Monthly Archives: June 2012

You Just Never Know…

Because I am a pastor people confide in me. They tell me things; private, confidential, embarrassing, and burdensome things.


Sometimes they tell me because they are looking for advice – counsel from God’s word. Other times they are just looking for a safe place to vent. Maybe they just need to articulate their thoughts and they’re looking for a sounding board.  Very often they just desperately need someone to listen without judging. Often they are actively seeking prayer support. I think that occasionally they tell me “shocking” things just to gauge my reaction.


That’s cool. Cause I love people and because that’s my job. It is my honor to serve others in this way.


But here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about recently.


These folks who carry insufferable burdens, or horrible secrets or stressful inner conflicts – they all look so normal. You could be sitting next to them in church or chat it up with them out in the lobby – and never know what they were dealing with. For all intents and purposes they look and act very normal.


And yet they are dying on the inside.


Because this is true, it serves as a good reminder to me to:

  • Treat each person I meet with kindness and patience.
  • Not rush to judgment when others do display odd fits of anger or sullenness or rudeness.
  • Pray that my church family will have the courage to reach out to someone when they are struggling.


Because you just never know what a person might be dealing with.


“…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”       Romans 12:5




Praying for the Smith Family

Many of you have been following the eNews prayer requests and the Caringbridge site for Naomi Smith (daughter of Adrin and Lacy Smith born in April w/ a congenital heart defect). It’s been a very difficult few months for the Smiths. I know they so appreciate the love and support they’ve received from the ACC family. The Smiths made the following announcement this morning:

Home With Jesus

Naomi Ruth Smith is in the arms of her Lord and Savior. With all of the family here and one of her pastors, and while in momma’s arms she went home to be with Jesus. We know with certainty that she has found healing. She has been restored and in that knowledge we find joy. We are saddened at the lose of our little princess, but she fought long and hard. We miss her so and love her so.

Thank you for being on this journey with us and ask that you celebrate her life.

Please join us in praying that the Smith family would find comfort and healing in this very difficult time.

New Leadership at ACC

Any organization, including a church, typically rises or falls according the quality of its leadership.

ACC is blessed to have elders who are truly godly men – they love God, they love people and they faithfully love and serve our church.

In a few weeks we anticipate recognizing a new elder – Mark Birmingham. Mark has been attending elders meeting for the past 6-7 months. He has rigorously interacted with our leadership team, carefully read three books and other materials to more fully understand our church culture, values and procedures. We have watched and listened to him carefully. We have prayed with him and for him. He too has been prayerfully considering this calling along with his wife Jess. On Thursday, June 7th our elder team unanimously affirmed him as an elder. We are very excited about him joining our team!

Here are a few brief biographical factoids about him:

  • Born in  Texarkana, Texas, and raised in Kansas; the oldest of 2 sons.
  • Works at North Shore Podiatry. He is a podiatrist specializing in the medical and surgical care of the foot and ankle.
  • Married to Jessica since July 21st, 2001. Four children: Bailey (10), Ruby (7), Brec (4), and Brody (20 months).
  • Crossed the line of faith when he was 18 years old. It took an additional 10-15 years of His grace to allow him to make mistakes and grow closer to Him.
  • Has been attending ACC since July of 2009. He has served on the Operations Task Force and  been involved in Fuel – ACC’s men’s ministry.
  • Direct quote to: Why do you want to be an elder? “I love ACC, the people that make up its body and its mission to share Christ with others. I feel that becoming an elder would allow me to contribute more to all three!”
  • Favorite leisure activities: reading, running, and drinking coffee (typically not all at the same time).
  • Weird, interesting personal trivia: 1) The Birmingham family was one of five families that settled Baltimore, Maryland – yet he has never been there. 2) He actually does NOT like feet.
Please pray for Mark and his family as he takes on this new leadership role at ACC. We anticipate God using him in some significant ways!

10 things that made me smile this week

I had a great week! There are so many ways that I was encouraged emotionally and spiritually. Here are 10 things that made me smile this week.
  • Welcoming our incoming freshmen to the high school youth ministry (Oasis)
  • Watching some of our high school boys man the grill. They got so into it and did a great job cooking. They definitely earned some man points in my book :)
  • Sitting around the campfire late into the night w/ some high school students, just talking about life.
  • Getting together with other local youth groups for a cookout, games, and a campfire. So cool to see the body of Christ come together.
  • A great swim & bike workout. I needed that one! Huge confidence booster. Just over 4 weeks until my triathlon.
  • Meeting the incoming 6th graders…we’ve got a great group of kids joining the middle school ministry this Fall!
  • A one-on-one meeting with a student who needed to talk through some things.
  • Golf and breakfast with some good friends…I’m a terrible golfer, but the company was great.
  • Surprise afternoon visit from my wife and kids, complete w/ cherry-limeades from Sonic.
  • A super encouraging email from a parent of one of our students.

So, how about you? How was your week? As I sat down to write this post, I thought of several not-so-fun things from this past week. In fact, I could have written “10 things that made me sad this week”. Perspective is key! Taking time to remember our blessings and give thanks to God is a habit we should work hard at developing. I Thessalonians 5:18



Why I Do What I Do

I recently shared with our MS and HS students why I do what I do…why I am a youth pastor. The truth is, I absolutely love my job! I can’t imagine doing anything else. Don’t get me wrong, it has its share of challenges (as any job does), and some days are harder than others, but it’s all worth it!

Here a few reasons why I do what I do:

  • I enjoy spending time with MS/HS kids. I’ve heard it said that teens don’t need adults who will act like teens, they need adults who don’t freak out when teens act like teens. I think that’s right on. I have so much fun with our students! They make me laugh and they know how to have fun. I also love that they are starting to think deeply about life’s big questions. I love being a part of that conversation with them.
  • My life was changed by youth ministry. I crossed the line of faith in high school. My youth group played a key role in that process. I was an all-around good kid – good grades, well behaved, and a generally nice guy. But I was empty on the inside. I knew there was more to life than what I was living for and I was searching for acceptance and love by achieving. Through my youth group experience I came to understand that I didn’t have to (nor could I) earn God’s approval. He loves me as I am and welcomes me into His family. That kind of love and acceptance transformed my world. Church became my favorite place and I was there whenever the doors were open.
  • I desperately want MS/HS kids to know Jesus. I’m constantly reminded of how much is at stake. These kids need to know Jesus! They’re lost without Him. I remember what it was like to go through those difficult teen years without Christ and I know the difference a relationship with Jesus can make. I want to help students experience a real relationship with God…not just a “get out of Hell free card” or how to say and do the right things to be a “good” Christian. I want students to know God personally…that He would be their best friend.

It’s a privilege to do youth ministry in a church that “get’s it”. Thanks for supporting the youth ministry here at ACC.



School’s Out for Summer

Most kids are getting out of school this week. While I think that parents generally enjoy the freer schedule, absence of school paperwork and perhaps, some extra snooze time in the morning, summer break also poses a huge dilemma….what to do to keep those kids occupied?

ACC has some great activities going on this summer to keep the kids busy, out of the house and off the video games! Many of these events also offer a wonderful way for adults and teens to serve right here at ACC :

June 25-29: Join us for Halo Hoops Basketball Camp. Dave Davies and Co. will be traveling from North Carolina to engage children ages 6-13 years in a Christian basketball camp. Campers will learn drills, skills and fundamentals during their week of camp, along as hearing the gospel message throughout the week. Registration is still open at

• How can you help? Dave and his crew of coaches will be hungry. Think about signing up to provide a meal for the coaches during the week of camp. Lunch should serve 10; dinner should serve 3-4.

July 9-13: Sky Day Camp is here! Register your child now to enjoy a week full of fun. In the mornings, children will be learning about the truths of God, while venturing through exciting and engaging stations. Each afternoon, campers will enjoy fun field trips. The week culminates with an on-site family picnic and closing ceremony. Camp is open to children entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall. Register online at

• How can you help? We still have a few openings for adults or teens to assist station leaders during the mornings from 9-12 each day. See Kris to find out how you can help!

Teens need to keep busy too! There are also exciting things happening this summer in the Middle School and High School Ministries:

June 22-23: Pit Stop kids enjoy a night of games, fellowship, campfire and sleep out in tents right here at ACC.

June 25-July 1: Oasis students will engage in a local mission trip, followed by a weekend trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Registration is open through June 10th.

July 15-21: Join your Pit Stop friends for a great camp experience at Lake Geneva Youth Camp! Open to students entering 6th-8th grade, LGYC offers great outdoor activities as well as meaningful time with God. Contact the ACC office for registration information, or register online at To receive a discount and ensure our ACC children end up together, please note on the registration that you are from ACC.

July 27: Oasis students will venture up to Warren Dunes in MI. Kids will enjoy hiking, swimming and just relaxing and soaking up some rays on the beach.

August 1-8: High school students will join a group of ACC adults in traveling to Honduras for our 3rd medical mission trip to this impoverished country. Guaranteed to be a life changing experience!

• How can you help? Support our youth by attending the All-Church Cookout this Sunday, June 10th. All donations will go to help fund the trip for our high school students.

There is a lot going on at ACC over the summer for our children! Sign up your child, or volunteer yourself for one of these great opportunities! To keep up to date on activities and happenings in our children and youth ministries, please check out the monthly Children’s Ministry Newsletter, located at the Welcome Center (Infant – 5th grade) and the youth calendar located in the lobby or online.

ACC Top 20 Song List

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head that was sung on Sunday, but you couldn’t remember the title?  Then this post is for you!

Recently I put together a “Top 20″ list of the songs we sing at ACC on Sundays.  The list is below, with a link for each song so that you can purchase and download it from iTunes if you wish.




10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Alive In Us – Hillsong
Always – Kristian Stanfill
At Your Name – Phil Wickham
From the Inside Out – Hillsong United
Glory To God Forever – Steve Fee / Vicky Beeching
God Is Able – Hillsong
Here For You – Matt Redman / Passion
In Christ Alone – Keith & Kristyn Getty
Jesus Son of God – Chris Tomlin / Passion
Mighty To Save – Hillsong
Never Once – Matt Redman
One Thing Remains – Jesus Culture
Our God – Chris Tomlin
Revelation Song – Kari Jobe / Jennie Lee Riddle
Savior’s Here – Kari Jobe
Stronger – Hillsong
The Stand – Hillsong United
White Flag – Chris Tomlin / Passion
Your Love Never Fails – Jesus Culture