Monthly Archives: April 2013

WHAT IS YOUR SACRED PATHWAY?

This coming Sunday we continue our teaching series: LIVING THE DASH. Scott Williams and I will be co-teaching on: A Lifestyle of Worship. As we approach this vital topic, I wanted to recommend a most helpful book to you – Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas (Zondervan, 1996). I actually did a teaching series based upon this book in 2007.

 

In this book a pathway describes the way we connect with God, how we draw near to him.

  • Gary identifies 9 different ways that Christians draw near to God – how they express their love for him and how they get to know him better.
  • A pathway is not how you become a Christian; it is your path once you have chosen to be a follower of Christ.
  • Check out a very brief summary of the 9 pathways:

 

 

NATURALISTS – Draw near to God through nature

  • They love to be outside; they are fascinated by trees, flowers, insects, the stars and the sky – the world of nature turns their hearts and thoughts toward God.
  • The beauty and wonder of God’s creation speaks to them.

 

 

SENSATES – Draw near to God through the senses

  • Their five senses are God’s most effective means of speaking to them.
  • They get lost in the awe and splendor of God.
  • Sensates typically have their worship greatly enhanced by incense, beautiful architecture and décor (think Holy Name Cathedral), classical music (think Handel’s Messiah), classic artwork and formal language – they will enjoy a liturgical service.

 

 

TRADITIONALISTS – Draw near to God through ritual and symbol

  • They love their faith within a historical context – rituals, symbols (think the Communion and baptism) and the ancient creeds (Nicene and the Apostle’s).
  • Traditionalists usually have need for structure and ritual – usually drawn to a more formal and liturgical type of worship service.
  • They tend to have a very disciplined life of faith; marked by very regular church attendance, tithing, and keeping of the Sabbath.

 

 

ASCETICS – Draw near to God through simplicity and solitude

  • They love to be left alone; to pray and meditate in silence.
  • Ascetics tend to be introverts and pretty introspective.
  • They believe God speaks in a still; small voice and you need silence in order to hear him. They value alone time – they don’t have to be constantly surrounded by noise and people.

 

 

ACTIVISTS – Draw near to God through bringing about social change

  • Activists always have a cause they are fighting for; they believe truth equals confrontation.
  • Involvement to bring about social change is what energizes them – pro-life, health care, feeding the poor, saving the environment, battling racism – their faith makes them a soldier advancing God’s truth and justice.
  • Often they are not afraid of conflict!

 

 

CAREGIVERS – Draw near to God through caring for others

  • They serve and love God by serving and loving others – the first ones to make a hospital visit, providing a meal or help fix a car; they love doing for others – it brings life to their spirit.
  • They also tend to overextend themselves and have a hard time saying no!

 

 

ENTHUSIASTS – Draw near to God through mystery and celebration

  • Enthusiasts are the church cheerleaders – they like to shout, whistle, dance, sing real loud and do it with a large group of people. They love Christian concerts – they like to rock the house!
  • If their hearts weren’t moved – then church was no good. They love to sing and worship in a group (they could do without the sermon!).
  • They have the joy of the Lord – sometimes obnoxiously so (like an overly cheerful person first thing in the morning!)

 

 

 

CONTEMPLATIVES – Draw near to God through adoration

  • They are very thoughtful – they desire to sit just at the feet of Jesus – remember Mary doing this?
  • They have deep within their heart a love for God – just spending time with him – they lose track of time praying and reading his word.

 

 

 

INTELLECTUALS – Draw near to God through their minds

  • They live in the world of ideas – they enjoy studying and debating theology. Learning a new truth about God or his Word thrills them; they are energized when they can study and learn; they might do their daily devotions straight out of the Greek New testament…
  • Proper doctrine and theology are a central concern.

 

 

So, now I am curious…what do you think is your primary spiritual pathway? Please leave a comment and let me know. (In a few days I’ll share what is my pathway.) Thanks!

 

Peace,

Dave

 

 

Can’t We All Get Along

I saw this quote on Twitter today.

“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”

-Tim Keller

I love this! I think our culture has such a messed up view of tolerance. We’re often labeled as intolerant if we disagree with someone on the basis of religion and/or morality. The reality is, we can’t all agree! It doesn’t work that way…never has, never will. BUT, we can get along! Some of my closest friends are people that I’ve disagreed with on major issues. Being able to get along with people we disagree with brings beauty and depth to our relationships. More than that, it’s biblical!

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

- Colossians 4:5-6

Grace,

Chris

HE IS STILL CHANGING LIVES!

His first time ever at ACC was on Easter morning. A longtime friend had invited him. He listened intently to the good news about Jesus Christ and expressed an interest in knowing more. About a week later I had the opportunity to have lunch with him, and be with him as he crossed the line of faith. (He understood his need for forgiveness, and for the first time in his life he truly understood that it wasn’t about him trying harder to achieve salvation but rather accepting the free gift of God in Jesus Christ.)

 

Since then God has been doing a remarkable work in his life! I received his permission to include a few excerpts from recent emails he has sent to me:

 

 I truly feel I received the gift of God.  I feel so much different than I did everyday before. I continue to read the bible and I have listened to all your teachings on your church website. I pray for myself for others every day, multiple times a day, and out-loud!  I pray for Jesus to come and stay in my life. I know I have so much more to learn and I know I need God and Jesus in my life every day. I know Jesus has come into my life because I was able to sleep about 6 hours straight on Monday night and about the same on Tuesday night. It might not sound like alot, but to me it was more sleep than I have had in months! I would sleep for 30 minutes to an hour and wake up for 2 hours every night in the previous days, weeks and months. It was horrible! And now I am able to get some rest. God is good! Sorry to ramble on, I just want you to know that I am so grateful for you and of course I am so thankful and grateful that God gave me the gift of forgiveness and the gift of trusting in God. I look forward to Sunday! I need and want to learn everything there is to learn about Jesus and God. 

 

Thank you for asking about my job search. When I lost my job about 2 weeks and some days ago, I thought my world was crashing fast. Not because of the job loss but I felt the job loss was the last “bad thing” that could happen to me. BUT it was a blessing. After a few days of really feeling terrible, nothing but GREAT things have happened to me. The MOST important thing is that I truly believe I have been given Grace and the gift of God. I feel like God has given me life. I pray and thank God multiple time a day for… as I say it….. “letting me into His life”. I have so much faith and I have never felt better. In the last week or so I have slept and eaten more than I have in the last 2 months combined. That in itself to me really is a true blessing. I will not stop praying and studying the bible for as long as I live.

 

BOOM! That’s what I’m talking about!!! The joy of someone crossing the line of faith is unmatched by any other experience.

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

We state that our purpose as a church is to be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. By God’s grace we are fulfilling our purpose one life at a time.

 

Keep praying for your family and friends and keep inviting them to church! Our God is mighty to save!

 

Please join with me in praying for this new follower of Christ. May many more be following close behind him in crossing the line of faith.

How about you? Have you crossed the line of faith? If you’d like to know more email me at Dave@acchurch.org. I’d love to interact with you!

Peace,

Dave

 

Dealing with Mistakes

I was invited to speak at a retreat this weekend. The retreat is for graduating ministry majors from Trinity International University. The topic: what you need to know as you transition into full time vocational ministry. It’s such an honor to be asked to speak and I’m excited about the opportunity to share from my experience.

One of the things I will be sharing is about dealing with mistakes. We all make mistakes…whether it’s in our professional life, our daily family life, or in our friendships, we can count on making mistakes. I believe the key to dealing with mistakes is how you respond. Proverbs 28:13 says ““He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy”. There’s some great wisdom here!

Consider the following negative response to making a mistake:

- Lie about it. While most of us would agree that lying is bad, what about those times when we know we could get away with it?

- Make excuses. Shift the blame, point the finger at someone else rather than taking responsibility for your mistake.

These ways of “concealing” a mistake lead to all sorts of problems. Lying erodes trust…even little lies! Making excuses may get you off the hook, but it sends the message that you lack personal responsibility.

Now, Consider the following positive response to making a mistake:

- Fess up quickly. Instead of trying to cover it up, or waiting to be found out, deal with it head on.

- Humbly accept responsibility. Instead of trying to get off the hook, take the necessary steps to fix the situation.

These ways of responding to the mistake lead to resolution and restored relationships. Dealing with it head on and taking responsibility demonstrate true character. Doing so sends the message that we care about the fact that we’ve made a mistake and how it impacts others. There may be a storm to weather, but it will likely be better than if we tried to conceal it and got caught. In my experience dealing with mistakes in these positive ways builds trust and endears you to others. You never lose when you apologize!

Grace,

Chris

Modern Day Slavery

In 2008, I was sitting in the auditorium at Willow Creek listening to Gary Haugen, the founder of International Justice Mission, talk about slavery. I was shocked to learn that in this day and age, we have people who are kept as slaves. I knew that there were factories in third world countries where the workers were paid $1 a day, but I had no idea there were actual slaves! Gary started talking about a 10 year old girl that they had rescued from a brothel and my heart broke. I just could not believe that there were underage girls out there that were being forced to have sex for money. From that moment on my world was never the same; God placed on my heart a passion to see the end of modern day slavery, and to work with girls rescued from sex trafficking.

Slavery today takes many forms and is in over 161 counties worldwide. It is estimated that there are 27 million slaves in the world today and the majority are women and children. It is the 2nd largest criminal activity in the world just below drug trafficking, taking in $32 billion a year.  While the causes of slavery are systemic, poverty seems to be the biggest factor. Often a poor family will “sell” their child to a business owner and the child will be forced to work 18-20 hours a day with no pay and will be beaten if quotas are not made. Young women struggling to make ends meet will be enticed by a modeling job in another country only to have their passports taken away and forced with the threat of violence to their families to work in the sex trade. Men and boys from Latin America are told of great jobs in the United States, and agree to be smuggled in and then are forced with the threat of immigration and jail, to work in the fields harvesting crops for no pay. In the United States, a victim of sex trafficking often comes from a troubled home and is easily manipulated by a pimp to believe that he loves her and that selling her body is only temporary until they can have enough money to buy a home together. Yet, she is beaten if she does not make the required amount of money for the night. The victims often feel helpless and alone with no hope.

There is hope! There are many organizations that are rescuing slaves and giving them the resources and support to start over. God is moving in the hearts of many people and there is more awareness now than ever before of this horrific crime. On Saturday, April 27 at 6pm, we are showing the movie Nefarious, a documentary about the global sex trade. Also, we are going to learn what Bright Hope International is doing in Northern India to help end this injustice. Please join us and learn what you can do to so the end of slavery in our lifetime!

For more information on Modern Day Slavery:

The End It Movement http://enditmovement.com/

Polaris Project http://www.polarisproject.org/

International Justice Mission http://www.ijm.org/

Thanks for reading,

Vickie Kerr (Guest blogger)

Nefarious – An Anti-Human Trafficking Event

Did you know that there are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today? Often called human trafficking, men, women and children from around the world are sold into slavery to work in coffee and cocoa fields, brick kilns, mineral mines and prostitution. Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27 at 6pm to see the film Nefarious which deals with the issue of global sex trafficking and hear what a local organization, Bright Hope, is doing about it.

This event is Free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Child care will be available for Infant – 5th grade at a cost of $2 per child. Registration is required and must be received by 4/21. Click here to register.

Grace,

Chris

A Great ACC Weekend!

My heart is overflowing with gratefulness for the excellent weekend I just enjoyed.

 

Our Good Friday and Easter services were well attended and we had many visitors! There was powerful worship and I sensed God moving in people’s hearts as his word was proclaimed. I had a number of excellent conversations with people as they began to process what God was saying to them.

 

Thanks for inviting your friends and family. Now please join me in praying that many will return – I am hoping that our series LIVING THE DASH will bring many people back and that together we will learn how to really live the life that God desires us to live.

Peace,

Dave