…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
– Hebrews 12:1b
Boy did I have a lesson on this verse during my workout this morning! I planned to do a long bike ride immediately followed by a short run (we call that a “brick” workout in triathlon speak). I had all sorts of stuff go wrong. I overslept, had difficulty getting out the door once I was up, had to fight with some of my bike equipment, and I got 2 flat tires during my ride – 2! Despite all these issues, I had a great workout. My legs felt strong, my energy level was high, and it was a beautiful morning to be outside. Overcoming the problems made the finished product even sweeter. That’s one of the things I love the most about endurance sports (distance running, long distance triathlon, etc). It’s in the learning to persevere that character is developed.
I think there’s a spiritual parallel there ;). I’m reminded of James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God has a way of using the trials of this life to refine us and make us more like His son. It’s definitely not easy, but I find that most things worth doing involve some kind of challenge. May you run with perseverance whatever “race” you find yourself in.
Recently I was reading, journaling, and praying through Romans chapter 1. I had this jump out at me:
“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” Romans 1:5
I was reminded once again of the glorious and age old truth that the gospel really is good news!
Consider with me just a few of the hundreds (thousands??) of reasons why the gospel is good news:
#1 This salvation from God is available to everyone; not to a particular ethnic group, socio-economic group, the spiritually elite, or to those who have nothing in their background for which they are embarrassed! God loves everybody and His salvation is available to all.
#2 It is a gift. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to achieve it. We don’t have to work our tails off to be religious enough or moral enough. It is ours for the taking simply because God loves us.
#3 God initiated it. It wasn’t my idea – it was His! He saw my greatest need and He moved into action to meet my greatest need. He loved me way before I even gave a thought to loving Him.
#4 It is a sure thing. God never lies. God never changes. His plan for us is eternal and his love is unending. We can count on His promises always holding true.
#5 We have the privilege of being dispensers of the good news. Good news is made for sharing and that is indeed God’s intent. His strategy for getting the message out? You and me! Anyone who has crossed the line of faith is commissioned to go into their own families and neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools to let others know that God loves them and sent His only Son to die for them.
If the gospel of Christ isn’t good news, I don’t know what is.
I am so grateful.
I read the following quote this week in an article.
…happy is a word to describe a feeling… The problem with the feeling of happy is that it’s unsustainable. There are moments and seasons of feeling happy, but it is not an attainable state of being. From a Christian standpoint, nowhere in the Bible are followers of God and Christ told that happiness is a result of faith. We are promised persecution, suffering, and sanctification, but not happiness. Happiness is a symbol of mainstream culture and is often an idol.
Wow, there’s a lot there! I think it’s right on! We often use happiness as a reason for making changes in our lives (relationships, career, lifestyle, housing, etc.). As if getting the right fit in one of these areas will bring about lasting happiness. But it doesn’t work that way. Happiness is fleeting and chasing after it is futile. Perhaps this is why Paul could say in Philippians 4:12-13
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Contentment is a sign of spiritual maturity. Contentment requires us to look beyond our circumstances to something greater. Contentment requires us to believe that God is enough no matter what comes our way. Contentment is a sustainable state of being. May you find lasting joy in God!
After many months of planning, prayer, and working through the permit process we are so excited that construction begins this week!
As we move forward with GROWING TOGETHER, I’d like to share a few thoughts:
- We need to never lose sight of why we’re doing this. God has called us to make room for more people! There are many people in our immediate area that have not yet heard and responded to the good news of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that we will be able to reach out to them and bring them into our church family. With that vision – we need to make sure we have plenty of room.
- A significant factor in our making budget on this project is our reliance upon volunteer labor. We need you to invest with your sweat, muscles, and skills. If you have not already done so, please stop by the office or the Welcome Center and fill out an ACC Volunteer Survey.
- As of May 12, 2013 we have received $514,197.06 in donations toward this project. That represents 58.7% of the total that has been pledged. Thanks so much for your generosity and faithfulness. Please continue to give generously – together we can do this!
- When will this project be completed? Though many different variables could alter the completion date, we’ve been told that though it won’t be ready for Christmas, it should be ready for Easter!
- We truly need God’s blessing and provision. So pray. Pray a lot. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pray for wisdom for Church Building Consultants and our Building Vision Team as they oversee the project.
- Pray for the many subcontractors and laborers that will be on our site. We hope our church can be an active and effective witness to each worker. Pray for safety on the job site.
- Pray for Jim Young, on staff at ACC as our Director of Operations. Jim will be the primary contact person between Church Building Consultants and our church. This is a tremendous amount of responsibility. Pray Jim receives wisdom and stamina as he will be heavily involved in this project, along with his many other responsibilities at the church.
This is truly an exciting time to be a part of ACC. Let’s enjoy the ride together!
I read an interesting article this week: “The Gospel of Gatsby and Draper: What if the self-made man wakes up one day and hates himself”. As the title suggests, it’s a look at the worldview of Jay Gatsby (of the Great Gatsby) and Don Draper (of the TV show Madmen). Both men despise their upbringing/family of origin and have created a new life/name for themselves. They are successful by every standard of the world, yet they are empty. These men are talented and driven and while their accomplishments are commendable, they remind us that happiness is not found in the sum of our achievements. These men love and worship themselves over and above anything else – a path that never leads to fulfillment.
The following quote from the article really stuck out to me:
Freedom…is about finding yourself in the steady, unrelenting, knowing, freeing gaze of someone who knows you—you, the you that you despise—and who is glad to be near you, who loves you anyways. Freedom, at its core, is about love, is inextricable from love, is love.
Wow! I think we all long for that kind of freedom/love. That’s exactly the kind of love that God has for us.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
May you know the unconditional, steadfast love of God. May it bring hope, healing, and freedom in the deepest parts of your heart.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
My family and I have been so very blessed by our church living out this verse! The past 3-4 weeks have been challenging to say the least. In the midst of this challenging season, we’ve experienced the love and care of so many of our ACC family. Things like a phone call, txt, note, or card to let us know that you’re praying for us have lifted our spirits and reminded us that we’re not alone in this. A home-cooked meal and a brief visit have kept us well-fed and provided much needed interaction with good friends. People generously giving of their time and energy to help Lisa with our kids have made it possible for me to return to my ministry here at church. Some have helped research car seats, provided gifts, gone shopping for us, and the list goes on and on. As I write this post, I’m overwhelmed! Thank you!
The verse above mentions the “law of Christ”. That’s a reference to John 13:34 where Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In the next verse, Jesus says the result of this kind of love is that the world will know that we are his disciples. As you’ve helped carry our burden, you’ve expressed love in tangible ways and given our world a testimony of the power of the Gospel.
Well done church! Thank you for loving and caring for my family!
“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. “– St. Augustine
Truth: God’s word is not a smorgasbord where you pick and choose.
Truth: As we approach God’s word it stands to judge us – not vice-versa.
May God give each of us the mindset and attitude of James 1:27
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.