Monthly Archives: June 2013

What does it mean?

SCOTUS, DOMA, and Prop 8. I feel like I’ve had to learn a new language this week! There’s a flurry of information out there. As you’re getting your head around this issue and what it means for our country, the church, and individuals, I wanted to share with you 4 resources (articles and blog posts) that I thought were well written and very helpful.

Grace,

Chris

Human Trafficking

It has been almost two months now since we have shown the movie Nefarious. That documentary has really opened the eyes of so many to the horrors of sex trafficking, but did you know that there are other forms of trafficking that were not addressed in the movie?

Right here in the United States there are many forms of labor trafficking and it could be happening at your favorite restaurant, the local nail salon, or at your next door neighbors. According to Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization based in Washington DC, there are many different forms of labor trafficking. Here are just a few that we might encounter in our everyday life.

First there are domestic workers. A nanny or housekeeper that is being kept against her will and works 18-20 hours a day in someone’s home. They are most likely foreigners here on a work visa and were promised a wonderful job as a nanny and then threatened with deportation if they did not work all day with no pay. They are not allowed out of the house and if they do go out it is under supervision of the homeowner. They are forced to cook, clean, wash cars and take care of the children. In many cases they receive one meal a day and are allowed no breaks.

The next thing we might see is at the local nail salon. There have been many reported cases where the girls were brought here from Asia by a family member and are living in the back of the salon. Their nail license is faked and they are forced to give all their tip money to the salon owner. They work all day, every day for no pay. They also are threatened with deportation and/or jail time if they do not work.

Another situation that we would run across in our everyday life is in the restaurant industry. Wait staff, bus boys/girls and kitchen staff are put to work with no pay and long hours.  Many people entering our country do not understand our labor laws and are easily manipulated into thinking that this is the only way that they can stay. Traffickers will often use the threat of harm to their families to keep them working.

One more situation that we see is what is called begging circles or sales teams. Traffickers will prey on the poor and offer them a job of travel and sales. Once hooked in, the victims are forced to sell magazines, skin care, or candy door to door and will not receive any pay. If the person does not meet a sales goal that is expected of them, they do not eat that day and/or are beaten. The trafficker will charge them over inflated prices for food and lodging as an excuse not to pay them. The trafficker will also use the threat of violence to them and their families to keep them working.

There are many other forms of labor trafficking that are here in this country like factory workers and farming. If you would like to learn more, you can check out Polaris Project at www.polarisproject.org.

The next question is what can you do? If you suspect that someone is being trafficked or forced to work against their will, you can call the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888. They will contact the proper authorities who will investigate the situation.

Guest blogger: Vickie Kerr

Golf Lesson

I played golf with a good friend this morning. It was my first time out this year and I played about as well as I usually do – BAD :). For some reason I thought it might be different this time. I thought, maybe I’ll hit the ball straight…maybe I won’t spend half the time searching for my ball or fishing it out of the water…maybe I’ll be a better golfer. Of course, we all know that’s not the way it works. I rarely golf; I haven’t golfed in almost a year, and I haven’t done anything to get better. To develop as a golfer I need to do things like: play more often, take lessons, visit the driving range. It takes an investment on my part. If I don’t work at it, I’m not going to get better.

I think it’s easy to approach our spiritual life this way as well. If we want to develop as Christ-followers, we need to work at it. We need to invest in our spiritual life. I Timothy 4:7-8 tells us…

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Training ourselves for godliness implies being intentional in our spiritual development. We need to commit ourselves to things like: regularly attending church, finding a place to serve, getting involved in a small group, Bible reading, prayer, and regular giving…just name a few :).

May you be intentional about developing your relationship with God.

Grace,

Chris

A Lesson from the Appalachian Trail

A dumb little story from the Appalachian Trail (dumb but true):

 

Last week my son and I spent a few days backpacking on the Appalachian Trail along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Our last day out we decided to combine 2 days worth of mileage into one day. The reason? We wanted to be sure to catch game number one of the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV – cheering for our Chicago Blackhawks!

 

Consequently, we walked 18 miles that day. 18 miles ascending steep hills and descending steep hills. 18 miles with 30 pounds on my back. 18 miles that almost killed me! (I must say though, it was worth it to see the Hawks game as we devoured a pizza in our hotel room.)

 

In the last few hours of my hiking that day, I was exhausted and I became very crabby. With my son? No. With myself, perhaps? No.

 

I became belligerent and crabby with the mountain itself! When I came to the foot of another steep ascent (rather than a much easier descent or some level pathway) I fumed. When I rounded a sharp switchback and discovered we were not yet at the top of the mountain – but still had a long way to go, I was enraged. It was too hard. I didn’t feel like climbing anymore. In my oxygen deprived desperation, I even tried to will the unseen path ahead of me to level out! Needless to say, it did not work; the uphill climbs were still there!

 

Eventually I realized the path set before me was not going to change. Rather, my attitude needed to change. There is no doubt about it: the trail was not going to submit to me – I must submit to the trail. Only then could I face the challenge.

 

As I reflected on this obvious epiphany I realized that the ways of God and the will of God for me are often very similar. Often his ways for me are difficult; I would not choose the path he places me on, but he did not ask for my opinion. Often his word is a real challenge to obey – it’s plain old hard! To love my enemy, to not satisfy the desires of my sinful nature, to not retaliate when someone mistreats me, to pray as I should, to put others ahead of myself, to trust him even when I don’t understand what’s going on and everything seems chaotic and out of control – these things are difficult and often frustrate me, anger me, and even make me crabby.

 

What I want is for his ways to be my ways; for his will to be my will. And yet, what is true, is this:

 

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
his intentions can never be shaken. Psalm 33:11

 

God used the Appalachian Trail to remind me of an important spiritual lesson: I must submit myself to God and his word; it will never be vice versa. Only then will I find strength for my path and joy for my journey and reach my destination.

 

Father, grant me the humility and wisdom to submit myself to your perfect will and your eternal, unchanging word. I know your path is best – help me to believe that even when it is a steep uphill. Give me the strength to walk your trail.

 

Peace,

Dave

 

Honduras 2013

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We’re preparing to send out our 2013 Honduras Mission Team. The team will leave in 6 weeks and spend a week in Tegucigalpa, Honduras doing medical missions/evangelism. We’re excited for the opportunity to serve those in need and introduce them to the life changing power of Jesus Christ. It’s our prayer that God would use our efforts to help many people cross the line of faith and place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Would you consider partnering with us? We need to bring many of the necessary medical supplies for the clinics we’ll be hosting. It’s our goal to fill 12 large suit cases with supplies. Here’s a list of the items we’ll need.

  • Children’s Chewable (not gummy) Vitamins
  • Adult Multivitamins (not gummy)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Extra Strength – 500 mg
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 200 mg
  • Naproxen (Alleve)
  • Loratadine (Claritin) 10 mg
  • Saline & Nasal Decongestant Nasal Sprays
  • Antacid Tablets (Tums, Maalox)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac, Prilosec, Pepcid)
  • Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatments
  • Lice Killing Shampoo (not treatment kit, just shampoo)
  • Toothpaste (small and travel size only)
  • Financial donations are welcome. Please write Honduras – Supplies on the memo line of the check.

You can drop off your items at the Honduras table in the lobby between Sunday, 6/23 and Sunday, 7/21. Please contact the church office if you have any questions.

Grace,

Chris

Part of the Mission

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This past Friday evening, our worship ministry team got together for an end-of-ministry year celebration.  We shared a meal together outside, the weather was beautiful, and I told the team how thankful I am for how well they serve our church Sunday after Sunday!

 

I then shared some thoughts from 1 Timothy 1:12 that I believe are relevant for anyone serving in any type of ministry.  The apostle Paul is writing, and he says:

 

I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

 

Each of us that have been called to serve in a ministry have been considered trustworthy to carry the message of the gospel to those that need to hear it. It doesn’t matter what area of ministry you serve in.  You might be a helper in children’s Sunday school, an usher, an Upward coach, or the guy who gets called when the drinking fountain breaks in the lobby.  No matter where or how you serve the church, you have been entrusted by God to be a part of the church He is building on this earth.

 

A few verses later, Paul talks about how he is the chief of all sinners, which makes the fact that God considered him trustworthy even more amazing.  This is also true for every single one of us.  I was once dead in my sin, deliberately rebelling against God, until He grabbed hold of my life and saved me.  This is the good news of the gospel, and this is what we are entrusted with telling others about!  Verse 12 goes on to say that we have been appointed into Jesus’ service.  I don’t know about you, but I often lose sight of the fact that it is a privilege to serve Jesus with the gifts and abilities He has given me.

 

Our mission as a church is to be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.  Wherever you are serving at ACC, remember that YOU are a part of the mission, and God has appointed you to help fulfill it.  I am thankful to be part of a church where so many people are using their gifts to serve the Lord!

 

~Scott

The Big Transition

Yesterday was my daughter Madi’s last day of elementary school.  I am now officially the parent of two middle-school girls and I have no idea where the years went!  Sara started middle school this past Fall as a 6th grader, but since she attends a specialized school, it really wasn’t much of a transition for either me or her.  So, Madi will be my first experience in the middle school world….lockers and the dreaded combination lock, multiple teachers, having to change for gym (gasp!), and from what I heard at parent orientation last week…..BOYS!  Yes, the Principal said that the number one reason middle schoolers get sent to the Assistant Principal’s office is because of boy/girl issues.  Ugh…I am not ready for that, but I’m sure it is coming.

For those of you who are facing this same transition, for those of you who have gone through it already and for those for whom it seems in the distant future….this is for you.

Kris

 

What Is A Middle Schooler?

What is a middle schooler?

I was asked one day.

I knew what he was.

But what should I say?

 

He is noise and confusion.

She is silence that is deep.

He is sunshine and laughter,

Or a cloud that will weep.

 

He is swift as an arrow.

She is a waster of time.

She wants to be rich,

But can not save a dime.

 

She is rude and nasty.

He is polite as can be.

He wants parental guidance,

But fights to be free.

 

She is aggressive and bossy.

She is timid and shy.

He knows all the answers,

But still will ask “why”?

 

He is awkward and clumsy.

She is graceful and poised.

He is ever changing.

But don’t be annoyed.

 

What is a middle schooler?

I was asked one day.

He is the future unfolding,

So do not stand in her way!

 

- Author Unknown

Thoughts on Forgiveness

I recently listened to a message given by a Christian speaker, and she said that to be Christian is to be a forgiver.  This statement has been on my heart and mind over the last few weeks.  Extending forgiveness is distinctly Christian.  The world holds grudges, retaliates, complains about unfair treatment, and plans revenge.  As Christians, we are called to another level of living in which forgiveness is not merely recommended but required.

 

I have been on the receiving end of unjust treatment by a family member for years.  Forgiving this person is not something I have the capability to do in human strength.  However, God has granted the ability to offer forgiveness and continue to forgive this person.  It does not necessarily get easier and is something I must talk to God about almost daily, and sometimes several times each day.  When I become caught up in what this person has done, it consumes me and makes me an unpleasant person.  My thought life used to be dominated by how I had been unjustly wronged.  I was enslaved by bitterness, self-pity, and the desire for revenge.  I am not immune to those feelings, but by God’s grace, I now have wisdom to handle my emotions in a healthier manner and view situations with an eternal perspective.  I also remember how much God has forgiven me, which helps me extend forgiveness to others.

 

Forgiveness is also necessary in smaller, every day matters.  When in relationships with people, even good relationships, there will be conflict and disagreements.  I will do things to others requiring them to forgive me.  In these instances, the mature choice is to own my wrong behavior.  Also, I need to offer forgiveness to others to live in freedom and more effectively serve others.  We are not as useful for God if our focus is on how we have been wronged.  Failure to forgive harms me, leads to bitterness, and breaks the heart of God.  I recently forgave a friend after carrying hurt and an internal cry for justice for several days.  I felt a wave of peace as I firmly decided to forgive this person for something done inadvertently yet hurt me deeply.  My relationships with this person and God are now on better terms as a result.

 

Forgiveness is a process and sometimes takes a long time, depending on the person or behavior.  It is important to note that forgiveness is not justifying actions.  Sometimes when I get discouraged in my Christian walk, God reminds me that the ability to forgive is evidence of his presence and work in my life.  Forgiveness is possible only by the prompting, power, and enabling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Guest blogger: Anonymous