Monthly Archives: April 2014

20 Things I Am Thankful For

Today I completed  day #118 of my reading through the Bible in a year program on YouVersion. One of the passages I read today was Psalm 92 verse 1  – “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.”

Therefore I will rattle off 20 things for which I thank the Lord:

  1. My awesome wife. Karen and I have been married for almost 33 years and we love each other now, more than ever. We preached a sermon together this past Sunday for the first time ever – it was a lot of fun. No one supports and encourages me like her! (You can listen to it here: http://bit.ly/1lqCgzX )
  2. My 4 kids. They are all adults now and it is so much fun when we get together. Each has a very unique personality and I love each of them for who they are. Throw in a couple of sons-in-law to complete the recipe for a great time every time we get together.
  3. Roger and Stanley – my dogs. You know how that is – they are like family and we can’t imagine them not being with us. They are always super excited to see me walk in the door.
  4. Bacon.
  5. Pizza.
  6. The Appalachian Trail. I’m going again the first week in June and I can hardly wait!
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird. Such a great book.
  8. The Bible. An even greater book! It is a constant source of hope, encouragement and wisdom.
  9. My iPad. My wife insisted we get it – I didn’t want it – but as usual, she was right and I was wrong! Now it is my brain.
  10. A nice warm bed.
  11. Never worry about where my next meal is coming from.
  12. Never worry about what clothes I am going to wear.
  13. ACC. A church family that I love so much – people who know how to keep it real and are moving forward in their walk with Jesus.
  14. Bacon.
  15. My mom. She has always been there for me. She has a strong faith in God and has helped to give me a godly heritage.
  16. The church staff I get to work with: Jim, Carolyn, Chris, Scott, Kris, and Melissa bring their “A” game week in and week out. Few teams work harder while still having so much fun!
  17. The smell of a freshly opened can of tennis balls.
  18. The smell of burning leaves.
  19. Bacon.
  20. A merciful God who overwhelms me with his grace every single day.

That’s my list. What do YOU thank the Lord for?

 

Peace,

Dave

P.S. Oh yeah – my grandson is the best. He could replace bacon on this list.

Planting Seeds

Plant-the-seedIf you’ve ever planted a garden you know that feeling of satisfaction you get whenever the first seeds begin to sprout. After finding just the right spot in the earth to plant them and working so hard to nurture them to thrive… success! As they continue to grow you faithfully nurture them. Finally, after all of the consistent hard work you get to enjoy them in their fullest point of life. This is also something God has called us to do in our everyday lives; plant seeds. Recently, I’ve had the privilege of seeing this happen with someone.

I got hired for a new job and another person was hired the same day. We trained together and struggled to learn all that was required for the job. We quickly bonded and had a great working relationship. I had a few conversations with them regarding their faith. I left that job and we only continued to talk every once in a while via social media but nothing more… until one day.

I was contacted by them out of the blue seeing if we could possibly get together. I was thrilled! Of course I wanted to! After that encounter it was more than apparent to me that God was working within them. They came to church with me the following Sunday and, as Dave would say, “BOOM,” became a believer!

God used me to plant a seed within this person. It was God’s love working within them drawing them to Him. I had no idea that the conversations we were having 2 years before would have such an impact. They seemed to not be a big deal when they happened. And it has had me wondering how many other people I have engaged with in seed-planting conversations. How many other times have I been clueless to the divine appointment that was right in front of me?

Now, I must be sure you understand something. We are not promised to always see these seeds grow. More times than not, we go on with life oblivious of the growth. Sometimes God does allow us to see his ministry at work. And what a joy it is! My faith has been astronomically strengthened throughout this process. I’m more confident than ever that I have put my trust in THE God that really DOES love me.

Being in children’s ministry, I am joyfully serving knowing that there are seeds being planted. In Sunday School, Awana, Upward, Day Camp and every other ministry here at ACC, seeds are being planted. Seeds that we pray will grow and get to enjoy the complete fullness of life that only God offers.

Our Weird Animals Day Camp is July 7-11. If you are interested in being a part of planting seeds through this fun-filled week, email me and I will get you signed up! If you would like to register your child, go to www.acchurch.org/daycamp.

I pray you feel challenged now to be a seed-planter with everyone you encounter and that you seize the opportunity as God leads you. And remember that when you seize the opportunity, God’s word will accomplish everything He wants it to do through you.

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isaiah 55:11

Grace and Peace,

Melissa

What made Easter at ACC so awesome???

ACC peeps were fired up on Easter morning!

 

Not just because we were celebrating the resurrection of our Savior – not just because the auditorium was jam-packed for both services – not just because the worship team killed it in leading us in praise – not just because of the inspiring and dynamic faith story of Sabrina Massey – not even just because God blessed us with a beautiful, sunny and warm day…

 

People were fired up because at least one of their 5 was here with us at church. 5×5×5 had been our emphasis for the past 5 weeks leading up to Easter. We each identified 5 family, friends, neighbors, classmates or coworkers. Then we made the commitment to pray for these 5 people for 5 minutes each day for 5 weeks – we were praying that they would join us on Easter morning and that, in fact, they would cross the line of faith by the end of 2014. Our larger than average crowds testified to the fact that God had answered many prayers and that many of the people being prayed for did indeed show up! So many of our people were greatly encouraged as a result. (One out of my 5 was here and I am very grateful.)

 

Now that Easter is behind us, we must continue to pray for our 5, that God would work in their life, that they might cross the line of faith sometime this year. That will create the ultimate in excited!

 

How about you? Were any of your 5 here with us on Easter morning? Leave a comment – let us know.

Peace,

Dave

A Good Friday Reflection

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthains 5:21

You can’t fully celebrate good news, with out the bad news. Today, we focus on the bad news. Our sin is costly. Our sin deserves punishment. Our sin led to the crucifixion of our Lord. But that’s not the end of the story. In the famous words of Tony Campolo, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” On Sunday, we focus on the good news. He is risen. Our forgiveness has been eternally secured.

Jesus paid it all

All to him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow

I hope you’ll join us for our Good Friday service at 7pm tonight.

Grace,

Chris

 

 

A FEW GOOD MEN…

Just in case you don’t know them already, I want to introduce you to 2 great guys who will soon be presented to our congregation to be our newest elders.

PATRICK DAWSON

IMG_2078 - Dawson

Patrick is married to Christina and works at the Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth as the band teacher to grades 4 – 8. He enjoys performing and listening to music, managing multiple fantasy baseball teams, staying active, traveling and trying new foods. He has attended baseball games at 17 of the 30 active major league baseball stadiums! He is excited about the possibility of serving as an elder and looks forward to the opportunity to care for and serve the people of ACC.

JORDAN KERR

jordan kerr photo

Jordan is married to Vickie and works at Abbott Laboratories as a Senior IT Engineer. He enjoys grilling and barbecuing (pulled pork is his specialty), designing electronic control systems for around the house, playing video games and watching football on Sunday afternoons. In the past he worked as a professional actor in the Cleveland area where he performed pieces onstage as well as murder mystery dinner events. Jordan is also excited about the possibility of being an elder as God has given him a heart for shepherding and encouraging others – he is energized by seeing people cross the line of faith and then grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.

Both Patrick and Jordan have been interacting a lot with both me and the entire elder team for the last 4 months – lots of meetings, reading a few books, praying, and asking and answering a lot of questions! The current elders are convinced it is God’s will to bring them on the team and we are excited for what they both can bring to the table.

In the past 4 months we have been prayerfully considering the instructional words of Paul:

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.” 2So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. 4He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

6An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. 7Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:1-7

In our conversations as an elder team we have remarked on how, in a sense, we are all reluctant leaders; none of us feel fully qualified based upon this list of characteristics. Yet, we recognize God’s work in our life and the fact that no human being will ever perfectly fulfill all of these qualities. Thankfully, God is an expert at using imperfect human instruments!

Please pray for Patrick and Jordan and pray that God’s will be done for ACC as we anticipate their becoming elders soon.

Peace,
Dave

Now Is The Time

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited about the progress being made on the building project here at ACC.  Volunteers have been working non-stop to get our new space ready for our May 18th opening, and day-by-day, I see progress being made. I love working to the sound of construction and smell of paint!  With our quickly approaching “new beginning”, this is a perfect time to evaluate your involvement at ACC.  Maybe you have been here a long time and are serving in multiple ministries.  But maybe you are just getting your feet wet, and looking for a way to connect and get involved.  As we prepare to move into our new space, this is a perfect time to take that step!

ACC’s strategy, as part of our vision frame, is “Worship plus two”.  For some who are newer to our church, you may not know what this means.  We feel that the best way for everyone to experience what ACC is all about, and to benefit the most in personal and spiritual growth, is to come to worship every Sunday…..that’s self-explanatory.  Then in addition to worship comes grow and serve.  We have so many opportunities for people to get involved:

Grow

Join a Growth Group.  These are small groups that meet weekly in people’s homes or within the community to dig deeper into the Sunday message.  It is a great opportunity to meet individuals, couples and families.  

Join a Bible Study.  We have women’s Coffee Hour, which meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings, as well as Tuesday mornings, here at ACC.  This is a great opportunity for women to get connected with other women with shared interests.  Whether you are a single career woman, working mom, stay-at-home mom, empty-nester, or retiree, there is a place for you!

For men, we have Band of Brothers, which meets on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings.  Develop friendships with other men, while studying God’s word and finding out what it means to be a courageous man of God.

Middle and High School.  We also have opportunities for students to grow their faith.  Our high school ministry, Oasis, meets on Tuesday evenings and our middle school ministry, Pit Stop meets on Thursday.  This is a fantastic opportunity for students to meet friends and dig deeper into the Word of God.  Teen years can be hard to navigate, and kids have the opportunity to meet in small groups with their leaders and peers to discuss the Bible, teen issues and just have fun!

Serve

Children’s Ministry.  We have numerous opportunities to get involved on Sunday mornings with our children’s ministry.  As we move towards the summer months and a new format for our Sunday morning K-5th graders, we are in need of teachers.  We have opportunities for both large and small group leaders for our K-5th graders, as well as childcare providers for our youngest infant and toddler classrooms.  Build relationships with some great kids and become a “link in the chain” in a child’s walk of faith.

With our move into the new space, Children’s Ministry is also seeking people to serve as Check-In Attendants and Children’s Greeters on Sunday mornings.  Volunteers are needed to check-in children and teachers into our secure children’s area on Sunday mornings.  We also have a new position – Children’s Greeter – who will greet families and guide children to their correct classrooms.

Guest Services.  What a great time to be a key player in our new space!  Our Guest Services team is always seeking friendly and dedicated volunteers to play numerous roles on Sunday mornings.  We need friendly individuals to work our Welcome Center, providing information and guidance to our Sunday guests, as well as Ushers and Door Greeters – offering that warm handshake and a smile as you arrive on Sunday morning.  Guest Services also has opportunities in Cafe Connection – making sure the coffee keeps flowing on Sunday morning!

With Spring finally here (I hope) and our successful completion of our new worship space, lobby, and children’s area, now is the time to get involved and get a fresh start.  I hope that you will prayerfully consider getting connected – we have a place for you!

In Christ, Kris

Is everything sad going to come untrue?

In my study for one of my youth group lessons this week, I reread a section of the book The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it. This passage caught my attention:

Just after the climax of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as he thought) but alive. He cries, “I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?” The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost. (p 33)

I first read this passage a few years ago. I’ve wondered on this concept a number of times. How can something be greater for having once been broken and lost? Intellectually, I understand the concept. It’s the idea of redemption…of the joy that occurs when something that is lost is found, when something that is broken is restored. The pain of the loss makes the reunion a powerful celebration. I’ve understood this on an intellectual level, but recently, I’ve begun to understand it on a heart level.

As you may know, my 3 year old son suffered a couple severe leg injuries last Spring/Summer. The second injury occurred on a water slide. His leg has healed and he’s been cleared for normal activity for a number of months now. A couple weeks ago, we did a quick family overnight to a hotel with a water park. While he was initially VERY excited about the idea, as we neared the water park, he became visibly upset. When I asked him if he was afraid of going to the water park, he burst out in tears and said, “I don’t want to break my leg again”. That was a hard moment. Outwardly, he looks normal, but inwardly, he’s carrying around the fear of being injured again. I calmed him down and assured him he didn’t have to go down the water slide and that I would play with him in the shallow end of the pool. He played for a while and began to be more confident. He started asking to go play in other areas of the pool. While my wife was walking around with him, he walked right up to a baby slide and went down it on his own. He was so excited and went back up to do it again. In that moment, while holding back tears, I understood at the heart level what it means for something to be greater for having once been broken and lost. That moment was a celebration of his body healing and him overcoming his fears. It was a powerful moment.

We’re told that someday God will do away with all pain and suffering (Revelation 21:4). Until that day, we can cling to the hope found in Romans 8:28 and trust that everything will be better for having once been broken and lost.

Grace,

Chris