Day of Action

I’ve been sitting back, waiting for my turn to tell you all about the upcoming – first ever –  “Day of Action”.  I kind of get a chuckle out of the pre-announcements and “sort of” announcements and the information that is floating around about this event. What I can tell you right now is that you are not going to want to miss being a part of something that can change how you look at your world.

Here are the basics. The event is being held during the week of July 9-13.  You can volunteer any day or time during that week –  however, the focus for us as a church is going to be Friday the 13th– some people’s superstition – our DAY OF ACTION!   Beginning early in the morning we will be gathering at the Logos Academy on West King Street in York to prepare and serve breakfast for all the volunteers.  Then we will be going to individual job sites to help our neighbors in need with all sorts of home repair.  At the end of the day – we will be providing the evening meal for all the volunteers and homeowners, as we gather together to recount the amazing ways God was moving among us as we took action by serving others.

The group we will be partnering with is called Servants, Inc.  They have fantastic information on their website – be sure to look them up. Basically they are a local organization who come alongside homeowners to provide home maintenance and repair services to the elderly, the disabled or the needy who are unable for whatever reason, to do the work themselves and are unable to pay professionals to do the work for them.

But here is the beauty of this project – you DO NOT need to know how to operate power tools.  You don’t even have to LIKE power tools.  You just need to have a willingness to serve. Throughout the coming weeks I will be detailing all sorts of ways that you can be a part of this amazing event!

Today – I want you to physically pick up the phone and either call or email Alisha Crooks. Yes!  Right now!  Even before you finish reading …..just pick up the phone and call.    Alisha is one of the sweetest people I know and I want you to overwhelm her with phone calls!😊  I want you to leave so many messages that she has to hire an assistant to return calls. I want her to get sick of hearing “Hi! I’m from actionchurch!”

Alisha Crooks

Ph:  (717) 378-0336

Email:  alishacrooks@servants.org

Even if you don’t have a clue how you can help – call Alisha and tell her who you are, what you like to do, what you think you are good at (or bad at) doing and I guarantee you she WILL find a way for you to be a part of the event.  If you are interested in being a part of an actual work crew on a job site you will have to get in touch with Servants – BEFORE Friday !  They need to get an idea of skills and available volunteers so they know how to organize for the jobs that are the highest priority.

Get ready gang! Actionchurch is going to love God, love others and take action in a big way during our first ever DAY OF ACTION!

Getting to Know You

“Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good.”  Hebrews 10:24

One of the things – (in a long list of “things”) – that I love about working with Servants is their work ethic.  I remember the leader on our first assignment telling us to put our hammer down and interact with the homeowner – FIRST.  Get to know them – listen to their stories – pray with them.  At the time it seemed kind of counterproductive to me.  I was always the roll up your sleeves, grab your hammer and don’t stop swinging until the sun goes down kind of gal.

But what I came to realize is that at the end of the day…..more importantly – at the end of our lives – it won’t matter how quickly that roof got fixed.  But it will matter whether our hearts are fixed.  Our real goal as we go out into the community together is not necessarily to fix the physical needs, but rather to address the spiritual needs THROUGH our acts of love and kindness.

God commanded us in Deuteronomy to address the needs of the poor.  Jesus repeated the fact that there will always be someone in need.  And as followers of Christ we must address those needs…..whatever they may be.

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. For the poor you will always have with you in the land.  Therefore, I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in your land.”  Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Servants and actionchurch’s main goal through EVERYTHING that we do is to love people.  Our love reflects Christ’s love.  The people that we are going to serve definitely have physical needs – bathrooms without working plumbing, leaking roofs, rotting foundations.  But often, they need a friend, willing to listen. They need a loving, compassionate person willing to pray with them.  They need someone to show them that they are loved, cared for and cherished – not only by us, but by God himself.

In the early “church” Jesus’s  disciples carried out his commandments literally – and –  there were NO needy persons.  Poverty was eradicated among them!  Can you even imagine a world like that?  How could that possibly be?

There was no one in the group who was in need.  Those who owned fields or houses would sell them, bring the money received from the sale, and hand it over to the apostles; and the money was distributed to each one according to his need. “  Acts 4:34-35

THAT’S how it can be.

Are you willing to open your hand?  Are you willing to get to know your neighbors in need? Are you willing to be a part of something bigger than yourself?

“Then I said, “Here I am, to do your will, O God…..”Hebrews 10:7

Ratios

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Another year gone by. Another Relay for Life – actionchurch style – in the books. If I had to describe this year’s Relay in one word (which I rarely do) – it would be – peaceful. I’m grateful for Rachel’s phenomenal planning skills – and I’m certain that her organizational expertise had a lot to do with this year’s successful event. And, actionchurch could never be a part of Relay to begin with – if it weren’t for Michele’s generous spirit and heart for serving the community. But – it was more than years of relay experience that made this event different. It’s hard to explain in written words (without my normal hand motions when I speak). If you were a part of Relay this year, perhaps you felt it too.

The tent was full – like always. The ratio of servers to those being served was almost perfect. Enough survivors and caregivers enjoying the evening that we had to hustle – but not rush. The food was extraordinary – like always. The ratio of crabcakes to consumers was over the top! Everyone walked away with full bellies, our crew had an opportunity for fellowship and we were still able to bless the first responders in our community with abundance. The weather was humid – like always. The amount of sweat was in direct correlation to the temperature. I don’t think I will ever get the ratio of butter pats to salad dressing correct – but that’s kind of a given 😀

So, all in all – not a whole lot has changed from previous years at the survivor banquet…..but there was a sense of peace and tranquility that I can’t remember experiencing in years past.

And – I’m pretty sure the rational is God.

From the very first Relay for Life that my family and I participated in with actionchurch God has always been at the very center of the event for me. I remember being moved to tears at the luminaria ceremony and how God called me and encouraged me to become an even bigger participant the next year….and the next year….and the next year. And I remember the year we added more children’s activities and the years we served breakfast for ALL the participants and praying that God would provide the resources and the volunteers. He showed up in such a big way that no one could question that God was solely responsible for the success of our endeavors.

Don’t get me wrong – there were always bumps in the road, friends with new cancer diagnosis and challenges to be overcome. But the resolution to the hiccups along the way always pointed to our Lord and Savior being at the heart of the crazy whirlwind of preparation and the back breaking, muscle aching, blister making thing we call Relay for Life.

But – THIS year – the ratio changed for me. The element of calm within the tent on that muggy, hot, humid football field was 100% God infused peace – 0% stress and worry. Gang, it was a great lesson for me. It was just SUCH an amazing feeling that I want to replicate in my personal life. I want to feel 100% – all the time – every day – completely infused with God’s peace. And I want that for you too!

So – thanks to all of you – the old guard from the Crew…..and all of our new friends who joined together in humble service. Thanks for making my job easy. Thanks for using your vacation days and Friday night to serve others. Thanks for showing God’s love to me…..and to the cancer survivors and their caregivers.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Bring your dog to church recap

 

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33

First kiss – pretty exciting
First time behind the wheel – terrifying for the passenger.
First time meeting the in-laws – a little intimidating.
First labor/delivery/child – a lot scary.
First loser (i.e. 2nd place) – maybe bitter OR determined to get better.
First Bark in the Park – fun for all ! …..(Except the guys carrying the bounce house)

Firsts always involve a lot of emotion. They can be a bit scary or intimidating. As humans I think we have a natural tendency to fear the unknown. It’s a normal reaction. Firsts are always learning experiences. Most of us are willing to give something a try and then figure out a way to make it better the next time. But, sometimes – Firsts can be crazy exciting and loads of fun, too!

This past Sunday we actually had – not one – but two FIRSTS in the history of our church. That in itself is pretty darned exciting if you ask me!

BRING YOUR DOG TO CHURCH was a first that definitely fell into the scary category. It was something new – something different – something we’ve never done at actionchurch. When we pitched the idea we knew that it would either be a dreadful mistake or a barking success. So – when the preacher told me the dogs were well behaved in church – I marked that in the win category!

And the second first for actionchurch this week – (sounding like an Abbot and Costello remix…..”Wait! Who’s on first?”) – was the American Cancer Society’s BARK FOR LIFE Honestly I have to tell you – I wasn’t the least bit apprehensive about actionchurch’s first time involvement.

The event itself was brand new – a first – but the concept remained the same. Take our generously given resources and serve others. Plain and simple. The bounce houses are still heavy, but they were new for the kids who were bouncing. (Besides mine.) The shaved ice stand is still sticky, the sno-cones are still free, but they were a new and surprising treat for those that never experienced actionchurch in action.

From the very first days of actionchurch our whole philosophy has been to serve others first. Think about it – every week entire crews of people voluntarily give their time to provide a church “service”. Every time we go out into the community to stage an event, our focus is to love and serve. By investing our time and our money we’re showing that we’re dedicated to putting the needs of others before ourselves.

Mark 9:35 tells us what Jesus said to his disciples about being first – “Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

I think when we stick to the basics we can’t go wrong. Loving God and seeking Him first. Loving and serving others before ourselves. Taking action by showing Christ-like behavior to the world. Win/win the first time and every time.

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.