Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meet AC3's Director of Prepare The Way Preschool

AC3 has a new preschool coming this fall! Meet Chandra White our Director of Prepare the Way Preschool :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Men's Forum, H.U.G.E. Hearts!!

Men after God's heart


H.U.G.E. Men of God Men's Forum kicked off last night at Word of Life Church in Marysville. This is my first time attending, so I thought I'd share my experience and growth throughout the 5 week event and in to the 2014 Men's Advance.

AC3's own Pastor Dan Hazen delivered the first week's message, the message was profound. An epic beginning to start this 5 week event leading up to the 2014 Men's Advance.

The intent of the Men's Forum is to unify the men of all Christian churches in and around our community. To continue to create a church without walls, worship, fellowship, deep discussion and HUGE growth in the hearts of the men in our communities.

Open Heart?


As I do with all of my time with God's people, I intentionally went in to this night with what I thought was an open heart. I try to leave all notions of who I have been to this point in my life at the door and just take in what God has planned for me to learn.

As Dan passionately and intentionally delivered this message to this crowd of men, gathered on a Tuesday night in Marysville, magic was happening in our hearts. God's presence was apparent and what an open heart truly means was redefined for me, through God's eyes.

The Pregame


I won't dissect this message too much, it was too good for me to hit every point of it and somehow do it justice. I can however relay where and how it hit me. First things first here though, I must say, the worship band absolutely rocked, excellent couriers in to God's presence, that shouldn't be understated but the message hit me hard, so I guess it is.

For as long as I can remember, I've looked to world class athletes for traits that I strive to have. An amazing work ethic, a dream and a lofty goal realized, humility, courage, faith and especially those with an extreme will to succeed.

Russell Wilson is all of these things. His character, by all accounts is absolutely incredible. I bring this up because it was profound to me. That Dan, self proclaimed "nerd" and hardly a fan, let alone a big fan of football would start his message with tangible (and somehow accurate) evidence of how the characteristics of Wilson's heart are responsible for where he is today. Where he is today is on the verge of achieving his ultimate football goal as well as finding himself on the biggest stage possible to spread The Word of God in a community that desperately needs it, he does the latter quite gracefully I might add.

With Super Bowl Sunday coming in a few short days, I think Dan knew the way in to our hearts because that was just the beginning. The set up or the 3 yard run before the deep play action touchdown pass.

The message of and from the heart


If you know Dan, you know Dan's heart. If you don't know Dan, know that he wears his heart on his sleeve and reveals it to his community in every walk of his life, especially while delivering a message from The Word.

I won't dive in to the event in Dan's life that he centered this message to these men around, if you weren't there, I'll leave it up to you to ask him about that. Let me just tell you that he told an amazing story, a story of true courage in a young boy's heart and the profound effects of the lessons learned from it more than 30 years later in his life. How that courage gave him the ability later in life to love his father more and better than he had even thought possible.

The fierce passion in this man's eyes, his tone and his fists, shaking at the sky made it feel like he was talking directly to me, but I know I wasn't alone...I wasn't alone in knowing that men's hearts in our society aren't just broken, they're hardened by our culture. We're on a crash course, losing the courage and will it takes to truly love God, to truly love ourselves and in turn, love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

My will to seek God is the will that matters. We've all been broken by something at some point, our will to seek God is what gives us Christ followers redemption, it's how we find God's grace in the darkest of hours in our lives and how we find true joy in the best of times.

What I took from this message is that my will to seek God, the courage it takes to open my heart, mind and soul to God's word and His people is everything. My heart is hardened by my past, the only way to soften it is to keep it open for God's work, to have the courage to completely break societies mold of the modern man and continue to give my entire life to Jesus Christ so that our community can be the light on the hill for all to see.

H.U.G.E. stuff


After the message everyone headed to breakout rooms for discussion on what we love versus what we fear and different ways men have overcome fear with the courage to chose love in many situations. I'm certain that a man's life was changed in our group and I can't wait to follow up with him to make sure he stay's in God's presence where he was on Tuesday night.

These are the rooms where new relationships with like-minded men in all walks of life come from. A safe place to find real answers to real life problems through someone else who has conquered a similar situation, because I guarantee you, someone else has been there and overcome it, whatever it may be.

So, I hope and I pray that you'll join us. If week one was this good, I can only imagine where we'll go, I can already imagine the bonds that will be created in the hearts of men in our community over the next 6 weeks. The growth that this event is creating in our communities is astounding. So please come, open your heart, be courageous and do your part to make our community and your love for it stronger.

More information on the website HERE

We'll be at the Word of Life Church on 51st Ave in Marysville on Tuesdays all throughout February.

AC3 VB4 Get In The Game

What's happening this weekend at AC3? Check it out! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

He is with us...

Matthew 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some doubted. vs19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I find it interesting that Jesus added some encouragement at the end of His great commission.  He knew there were doubters.  He gave them this amazing purpose and then backed it up with a promise.  “I am with you always”

So why do I ask God to ‘be with me’ when I go through tough times?  He’s already established the fact that He is ALWAYS with me. 

I do this for His blessing as well.  I pray for Him to ‘bless me’ or someone or something, but if we are in Christ we have already received His blessing.  Louis Giglio mentions in his Prayer Remix talk that when we pray, we usually have already made up our minds before we ask God for his seal of approval.  God doesn’t need to bless his own ideas if we stay on His page.  We should instead pray that we and others could bless Him!

But back to His first promise, I know and believe that He is always with me, but I often forget or more honestly, I just don’t ACT like I know or believe this.  What does it really look like, this ‘Emmanuel, God with us’ thing in action?  When trouble comes, and He tells us it will, (John 16:33) how can we ACT like we truly believe God is with us through it?  Really, how?  I’d like to know how that actually looks…

One thing I do know is that we should look and act differently than the world does during trouble.  How could we not?  We can focus on our troubles through an eternal perspective.  We know that we have an all-powerful God who is for us and not against us.  We should have a community to lean on for wisdom, encouragement, support, prayer and provision.  I guess if I were to trust all this to be true, the current trouble I may be facing would not defeat or discourage me like they usually do.  I would “be on my guard, stand firm in my faith, be courageous, be strong, and do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) and be surrounded by people who are all doing the same thing.  How crazy would that look?  Really, how would that look?

Yes, God is always with me but I have to turn to Him and acknowledge His eternal embrace on my life and ACT like He is with me.  I need to do this every day, hour, minute even, to remind myself, I am never alone.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014



Chazown class was incredible.

I can only dream at this point that every member of our church, every member of our community would find God's vision for their lives. The class is centered around the word Chazown (Kha-Zone), a Hebrew word meaning vision. For "Where there is no vision, the people perish."- Proverbs 29:18

Chazown class is centered on finding a sentence that defines you, a sentence that creates a vision for your life by looking at how your past experiences, your core values and your spiritual gifts overlap. Real stuff. Candid stuff. Powerful stuff.

The Chazown Journey

There is pain, triumph, sadness, glory, weak moments and defining moments when we look at our past experiences. As believers, we should take all of these things as part of God's vision for our lives. If you truly believe that God only gives you what you can handle, then all of it plays a part in defining who you are at this moment.

Combine deep thought and prayer about these instances in your past with prayerfully seeking to find the spiritual gifts you've been given, figure out what your core values are and you'll find something powerful, I guarantee it.

As with anything, you'll get out of it exactly what you put in to it. If you give this time to God, seek His guidance with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, you're going to find what you're looking for. God tells us it's true and I gave it my all in listening and learning throughout the class.

Finding my Chazown

As I said before, I went in to this with an open heart, even if I already thought that God had revealed His vision for me and that I am trying to live it.

I made my timeline, wrote down every event I could point to in my past that I felt significant one way or another. Craig, the creator of the class and the man in the video led sessions will tell you to write anything that comes in to your mind about your past as it's come to your mind for a reason and may have significance if you pray and ask God for answers. So I did, there were things sharper than knives in there, things I sometimes wish I could forget. There were also things in there that I hadn't thought about in years that were absolutely incredible moments that I never would have thought significant if not for this class. All in all, the timeline was enlightening, I thought some really great things came from my past experiences, even from dreadful events.

The biggest being my inherent need to be obedient to God's calling in my life. One thing stuck with me, he implored us to think about the things that bring pure joy, unfiltered joy, but also think about the things that make us red hot with anger when we think about them as this may point to something far more significant. After all, some of the best lessons on earth come from our hardship and our mistakes.

For me, I felt incredibly angry when I looked back to the time before I became a follower of Christ. I saw the signs he'd thrown right in front of my face that I never listened to. I thought to myself, what if I'd started listening to Him then? What if I started listening to Him when that happened in my life? Maybe, just maybe I wouldn't have to overcome so many hurdles. I wouldn't have to overcome such a sinful life that this culture created within me, my life could have been filled with joy rather than chaos, could have been filled with many more meaningful relationships rather than relationships that I would need to distance myself from in order to have a more meaningful relationship with God and with my family. The need to be obedient to God is in me, it's one of the strongest feelings I've ever felt. There were more things to take from my past experiences, but this clearly stuck out.

From there, you figure out your spiritual gifts. The strongest gifts I've received are encouragement, faith, writing and leadership, "imagine that" I thought to myself. These are things I feel compelled to do yet fight them sometimes. It's the way the Christian life works for me, the "easy way" is rarely the way that I feel God is pulling me. This exercise was no different. Moving on...

Finally, we moved to figuring out our core values. Mine came down to obedience, integrity, enthusiasm, joy, family, teamwork and community in no particular order. 

How does it all fit?

Making it all fit takes prayer, discussion, quiet time with your thoughts as well as a yearning to find God's vision for your life. Craig asks you in the videos, when you die, which we all will, would you want to meet Your Maker and have Him tell you, "you did pretty good, but you missed the one true reason you were created"? This is a powerful question, a motivational question that helped me find the sentence that I believe God wants to define my life.

I did the exercises, I filled in the charts and figured out where everything overlapped. Obedience is key, so is writing, this blog was started from a call from God so it had to fit in. The other key was Jesus. I want desperately to love like Jesus does, it showed in my answers to the class' questions. So here it is. The sentence that defines God's vision for my life, for where there is no vision, the people will perish.

"God has created me with a dream for my life, and I think it might be to obey God's calling within it, encouraging others to love like Jesus, to live intentionally like Jesus while documenting my journey to inspire my community"

So here I sit AC3, heart on my sleeve, an open book on this blog and throughout my life. I want you all to know that I live to glorify Jesus Christ. I live to bring my family and my friends to a close relationship with The One who created us. To me, that involves being obedient to "the call", being obedient so that my gifts can be given to He who gave them to me and to share them with the church that introduced me to The Lord of my life.

The last part of Chazown is as powerful as all of the others. You design a plan to follow your Chazown, you set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound goals and you set up accountability to achieve these goals. A 100 day action plan to launch God's vision for your life. Mine starts tonight, here on this blog and every one of you who has read this far in the post is my accountability partner on this blog. Let's talk about it, if you see me at church, let's get real about things happening within our walls, things you think need mentioning on here and I'll pursue them.

The next Chazown class.

Our church body needs your gifts. That's the intention of this class. Our God given gifts are meant to be shared with the community to make sure we continue to make this the safest place possible for non-believers like I was just a short time ago to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. To light God's fire that he desperately wants inside you. Going through the motions, being lukewarm on God is no longer an option, we're called to more, all of us. Don't miss the target that God has set for you, He wants more impact for your life than most of us are willing to admit.

Here's the first video in the series, I encourage you to open your eyes and your heart to what God is calling you to do, your church needs your gifts I can assure you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AC3 Video Blog #3 - Suburbaculture

Suburbaculture is coming to AC3 February 4th 6:30p-8:30p! This class meets the first Tuesday of each month for 5 months and is taught by Dan Hazen. Come and invite a friend :) More info at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Make Your Presence Known in the New Year

As Christmas is behind us and we are heading into a new year, I am reminded that what we do matters when it comes to making an impact on the next generation. Just watch the face of a child light up as they open a Christmas present! You can almost feel the anticipation and excitement that resonates throughout their entire little bodies. If a simple present can influence what a child feels so deeply, just imagine how much more our daily ‘presence’ in their lives and the words that we say, can and do, impact our children.

Children long for unconditional love and our presence. They desire to belong to something bigger than themselves; to live in a healthy community of family, friends and mentors. They need to make real life connections with us as their parents, family members and other caring adults that are brought into their lives. Our presence makes a lasting impression on them and writes on the slate of who they are.

The statistics remain the same. Parents are the #1 influence in their child's life while family members, teachers and caring adults are a close second. No matter what your role, large or small, you are making an impact on the next generation.

As a children’s ministry leader, one of my passions is to help families and children’s ministry volunteers to find ways to share their ‘presence’ together with the next generation. We do this in part at AC3 by running our weekend children’s programs as a co-op. Parents and volunteers are both involved in the staffing of our weekend children’s programs.

Parent & Volunteer KK Co-op Meeting

It is my hope and prayer that in the coming year, our families and children’s ministry volunteers will feel even more connected, loved, encouraged and well equipped to raise up the next generation, and doing so in healthy and biblical community.

If you have ideas or family events you would like to share or see posted at Kreek Kids TEAM Central or at to help us grow as a ministry team, please let one of us on the Kreek Kids Leadership team know.

Together, we can make our presence known to the next generation!

Mission 3:16

Twila Crain
Psalms 78:4

AC3 Video Blog #2 - RealSimple

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Simply Love

Simply Love

A friend wrote to Rick and me recently. He was frustrated by the skepticism of Christianity and the church he had been encountering. He wrote:

" do we respond to such disbelief... how do we get others to see that all the injustices, prejudices, greed, immoralities, un-loving, un-caring, insensitivity, etc....are not representative of the true church, that they are not teaching God's word...?

"I see, hear, and feel so much hatred....and I don't yet know how to help them understand or believe.."

First: I am proud of my friend for asking these questions and more importantly, HOW he asked them. Notice that he phrased the questions: "how do I respond..." and " how do I help..." He's examining his responses, his attitudes and activities first. (Matthew 7:3)

Second: given our current Real Simple series, I'm reminded that answers to these kinds of questions are found in simplicity; not in new programs, another book, a conference, an evangelical campaign or even a ground breaking, scintillating life altering and mind blowing sermon series at AC3 (ahem).

There is more than one answer to my friend's question but the simplest one is this: we must be open minded and authentic.  You may ask, "Well that's very nice and polite and everything...but it hardly rises to the level of STRATEGY does it?"

Yes it does.

We must never forget that most of the objections our non-believing friends hold are not based on an unbiased, open exploration of the Christian faith. G.K Chesterton summed it up this way, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." Most of their objections come from subjective, negative personal experiences and learned, cultural bias:

"Christians are judgmental, homophobes!"
"Church people are hypocrites. They say one thing and do another.."
"My friend went to that church once. They were only interested in getting her money."
"Everyone knows the Bible is just a patchwork of made-up stories and ancient fairy tales."

Therefore, if we think SIMPLY, we instantly realize that our response must in its quality, stand in contrast to our skeptical friend's biased, sometimes highly defensive objections. We must remember that in most cases, our friend's objections are based on very real, very negative, but subjective experiences usually with church people, or on second hand information. So, isn't the simple, elegant solution to NOT be the people who contributed to our friend's objection in the first place? To take the "high  road" of love, welcome and honest inquiry that Jesus actually commands and modeled? 

How do we help matters by mimicking the skeptics attitude of contempt, judgment and mockery?
We must be open. Vulnerable. Non-defensive. Honest. We must judge rightly (John 7:24) and we must not be concerned with maintaining our safety, our own reputation, our rights or the idea of BEING right. There is a difference between standing up for the Truth, and standing up for being right.

Our commitment to this kind of lifestyle is often the ONLY means of keeping a dialogue open with a skeptical world, and I would argue, always the starting point of any meaningful dialogue.

We must remember that everyone feels they have justification for what they do and what they believe. Everyone. The guy who cuts in line in front of you has a really good reason for it. Ask him! North Korean leaders feel no less justified in their actions than South Korean leaders. Hitler was just trying to save the world, after all. 

But the Atheist/Materialist must justify himself because he is completely alone in the universe with no possibility of justification from outside. All thoughts, ideas, choices and behaviors emanate exclusively from his own biology and are therefore subject exclusively to his will. 

Likewise, the Muslim, the Jew, the Moralist, the Hindu must perform in order to justify themselves. "Do the right thing...obey the RULES" is the means to justification.

The Pagan is justified only relative to his embrace of his environment; "You are justified only when your actions are aligned with nature..." again and act of self-will.

For some modern Satanists, Spiritualists and Occultists, it's explicitly stated in the central tenant, "Do what thy will...(sometimes with the addition) ..and harm none."

But the follower of Christ is different in that her source of justification lies outside herself altogether.(Romans 3:21-31)

This awareness should make us the most calm, peaceful, respectful, open and welcoming people in human experience. 


 "...If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39

I have had success in letting go of self justification in some areas. For example, I spend a lot less time trying to prove (justify) that I am worthy of love and attention. However, I still struggle with self-justification in the areas of work (making this decision or that one, heading in this or that direction) and in defending the faith overall. 

Sometime ago, I embraced a kind of self-diagnostic with this. The extent to which I get worried, defensive, insecure, combative, argumentative, etc. is DIRECTLY proportional to the extent I am self-justifying something. 

I am more convinced than ever that the SIMPLE awareness that I am not responsible for my own justification is "seeker sensitivity". Acquiring and sharing truth, extending compassion and offering hospitality flow from that awareness, and people notice it. Even skeptics.

I trust that God will continue to be faithful and that as I learn to let go of my own justification, I will, as always, find that in His love and in His power He was right there all along, providing the real thing.

It really just comes down to this, Brothers and Sisters: If we really believe in this Jesus...we would behave differently with people who believe differently.

Let us meet skepticism and even hostility with a Real Simple approach: Confident love.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Our first Video Blog entry! Check out what our January (Real Simple) series is about.