Peace I Give You

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I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
I’ve got love like an ocean. I’ve got love like an ocean. I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.
I’ve got joy like a fountain. I’ve got joy like a fountain. I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.

We think we can do it all, don’t we? Sometimes I think we tend to look at life like a competition. In order to feel valued and loved or successful and happy we feel like we have to be that “ultimate super-human Pinterest person” we see advertised on social media.

We try to work 60 hours a week, be perfect parents/spouses/friends, hit the gym, keep our homes spotless, volunteer at church AND bake ridiculously creative cupcakes for the PTA sale……And then we just don’t understand why we’re weary and woefully unfulfilled. All this busyness just isn’t satisfying – and we end up being simply tired, empty shells.

Listen to this people!

Genesis Chapter 1 – verses 1 through 31 – God created everything. EVERYTHING. And it was good.

Genesis Chapter 2 – God rested from all the work of creating.

BABAMM!! And isn’t THAT pretty significant? The all-powerful, all-mighty God of all the universe, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth took a rest. He wanted a break; a vacation from creating.

And if THAT isn’t enough to tell you that YOU need a break…..How about this? Jesus – the ONLY TRULY ultimate super-human Pinterest (not just repost) perfect person – rested – OFTEN.

He went away from the crowds. He slept in the middle of a raging storm! He meditated privately. He took time to reconnect with his father. He went up on the mountainside to pray – alone……no kids banging on the bathroom door because he didn’t hear the oven timer repeatedly dinging and the smoke alarm starting to screech before the neighbors called the cops and the fire truck showed up…….or, whatever.

“My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1

I love that this verse is so very simple…..And at the same time – so very powerful. Rest and recovery. ONLY from one source. Not only will God give us rest, but he will also fill our empty shells with the love, joy and peace that we are so desperately searching for.

Rest AND recovery.

Teach a Man to Fish

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Boy: The wildest of all animals. A noise with dirt on it in constant motion – usually in the form of antagonizing a sibling. And I have raised four of them. Wrestling grapplers, football tacklers, dirt bike racing, heavy ammo hunting, never cry Uncle, all action – all the time – boys.

So, honestly, this concept of rest – is really unique for my family. This biblical truth – that if we are weary and burdened and we come to God willingly he will give us rest – is very…..and I mean VERY appealing right now.

Fishing happens to be one of our most relaxing past times. Fortunately for me – we don’t live near the ocean and we only watch the chaotic, crazy, loud fishing that seems to be Wicked Tuna. At least for now, our kind of fishing usually involves a peaceful pond, nice weather, serene tranquil quiet and hopefully a couple of chapters of a book (if I’m lucky). Animal activist alert – we do use live bait – because, well – BOYS.

Anyway – I think maybe that’s why the image of fishing that comes to mind from Psalm 55, verse 22 really brings me peace in the craziest, most hectic times of my life….which are usually the direct result of – said boys.

“Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22) Should be a tattoo at my house instead of a cross stitch pillow!

Close your eyes and envision a fisherman casting his line. For some reason it’s always in slow motion in my imagination and involves Brad Pitt fly fishing in hip waders….but, maybe that’s just me. When most fisher-folk (gender neutral) cast their line, there is actually a unique beauty to the motion. It is not hurried or choppy. It is not hectic, cumbersome or rushed. The action of casting is a fluid motion of release. It is, in a word – peaceful.

“Cast your burden on the Lord.” Just throw it out there. Release whatever is keeping you awake at night; that thing that is causing you stress and anxiety – give it to God.

And even better yet…..”He will sustain you.” He’s got this. He will hold you up. He will help you endure and withstand the turmoil in your life that is making you weary.

So – even if your pond is more like a raging river or a turbulent ocean – I encourage you to give this casting business a try. Don’t worry if there is no artistry in your cast; chuck it like a two handed, between your legs, underhand, lob down the bowling alley of life if you have to….but give it to the one who can and WILL sustain you.

He – in return – will give you rest.

OK (to be not OK)

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“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

One of my go to girls asked me the other week how I was doing. I told her that I felt like a Japanese anime cartoon who was being bled of color…..turning black and white around the edges. I was feeling leached; like someone had stuck me with a needle and drained all the color out of my life. So – call me dramatic, but in my flair for big, bold adjectives and descriptions – the word I was searching for was …..WEARY.

She wanted to pray for me and I knew it. I trusted her, as a close friend, with what was on my heart. Too often, as humans – especially in this age of independence – we erroneously equate weariness with weakness. I was not weak. I was weary. Bone weary. Weary to the core. Just plain drained.

I was overburdened with work and paperwork and housework. The kid’s practices, school, discipline, events….and well – just having kids was wearing me down. Doctor appointments, schedules, medical issues, finances, family – you name it – I was juggling it.

But I remember this clearly…..in her own special way she encouraged me. She simply smiled. She has this little secret smile that said she knew everything was going to be okay. I don’t think she was cocky that her intercessory prayer would be heard, but rather she knew that in simply saying those words – “I’m not okay” – I was more than 90% of the way to where I needed to be.

Psalm 116:10 says something subtle, but very important to those of us who are weary. It says

“I trusted the Lord when I said ‘I am greatly afflicted’ “.

Being weary as a Christian is NOT the same as being weak. Being able to say – “Hey, God – I’m not OKAY!” is a matter of trust. When we admit that we need God’s comfort it means we have faith that he is going to give us what we need.

God wants us to admit our weariness. He wants us to need him. He wants nothing more than to comfort and cradle us in our most weary, overburdened, stressed moments. He dearly wants to give us rest. Isn’t it amazing that we have a protector who loves us just as we are? He will hear us – and still love us – when we say “I’m NOT okay.”

BOH Graduation Banquet- 10/2/16

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Last Sunday, we announced our next opportunity to serve neighbors in our community. If you haven’t yet heard, actionchurch will have the privilege to host the fall meeting for nearly 100 people from Bridge of Hope­York County. Bridge of Hope (BOH) is a local non­profit offering a church ­based approach to end homelessness. Volunteers from several area churches­­ including actionchurch­­ provide support for moms and their children as they transition from homelessness and build new lives.  Plus, this meeting is extra­special because there’s a mom graduating from the program!

As always, we need YOUR help! Please plan to stay after church on S unday, October 2nd to help us move chairs, set up tables, and sweep donut crumbs so that everything is in place for the event. Come at 3pm to help welcome guests, pour drinks, serve dinner and dessert. And, if you have your clearances, come help give our “under­ 12” guests an unforgettable time in actionkids during the event.

If you’re new to actionchurch, I hope that you will volunteer. Come meet and hang out with fellow actionchurchers as we welcome strangers, serve a catered meal, entertain restless children, and live out how we Love God, Love People, Take Action. And if you’ve volunteered before (and survived muddy Relays, stubborn bounce houses, or even creepy Easter Bunnies at the park) we’re counting on you to show up and help make this event special for BOH!

Have questions? See Jennifer at the sign­up table at church Sunday or email

info@actionchurch.com

Generation Gap

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“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Back in the day…..my mentor chose me. I was a brand new college drop-out in the shipping department and for some reason she thought I would be good in “sales”. She was a single woman in her 50’s, stylish, aggressive, independent and wealthy. She had a VERY specific sense of right and wrong as it pertained to professionalism in that field.

I can still see her glaring at my choice of attire on one of our very first business trips together. Business suits were purchased from a specific name brand (she gave me a personal loan to do so). Heels (always worn with silk stockings) – were a specific height and always polished. Jewelry (14k of course!) consisted of one bracelet, one GOOD watch and never, never, never hoop earrings…….Oh! And the bracelet and watch were worn on opposite wrists – don’t cha know?

Even though she was a pain in the “you know what” – I admired her moxie. I watched and I learned and I listened and I replicated. I guess it was because she saw something in me and was willing to take a chance on me, but I soaked up her decades of knowledge like a sponge.

It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t just the older generation that could teach me a thing or two about life. Years later it was a group of 10 or 12 misfit teens in the youth group at my church that schooled me good. My official “title” indicated I was their youth minister – but I contend to this day that they taught me more than I ever taught them. They showed me that it was okay to be different. They taught me how to laugh at myself. They helped me harness my OCD, channel my silliness and our crazy little rebel group proved that rules are sometimes meant to be challenged and bent…..just a little.

So – I really loved the message this past Sunday. It was good to hear Don reinforce what I’ve learned over the years. I’ve always sought counsel from the older generation. I love listening to the history of the things they’ve seen and lived through – the changes that they’ve made over their lifetimes in order to adapt and survive are just incredible.

But – I also greatly enjoy time spent with younger generation(s). They inspire me. They give me a different perspective on life! The “youngers” help me realize that I don’t have to take myself quite so seriously….and, they actually have a lot that they can teach this non-technologically evolved “elder”.

I love that actionchurch is a place where it’s easy to find that balance. I commented just last week that it’s awesome (and believe it or not – unique) to see such a vibrant blend of generations working and growing together. We are truly blessed to have the kind of interaction that we do at our church. And I encourage you to be a part of it!

“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7