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

Wake up!

“I tell you, he replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”   Luke 19:40

It’s 3:00 in the morning and I am wide awake.  Some people assume that this is normal for us older persons – but I always tell my kids I can’t sleep because God wants something from me.  Sometimes it’s because there has been something heavy on my heart that I need to put on God’s shoulders. So, I pray about those things.  God wants my weary burden – and I gladly give it to him.

But on very special occasions the 3:00 a.m. wake-up call is because God has a message for me to relate to anyone willing to listen. Words come into my head that my fingers are supposed to type. But for a while now – I’ve been like the bratty kid with my hands over my ears, shouting “I can’t hear you!”  as my dad is trying to give me instruction.

God has given me the gift of words…. Written words – spoken words – heartfelt words that I am supposed to use to teach and encourage and comfort.  But lately I have been feeling unqualified to use those words.  And not just unqualified – I’ve felt unworthy. I’ve been covering my ears to God’s messages because I was certain that I wasn’t the right person to relate them.

But today’s alarm clock was pretty specific: ( Let me paraphrase ) – “Wake up blockhead!  I have something to say that even a block of rock would be able to relay.”

So – here is the message – don’t hide your light under a basket.  Don’t stifle your calling.  Don’t let The Evil One tell you that you aren’t “good enough” or that you aren’t “good for anything”.  Because the truth is that each of us has been given a true and wonderful gift from God.

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8

Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out exactly what our knack is – but we all have one.  I encourage you today to ask God what ability you have and specifically how he wants you to use it.  As Don mentioned, actionchurch is moving forward with a very exciting serving opportunity in July.   Being uncharted territory for us, we are going to need every single one of you to use your gifts and talents to make this project a success.   God will give us the resources and the skill, but it’s up to us to uncover our ears and open our hearts  to receive those gifts and in turn, use them to serve others.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another.”  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Help make this Mothers Day Happier…

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This Mother’s Day, some moms will spend the day being treated to extra-special things– brunch, macaroni necklaces, a NASCAR-free afternoon. But, some moms will spend their Mother’s Day at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, supporting and caring for their child who is undergoing cancer treatment.

We are collecting small items that will help these moms feel a little pampered while they are staying with their child in the hospital, such as the following:
scented lotions
body wash
Inspirational/poetry cards (like on bookmarks,plastic mugs)
small adult activity books
slippers
soft, fuzzy socks
$5 Starbucks gift cards (extremely desirable)

This is a BIG need to fill on a very SHORT notice! The donations will be collected at church on Mother’s Day, May 8th, and delivered with love to the moms that SAME DAY!

Walking the Walk

TakingTheField

“Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus….” Philippians 2:2-5

“Mooommmm! – he’s copying me!” Sound familiar? Telling my kids that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery never really solves the problem in my house. Probably because flattery sounds a little too much like flatulence and that takes the males in my household on an entirely different track.

But, imitating someone really is how we learn. Babies – from the time they are born learn by watching their parents and those around them. Teenagers – Oh!! For sure! Will do what you do – NOT what you say.

So – as we end the Manifesto series with the “Take Action” part of actionchurch’s creed – copying someone is exactly what we should be doing. Like we say here at actionchurch “We aren’t smart enough to make this stuff up! It’s in the bible”. Jesus said it!

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:12-15

Jesus was talking about feet – but he wasn’t just talking about feet! – Ya know? But being like Christ is hard! I mean – the guy was perfect after all! Geez. Honestly, some days I feel like it’s just too darn lofty of a goal. I fail – when I try to imitate Christ. Because I’m human. And then I feel like a failure. So, while I think that being like Christ should be our ultimate goal – I would also encourage you to start small…..start on a local level….find someone near you who is on the right path – someone who you know is in a right relationship with God and quite literally – mock them.

My mom was one of those people. She took action in small ways – every day. She didn’t just talk the talk in her relationship with Christ. She walked the walk.

If she saw someone who was cold – she didn’t wring her hands and fuss. She didn’t just say, we should pray about this. She went and she found them a coat….and gloves….and a hat.

If mom heard about someone who was hungry – she didn’t wait for an agency, or a group, or the government to help them- she would make a big pot of soup and deliver it to them personally.

So, from now on – when the kids and I come home from a serving event and my butt is dragging, and I get that side to side kind of bow legged walk that I have when I’m dead tire….when my arms are swinging all akimbo….and my husband quips….”you’re walking like your mom- I’m going to take that as a compliment.

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”    1 Corinthians 11:1

Cookie Unswap

cookie-unswap

If you’ve been to actionchurch, then you know we don’t do anything the “normal” way. So, as we prepare to celebrate our first Christmas in North York, of course we want to share our Christmas joy with our neighbors.  We’re kicking off December with a COOKIE UNSWAP.  Bake and bring your best Christmas cookies to church on Sunday, December 6. Instead of swapping cookies with others, you will be donating cookies to be boxed and delivered to our actionchurch neighbors– nearby businesses, firefighters, and police officers.  Don’t miss out on being a part of celebrating Christmas with our North York neighbors!