An Act Of Kindness

When it came time to talk about kindness, the song “An Act of Kindness” by Bastille kept playing over and over in my head (see the end of this post for a link to the song). According to Dan, the lead singer of the band, “[“An Act of Kindness” is] about a kind of Good Samaritan narrative in the context of everything that’s happening at the moment in the world and being in a sea where everyone keeps their heads down, so in their life, just one small act of kindness can completely transform a day, or a situation, or a week, and can follow you all the time and that you can feel kind of worthy or unworthy of that.”

It’s so true, isn’t it? The world we live in is one where more often than not we bury our heads in the sand and try and pretend the things happening around us in the world, just aren’t happening. However, when someone goes out of their way in an act of genuine kindness, it changes your world. Even if just for a moment.

I’ve heard from so many people about the amazing feeling they get after being kind to others. I can even tell you from a firsthand point of view that it does feel pretty good. However when you’re on the other side of it, sometimes it can be confusing. If we don’t have an immediate #PayItForward mentality, we can begin to feel like we didn’t deserve it.  Why would someone go so far out of their way for me?  And that’s just the beginning of those thoughts that begin to circle our minds.

But who is to say that we don’t deserve these things? The only person telling us we don’t deserve them is ourselves (well, obviously under the influence of the devil himself). So why do we think so little of ourselves? Why don’t we realize how much effort God put into creating us just the way we are? And you know what else? He loves us this way. Sure, we can be a disappointment, but it doesn’t change how much He loves us.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

God created us and has plans for us. I know that He wouldn’t mind if we appreciated an act of kindness shown to us. Or if we paid it forward along the way.

Until next time,
Sarah

An Act of Kindness – Bastille

GUEST BLOGGER: What a Millennial wants, What a Millennial needs.

Hi everyone I’m excited to kick-off our ‘Boys of Summer’ miniseries by introducing Hunter! Hunter is a fellow Houghton alumni (he just graduated WOO CONGRATS!) and I’m so happy he was willing to hop on board this month as our guest. He’s amazing and HILARIOUS. Also, if you ever wanted to follow someone on twitter, Hunter is the man to follow. I hope you are blessed by what he has to share, as I am blessed to know him! – Sarah

What a Millennial wants, What a Millennial needs

Lots of current blogs claim to have “cracked the code” on getting millennials through their church doors. Millennials are tired of religion. They want an authentic spiritual relationship.
This generation wants relevant music and display so they are assured that the Church is
keeping up with the times.
They want to radically live out their faith, and that means going global with missions.
Some of these quotes may be true for some millennials, and most millennials can get behind the sentiment. However, these quotes sound more like products of “The Jesus Movement”, a revival in the 70’s that revolutionized the church. The movement was a reaction against the formal and dead appearance of the church of their parents and grandparents; a longing to present the gospel as being relevant to present times and cultural progress.
One cannot ignore the many positive impacts of this movement, bringing thousands to the faith and breaking down prior cultural barriers. However, each generation carries with it a different need, and I believe that this generation’s need is quite different than that of the generation of the Jesus Movement.
Millennials, inside and outside the church, crave authenticity. We hate posers. We value when people embrace their identity and wear it confidently on their sleeve. In large numbers, millennials simply want a return to true religion. A religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
Yes, millennials want religion. We want what those in countless ages past had and we want to share in the ancient Christian narrative. And that is what Christianity is; it’s ancient. Tradition plays a role for all (Protestants and Catholics) connecting us to the long lineage of the gospel and reminding us that we are not alone in time. The church does not need to be dressed up as something that it isn’t. We are a incense-swinging, hymn-singing, scripture-chanting, robe-wearing, bread-breaking, creed-speaking, ancient religion, and we shouldn’t shy away from that. Embrace it and wear it confidently. This is why millennials are flocking to more traditional denominations in droves. We should look other-worldly, because we are. Outsiders don’t want “seeker-friendly”. If church looks the same as anywhere else, what’s the point of even going?
The millennial generation also despises hypocrisy. We say we love one another and we don’t truly bear with and take care of each other. We say we withhold judgment but we set double standards and rank sins and sinners. We say we take care of the poor and needy, but we don’t really unless it’s really convenient or it includes a vacation to a place with different looking people with whom we can take insta selfies #missions. Millennials want a religion that fosters genuine kindness and love for others. We want to take passages, such as “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back”, seriously. Kindness toward our local communities that is motivated out of genuine love (not conversion) is a lost art for us. The homeless, the orphans, the widows, those in trouble; we drive past them like the priest and Levite who passed by the maimed man on the side of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
What millennials envision for the church is an authentic church, driven by Spirit-given kindness to serve those in need, including those in need in our own backyard. Our cravings for rich doctrine will drive us deeper in scripture, cultivating a deep love for humanity. I, for one, believe that God is going to use this generation in amazing ways to reignite passion for the ancient Christian gospel.

-Hunter

Find our guest blogger on the internet:
instagram: @hunuh17
twitter: @hunuh17

Be Kind To Yourself

Okay. I’ve written, deleted, rewritten, deleted again, and am now writing this post again…third time is the charm, right? And like most days, after trying on five different outfits for work, I usually end up in the outfit I first had on, I am back to my original post idea.

A while back I heard this song on the radio called Be Kind To Yourself by Andrew Peterson and immediately resonated with every word sung, every note and chord played hit me, it felt as though the song was written for me. I hesitated to write this post because it almost felt self centered and self focused to say, be kind to yourself, but the more I thought about it and the more I prayed for what I was supposed to write, I kept coming back to the same idea: I am my worst enemy and being kind to myself is harder than being kind to others. But I fully believe God wants us to be kind to ourselves as well as others and it is not selfish or self centered.

Luke 10:27, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your heart. And your neighbor as yourself.

I am the world’s worst perfectionist and therefore when I mess up, whether it’s a big mess up or a small one literally no one will notice. I become the worst critic and the dialogue in my mind is full of self hatred and all the ways I should have done better, studied harder, I could have been more helpful, I would have prevented that person from being mad or that situation from happening if only I would have done things better than I did.

In essence, I remove the grace God has given to me when I mess up and sin and replace it with a mere attempt to self atone by better good works. I remove the work that God is doing in myself and those around me because I take control and attempt to fix everything because I fell short of my own standards. But removing grace and love that God freely lavishes on me each day is never going to result in growth, but only destruction. When I choose to not see myself the way God sees me, I instantly forget my worth in Christ.

So what does this all have to do with kindness? Great question.

The bible, specifically in Luke 10:27, we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we do not love ourself or if we are not kind to ourselves, how can we expect our kindness to be genuine toward others and not just another act of good works?

One of the verses of the song goes like this: You can’t expect to be perfect
It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit
You belong to me whatever you do
So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

Now, if I understand the song correct, it is being written from a father to his daughter…to me, this song is something God is singing to me. I can’t fight to be perfect because I am not nor will ever be perfect, I will not always be kind, but when I truly believe I am loved by God, the kindness that pours out is no longer an attempt to look good and be better, it’s not even from me. It’s the kindness of God coming out of a heart that has been transformed by the work of the cross.

So, be kind to yourself. Learn to live out of God’s love and let His kindness rule your every thought, word, and deed. But don’t stop with being kind to yourself, extend it to everyone around you…even if you do not believe they deserve kindness.

Until next time friends,

Christi

Be Kind To Yourself Andrew Peterson