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October 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

Lawyer: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?

Lawyer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus: “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Lawyer: “And who is my neighbor?”

Who is your neighbor? Have you considered that question lately? The back-and-forth exchange above comes from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Chapter 10 holds two familiar passages of Scripture, one after the other.  

Developing a Circle of Trust

In previous posts, I have approached the concept of race relations from a theoretical point of view. However, in this post, I want to give you some practical ideas to help make the task ahead seem less daunting. When we work with congregations who ask us for the magic ingredient for reaching their community, we have just one word for them. If you want to know the secret to being relevant in your community, come closer and I will tell you. A little closer. The secret is RELATIONSHIPS!

John Maxwell once said about leadership, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Any hope we have of overcoming racial tension, any hope of seeing beyond color, is based on our ability to build authentic relationships. On to the task at hand: how do you develop a circle of trust? I believe there are five key elements.

Jesus Is With You in Your Worry

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). 

Maybe you hear this as a new Law at first, these words that Jesus speaks to His disciples about not being anxious. I do, sometimes. Because my first inclination is to say, “But, Jesus … ” and to start listing all the things I have to be worried about, to try and justify my anxious thoughts, and to show off just how much trouble today has already been. How can He possibly doubt that I need to get a jump-start on dealing with tomorrow?

The Art of Listening and Speaking

This post is an adapted excerpt from Speaking Boldly: Sharing God's Word Every Day by Edward O. Grimenstein.

We Christians must always be willing to take the time to listen to one another. Then, and only then, is it possible for us to make a proper “diagnosis.” Even though preaching is a primary, trusted means of hearing the Law and Gospel proclaimed every week, it is not the only way. Every day at home, parents have a chance to listen and ultimately speak Law and Gospel with their children (and sometimes vice versa). Every day in school, children have numerous opportunities to listen to one another. Every day at work, adults interact with co-workers in the office. Every day in the community, people interact with their neighbors at the grocery store, across the street, in the bank, in the library, or wherever we find ourselves.

Anxiety and the Pandemic: How Parents Can Cope While Sending Children Back to School

You, as parents, serve as the critical link in the bicycle chain of getting our educational system back on the road during this crisis, both for our nation and for our families. When you brought your child into this world, you accepted the vocation of parenting: to be loving, conscientious caretakers and leaders in your child’s life, both during your child’s earthly travel and, through Christ, into eternity. Without the Spirit’s presence and your understanding, commitment, sacrifice, and hope for your children, this quest to restart our lives and economy safely won’t be successful. Although there is enough anxiety for all within this chain, that of parents is perhaps the hardest to recognize or, at least to accept. I can guarantee your anxiety is observed easily by your children and is highly palpable in the planning of your school’s teachers and administrators.

September 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

My social media feeds have been filled with school-related posts for the better part of this year. When the statewide shut-downs first occurred because of the pandemic, many posted about the experience of suddenly doing all schoolwork using exclusively digital mediums. As spring turned to summer and the uncertainty of fall loomed ahead, posts began to primarily feature the thoughts and feelings surrounding all of the details and decisions for the upcoming school year.

Marriage and the Art of Adjectives

There are people in this world who are grammar nuts. It’s their “thing.” They have an uncanny ability to track down a misplaced preposition. They seem to understand the difference between “who” and “whom” with a shocking level of contextual clarity.

I am thankful for these people. I am not one of them.

But I do like words. Words pour out of me easily, whether on the page or in conversation. My husband is a man of much fewer words. I’m almost certain that he keeps his thoughts inside a little treasure box inside his mind. When you get to peek into the box, that’s something really special.

A Sea of Broken Dreams

“I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” Isaiah 65:19

As I look at the landscape in our country today, especially when it comes to race in America, what I see is a sea of broken dreams. For those people who look at their life with regret and pain, this post is for you. Usually, I leave the good part for the clincher, but I want you to hear this upfront: God can restore your broken past, and He helps you overcome your broken dreams.

4 Places to Share God's Word with Others

I wouldn’t be writing this were it not for people who told me about Jesus: My grandparents, who taught me to give thanks before meals and helped me recite the Lord’s Prayer. My friends who sent me Scripture and told me about their church life and faith walk. My co-workers who live out their faith. A church family that welcomed me and plugged me into their midst. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my walk with Christ without each of them. I thank God for using these imperfect people to speak His perfect Word to me. If you haven’t been asked this in a while, consider these questions: Who have you spoken God’s Word to recently? Where could you speak God’s Word to someone today?

Social Media: Walk as Children of Light

The internet has always had its dark side: email money transfer and gift card scams, identity theft, catfishing, fake job offers, stalkers, social media bullying, and more. During this time of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, when people are out of work, bored, and increasingly desperate for human connection, those abuses seem to increase.