Monthly Archives: March 2014

LIZ & JOEY’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

Liz & joey & kidsLiz & kids

Today I’d like to introduce you to my good friends Liz and Joey Eells. As you read their story, you’ll learn that Liz was once a part of our ACC church family, and her mother Mary Ellen Wiertel  still is! I thought you’d be interested in their journey – I think it will be encouraging to you. My prayer is that you will be motivated to pray for them and perhaps even donate financially towards the adventure God has for them this coming summer.

 

This is awesome stuff. Read on.

 

 

 

Peace,

Dave

 

Dear ACC Friends and Family,

 

In 2007, ACC was the place that introduced me to my savior. Being raised Catholic; I really didn’t know much about “religion.” I will never forget some of the life changing conversations I had with Dave as I crossed the line of faith and devoted my life to following Jesus. ACC continued to be a huge part of my life, as it’s the home of my baptism and wedding. My husband Joey and I currently live in Peoria, IL but whenever we are home we are sure to visit ACC!

 

Little did I realize that crossing the line of faith would take me on an incredible adventure of searching for what it means to find and follow Christ. After a prompting from the Holy Spirit, Joey and I traveled on our very first mission trip to Malawi Africa last summer. Malawi is one of the 4 poorest countries in the world. Circle of Hope International provides care to more than 700 children through their orphan and education programs.

 

Our experience in Malawi last summer cannot even be put into words. The Lord truly transformed our hearts and we feel very strongly that our calling is to serve and love the children in Malawi. This summer, we will spend 8-weeks leading the teams that travel to Malawi. As we continue to explore the possibility of making a long term move, this summer will provide as an “internship”, where we can be tested, transformed and challenged on the mission field in preparation for our future.

 

What will we do? Simplest answer is that we are going to live and love the Malawians. More specifically, I will be using my nutrition background to plan the menus and teach nutrition education. I will also be leading bible studies to the women’s center and loving on the children (especially the babies!). Joey will be implementing new forms of activities and daily structure for the children at the homes, and working with the teachers at the Grace Center. He is also hoping to get more opportunities to preach at church, as he definitely enjoyed his title last summer as “Abusa” (pastor) Joey! In addition to these tasks, we will be receiving intensive language lessons in the hopes of becoming fluent in Chichewa, their native language.

 

We need to raise a significant amount of money ($4,000) for this trip. The money will be used to cover airfare, in-country expenses such as travel, food and lodging.  A portion of the money goes directly to the project to help the children.  Your gift is tax-deductible and will be receipted by Circle of Hope International.  You can read more about Circle of Hope on their website: www.cohcommunity.org. Our deadline to raise support is April 30th.

 

Send your gift to:  Circle of Hope International, 615 Bohicket Road, Wilmore KY 40390.  On a separate piece of paper, please mark your gift clearly:  Liz & Joey Eells. Do not put our name on the memo line of your check.

 

More important than finances, please keep the country of Malawi and The Grace Center in your prayers. Pray for the orphaned children in Malawi- that they may be healthy, safe and loved. And pray for us… We are a perfect mix of terrified and excited about the Lord’s plans for our lives. Please pray that this experience will help us to discover God’s direction for our future as we move toward the possibility of becoming part of the permanent staff living at the Grace Center.

 

Thank you so much for your love, support, prayers and generosity,

 

Liz & Joey Eells

Liz & kidJoey & kids

 

Oasis Lock-In

Lockin-Blog

Tonight is a big night for our high school youth ministry (Oasis). It’s our annual Lock-In. We’ll have a group of students here overnight, and as the picture suggests, sleep is optional :). We’ve got a lot of fun activities planned and look forward to a great night of developing relationships and making lasting memories. This event is our biggest outreach effort of the year. We regularly have bring a friend nights, but this is the big show. Please join us in praying for a successful event.

Prayer requests:

1 – New students and that we’d reconnect with students who’ve gotten out of the habit of regularly attending church/Oasis. Our hope is that this event would establish relational connections and that students would make the jump from special event attender to regular church/Oasis attender.

2 – Spiritual conversations. Our adults will be looking to engage students in conversations about their spiritual life. These are often the catalyst for change and can serve as a powerful connecting point for our ongoing ministry to our students.

3 – Safety. We’ve got an inflatable obstacle course, our adult leaders will be driving groups around town for a photo scavenger hunt, and we’ll be playing lots of active games. Please pray we’d be injury free.

Grace,

Chris

HOW TO PRAY FOR FRIENDS WHO DON’T KNOW GOD – PART 2

Many of you have taken up the 5×5×5 challenge. You have committed yourself to pray for 5 people for 5 minutes for 5 weeks, leading right up to Easter morning. Our hope is that each person we are praying for will join us at church for our resurrection celebration and that they would cross the line of faith sometime before the close of 2014.

 

But how do you pray for someone you love to cross the line of faith? Last week I shared prayer idea #1: Pray they would be convicted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Let me now suggest another way to pray for your unsaved loved ones.

 

PRAYER IDEA #2

 

Pray that they would be unblinded. Paul explained the challenge we have in sharing the good news with those who do not yet know God:

 

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

We know from the Scriptures that Satan seeks to kill and destroy. He always opposes the work of God. He deceives and confuses unbelievers that they might remain disconnected from God. It takes supernatural enlightenment before anyone can cross the line of faith.

 

I was first exposed to this truth when I was a senior in high school. I was sharing the gospel with a very good friend of mine – someone I had gone to school with since kindergarten! In as simple and concise terms as possible I lovingly and prayerfully explained to him the basic gospel message: that our sin has separated us from God, that Jesus paid for our sin by dying on the cross, and that he rose again from the dead to give us new life. It is a gift from God that we receive by faith. My friend was no dummy, he had good grades and was above average intelligence yet you would’ve thought that I had been speaking Martian to him. He could not begin to grasp the concepts of grace, mercy and faith. He could not even repeat back to me verbatim what I had said – truly it was as if I were speaking an unknown foreign language. I was completely mystified at the time but in retrospect I realize that he was spiritually blinded.

 

 

This week as you pray for your 5, pray that God would enlighten their hearts and minds and not allow them to be blinded anymore by Satan. We must stand in the gap and engage in spiritual warfare for those we love; only then will the spiritual darkness be lifted and allow them the opportunity to make a decision for Christ. Remain faithful in your prayers – they will make a difference!

 

Peace,

Dave

HOW TO PRAY FOR FRIENDS WHO DON’T KNOW GOD

This past Sunday everyone at ACC was given the 5×5×5 challenge – that is to pray for 5 people every day for 5 minutes for the next 5 weeks. We are praying primarily for 2 things: that they would join us for our Easter celebration on April 20 and that they would cross the line of faith by the end of 2014. We have recognized the need for us to have a heartfelt concern for those who do not yet know God – following the example of Paul:

 

Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. Romans 10:1

 

But how exactly do you pray for someone to cross the line of faith? What do you ask of God? How can your prayers be more focused, have more substance? In the next few weeks on my blog I want to share some ideas on how to pray for people you love who do not yet know God.

 

PRAYER IDEA #1

 

Pray that they would be convicted by the Holy Spirit. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 16:8…

 

“And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and other God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

 

Most of the ministries of the Holy Spirit are geared towards believers – this is the one that is geared towards unbelievers. The word “convict” means to prove wrong or to prove guilty. Before anyone crosses the line of faith they must become convinced that they need salvation, that they need forgiveness, that they need Christ. You and I cannot and must not try to convict others. It’s not our job. We are responsible to pray and to love and to communicate the good news but the conviction is the job of the Holy Spirit.

 

As you pray for your 5, pray that the Holy Spirit would be sent into their lives to convince them that they are indeed wrong – they do need to trust in Christ!

 

Peace,

Dave

 

 

I lay it down of my own accord

Jesus was not accidentally entangled in a web of injustice. The saving benefits of his death for sinners were not an afterthought. God planned it all out of infinite love to sinners like us and appointed a time. Jesus, who was the very embodiment of his Father’s love for sinners, saw that the time had come and set his face to fulfill his mission: to die in Jerusalem for our sake. “No one takes [my life] from me [he said], but I lay it down of my own accord…” (John 10:18)

A quote from a sermon by John Piper found in Jesus, Keep me Near the Cross edited by Nancy Guthrie.

Grace,

Chris

5x5x5

5×5×5.

 

It is the commitment to pray for 5 people for 5 minutes per day for 5 weeks.

 

We will be praying that these 5 people will join us on Easter morning here at ACC and that they will cross the line of faith by the end of 2014.

 

Who has God placed in your life that you should be praying for? That you should be inviting to church? That you should be looking for relational bridges to eventually share the good news of Jesus with them?

 

The apostle Paul felt a tremendous burden for those who do not yet know Christ:

Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. Romans 10:1

 

Let’s follow the example of Paul for being concerned for the spiritual welfare of those around us. The challenge will be thrown down this coming Sunday, March 16th in both of our worship services. Please be sure to join us and to take up the 5×5×5 challenge.

 

Peace,

Dave

Staff/Elder Retreat

I’m writing this from the Starbucks I’m Lake Geneva,WI. I’m up here with the ACC Leadership team. We’re away for our annual Staff/Elder retreat. I so look forward to this trip.

It gives us the opportunity to…

  • Connect with each other. I think there’s tremendous value in developing quality relationships on a team. As relationships increase so does trust and unity – powerful qualities for a team.
  • Spend extended time discussing and evaluating our church. This is most definitely a “working” retreat. We all care deeply about ACC and want to see our church reach our God-given potential. Much of our conversation will move us toward that end.
  • Pray and seek God together. We all recognize that God promises to build his church…it’s our job to faithfully seek after Him. He chooses to use us in the process, but it’s thru His power and according to His leading that the church is built.

Would you pray for us? We’ll be coming home Saturday afternoon. We would so appreciate your prayers for our time away.

Grace,

Chris

I Got Mugged Today!

This past weekend was a particularly rough one as I was dealing with a lot of lower back pain. Consequently, today I went to my chiropractor. 30 minutes later I walked out of his office feeling like I had been mugged! He stretched and manipulated my spine far beyond what was comfortable. I was involuntarily moaning and groaning the entire time. But my chiropractor is not sadistic. It’s not that he hates me. He just knows what it takes to bring me back to health and I trust him to do just that. That’s why I don’t freak out while he is torturing, I mean, treating me. He knows what he is doing and it is for my good.

The experience reminded me a lot of how God works in my life.

 

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11

 

I know, based upon the teachings of the Bible and my own personal experience, that no trial or hardship I endure is ever wasted. My God is the Great Physician and he will bring spiritual health and growth to my life – often by allowing me to endure pain. The results are a deeper faith, a stronger character, and a more Christ like spirit. So though it might hurt at the time, I know it’s going to be worth it. Therefore I am going to relax (with his help!) and trust him.

Between the care of Dr. Oak and God I’m going to be walking straight and tall and strong!

Peace,

Dave