Today's Word for Pastors...
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Today's Preaching Insight...
To Those Who Have Loved and Lost
Grief is an experience common to all of us. We all lose someone we love at sometime. The difference lies in the names and circumstances of our losses. Like many of you, I too have lost a child. There’s something terribly wrong with the scene of a parent standing over a child’s grave. It’s supposed to be the other way!
Others of you have lost a spouse or a sibling or a friend or a parent. To lose a parent is to lose the past. To lose a spouse, sibling, or friend is to lose the present. To lose a child is to lose the future. Each of us has loved and lost and, now, the grief we feel is overwhelming sometimes and persistent at all times. I believe the depth of our grief arises from the depth of our love. When we lose someone we greatly love, how can we not deeply grieve and how can that grief quickly pass? Deep grief never passes quickly and never passes completely. My loss occurred almost 20 years ago; your loss occurred this past year. Yet, our common grief persists. How should we, how can we, respond to our losses?
Here are three responses to loss that deal with the past, present, and the future of our lives. Some people respond to their loss with regret as they focus on the past. Their grief is defined by their guilt about what was but should not have been or their guilt about what should have been but was not. The words they often think and say with respect to their deceased loved one are “if only.” If only I had not let him take the car that night! If only I had told her I loved her more often! If only I had done more for him! If only…
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In an article in the July 26, 2003 issue of World magazine, Gene Veith points out that, "Christianity is growing at a rate that is nearly unparalleled in the history of the church. Yet this growth primarily is taking place in cultures that previously have not been Christian at all. In historically Christian societies, where for centuries upon centuries the church has thrived, Christianity seems to be fading.
"In 1900, according to statistics from the Website of the mission organization Synergos, Western Europe was home to more than 70 percent of the world's professing Christians. Today, that figure has shrunk to 28 percent. In 2025, it is projected that only about one in five of the world's Christians will be Europeans. North America had just more than one in 10 of the world's Christians at the beginning of the last century. By 2025, for all of the megachurches and church-growth techniques—which seem mainly to draw on people who already are Christians, taking them from small congregations to bigger ones—the percentage is projected to decline slightly.
"Conversely in 1900, 1.7 percent of the world's Christians lived in Africa. Today, that figure is nearly 18 percent, and it is projected by 2025 to rise to more than 25 percent. That is to say, there will be substantially more Christians in Africa than in Europe. Asia is experiencing similar growth. In 1900, it was home to 3.7 percent of the world's Christians; but by 2025, the share of Christians living in Asia is projected to equal the share in Europe, with slightly more than 20 percent. Latin America is projected to be home to less than a quarter of the world's Christians."
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