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Staying Connected through Community Groups

Community Groups Tree

It is easy to feel isolated during the time of COVID. Yet it is so important to stay in touch with others and stay encouraged in our faith. Community Groups are a great way to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ. ACC Community Groups will be starting in October. The groups will meet by zoom and will run for 8 weeks, ending just before Thanksgiving. The groups wil...

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READ THROUGH THE BIBLE

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When I was in junior high, my mother taught me to spend some time every day reading the Bible. (Thanks, Mom!) But it was not until I was a young adult that I began the practice of working through the whole of Scripture over the course of a year. I have been doing this now for close to 30 years, and I have found it to be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I...

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Learning, Living, Loving

John 17 Prayer

A 3-week sermon series at ACC, starting September 13, will focus on three aspects of the Christian life that we want to see happening more and more at our church. We want to be a church in which everyone is growing in their relationship with God, in which we are all equipped to lead lives that bring glory to Christ, and in which we relate to each other and to our neighbors...

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Growing in Our Knowledge of God

Core Christianity CE Class

This fall at ACC we are offering a 10-week course called "Core Christianity 101." The name of the class may sound like it is for beginners, but don't be fooled by the title. Though the class would be great for those new to the Christian faith, the material is far from simplistic. "Core Christianity" is based on a book by Dr. Michael Horton, professor of theology at Westmi...

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EXTRA-ORDINARY WORSHIP

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Among the many areas of life disrupted by the COVID pandemic are the worship practices of Christians throughout the world. Believers have been forced to worship God in ways that feel unnatural to us. For months, we have sat in front of computer screens, following a service from home. Now, as congregations begin to gather again, we find that worship is still not what we wou...

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ACC WORSHIP NEWS

Opening Soon

A taskforce from our congregation recently presented a report to the elders with suggestions for how best to return to public worship services. Discussions are taking place and work is underway to reconvene Sunday worship services as soon and as safely as possible. We had hoped to reopen public worship services in the ACI Synagogue in early September, but due to Jewish ho...

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Six Reasons Not to Worry

Worry Post

Matthew 6:25-43 is probably the most well-known passage of the Bible that deals with the problem of anxiety. In these verses, Jesus gives us six reasons not to worry 1) Worry obscures what is most important in life. People tend to worry most over temporal issues finances, deadlines, the opinions of others. Stressing ourselves out over these things can make us forget mat...

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Secret But Not Unseen

Father Sees in Secret

If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? So goes the age-old metaphysical question. Does the occurrence of an event depend on it being perceived? I will leave it to philosophers to answer that one. But what I do know is that, when it comes to acts of kindness toward others or devotion toward God, no acts are unobserved. In...

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RE-OPENING WORSHIP PLANS

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Dear ACC Family, It has been wonderful to see the decline in the number of coronavirus cases in New York and to watch the civic and economic life of our city slowly begin to revive. It is encouraging to know that, God willing, the day is approaching when we will again gather physically to worship as a congregation. Last week our elders approved the formation of a "Re-ope...

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A Hard Hymn for Hard Times

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A hymn I really love is "If thou but suffer God to guide thee" by Georg Neumark (1621-1681). I first learned of this hymn in my early 20's, when I was facing personally challenging times. I often sing it during my morning prayers, especially on days when I want to encourage my heart to trust in the Lord. Unfortunately, this hymn is hard to sing. The lyrics (in its English...

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21 Ways to Pray for Your Church During a Pandemic

Prayers During a Pandemic

The New Testament teaches that church members need to pray for each other (Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; Jas. 5:16). What are some ways we can pray for our church during this time of coronavirus. Here are 21 ways to consider praying for our church: Pray for the sick, for healing and for patience in affliction. Pray for those who are lonely, that they will find ways to conn...

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Conspiracy Theories

Love Power Sound Mind

We have probably all heard conspiracy theories related to the present global health crisis. Here are a few alleged schemes I have run across: - COVID-19 is caused by 5G technology. - The coronavirus was developed in a lab either by the Chinese Communist Party or by the U.S. Military. - Big Pharma developed COVID-19 and took out patents so they can make billions selling ...

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Prayer Classics: Praying to Know God

Goodness of God

In my blog posts this week, I am quoting portions from some classic Christian writings on prayer. Today's quote comes from the English mystic Julian of Norwich (1343-1413). A Benedictine nun, Julian is known for her deep spiritual hunger for God. Julian spent much time praying that God would give her three wounds: "the wound of contrition; the wound of loving compassion; ...

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Prayer Classics: Praying for a Godly Life

Pursuit of Holiness

In my blog posts this week, I am quoting portions from some classic Christian writings on prayer. Today's quote comes from the writings of Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626), an Anglican bishop who served on the scholarly committee that produced the King James Version of the Bible. In this prayer, Andrews exhibits a deep passion for godliness in both his character and his behav...

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Prayer Classics: Persevering in Prayer

Persevering Prayer

In my blog posts this week, I am quoting portions from some classic Christian writings on prayer. Today's quote comes from With Christ in the School of Prayer by South African pastor Andrew Murray (1828-1917). This passage, from a chapter titled "The Power of Persevering Prayer," is based on Jesus' parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. In that parable, Jesus tea...

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Prayer Classics: Interceding for Others

Praying for Others

In my blog posts this week, I am quoting portions from some classic Christian writings on prayer. Today's quote comes from Prayer and Worship by Quaker philosopher and theologian Douglas V. Steele (1901-1995). In addition to his work as an academic, Steele was heavily involved in the international missions work of his church. He was known for combining quiet contemplation...

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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

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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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Picnic in a Warzone

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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

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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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Soul restoration What would it take to restore your soul?

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In Psalm 23, King David described what was often required for him to experience inner renewal from the Lord. He wrote, "The LORD ... makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul" (vv. 1-3a). Something I find striking about those words is David's admission that he often needed the Lord to make him lie down in green gra...

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Worshiping Remotely

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Worshiping remotely It's not something new Christians all over the world these days are connecting with their church via electronic media to worship remotely with fellow believers. For many of us this is a new experience, but it has been done before. A New York Times article, dated May 21, 2006, describes a pastor who was ministering to a congregation of dispersed immig...

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A Psalm for Those Sheltering in Place

Shellter in Place

A Psalm for Those Sheltering in Place Being shut indoors because of potential danger, as we currently are, can be challenging. We feel stuck. We feel alone. We are uncertain of what the future holds. In times like this, Psalm 142 can be a helpful guide for turning our thoughts toward God and directing our prayers. The scribal note connected with Psalm 142 tells us that...

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MARCH 22ND WORSHIP SERVICE

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We had a wonderful time of worship and hearing God's word preached by Pastor David on Sunday, March 22nd. If you haven't watched the service yet, you can still access it by clicking this link. Here's the bulletinto follow along with. ...

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Losing Control

Lose of Control

The spread of the coronavirus has, in many ways, made us feel that we are losing control. Our schedules have changed. Our plans have been cancelled. Technology we thought would protect us has proved powerless. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. We feel that control has been lost. But this is all an illusion. We haven't lost control; we never had it to begin with. J...

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Blessed Down-Time

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"I wish I had more time for prayer." "I wish I could get some rest." "I just wish things would slow down so I had time to think." Have you ever said (or thought) anything like this? Well, guess what. God is answering your prayers. The isolation forced on us by the current public health crisis is presenting many of us with a tremendous gift TIME. Of course, we still ha...

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March 16 Message from Pastor David

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Message from Pastor David. Click here....

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Windows of Opportunity

Windows of Opportunity

The current public health crisis will likely present us with windows of opportunity to love our neighbors. Let's keep our eyes open for these occasions. People may be more open to interact with others than they normally are. Perhaps you can offer to do grocery shopping for the elderly couple next door. (Of course, make sure you maintain safe social distance.) Jesus sa...

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Worship Cancelled March 15th and 22nd

ACC Welcome Table

Dear Friend of ACC, Given the on-going uncertainty concerning the coronavirus health crisis, ACC is cancelling worship services on March 15 22. We apologize for the lateness of this decision. As we learn more about the public health situation and about how better to sanitize our worship space, we will inform you of plans for future Sundays and church events. We plan t...

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UPDATE from Pastor David on COVID-19

Dear Friend of ACC:We want to keep you updated about our church's plans in response to the current health concerns affecting our city. Since the situation is changing continually, we may need to alter our plans on a day-to-day basis. We will do our best to keep you informed but ask that you check our church website or Facebook page so that you can be apprised of our plan...

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5 ways trusting in Christ affects your life today

Does knowing Jesus make any difference in your daily life right now? Romans 5:1-5 describes five ways that faith in Christ affects your life today. 1) You have peace with God v. 1. Through faith in Christ, believers have been justified. This means, Christian, that, because of Jesus, God has declared you to be righteous and acceptable in his eyes. This divine pronouncem...

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The Call of Faith

Call of Faith

NowtheLordsaidto Abram, "Go from your countryand your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, andin you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So ...

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Easter Outreach Offering

Every year at Easter, the members of ACC give a special offering to help reach our congregational financial goals for missions and outreach. This year our goal is to raise $25,000 through our Easter Outreach Offering. The Easter Outreach Offering will be given at ACC on Easter Sunday, April 12. Everyone is invited to participate in this offering. ACC members are encoura...

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Supernatural

On Sunday mornings at ACC, we are working through the epistle of 1 Corinthians, a book that speaks frequently about the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians, we are told that the Spirit demonstrates power when the message of the cross is proclaimed (2:4); that he "reveals the deep things of God" to believers (2:10); that he dwells in the midst of Christian communities (3:16); t...

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THREE REASONS TO STUDY CHURCH HISTORY

On February 23, we will begin a 12-week Christian education course called "Christian History Made Easy." The class, led by instructors Joe Kickasola and David Ellis, will meet on Sundays at 5:00pm in the ACC office, and will provide a general survey of the history of the Christian Church. The class will feature video-taped lectures by historian Timothy Paul Jones, as well ...

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11:15 Service Worship Leadership Update

Dear ACC, I want to share some news about plans for worship leadership at our 11:15 worship service. As you certainly know, last summer Brad Wade, our long-time worship director for that service, moved with his family to Portland, OR. Since then, we have tried several individuals in the role of worship leadership at the 11:15 service with the goal of finding a person who...

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The First Epistle to the New Yorkers

On January 12, we plan to begin a sermon series through Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. Though this letter was written almost two millennia ago to Christians living over 4,800 miles from here, it speaks with amazing clarity to our present cultural moment. Perhaps this is due to the similarities between ancient Corinth and New York City in 2020. Corinth, at the tim...

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Two Lessons From the Magi

The story of the Magi travelling to see baby Jesus has gripped the hearts and imaginations of believers for centuries. (See Matt. 2:1-12.) Who were these visitors from the east? What does it mean that they saw the star of the king of the Jews? What moved these adults to travel such a long distance to worship a child? And, what in the world is a "Magi"? Though scholars have...

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What's In a Name?

It's usually left to parents to decide what to call their kids, but when God sent an angel to announce the birth of the Messiah, his parents were denied the right to name their son. Both Joseph and Mary were specifically instructed to name their child "Jesus" (Matt. 1:21, Luke 1:31).Why the name Jesus? Jesus (Yeshuain Hebrew, the same as the name "Joshua") was a common nam...

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Repentance

Four Elements of Genuine Repentance When John the Baptist prepared the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah, he called them to repent. (Matt. 3:2) As we prepare for the Messiah to come again, we are called to repentance, also. After Christ had ascended to heaven, Peter told the people of Jerusalem, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped o...

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The God of Truth

We have been studying the Ten Commandments at ACC this fall. The commandments are helpful, not only because they teach us how to live, but because of what they reveal about God. Kevin DeYoung writes: "The law is an expression of the Lawgiver's heart and character. The commandments not only show us what God wants; they show us what God is like. They say something about hi...

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Give and Take (and the 8th Commandment)

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From the time we are young, we all know it's wrong to steal. Any three-year-old in daycare will cry out against injustice when another child grabs a toy from their hands. We seem to possess innate knowledge that people shouldn't take things that don't belong to them. So, we might think the 8thCommandment needs little explanation. "Thou shalt not steal" is a pretty clear ru...

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7th Commandment - Resources for Sexual Wholeness

Resources for Sexual Wholeness We are preaching on the Ten Commandments at ACC this fall. The 7th commandment says: "You shall not commit adultery." The Bible portrays physical intimacy within the covenant of marriage (between a man and a woman) as God's design for healthy sexuality (Gen. 2:21-25). It describes as immoral any expression of sexual behavior outside of this ...

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De-Politicizing the Sixth Commandment

In our sermons at ACC this fall, we are looking at the Ten Commandments. In prepping to preach on the sixth commandment ("Thou shalt not kill"), I listened to several sermons that other pastors gave on the subject. They were all fine sermons, but some of them sounded more like position papers on public policy than messages delivered to a local church. I write this not to ...

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Two Things Needed for a Good Sabbath’s Rest

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This fall at ACC, we are studying the Ten Commandments. Of all the commandments, you would think the one mandating a Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:8-11) would be easiest to follow. Just think of it God ordered his people to take a day off! This ought to be the most delightful commandment of all. Strangely, however, people often find this commandment difficult to enjoy. Througho...

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Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

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In our current sermon series at ACC, we are looking at the 10 Commandments. The third commandment says, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain." What does this commandment mean? First, it means that we must honor God with ourlips. We must only speak God's name in ways that are thoughtful and reverent. A person's name is more than a random arrangemen...

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There Ought to Be A Law

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In our sermon series at ACC this autumn we are exploring the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deut. 5:1-21). The Ten Commandments serve as a synopsis of God's moral law, showing us what a well-lived human life looks like in the eyes of God. This raises a question: What role does God's moral law play in the life of a Christian? Do these old rules still apply? If so, in ...

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How to Benefit from Scripture

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Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it consistently ranks as the best-selling book of the year every year, with over 100 million copies printed annually. In the United States, almost nine out of every ten households own a copy of the Bible. Yet despite the widespread availability of Scripture, Christian leaders are becoming increasingly alarmed by h...

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Faithful in Little

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In 2004, ESPN aired a game show called "Dream Job." It was a reality show in which contestants competed to be hired as anchor of the popular program "SportsCenter." Sitting in a studio talking about sports all day may not be your career goal, but for the over 10,000 people who auditioned to be contestants, hosting "SportsCenter" was the job of their dreams. The book of ...

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Summer Worship at ACC

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This past Sunday, July 7, we switched to a summer worship schedule with only one service at 10:30AM. Please remember the time change as you make your Sunday morning plans. We plan to return to our regular two-service schedule on Sunday, September 8. The summer worship services will sometimes follow the style and structure of our 9:30 liturgical service and at other times ...

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Pentecostal Unity

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My sister is a high school English teacher. If one of her students wrote the words of Acts 2:1 in a term paper, my sister would pull out her red pen, underline the sentence, and mark a big "X" in the margin. Why? Because, according to the conventions of academic English, the sentence is grammatically incorrect. The wording is redundant. Acts 2 gives an account of the da...

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Joyfully Generous

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The Bible tells us that God is honored by giving that is both generous and joyful. (See 2 Cor. 9:6-7.) A good example of a time when God's people gave in both of these ways is found in 1 Chronicles 29. In this chapter, King David made plans for the construction of the temple of the LORD and challenged the leaders of Israel to join him in giving toward the project. The k...

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WORSHIP NEWS AT ACC

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In case you are not on the ACC email list, we want you to be informed of plans concerning the worship services at ACC. See the two emails sent out last month below. May 9, 2019 Members and Attenders of ACC: I want to keep you informed of some upcoming changes at our church and ask for your prayers as we face a time of transition. Brad Wade, the worship director at ou...

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Three Reasons the Ascension Matters

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Many churches traditionally celebrate the ascension of Christ this week, as we will at ACC on Sunday, June 2. In Luke 24:50-51 and Acts 1:4-11, we read about Jesus ascending to heaven in bodily form in the presence of his disciples. Since we are given few details as to what happened, the event is mysterious. Yet the spiritual implications of the ascension are amazing. T...

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No Choice but to Choose

Joshua

Pastor Jeffrey preached last Sunday from Joshua 24:14-28, a passage in which Joshua challenged the Israelites to make a decisive choice about the ultimate allegiance of their hearts. Joshua said: "Now fear theLORDand serve him with all faithfulness. But if serving theLORDseems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods y...

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New Elder for ACC

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On Sunday, May 19 we will be ordaining Raul Rojas to the office of elder, adding him to the leadership team at ACC. Raul, Anne and their children David and Rebecca have been part of the ACC family for years. Raul has served faithfully in various capacities, including men's ministry, sound team, welcome team, and monthly brunch ministry. More than this, Raul has consistent...

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Three Reasons Easter Matters

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During the Easter season, Christians traditionally celebrate the great New Testament truth that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. But beyond believing in the fact of the resurrection, it is important to know why it matters. Below are three reasons why, according to the Bible, the empty tomb is important. 1.The resurrection proves that Jesus is who he claimed t...

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Easter Outreach Offering

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This fiscal year, our church hopes to give over $48,000 to world missions, diaconal work, and outreach ministries. Our Easter Outreach Offering is a special act of giving designed to help us reach that goal. The Easter Outreach Offering will be given at ACC on Easter Sunday, April 21. Everyone is invited to participate in this offering. ACC members are encouraged to giv...

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The One Who Hears Prayer

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Psalm 65:2 says, "O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come." According to this verse, listening to our prayer is not simply something God does. It is a description of who God is. It is one of his unchanging attributes. Our God is the One who hears prayer. If you have a friend who goes bike-riding once or twice a year while on vacation, you might say, "Jim rid...

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Living as Pilgrims

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1 Peter 2:11 says, "Dear friends,I urge you, as foreigners and exiles,to abstain from sinful desires,which wage war against your soul." By referring to Christians as "foreigners and exiles," the Apostle reminds us that this present world is not our permanent home. As followers of Christ, we are pilgrims, sojourners, tourists, temporary visitors. Our real home is the wor...

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A Season to Seek God

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One of the most amazing promises in the Bible is spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He says, "Ask and it will be given to you;seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Mt. 7:7-8) By these words Christ assures us that no one who sin...

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Joshua - The Journey of Faith

Joshua

This past Sunday, we began a series of sermons that will allow us to work through the Old Testament book of Joshua. Joshua tells the story of how God took a nation of refugees and gave them a home, how God took the Israelites from their tent city in the wilderness and brought them into Canaan, the Promised Land. The book of Joshua is both inspiring and challenging. It i...

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The Surprising Power of Praise

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We worship God because he is worthy of our adoration and because giving him glory is the main purpose for which we were designed. But there is a by-product of praise that is thrilling to contemplate. Praising God unleashes power in our lives and into our world. Singing of God's greatness is a powerful weapon in our spiritual war against the forces of evil. Psalm 8:2 say...

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Ready for Christ's Return

The Christian season of Advent revolves around the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas Day. Traditionally, Advent is a season focused on preparation. We remember the way God prepared Israel for the birth and ministry of Jesus, and we think about how God wants us to prepare for Christ's return. How often do you think about the return of Jesus Christ? His second coming...

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Light of the World

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Like many children, I was afraid of the dark when I was small. I slept better with a light on in the room. Apparently, even some adults find darkness frightening. A 2012 study in the United Kingdom found that almost 40% of the respondents were afraid to walk through their own home without the lights on and that 10% would not even get out of bed to go to the bathroom in t...

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Jesus said, “I am”

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Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus makes a statement about himself prefaced with the words "I am". He says: I am the bread of life" (Jn. 6) I am the light of the world (Jn 8) I am the gate (Jn 10) I am the good shepherd (Jn 10) I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11) I am the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14) I am the true vine (Jn 15) These state...

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Christian Giving

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In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, the Apostle Paul addresses a specific financial situation faced by the early churches. Famine and persecution in Jerusalem had resulted in conditions of extreme poverty among the Christians there. Churches in other regions were being asked to send donations to help relieve the suffering of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. Despite the spec...

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Getting God’s Word into Your Life

The Bible is God's Word the uniquely reliable revelation of his heart, his truth, and his redemptive plan. Augustine of Hippo, the 3rd Century African bishop and theologian, wrote, "The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home." Because the Bible is God's Word, it is vitally important for Christians to develop habits that put them into regular contact with Scripture. ...

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The Spiritual Gym

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Over 55 million people in the United States hold a membership in a gym. Millions more find other ways to stay fit walking, jogging, bicycling, etc. As a nation, we are aware of the benefits of a physically active lifestyle. Exercise can help prevent heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. There is another kind of exercise that is even more b...

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LIVING AS A CHRISTIAN IN AN AGE OF DIVISION

It's no secret that our nation is enduring a painful season of cultural division. Differences of opinion on political and social issues are placing a tremendous strain on relationships and communities. This is exacerbated by the constant harping of 24-hour news channels and the ease with which any of us can publish our views on social media before we've listened well to ...

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Benefits of Hosting a Community Group

ACC will be starting a new Community Group season in September. Community Groups are gatherings of 5-12 people who meet regularly in homes for prayer, Bible study, and Christian friendship. We are looking for church members who would be interested in leading a group and for others who would be willing to open their home to host a group. (Sometimes people will both host ...

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LISTENING

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My wife tells me that I am not a good listener. (At least, that's what I think she said.) I am beginning to realize she may be right. A book that was very helpful to me in understanding my problem is The Listening Life by Adam S. McHugh. McHugh makes the case that listening is one of the most important things a follower of Christ can do. He writes, "Throughout the Bibl...

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Five Reasons to Memorize Scripture

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At the Vacation Bible Club this summer, I was placed in charge of the Scripture memorization station. Children were challenged to memorize verses from the Bible and rewarded with Jolly Rancher candies if they did so. In case no one is offering you a Jolly Rancher, I want to suggest a few reasons why you might consider Scripture memorization as an on-going discipline to ...

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What's a Christian to Do?

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In his book, Blessed are the Misfits, Brant Hansen writes about his life growing up in a church where it was constantly stressed that every Christian's job was to evangelize to get out into the world to spread the gospel and how distressing this assignment was for him as an introvert. In other churches, what is stressed is that every Christian's job is to engage in pol...

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The Real Thing

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Da Vinci's famous painting, Mona Lisa, has an estimated value of $620 million. You can buy a copy of it on Amazon for $25.99. What's the difference? One is real; the other is fake. One is genuine; the other just a cheap imitation. That's the way it is with many things in life. Their value depends entirely on their authenticity. Zirconium diamonds, Gucci knock-offs, co...

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General Assembly 2018

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Every year the churches of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), send representatives to a nationwide General Assembly (GA). Last week, Jeffrey Choi and I travelled to Atlanta, where this year's meeting was held, to participate in the Assembly. A lot of important things happen at GA: decisions are made regarding the future of the church; reports ar...

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LONELY? YOU ARE NOT ALONE

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Cigna health insurance company recently conducted a survey of over 20,000 people in the U.S. age 18 or older. They discovered what we all already knew a lot of people are lonely. The survey revealed that loneliness in our society has become epidemic. According to the research: Almost halfof Americans say they sometimes or always feel alone (46 percent) or excluded (...

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Understanding the Law

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In Exodus 19, the Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai. The LORD appears on top of the mountain, and Moses is invited to climb the peak to receive instructions from the LORD. In Exodus 20, God begins to dictate his laws to Moses, starting with a synopsis of God's moral standards, commonly known as the 10 Commandments. Before giving the commandments, the LORD prefaced his law ...

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Competent to Love

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On May 18-19 (Friday 6:30-9:30pm, Saturday 8:30am-2:00pm), ACC will offer a free seminar titled "Competent to Love Excelling in Gifts that Build Up the Church". The purpose of this seminar is to equip us for our work as a church to love each other and to love our neighbors as we share the gospel of Christ. Some of the topics to be covered in the seminar are: Disc...

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Why are we here?

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In our weekly sermon series through the book of Exodus, we are in the section of Exodus where the Israelites have left behind their slavery in Egypt and are on their way to the Promised Land. During this phase of their journey, a question the Israelites frequently asked was, "Why are we here?" Why are we trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea? (chapter 14) ...

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Warfare Prayer

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Imagine a refugee camp in the middle of the desert. The people take down their tents in the morning and ready themselves for the day's hike. The fitter ones have already started down the road. Those less agile the elderly, the disabled, the families with small children lag behind. Suddenly, a war cry fills the air. Armed men on swift camels storm into the camp, killing...

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The Rescue

What comes to mind when you think of a rescue? A firefighter rushing into a burning building? A Coast Guard ship aiding a raft of refugees? Perhaps you think of a child nursing a stray animal back to health, or of a woman walking her friend to his first A.A. meeting. Whatever picture comes to mind, rescues are always thrilling. Someone with compassion acts to aid someon...

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Pastor David's Sabbatical

On January 9, I begin a sabbatical break from my active duties as pastor. I am extremely grateful to our elders for offering me this opportunity to devote time to rest, prayer, and spiritual renewal. For those interested in what I will be doing, here is some information. I intend to devote my time primarily to seeking the Lord in prayer. I'm indebted to coaching advice f...

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The God Who Gives Joy

Joy from God...

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Peace in God's Arms

On the 2nd Sunday of Advent this year we will be reading Isaiah 40:1-11, a passage that promises peace and comfort to people in distress. Isaiah was a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah who ministered from approximately 745-695 B.C. In his preaching, Isaiah confronted the people over their sinful rebellion against God, warning them of the painful exile that would re...

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A Prayer for Hope

It has been said that humans can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air, but that we cannot survive even one second without hope. I disagree with that statement. There are people who have been living without hope for years if you can call that living. When you have no hope, you still get up in the morning, ...

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What Will People Think

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Concern over the opinions of others is one of the strongest human motivators. We crave people's esteem. We fear their disapproval. We long for their acceptance. The desire to be liked and respected is natural, but when it becomes too important it can enslave us. Proverbs 29:25 says, "Fear of man will prove to be a snare." This coming Sunday (November 26), we conclude ou...

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God's Mysterious Ways

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Years ago, I had a friend who felt called to ministry, so he moved away from home to attend seminary. Before he could complete his studies, however, he received news that his father was ill and that the family needed him to come back home to care for his dad. Of course, as a loving son, he was glad to do this for his father, but he felt deeply discouraged. How would he e...

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Who am I?

In my high school, back in the 1970's, all the cool kids wore athletic letter jackets proclaiming the name of our school and the sport they played. I desperately wanted a letter jacket, because I desperately needed to be cool. The problem was I was small for my age and not very good at sports. A varsity letter in football or basketball was out of the question for me. Ho...

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Founding Document

In our country, the validity of laws and governmental practices is always determined by comparing them to the words of the U.S. Constitution. If the courts find that a new piece of legislation contradicts the Constitution, then the legislation is either discarded or changed. The older document (the Constitution) takes precedence over any newer documents that might be pro...

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Something's Changed

Years ago, the Righteous Brothers recorded a song that went on to become a classic. In the chorus, they sang, "You lost that lovin' feelin' / Whoa, that lovin' feelin' / You lost that lovin' feelin' / Now it's gone, gone, gone." We don't know the name of the person they were singing to, but, one thing is clear their relationship with that person had changed. It's not unc...

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Hypocrisy

This fall at ACC, we are studying the New Testament book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:11-21, the Apostle Paul discusses his response to something heart-breaking that took place in the early church. As the gospel spread throughout the world, it moved from its original monocultural context in Jerusalem into more multicultural settings in the Greek-speaking world. As this ...

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Authority

Why do you believe what you believe? How do you know what is true? What guiding principles govern your approach to decision-making? Do you believe whatever your parents told you? Whatever your college professors taught? Maybe you are governed by inner hunches and feelings. Maybe you don't know what to believe Our study of the New Testament book of Galatians helps us to ex...

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Faith Alone

500 years ago, this fall, a Roman Catholic priest, named Martin Luther, produced a list of theological statements that addressed doctrinal concerns facing the church of his day. He reportedly posted the list on the door of a prominent church in Wittenberg, Germany to make its contents available to the public. Translations of Luther's famous "95 Theses" were soon reprinte...

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Genesis: In the beginning

I know several individuals who have had their DNA analyzed by genetic testing services. It is fascinating to hear them report the findings the ethnic and regional backgrounds of their long-forgotten ancestors. Some of the results are predictable; some are unexpected. (My daughters were surprised to learn they have Jewish roots.) It's easy to understand why people enjoy th...

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Deliver Us

The final petition of the Lord's Prayer is, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The Heidelberg Catechism teaches that, in praying this part of the Lord's Prayer, we are saying, "By ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment. And our sworn enemies the devil,the world,and our own fleshnever stop attacking us. And so, Lord, uphold us an...

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Forgive Us Our Debts

In our current sermon series, we are allowing different psalms from the Bible to show us how to give voice to the various petitions of the Lord's Prayer. The fifth petition of the Lord's Prayer is "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Psalm 32 helps us to pray this petition with depth and authenticity. In his book on the Lord's Prayer, Terry L. Johnson remind...

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Our Daily Bread

Jesus taught us, in the fourth petition of the Lord's Prayer, to ask the Father for "our daily bread." "Daily bread," of course, is a metaphor for everything we need from the Lord. This includes requests for spiritual growth and piety, but we should never be embarrassed to ask God for physical blessings, as well. In Prayerbook of the Bible, a book on praying the psalms, D...

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Thy Kingdom, Thy Will

The second and third petitions of the Lord's Prayer are "Thy kingdom come" and "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." What does it mean to pray for the coming of God's Kingdom? We are essentially praying three things: that the Father would send the kingdom of glory (that Jesus would return); that he would crush the kingdom of darkness (putting an end to the lies ...

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Hallowed Be Thy Name

In our current sermon series, we are learning to pray the psalms through the lens of the Lord's Prayer. The first petition of the Lord's Prayer is "hallowed be Thy name." Psalm 147 is a great psalm for helping us to pray this petition to God. According to the Heidelberg Catechism, when we pray for the hallowing of God's name we are saying: "Help us to truly know you, to h...

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Our Father

In teaching his followers to pray, Jesus instructed us to approach God as "our Father who art in heaven." This shows us that, as we come to God through Christ, we are to approach God in two ways. First, we are to approach God with a sense of confidence. We address God not at our Master, our King, our Ruler, or our Employer. He is our Father. In other words, since we have ...

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The Lord's Prayer

In the six weeks between Easter Sunday and Pentecost we will be looking at the prayer Jesus taught his disciples often called the "Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father." The Lord's Prayer is generally seen as a template to use to shape our daily praying. It is seen as a template because, though most Christian traditions recite this prayer in worship, there is never any recor...

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God's Forgiveness

The book of Malachi contains a message from a God who loves his people (Mal. 1:2) even though they have strayed from him, and who is calling them to return (Mal. 3:7). When we reach the end of Malachi, we discover that some of the people who originally received this message responded to it by repenting. Mal. 3:16a says, "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each othe...

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Should Christians Tithe?

Ask any waiter in Manhattan, and they'll tell you when they see a table full of European tourists, they get nervous. Why? Because in many European countries there is no custom of tipping the table-server when you go out to eat. (In those countries, waiters receive a fair wage in their hourly pay.) Foreign tourists visiting New York have probably been told that they are ex...

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Questioning God

Is it ever permissible to question God? Is it wrong for Christians to struggle with doubt? Is there a difference between innocent uncertainty and obstinate unbelief? If so, how do we know when we've crossed the line? The third message in our Malachi series looks at some people who were wrestling with questions about God. Described in Malachi 2:17-18, we find them asking, ...

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Covenant God

The second sermon in our series on Malachi looks at a passage that talks about marriage in the context of the covenant faithfulness of God (Malachi 2:10-16). Speaking through his prophet, God expressed concern about the behavior of two groups of people in post-exilic Israel. The first group consisted of Israelite men who were marrying non-Israelite women, despite the fact...

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Malachi: Return to Me

On March 5 at ACC, we are starting a new sermon series looking at key passages in the Old Testament book of Malachi. Malachi was a prophet sent to speak God's word to the people of Israel during the post-exilic period of their history. His messages to them were probably delivered between 440 and 420 B.C. Unlike most Old Testament prophets, Malachi has virtually nothing ...

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The Book of James

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