•?God is in control.
•?He will bring about ultimate justice in His time.
•?God is our only sure refuge.
As we approach the 10thanniversary of 9/11 I cling to these truths. These truths give us the courage and hope to move ahead and live life free of fear.
Let us pray for the thousands of families that continue to grieve the loss of their loved ones.
When the foundations feel like they are being destroyed we must remember He sits on His throne.
This past Sunday we showed a video highlighting nine serving ministries at ACC, and challenged people to join a team and serve. This time of year is an exciting one in the church, as ministries start up and our building comes back to life. I love how there is something happening here literally every day of the week!
Our church?s three-pronged approach for each person?s growth is WORSHIP, GROW, and SERVE. That means it is crucial for every ACC attender?s spiritual development to attend church on Sundays (WORSHIP), be involved in a Bible study or growth group (GROW), and get plugged into a serving ministry (SERVE).
1 Corinthians 12:14 says that the body is not made up of one part, but of many. In other words, each person in our church body has unique gifts that they can use to serve the rest of the body.
If you are not already serving in a ministry here at ACC, I challenge you to watch the video below, prayerfully consider where God would have you get involved, and then contact the appropriate ministry leader and get on a team!