Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AC3 VB *Special* #PrayForMP

There are many opportunities in our community this week to help you grieve with the tragedy that happened last Friday. Watch this VB for more details.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

AC3 VB *Special* Morning Prayer

A special video blog courtesy of Pastor Dan Hazen, from the roof of our building, in the wake of the tragedy at MPHS yesterday morning. God Bless.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Precious Moments; Kids and Communion


As you may have noticed, and or been a part of, our children at AC3 have been more involved in our weekly church services. Our leadership's vision is for our kids to know what's happening inside our church, get a sense of what we do, why we're doing it and to be involved themselves. This is all in hope that each child will have their own moments where God is touching their hearts and they can look back upon these moments as they grow. 

If you missed this, please check out the AC3 Video Blog, Rick and Dan's take on worshiping with our "short people" around AC3.

For me, I look back at moments when God was reaching in to my life and I didn't have the tools to know what was happening. I made poor decisions and never followed where The Holy Spirit was leading me, I had no clue what that even meant. It's a passion of mine to help my kids and the youth here at AC3 to know that the tools to decipher these interactions are at their disposal. 

Little Ones at Services

Ok so I have to get this public service announcement from the father of two little rambunctious boys off of my chest. Those of us at church who have little guys, we know that they're a distraction, that they're noisy and trust me when I tell you that we know all about anxious feelings that come with the thought of somehow letting our little guys get in the way of someone's moment with God.

I'm certain these distractions will settle as the kids get more and more used to being in there with us. So please try to look at the beauty in sharing these moments with the whole family and know that we're working diligently to get the little ones worshiping with us and limiting distractions.

Communion for my family

Bet (my wife) and I have two little boys, both very different, both incredibly awesome. Our oldest, Liam is 4 and he's already a more spiritual being than I was at age 30. For example, he prays when he "has bad words in his head" for Jesus to take them out of there for him. That's just how Liam rolls. 

Needless to say, Liam loved our first all family communion this past month where the kids walked to the back of the auditorium and met elders there to help them learn about communion as they had juice and a snack. He soaked it up and talked all about how Jesus gave us snacks to symbolize his broken body. He's creating moments that he may remember for the rest of his life, right now. It's incredible to be a part of God reaching his heart at such a young age and I'm looking forward to many more of these amazing moments.

Mixed Communion This Weekend!!

So, our leaders have decided we'll do communion in a variety of different ways for the little ones to determine which is best. This weekend, they'll get a "Remember IT" snack pack when they walk in the room equipped with a small booklet for their parents to go through with them, you can download that HERE if you'd like to check it out before arriving at church. 

For more information about this weekend's communion, click HERE.

Hope to see you this weekend!! 

-Jared Galde

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

AC3 VB42 *Special* Set Up & Take Down

This weeks video blog is going to take you behind the scenes of the set up and take down for each weeks video blog. Watch here and enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

AC3 VB41 The Church Lady

You won't want to miss this weeks video blog as we have a special guest, the Church Lady. Rick will interview her about our upcoming topic, Hell, at church during The Paranormal Musical: Crossing Over. I hope you all enjoy as much as I did filming and editing this weeks video blog :) -Nate

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Only Bad People Go To Heaven

Depiction of the Scene from
"The Great Divorce" by CS Lewis
I received a question this week about hell, which is very timely since we'll be talking about hell at AC3 this month in our Crossing Over series.  The question was basically this:  "My brother is offended by the very idea of hell and wants to know why I think he's going and I'm not.  It made me uncomfortable that I didn't know how to answer."

It's a good question and made me think hard about how we approach this topic in candid conversations with outsiders to faith (and you can read my whole response here):

This can obviously be very touchy.  But actually, it’s best that the topic turns personal - not by getting into the eternal destiny of your friend, but by talking about you.   For every Christian who takes Jesus seriously, should be clear about one thing: you are qualified for hell. Start there.  Before you judge another, you can judge you.  And you know you; you know your heart; you know your posture towards a holy God, and without anyone trying to make you feel bad, you know in your quiet heart, you’re among the people whose pride and depravity separate you from God.  That's the default position of everyone.

See, in such conversations, you should try to fix the misconception that hell is somehow the destiny for the especially bad people. And that somehow Christians are the special “good” people that God loves because of their goodness; that they’re his favorites (due to their politics more than their actual moral performance), and the rest of humanity are especially bad. This is understandably offensive to moral living unbelievers – which is most of them. They KNOW they are morally better than many others, including many Christians, whose sins and hypocrisies they take great pleasure in pointing out.

Well, no well-instructed Christian believes this myth that only the good people go to heaven. So, when you do finally get into why you might believe someone outside of Christ will not experience life in the hereafter, but those who trust in him will, you must point out that the Christian position is near OPPOSITE of that “good people” myth. The true Christian position is something closer to – only the bad people go to heaven.

Saying that will get the hell-skeptic's attention. Of course you’ll need to explain, but it’s not hard.

First of all, to explode the "good person" myth, ask:  if only the good people go to heaven, who are they? What’s the standard? No one could ever agree to one. Maybe God grades on some kind of curve, but then, who sets the curve? How much good, is good enough? No one could know and thus the whole “good person” theory leads to a lifetime of insecurity, prideful comparisons, doubt, fear and not measuring up.  Which summarizes the religion and spiritual life of millions of people.  This problem is precisely what Christianity comes to solve.

Now, if a person says, well, “good enough” is simply living up to your own moral code, being true to yourself – then my challenge would be to ask whether anyone passes even that radically reduced bar of moral performance. I don’t. I believe things, and want things and intend to do things that I don’t do – every day.

Finally, a lot of non-Christians pride themselves in thinking the Sermon on the Mount is their guiding code.  Three words in response to that are: “don’t go there!” Why not? Well, simply because the Sermon on the Mount, for all it’s wonderful, lofty teachings, essentially puts the achievement of true goodness out of the reach of EVERYONE. Jesus spiritualizes the law in that famous sermon. He tells us that adultery is more than not sleeping the wrong bed, it’s a heart thing too. He tells us that heart murder (a simple curse!) puts a person in danger of hell!  (Matt 5:22)

And if that’s the case, then EVERYONE is in danger of hell, because the standard of "good enough" is impossibly high. In fact, Jesus says in that sermon, “be perfect.”  Well, that rules me out.

Therefore, good people don’t go to heaven, because according to Jesus, no one is good. That is, not “good enough.” Yet, despite Jesus revealing the depth of our predicament of condemnation, the same Jesus comes to rescue us from it. He later says, “I have not come for the well, but for the sick.” (Matt 9:12) He says that in response to some very high moral performers looking down on the sad company of losers and sinners he was hanging with.

Jesus is clear, you don’t get the Kingdom by being good enough. Bar’s too high. No one crosses. All fall short.  Now you might have a friend who thinks their moral performance outshines Gandhi and Mother Teresa. It might serve at that point in the conversation to point out that people like Teresa and Gandhi were both convinced they were not "good enough".

(Gandhi for example – whom we think couldn't possibly be lost – was tormented by the things he saw inside his heart. He wrote in his autobiography: "It is a constant torture to me that I am still so far from Him whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from Him.")

I've asked a Jesus loving, hell disbelieving friend this question before:  "Jesus said he did not come for the well, but for the sick.  Are you well or sick?"   He had no answer.  And I could see the wheels spinning:  If he says he's sick, he affirms that there is such a thing as sin and God rightly stands in judgment on it, a place like hell is a just consequence of it.  If he says he's “well” then he's admitted that the Jesus he thinks he loves has basically said to him, “I haven’t come for you.”

Who did he come for?  The sick. Which is to say, those who KNOW they are sick. All are sick, but until they become convinced of it, a person will find Jesus gracious offer to be offensive.  Yet once a person becomes convinced of their badness, their sinfulness, their fallenness and their candidacy for hell, they get humble, and desperate, and they spy in Jesus a way to be “good enough” that isn't about them, but rather about his amazing mercy.

So it’s in THAT sense that only the bad people go to heaven. Meaning, only the the people who see they are truly bad, far from God, and rebellious against God’s goodness, can have a moment where they put themselves at the mercy of Dr Jesus to heal their soul sickness. If you think you’re good enough, you will never abase yourself like that.  People who are convinced of their own goodness are not likely to see their need, therefore, won’t turn to Jesus for grace and forgiveness. Only those convinced of their badness will so turn, and thus only the “bad people” go to heaven. Which is to say, the forgiven people.

So to get back to our skeptic's question:  why would I go to heaven and he would not?  Not because I'm better than him. More likely because I am worse! Because I know I am not good enough and could never be. I leave open that my friend theoretically might be "well", and it might take bullets out of his indignation gun.  But I know I could never be, thus I turned to Christ.

In your view then, IF your beloved friend would go to hell, it might have to do with him being a better person, someone self sufficient enough to reject any help along the way, and maybe because of that pride, turn a blind eye to dark heart places that show the truth: his heart is deceptive and selfish and greedy. A person who goes to their grave not seeing that, will stiff arm God’s grace by refusing the humility that the Christian gospel requires to receive it. And that person is “on their own” on judgment day.  You simply believe that moment will not go well for anyone who doesn't get their passing grade somehow other than their own spotless moral performance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014