Then & Now: The Nature of Spiritual Conversations — A Free Online Course Offered by Lutheran Hour Ministries

Lutheran Hour Ministries has developed a new free course in witnessing.  The most recent course is: Then and Now: The Nature of Spiritual Conversations.

Spiritual conversations have changed in America in the past few decades. Navigating these changes can be challenging, but we are here to help. Introducing, Then & Now: The Nature of Spiritual Conversations. This course, which is the first of three based on our Barna research, Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, will equip you to explore the nature of your own spiritual conversations and encourage you to talk more about your faith. Simply click the button below to sign up for FREE.

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Posted in Discipleship, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Laymen's League, Lutheran Missiology, Missional, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, The Lutheran Hour, Urban Outreach, Witness | Leave a comment

Join Scott Gress on “The Coaching Leader Podcast”

The Coaching Leader Podcast is about coaching, leadership and leading through coaching. We interview coaches, leaders and thought leaders and present material that will help leaders make a difference for their organizations in order to live into their preferred future.  The Coaching Leader Podcast is Available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher & Overcast. Continue to the coaching leader podcast webpage to listen now.

Episode 6: Scott Talks to Dr. Lili Agee-Finke about Coaching and Servant Leadership.
Lili has a doctorate in Education with a specialty in Servant Leadership. Listen as she shares the sometimes surprising insights into what makes a good coach and servant leader.

Episode 5: Scott Talks to Rev. Travis Guse, Strengthsfinders Coach.
Travis shares about the value of coaching and identifying your strengths to move from the pew to making a difference for the kingdom of God.

Episodes 3 & 4: An Interview with Dr. Chad Hall, President of Coach Approach Ministries
Chad shares about coaching, how it differs from other helping skills and how it can used in the church as a tool of stewardship for the body of Christ. Then he shares about coaching and leadership.

Episode 2: An Interview with Dr. Art Johnson, professor of Leadership, Organizational Development and Coaching Dr. Johnson shares from his extensive experience and wisdom about leading organizational change, personal development and what really makes a difference for people.

Episode 1: An Interview with former LCMS President Jerry Kieschnick
Together we explore his journey of ministry and the leadership lessons he learned along the way.

Posted in Christian Coaching, Discipleship, Leadership, Missional Leadership, Pastors, Scott Gress | Comments Off on Join Scott Gress on “The Coaching Leader Podcast”

Lift Them Up: A James 1:27 Ministry Committed to Supporting Orphans and Widows in Rwanda

Lift Them Up: A James 1:27 Ministry is an organization dedicated to supporting the needs of orphans and widows in Rwanda.  Kendra Willard, the Executive Director of Lift Them Up recently returned from Rwanda and reports:

During the 30 days that my team and I were working in Rwanda:

• 1200 children were fed out of the Nutrition Program in the Nyaraguru Church. The gummy vitamins -donated from Stonegate Women’s Bible Studies in Midland, TX- arrived safely and were distributed with each meal.

• My team and I traveled to and preached at multi-day Women’s Conferences at each of our 4 partner churches.

• We met with all of the Sponsored kids, got updated pictures, handed out the picture Bibles (also from SGW Bible Study groups), and got to meet some of their families.

• I got to see the Nyiramugisha Artisen craftwomen in action, making beautiful handmade jewelry.

To learn more about how you might get involved in supporting the work of Lift Them Up, you will find Lift Them Up on facebook and on the web at: Lift Them Up.

Posted in Beth Ammi Christian Fellowship Church, Lift Them Up, Rwanda | Comments Off on Lift Them Up: A James 1:27 Ministry Committed to Supporting Orphans and Widows in Rwanda

Three Hazardous Assumptions About Making Disciples — Scott Gress

Rev. Scott Gress discusses three faulty assumptions church leaders often make when it comes to engaging Jesus’ followers in their spiritual growth. In a blog post, he observes:

We make a lot of assumptions about what we do and how we do it. It is often necessary to make assumptions. It is more efficient that way. Assumptions allow us to put some things on autopilot. This is necessary in organizing people and work. So many things are going on in life and ministry that some things, perhaps most things need to be systemized. It would be overwhelming to have to give attention to every detail of every action all the time. Yet periodically our assumptions and autopilot needs to be reprogramed. This is nowhere more serious than in how we in ministry approach making disciples.

Continue reading here.

Note: Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com

Posted in Bible study, Church revitalization, Discipleship, Evangelism, Leadership, Missional, Missional Leadership, Priesthood of all Believers, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach, Witness, Word of God | Comments Off on Three Hazardous Assumptions About Making Disciples — Scott Gress

“The Gifts Christ Freely Gives” — Lutheran Service Book #602

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives , written by Richard Resch, is a magnificent hymn that describes that gifts the Lord gives to His Bride. The words of the hymn are printed below the video so that you can singalong with the worshippers attending Higher Things (A Youth Conference). Have a listen:

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives – Lutheran Service Book 602

1 The gifts Christ freely gives
He gives to you and me
To be His Church, His bride,
His chosen, saved and free!
Saints blest with these rich gifts
Are children who proclaim
That they were won by Christ
And cling to His strong name.

2 The gifts flow from the font
Where He calls us His own;
New life He gives that makes
Us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins
With water and His Word;
The triune God Himself
Gives pow’r to call Him Lord.

3 The gifts of grace and peace
From absolution flow;
The pastor’s words are Christ’s
For us to trust and know.
Forgiveness that we need
Is granted to us there;
The Lord of mercy sends
Us forth in His blest care.

4 The gifts are there each day
The holy Word is read;
God’s children listen, hear,
Receive, and they are fed.
Christ fills them with Himself,
Blest words that give them life,
Restoring and refreshing
Them for this world’s strife.

5 The gifts are in the feast,
Gifts far more than we see;
Beneath the bread and wine
Is food from Calvary.
The body and the blood
Remove our ev’ry sin;
We leave His presence in
His peace, renewed again.

6 All glory to the One
Who lavishes such love;
The triune God in love
Assures our life above.
His means of grace for us
Are gifts He loves to give;
All thanks and praise for His
Great love by which we live!

Posted in Christian church, Christian music, Grace, Jesus Christ, Lord's Supper, Salvation, Saviour, Worship | Comments Off on “The Gifts Christ Freely Gives” — Lutheran Service Book #602

We Are Invited to Send Instructors to Rwanda! Learn How You Can Make This Invitation a Reality!

Concordia Lutheran Mission Society has adopted a Mission Project so that two instructors can be sent to Rwanda to teach the pastors, elders and deacons of Beth Ammi Christian Fellowship Church and the Reformed Lutheran Church of Rwanda. Watch the video. Pray for Christian churches in Rwanda. Consider making a donation to this project.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), Beth Ammi Christian Fellowship Church, Christian church, Concordia Lutheran Mission Society, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Missionary, Reformed Lutheran Church of Rwanda, Rwanda | Comments Off on We Are Invited to Send Instructors to Rwanda! Learn How You Can Make This Invitation a Reality!

Euthanasia is Rising Dramatically in Canada

The CLC National News, the monthly newsletter of Campaign Life Coalition Canada, reports,

The legislatively mandated “Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying” reports that there was a 30% increase in euthanasia deaths in the second half of 2017 (the period which the report covers). In just over 18 months since euthanasia was legalized in June 2016, more than 3,700 people have availed themselves of a doctor’s assistance to kill themselves. Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said, ‘Euthanasia is being promoted; it is being pressured upon doctors to do it to alleviate the conscience rights problem, doctors are being told they are going to have to refer.’ Schadenberg compared the figures to European countries that have legalized the practice, and it is growing faster in Canada that it did in those nations. CLC warned that there would be tremendous pressure on doctors to take part in euthanasia, as well as pressure on patients and families to accept assisted suicide. At the same time, we are concerned at the lack of genuine palliative care, without which the some patients would rather face a hastened death than prolonged, insufficiently treated pain.” (CLC National News, August 2018, p. 1)

Providing love and support to families facing end of life issues is something that every Christian and congregation can provide. Our living Lord can provide strength and hope for individuals and families facing the reality of chronic illness and death itself.  How might you and your congregation help provide palliative care?  You are encouraged to talk with the agencies providing palliative care in your community!

Posted in Assisted suicide, End of Life Issues, Euthanasia, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Physician Assisted Suicide, Prolife | Comments Off on Euthanasia is Rising Dramatically in Canada

Faith Alone — Stands at the Heart of the Lutheran Teaching of the Gospel.

It is taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, and satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sins and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in his sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3 [:21-26] and 4[:5]. (AC IV.1-3, 38-39)

Samuel Nafzger comments on this quote from the Augsburg Confession, “It was this insight that sinners are saved ‘through faith alone’ that transformed Luther into the great reformer. The justification of sinners through faith alone — sola fide — stands at the heart of the Lutheran teaching of the gospel.” (“An Introduction to Confessing the Gospel: A Lutheran Approach to Systematic Theology,” by Samuel Nafzger, Concordia Journal Spring 2018, p. 60)

Posted in Evangelism, Faith, Faith Comes By Hearing, Lutheran, Lutheran Missiology | Comments Off on Faith Alone — Stands at the Heart of the Lutheran Teaching of the Gospel.

Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death — Purchase the Film and show it this Fall to your Congregation and Community

Over the past three years, filmmaker Kevin Dunn has travelled throughout Europe and North America to ask one of the most fundamental philosophical questions of our time: should we be giving doctors the right in law to end the life of others by euthanasia or assisted suicide? Powerful testimonies and expert opinion from both sides of the issue uncover how these highly disputed laws affect society over time. This film is about the adoption of – and resistance to – a new cultural philosophy that may affect you at the most vulnerable time of your life. Fatal Flaws is produced by DunnMedia & Entertainment in association with The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. The film is rated PG due to sensitive subject matter.

To learn more about the video and to purchase a copy of it, visit: Fatal Flaws.

Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death from DunnMedia on Vimeo.

Posted in Assisted suicide, End of Life Issues, Euthanasia, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Physician Assisted Suicide, Prolife | Comments Off on Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death — Purchase the Film and show it this Fall to your Congregation and Community

Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age

Evangelism has changed in the past quarter century. The ways Christians share, how often they engage in spiritual conversations and their goals for sharing faith are different. And in a culture where relativism is the norm and fewer believe in absolute truth, the attitudes and responses of those who hear the Gospel have also evolved.  Technology and rapid cultural shifts may have altered the face of evangelism, but the call to bring Christ to the nations remains.

Barna, in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries, has co-produced a book entitled, “Spiritual Conversations in a Digital Age.”

Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age offers insights on topics like: shifting definitions and practices of evangelism over the past 25 years, perceptions of faith sharing, a data-based profile of a good evangelist, infographics and other data visualizations, and more. Technology and rapid cultural shifts may have altered the face of evangelism, but the Great Commission remains. This new report tracks what has changed so that leaders can coach Christians to be effective in sharing the unchanging Good News.

Posted in Barna Group, Digital Communication, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Laymen's League, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach | Comments Off on Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age