They will know


“And, they’ll know we are Christains by our love, by our love.
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
(Jars of Clay)

It’s that time of the year! The days are getting longer. Warm breezes are beginning to flow. And every conversation I have, every blog I write, every plan I make – includes WRESTLING!!

“Hi, Kenna – did you have a chance to order those supplies?” “No – sorry …..I was looking up wrestling tournament dates.”. – Got to get those on the calendar!

“Hey, Jess – avocadoes are on sale this week – wrestlers love those!” Note to self – Make sure you add jello, peanut butter and 6 1/2 dozen eggs to grocery list – sucking weight….you know!?

“Kenna, can you babysit for us?” “Sure – like in about three months once we are done post season wrestling”

Annoying – I know. (And I apologize ahead of time – because it’s not going to change)

When I got up this morning and my mind automatically went into “grappling mode” – I stopped myself purposely – and asked the question – “What would happen if I talked about Jesus as much as I talk about wrestling?” Hmmmmm. It seems like it would be the right “Christian thing” to do. Should I add bible verses to the bottom of my emails? Maybe I could make the blog less ketchy and more “religious”. Would people think I was weird if I said “peace be with you” instead of goodbye?

Annoying – I know.

And – while I think it’s always good to be ready to give your “testimony” about your faith (if/when a conversation warrants it) – I think it is more important ….and WAY less annoying – to show – with your actions – not necessarily your words – that you are a Christ follower. ( I know my kids are going to use that against me since my constant parental refrain is “use your words, not your hands!”)

But Jesus tells us in John, Chapter 13 verse 35 – “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”(MSG) – Did you catch that? When they SEE the love.

I don’t think being a Christ follower is something you say – I think it’s something you do. I think love is something you show. It’s demonstrated by your actions. Being a disciple is one of those things that is so engrained in your daily life that people just automatically recognize that you are different; loving others is a part of your very fiber.

And just like everyone knows that we are a wrestling family – we live it, we breath it, it’s who we are – I want people to see Jesus’ love poured out of me in much the same way – so they know……I want to show love – so they know I’m a Christian.

Love


At actionchurch our creed is pretty specific – and short – and easy to understand.

Love God
Love people
Take action

Short, sweet, simple.

Maybe.

What is love? The more I think about it – the more I wonder if our simple little slogan isn’t bigger than we think. Love and action are pretty big words when you get right down to it.

Love could mean different things to different people. And love – is one of those words that could have different meanings at different times. For instance – if I have a cold/flu/headache – I want my family to show me love by just being quiet, leaving me alone ( JUST STAY AWAY FROM ME!!!!) and not killing each other. But – other times, love to me at least, means noise and laughter and togetherness and kids running around like crazy……

At actionchurch when we have questions we turn to one source. Jesus and his Word. Chapter 13 in 1st Corinthians lays it out by telling us “Love is patient, love is kind.” It goes on to say that love isn’t envious or proud or angry; love protects and trusts and hopes and perseveres. So – that’s what love IS……

But – what does love look like?

Well, last night, at least – love looked like a big black square room turned in to a beautiful, softly lit banquet hall with gorgeous flower arrangements and great music playing in the background. Love looked like people who worked all day and then rushed to North York to work some more by serving dinner, moving tables, scrubbing dishes, pouring coffee. At the cancer survivor banquet, love looked like your weekly donations turned in to hugs and support and encouragement for a group of people struggling to face tomorrow.

In the end – all I really know is that I’m proud to be a part of a church that demonstrates love through action. You see…..one isn’t really effective without the other. It’s the combination of the two that can and WILL change the world. Thank you for loving AND taking action.

A fine line

It’s a fine line between plagiarization and quotes. Don’t ask me how I know – but when your mom gets that email/text/call from the teacher that goes something like this……

“Yes, Mrs. __________ – it was a really fine poster. The colors were awesome and the handwriting was very neat. However, the content was plagiarized directly from the World Book Encyclopedia.”

The correct answer is NOT –

“Well, mom, you bought me those books and they were darned expensive. Besides – those people who write those things are really really smart and I didn’t think I could say it any better than they did.”

It’s a fine line.

At actionchurch, we quote the bible. A lot. We believe the things that Jesus said and we believe that we couldn’t possibly say it any better. The things that Jesus said were so wise and He was so smart that the stories He shared are still relevant today.

One of the things Jesus (and His disciples) said over and over in different ways was that we are to love others.

“…love your neighbor as yourself…..” Mark 12:31
“Keep on loving one another….” Hebrews 13:1-1
“Above all, love each other deeply….” 1 Peter 4:8
“Be devoted to one another in love…” Romans 12:10

Please notice the abundant use of quotes.

But, the really great thing about actionchurch is that we don’t just talk about Jesus. We don’t just quote bible verses. We take action. We cross the line. In lots of different ways. And, we have the perfect opportunity for you to take action AND copy Jesus.

On Wednesday February 8th we’re throwing the doors of actionchurch wide open and inviting cancer survivors from all over York County to enjoy an evening of great food and fellowship. Anyone who wants to come out, serve, and love others is encouraged to come to the church at 4:00 on Wednesday and simply demonstrate Jesus’ love for others in a very real way. It isn’t plagiarizing – I promise!

If you’ve been with actionchurch for any length of time, you know that we are great at showing our love by feeding people! If you are new to actionchurch, this would be a perfect way for you to get to know people inside the church AND to love people outside the church.

Love God. Love people. Take action.
(I plagiarize that one every time I get the chance!)

Turn that frown upside down

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“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

So, it’s over and done for another four years. That which shall not be named, but which took exorbitant amounts of time and money, has ended. And as we all know, the sun still rose, the earth kept spinning and life has continued. I encourage you to move on.

And here’s why. Life is short, friends. We struggle to make these big, multi-year plans laying out a different future, never knowing if we will even see the end of the day, let alone the next four years. Here today and gone tomorrow, as the saying goes. So, move on – nothing to see here.

But – there is something you should see and do every day. There is joy. And you should find it. As mere humans, we can’t possibly know what the next hour holds – let alone the next day or year. So find your joy. Now. Find that ONE second of joy in each day. No matter how bad your life is, or your situation; no matter what you are going though right now – I GUARANTEE – there is one second of joy to be found.

Look for the color of a late fall flower and enjoy it. Listen for a child’s giggle as you are passing by. Watch for a smile from a stranger – and return it! Hear the sound of raindrops on a roof. Take one second – enjoy that first sip of morning coffee…..or that first breath when you open your eyes, Put on your favorite bright shirt and enjoy how it changes your perspective. Kiss your loved one goodbye every day – one second – to feel the joy of being loved unconditionally. And even if nothing else goes right in your day….you will have had that one second of pure joy to be grateful for.

My all-knowing, all wise and wonderful teenager likes to knock me, frequently – “Mooommmm – you laugh at the dumbest things…..” Yep – guilty as charged. Stupid things make me smile. I laugh at how ridiculous squirrels look when they scurry around. I giggle at the antics on the old black and white comedy shows. Silly slogans, mismatched socks, my husband singing songs from the 70’s – all make me smile as I enjoy the one second of life that I have been given.

You see – people used to tell me – “You’re only given this one day – make the most of it!” Well, I’m telling you right now, I call BS on that one. God doesn’t give us one day. He gives us one second at a time. When we learn to enjoy and value that one, teeny, tiny second – something amazing happens. Our whole perspective changes. When you are actively occupied with seeking joy – those seconds become minutes; minutes become hours….and soon we come to realize that no matter how bad our life seemed before, we can now easily find reasons to be thankful and joyous!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

EVERY knee…

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Scary:
Clowns. Freddy Krueger. Credit card debt. Oddly shaped moles.

Uncomfortable:
Transgender restrooms. Political discussions and commercials. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Comforting:
Homemade chicken potpie. Warm socks. A mother’s hug.

I guess I’m weird. I have no other explanation for seeing a bible verse on a wrestling singlet and letting my mind mull it over and over and over again. The singlet was pretty cool. The words “Every knee shall bow” were emblazoned across the front in some wild design. (Just a side note generalization – wrestlers are not typically known for their humility or their use and memorization of bible verses) But, regardless of the desired effect on this kids’ wrestling opponents, it had a surprising effect on me.

The prophet Isaiah got the word out in the Old Testament and then Paul reminds us again, twice in the New Testament that “…For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live’, says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” (Romans 2:10-11)

Frankly, the verse kind of scares me. It’s a frightening feeling to think that someday I will stand before God’s throne – just the visual image from Sunday School days still sends chills up my spine. While I like to pat myself on the back for good deeds, praying for others and regularly tithing…..there is a heck of a lot that I’ve done and said for which I am NOT proud. Those sins that I commit every single day are ARE going to be judged. And it scares the begezzers out of me!

And if I’m perfectly honest – it also makes me a little uncomfortable. We are all going to be judged. When we stand before the throne I will be no different than an ax murderer, or a preacher, or a drug dealer, or Mother Theresa – we are all the same in God’s eyes. We are all humans. We all sin. Sins do not have categories or ranking systems. They are quite simply sins. Knowing that I’ll be standing in line to confess, awaiting my turn – just like everyone else – makes me – well…. uncomfortable.

And yet, oddly, I guess it’s really kind of comforting as well. It’s assuring to know that in this age of unrest, turmoil and chaos that one day……one day every tongue will acknowledge God. Not just believers. Not just Americans. Not just whites, blacks or purples…..but everyone – will accept the one true God. Just envision it – every single knee kneeling in obedience, in respect, in submission to authority. And every single tongue shouting praise and glory to God. Oh! What a glorious day it will be!

Scary – yes.
Uncomfortable – yes.
Comforting – double yes.