I have been in the Lutheran church and school community for most my life. Growing up, I had religion class five days a week and went to church every weekend. All the people I was surrounded by were almost always Lutheran, and the combination of all of these things created a Lutheran bubble around me. I never knew about this bubble until it popped.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
“I can do all things through a verse taken out of context,” says a popular mug that pokes fun at the frequent misuse and misinterpretation of Philippians 4:13. In poking fun at this verse, the mug aims to remind readers of the Bible that Paul wrote these familiar words from a prison cell. The “can do all things through Christ” meant that he could be content while imprisoned because he had the promises found in Jesus. His strength came from God.
We may not be in prison like Paul was, but we still need God’s strength daily. I know I need reminders that God’s strength will get me through my struggles. Here are four verses that help us to do just that.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
Whenever you start to become a part of a new community, it is hard. There’s a period when you’re “just starting,” then you move into a “I think I sort of understand what’s going on” stage. During these stages, you may dip your toes into different groups and try to find a groove, your place. I’ve found that this is the stage where I despair. Nothing seems to fit just right; I feel like I don’t truly know anyone and I think that I’ll never be able to truly be involved.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I was recently reading an article about how as Christians we can have productive political conversations. In it the author said that as Christians, we are in the right position to have good conversations with other Christians because we have the same foundation of beliefs. We can talk in a positive manner about political beliefs we may not share, because first and foremost we have belief in the same Savior, Jesus. I think this same principle applies to talking about Jesus to people who do not yet know the Gospel. We need to find the common foundation and establish authenticity before we discuss our beliefs about Jesus. Where can we find this common ground? And how do we establish authentic connection?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
This is an adapted excerpt from 5 Things You Can Do To Have a Stronger Family in the You Can Do It Series!
“Add value to someone’s life today.” This encouragement introduces a different perspective to how most people understand the more common “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” golden rule. it’s tempting to see the golden rule as a karmic transaction—people anticipate getting to the degree they give. This misinterpretation is driven by greed and is dangerous because it leads to the conclusion that those who receive much good obviously deserve it and those who receive very little don’t deserve any more. in contrast is the concept of your life as a channel for adding real value, centered in god and the salvation offered through His Son, Jesus Christ. This encouragement places the emphasis clearly on what is being given with no word yet on whether we’ll receive a return on that investment. It reminds us of how God gave everything to us regardless of what we could or couldn’t give in return.
The first week of warmer weather always boosts my mood. I lived 22 years of my life in Michigan so when the first sign of t-shirt weather comes around, I’m outside. Cabin fever is a real thing. Spring weather, the coming warmth of summer, budding on the trees, the boost in mood, looking toward the end of a long season of loneliness, reminds me that God is making all things new through Christ. It makes me grateful and thankful.
Whenever I am coming out of a harder time, I find it helpful to focus on the newness of the day, week, month, or season. Let’s look to God’s Word as we soak in the newness of today.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
We were out to dinner with friends who were visiting us for the first time. As we enjoyed sharing an appetizer and waited for our meals, the conversation turned to our seminary experience. As we discussed what our next year of this journey may look like, questions about our church preferences came up. We always try to answer questions like these as carefully as possible with our non-Christian friends. We don’t want their impressions of the Church to be contingent on what our worship preferences, practices, and experiences are. But this was the “in” our friend was looking for to air his grievances about what he believes is a corrupt institution and unfair god.
How do we respond?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
As we move into a time in between past/normal/precedented and COVID/not normal/unprecedented, our evangelism efforts may feel stuck. No one wants more events that happen over Zoom, and it’s also still not wise to gather without precautions. We want our unsaved/unchurched neighbors to know we care for them. So how do we spread God’s Word and invite others into the community of church during this time?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
The first time I realized the full weight of the gift of the cross, I was in a college classroom. In my freshman year of college, I had the immense pleasure of taking UC 154. When I saw it in the Winter 2016 (I'm young, I know) course guide, I knew that it could be wonderful or disastrous. The course was titled “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Themes of Medicine in the Old and New Testament.” As a freshman at a state university, I knew that this class could be an opportunity for the professor to “get even” with religion and use pain they may have received from the church of their youth to belittle or speak against the Bible. Or this class could have been a look into the Bible from a perspective I hadn’t studied before; it could be a class that stretched my understanding of Scripture. I didn’t know which it would be. So, I emailed the prof.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]