Growing Your God-Given Relationships

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? Did any of them concern relationships in your life?

Get Back on Track with Your Bible Reading Goals

One popular and worthwhile goal is to read the Bible in a new year. This often gets derailed around February as Bible readers find themselves slogging through Leviticus and Numbers. As the Israelites wander aimlessly in the wilderness, so, too, do many Bible reading goals. If you want to keep to the resolution and finish the entirety of the Bible in a year, here are a few tips that will hopefully propel you through any difficult sections.

You. Are. Forgiven.

“When I urge you to go to confession, I am doing nothing else than urging you to be a Christian.” (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation)

As a child, I had a misguided understanding of what a Christian was. I believed a Christian was sinless—or at the very least, a Christian was able to avoid “big” failures on his or her own.

What Makes a ‘Happy’ Year?

What is happiness? This can be a difficult question to answer. In the context of a new year, having an answer probably feels like a key to a good year. Pastor Keith Haney offers a Biblical perspective.

Three Lessons from Learning to See Faith in Films

I love watching movies. The experience goes beyond enjoying the story unfold before your eyes. I love the discussion that comes after the movie. Asking your friends or family what they thought can uncover what they discovered about themselves or the world from the way the movie presented its themes. I’ve spent hours in a donut diner dissecting many movies I’ve watched with friends. We usually talk about how what we saw in these movies was mind-blowing, emotional, just okay, or funny. So when my husband told me about the Faith and Film club at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, I knew I wanted to participate. Here are three things I learned while participating in this program.

The Word for Your New Year

Soon, we will (or perhaps we already have) see and hear what people are resolving to accomplish in the next year. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a new way to make resolutions. Along with resolution statements, some people are selecting a “word for the year.”  Some resolution makers see this word selection as a word from God or some self-proclaiming prophecy.

The Six Properties of Eternal Life

The following excerpt is adapted from Philipp Nicolai’s The Joy of Eternal Life, a systematic theology of God’s gift of heaven. Below, the first of Nicolai’s “six properties” is featured. 

Great Expectations for Healing

Sometimes, I read a familiar Bible passage or story and it comes alive in a new way. This happened recently with the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5, which I recall from childhood Sunday School as being a simple story of the faith of a servant girl leading to a man being healed of leprosy. As I read it as an adult, however, I can see that it gives us a dramatic account of how our expectations and God’s actions can collide.

Experiencing Advent in a New Context

The first time I heard the hymn “Thy Strong Word” (LSB 578), I was at a friend’s church choir concert. The beautiful architecture and stained glass windows combined with the multiple choral voices almost had me in tears. I heard the words “Give us lips to sing Thy glory, Tongues Thy mercy to proclaim, Throats that shout the hope that fills us, Mouths to speak Thy holy name” in a whole new way. I felt this same newness to familiar lyrics when I was visiting a church and watching a newborn get baptized while her uncles played their instruments and sang.

Finding Common Ground When Common Ground Feels Lost

When my husband and I were first married, I made him a fleece pillow covered in a pattern of moose and trees. This pillow is one of the ugliest things we own. I have tried at length to get rid of it. I have set it in the donation pile. I have set it in the trash pile. I have tried to suggest it reside in his office. All to no avail.

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