“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Bertrand Russell

Usually I just shake my head at Josiah’s sarcastic remarks about church signs or “Christian” bumper stickers/t-shirts. But I saw a church billboard recently that just made me want to gag (and agree with Josiah…..in that order) The sign said:

“Don’t wrestle with God. Just nestle.” [insert collective groan]

Disclaimer: A) Sorry if it was your church sign. B) I really love wrestling C) Potential for overuse of air quotes

Later that week a bunch of gals from church showed up at my house for a crazy evening of camaraderie. (Remember girls – whatever happens on the hill….stays on the hill :-) ) One of the “church ladies” noted on social media that it was “not your stereotypical church function….in the best way.” That cracked me up!

You see – we have these preconceived notions of what a church (or a church “event”) should look like and what a Christian should act like. People tend to have ideas about how to read the bible, how to interpret the bible, how to use the bible. Sometimes it seems like there are more stereotypes about Christians than there are actual Christians.

Here’s my opinion (for what it’s worth) – I think God INTENDED for us to wrestle with all of it. True relationships include disagreements and doubts, misunderstandings and forgiveness. God wants to have a true and intimate relationship with each of us. Listen – if God didn’t want me to ask questions or wrestle with the answers in order to overcome my doubts, the bible would have been written more like an actual instruction manual…..Step 1, Step 2 – Diagram A – Attachment B, etc.

Following Christ is not going to be comfortable. Reading (and understanding) the bible is never going to be easy. But, I encourage you to challenge your preconceived notions. We should ask those difficult questions. Take the blinders off – put the boxing gloves on. Don’t follow the herd and take the Word lying down….OK – THAT was just bad….but you get the point.

Over the years at actionchurch, I have often heard Don say – “Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself.” He isn’t just being humble. He is challenging you to think about everything you ever believed in a different way. I love the fact that we don’t have a stereotypical preacher and I’m going to do my part to make sure we never become a stereotypical church.

“By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.”

Peter Abelard



I heard on the radio yesterday about a scientific study that concluded that people who physically write thank you notes are happier (less depressed) than those that don’t take the time to write pretty little notes, address the envelope, paste a stamp in the upper right hand corner and go to the mailbox. I’m guessing (not based on a scientific study) that a test message TY might not have the same effect.

But, clearly, sending a thank you – expressing some form of gratitude – is one way to show that you are THANK – (ful).

Sometimes I think about all the great and wonderful gifts that I’ve gotten over the years…..the savings bonds from Nan and Pop that helped me buy my first car, the engagement ring from my husband AND the macaroni necklace from my pre-schooler…..unexpected, thoughtful, wonderful gifts from my family and friends – for which I am always grateful. And for which I always (at least try) to remember to write a thank you note.

Then I think about the things that God has given me. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…..” (James 1:17) True – so true. A home, a family, food on the table…..some might say – too many gifts to mention. Eternal love, Christ’s sacrifice, strength, wisdom, patience…..how do you write a thank you not for those????

I pray. Quick, short prayers of thanksgiving. It’s sunny : “Thank you, Lord, for the warmth on my shoulders.” And then I might break in to a John Denver song (kidding Josiah). It’s raining: “Thanks for the rain that will make those daffodils pop up.” “My teenager is being a jerk – but thank you for the patience I need to deal with him.” Short. Sweet. To-the-point thank you notes.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

So, dear parents – amidst the gnashing of teeth and the rending of hair as you struggle to get your little hellion to put pen to paper and thank old Aunt Clara for the footie rabbit pajamas……also remember to help your kiddos form that strong bond with their creator. Pray with them every day. Express praise. Give thanks. Help them to show they are GRATE – (ful) for all gifts great and small.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5

Sharing your faith is easy.


One of the things that church people often make unnecessarily difficult and awkward is the idea of “sharing your faith”.  Often the gospel of Jesus (which means good news) somehow turns into a weird sales presentation sprung on unsuspecting friends and co-workers instead of a joyous opportunity to share something amazing.

Here’s a tip to make sharing your faith easy:  Simply replace the word “faith” with cookie…or sandwich…let’s just say lunch.   If you felt compelled to share your lunch you wouldn’t stop strangers on the street to ask them if they wanted a bite of your sandwich…that would be weird.  You probably wouldn’t randomly stop by a friends home and then try to convince your confused friend to eat half of your cookie. You definitely wouldn’t leave flyers around your workplace explaining why everyone else’s lunch is poisonous, but that you would be glad to provide a “poison free” lunch if they would only ask. :-)   Yeah…all of those things sound awkward and ridiculous because they ARE!!!

The best way to share your lunch would be to wait till someone else was interested…that person who forgot their lunch on the counter before leaving for work…that hungry co-worker staring longingly at your cookies…the person who always complains everyday how tired they are of their same unsatisfying lunch selection…and simply offer to share with them.  It’s not weird, or awkward, or hard to share a cookie…share a sandwich…share your lunch if you simply look around for person who is hungry…unsatisfied…someone who feels comfortable with you and offer to share.

Sharing your faith is easy.  You just have to look around.  Be patient.  Be sincere.  Notice when people are hungry…when they are hurting…when they are broken.  It could be as simple as sharing your story, reaching out to an acquaintance going through a painful situation,  inviting a friend to join you for a Sunday morning gathering, or even just answering a question about why you “seem different”.  You may feel a bit nervous…but if you are honestly SHARING (Whether it be faith, cookies, or sandwiches) you NEVER have to feel bad about offering something good to someone who would benefit from your free gift.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

Early influences…


This month during the MANIFESTO series, we’re revisiting the “WHY” and the “What” of actionchurch.  We’re remembering just WHY we began as a church…and WHAT we were trying to accomplish then…and still working toward today.   Although we probably won’t ever get around to discussing it on a Sunday, there is actually a quote from C.H. Spurgeon that so influenced the “WHY” of what actionchurch should become, that it is included in our original document.

“The man of God should imitate his Master in this; he should be mighty both in the word of his doctrine and in the deed of his example, and mightiest, if possible, in the second. It is remarkable that the only church history we have is, ‘The Acts of the apostles.’ The Holy Spirit has not preserved their sermons…

We have no books of the resolutions of the apostles; when we hold our church-meetings we record our minutes and resolutions, but the Holy Spirit only puts down the ‘acts.’ Our acts should be such as to bear recording, for recorded they will be. We must live as under the more immediate eye of God, and as in the blaze of the all-revealing day.”

C.H. Spurgeon

THAT is why we became known as  actionchurch…



(There might ALSO have possibly been a little bit of influence from the great country theologian Toby Keith…”A little less talk and a lot more action”.  But including his wise lyrics in the manifesto wouldn’t have seemed nearly as intellectual :-) -Don

Just One

Snow Day

Last Sunday was officially the lowest attended actionchurch service ever.  Just one.  (Actually two, if you count me… we were actually closed because of the the snow…and Josiah had a great plan to stream the sermon (it’s here if you missed it)…but for the purpose of illustration lets say the total attendance was just one last week. :-)   

I think this is actually a great opportunity to talk about church attendance. Inevitably when ever I talk about this subject, who ever missed the week prior thinks its a talk about them.  Since EVERYONE was missing last week, NO ONE can possibly think this is directed at them personally :-)  Let me start by telling you two things that you will rarely hear from a pastor.  Missing one service isn’t a big deal…nothing bad will happen…you probably won’t even notice a difference in your week.  Here’s another truth.  Attending one service isn’t a big deal either…one Sunday morning in church probably won’t change your life…and probably won’t make much of a difference in how you live the following week.

It’s much like skipping a workout at the gym…one won’t hurt…and one single workout by itself isn’t much help.

Here’s the thing EVERYONE who USED TO go to the gym, or USED be out of shape but are now IN GREAT SHAPE knows:  JUST ONE missed workout can be the start of completely punching out on fitness-and JUST ONE trip to the gym can be the start of a completely new fitness lifestyle!   JUST ONE time is actually that important…it can change everything!

Snow storms happen.  Stuff comes up.  It’s a 24-7 culture and there’s LOTS of things you could do on Sunday morning rather than attend church.  It never feels like “just one week” will matter.  I just wanted to remind you that because people attend actionchurch ALMOST   every week we are able to serve others all over our community.  (BTW you can bring your donations for Ronald McDonald house  patients this Sunday).   Because you make actionchurch your destination on Sunday mornings, we are able to provide an environment where your kids will love to learn about Jesus, a place that welcomes your friends and family members who are not “church people”, and a  place where you can share life with others attempting to live a life that matters as well.  All of this is possible because you show up…and all it really takes to become part of the action…or sadly miss out on having a church family to share life with…is JUST ONE week.

See ya Sunday!