Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Years Resolutions

New Years is upon us. Many people use this time to make New Year’s Resolutions…..lose weight, exercise, quit smoking, drink less, eat less (or more) bacon…..I myself have never been big on that – I always figured if you want to make a change in your life, any time is just as good as any other. But, I don’t discount anyone who makes resolutions. If it takes a specific date, then go for it!
On Christmas Eve, if you were able to attend services at ACC, you would have received a little mirror as a keepsake when you left for the evening. This mirror was to be used as a reminder that Jesus wants YOU! I want to suggest that we use the start of this New Year to give ourselves to Jesus, or to renew our commitment to Him. So, that’s easier said than done, right? What does giving yourself to Jesus look like?
ACC’s strategy is “Worship Plus Two” – worship + grow + serve. So what does this mean and how can this strategy be used to grow your relationship and commitment to Jesus?
• Come worship with us on Sunday! If you are wishy-washy about your attendance on Sunday morning, make a commitment to be here. There is a joy and energy that comes from surrounding yourself with other believers to honor and worship our wonderful Savior
• Get baptized. If you have committed your life to following Jesus and crossed the line of faith, why not take the opportunity in 2013 to be baptized. We have baptisms approaching in March, so please prayerfully consider entrusting your life to Christ through the outward sign of baptism.
• Make a concerted effort to grow spiritually. This may involve joining a Growth Group (starting up next week!), or getting involved with Coffee Hour, MOPS, or FUEL.
• If you’ve been on the fence about getting involved here at ACC, take the plunge! There are so many wonderful ministries that could use your special talents! If you are looking for a place to serve, please contact anyone on staff and we’d love to get you plugged in!

Outside of ACC, there are so many other ways in which you can dedicate or re-dedicate your life to Jesus:
• Volunteer in your community. There are several ways you can help….homeless ministries, such as PADS, Feed My Starving Children, Meals on Wheels (which ACC provides drivers for during the month of February). Or just help a neighbor or friend in need – you never know what a seemingly insignificant gesture may mean to the recipient.
• Commit to a Bible reading program. There are several wonderful reading programs to fit any schedule online at Or pick up your monthly copy of “Today in the Word” at the Welcome Center, and commit to reading daily.
• PRAY! Give your worry, your stress, your anger, your resentments, your hurt, your pain to God! God is so much bigger than any hardship that we experience in this life. Don’t just pray when you are desperate – pray to thank Him for His provision in your life each and every day. God will always answer you. When you give everything to God, you will be amazed by what He can do in your life.
Whatever change you wish to make in your life, now is as good a time as any! I wish each of you a blessed New Year, filled with joy, peace, health, and happiness.


All God Wants For Christmas Is … YOU

At our Christmas Eve services, we showed the following video of a family in our church – Mark and Jessica Birmingham – that gave a glimpse into how they celebrate Christmas as a family. The lesson they are trying to teach their children is a good one for all of us to remember – that what God wants for Christmas is me and you. The central message of Christmas is that Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby, and to ultimately die, all so that we could be reconciled to God.

I hope you and your families had a wonderful Christmas – and have a happy new year!


Smell Like Bacon

As I write this I’m enjoying the fragrance of a scented candle burning on my desk – the subtle aroma of bacon! A friend gave me a bacon scented candle for Christmas!

I am today reminded of the exhortation found in 2 Corinthians 2:14 -

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”

My hope this Christmas is that both you and I would be a fragrance of the knowledge of Christ to our friends and family!

Merry Christmas everybody!



Middle School Lock-In 2012

Tonight is the annual Middle School Ministry Lock-In. It’s a high energy, sugar and caffeine driven, all-nighter. The night includes all you can eat pizza and pop, a 45 ft inflatable obstacle course, a photo scavenger hunt, messy games, group night games (played in the dark), a movie, Wii just dance on the big screen, and we cap it all off with donuts for breakfast.

I know it sounds crazy…it is crazy! Here are some of the reasons we do it:

  • It’s memorable. Students talk about this event for years to come. Some of the students who have come through our ministry and are in college now, still bring up stories from this event. I think it’s important for students to have fun memories involving church.
  • It’s a relationship builder. Every year, our team ends up having great conversations with students in the wee hours of the night. Spending extended periods of time with people can seriously accelerate relationship development.
  • It’s a great evangelistic tool. We see new students every year. This is an event that students love to bring their friends too. I always do a short gospel presentation and invite students to join us for youth group in the coming year.

The event kicks off at 7pm tonight and ends at 8am tomorrow morning. I’d appreciate your prayers for a safe, fun, and effective night of ministry.



Self-Leadership 101

The hardest person to lead is yourself!

We often think of leadership as from the top down – influencing and directing your subordinates. True.

But leadership also often involves influencing your peers; sometimes even those over you.

But the one direction of leadership too often neglected is self-leadership. If you are not effectively leading yourself how can you possibly influence others with integrity?

The apostle Paul once wrote a letter to a young pastor named Timothy. As Paul mentored him via letter we can see Paul emphasized the need for Timothy to lead himself in order to lead others.  In the New Testament book of 1 Timothy we find numerous self-leadership principles. Check out just a sampling…


…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 4:13

Do not neglect your gift…4:14

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. 4:15-16

Keep yourself pure. 5:22

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 6:11

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. 6:20


It starts with you! Until you take responsibility for your own spiritual health and development you will never be able to be the leader God wants you to be. We must lead by example!

This reality hits me in the face every day. I must get a hold of my own schedule and make time for solitude, private worship, to be in my bible, to pray, etc. I must have an authentic walk with God. To lead myself, so that by God’s grace in my life, I may effectively lead others.



Come Lord Jesus

By now, you’ve most likely heard about the tragedy in Connecticut today.  My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones in this senseless act of violence. Moments like this confront us with the fallen nature of our world. Our world is truly broken and in need of redemption. Which is at the heart of Advent. With longing and expectation, we look forward to the coming of Christ…the one who came into this world to conquer sin and death (Romans 4:25). We look forward to and celebrate his birth, but we also look forward to his return. One day, Christ will return. He will wipe away every tear and make all things new. There will be no more pain and there will be no more death (Revelation 21:3-5). When we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” we sing in remembrance of his birth, but we also sing in invitation of his return.

Come Lord Jesus. Come.



15 Extremely Random Thoughts About Christmas

  • Watched the old school clay-mation version of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer recently. The message of that really was that your worth is based upon what you look like and / or what you accomplish. Yikes! Even Santa was really a jerk to Rudolph!


  • Most over-rated Christmas movie: A Christmas Story.



  • Ever heard Bare Naked Ladies version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen? Awesome.


  • Best Christmas gift I ever got as a kid: a 007 attaché case that contained an assortment of deadly weapons. I was fairly lethal for my age.



  • Being able to do Christmas shopping online may be the best development in our culture since the invention of the polio vaccine.


  • I’d put lights outside my townhome but I don’t have an outside electrical outlet and I’m too cheap to pay to have one installed for using it just 3 weeks out of the year.



  • When little George Bailey gets slapped in the head by the drunk pharmacist – I’ve always wondered why George’s dad didn’t go down to the drug store and whoop the mess out of that crusty old guy. If that had happened to my son…


  • Fruit cake doesn’t seem to be as ubiquitous during the holidays as when I was growing up. Is that an accurate observation? (By the way, this is a good thing.)



  • Cats and Christmas trees are NOT a good combination.


  • I’ve never really understood Christians who get hot and bothered by Santa. As a kid I understood Santa was make-believe fun. It was really about Jesus’ birthday – I got that.



  • I hate it when there isn’t any snow on Christmas day.


  • Few things pump me up more than a good instrumental version of Sleigh Ride.



  • My mom is Norwegian. Consequently, on Christmas Eve we’d have lutefisk for dinner. What is it? Think rotten, pickled fish that you’d drown in butter and salt as you choke it down. That, my friends, is lutefisk. Good times.


  • I once burned off my left eyebrow while smelling a Christmas candle.



  • I love that we set aside a time of year to remember the life-changing truth that: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14




An Advent Prayer

Came across this prayer this week and thought it was a great prayer for this Advent season.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, and enlarge my mind;

Let me hear good tidings of great joy, and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,

my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;

Place me with ox, ass, camel, goat, to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face, and in him account myself delivered from sin;

let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, embrace him with undying faith,

exulting that he is mine and I am his.

In him thou has given me so much that heaven can give no more.

- from The Valley of Vision



Appreciative Beyond Words!

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.   1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

These words of the apostle Paul also express my heart of gratefulness for the leaders and volunteers of ACC.

Our church is blessed with people who selflessly serve week in / week out simply because they love God and love people. They sacrificially give their time, energy, and money to help us fulfill our mission to be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.

If you are a leader or volunteer at ACC – in any capacity – please know that I am thinking about you right now. Thanks for making a difference. Thanks for investing your life in eternal things. I’m confident God is pleased.

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Keep up the great work. Together we truly are advancing God’s kingdom!