The Men’s Network of Lutheran Hour Ministries is encouraging you to participate in the sixth annual Men’s Network WORK DAY on Saturday, April 28. It’s a day that you go off your church campuses and into the your local neighbourhoods and communities to help those in need.
In the past, men’s groups have set their hand to yard and landscaping work; Habitat for Humanity builds; trail clean-ups; building handicapped ramps; school and community park projects; helping seniors — those who have lost their spouses or are confined to their homes.
Go to WORKDAY to find out more about this WORK DAY. There you will find a customizable flyer to post your project; a link to a Facebook page dedicated to WORK DAY; bulletin inserts to create interest at your church. There are even project suggestions if your group is stumped on what to do.
It’s been awhile since I posted. Since my last post, I have been to Cameroon and Rwanda serving the Lord and His missionary people. What a privilege! Many of my future posts will focus on my experiences in those countries.
My prayer for you in 2018 is that you will respond to the Lord’s invitation to “Go!” and share His love in word and deed!
One of the clearest Christmas witnesses is spoken by Linus when Charlie Brown asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!” Linus’ recitation of Luke 2 is available on YouTube. You can link to this scene from a Charlie Brown Christmas from your Facebook page and share the wondrous message of God’s love in Christ.
At the burning bush, Yahweh told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). Jesus’ “I Am” statements during His earthly ministry showed His connection to Yahweh. In these five spiritual reflections, we will explore who Jesus says He is in connection to God the Father and in His connection to us.
Stress & Worry in the Life of a Christian
This course explores stress and worry: the causes, effects and strategies to manage them. It will equip you through God’s Word to look to Him as the source of strength. At the end of this course, you will carry out intentional actions to manage your own stress or worry and also reach out with Christian support to someone who is dealing with stress or worry.
Love Came Down
In Love Came Down, we see how the heavenly Father spared nothing—not even His own Son—to work out our salvation. Though we had rebelled in our sins and spurned God and His Commandments, He chose us—not for exclusion, but redemption. The Father’s love sought us out in our perilous condition and, in His infinite mercy, bridged the divide to our isolation through Jesus—the one Mediator between God and Man.
North American Christians know that North America is becoming more secular and unbelieving at a rapid rate.
What’s going on? An article, “Where Have All The Christians Gone,” by Heath R. Curtis in The Lutheran Witness (November 2017, p. 6-9) identifies a number of factors causing this decline:
Secularization: “A more secular worldview in the culture at large, pushed by cultural leaders in media, government and education, has had a large impact.” (p. 6) Curtis talks of a “secular war” waged on biblical marriage and the family which is resulting in marriage rates declining, divorce rates rising, family size shrinking — all factors that put downward pressure on the “natural growth” of one’s church. He observes, “From a young age Americans are indoctrinated by their televisions and their schools to have an anti-biblical worldview on the origins of life, the meaning of the human condition, sexuality, and a hundred other topics. This puts up barriers to the Word in evangelism that must be torn down. And even more insidiously, this is an attack on the hearts and minds of Lutheran youth, alienating them from the faith.” (p. 8)
In this cultural climate, the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has seen a sharp decline in infant baptisms, but a rise in adult conversions. Congregations need to focus on membership retention: “supporting young people as they transition from the cradle roll, to the Sunday School, to the youth group, to college, to forming their own families in young adulthood.” (p. 8)
Curtis, discussing adult conversion, observes, “For example, in the Southern Baptist Convention, one adult convert joins each year for every 47 adult members in the church. The LCMS sees more adult converts per capita: 1:44. Given the massive resources they expend on outreach, it is unsurprising that the Mormons have the best ratio in this regard, but you may be surprised to find that it is only 1:40.” (p. 9)
St. Nicholas lived at a time when Roman persecution against Christians was most brutal. An article in The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM Canada Dec 2017:7), recounts,
Nicholas himself was branded with hot irons. He survived terrible beatings from the guards. And he endured other tortures as well — simply for refusing to deny that Jesus is the Son of God. How could he deny the One who was so real to him? Nicholas remained resolute in the midst of great injustice. …
If you would like to read more about the story of St. Nicholas and other Christians, past and present, who manifested faith, strength, encouragement, and hope in their lives under extreme situations, you might want to read the devotional book, “Extreme Devotion” which is available through The Voice of the Martyrs.
Serving with Joy is an outreach connector developed by Lutheran Hour Ministries — Canada in response to requests for every-day evangelism tools. The idea is to provide people you meet, in what may be very brief and casual encounters, with an invitation to find out more about the joy we have because Jesus first loved and served us.
Look for opportunities to do small helpful tasks for somebody. Do them cheerfully and when the task is done hand them a card (that you have put your name on) and say “Here’s my card. It was my Joy to Serve You because Jesus first served me.” (See 1 John 4:19)
If the person is intrigued by your smile, your action and the message on the card, they may use the Serving with Joy Quick-Response code or go to www.ServingWithJoy.net to find out more. On the SWJ website they will find links to basic information about the Christian faith and a tool to find a local Lutheran congregation.
SWJ cards are available through the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada. The cards are free.