Category Archives: Getting Personal

Rerouting…

Do you find yourself getting off track spiritually? It’s easy to do. I’ve found in my life that it’s not usually a conscious decision to get off track…it’s usually a series of small, seemingly insignificant, decisions that add up over time.

If you find yourself off track, I want to suggest 3 steps to getting back on track.

  1. Confess. It’s important that you take responsibility for our choices. You need to be honest with yourself, God, and someone else. Tell God you’ve gotten off track and acknowledge your poor decisions before him. Sharing this with someone else can help “make it real” and provide some support for you as you seek to get back on track. 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. God is ready and willing to forgive you for drifting away. He’s ready to welcome you back home.
  2. Receive. Accept God’s forgiveness. Believe the words of 1 John 1:9. Know that our God is loving and gracious (Psalm 103:8-10). You may know in your mind that God forgives you, but it needs to sink into your heart as well.  An important part of getting back on track is recognizing that Jesus paid the price for that sin and He’s not asking you to pay for it.
  3. Adjust. Just as a GPS reroutes you when you get off track, you need to make the decision to change your course. When Jesus interacts with the woman caught in adultery he tells her he doesn’t condemn her, but then tells her to go and “sin no more” (John 8:10-11). Identifying where you went off course and why is an important step. As you gain clarity around that, you can identify new habits and patterns that can help you get on track and stay on track.

Whether you find yourself way off track, or just a little, I hope you’ll take time to consider these 3 steps and how you can get yourself back on track.

Grace,

Chris

FARM WOMAN ADVICE

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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?

 

10 Things I Love About ACC

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In honor of my 10 year anniversary as an ACC staff member, here are 10 things that I love about ACC

In no particular order…

  1. Our staff team. Such a great group of gifted people who love God and love our church. We have the amazing blessing of having a lot of history together as many of us have been around for a long time.
  2. Our Elders. One of the reasons for such longevity of staff is our outstanding Elder team. These men care deeply about our church, take care of our staff, and lead our church in a way that honors God. So thankful for this group of Godly men.
  3. Our people. In the role of pastor, work and social life are inherently intertwined. I’ve always said that a pastor should want to attend the church he serves at even if he wasn’t on staff. That’s never been a problem for me. I’ve developed so many quality friendships here at ACC.
  4. The variety of things I get to do. I’m a Youth Pastor at heart, but I so enjoy the opportunities I have to be involved in other areas in our church. Children’s ministry – we have a great team of adults who love Jesus and love kids. I enjoy working with them and getting to know the children of our church. Teaching ministry – love the opportunity to work with Pastor Dave on teaching series and fill in on Sunday mornings (more on this one in the next point). Helping people get plugged into serving opportunities – love getting to know people, their interests and abilities and helping them find the right place for them to contribute to our community.
  5. The opportunity to teach. I’m a teacher, have been as long as I can remember. It’s the way God wired me. I love the opportunity to teach at our youth ministries each week and the times I get to teach in “Big Peoples” church on Sunday mornings.
  6. Spending time with students. I have SO much fun with our middle school and high school students. Youth ministry is a challenging gig for sure, but it’s super rewarding. The conversations I get to have with students, the chance to walk with them in some of the most difficult years of their lives, and the joy I experience as I see signs of spiritual growth in their lives…it doesn’t get any better than that!
  7. Creativity. We look, feel, and operate, like a church with a much large budget and staff team. We have many talented people who volunteer their time and energy to make ACC a better place and our staff are committed to excellence – doing the best we can with what we’ve been given.
  8. That my kids are cared for. This is something that wasn’t even on my radar 10 years ago. The fact that my 3 kids LOVE being at church is huge! They feel at home here and are cared for and ministered to by so many.
  9. The generosity of our people. From baby shower gifts, to pastor appreciation gifts, to “God laid it on my heart to give this to you” gifts, we have been so blessed by the generosity of ACC.
  10. That we have a shower. :). I’m serious! As a triathlete and distance runner, I spend a lot of time working out. I’ll often squeeze a run in before youth group, during my lunch hour, or on a Sunday morning before church. Having a shower here allows me to fit in the training I need to do and not be stinky for the ministry that I need to do.

Grace,

Chris

EACH ONE REACH ONE – How are you doing?

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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

 

 

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

Retreat Day

On Thursday I spent part of my day away at a retreat center in the area. My goals were to get away, spend some quality time with God, and reflect on the past year. The time was restful, spiritually refreshing, and very meaningful. Have you ever taken the time do something like this? I want to suggest to you that it could be a very powerful growth step in your spiritual life. Jesus did this sort of thing regularly (Luke 5:16). If He needed it, how much more do we need it?!?!

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way…

  • I have to schedule something like this rather than fit it in when there’s time. If I wait until there’s time, there will never be a “convenient” time. I make it a habit to put a date down on the calendar several months out and then protect that day.
  • I need accountability to make something like this happen. I planned this day with a few other youthworkers. We spent time alone, together. We showed up at the same location and then spread out around the facility and did our own thing. Committing to do this with others helped keep it a priority in my schedule.
  • Regular reflection keeps things in perspective. As I reflected on the last year, I was blown away at what God has done. The ways I’ve seen him at work in our church, in my family, and in me personally are overwhelming. YET, I wasn’t tuned into these things until I stopped and reflected. Regular reflection helps me keep the bigger picture in perspective.
  • Something is better than nothing. While I would have loved to get a way for an extended period of time (a full day or an overnight), that wasn’t possible. I made the decision to get away for a few hours and it was definitely worth it!

I hope you’ll take some time to get away, spend some quality time with God, and reflect. If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Grace,

Chris

Don’t play without passion!

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There is a bit of controversy as to whether this is a legit quote of Beethoven. No matter (to me anyway!). I love the thought and it readily applies to those of us who follow Christ.

 

 

Playing wrong notes is inevitable. It’s how you learn. As you practice, the wrong notes will become less and less frequent. It takes time, dedication and practice. It is a process. No one expects to play like an expert overnight.

 

 

We experience many failures in living for Christ. But we learn from our shortcomings. As we walk with him and mature spiritually our sinning will decrease. It is a long-term process. No one should expect to be a mature Christian overnight. Becoming like Jesus takes time. Lots of it.

 

 

But in light of all that God has done for us, though we cannot be perfect, we should be passionate! Stoke the flames of spiritual passion by reading his Word, praying, fellowshipping with like-minded believers, actively engaging in corporate worship, resisting compromise with sin, consciously depending on the Holy Spirit and regularly reflecting on all the blessings you have in Christ Jesus.

 

Peace,

Dave

 

 

 

 

It won’t always be this way

There’s no shortage of depressing news these days. Terrorism, refugees, mass shootings, corruption and cover ups, and senseless crimes committed against children. It’s enough to drag down even the most optimistic among us.

What do you do with all of this?

To be clear, I’m not looking to answer the why does God allow bad things to happen question. It’s not that I don’t think there are good answers to that question…I just don’t believe that’s a helpful question to ask in the midst of tragedies. Trying to understand horrific acts of violence is a fools game…the answers are never good enough. And I would argue that we’re not really looking for answers…what we’re really looking for is something to make us feel better. We’re scared or sad and we think that if we have an answer, we won’t be scared or sad anymore. I don’t believe it works that way. I believe the way toward healing and wholeness (feeling better) is to honor those emotions and invite God to meet you in them. I believe that’s an individual journey each of us need to take, but to give you an idea of what it might look like, here’s what it looks like for me.

As I hear about these tragedies, I feel sad…I feel overwhelming sadness at the brokenness of our world, for the victims and their loved ones, and for the hurting individual who carried out such a horrific act. Through prayer, I take those feelings to God…Like a child who looks to their earthly father for love and comfort, I turn to my heavenly Father and tell him that I’m sad. I’m reminded that God grieves with those who grieve (John 11 – the death of Lazarus). That my sadness is not foreign to Him (Isaiah 53:3). And I’m reminded that one day He will make it all better (Revelation 21:4). This process allows me to be honest about my feeling of sadness and find comfort in my heavenly Father. It helps me feel OK with the sadness and reminds me that it won’t always be this way.

Have you ever brought your emotions before God and invited Him into what you’re feeling? I invite you to try it.

Grace,

Chris

Life-giving Encouragement

Encourage one anotherLast weekend, I competed in my first full Ironman. Ironman is a long distance triathlon where you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, and run 26.2 for a total of 140.6 miles for the day. Events are consecutive and the clock is running from the moment you start the swim until the moment you cross the finish line of the run. It’s a huge undertaking and takes months of intense training. 

One of the things that I love about long distance triathlon is the community of encouragement. On race day, we’re all suffering, it’s challenging for everyone! We’re competing as individuals, yet, there’s a sense of “we’re in this together”. I can’t tell you how many times I was encouraged by fellow triathletes, volunteers, and spectators. In a real way, their words of encouragement helped me stay positive and focused on my goal of finishing the race.

Life is hard. We all need encouragement. For those of us who are followers of Christ, we need the support and encouragement of our fellow Christ followers as we seek to live for Jesus. We need someone to come alongside us and speak life-giving encouragement to us. We need someone to say, don’t give up! You’re doing great.

I wonder, when was the last time you encouraged someone? Let me challenge you to find one person that you can offer honest, heart-felt encouragement to in the next week.

Grace,

Chris

 

10 GREAT YEARS!

Yesterday marked my 10th anniversary as senior pastor of ACC. Time flies when you’re having fun!

 

I am overwhelmed with God’s kindness in allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful church.

 

What’s not to like?

 

Our staff  – Jim, Carolyn, Chris, Scott and Melissa: hard working, focused, loyal, fun, genuine and godly.

 

Our elder team – Ray, Jim J., Jim R., Jordan and Patrick: humble, wise, team players, faith-filled, fun, trustworthy and prayer warriors.

 

Our congregation: fun, authentic, forgiving, warm, friendly, generous, creative, praising and working.

 

ACC is not perfect by any means. But we love each other. We are growing to be more like Christ. We have a vision to see our unsaved family, friends, neighbors and co-workers cross the line of faith.

 

I love our church and I am so grateful for each one of you. God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.

 

The best is yet to come! I’m hoping for another 10 years! (Minimum!)

 

Peace,

Dave