During the summer of 2023, Concordia Gospel Outreach (CGO) had the opportunity to provide resources to a group of students and teachers from Lutheran High School South in St. Louis for their mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This group took children’s resources to share with the local Lutheran school, church, and seminary and to help put the Gospel into empty hands.
I never had any interest in watching the 1946 James Stewart Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, until college. Many adults and teens in my life had droned on about how boring they found this particular movie, so when one friend insisted we watch it as a group, I was ready to pretty much zone out. Instead, I was blown away. Now, for my husband (who also watched it for the first time that day) and me, it’s a tradition. (Though we do have to overlook the whole thing about people becoming angels when they die, and then angels having to do good works to earn their wings.) As George Bailey rushes into his home full of life and cheer, I am always holding back at least one tear. And maybe one or two spill over. Why does this happy ending elicit a tearful response?
“Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). It’s a good verse, right? Isaiah sets a prime example of what our attitude toward the Lord’s will should be—what our degree of willingness ought to look like when God nudges us in a direction according to His plan. We like to think we’d say the same thing to God as this spectacular prophet of yore when asked. But let’s be honest.
We’re all pretty awful at doing that.
Merry fall, y’all.
Christmas starts early in the Dominican Republic. That doesn’t mean I’m a disgruntled traditionalist who boycotts Christmas music until Santa ushers in the season from atop his sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. No, a friend of mine shared a photo of candy canes in her local supermarket to her Instagram Story on July 21.
There is an epidemic of burnout among pastors today. Amidst a clergy shortage, political and social divisions, and a post-pandemic world, a cloud of cynical fatigue is hanging over many church workers. How do we retain our zeal for ministering to God's people nonetheless?
I have no idea what or who my seventeen-month-old daughter will dress up as for our upcoming Halloween events. These days, it’s a big responsibility to make sure that your family costumes are aligned with your values and that the character or theme you are portraying is moral and upstanding. Will we show up as the princess of the year or the cute cartoon character? What if, down the road, the princess is no longer thought of as a good role model for young girls? Or if the cartoon character teaches (whether purposefully or not) a lesson with which I disagree?
A few months back, I wrote a post about how you can support your pastor’s wife. In it, I mentioned that because the role of the pastor’s wife comes with so many challenging aspects, there could be a whole field manual for women about to square up with the task. In place of a field manual, though, I thought I’d offer more insight via a few dedicated blog posts. Here’s the third of three.
“Don’t you see how hard I’m working?”
“I feel like my work goes unappreciated.”
“It seems like no matter what I do, it’s never enough. There’s always one more thing.”
Church council meetings are where important—and often difficult—decisions are made regarding church leadership and the congregation. Building a prayer culture in your church within your meetings allows God to remain the central focus. It also reminds people to submit to God’s plan and desires for the church rather than pursue their own plans and desires. Here are a few tips on how to lead prayer at your church board meetings from David J. Peter’s book, Organizing for Ministry and Mission.
This is a story about termites.
I’d prepared that week’s team of volunteers to expect schedule changes. To not be surprised if the bus driver arrived on “island time” despite being en camino (on the way) or if a conversation over cafecito (coffee) lingered and made us “late” for our next engagement. In short, to be flexible. But I did not prepare them for an infestation.