Monthly Archives: March 2015

I love you for free

I recently started re-reading the book The Heart of the Matter by Dave Busby. I read it while I was in college and loved it. It’s a short book that packs a big punch. Lots of great insights and powerful reminders. Here’s one that really sticks out to me…

All of us, whether we’re one or one hundred and one are thirsty to be loved and accepted…for free, without strings or conditions

It’s a deep longing of our heart that is often met in less than satisfactory ways. We figure out what it takes to earn love and acceptance from those in our lives and operate from that place…Busby calls it “doing the dance”. The problem with that is it’s not free, without strings or conditions, and so it doesn’t really meet our need. Certain relationships come closer to meeting the need than others, but in the end they all fall short. Only God can really meet that need. Romans 3:23-26 teaches us about this.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

God loves you for FREE! I pray you let those words sink deep into your heart.

Grace,

Chris

Imperfect Faith

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Every parent knows the feeling. It tears you up on the inside when you see your child in pain, sick or struggling in any way. It’s hard to watch – especially when there’s nothing you can do to help.

 

Today I continue my blog series: MY FAVORITE BIBLE VERSES.

 

The featured verse for today comes from Mark 9. Here we read the heartbreaking story of a father with a demon possessed son. I can only begin to imagine the range of emotions that father must’ve felt – fear, helplessness, embarrassment, isolation, anger, depression, etc.

 

He had heard of Jesus’ reputation for miracles. When he found out Jesus was in his area he decided to bring his tormented boy to Jesus. In his encounter with Jesus he said, “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” Jesus shot back, “What do you mean, if I can?”

 

The father’s gut level honest reply is one of my favorite verses, in fact it might be my most favorite. I can relate to the fathers words. I’ve said these words many times myself to God.

 

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

 

That strange mixture of belief and unbelief. I know that inner conflict well. There has been many times in my life, especially in times of crisis, where I really did believe in God and I was looking to him for help. And yet there was a part of me that doubted big-time. I wanted to believe more fully, but I couldn’t!

How instructive to us is Jesus’ response.

Jesus helped his boy. He cast out the demon. The man’s beloved son was returned to normal; he was given back to his father.

 

I’m grateful that Jesus is merciful and will work with me and bless me even when my faith is not perfect.

Peace,

Dave

UPWARD 2015 SEASON RECAP

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We’ve just finished up our 2014-2015 Upward Basketball and Cheerleading season! 14 basketball teams, 1 cheerleading squad, 21 coaches, 8 referees, 109 kids, 84 families, 10 practices, 8 game days and countless other volunteers are what made up our league this season.

So, what is Upward?

Upward is opening up your church to strangers with the sole purpose of showing the hospitality of Christ through a common ground called sports.

Upward is building up kids both spiritually and athletically.

Upward is providing a place for all types of kids to play basketball and cheer despite skill level.

Upward is allowing men and women the opportunity to build into the lives of kids and their families to spread the gospel.

Throughout this season 14 kids crossed the line of faith! Praise God!!!!

Thank you to all that prayed for this season and volunteered on game days and at the awards celebration. Without you our Upward ministry would not be possible!

If you have had an experience with Upward I would love to hear about it.

Comment below “Upward is……” So what is Upward to you?

-Melissa

Following His Path

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Though I became a Christian when I was about 10 years old, I really did not start growing spiritually until I entered high school. It was at that time that I began to learn the basics of Scripture reading, prayer and sharing my faith.

When I was a little obnoxious freshman, there was a girl in our group who, though a senior, was very nice to me. I do not remember the specific occasion, but she shared a Bible verse with me that I have never forgotten:

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

At a time in my life where I was determining whether my Christian faith was truly that of my own or just that of my parents, at a time when I was trying to decide how I was going to live my life – these verses spoke very deep to my heart. With God’s help I determined that I would trust in him, that I would seek his will and follow his paths. These verses have been foundational to my Christian experience. For that I thank God!

Peace,

Dave

Complaining Stinks!

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. – Philippians 2:14-15

Complaining. How often do you complain? I’d guess probably more than you realize (don’t believe me? Try to go 24 hours without complaining…it’s actually really difficult!). I recently taught on this topic and it opened my eyes to how often I complain. As the verse above mentions, we should do everything without complaining…and what’s at stake? The reputation of Christ. As representatives of Christ in this world, we should be careful to ensure that our words are life-giving not life-taking (Ephesians 4:29). Complaining clearly falls into the category of words that are life-taking. If you’ve spent any amount of time around a chronic complainer, you know exactly what I mean. It’s exhausting. That’s not the kind of people we should be. 2 Corinthians 2:14b says, “Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.” I want to suggest that complaining is like mold. It stinks! It repels, and it multiplies. It clearly doesn’t produce the pleasant smell described above.

So, maybe you’ve fallen into the oh-so-easy habit of complaining. My encouragement to you is to recognize the destructive nature of this bad habit and move away from it. In my experience, one of the most effect ways to overcome complaining is to increase thankfulness. By being grateful we lift our eyes from the negativity that breeds complaining and set them on the blessings all around us.

Grace,

Chris

FOUL LANGUAGE

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I think that words are seldom neutral. Our words usually impact others positively or negatively, building others up or tearing them down. Jesus warned us that we will be held accountable for every word we utter. Each of us needs to be conscious of how we use our words.

When I was in college I lived in a dormitory, on a floor with a bunch of young guys. It became shocking how often are conversations, while having fun, would lead to a lot of bathroom humor, sexual innuendos, coarse jokes and extreme sarcasm/insults. Now keep in mind this was not taking place at a large, secular university but at a small Bible school full of devoted Christians!

 

Slowly we began to have a growing awareness that our speech was not pleasing to God. We became convinced that we needed to clean up our act. It was at this point, that as a floor together we memorized:

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

 

Our bad habits did not change overnight but each of us began to become more and more aware of what we were saying. We began to develop the habit of thinking before we talked! It really was our sincere desire to be an encouragement to each other. Each of us became comfortable calling out one another when things would get a little crude.

 

Even today I try to evaluate what I’m going to say before I say it. Will my words build up those around me? Say it! Or will my words tear down those around me? Remain silent!

Our speech reveals our heart and the level of our spiritual maturity. May we each be committed to conscientiously bless others with our words.

Peace,

Dave

ACC Prayer Team

Join your friends at ACC in an exciting adventure — the Prayer Team!

Once a month (usually the second Sunday) we meet in Room 450 at 11:45 to pray for the concerns of ACC, our missionaries, ministries, staff and special requests. You don’t have to be super spiritual or a renowned prayer warrior to participate! Just come and listen and support us in silent prayer as others pray aloud. You’ll go away blessed and refreshed; and convinced that God hears and answers, not because we are so good, but because HE is so good! What a privilege to ask the God of all the universe for help, healing, strength and protection.

Here’s a challenge; read about two different prayer meetings in Acts: 1:12-14 & 4:23-31.

Guest Blogger: Dale Hugo

WINGS LIKE EAGLES

Do you have a favorite bible verse? I think most followers of Christ usually have at least a couple passages of Scripture that they particularly appreciate.

Beginning today I’m starting an 8 week blog series on MY FAVORITE BIBLE VERSES. They are all personally meaningful to me for a variety of reasons – maybe a friend shared the verse with me at just the right time or God helped through a difficult patch of life through a verse and so on. Lots of reasons! I’ll share the verse, why it’s meaningful and what I’ve learned from it as I’ve grown spiritually.

Here’s the lead-off batter of my favorite bible verses: (by the way, these will be in no particular order)

But those who trust in The Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

In the summer of 1976, our nation’s bicentennial, five of my friends and I walked the length of Illinois. We began at the Wisconsin border and ended by dipping our toes in the Ohio River, across the shore from Kentucky. It took us about 3 1/2 weeks. We did it as a fundraiser, to help burn the mortgage of the Christian Youth Center in Joliet, Illinois.

We were all high school students so we were in pretty decent shape but that first week of walking we almost died! Averaging 20-25 miles per day (we got Sundays off!) was a huge challenge. Together we memorized and often recited aloud Isaiah 40:31 -when it was 95 degrees with 95% humidity – when we were completely exhausted and still had 8 miles more to go that day – when we woke up so sore and tired we didn’t want to walk across the room to get breakfast, let alone put in another 25 mile day!

This was a challenge that at times seemed beyond ourselves. It gave us the opportunity to trust in God to give us strength and endurance. And he did!!! It was a fantastic experience that I’ll never forget AND we raised $22,000 for the CYC. Together we lit matches that burned the mortgage papers that September.

Isaiah 40:31 will always take me back to the summer of ’76, great memories with Stroke, Fredd, Bill, Doug and Dwight, and a God who then, and ever since, has given me the endurance to do what he has called me to do!

Peace,

Dave