Author Archives: kris

Sticky Faith

I thought the attached article on teens leaving the faith was outstanding. My personal feeling is that we need to allow our children to ask questions as they grow in their faith walk. Even in the Bible, when Jesus miraculously drove out a demon from a father’s son, the man said, “I believe; help my unbelief”. I think it is normal for children and teens to ask questions. We need to be open to those questions and engage in honest dialogue with our children. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.

Kris

http://www.lifeway.com/Article/ministry-family-Why-are-Teens-Leaving-the-Faith

 

Fall Ministry Kick-Off

The month of September is a very busy time around ACC, when all of our ministries kick-off for the new season.  If you are missing one of the strategies of “Worship plus Two” (Worship + Grow + Serve), now is the perfect time to get plugged in.

Men

Come to the Fall Kick-Off on Thursday, September 28th , starting at 6:00PM to see what FUEL is all about.  Bonfire, BBQ, bags and volleyball.  Cost is $10 in advance or $15 at the door.  Email mens@acchurch.org to register.

Women

Women’s Bible Study season starts on September 9th.  We offer a Tuesday morning, and Monday or Wednesday evening study.  No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, there is a place for you to develop friendships while digging deeper into God’s Word.  Register in the church office, or online at www.acchurch.org/grow/women.

Growth Groups

Growth Groups meet weekly in homes and are a place to discuss Sunday’s message, get to know others from ACC, share life experiences and grow.  The Fall session starts on September 28th.  Contact the church office for more information.

Students

Our student ministries kick-off next week!  Oasis (high school) meets on Tuesdays from 7:00-9:00PM, starting on September 2nd; Pit Stop (middle school) meets on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30PM, starting on September 4th.  These groups are a great way for your student to connect with new friends while learning about how God’s Word affects their life.

Children

The Awana season kicks off with registration night on Wednesday, September 10th, from 6:30-7:30.  In Awana, kids ages 3 years through 6th grade learn Bible verses, hear Bible stories, play games and earn awards by memorizing Bible verses and completing projects.  Awana meets every Wednesday from 6:30-8:00PM, beginning on September 17th.  Children can join any time throughout the school year.  Come to registration night, or preregister online at http://www.acchurch.org/grow/children/awana

Families

Family Fun Day is September 6th from 11:00-2:00PM.  Fun for all ages!  Pie social/contest, dunk tank, lots of grub, face painting, and much more!  If you are interested in helping out at this event, please contact the office.

Serving Opportunities

If you are looking for a place to get involved at ACC, we have ongoing opportunities throughout the year:

  • Join the Worship Team as a singer, musician or part of the tech team that works sound and projection on Sunday
  • Join the Guest Services Team as an usher, greeter, café server or Welcome Center Worker
  • Join Children’s Ministries as a child care worker or Sunday school teacher

It is our sincere hope that everyone is involved in something that provides you with a dynamic and growing opportunity to live out your faith.

In Christ, Kris

 

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

Thoughts on Halloween

I’ve decided to do the Friday blog on Thursday….October 31st – Halloween….to be exact. Sometimes, Christians face a dilemma on whether to celebrate Halloween or how to celebrate it. Halloween does in fact have it’s origins in Celtic harvest rituals, and ancient Gaels believed that on October 31st, the world between the living and the dead would open up.

But how many of us celebrate the harvest or worry about the dead coming to life? For myself and my family, Halloween has always been a time of carving pumpkins, eating candy and dressing as a favorite princess, superhero, or cartoon character. What does the Bible say? Check out the attached article.

Whatever is right for you and your family, stay safe and have fun!

Christians and Halloween

Kris

Finding Your Obligation

Volunteer Poster

I love this poster. It is so true. Nowadays, families are so busy, including mine! It seems that I am always taking one kid to some activity or another. I must admit, and I think others could admit the same….we do this to ourselves. Is it really necessary that my child be involved in two sports? Does she really need to go to a movement class? Sometimes, maybe the answer is yes. If you are like me, you want your child to be well-rounded, active and to engage in things that they enjoy, hoping that eventually they may find their “niche” and some of the other activities will fall off.

What about us as adults? How much do we over-schedule ourselves? And how much is busy work vs. being truly important?  One of the verses Dave mentioned during his message really resonated with me – Romans 1:14, where Paul spoke of having a sense of obligation.  More and more, as the kids get older and have more opportunities to become a “part” of something, I find myself wondering how I can stay connected with them and take an active role in their interests, yet finding the time to do it (and not cramping their style, of course).  I’ll be the first to admit – I don’t have the time.  But that is why I love this poster…..I do often find that I have the heart.  It’s hard saying no sometimes, and sometimes we need to – we need to prioritize what is really important.  For me, it is my kids and being fully engaged in their activities, whether that means volunteering to lead a program, being a room mom, or simply just attending games or concerts on a regular basis.

What do you have a heart for?  Maybe it isn’t children; or maybe you are more of a sideline sort of person, which is OK.  Maybe your heart is for the homeless, or working with teens, or leading adult ministries, or youth sports.  Whatever it is…search for it….find it.

With Fall ministries starting up here at ACC, there are so many opportunities to become involved:

  • Join Women’s Coffee Hour
  • Help with teen ministries through Oasis or Pit Stop
  • Attend the Steak-N-Taters dinner and find out what FUEL men’s ministry is all about
  • Volunteer with Awana and work with K-6th graders in learning about God
  • Assist with children’s or youth ministries on Sunday mornings
  • Dust off that instrument and join the Worship Team
  • Lead a small group when they start up in October
  • Become a coach or referee with Upward Basketball and Cheerleading

Become engaged!  Connect with others who share your passion!  You have an obligation, and it won’t be one that you’ll regret…I promise!

Kris

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

Upward 2013

Yesterday was not only St. Patrick’s Day, it was the celebration of our 2013 Upward Basketball and Cheerleading Season! And what a successful season it was!

By the numbers…

• 124 Kids participated this season
• 36 Coaches
• 12 Referees
• 8 Game Day Managers
• 9 Half-Time Devotion Speakers
• 4 Game Day Cleaner-Uppers
• 15 Award Celebration Ushers and Greeters

Just about all 457 seats in the Wheeling High School Theater were filled at the Awards Celebration! Our players and their families enjoyed entertainment by Jesse the Juggler, players received their year-end award and participated in the raffle, and we all enjoyed the 2013 Upward Highlight Video.

Most encouraging, however, was that 4 players asked Jesus into their life for the first time at the celebration. An amazing 102 children know for sure that they have a relationship with Christ. For those of you who have been around and participated in Upward for a while, know that Upward is not just about sports. The most amazing thing about the Upward program is how devotions are a big part of each practice and game day, and children are taught about Jesus and His love for them. I am so thankful for this amazing sports ministry, and how it not only reaches players, but touches families and changes lives.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in making this season a success: our Upward Directors, coaches, referees, concession workers, half-time speakers, game day managers, ushers/greeters, game day clean-up crews and “behind the scenes” administrators. Upward is truly a team effort, and I am blessed to work and serve with such a fantastic group of people.

Kris

New Years Resolutions

New Years is upon us. Many people use this time to make New Year’s Resolutions…..lose weight, exercise, quit smoking, drink less, eat less (or more) bacon…..I myself have never been big on that – I always figured if you want to make a change in your life, any time is just as good as any other. But, I don’t discount anyone who makes resolutions. If it takes a specific date, then go for it!
On Christmas Eve, if you were able to attend services at ACC, you would have received a little mirror as a keepsake when you left for the evening. This mirror was to be used as a reminder that Jesus wants YOU! I want to suggest that we use the start of this New Year to give ourselves to Jesus, or to renew our commitment to Him. So, that’s easier said than done, right? What does giving yourself to Jesus look like?
ACC’s strategy is “Worship Plus Two” – worship + grow + serve. So what does this mean and how can this strategy be used to grow your relationship and commitment to Jesus?
• Come worship with us on Sunday! If you are wishy-washy about your attendance on Sunday morning, make a commitment to be here. There is a joy and energy that comes from surrounding yourself with other believers to honor and worship our wonderful Savior
• Get baptized. If you have committed your life to following Jesus and crossed the line of faith, why not take the opportunity in 2013 to be baptized. We have baptisms approaching in March, so please prayerfully consider entrusting your life to Christ through the outward sign of baptism.
• Make a concerted effort to grow spiritually. This may involve joining a Growth Group (starting up next week!), or getting involved with Coffee Hour, MOPS, or FUEL.
• If you’ve been on the fence about getting involved here at ACC, take the plunge! There are so many wonderful ministries that could use your special talents! If you are looking for a place to serve, please contact anyone on staff and we’d love to get you plugged in!

Outside of ACC, there are so many other ways in which you can dedicate or re-dedicate your life to Jesus:
• Volunteer in your community. There are several ways you can help….homeless ministries, such as PADS, Feed My Starving Children, Meals on Wheels (which ACC provides drivers for during the month of February). Or just help a neighbor or friend in need – you never know what a seemingly insignificant gesture may mean to the recipient.
• Commit to a Bible reading program. There are several wonderful reading programs to fit any schedule online at www.youversion.com. Or pick up your monthly copy of “Today in the Word” at the Welcome Center, and commit to reading daily.
• PRAY! Give your worry, your stress, your anger, your resentments, your hurt, your pain to God! God is so much bigger than any hardship that we experience in this life. Don’t just pray when you are desperate – pray to thank Him for His provision in your life each and every day. God will always answer you. When you give everything to God, you will be amazed by what He can do in your life.
Whatever change you wish to make in your life, now is as good a time as any! I wish each of you a blessed New Year, filled with joy, peace, health, and happiness.

Kris

Book Review – Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – by Eric Metaxax

Dietrich Bonhoeffer died for his faith. He came of age in WWI Germany and was a highly regarded pastor and author by the time Adolf Hitler came to power prior to WWII. His faith in Christ was remarkable; his unwavering belief that God would lead him in his actions here on earth was extraordinary. His entire life, although spanning only 39 years, is truly inspiring.

Although Dietrich Bonhoeffer had what could easily be described as a charmed and affluent childhood (both his father and mother came from long lines of respected scientists and theologians, respectively), his ability to build relationships with people from any background and stage of life was remarkable. For example, when he worked as a youth minister and Sunday school teacher in the slums of Berlin during his early 20’s, he not only fulfilled his obligations within the walls of the church, but also spent numerous hours with students and their families, building relationships, getting to know them and understanding their lives, and dedicating much time to additional studies and classes within his home. He found pure joy in the relationships that he built with people. Bonhoeffer truly lived out Paul’s attitude as reflected in 1 Corinthians 9: 22b: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Historically, this book was eye-opening. I knew about the basics of WWII of course, but this book provided a real inside perspective from the citizens of Germany, and the struggles of the church. Adolf Hitler’s “German Christian Church” replaced all crucifixes with swastikas and pictures of Saints with pictures of Hitler. Of course, it wasn’t a church at all – Hitler being an atheist – but rather Hitler’s way of convincing the German people that God was with him. In response, Bonhoeffer was a key founder of the Confessing Church, which proclaimed that the Bible is God’s living word and that only through God’s grace and faith in Christ’s redemptive death on the cross could one be saved. Defying Hitler in this way was an extremely dangerous move for Bonhoeffer and his fellow theologians, since Hitler’s church basically preached that salvation is earned through loyalty to Hitler and the German state.

Finally, and most inspiring, was Bonhoeffer’s complete reliance on meditation and prayer, and his belief that all answers in his life could be achieved by listening for God. Bonhoeffer spent hours in scripture, much of it in Psalms, which he saw as perfect prayers to God. He meditated and listened for God’s leading in his life, and strove to take that path, no matter the cost. Bonhoeffer was not without doubt. When his Confessing Church friends saw a way to get Bonhoeffer safely to America to avoid arrest by the Nazi’s, he took it, planning to stay as a guest professor and pastor for at least a year. He realized his error within a month and returned to Germany to support and suffer for his beloved people and his church. Bonhoeffer also struggled with his decision to become part of several plots to assassinate Hitler. On one hand, he was a pacifist; on the other, Hitler was pure evil. These two decisions ultimately led to Bonhoeffer’s arrest and execution. When he knew he would die, Bonhoeffer wrote, “This is the end…for me the beginning of life.” What pure faith.

These few paragraphs do not do this book justice. This is by far one of the most important books I have ever read. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life is such an inspiration. His fellow theologians were so crushed by his martyrdom, but I think that through his writings and the way in which he lived his life, we are left with an amazing legacy of a man who had a true heart for God. I highly recommend this book.

Kris

 

 

Upward Top 10 List

Top Ten Reasons to Volunteer for Upward
1. The tacos in the “Good and Plenty Cafe” are the bomb!
2. The games are a ton of fun
3. The opportunity to work with some amazing kids
4. Watching Ken K. referee the young teams on a Saturday morning is priceless (hint:  he’s great)
5. Sports + Jesus = Winning Combination!
6. The cheerleaders are amazing
7. So many different opportunities to volunteer….there’s no excuse not to!
8. Bacon (ok, I made that one up =)
9. You might just score a cool Upward t-shirt
10. The energy on a Saturday game day will remain with you throughout the week!

To get more information on how you can help make this Upward Basketball and Cheerleading season a success, just shoot me an email. You won’t regret it!

Kris