• Ankeny
    • Bondurant

Ankeny Campus

Pastor

Todd Stiles

Address

317 SE Magazine Road, Ankeny, IA US 50021

Service Times

Sundays at 8:30am and 10:30am

Bondurant Campus

Pastor

Carlos Jerez

Address

700 Garfield Street SW, Bondurant, IA US 50034

Service Times

Sundays at 9am

Upcoming Events

Middle School Small Groups
Every Wednesday, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Our main ministry for Middle School Students. Every Wednesday night we have a ton of fun, walk students through the narrative of the Bible and let them discuss and ask ...

Awana
Every Wednesday, from 01/13/2016 to 05/04/2016, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

We begin every Wednesday evening at 6pm, leading off with high-energy, family-friendly worship for the whole family, followed by a time of fun, practical, and solid ...

FFC Blog

Competing for Christ
Feb 09, 2016
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We’ve all seen athletes thanking God in post game interviews.

But if you pay close attention, you’ll see that almost all of these interviews have one thing in common: the athlete was the winner of the game. 

Rarely do you see an athlete that just lost a competition thank God. 

There are a couple of things you should know about me. I love basketball, and I hate to lose. 

I started playing when I was 6, and I still play at the age of 41. I enjoy every aspect of the game, I coach several teams every year, and I watch hundreds of games from 4th graders all the way to the NBA every season. My biggest enjoyment in the game is to be able to show my skills, or my player’s skills, in a competitive game. 

I say I hate to lose. 

That is probably not too different than many of you. After all, who enjoys failing? 

That was me. Losing would eat me up inside. I was not very pleasant to be around after a loss. It didn’t matter if I played well or poorly; it didn’t even matter if I played at all. That’s right, when my favorite team would lose, it would ruin my day. 

Why do we forget who we are when we compete?

I think of Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Read that again: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Knowing this, how can the outcome of a game have such an impact on our lives? 

After college, I took a long break from playing any competitive sports. When FFC purchased our current facility, it seemed like a great opportunity for me to get back to playing basketball. Unfortunately, the “hate to lose” attitude also resurfaced. 

I was okay with this at the time, because we had a number of unchurched guys who played with us. I told myself that when they see a Christian competing hard and being upset after a loss, they will see I am no different than any other competitor. 

Boy, was I wrong!

One night after we played, a guy asked me where I worked. He was floored that I worked for the very church we were playing in. He didn’t see me as the same as him, he saw me as a fraud. A Christian man behaving like a toddler when he didn’t win a meaningless game. 

That hit me hard. 

It made me think about how I was representing Christ in my actions. I had a choice to make: compete for Christ or stop playing basketball. I chose to compete. But what does that look like? 

I decided to coach my teams to compete, and not be concerned with the outcome. 

I decided that when I compete, I will do so with one thing in mind: to glorify God. 

I read about the core values of my favorite coach, and I decided that I wanted to coach the same way. 

I took his five values: unity, passion, appreciation, integrity, and diligence, and dove into the Bible to see what I could learn about these values and how they relate to competing as a Christian. 

In the FLASH program at FFC, we attempt to instill these values in our players. We have a simple sentence for each value as well as a verse that speaks to each:

Unity
Team first. Lead by giving. Make teammates better. 
Philippians 2:3- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. “

Passion
Commit to excellence with positive energy and relentless persistence.
Colossians 3:23- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.”

Appreciation
An attitude of gratitude. Grow in both victory and defeat.
1 Thessalonians 5:18- “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Integrity
Do what is right, simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Proverbs 10:9- “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Diligence
Pursue excellence with 100% effort and efficiency every day.
Proverbs 4:23- “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

An acronym we use for these values is UPAID. Christ paid the ultimate price on the cross for our sins. As Christians, when we compete, we must ask ourselves “what are we representing?” I tell the boys that if they represent these values on and off the court, they will have paid the price to be great for Christ. 

I would love to say that I always get this right, but I don’t. Sometimes I stew a little too long over a loss; sometimes I get upset when I don’t think we played our best and we came up short.  

Let me give you an example of an 8th grade player that gets it. We were playing a game earlier this season, we had lost our last three games and were starting to feel the effects of a losing streak. We really could have used a win. In the 4th quarter, there was a play right in front of our bench where the ref made the wrong call, giving us the ball even though it was tipped out by Brandon on our team. As the coach of the other team started going crazy over the bad call, Brandon walked right to the ref and let him know that he touched it last, and it was the other team’s ball. 

He wasn’t thinking of winning and losing at all, he was thinking of doing the right thing. 

We all compete at something, sports, work, the classroom, etc. Take a look at how you compete. Are you a living example of how God wants us to compete? 

 

FFC Blog

Gallbladders, Bad Backs and Spiritual Gifts
Feb 01, 2016
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It was my senior year of high school, and I was playing on a volleyball team at the Iowa Games in Ames. I was playing at the net, went up for a hit, came down wrong, and suddenly, my back failed to do its job of supporting my body. I was on the floor, had to be carried off the court, and went to the hospital to make sure there wasn’t something extremely wrong.

I literally had no strength in my legs, and it took several hours before I was able to support myself safely. I was out for the rest of the tournament.

Even today, I struggle with the reality of having a bad back. If I push myself too hard, like move my furniture all over the house, I’ll pay for it for days with a sore back and limited range of movement.

Unfortunately, the lesson of slowing down isn’t a pill I’ve been too eager to swallow.

Once again, in the busy month of December, I found myself without the effective service of my back. I can’t even honestly pinpoint what I “did” to put my back out, but I found myself, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, hobbling around like I had an extreme interest on what I was seeing on the floor.

I was out of commission.

Unable to do the simple tasks I was accustomed to doing in order to care for my family.

Carrying laundry baskets was out.

Bringing in groceries...nope.

Emptying the dishwasher...nada.

After days of misery, I acknowledged the fact that I needed to seek help for the condition of my back. It wasn’t getting better, I was getting more and more frustrated, and I needed improvement if I was to have any hope of pulling off my Christmas “to do’s.”

So, I headed to the chiropractor for treatment and very very slowly, things began to improve.

Shortly after my back went out, a friend of mine offered (demanded) to come over and said, “You better have something for me to do when I get there.” And, because she knew my mental state was in just as much disarray as my physical body, she brought me a fancy coffee to drink while I watched her clean (mom clean) my kitchen. She left me with lifted spirits and scoured sinks.

It was relief.

About one week later, my mom and grandmother showed up for a weekend of Christmas cookie decorating. While they were at my house, my 86-year-old grandmother caught our family up on at least five baskets of clean, but unfolded, clothing. She sat in our basement for hours folding our unmentionables.

‘Acts of service’ is her spiritual gift, one of which I’ve been a recipient for decades. She often laments the fact that she doesn’t have any “talent.” She wishes she could decorate like my mom, play instruments like my husband, be clever like my oldest son, or more humorous like me.

She sighs and often remarks, “I’ve just always been good at cleaning and ironing. How boring.”

I adamantly disagree.

I simply cannot count the number of times my grandmother has blessed me and my family through her acts of service. When she visits, my kitchen is always tidy. Something a mom of three boys is always thankful for. She constantly asks what she can be doing to help me.

She’s scrubbed, cleaned, ironed, folded, vacuumed, dusted, swept and scoured while at my house. On her last visit, she even bought me a bottle of glass cooktop cleaner to try out. She’s perpetually making sure she’s meeting my needs in terms of housework while she’s here. It’s always a gift I can’t thank her for enough.

Although I’m sure hours of folding laundry in my basement with my excessively loud boys doesn’t exactly rank high on her “Top Ten Ways to Spend My Christmas Vacation”, it has blessed me more than words can express.

Isn’t that the way it goes most of the time? Our “regular,” acts of service and the hum drum outpourings of our meager talents can literally mean the world to someone else. In my misery, I wasn’t looking for a new Lamborghini or diamond broach, just someone to put a little bleach in my toilets and elbow grease on my kitchen counters.

My friend came at the perfect time to both lift my spirits and clean my kitchen. My grandma didn’t shy away from asking me repeatedly how she could most help me during her visit. Receiving the blessings they bestowed upon me through their spiritual gifts is exactly how God designed this thing to work.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

I struggled for years with the fact that my husband can rip a funky riff on stage, and I could only sniff a funky rip from my kids’ pants. My spiritual gifts do not require me to employ a nice voice or guitar, but rather a pen and teaching tools, a sponge and soft scrub and a mixing bowl and measuring cups. But, like the the gifts my husband uses on stage, my gifts have been administered to me for the exact same purpose: to serve others.

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:18–25)

This December, as I laid around my house pouting about the uselessness of my body, Christ’s body came to serve me. If it weren’t for people willing to employ their “less honorable” gifts on my behalf, I could still be wallowing in unfolded laundry and grimy dishes.

Friends, God has so creatively designed each and every one of us for the express purpose of glorifying Himself and serving one another. For some of us, it looks fancy and glitzy and full of glamour. For others of us, it looks dirty, smelly, tedious and full of gaseous emissions.

But, for all of us, it looks like an outpouring of grace bestowed upon us by our Creator to bless one another.

As the digits on the calendar have rolled over yet again to this new year, I encourage each of you to jump in and start using your gifts to serve the body. You might think of yourself as the gallbladder of the body of Christ, but trust me, someone is in desperate need of a functioning gallbladder right now!

By withholding your spiritual gifts from the rest of the body, you are doing a disservice to the healthy function of the Church. We need each other, gallbladders and all.

So make this your year. Purpose to figure out just exactly how God has gifted you to increase the effectiveness of the church. Whether it’s trying out for the worship team or throwing out the garbage after nursery school, you have been promised it will bless others in a way no one else can.

For more information on how to serve at FFC, visit:

firstfamily.church/next-steps/serve

For information about our next spiritual gifts class visit:

firstfamily.church/ministries/adultclasses

  

 

FFC Blog

The Journey into Joy
Jan 26, 2016
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If you're a believer who, like me, is grieving the death of a loved one, James' exhortation to "Count it all joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds" can feel both inspirational and impossible.

On one hand, his promise of spiritual purpose and meaning in the midst of heartache and loss is hopeful. On the other, the chasm between the pain of a loved one’s death and joy feels insurmountable.

Grief is a unique trial, in that there is no resolution this side of heaven. From the moment we lose a loved one—a child, a parent, a best friendlife is pervasively, fundamentally altered. Like the optical illusion that relies on positive and negative space to form either a vase or two silhouetted faces, life is suddenly defined by both what's happening and by what's not.

When the empty space left by our loved ones looms large, the ache is soul deep and penetrating.

Yet, it isn't that we as grieving believers don’t want to shift our focus away from pain to joy—the challenge is how.

On this journey into joy, Christ's prayer in Gethsemane offers guidance: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). In that moment, Christ surrendered. Not just to a gruesome death but to the redemptive plan of a sovereign God.

So we also surrender.

Not to our pain and sorrow, but to the truths we know about who God is and His redemptive work in our lives.

And in surrender, we open the door to joy.

Dear friends, this is not an easy task, because it requires that we first feel and then put words to our pain. It is this process of putting words to our struggles, and then offering them up in surrender, that keeps "count it all joy" from becoming a superficial platitude.

In other words, it is as we place our sorrows within the context of God's character and promises for us as believers that our focus can shift to the spiritual reality that fuels joy.

Biblical joy is more than just happiness here on earth.

It is an emotion born not out of understanding, but out of our celebration that Christ loves us enough to strip our souls of sin and transform us to be more like Himself.

As we take these steps of both surrender and celebration, Christ Himself will lead us into joy.

 

 

FFC Blog

New Year's Resolutions from an Old Dead Guy
Jan 18, 2016
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It's the second week of January; how are your New Year's resolutions going?

Is this year truly going to be the year you turn over that new leaf, or will 2016 be similar to last year? I hope and pray that 2016 will be one marked by growth and accomplishments for you. 

A website called statisticbrain.com predicts the following top 10 New Years resolutions for 2016:

10. Spend more time with family 
9. Fall in love
8. Help others in their dreams
7. Quit smoking 
6. Learn something exciting
5. Stay fit and healthy 
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
3. Spend less. Save more.
2. Get organized.
1. Lose weight.

Is your resolution for 2016 on this list? These resolutions are honorable, but I can’t help thinking that the majority of them are still pretty selfish and shortsighted, aren’t they?

Can I challenge you to compare this list to the Puritan preacher and reformed theologian, Jonathan Edwards? He created a list of 70 resolutions, beginning with this foreword: "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake."

If you read through his 70 resolutions, you'll find that, in true Puritan practice, most of his statements beginning with the word "Resolved" have to do with reflecting on his spiritual life, refining his character, or readying himself for earthly death/meeting Christ.

It is as if Edwards was answering the question, “How can I please God more this year?”, instead of “How can I be happier?”

I find this amazing. 

Here are a few that strike me as good examples for us in 2016:

5. Not just to lose weight, but to never lose (or waste) one moment of time honoring his heavenly Father.

37. Not to go to bed earlier, but to go to bed every night and confess the sins of the day.

65. Edwards resolves to exercise more, not for physical gain, but to exercise himself in spiritual habits. E.g. Bible reading, prayer, memorization, etc. 

Please don’t hear this as guilt ridden or judgmental.

I'm realizing that the older I get and the more in love with the Gospel I become, the more I desire to please the One who saved my wretched soul. These thoughts are just encouragements to help you in this regard, and not steps to help you earn God’s favor.

Let’s not forget that 2000 years ago, Christ fully earned the favor of God and imputed that favor to us the day that we believed. 

Would you consider, right now, making a few “eternally focused” New Year’s resolutions?

Here are a few of mine. Please, sometime this year, ask me how I am doing on these:
- Read 1 book a month that is for my spiritual growth.
- Share the Gospel with those on my “white harvest” card.
- Read a book of the Bible for my quiet time often, instead of small chunks.

What would our church look like if all of us committed to honoring and pleasing God more with our lives in 2016?

Let’s commit to making resolutions this year that have eternal, rather than simply earthly, value. We have a choice whether we lay up treasures on earth or in heaven, for where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also!

 

FFC Blog

Living a Life of Worship
Jan 12, 2016
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“Life is busy.”

It’s a quote we hear often, and there is truth in it. 

We all seem to be very busy. Busy with good stuff, busy with not-so-good stuff. With these busy lives we are all leading, we need to be living a life of worship even when we are “busy.”

I am a work-from-home mother of four, business owner, wife of a self-employed business owner, daughter, sister, friend, etc. The list goes on and on for all of us.

We are so many things, and these things require so much time. 

But the only thing that truly matters is the fact that I am a Daughter of the King! If I am leading a life of worship, all the other things I am fall into place!

-

I often think about my time in college, and the hours upon hours I spent at the Cedar Falls Panera. I would almost go daily. In fact, I had my own booth, and they knew my name and my order! It was a bagel and a coffee, because, well, I was on a college budget. 

But the time I spent in that booth formed who I am today.

God met me in that booth and His Spirit taught me what it means to live a life of worship! I meditated, prayed, studied, was discipled and discipled others in that booth. 

For that season of life, I will forever be thankful. It taught me that regardless of my circumstances, I can always worship! 

Do I have that kind of time now? No way. 

Do I miss that? Yes. 

But my season has changed, and therefore, getting creative with living a life of worship is a necessity. 

Make Time

It’s not going to happen unless you make it happen.

Ask God for help in this area. Step away from the electronics and the to-do list. Rest in Him.

“Be still and Know that I am God.” 

Psalm 46:10 is not only a command, but a promise as well. God wants us to be still and rest in Him, and then as a result of that, we can not only know he is God but know Him. 

How insane is that? The creator of the universe wants us to know Him. 

Why? Because He is what is best for us and He knows that, so throughout the Bible He is encouraging us to stop and just be with Him!

Songs, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Ephesians 5:19 says ”speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” 

I love music, but even if you don’t, singing is an incredible way to worship God, whether in private or out and about. 

Sing with your spouse, your children, or whoever you are with. Teach them the words of hymns. They aren’t “old school” in a bad way, but the truth and doctrine interwoven in hymns will encourage your heart. 

Pray the Psalms/Memorize Scripture

Scripture memory can seem daunting at first, but once you commit to it, it’s fruits are plentiful. Being able to recall the words of God is life giving. 

You don’t have to have a Bible in front of you to know God’s Word. 

Throughout the Bible, the words “I have hidden your word in my heart” are repeated, so let’s follow that lead and truly memorize His Word. 

I would encourage you to start small with this, and work your way to larger portions of Scripture. I'd suggest trying Psalm 23, Psalm 139, Romans 5:8, and John 3:16.

Accountability

Did you know that God loves when we talk to Him and talk about Him? 

In the past, I have had many women come alongside me and disciple me. They walked through a season of life with me, and those relationships are ones I will always hold dear. 

I was also able to disciple a few woman, and that was always an incredible experience, and so humbling. I would encourage you to find someone to meet with regularly to pray, talk about what you are learning, read together, and sing together. 

Doing life alone is never what God intended! Community is necessary and life giving. 

When we are in heaven with Him, we will be singing and praising God with the angels. Worship will be what we do in Heaven, but we don’t have to wait to start worshiping Him! 

Start now.

© 2016 First Family Church   |   317 SE Magazine Road, Ankeny, IA US 50021