Gleanings are some items I’ve found lying around the web that I’ve found helpful this week.
This is so good–especially the video of Prince Harry.
Such a good article on welcome in the church: “Every week, people wander into our churches for the first time. Some have recently moved and are actively seeking a gospel-centered community. We should be ready to welcome them to the team. But many others haven’t been to church in a while – or ever. Today could determine whether they ever come back. For many, it has taken great courage to come. For some, walking into a church feels as alien as placing a bet at the dog track would for you or me. They don’t know where to sit, or what to say, or the tunes to our songs. If we neglect the people who walk through our doors on a Sunday, we are failing on the bunny slopes of mission.”
“Now, many families are replacing funerals (where the body is present) with memorial services (where the body is not). Religious burial requirements are less a consideration in a country where only 36 percent of Americans say they regularly attend religious services, nearly a third never or rarely attend, and almost a quarter identify as agnostic or atheist, according to the Pew Research Center.”
As a pastor of an aging congregation, I conduct many more funerals–now often called “memorial services”–than I do weddings. I’ve noticed a change over the years, and this WaPo article hits on it as a broader phenomenon on how our culture deals with death. Are the changes good, or do they simply reflect the entertainment-driven, consumeristic, self-centered posture of our culture? And what part does the church play in speaking rightly of death while offering hope of the resurrection?
I’m signing up for this 30-day journey of prayer for Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Will you join me?
Sabbath rest should reach even to our ever-connectedness. Maybe try shutting off your device for 24 hours and see what happens: “So many of us are running on empty and simply need a break. It’s ok to do nothing sometimes. You don’t have to read every article, listen to every podcast, or watch every show. It is not just ok to disconnect, it’s required. We weren’t meant to be this connected.”
Guess what: Relevance isn’t everything. “Virtually every moment in which Christians blazed to God’s glory came as they accepted a prophetic role over mere relevance.”