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! :)