This Sunday we are teaching a new song titled “No Longer Slaves”.
The song is about remembering everything God has done for us, and is a powerful reminder that we are God’s children, His sons and daughters. In light of that, we have no reason to fear. Listen to how Romans 8:15-16 puts it:
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
This song has been so powerful for myself and my wife Kristen in the season we are in right now. I hope it grabs you in a fresh way and encourages you just as much as it has us. Listen to it a few times and learn it so you are ready to sing it this Sunday!
This morning I was reading in Hebrews 3, and was struck by the beautiful imagery used in verses 1-4:
1And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest.2For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.3But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.4For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.
First of all, I love the focus on Jesus here. One of the primary themes of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is superior in every way. Superior to angels. Superior to Moses. Superior to Abraham. Superior to Melchizedek or any other high priest who has ever lived. All these saints of old have been a part of the “household of faith” through the centuries, and the builder of this house is Jesus.
Verse 3 illustrates Jesus’ superiority when it says “A person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.” Now, I’m no architectural buff, but this makes complete sense to me. It reminds me of a few years ago when Kristen and I stayed at a hotel in downtown Chicago. It was a new hotel that had just opened in the old IBM building at 330 North Wabash.
While reading reviews of the hotel, people kept referring to the building as a “Mies van der Rohe landmark building”. I had never heard of him, but it piqued my curiosity and so I googled him and came across a Wikipedia page that clued me in. Mies van der Rohe was a famous German architect who designed several high-rise buildings in Chicago. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.
So Hebrews 3:3 makes perfect sense to me. Jesus is the Builder of everything around us, the things we can see and the things we can’t see. So let’s give Him the praise He deserves today!
To be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
That’s our mission as a church, and nowhere is it more clear and evident than in hearing stories of how Jesus has changed the lives of men and women in our community! Hearing these stories and celebrating this life change through baptism never gets old. In fact, as we often say, these are some of our favorite Sundays at ACC.
On June 28 we celebrated the life change of two people in our church through baptism. Watch the video below of their stories!
Summertime is upon us! ‘Tis the season for swimming, sun, grilling and vacations. It’s also the time of year that most of our growth ministries at ACC take a break for a few months before starting back up in September. But that doesn’t mean our spiritual growth should stall out for three months. Here’s three ideas for how you can keep growing deeper in your walk with Christ this summer:
Read a book. Maybe it’s a theology book, or a book on a specific area of the Christian life. Spend some time on your patio or in your recliner with a [coffee, iced tea, beverage of choice] in your hand and dig through a chapter at a time. Or if you’re not the reading type, download an audiobook and listen to it in the car or on your phone. I’ve been reading a book by Tim Keller called Prayer: Experiencing Awe & Intimacy With God because I really want to grow in my prayer life!
Start a Bible reading plan on YouVersion. You are on YouVersion, right? It’s a free Bible app for your phone or tablet. It has literally hundreds of different plans to follow, whether you want to read thru the Bible in a year or just do a practical study on a specific topic. I just started a 21 day study called Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model. I’ve found that if I’m not tracking with a reading plan, I’m much less likely to be in God’s Word consistently.
Listen to music. It’s amazing how much great music is out there today that will help draw your focus to God and stir your heart to worship. Grab some new music for that road trip you’re planning or to keep you motivated while you’re out for a jog. Here’s a few new albums I’ve been listening to recently:
On Easter Sunday we showed the video below that tells the story of how Jesus has changed the lives of three people in our church. So so powerful… our church mission is to be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Mary Ellen, Sarah, and Mike for embodying the mission and sharing your stories!
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?
This coming Sunday we will be singing a new song called “Because He Lives (Amen)”. Some songs take a few listens to grow on me; this is one of those songs that I loved right off the bat when I first heard it!
It’s important to be infusing new songs into our church services on a regular basis – I am amazed at how often scripture specifically mentions and encourages us to sing new songs. Just a few examples are Psalm 33:1-3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 96:1-2, Isaiah 42:10, and Revelation 5:9.
Watch this video to listen to and learn the song:
Here’s three reasons why I love this song:
1) The words revolve around the power of Christ’s resurrection, and speak to how that power influences every corner of our lives as Christians. Romans 6:4 says that just as Christ was raised from the dead, so also we are raised from death to life.
2) Musically, this song soars, is easy to sing, and has a great piano part.
3) The bridge lyrics are taken from a hymn titled “Because He Lives” by Bill Gaither. I love when new songs are wedded with older hymns and give a fresh sound to lyrics that the church has been singing for many years!
I hope you will come ready to sing it this Sunday!
We may have had to move our Trunk or Treat event inside and change some things up a bit but that didn’t stop it from being a huge success! There were about 200 people that came through. About 75% were from the surrounding communities and do not attend ACC. Isn’t that awesome?!? What a joy it was to watch families create lasting memories. Many kids roasted their first marshmallow and ate their first s’more in our gym. There were many giggles and smiling faces!
I want to thank everyone that was a part of this event. Not only were the tables you decorated awesome, but you were a great example of Christ’s love to all that attended. Sometimes we are called to evangelize by boldly proclaiming the gospel. Other times, though, we are called to simply love and that is exactly what you did. My prayer for those who attended is that they saw the love you showed through your hospitality as a mirror of Christ’s love for them. This event was a team effort and YOU WERE AWESOME! So, consider this my high five to you to keep up the good work God has called us all to. Church, you really nailed this one!
Enjoy these pictures taken by Lacy Smith to get a glimpse of the evening!
This week I started a 14-day devotional plan on YouVersion called “I Love My Church”. I am 3 days in and it’s already rocking my world! The whole idea behind it is that the church has been around for 2,000 years – longer than any other government or human institution – and the church is still alive and well today. Jesus says in Matthew 16:18 that He will build His church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.Colossians 1:18 says that Christ is the head of the church, which is His body. According to Acts 20:28, the church has been purchased by Christ’s own blood. All this tells us that from God’s viewpoint, the church is kind of a big deal!
I love Arlington Countryside Church. This devotional plan is causing me to remember why I pour so much time and energy into our church – because God is at work building it, and He is in the process of changing lives every single day in and through our church. That’s what gets me up each morning to go off to my “job” – there’s nothing more exciting than being part of a body of believers who are running after God together and following His leading, and inviting others in to the story He is writing in our midst. I need to be reminded of how much God loves the church, especially when I get discouraged and want to throw in the towel and quit. And I know we all have those days sometimes!
Check out this quote from today’s devotional, written by Perry Noble:
When the local church is working right, there is nothing more powerful and breathtaking in the world. It’s the place where lost people are found, where found people grow to love Jesus more, where addicts are set free, where the excluded are included, where the hopeless find hope, where marriages are restored, where forgiveness is extended and where God gets the glory for it all!
What about you? What have you been reading/meditating on in your devotions lately??? Leave a comment below to let me know. Tell you what … I’ll send a free copy of my CD Speak To Us to the first five people who leave a comment below!
The campers and volunteers at last week’s Weird Animals Day Camp had a blast! It was a week filled with solid biblical teaching and many fun activities. Throughout the week the campers learned that when they are left out, different, afraid, or even when they don’t understand or do wrong, Jesus loves them. They heard stories about real kids who have applied these principles to their lives and how God helped them. They also got to go on some fantastic field trips each day!
I heard many stories from volunteers of how they witnessed God working on a child’s heart. One day they learned about how Jesus took everything they’ve ever done or will do wrong on the cross and that He gave himself for them. In the Bible Adventures Station on this day, the campers wrote their names on a cross to symbolize this. One camper that’s been attending our Day Camp for a few years wrote I ♥ Jesus under their name. The volunteer that was telling me about this story said that this camper has never shown much interest in the spiritual side of Day Camp, and that it was such a sweet moment to witness God working on their heart. It’s these kinds of moments that we pray and are thankful for; to see the campers experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
Whether you volunteered the week of Day Camp or served by donating needed items, this week wouldn’t have been possible without you!!! Thank you so much for giving these kids an opportunity to relish in the love of Christ through your service.
Check out this highlight video of the week. I think you’ll agree that we had lots of fun! I pray many of you are able to be a part of Day Camp next year!