top3 for March 24, 2023

Before you head out on your weekend, here are three thing I have read and found helpful. Hope they will do the same for you. Have a great weekend!

#1

When we no longer know people well enough to gauge what is going on, the press and the media attempts to fill this relational gap by telling us what others think and reporting on public opinion.

Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers

Closing the gap with others. Really getting to know someone rather than accepting the caricature that is driven by generalities and even fear is the key to regaining civility in our discourse; fair judgement in our assessments; and true compassion that changes things and not simply empathy that makes us feel better about ourselves.

We talked about this a few weeks ago in Sunday school. How can we truly know if that person on the street needs money for food or is looking for a quick fix? Only by getting to know them is that discernment possible. How can we truly know how best to deal with immigration? By being knee deep among the people for whom it is more than politics. And so on.

#2

The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Can we have faith for another person when they are going through trials in life and are full of doubt? I believe so. We can help by continuing to be faithful to Christ in our actions, words and motives. We can help by being present with them and speaking words of encouragement. It is the work of Christ through us that demonstrates to the person in trial that Jesus has not given up on them and neither have we!

#3

“Good work requires of us an appreciation of the value of routine, ordinary, mundane rhythms of doing what needs to be done, each day and each week, thoroughly and with care.”

Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith

For all those struggling with a sermon on this Friday, this quote and encouragement is for us!

Keep plugging away at the routine, ordinary, and mundane processes that lead to Sunday morning proclamation. Don’t give up on your devotional reading. Persist in the close reading of the text. Work your process. And make sure to spend time in prayer. There is no other way to make it long term. There is no silver bullet or killer app that makes the work any easier. The work behind the scenes is not exciting and at times can be a struggle. But it is these moments of routine that God will faithfully use.