Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Wonderful Legacy

I’m going to a visitation today for a 12 year old girl; funeral tomorrow.   She passed away on Christmas morning.  I was really sad when I got the news; not really in the celebratory mood that is common and expected on Christmas – celebrating the birth of Jesus, opening presents, spending time with family.  Over the past 5 days I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about KiKi and the legacy she left behind in the short time that she was with us.

My daughter Sara went to school with KiKi on and off over the past 8 years or so.  KiKi never spoke.  She never walked.  I don’t know the family too well, but I was blessed to have known KiKi though school activities, special needs events, etc.  To have met KiKi was to never forget her:  mop of blonde curls, bright blue eyes that lit up when you spoke to her, a smile that would melt away any lousy mood you might be in.  To see that was to fall in love.  To see that was to know that God had blessed her.

I know that I am by far not the only one touched by KiKi.  Through the wonders of Facebook, I have had the privilege of reading so many messages of love towards this girl….”those who don’t speak express the most profound wisdom”, “you could not be around her without smiling yourself”, “those sparkling eyes – I will never forget”.   In her obituary, her family wrote, “She was but a twinkle in God’s eye when He gave her a special mission.  It was to teach the people she met about unconditional love, compassion and acceptance.  He knew that she would need a large and loving family to do that.  Without ever uttering a word and only a smile and the gleam in her eye, Kiki completed her mission on Christmas morning ….”.

Loss is hard.  Loss of a child is devastating.  To have seen the way KiKi’s parents loved her; to have witnessed the joy she brought to everyone she met.  There is no doubt in my mind that God did have a mission for KiKi; no doubt that she completed her mission here on earth and Jesus wanted her home with Him.  As KiKi’s mom wrote in her final message to friends and family on Christmas morning, “As we celebrate Jesus’ birthday today on earth, KiKi is celebrating her angel birthday in heaven with Him on His special day.  Do not mourn her death but rejoice and celebrate her new life without pain.  She is running and dancing, talking and singing, doing all the things she wanted to do, in Heaven.”

Twelve short years and such a legacy.  I pray that I might make just a fraction of a difference in the lives I touch as KiKi did in the short time we were blessed to have her with us.

Kris

 

Laying Down a Heavy Burden

I finally submitted a heavy burden I was dealing with at my job to God, and the Lord with His unfailing love gave me his grace, showed me the way and lifted the burden from within me bringing me inner peace I haven’t felt for some time now.

For the past 3 months or so, my boss and I have had some major disagreements on how we needed to implement changes within our manufacturing facility.  He has been with our company since April of this year and I have been there for 5 years.  Our General Manager decided we needed to make some much needed changes going into 2011, and I was asked to be the “official” team leader of this working with a consultant.  After a lot of planning in the first quarter of the year, my new boss then joined us and we were ready to start implementing.  In his second week with us, my new boss and I had different philosophies of how some of these changes were going to take place.  And so begins the growth of my burden.

I either team lead or was a part of a lot of the activities implementing the planned changes through the spring and summer going into the fall.  Along the way there was a lot of conflicts with my new boss that had me shaking my head and rolling my eyes.  And so my burden continues to grow.

Going into the fall more changes were being implemented, but we were hitting road blocks.  A lot disagreement between my boss and I occurred.  And it got to the point where I could barely look at my boss in the eye much less talk to him.  This is when I started to pray to God about what to do.  I always filled my wife in on what was going on.  I started to discuss it with some close acquaintances and within our Growth Group.  But I never fully placed this burden on the altar before the Lord.  I kept some of this burden to try and handle myself.  This burden grew to point where my relationship with my wife and kids was being affected.

Fast forward to Dec 12, 2011, my boss had said some things that made me say to myself “I can’t believe you just said that.”  And thoughts of I need a new job felt like the only answer.  My job satisfaction bottomed out, I took that home, took that out on my wife and kids, and our relationship took a really bad turn.

That night before going to bed, I got down on my hands and knees and prayed out loud to God: “Lord, how do I deal with these conflicts with my boss?  Do I continue to fight him?  Should I look for a new job?  Or should I feel blessed just to have a job?”  At that point, the Spirit of God consumed me and the Lord said to me “Do what is pleasing in the eyes of God.”  This lead to a domino effect of blissful thoughts and emotions.  Fighting him leads to stress and anger, which are not pleasing in the eyes of God.  Taking my frustrations out on my family is not pleasing in the eyes of God.  Patience, respecting my bosses requests, assurance that I have a job in my field is a blessing, working hard and doing my job to the best of my God given ability, being the provider for my family, being a loving husband and father are all pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.  God knew my heart and mind were ready for His guidance at that time, while He patiently waited for my in the past to be ready.  I sweated a lot of small stuff and He showed me not to worry about them anymore.  From then on, I’ve had a new blissful outlook on my job.

So why did I hold on for so long to this burden?  Why did I let this consume me and control me for so long?  I don’t know and I’m sure I’ll do it again.  But Psalm 4:1-“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” and Philippians 4:6-7-“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  These are very comforting words of Scripture to know that He will listen, He will answer, He will guide, and He will give grace.

-          Anonymous guest blogger

 

 

Note from Dave: If this has been encouraging to you or if you have been going through the same sort of situation yourself and you’d like to contact the writer of this post – just email me (dave@acchurch.org) and I will hook you up!

A Personal Invite

In a fast-paced, technologically driven world, a hand-written note or a personal phone call always catch my attention. The personal touch communicates value and significance. It reminds me that at our core we are relational beings and all desire for others to know us.

This Christmas, I’d like to challenge you to extend a personal invitation to ACC to someone you know doesn’t have a church home. Consider the gift you give them in a personal invite. You’re saying, “I care about you.” “You have value.” “You’re worth my time and attention.” “I want you know the joy that is found in a relationship with Christ.” I’d imagine you know some people that need to hear that.

Here’s a list of our Christmas services:

  • Christmas Eve 4pm (family service, childcare for infant-preschool)
  • Christmas Eve 11pm (candlelight service)
  • Christmas Day 10am (light breakfast served at 9:30am)
Grace,
Chris

Some Christmas Cheer!

In the joy and fun that is Christmas – I had to show you this. Thanks to Doug Fields for the heads up! (www.dougfields.com)

 

The secrets to such an awesome video? 1) Find a person who doesn’t have a good singing voice. 2) Pump loud music into their ears so they can’t hear themselves sing. 3) Video it. 4) Enjoy!

Peace,

Dave

Lock-In 2011

Tonight is our middle school ministry’s biggest outreach event of the year – our annual Lock-In. As I type this a 50 ft inflatable obstacle course and a 10 person moon jump are being set up in the gym. We get started around 7pm tonight (Friday) and will go until 8am Saturday morning. It’s a blast! We start with all-you-can-eat pizza and pop, move on to a team photo scavenger hunt, followed by some messy games, a short message, some wild and crazy night games, a movie and rockband on the big screen. Some students will sleep, most will not :). I’d appreciate your prayers for…

  • Safety. We’ll be doing some driving during the scavenger hunt and will be playing hard all night. As energy levels decrease, accidents increase. Please pray for the safety of everyone involved.
  • Attendance. The majority of our participants are walk-in registrations…a challenge to plan for, but allows students to invite friends up until we start. Please join us in praying for lots of new faces and for kids that need a church home.
  • Receptivity. During my message tonight, I will be talking about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and inviting students to make a decision to follow Christ. Please pray for hearts that are open to the message of the Gospel.
  • Connection. Big events are great, but the ongoing ministry happens when students connect with each other, our adult leaders, and with our church on a regular basis. Please pray for students to make the jump from this one time event to our weekly meetings on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings.
Grace,
Chris

Pity Party and Dark Roast at Caribou

Praising God in good times is really pretty easy.

 

Praising God in the difficult times? Not so easy. But maybe really not too hard either. It’s actually a simple choice. It’s always a choice.

 

I was reading Psalm 44 this morning while sipping my mug of dark roast at Caribou. The psalm writer is feeling abandoned by God. Have you ever felt abandoned by God? I have. A very unpleasant feeling to say the least. The writer goes on to express feeling rejected by God, humiliated, mocked and oppressed by his enemies.  This dude couldn’t get any lower.

 

He goes on to tell God he’d understand his heinous situation if he had been disobedient or forgotten God. But he hadn’t. He had remained faithful, stayed on the straight and narrow – and yet it hadn’t appeared to do him any good.

 

Man, can I relate to that. I am a “rule keeper” kind of guy. I am a “respect your elders” – “submit to authority” kind of guy. Yet there have been many times in my life where there seemed to be zero pragmatic value to my “goody two-shoes” lifestyle. I felt bewildered, alone, depressed, a touch angry. It would appear that God wasn’t holding up his end of the deal. And I succumbed to overwhelming self-pity.

 

Reality check: When did God ever promise me a protective bubble? When did God assure me that my life would be free of all bad stuff? Answer: Never.

 

My twisted, self-righteous sense of entitlement reasons:

 

Being a family man + reading my bible + going to church + being a professional holy man + not cussing or getting drunk + already suffering a lot as a Cubs fan + generally being a pretty nice guy = My life being peachy (99% of the time at least).

 

The truth is I live in a broken, evil, messed up world. I am essentially a broken, selfish person. This world is not my home. The truth is God does not promise my obedience will translate into my own personal Shangri-la.

 

He does promise to always be with me in hard times. He promises to give me the strength to weather the storms. To give me the right words, the right responses.

 

Back to Psalm 44. As bad as he is feeling – as bad as life is at the moment – the writer says:

 

“In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.”

 

Praise is a choice. Always a matter of choice. God is inherently worthy of my praise regardless of my circumstances or feelings. I must choose to praise him at all times.

 

Wow. I look back at what I’ve just written and it seems to be a pretty melancholy post! Lest I be misunderstood, let me say I have a very good life. I am blessed far beyond what I deserve. My walk with God. My wife.  My children. My church. My friends.  Ad infinitum. But there are times where I am blind to it all. All I see and feel is the bad stuff. My point is that even in dark times we who are followers of Christ must choose to praise God and trust in Him.

 

If the author of Psalm 44 can do it – I can do it. And I will.

 

Peace,

Dave

White As Snow

Early this morning, I made my way to my bedroom window. It’s a habit that began as a child. As the weather gets colder, my mornings begin with a quick peak out the window. “Did it happen?” “Is there snow on the ground?” I love the snow! As I looked out my window this morning to see a light dusting of snow (most of which has melted by now), that same childhood wonder filled my heart. As a father, I get to share that with my kids. As she woke up, I whispered in my daughter’s ear to take a look out the window. As I watched her at the window, her whole body smiled and she let out a squeal of joy. She couldn’t wait to go play in the snow.

As I’ve grown older, my love for snow has taken on a deeper meaning. It reminds me of the beauty of the Gospel.

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;”
Isaiah 1:18a

This verse from Isaiah has been on my mind all morning. My sins, my horrible, rotten, sins have been made white as snow. They haven’t been swept under the rug, they’ve been washed away. Christ has traded my sin for his righteousness and I stand before God as pure as white snow. If ever there was something to cause our hearts to be filled with wonder, it’s the Gospel! I hope that as you look forward to and celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, that your whole body will smile and that you will let out a squeal of joy…well maybe not an audible squeal…an internal one will do ;).

Grace,
Chris

Your Favorite Bible Verse

What is your favorite bible verse? Why?

 

Mine? Mark 9:24

 

They are words spoken by a frightened father whose son was suffering from a demon. He had asked Jesus to help him IF he can. Jesus replied to him: “‘If you can’?” “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

 

Then comes the father’s authentic admission in verse 24…

 

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

I can so relate. That weird mixture of believing – really, truly believing yet being worried and doubting.  In turn, Jesus does not chide him but provides sweet relief to the boy’s torment. It encourages me to know that God can help me – even if my faith isn’t perfect.

 

So, how about you? Please briefly leave a comment – what is your favorite verse (or one of them!) and why?

 

Please do me a favor – even if you are reading this via Facebook or Twitter – leave your reply here on the blog site. Thanks!

 

Peace,

Dave