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Archive for July, 2012

Special Welcome

A friend posted this and I thought it was worth passing on. 

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2012/07/how-to-welcome-people-to-your-church/

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Mourn. It’s an interesting word. It sounds weird and requires complex muscle movement in the mouth to pronounce it. In the simplest of terms it means to grieve a loss of someone or something. It’s a word which describes the human condition in fullness. It’s something we cannot escape and all experience within our lifetime.  So whether we mourn over the loss of a job, a home, or even the occasional Twinkie, chances are our Mourning has left us feeling empty.

When we mourn we often feel like the clouds have moved in and we will never see the Sun again. Lord knows this is where I’ve been over the last several months. This season has been filled with loss of loved ones and family members, a loss of a church family and home, a loss of freedoms and personal losses. Through each event, I’ve mourned. The dark clouds of life moved in and there seemed to be no hope. Gratefully, mourning often presents itself only as a season.

 
A song has been playing in the forefront of my mind lately, helping me move through this season of mourning. The great theologians known simply as The Beatles penned a song called, “Here Comes the Sun”. The words of the chorus go, “Here comes the Sun. Here comes the Sun, I say, it’s all right”.  How refreshing and hopeful to be reminded that though we may be experiencing mourning, the dark of winter, and the gloom of pain may envelop us, the Sun will still shine.

Jesus, the true Son, put it this way, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV). King David beautifully put it this way, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (Psalm 30:11, 12 NLT.)

If you’re like me, you may be in a season of Mourning. You may be deep in the darkness and hope seems so far away. Please hold to this Promise: God can take your mourning and turn it into something beautiful for His Glory. You can be comforted. You can find Joy. Mourning will cease. Trust in God’s promises. Look out now…Here Comes the Son!

 

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