Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Who's Who at AC3-Sarah Ade

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3 . We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Twila Crain. Next up, we have Sarah Ade, who is our Office Administrator and is involved with our Youth Ministry and on the Drama Team in addition to serving in other areas.

Questions: Spiritually-minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
Talk to God or talk to people, sometimes both.
  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
Don’t run away from it. The pain will just follow you wherever you go. The best thing you can do is to be the peacemaker, even if it’s not your fault, even if you really don’t want to, even if you really, REALLY don’t want to. If you do EVERYTHING you can to make it right, then either things will be made right, or you will have the higher ground and know that you did everything you could.
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
I was reading through Hebrews (I LOVE Hebrews!) and I got to what many people call the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11). And as I was reading this list of people who were of great service to God I started to realize that they were just regular people. At the same time that I was reading through this, the church did a series called Step into the Story, and I was one of the actors. I played a variety of Old Testament characters, many of them mentioned in the Hall of Faith that I was reading through. It hit me like a ton of bricks, the biggest aha moment: God uses regular people to do extraordinary things, and I’m a regular person.
  • How I found my way to AC3:
I came to AC3 during a season of hurt from a previous church. I was desperate for friendship and human connection. My brother already attended AC3 and I knew he liked his friends so I came here in an attempt to steal them away from him. (Plan worked, his friends are my friends now!)
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Pay attention!
  • Gifting I most admire:
Giving. I know we typically look at this gifting as mostly financial givers, but really they’re just people who say yes. I appreciate the confidence in that, the self-sacrifice in that, and the faith of it all is just kinda inspiring.
  • What I tell others about serving:
Do it!
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
Serving, intentionally inviting people – even when I’m feeling uninvited myself, and doing things you don’t want to do
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: 
Journaling my prayers, reading, not just my bible, but faith-inspired books too, and talking with my closest friends that hold me accountable to God’s plans.
Questions: Secular-minded
Sarah, her sister, Anna, and brother, Tim
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Carrot cake! (Carrots are a vegetable, raisins are a fruit, and walnuts are a protein source, it’s really a completely balanced meal if you think about it…)
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
  • Marvel or DC? 
Yes. Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero, and she is DC, but overall I would probably prefer Marvel.
  • Beach or Mountains? Why? 
Beaches. Because mountains just sound like so much work.
  • Favorite season? Why? 
Season 3 of the second Dr Who series, because David Tennant and Catherine Tate. (Fall because I love the rain…)
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation? 
Some place with a pool and shopping and in walking distance of tacos
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!  What do you do? 
Eat cookie dough and watch TV.
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
Probably ER or Grey’s Anatomy
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:
Always pack extra socks and underwear.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Water Gifts-Elemental-Week 4

Drip, Drop, Roar!

It starts as just a droplet, then another, then another, each drop joining its kind to first become a puddle. Then it continues with each drop becoming bigger, more, larger; the puddle becomes a pond or a small flood. It keeps growing with each drop; lakes, rivers, oceans all are formed with the same beginning…one little drop. This is the force of water, one of the prime elements; often overlooked and underestimated, yet life cannot exist without it.

Like the element, so are the spiritual gifts which fall under its domain. Each gift builds upon itself; first with small seemingly insignificant acts, often not even seen or perceived, BUT no less powerful. These small acts begin to build upon one another until they are as strong as waves as the tide rushes in. The Water gifts include Faith, Encouragement, Hospitality, Mercy, and Words of Wisdom. Each of these gifts can seem small, insignificant, and without pizzazz, but sit back and watch closely and you can see they are just as great as the God who blesses them upon us.

Paul urges Timothy “Do not neglect your gift…” (1 Timothy 4:14) yet when your gift is one without the “Wow” factor, it really seems hard not to at times. What does one do with a gifting in Faith? Or the gift of Encouragement may seem like, “Oh great I missed my calling as a cheerleader”. God, however, uses each attribute wonderfully and often without you knowing it.

Jesus tells us that with the faith the size of a mustard seed we can command the mountain to throw itself into the sea (Matthew 21:21). There is no weakness in the faith gifting; without those who have unwavering faith who will be the rock and mortar that keeps the rest of us going, even in the darkest hour of our lives? Without encouragement who is to stop us from giving up and giving in when times are hard? Hospitality is what keeps us together and mercy never leaves anyone behind. And those of us with the gifting of Word(s) of Wisdom, let them speak when the spirit is moving in them and clarity will abound.

If you are like me, a Water element with spiritual giftings like faith, encouragement, hospitality, mercy, and word of wisdom; don’t sell it short. God has great things in store for you. As for you others who might look down upon the water gifts, or even those who look at them with complacency; watch out the water is rising and we can have all the power of the Tsunami, but with the subtlety of a single drop.

~Written by Christian Love, Elder at AC3

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Constructive Connections--Part 8


Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.

“I’m here,” I typed out in the lower third. “Now what?”

There was lag. Hovering over the logout, ready to retreat, a response came: “Now we listen; now we watch.”

My brother Stanley invited me through social media to watch a church livestream sermon. Stanley and I hadn’t spoken in months. I was surprised to see his request on my feed. In my head, I imagined him camping in the mountains somewhere, surfing the coast waters, or jail. Adventure was his passion, usually to his own detriment. My little brother, running a livestream…for a church… piqued my interest.

As the message unfolded, it related to purpose and who we were meant to be in God’s Kingdom. The pastor talked of how God gifts us attributes through the Holy Spirit which ultimately add value to the Body of Christ. Spirit gifts such as faith, encouragement, creativity, teaching, discernment, and other aptitudes; God determines and blesses individuals with specific characteristics. All sermons, I guess, tend to be focused about who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do, but most messages I had experienced in the past focused on guilt regarding what we had done 6 out of 7 days of the week. Hearing with different ears, I leaned in.

Growing up literally in the church, our home was just off the sanctuary; to the left. We never left church because church was home. I attended every Sunday sermon and every youth group. Our week focused around proper name “Church”. It was more like a person to my parents than a building filled, as my teenage-self translated, with two-faced humans. Forming within the walls was a youth making up a sweep of attitudes and actions enhancing my dual personas. Singing hymns in the morning, then going to my room to blast songs filled with sexist, racist, whatever-ist I could find to grab the attention of my own parents, put me snug alongside the two-face group. They didn’t notice; Church stood in the way. So, I turned away from Church and just talked to Jesus when I needed Him.

The sermon related many different giftings of the Spirit; from ones I desperately wanted, to the ones I cringed at considering to be about myself. I related most to being discerning. Recognizing inconsistencies is where I have been stuck for a while; especially God’s inconsistencies. My son Cody died from complications of pneumonia two years ago. He was 15. I prayed. I prayed again. I made Cody pray. We buried him on a crisp October Monday. Inconsistent. Noticing the conflicting messages of Jesus healing, and not seeing it in Cody’s short lifespan, sent me down in the pit. And that pit had many caverns that I thought I could travel within. They just lead to more darkness, more anger, more sadness, more faithlessness. Devoid of light.

I noticed comments along the lower third: “Doesn’t that sound like Mabel? She is such an intercessor!” “Yeah! And how about Jacob, he’s all about helps.” Then I read a comment from the host site: “What about Cody? He had the spirit of craftsmanship, hu?”

Tears welled up. Cody was always making. He was stuck in the house most days because of his sicknesses. My son was born with immune deficiencies; he had regular bouts with simple illnesses which frequently turned into ER visits.

“Remember the wooden spoon set he carved?” I wrote back.

“LOL! Yeah, he said he was going to make forks, but he was worried about tongue splinters!” Stanley fired back. I smiled, picturing his goofy smile on the other side of the screen.

“And then he carved about 100 of those cute bear-paws out of soap,” I stopped typing as the realization hit me square in the heart; the reason Cody made them. “Cody wanted paw soaps to go to the homeless. He said they were small enough to fit into their pockets. The less fortunate could use paw soaps to clean up during their travels, Cody used to say.”

“I remember. Yep, craftsmanship…for sure,” Stanley wrote back.

I got up and wandered into Cody’s room. It was easy to find the 3 containers labeled “Paws for your paws” on the top shelf of his closet. He always had a fun sense of corniness. “Mom, I want to go to the shelter tomorrow to give these out,” but we never made it. He was in the hospital the next week and the following, he was gone.

Taking down the boxes, I rushed back to the computer. The feed was still up even though the sermon was over.

“Stanley? Does your church have a shelter or a food bank?”

Sharing the craft my son had made was my first step out of the darkness. It is amazing how such a little thing, a bauble of soap, can put a smile on someone’s face. The smile lights the heart, the heart lights the body, and the darkness becomes less and less. My son had been gifted the spirit of Craftsmanship for a very special reason. Even though he is gone, he is still able to give off light.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

~Written by Jennifer Love

Monday, October 15, 2018

Earth Gifts-Elemental-Week 3

Craftsmanship is one my giftings.

I remember many years ago about the time that the first Matrix movie came out, Dan Hazen taught a class about how to measure what your God-given giftings are, and how to apply them to serve the church. Through that class, I learned my top gift was craftsmanship. At that time we had just finished remodeling the church, so that builder side of me was all done and hungry for something else... But now what? 

After taking the class, like I said, I found that my highest scoring gift was craftsmanship, but somehow that didn't surprise me. I thought it might be that, anyway. After the class, I asked Dan how I can get my craftsmanship gifts in the game and his answer would change the direction of my life for the next 10 plus years. 

Dan told me to check with Johnna and see if she needed a hand with the drama side of the props or drama sets. When I checked with her, she said, " I need the Nebuchadnezzar built for a fight scene". I asked her, "the what?" She told me to rent the movie The Matrix and watch it. I had a hard time finding it, but after 10 days of waiting for it to show up at the Hollywood Video store I watched it and got busy. I have made many things since that day. Hundreds of different sets. Using wood, styrofoam, sheetrock, siding, plaster, paint, hot glue, rubber cement, plastic pipes, thousands of screws, bolts, chain and wires, and gallons and gallons of paint. It has been very rewarding and very sacrificing. I took it to a new level a few times, it was challenging but it was NEVER too hard to do because God gave me what I needed to do it all. All I needed to do was manage my time, and be willing to serve. And pray for His guidance and empowerment.

There was a time or two where I tried to do it all by my own strength and abilities only to come to my senses by hearing the words of my coffee bearing friend the next morning after pulling an all-nighter. "How's it going?" he would say. I'd answer him "Can't you tell?" He asked me, "please tell me you prayed first" and I would stop dead in my tracks and just stare at him tired and with a sense of defeat, I would reply "uhhmmm no I did not." We would stop and sit quietly and my friend Joe would pray for me. And almost instantly my giftings would come alive. And the project would prevail.

I have taken a 5-year break from most of the stage creations, but the fire has returned and I hope to be busy at it again soon. There's nothing quite as satisfying as accomplishing something God made you to do. My hope is that God is glorified by the efforts spent serving his Bride, the Church. So take the test, find your giftings, then find some time and get involved, it's a wonderful experience when you're doing it with Him at your side.

Wayne Clinton
Elder at AC3 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

AC3 VB190 Elemental "Win"

What's the "Win" for our current series Elemental? Find out in this weeks video blog with Rick and Dan as they discuss more on Elemental. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fire Gifts-Elemental-Week 2

Fire! (an inner monologue)
Fire! the readout said moments after I clicked for My Result. The giftings I have received from the Holy Spirit are represented by fire - at least according to the automated assessment of a hundred answered questions. Fire hardly seems like it would fit my character - I am an introvert after all, I don't really like public speaking and I'm certainly never going to form my own cult of personality. Yet I do like to think deeply on the things of God, and I do like to encourage others to do the same - sometimes even to their aggravation with me. And what good would that be to anyone in the church? I think maybe I should run through the spiritual gifts survey one more time - just to get a second opinion ya know...
Fire! again. Oh, bother.
The readout gives some example giftings:
Teaching, evangelism, prophecy, pastor, leadership, discernment.
So what does that mean I'm supposed to do? I've never really seen myself as a Teacher, I don't really feel confident enough to expect others will even listen to me. Am I supposed to mimic what Rick does up on stage? Maybe I can just teach a small group bible study instead? Or maybe I can just write up a lesson for the church newsletter every now and again?
Yikes! Evangelism is one of the fire gifts... that scares my shoelaces off. How can an introvert like me take on something so big, so important, so... frightening? Maybe I should take the survey test just one more time...
Fire! again... dang.
And what's this? Prophecy? Does that mean I'm going to have to get in people’s faces about their sin like Jeremiah and Isaiah did? Oh, I couldn't do that - that is even scarier than evangelism (although maybe in a way they are the same thing? I'll have to think on that some more...)
The Fire gifts also include leadership and pastoring... does that mean I'm being called into full-time ministry? I'm not so sure I want that... in fact, I'm quite confident I don't want that. Does my resistance to becoming a church pastor mean I'm going to be out of God's will?
The last one on the list of giftings is Discernment. Finally, a description I am comfortable with. I mean... certainly I could develop discernment a great deal more, but I feel no resistance to this either - after all, who doesn't want to be discerning. It seems that not being discerning would mean being easily deceived - clearly something to avoid I would think. But if this is a gift empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself, perhaps there is more to it than just my own personal development skills... Surely there must be something spiritual about it all right?

So what am I supposed to do with all this? How does my own personality and identity match up with the expectations that seem to come along with the Fire giftings? I know... I will talk to Rick or Dan about it. Or maybe the elders can help me sort this out. They will probably tell me I should spend some time in prayer about it – and obviously, they would not be wrong. I can't be the only person in this church feeling overwhelmed by this... so maybe I should connect with some other people who also have Fire giftings, maybe study scripture together a bit and perhaps even pray together about how our unique sort of giftings should build up and bless our church family. Yeah yeah... that is exactly what I'm gonna do.
I wrote the above initially as an exercise to get me started on this writing thingy. I wanted to try to figure out what was important to say to Christians just learning about their spiritual gifts. I think the first thing I want to say is that, even though the giftings have names and fit into a few category boxes, each of us are unique, each Christian has a unique relationship with the Holy Spirit within them, and also a unique relationship with the humans around them - this means that the gift of teaching, for example, will find its expression in unique ways and circumstances.
Life with God is a dynamic thing. We spend energy to systematize it and categorize “The Christian Life”, but in any given moment the only thing that really has any value is relationship with God and others. Our systems may indeed help prepare us to engage in these moments, but they can also result in us getting trapped in the systems if we are not careful.
Where shall I "land the plane" (as Rick likes to say)? It is here - spiritual gifts are entirely relational (Love God, Love People). Do not try to figure out your giftings, or what they mean for your life path, in isolation from others. The categories we place these giftings in are meant only to be a help - not a nine-lock-box to get trapped in. There are others around you finding themselves in the same place of wonder and confusion - this is a blessing – a part of being the church - so go be confused together... go wonder in love.
~Written by Shea Caperoon

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

AC3 VB189 Elemental

We have a new series starting up this weekend. Watch this weeks video blog as Rick and Dan discuss our new series "Elemental". Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Say Hi to AC3's New Nursery Director!

A note from Karli!

*Good Afternoon,

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and for welcoming me into the family this last month.

As you know, I have taken on the role of the Nursery Director position for the year of 2018-2019. This opportunity has opened the door for me to use my gifts from Christ in order to help wherever possible to facilitate growth in Kreek Kids Ministry.

A little bit about myself: I was born and raised in this wonderful community of Marysville, and have moved all around the Pacific Northwest my whole life, but have always come back to my hometown. A relationship with Christ for me has always been apparent, but like any Christian, God has left the heard of his sheep to find me when I am lost time and time again. At the hardest point in my life, He was always there to comfort me. I have been a part of AC3 for four years, I have a loving husband, and a one year old son. When I am not at church, I spend most of my time co-owning a photography studio here in Marysville, WA.

A few fun facts about myself:

1. Who in our family tells the best stories? My Mother in Law Deanna Braaten is so good at telling a story to our family or reading a book.
2. What is your family motto? "Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken"
3.What is your family's place to hang out? Honestly, either at church, at Chase's parents, or at home. We like to be home whenever possible.
4.What's your favorite family movie? Either Thor Ragnarok, Princess Bride, or my husband's favorite, Knights Tale.
5.If you could go anywhere as a family, where would it be? Always Disneyland/world or Europe!
6. Pumpkin Patch or Supermarket for pumpkin picking? ALWAYS pumpkin patch (or to just look at all the cool pumpkins and take the kids in the wagon, but then going to the store to get a cheaper carving pumpkin haha!)

I have agreed to join the Kreek Kids Directors for my passion in Children's Ministry, and believe that a child's relationship with God can begin as early as birth. A simple nursery song can help educate an infant in who our God is, and how much he loves us. Early introduction into a foundation of faith can determine a solid lifelong relationship so no matter what life throws at you, there will always be someone in your corner. Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child the way up he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Along with a child's need for ministry at a young age, AC3 also believes in the importance of parent contribution into that growth of a child's relationship with Christ Our Kreek Kids Weekend Mission: To be the BEST HOUR in every family’s Week!  Our Co-op Mission: Partnering with Parents to raise up the next Generation of Heroes in the Faith!

Please feel welcome to reach out to me anytime to learn more about our Nursery, or visit with us on Saturday, October 13th, 2018 in the Orange Room for a Nursery Brunch with a brief presentation about our AC3 KKM mission and get to know our Nursery a little more. 
Warm Regards and Happy October,

Karli Olsen
Ac3 Nursery Director

Constructive Connections-Part 7

Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.

Watching the Lower Third

“Just listen to what is broadcasted on the media-feed; make sure the sound and video is clear,” Jacob Meyer said, wincing as he leaned to the left. Recovery from surgery hadn’t been easy. “My video, your feed. Just make sure to push,” pained again, he pointed to the highlighted script schedule with one hand and with the other pointed to the keyboard, “the mute button so we don’t show the copywritten production.

It really was an easy volunteer job. I was used to letting Jacob overexplain instructions.

“Another part of your job is to keep an eye on the lower third,” he said.
“Just make sure you keep on top of the comments,” then he eyed me in classic Jacob stare fashion; mustache twitch, left eyebrow lift, top lip hidden by bottom teeth. “Make nice, hospitable comments, like you were talking on the phone with a friend. Or texting, which is what I’m sure you are used to but don’t use text talk! I hate that stuff. If you want to say ‘you’ don’t use the letter ‘u’. And proper grammar is appreciated by all the viewers.” He stopped and pointed his finger at the screen, “And do not cuss!”

“Check,” I answered. I’ve been working with him for a few months through my friend, Craig, who referred me for some odd jobs at Jacob’s house. He still doesn’t quite trust me even though I’ve always shown up to clean up his yard every Wednesday at 4 sharp. 

Fighting the urge to say, Just breath, man! I answered instead with, “You have made that crystal clear, my friend.” I rocked back in my chair, adjusting my burgundy knit under the earphones, listening to the audio output from Jacob’s video feed. Humans are judgmental beings. Suppose we were created to categorize for a good reason. What is an edible berry vs a poisonous one, what is a good kitty vs a vicious one, what is a good cup of coffee vs instant? God might have been thinking he was doing us a favor by giving us this category sorting system, but like all good things; we humans go and mess it up. 

I can’t blame Jacob too harshly for putting me into his “homeless” category. My camp residence is a sage two-man tent without address or mailbox. Setting my phone to the white noise of a raging river was my life two years ago. Now waking up to the cool of the morning, a real-time roaring river is actual blessed white noise.

The burgundy knit hat I wear every day is the reminder. Category: Mourning. Cody, my nephew was only 15. When I was having lunch, talking with Craig, he asked if I blamed God for not saving Cody from sickness. Never did.

Just because I don’t have a permanent roof over my head, doesn’t mean God and I don’t get along. Or Just because I live in a tent doesn’t mean I don’t know Jesus. I grew up getting to know God through Dad’s sermons. We had a life of church, school, family, friends. Category: American Dream. But one day, things were not so good. So I ran.“The world is ugly,” I explained, “and it isn’t always kind. But God isn’t responsible for sickness. He’s an artist! Why would he scrap his creations with the ugliness of Sick? Na, sickness is Category: Satan."

My sister Kari, Cody’s mom, is another story. Category: Vanishing. She’s not so good with God right now. Kari spends hours on the computer watching what is going on in other people’s lives. She is living a half-life through the smiles, vacations, thumbs up, and likes. More likely, she’s feeding into the lies. Lies of perfect health, perfect marriages, perfect children, perfect cooks. When I packed my stuff from the spare bedroom to move out, I told her I wasn’t going to watch her disappear. We already experienced heart-wrenching wasting away, I couldn’t experience another. Two years of Kari’s immovable numbing sorrow couldn’t have been God’s plan when he released Cody from his sick body.

Craig asked me to come check out his church. “You know I’m Category: Wanderer, don’t you?” I replied expecting inevitable judgment, wondering if Craig was aware of the line he would be crossing to bring me into his camp.

“Yeah, I got that, Stanley,” he said knowing my story. “But I read about this guy that asked a really great question to this other guy: ‘Do you want to get well?’”

The Jesus reference was clear; I remember hearing my dad preach on it once. In John 5 there is a story of a disabled man who couldn’t get to the water to take a bath. He asks for Jesus’ help. Jesus doesn’t give him a hand, he doesn’t lift him up by the armpits; he just asks him, “Do you want to get well?”

The guy gives him all kinds of valid physical excuses as to why he can’t get to the water, but by ignoring the question, Do you want to get well?  he ignores the hope that he could ever be different from how he was in that moment.

In true Jesus awesomeness, He says, “Get up!” and the guy walks! It took some courage for Craig to call me out: Category: Listening to God. It got me through those church doors, and as I turned towards God again, I began to feel well.

I’d be like, “Heck yeah, I want to get better!” But maybe he just didn’t know how to let Jesus know that he really wanted to be able to walk to the water himself? He was stuck in the idea that he couldn’t get better.

When I saw an opening to help livestream the sermon, I thought of Kari sitting captive; enthralled by the water, but unable to walk to it to get clean. Through seeing and hearing the sermon in the place where she is stuck, maybe she could hear God ask her: Do you want to get well?

I sent her the link to the livestream sermon. Pulling up her friend profile, a pic of her and Cody, both smiling ear to ear, pain pangs returned and burned a little. I messaged her about 10 times with quips like; “New job: Check church social media page for live feed at 10:30!”, “Please can you can message so I know you are there?”, “Come-on, help me make a good impression the first day on the job!”, “Help a brother…your brother…out!” I know…Category: Begging. I don’t have the words. Jesus does, though.

Do you want to get well?

“5-minute heads-up,” Jacob nudged, while trying to focus the camera, grimacing as his stomach complained. Jacob knows lots about volunteering; not so much about taking it easy after surgery. 

Adjusting my burgundy knit I nodded, ready to watch for the Kari and Cody circle along the lower third.

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

~Written by Jennifer Love

Monday, October 1, 2018

Miracle Gifts--Elemental-Week 1

I became a Christian at 15.  And almost instantly it seemed, I started looking differently at that institution which was simultaneously, the bane of my existence, the dominant feature of my WHOLE way of life, the source of my pride and joy all rolled into one – my HIGH SCHOOL.

My High School suddenly became an arena for MISSION.  I stopped seeing it only as classes and friends, teachers and grades and getting ready for college – and a place to be rejected by females.  It was still all that, but now it was something more.  I had read these words of Jesus a million times, but suddenly reborn, I realized they applied to ME.
Matt 5:13-15 - "You are the salt of the earth. …"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Accordingly, I began to see my high school through Jesus' eyes, as a dark place that needed some light.  I saw it as a rotting place and I was the salt called to rub in there and keep it from decay.  I saw it as a foreign country and I was an ambassador to it.

So I started to look for opportunities for conversations, relationships, and good deeds I could engage in to direct people to the God who had bought me and loved me.

The way I saw my High School is how I think Christians ought to see the world.  The world is the Titanic Sinking, in two ways:

On one hand, it is a disaster from which I must flee: Its values, its habits, its thinking were a threat to my very soul and I needed to separate myself.  On the other hand, it was an opportunity; a tragedy which called out for action and intervention.

If I had fled by getting in the Lifeboat, others were still floating in the water, lost and in need.  So now it was my duty to go back in.  Being pulled into the Lifeboat, immediately puts me on a Mission back to the disaster from whence I came.

Now, some of you maybe have been cowed into thinking that it’s presumptuous of you to think you could be on a mission from God;  to think God could USE you.  And maybe on your own, the mysterious life change that God has in mind for lost humanity would be impossible to realize.  But what if I told you, God has rigged the game?  What if I told you, God had accounted for you limitations when he called you the salt and light of the World?

In fact, the recurring teaching of the New Testament is that every follower of Jesus whom he commissions as his Ambassadors also has been divinely enabled by his Spirit to follow that commission.  In October, we’ll look at all those divine enablements, and we’ll categorize them into four groupings in four weeks.  And you will find yourself in at least one group and realize that you – yes you! – have been equipped for your part in the rescue operation.

The first week we’ll deal with “Wind” gifts – the miracle gifts that Christians often debate about their validity and operation.  But it’s a good place to start a series on gifting because, in some sense, EVERY gift is a miracle gift!  Because every gift comes from the Holy Spirit inside, who energizes you and brings disproportionate (read: a miraculous amount of) fruit out of a particular service you render.

This miraculous quality of the gifts applies not just to the superstar gifts that everyone sees – leadership, teaching, evangelism.  It applies to everyone because we ALL are gifted to serve the great Mission.

Look at the early church.  Aside from the likes of Peter and Paul we have Dorcas, a humble old lady known for her part in the Mission: “She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.”

Transformed people in the early church lived out their gifting so effectively, they turned the Roman Empire upside down in 300 years.  One church father quoted outsiders looking in saying: "See, how they love one another!”

They fed orphans and took in abandoned babies. Women streamed into the early church because it was a haven from Roman misogyny, that used them as sex objects, got them married by age 13 and left them to starve after they were widowed.  While plagues were causing Romans to toss even their own family members into the street, or leave town, Christians serving with their gifts, were found moving in to care for the sick and take them in.

Jesus one time said we followers would do “greater things”.  How could that be, when Jesus did some pretty great things?  But what if he didn’t mean greater physical miracles, but greater spiritual fruit?  While Jesus had done amazing things, in 300 years, his followers had turned an entire Pagan Empire, Christian.

It is your destiny to serve the Great Mission, and your gifts are the miraculous provision God has given you to participate in it!

~Written by Rick Thiessen

Who's Who at AC3-Twila Crain

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3 . We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Nate Crain. Next up, we have Twila Crain, who is one of our staff members highly involved with Kreek Kids, Seeds of Grace, and she has many other responsibilities around  AC3. 

Questions--Spiritually Minded

  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day: 
Usually, eat too much and watch a few TV shows.
  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church: 
Don’t get mad, get busy. Get busy discovering your part in the brokenness and talking to those in the brokenness with you. Read an applicable book or two and seek wise counsel from those that can help fix or advise next steps for your specific situation.
  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him: 
I was about 5 years old. I remember walking down the aisle at the First Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. This historic church building is still being met in by believers today.
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life: 
Probably when I created a personal mission statement; To live life fully, faithfully and fruitfully. That’s the shortened version.

Twila and her husband, Tracy

  • How we found our way to AC3: 
An AC3er suggested we invite our sister-in-law, who was looking for a local church within 20 minutes from her home to check out AC3. We visited AC3 with her a few times, our kids loved it and we’ve been here ever since.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me: 
There will always be someone smarter, richer, funnier, skinnier, prettier and more popular than you. Just be your true self, the one who God created you to be.
  • Gifting I most admire: 
Those with a shepherding gift.
  • What I tell others about serving:
Just do it. Don’t wait until you decide exactly what you want to do or you’ll miss the joy in the journey getting there.
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community: 
Serving, attending services regularly, involved in small group and mentoring relationships.
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: 
Listening to or reading the Daily Bread devotional, listening to a variety of worship music and podcasts relating to issues I’m dealing with at the time.

Questions--Secular Minded

  • What book left a lasting impression on you? 
When Helping Hurts
  • Marvel or DC? 
I marvel over a lot of things and would love to visit DC😊
  • Beach or Mountains? Why? 

Twila, Tracy, and (L-R) son Nate,

daughter-in-law Amanda, daughter-in-law Braeden,

son Brandon

Beach. Water and sun feed my soul.
  • Favorite season? Why? 
Summer. The odds increase for warmer and sunny weather.
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities! What do you do? 
Watch TV, shop at thrift stores, drink coffee and each chocolate
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched? 
Worst Cooks in America (yep, I know…)
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Neither but my bent has been night owl over the years.