Author Archives: dave

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

The elders of ACC have been engaged in a months long process of recognizing and affirming potential new elders to join our leadership team. This process has included much prayer, many interviews and both formal / informal conversations and meetings, meetings, meetings!

 

As we conclude this journey of determining God’s will, I’d like to introduce to you to two men we anticipate officially commissioning as elders in the very near future:

CHRIS IDE

 

chris ide 

 

Family: Chris and his wife Kristen have been married for 9 years and have an almost 3 year old son (Joshua) and a daughter due to arrive in July!

 

Occupation: Water resources engineer – flood control at Stantec in the Loop.

 

Church involvement: Attending ACC since 2008, Chris is currently a leader in our high school youth ministry and has previously served in Awana and as coordinator for Guest Services.

 

Hobbies / fun stuff: Triathlon and marathon running, hanging with the family.

 

Why he desires to be an elder: “I love the people at ACC. My heart is to serve them. I’m looking forward to serving in a leadership capacity and caring for the congregation in this way.”

 

KEN ROTHACKER

 Rothackers

 

Family: Married 30 years to his wife Gail. They have 2 adult children, Greg (28) and Kim (23).

 

Occupation: Inside salesman at CDW.

 

Church involvement: Attending ACC since 2012, Ken currently serves as a growth group leader and employs his awesome guitar skills on the Sunday morning worship team.

 

Hobbies / fun stuff: Writing music and running.

 

Why he desires to be an elder: “An opportunity to encourage and serve!”

 

 

We are excited about what they each will bring to our team and we are thankful to God for his clear leading. Please pray for God’s blessing on Chris and Ken – that he would equip them to be godly servant leaders at ACC.

 

Peace,

Dave

BEING A LEADER – TOTALLY WORTH IT!

leadership

I’ve spent the last two Mondays writing about the negatives of being a leader and how to overcome them. While I believe that what I wrote was true and realistic, I also want to acknowledge that there are some tremendous rewards and benefits to being a leader.

 

1. You are forced to develop and grow – that’s a good thing! The demands of leadership will stretch you to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally. You’ll pick up experiences and skills along the way that will last a lifetime.

2. You get to have a lot of influence. Directional, big picture vision casting, creating game-changer policies or procedures / protocols and training others to their betterment. Leaders want to make a difference – and get to everyday!

 

3. You will develop a healthier, more productive lifestyle. The responsibilities of leadership will likely cause you to be more focused, use your time better, and become more disciplined with your sleep, diet and exercise habits.

 

4. You will know the joy of seeing God work in and through you. As a result, your faith will increase as will your desire to serve God and others even more through your leadership gifts. It is extremely rewarding and gratifying.

 

5. You will come to realize that if you treat people with respect and believe in their God-given abilities and creativity –  amazing things will happen. Unleash people and most will respond beyond your expectations.

 

6. You will be drawn closer to and become more reliant upon God – again, that’s another good thing! As you struggle with feelings of incompetency or endure harsh criticism or just feel overwhelmed with the scope of your responsibilities, you will end up leaning hard into God for strength and wisdom. And it is there you will know the truth that his strength is perfected in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). You will come to see that whatever you might accomplish is because of his provision in your life.

 

God is able. So, lead leaders. If God is calling you – answer that call. Step out in faith and see how God can use you!

 

Peace,

Dave

PUSHING PAST THE DARK SIDE

pushing-big-rock

 

Last week I wrote about the dark side of leadership  – being honest about the fact that being a leader is often not easy! I cited three specific truths about being a leader:

  1. It can be stressful.
  2. It can be lonely.
  3. It can be frightening.

To my own astonishment, I have been in leadership positions (primarily in a local church) for over 35 years now. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve been the object of gossip, slander and threats. There have been times when I felt beaten up and completely discouraged. Yet after 35 years I am still standing! And I still love God, still love the church and I love being a leader.

 

So even though there are most certainly drawbacks to being a leader – I think it is totally worth it. Whether you are a first year rookie leader or a grizzled veteran, tough times will come your way – fairly regularly. So how do you push past the dark side of being a leader in order to carry on?

 

In no particular order, here are six ideas that I have learned from experience:

1. Have a confidant. Sometimes you just need to vent; someone to whom you can articulate your frustrations, anger, confusion or hurt. Someone you trust implicitly to listen without judging and without blabbing! Often times it’s someone outside of your organization or church. It might be your spouse, or a best friend from your college days or a colleague in the area. But find yourself a confidant. Often just being able to articulate your pressures to someone else is extremely therapeutic.

 

2. Expect critics – even enemies. It always used to surprise me when I met someone who didn’t think I was wonderful! I was stupefied to discover individuals who didn’t think my every idea was golden! Fairly quickly I learned that detractors, subversives and just plain mean people are inevitable in life. The very nature of leadership inevitably means not all will agree with your every decision or be willing to follow you. Even the best leaders face fierce opposition from time to time. Even Jesus had his Judas Iscariot. So, no longer be surprised by such people.

 

3. Be humble and teachable. Sometimes I have deserved the criticism. Sometimes I have been flat out wrong – I deserved to be opposed! A critic can end up helping us identify our blind spots. I am fallible so I must believe I can learn something from anyone. But even if I’m 100% right and innocent – remaining humble allows me to not respond with anger and hatred. Humility is not weakness, quite the opposite – it is strength under control. This is a character quality that God can develop within you.

 

4. Maintain your integrity. There is a stability and an authority that comes from moral leadership. So never lie or cheat. Admit when you are wrong. Don’t be lazy. Refrain from gossiping or slandering. Put the well being of others before your own. Seek to make others successful. Do this – and your mind will be at ease when someone questions your motives or attempts to assassinate your character. And you’ll sleep better at night too!

 

5. Prioritize your health. Because the demands of leadership can be exhausting and taxing on both your body and soul – you must take time for yourself – otherwise your eventual “crash and burn” is as sure as tomorrow’s sunrise. So control your diet. Exercise regularly. Always take your day off. Don’t cheat your sleep time. Spend time with your family. Practice Sabbath. Look for ways to laugh and have fun. Invest heavily in your relationship with God.

 

6. Be sure of your calling. Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing? Are you following the will of God in your vocation? If so, he will guide you and give you the strength for the task. Carry on. But, if you don’t have the assurance that you are in the center of God’s will then take the time to reassess what you are doing with your life. I think I’m a bit old school but I’m a huge believer in the concept of needing a call. Not like a “burning bush” type call or an “audible whisper of God” type call but rather a simple but deep conviction that you are doing what God wants you to do – where he wants you to do it. If you have that conviction you can weather just about any storm. This truth reminds us that being in the will of God doesn’t mean everything will be easy. The truth is that throughout the Scriptures and every century since, every man and woman marked for leadership has had to be tough. To face adversity with courage and determination. To be resolute in the commitment to fulfill their calling…by the strength of the One who called them.

 

A lot more could be written and with far greater insight. But these thoughts were simply the first that came to my mind.

 

Don’t lose heart leaders! Pushing past the dark side is so worth it.

 

Peace,

Dave

The Dark Side of Leadership

bad-leadership-300x225

Are you a leader? If so, you know there is a dark side to leadership; an underbelly that makes you question the wisdom of ever becoming a leader in the first place!

 

In my experience, I have found these 3 things to be true about being a leader and all 3 are intertwined:

It can be stressful.

Leadership = lots of responsibility and a wide variety of expectations from many different people. Your decisions will sometimes be second-guessed. Your motives will be questioned. The need to produce tangible results can rob you of sleep and ruin your day off (assuming you are taking a regular day off!).

 

It can be lonely.

When you are leading, it seems that no one following you understands the pressure you face, the criticism you endure. As a leader just how vulnerable can you be with your followers? Is it ok if they see you cry, worry, get angry, get discouraged or admit that you’re not sure you know what you’re doing? Often you are left feeling isolated – to whom can I safely vent?

 

 

It can be frightening.

Much is resting upon your competency. People are depending on you – trusting you for their personal well-being and / or for the health of your organization. There can be much to lose if your leadership is found lacking. Self doubt can creep in and self-confidence can slowly erode until you no longer are sure you are the right person for the job.

 

Anything sound familiar? Can you relate? What other dark side truths might you add?

Next week I’ll write about how to push past the dark side. In 2 weeks I’ll address the awesome rewards and benefits of being a leader. I just wanted to deal with the negatives first – got to keep it real!

Peace,

Dave

 

FARM WOMAN ADVICE

puddle

This morning I was reading in 2 Samuel and came across some incredibly powerful and encouraging words.

 

Words from a woman who had a reputation for being exceedingly wise (from a tiny, little farm town) to King David…

 

All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. 2 Samuel 14:14

 

I love this.

 

The message is that we only go through life once and so God has committed himself to help us not waste it! Even when we doing something stupid and end up wandering  away from him.

 

“He devises ways…”

 

God plans how to get us back. Wow. That is a tenacious love. Divine mercy. Amazing grace.

 

All of this is found in Christ!

 

Peace,

Dave

 

P.S. David heeded the lady’s advice. He opened up his heart to God once again. Will you?

 

EORO Stories

EORO

2015-16 at ACC is the year of EACH ONE REACH ONE. We are moving toward each person reaching one person for Christ. And so we are praying specifically for the people God has placed in our sphere of influence (family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, etc.). We are also looking for opportunities to share our faith story with them and perhaps even invite them to church!

 

As we engage in this outreach, many stories are being written. Some are stories of “success” – some not so much. Regardless, as we answer the call of Christ to be active witnesses it might surprise us to discover that WE are changed. Here is one person’s story:

 

 

“Thought I would share my experiences thus far.  Early in the fall I reached out to a couple I’ve known for 20 years and invited them to church and to chat about faith.  They respectfully declined so I have been praying and looking for further opportunities with them.  So we shall see how that one develops.  They are very far from the Lord and in desperate need, and have no idea how that He is what is missing.”

 

“In addition, God has used this venture to kick me in the butt in a way I had not anticipated.  Shortly after our first meeting I was praying about whom to place on my list of 3.  My thoughts drifted to the couple I mentioned and how I first met them and who introduced us to one another.  And then God hit me between the eyes and forced the realization that the person I most need to be praying for is my ex-wife, the person who introduced me to the couple originally.  I have had zero contact with her for over a decade now, and yet continue to struggle with feelings of anger and resentment.  However, while I know nothing about her current life or spiritual well-being, God has implanted the conviction (if not yet an honest desire) to pray for her spiritual health daily.  I have to admit that it is a very difficult battle for me and that my follow-thru is inconsistent at best, but I am trying.  I believe God is using Each One Reach One to reach me in new ways, and to help heal some of my brokenness while I reach out to others.  I would appreciate your prayers as I attempt to follow God’s lead.”  

 

Cool stuff! Who knows how God might continue to develop this story?? But to view others as deeply loved of God who need to hear about and believe in Christ ends up changing us!

 

Peace,

Dave

 

GROWING IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

111021-greg-olsen-painting

Karen and I were married on July 18, 1981 – a scorching hot day in Phoenix, Arizona. When we said our vows I was confident that I knew her well. We had been dating for over 2 ½ years and had spent countless hours together – walking along the lake front, sitting on the floor of the sky deck of the John Hancock overlooking the city, noshing on bagels at a tiny but busy deli on Clark street, studying together in the student lounge at our college, and racking up huge long distance phone bills during summer and Christmas breaks. Lots of time together. Lots of talk. On our wedding day I knew her probably as well as I had ever known anyone.

 

But now over 34 years later I realize that I really barely knew her. Over the years I have learned so much more about her – through good times and bad, in times of high stress and during relaxed weekends away. Now I know there is always more to know about her. And the bottom line is that as my knowledge of her has grown – so has my love for her. That’s how a committed love relationship works!

 

When the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers, he gave made this petition:

 

 

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,  asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. Ephesians 1:16-17

 

It works the same way in our relationship with God: to know Him is to love Him. Our God can be known. He loves to communicate with us and reveal himself to us. To whatever degree you know him now, you could know him even better! And that increased knowledge of God would change your life! You could live for another 1,000 years and not exhaust the riches of growing in your relationship with the Creator of the universe.

 

So what’s the key to learning more about him?? Well, yesterday in my sermon I stated that if you go home remembering only one thing, it should be this:

 

The primary manner in which he invites us to know him better is through his word!

 

Jesus Christ is his primary revelation of self-disclosure to us and the bible is all about Jesus! As we humbly read, study and submit to his word we come to a greater understanding of who He is and we learn to love him more (think heartfelt authentic worship and enthusiastic obedience!).

 

Reading your bible regularly is by far the most spiritually transformative habit that you can develop. Are you committed to developing this habit? Do you value the word of God and prioritize it in your daily routine?

 

If not, why not?

 

It is essential that we become people of the book.

 

I pray you will!

 

Peace,

Dave

 

P.S. Looking for a great resource to help get you started? Explore here:  https://www.youversion.com/    I and a lot of peeps at ACC use these bible reading plans all the time. I’m currently on day 11 of reading through the bible in 90 days.

 

 

EACH ONE REACH ONE – How are you doing?

9354

At the beginning of this school year we designated 2015-16 with the theme EACH ONE REACH ONE.

 

The vision was for each regular attender of ACC to reach one person for Christ in the coming year. Those taking up the challenge received an EORO t-shirt and a “credit card” on which they could identify 3 loved ones that they would be praying for daily.

 

Did you take up the challenge? If so, how are you doing?

  • Are you actively looking to build relationships with the lost?
  • Are you praying?
  • Are you looking for opportunities to share your faith story?
  • Have you invited them to church yet?

 

If you took the challenge but have kind of lost your focus – get back on track. It’s not too late!

 

If you didn’t take the challenge, or you just recently began attending ACC – why not jump on board now? You can pick up a t-shirt and “credit card” at the Welcome Center for the next few Sundays. See how God might use you!

 

Feeling maybe a bit intimidated?  Unprepared?

 

Well then, WITNESSING 101 is for you! This 1 ½ hour seminar will be offered on Sunday, January 24 from noon – 1:30PM. A light lunch is included in the registration fee. You can register online: http://acchurch.org/grow/witnessing-101

 

This class was offered previously, this past October, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive. The seminar is led by Elliott and Katy Glynn. Both in their neighborhood and workplaces they each are veterans at sharing the love and truth of Christ with others in an effective way. You will love their energy and gain much from their practical insights. I strongly encourage you to attend this event.

 

Together we can all be a part of the life-change God desires to bring about in the people we know and love that do not yet know Jesus.

 

Peace,

Dave

 

 

BECOMING WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

download

This Sunday, January 3 at ACC we begin a new teaching series – BECOMING WHAT YOU BELIEVE. This 11 week study in the book of Ephesians will be a game changer as we learn more fully all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ and the resulting command he gives us to live in a manner worthy of our calling.

 

How can the maximum out of this new series?

 

  • Attend regularly. If you must miss – be sure to listen to the podcast.

 

  • Actively listen. Take notes. Intentionally focus.

 

  • Discuss it. Whether for 5 minutes or 30, find a friend or family member and interact on each sermon. (Better yet, join a growth group!) What did you learn? What did it get you thinking about? Anything confusing or troubling?

 

  • Come humbly. Have a teachable spirit; in fact, invite the Holy Spirit to be your teacher.

 

  • Read it. This week. By this coming Sunday, January 3 make the time to read completely through the book of Ephesians – at least once, maybe a couple times.

 

I’m praying this study will change our lives – that it will change our church!

 

Peace,

Dave

5 Christmas Gifts That Don’t Cost Jack!

Christmas presents piled underneath a christmas tree.

 

 

5 great Christmas gifts that don’t cost anything at all!

 

  1. The gift of listening. So many people desperately crave to really be listened to; to be understood. A person feels valued when they have your undivided attention. When is the last time you’ve given this gift to your spouse? To each of your children? Your elderly parents?

 

2. The gift of time. IMHO the old “quality time” vs. “quantity time” is a false dichotomy. It shouldn’t be either / or but rather both/and. By all means be all there for family and friends (quality time) but don’t keep such a busy schedule that you can’t regularly give them a big chunk of time to go for a long walk in the woods, watch a movie (an entire Star Wars marathon?) or hop the train for a day in the city?? (quantity time)

 

3. The gift of encouraging words. We live in a world that constantly tears us down – instilling fear, doubt, insecurity, discouragement, etc. Its really hard to underestimate how helpful kind words can be. The bible says, “…an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25) Speak positive and upbeat words into the lives of those around you – it will make their day!

 

4. The gift of service. Go “above and beyond” for someone – even simple acts of service, especially when unexpected, can really be a blessing to others. Target someone and then…shovel their sidewalk, vacuum out their car, make their bed, load their dishwasher, fix their dinner, walk their dog, etc. Be creative.

 

5. The gift of Jesus. Is there a better gift?? Forgiveness. Eternal life. Meaning. Purpose. Spiritual peace and joy. So share him with those you love! Begin by praying for others by name – that their heart and mind would be turned toward Christ. Then look for opportunities to tell them what Jesus means to you. Finally, invite them to church. Is it a bit of a risk? Sure. But a risk well worth it. Jesus lves them. They need to know that!

 

 

Merry Christmas! I pray God’s love for you is very real to you and that he enables you to share his love with others.

 

Peace,

Dave