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Posts by David Ellis

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The summary of each post will appear on all pages listing multiple posts....

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