Sunday, July 21, 2013

Acts of Kindness

I just did an act of kindness for one of my neighbors. I took them some fresh vegetables and included the Acts of Kindness promotional card my church provided for our summer Acts of Kindness campaign.

It meant a lot to me because it stretched me. I realized that as often as I have cordially talked to these kind neighbors, I had never brought them a gift and had never been in their home. They happened to have warm cookies that had just finished baking, and the one they gave me tasted so good.

Serendipitous acts of kindness are one of the most creative ways a church can share the love of Christ openly in a community. It is evangelism in the best sense of the word because we are sharing the name of Christ practically, and more importantly, purely for Christ's sake.

The Acts of Kindness card is a tool to let people know we love them and care about them in the name of Christ and on behalf of the church, but to express that it is not because we want anything from them. It is doing for others just for the sake of doing so. So often, people assume churches are only self-interested and this can come as a welcome surprise. It might just warm someone's heart to give church a try.

In today's culture, many people have been turned off from church because of TV evangelism, faith mixed with politics, or negative experiences with intolerant Christians. These influences are not the essence of the church and they are not who we are. Rather, self-giving love is the essence of our faith.

We are hoping to create an atmosphere in our community that opens people to the love of God because others have loved them with no strings attached.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Helping Someone Sing Their Song

On Sunday morning, I told of a highlight at Music and Arts Week this past week at Sumatanga. Music and Arts Week is always amazing for our children, youth, and adults who attend. This year, the moment that touched my heart most was not the closing concert but a serendipity at the Thursday night talent show.

A young woman got up to sing a beautiful song a cappella. She had a pretty voice. She started out wonderfully, but soon began fumbling over the words time and again. You could tell she was nervous. You could see the pain on her face. But then I saw the magic happen. Somebody spoke up. “My friend knows how to play it on her guitar, can she help you?” She went to the front to support her with accompaniment.

The singer gained confidence but was still a little shaky, so the guitarist began to sing along quietly in the background to support her. Soon everybody else was singing along quietly to help her. She gained confidence and beauty. The song ended with a round of applause. And I realized I had watched the gospel happen.

This is what it means to be a church. We’ve got each other’s back. We lift each other up. We do not cut each other down. We don’t criticize and judge, or gossip and express negativity behind other people’s backs.

Instead, if someone is struggling or having trouble, we choose to help them sing their song.