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Archives for April 2020

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How Beautiful

Church in Action

A song by Christian recording artist Twila Paris talks about the beautiful way Jesus demonstrated love to others while he was in this world. His love was more than warm sentiments. It was an embodied love a love that expressed God's compassion through physical actions. His hands served people food. His feet traveled to their homes and villages. His eyes looked upon sinner...

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A Prayer I Need to Pray for Myself

Flame Edit

We often know how to pray for others. But what should we ask in prayer for ourselves? This poem by missionary and author Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) is a prayer I need to pray for myself today. (Do you need to pray it, too?) The poem is titled, "Flame of God". From prayer that asks that I may beSheltered from winds that beat on Thee,From fearing when I should aspire,From...

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The New/Old Command

Old New Scales

Here are some riddles: What goes up and down at the same time? What tastes better than it smells? What makes two people out of one? The answers are at the end. (Warning: Unless you are in 1st grade, the answers will make you groan.) Here is another riddle: How can a command be both old and new at the same time? I pose this final riddle because the Bible describes...

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When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

Man Praying in Pew

Most Christians wish their prayer life were better than it is. Many Christians feel guilty for not praying as they think they ought to. What should we do when we want to pray but we just don't feel like it? Here are a few words of advice 1) Pray anyway. What makes our prayers acceptable to God is not the fervency of our passion or the depth of our devotion. The heavenly ...

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A Hymn For Today

Water Storm Grief

A song I have found meaningful lately is "Commit Now All Your Griefs" written in 1653 by Paul Gerhardt. This is a great hymn for teaching us how to deal with fear. Paul Gerhardt was a Lutheran pastor who lived, with his family, through the Thirty Year's War. This was a time of conflict in central Europe in which violence, famine, and plague resulted in the deaths of 20%...

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Hope Set on Future Grace

Hunger and Thirst 2

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober,set your hopeon the grace to be brought to youwhen Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.As obedient children do not conformto the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-16) These wo...

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Doubting the Resurrection - Part 3

I am Alive

In previous blog entries, I've been looking at Thomas' struggle to believe the Easter message, as recorded in John 20. His story serves as a good case study for exploring the causes of doubt and constructive ways to handle doubt. In this entry, I'd like to look at Thomas again in order to discuss the benefits of doubting. For a Christian, to go through a season of uncert...

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Doubting the Resurrection - Part 1

I am Alive

Frequently, in the Bible, when the disciples heard the report that Jesus had risen from the dead, their initial reaction was to doubt that it could be true. Perhaps no one demonstrates this more vividly than Thomas. We are not sure why Thomas struggled so much to believe, but he certainly made his doubts clear. When other believers told him that they had seen the risen Lor...

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Doubting the Resurrection - Part 2

I am Alive

Imagine you had a bad attitude that lasted a week, and then for the rest of your life that was the only thing people remembered about you. That would be so unfair. Sadly, that's essentially what happened to the Apostle Thomas. In John 20:19-29 we read that Thomas spent seven days questioning whether Jesus had risen from the dead. His funk only lasted a week, but to this da...

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Mercy Carework Testimony

ACI and ACC Signjpg

Good morning ACC and Happy Resurrection Day! I can't begin to say how much gratitude I have for our church. I can honestly say ACC kept me from losing my mind. I found myself so lost and in deep despair about my finances and health. And yes, I have a loving family (siblings and very close first cousins) but they also were struggling. They helped us out plenty of times and...

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The Importance of Lament

Lament and Hope

The most common type of psalm in the Bible is the psalm of lament. And this is good news! A psalm of lament in ancient Hebrew is a song of sorrow, in which worshipers pour out their heartbreak and grief to the Lord. One third of the songs in the book of Psalms fits into this category. In the laments we hear the psalmists say things like: "How long,LORD? Will you forget m...

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A Prayer for Today

Praying Hands

A Prayer for Today Need a prayer to pray today? Try this one, written by Reinhold Niebuhr: God, give me grace to accept with serenitythe things that cannot be changed,Courage to change the thingswhich should be changed,and the Wisdom to distinguishthe one from the other.Living one day at a time,Enjoying one moment at a time,Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,Taking...

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Holy Week Plans

Cross and Sunset

ACC Family: Our usual plans for Holy Week have obviously changed this year, but the truth of the gospel message is as powerful now as it ever has been. I want you to know some ways to stay connected with the church in worship and prayer this week. Maundy Thursday (April 9) Join us for an interactive worship experience, as we commemorate the final Passover meal that...

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Celebrating Holy Week During a Pandemic

sophie-sollmann-100851

This has been the strangest Lenten season I have ever experienced. The church has celebrated Lent over the centuries as a means of preparing ourselves for Easter. We try to follow the example of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness by going without some things, in order to focus on self-reflection, draw near to God, and give of ourselves to others in need. But this year wheth...

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Picnic in a Warzone

Picnic Table

For thousands of years, Psalm 23 has been a source of solace to God's people in times of crisis. I've been thinking lately about one verse in this psalm and how amazing it is. After describing how the Lord renews and restores us, and how he walks beside us through dark valleys, King David writes in verse 5, "You prepare a tablebefore me in the presence of my enemies." I...

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The Power of a Preposition

Valley

Many of us are familiar with Psalm 23:4. "Even though Iwalk through the valley ofthe shadow of death, I willfear no evil, foryou are with me; yourrod and your staff, they comfort me." While this verse will be meaningful at the moment of death, it is intended to apply to any situation of deep sorrow or fear. The phrase "the shadow of death" is a Hebraism meaning "as dark...

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