What I Learned from Waiting to Pay for Pizza



I like being a servant. Until somebody treats me like one.


Recently I was waiting in line to pay for my food at a local pizza joint. Suddenly a 2nd cash register opened with the announcement, “I can help the next person in line.” Faster than a speeding bullet, the lady behind me cuts in front of me and over to pay – before I even flinched. At first I was just surprised, maybe even slightly amused by her rudeness. But within about 10 seconds my dominating emotion was anger. I just stood there, continuing to wait in line but I was mad. At the cutting in line lady. At the behind-the-counter pizza lady for allowing such an injustice. At the pizza store manager for not properly training employees in such a manner as to prevent such miscarriages of justice. I almost said something snotty but kept my mouth shut because one of these Cretans might visit my church someday. So I smoldered in silence.


In retrospect, I began to analyze my inordinate emotional reaction to the situation. Why did I get so angry??!!!


After all – this incident merely resulted in my paying for my pizza about 60 seconds later than otherwise. I wasn’t in a hurry. I still got my food. What was the big deal?


The answer? I was treated like a servant. And I didn’t like it. Not one bit.


If the lady had asked if she could go in front of me – I would have said, “Yeah, no problem.” And meant it. On one of my better days I might have even gotten the idea myself and invited her to go before me. But that is not what happened.


And what happened exposed me for who I am. (Or at least who I was at that moment.)


Proud. Easily provoked. Impatient. Uptight.


That doesn’t sound like the description of Jesus – does it? Or a servant of Jesus?


I know he calls me to be humble. Gentle. Long-suffering. Without anger or malice.


So I confess. I acknowledge I still have some growing to do. I need God’s help to keep my spirit in a good place. Especially when I’m in line at the pizza joint.


Maybe it would be easier if I just stopped eating pizza…







ray demich


Today we feature a post from the chairman of our elder team at ACC – Ray Demich:


Dear ACC Family,


Jamie & I will be moving on to the next phase of our lives up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin beginning sometime in April.  I have accepted a position with the Lake Geneva Youth Camp, which is an organization that we’re passionate about.  We wholly support their mission and vision (www.lgyc.org).  Christian retreats and camping is a life-changing experience and God has used this organization mightily in ministering to churches in the Midwest for over 60 years.  For me personally, many of my greatest spiritual decisions and growth have taken place during times at Lake Geneva Youth Camp and Conference Point Center.  We’re very excited and look forward to being a part of this wonderful ministry!


One of the most difficult parts of this decision is moving away from ACC and the many friends we have made over the last 19 years that we’ve been attending the church.  You are precious to us and we’ve gone through good times and difficult times with many of you.  As I step down as an elder, I reflect on the humbling experience to serve God and the people of ACC in this way.  I have been greatly impacted in this role and I’m grateful to the other elders and what I’ve learned from each one of them.


Over the years, ACC has been faithful in keeping the focus of all that is said and done, on Jesus — exalting Him, discipling His people and seeking the lost.  Salvation offered through faith in Christ is the only hope of our world, our sin and separation from God is man’s biggest problem and need.  May God continue to richly bless ACC and all that is being done for His glory & kingdom.


Please know you will continually be in our thoughts and prayers:

  • To the Elders (1 Peter 5:1-4):  We discussed together on our elders retreat!
  • To the Congregation (1 Cor. 15:58 & Heb. 13:17): “So my dear brothers & sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” and “Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say.  Their work is to watch over your souls and they are accountable to God.  Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow.  That would certainly not be for our benefit.”


“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.  All glory, majesty, power and authority are His before all time and in the present and beyond all time!  Amen.”  (Jude 24-25)


Love in Christ,

Ray & Jamie Demich


Ray and Jamie have both been so heavily invested in the ministry here and we hate to see them go, yet we are happy for them and know that a new and fruitful ministry adventure waits for them in Lake Geneva. Thanks Demichs for your extraordinary leadership, generosity, hospitality, faithfulness and friendship. We pray God blesses you in every way imaginable in the coming years!



Good Friday Reflection

Today is Good Friday. The day that we remember the death of our savior. I hope you’ll join us for our service at 7pm tonight. Here’s a powerful video to help prepare yourself for worship.





We are so grateful to announce a new ministry opportunity the Lord is leading Kristen and I into: I have accepted a position in the production department at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin!  We have many friends at Harvest, and have had the opportunity to watch how God is moving there for a number of years.  I am thrilled to be joining their team!
With all that said, we are thankful for nine amazing years at Arlington Countryside Church.  We have developed so many friendships, have grown in our walk with Christ, and have seen God do incredible things.  It feels bittersweet to be leaving such a great church.

Our last Sunday at ACC will be April 10.  Thanks to all of you who have walked alongside us and our two boys, and shown love to us in so many ways on this journey!  We are so blessed.


My heart is heavy at the thought of the Williams family moving on. There are so integral to the fabric of ACC that it’s kind of hard to imagine church without them. They have served here so faithfully and effectively. And yet I am excited for them too! As Scott’s responsibilities and influence grows I know God will continue to use him to further the gospel of Christ. Join me in praying that God helps them in this time of transition.

Change is hard. No doubt about it. But God will be with us! As we move ahead we can be confident that God will continue to draw true worshipers to himself at ACC. Please pray for our leadership team as we make plans to carry on in Scott’s absence. Thanks!



A Longing to Belong

 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” -Matthew 3:17

To belong is a fundamental human need. It’s the way God created us. Genesis says, “let us create man in OUR image”…which of course points to the trinity. That God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are in perfect harmony with one another…that they belong together. It’s from that place that God created us. He’s placed in our hearts a longing to belong. However, our need to belong has been tainted by sin. As a result we often look for belonging in inappropriate ways. We might exclude others or hold prejudices which helps us belong by feeling superior. We might hide our true feelings or change things about ourselves for fear of rejection. I believe there is a better way. I believe that God alone can redeem our need for belonging and heal our brokenness in this area. We were created to be in relationship with God and our deepest sense of belonging will be fulfilled when we find our satisfaction in Him. I believe the verse listed above are words that we all need to hear. These words, spoken to Jesus after his Baptism, are words that I believe God wants each of his children to take to heart.

  • This is my son. Family is perhaps the deepest sense of belonging we have. To be adopted into God’s family is a powerful thing. It speaks of having an inheritance (salvation) and intimacy.
  • Dearly loved. God loves his children with a love beyond understanding. A love that we can do nothing to earn and nothing to negate. That kind of love offers security.
  • Brings me great joy. God enjoys his children. He is pleased with them. To know that God is pleased with us creates a welcoming environment. We can go to Him unafraid.

Let me encourage you to look to God to meet your need to belong. Allow His words to sink into your heart – You are my dearly loved child who brings me great joy.



Join our team!


God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – 1 Peter 4:10

Do you believe that? I do! I believe that each and every person has something to contribute to the church. I believe that YOU have something to offer and I believe that our church will be a better place because of what you contribute. The truth is, we’re better together. When we combine our efforts we produce something far greater than what we can accomplish alone.

I want to invite you to join our team. Our goal is to match people up with serving opportunities that align with their interests and abilities. We want to find the right fit for you. To help us accomplish that, we’ve created a 4 step process.

  1. Converse – Let’s talk about you. What are you passionate about, what skills do you have, what kind of things do you enjoy doing? Understanding you helps us begin the process of finding a ministry opportunity that’s right for you.
  2. Observe – Come check it out. Like trying on clothes at the store, this is a chance to try out the ministry to see what you think. We’ll have you shadow an experienced team member and get a feel for what being a part of that team is like.
  3. Evaluate – Consider your experience. What did you like about the ministry? Anything you disliked? Could you see yourself being a part of that team? Ask yourself some good questions so that you can make an informed decision.
  4. Commit – Make your decision. Is this the right ministry team for you? If “yes” and you can commit to the team member expectations, it’s time to join the team. If the answer is “no”, that’s fine! You found out something valuable and potentially avoided a bad experience. Time to go back to step 1 and explore another ministry opportunity.

If you’re interested in finding a place to serve, I’d love to talk with you. Please feel free to email (chris@acchurch.org) me and we can get the process started.




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How is God using ACC??? I’m glad you asked!


At the close of 2015 our Year End Giving Project was to raise $15,000 over and above our regular giving. We thank God that through your crazy generosity we ended up crushing our goal and raised over $27,000!


The money was to be given to two different causes. First, to Zac and Laura O’Leary as they prepare to leave us and go serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papau, New Guinea. (More about that soon!) Secondly, we wanted to help our local community so the not for profit organization WINGS was earmarked for a gift too. WINGS is a powerful advocate for victims of domestic violence.


This past week Gail Rothacker, an ACC Operations Task Force member, and I headed over to the WINGS main office. It was our privilege to present the check to Terri Channer, their Sr. Director of Development. (See photo above)


Here are Terri’s words to the folks of ACC:

Thank you so much for the very generous $5,000 donation from the parishioners at Arlington Countryside Church.


Your contribution will mean that a woman and her children will not have to live in fear with an abuser just to have a roof over their heads.


It will provide three meals a day and safe shelter to 100 women and children, and give them the hope for a better, brighter future.


And it will mean that those children no longer living in an abusive environment will have a much greater chance of not being abused as an adult.


Please know that you, and the parishioners of Arlington Countryside Church, have changed lives forever.

Best Regards,

Terri Channer

Sr. Director of Development


To learn more about WINGS go to www.wingsprogram.com. They offer many meaningful volunteer opportunities for any of you who might be looking for a way to get more involved in our community. It is our joy to partner with WINGS.


Thanks ACC for giving so generously. Your giving makes a difference!





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 


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.”





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.




Belonging before Believing

I was looking back through some old notes and rediscovered a couple quotes from the book The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George C Hunter III. The ACC leadership team read this book several years ago and we recommended it this year as a resource in our Each One Reach One challenge.

“For most people, belonging comes before believing.”

“Recent studies indicate that most people experience the faith [Christianity] through relationships, that they encounter the gospel through a community of faith, [and] that becoming a Christian involves a process that takes time.”

Rereading these quotes reminded me of the importance of my continued efforts to reach the people I listed on my Each One Reach One card. It’s a process that takes time and often they need to experience community and belonging before they’re ready to believe. This tells me that my time spent building relationships, praying, and inviting is well-spent. Progress may be slow, but I’m laying the foundation of relationship and belonging that hopefully paves the way for belief.

I hope you’re encouraged to stay the course and continue your efforts. Easter is just around the corner. Easter provides a great opportunity to invite (or re-invite) someone to church.





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!