Think Small

Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.”  Matt 18:20 (CEV)
Actionchurch knew from the very beginning that small groups needed to play a big part in our ministry.  Over the years we’ve worked hard to establish (and grow) the groups that we have today.  Women, men, youth, moms, fitness, finance, couples…..so many ways to be a part of something really amazing!  If you haven’t already plugged in to a small group I really encourage you to do so.
If you are a part of a small group I have a question….and a challenge for you.
QUESTION:
What do you enjoy about your group and how do you think that happens? (Technically two questions – but I’m kinda known for that habit!)  Here’s the deal – it DOESN’T just happen.  Lots of people put a lot of time, effort and money into making small groups possible.
CHALLENGE:
How can you pay that forward?
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”  1 Peter 4:10
I’ve been thinking about different ways each of you can be involved in the WEEK OF ACTION.  And I believe we have to think small…..before we can go big.  The smallest small group you have is your own family.  Start there.  How can you and your family help Home Helps?  Could you make a casserole?  Could you bake a dessert?  Could you offer to clean the host facility?
Good start.
Now, go bigger.  Extended family or small group.  How can your small group help Home Helps?  Teens – what are you doing that week? – grab a chaperone and go paint something.  Women – could you gather supplies together?  Guys – could you offer to load/unload supply trucks?  Could you pitch in funds and provide lunch one day?
Keep going!
What about your place of work or the places you shop?  Your athletic team, boy scouts, girl scouts?  Get them involved!  Helping others isn’t just a “church thing”!  Does your place of business make donations to charities?  Could your sports team come together to make our community a better place?
Think small.  GO BIG!…..and go help HOME HELPS!
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ “.  Acts 20:35

What on earth are you doing?

Sometimes I feel like I need a pre-recorded message to play over, and over and over at my house.  If you have kids….well – you know.  Boy moms, take heart; it does get a little better.  A little.
But, seriously – what are you doing?  You.  Yes – you.
Actionchurch has a problem – just like at my house, but for polar opposite reasons.  When I ask my kids – “What are you doing? – it’s always because they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing.  When I ask the same question at actionchurch – “what are you doing?” it’s because we aren’t doing something we are supposed to be doing.
Go ahead.  Read it again.  I know it’s hard to follow.  But – I’m just pointing out a fact.  We aren’t the church we used to be.  And I don’t think we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.
We’ve grown.
We’ve moved.
We fellowship.  We worship. We learn……all good things.
But, something just isn’t on-brand.  If you’ve been with us for a while….”You see it, right?”  Strictly IMO – what is missing is our enthusiasm for serving.  Where did the church go that could pack a movie theater with donations for a missionary?  Where are the people that took up an entire football field at Relay for Life?  What are  we doing?
Have we become complacent?
Have we made it too easy?
Are we resting on our laurels and enjoying the benefits?
Folks – the needs have not changed.  We have.  The opportunities to serve have not gone away.  We have.  This is a wake-up call – myself included.  We used to be the “little church that could” as we gave back to our community in big, big ways.  I don’t want to be the little church that faded away.
We have the perfect opportunity to get our groove back on as we move into our WEEK OF ACTION.  I know we still have it in us.  I know we can make our logo proud.  If even one cog in the machine stops moving the whole assembly line suffers.  Get your cog in gear (see what I did there 😀 ) and figure out how you fit into our brand.
I AM ACTIONCHURCH isn’t just a nifty knock off of Ironman…..it is who we are.  Own it.
Love God.  Love people.  Take action – isn’t just a slogan – It’s Jesus’ instructions to his disciples.  Let’s not just say it.  Let’s live it

Now


“I wanna be your hands.  I wanna be your feet.  I’ll go where you send me.” 
Audio Adrenaline retro Sunday song – thank you “The Go-Round” ….. at least the Ghost Buster’s theme is now out of my head!
Over the years some of you have had the opportunity through mission trips to help some very desperate people in need.  Your feet have taken you to places like New York and New Jersey, Texas and Louisiana….some of you have even served people in other countries.  Your hands have shoveled muck, hammered nails and held another hand in prayer.  My heart swells every time I hear the stories of the lives that you have touched in Jesus’ name.
NOW – think about Google Earth and the cool way you feel like you’re falling right into the map when you type an address.  Zoom in with me…..right to our own backyard – Downtown York City Pennsylvania.  Open your ears as you hear the stories of elderly people showering with a garden hose.  Open your eyes when you read about the middle-aged double amputee who tried to function without a first floor bathroom – for a year!  Let God open your heart as you move your hands and feet by sacrificing a day to serve someone in need.
NOW – REJOICE to hear the answer to prayer.  CHEER with delight to see the love pouring out of volunteers as they meet the needs of the poorest of the poor.  CELEBRATE how God can move among us when we gather in his name to serve others.  “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  Romans 12:11
HOW? – Actually – its as simple as a willingness to serve.  Being the hands and feet of Jesus means we serve the needs of others first.  We go where others won’t go.  We reach out to the unreachable.  We love the unloved ….just like Jesus loved us – the un-lovable.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  John 15:12
NOW – make your hands hit the keyboard and email to find out how you can help during the WEEK OF ACTION in York City.  Many opportunities exist right here in our neighborhood for your feet to take you places that will make a difference in someone’s life.  YOU could be the catalyst for change.  YOU could be the reason someone accepts Jesus into their lives.
Be His hands.  Be His feet.  Don’t talk about Loving God, Loving People and taking action – JUST DO IT! (Disclaimer:  sorry Nike – a registered trademark…blahblahblah.)
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”  1 John 3:18

Sacrifice

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  Hebrews 13:16
Sacrifice – often times in the old testament, had an entirely different connotation than what comes to mind when we talk about sacrifice today.  Open virtually any book of the old testament and it seems like the ancient Israelites were always setting something on fire – or butchering something on an alter….everything from doves to bulls and rams – as a sacrifice to God.
But – when Jesus started to teach in the new testament, sacrifice started to be a little more personal.  sacrifice wasn’t just about a bird or an unblemished lamb every now and then….it was about total surrender of self.  It was about loving God so much that you would forego ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.  Jesus himself loved so deeply that he gave the ultimate sacrifice.  He died – a horrible death – on the cross….for unlovely sinners – like me.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45
Death on the cross for Jesus and eternal life for us. AND – as if THAT wasn’t enough to forfeit – Jesus’ ENTIRE life was about serving others.  Sacrifice – in its truest form – isn’t just about giving; or even about giving everything up.  Sacrifice is about serving others – not being self-serving.  Sacrifice is about loving others – more than ourselves.
Just a little over a week until our official DAY OF ACTION and I have a very important question for each of you – “What are you willing to sacrifice for a neighbor in need?”
It’s a personal question.
It’s a brutal question.
It’s a question that I sincerely hope you pray about.
And when you have the answer I hope that you take the leap of faith and make that sacrifice willingly…..and like King David with a humble spirit and a repentant heart.  And most importantly – sacrifice lovingly ….and not because I nagged you to give something up to serve others.
If this blog touched a nerve (or worked on your nerves) so much that you want to slaughter a bull and bring it to me Sunday…..I’ll see that it is put to good use.  But if the blog touched your heart and you want to sacrifice in a way that shows that you “Love God, Love people and take action” email us for serving opportunities and donation lists.
“And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:3

Who ya gonna call?

“But whoever has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3: 17

There are earworms and saddle burrs that I can’t shake this week.  Both of them are a result of things that our friends from Servants Inc shared with us – little bits of information heading into our upcoming DAY OF ACTION.

The first unshakable is that Servants is a 100% pass through charity.  Many of you may have already known that – but honestly – it impressed the heck out of me!  What that means is that if you donate $100 to Home Helps (Servant’s local based ministry) – $100 ENTIRE dollars go directly to help your neighbors in need.  Little dollars don’t get directed to advertising on billboards…..ten dollars don’t go marching off towards a contest to get more donors…..ONE HUNDRED TOTAL dollars go DIRECTLY to help someone who is taking a cold shower with a garden hose.

“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord and He will repay him for his good deed.” Proverbs 19:17

Which brings me to the next thing that has been rubbing me the wrong way – like the proverbial burr under my saddle – how can we possibly allow such need to exist right in our own back yard?  What struck me the most was when Chris Gohn said that the homeowners that we will be serving have no where else to turn.  They have tried making repairs on their own, they have asked for help from government organizations, they have turned to friends and neighbors …….and Home Helps – is their last desperate call.

Cue the sound track from Ghost Busters……the earworm that has been plaquing me all week…..Gang, I want to be the FIRST place where people in need turn.  I want them to remember things that actionchurch has done in the community and I want them to pick up the phone and dial 1-800-ACTIONCHURCH. That’s what the Christ followers did. That’s what the early church was. They were a group of dedicated, compassionate individuals who banded together to help one another.  It’s time that the church – that we as individuals – start to rise up and actively seek to aid those who are less fortunate.

If we continue to be THAT church – the one that gives, and gives and gives.  The church that goes out of their way to help a neighbor….in the end – the people that we serve will come to realize that it isn’t actionchurch that is their savior.  They will come to understand that there is a true savior – someone who was willing to sacrifice not just a sweaty, hot, dusty Friday to help them get their shower fixed – but someone who was willing to give their life for them to spend an eternity in heaven.

So – this week – let’s be THAT church.  Be the people I know who can pack the lobby with so much paint, hammers and nails, plywood, drywood, lumber wood, Gatorade and water that we will need a moving van to get it all delivered.  If you want to know the greatest need for Home Helps, call Steve Fowler ( he is the crew leader for Home Helps 717-378-0336 ) and ask him what they need.

Then head out to Home Depot – grab a shopping cart – dance down the aisle to the Ghost Busters theme – and load up for Home Helps!

“And look out for one another’s interest, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians  2:4-5