This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking over the past week with all of you. To make sense of all these links, I have grouped them by topic. These topics are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy the links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop Michael Rinehart shares some thoughts and ideas for all those preparing worship and sermons for this coming weekend in “Transfiguration of Our Lord or Epiphany 6B.” Also, if you would like to enhance, re-imagine or reflect on prayer, check out this resource, Learning to Pray Again that Bishop Mike shared.

Speaking of prayer, friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote, “Just do it- pray.”

With Transfiguration in mind, a number of current and former Luther Seminary professors reflected on the occasion. Rev. Dr. David Lose shared, “Transfiguration B: There is No Plan.” Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis explains “Why We Need the Transfiguration,” while Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner provides “Commentary on Mark 9:2-9,” explaining that “Probably the greatest challenge about preaching on Transfiguration Sunday is dealing with the pressure to explain what the Transfiguration means.” Check out all of these fine reflections.

Church Social Media, (#chsocm) shared its chat transcript from last week on “Privacy Online, Protection and Ministry.”

In preparing for Lent, are you looking for stories or resources related to Lenten Devotions? If so, check out this post from Beth A. Lewis.

In thinking about Mark 1:29-39, friend and blogger Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis reflected, “On Being Restored to Yourself.” I especially appreciate her conclusion. Karoline writes, “Jesus will take you by the hand. God will raise you up. When you are brought back from the edge, from the brink, your question will be that of Simon’s mother-in-law, ‘What am I doing here?’ What will your answer be? ‘I am ______.’ That’s who God wants me to be. This is who I am.”

Also with that passage from Mark in mind friend Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared some “Commentary on Mark 1:29-39.”

Christy Thomas reflected about “How the Megachurch Unintentionally kills connected Christianity.” What do you think?

Gayda Hollnagel shares that “Posters show pastors in new light.” A special shout out goes to friend and vicar Grace Gravelle who is one of the many people in these great posters.

Jan Edmiston shared some honest and helpful reminders about the importance of communication and relationships in ministry in, “Communication (Or: Please talk to your pastor).”

Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Bishop Elizabeth Eaton writes in The Lutheranthat “We need to talk,” writing that the “Church is the appropriate place for deep, honest, even painful conversations about race.”

Allison, Terri and I together at the Extravaganza
Allison, Dr. Terri Elton and I together at the Extravaganza

Speaking of Bishop Eaton, she was at the ELCA’s Youth Ministry Extravaganza a little over a week ago. Out of that experience, I shared some reflections in “Big Questions, Great Conversation and Opportunities for Collaboration.” My wife, Allison also shared reflections in “My Weekend in Detroit at the E.” The ELCA Youth Ministry Network that puts on the Extravaganza is also currently looking for a couple volunteers. If you are able and interested to serve in these ways, check this out and let them know.

Brian Dodd shared “20 Leadership Quotes from Great Church Planters.”

In a reflection that highlights some of the tension I see between being a missional faith community, the importance of story and places of worship, Tom Ehrich writes, “Ditch monuments in favor of messages.” What do you think?

Craig Considine shared a list of “The 8 Most Important Interfaith Monuments in the World.” Considering I have not been to any of these yet, I have some work to do. How many of these have you been to?

John Pavlovitz shared what I think are helpful words and reminders in “Secession From the Church (To Those Who Stay Home on Sundays).”

In news I was encouraged to see, “ELCA Seminary Leaders Respond to Open Letter Call to Action on Matters of Race and Social Injustice.” This follows up on this Open Letter from January.

Friend and Director of Communications for the Mennonite Church USA, Hannah Heinzekehr shared about a new conversation and snapshot using the hashtag, #WeAreMenno.

LEAD asked an important question, “How’s your congregation doing in the changing landscape of leadership?” Check this out and see what you think.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Julian Stodd shared a few very thought provoking posts over the past week. These included: “From Disturbance to Transformation: a change journey,” “Organizational Dinosaurs: how big they are, how dead they’ll be,” and “Storytelling through Change.”

For those of you in non-profit settings, or if you write grant proposals with any frequency, you might appreciate this timely post given Valentine’s Day is later this week, “‘I Can Write the Saddest Grant Proposal Tonight’ and other nonprofit love poems.”

Back in October, CV Harquail explained about “The Benefits of Giving Away What Your Company Knows.”

Jessica Cassity shared and wrote about “The Benefits of Looking on the Bright Side: 10 Reasons to Think Like an Optimist.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

If you have seen the news at all over the past week, you have no doubt seen the story about Brian Williams, NBC’s news anchor. In light of this story, Steve Keating reflected in “Truth, Honesty and Brian Williams.”

Steve Keating also shared that, “How You Say ‘It’ Really Matters.”

Lessons Learned from the Seahawks
Lessons Learned from the Seahawks

Last week with the Super Bowl still fresh in mind I shared some leadership reflections and questions in “The Thin Line Between Building Up and Falling Apart.” In a related story, here’s a great interview and story from Matt Lauer with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the last play of the Super Bowl. Also, Brent Lee shared, “Six Reasons Why the Seahawks were not wrong for their decision at the end of the Super Bowl.”

Out of the Super Bowl loss, Kipp Robertson shares about a couple “Kitsap County teachers use Super Bowl loss for ‘life lessons,'” as well as leadership lessons. Check out these great lessons!

Lolly Daskal shared “30 Quotes on Trust That Will Make You Think.”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great leadership posts, questions and reflections. These include: “7 Ways to Overcome the Second-Guessing-Syndrome,” “12 Questions that Move Dreams to Reality,” “How to Manage Red and Green Heads,” and “The Secret to Your Future.”

Brian Dodd shared about “The #1 Thing Leaders Can Do to Increase Their Influence,” as well as “12 Practices of Highly Successful Leaders Who Can Fix Bad Organizations.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some reflections about life and leadership in “Of Speeding Basketballs and the Tyranny of the Urgent.”

Frank Sonnenberg shared, “13 Elements of a Great Strategy.” These elements include: objective; knowledge; initiative; mass; economy; flexibility; unity of leadership; security; surprise; simplicity; speed; communication and commitment.

Marianne Stenger wrote about “7 Weird Ways to Be More Productive at Work.” The weird ways include: turn up the heat; don’t take your work (or yourself) too seriously; bring some greenery to your workplace; give yourself the option of not doing anything; lists don’t always need to be organized; belittle the most important tasks and embrace social media.

Patrick Leddin asked and reflected, “Should You Reddit-ize Your Leadership Approach? 3 Considerations.” The three considerations are: authorize; customize and prioritize.

Dan Forbes shared a guest post by Chip Bell, asking, “Is Your Service Bumper Sticker Material?

Jon Mertz shared some good thoughts about “How Human-Centered Leaders Follow Principles that Matter.”


Thin Difference shared a couple great quest posts last week. First, there was this intriguing guest post by Sheri Nasim asking, “Are You Still Listening? A Leadership Lesson from Pandora.” Second, Danny Rubin shared about “What Young Professionals Don’t Understand about Social Media.” Check out both these posts and see what you think.

Gavin O’Malley writes that, “Millennials Spend More Time with Mobile, Impacts TV Time.”

Back in November, Tru Pettigrew asked, “Are You ‘The Prepared Millennial?‘”

Anne Loehr explained about “How to Connect and Close the Deal with Millennial Home Buyers.”

Shea Bennett shared “10 Reasons Why Millennials Follow Brands on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.”

Neighbor Love

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared, “Monday Morning Preacher: ‘When Compassion gets the best of you.'”

Rachel Held Evans shared a guest post by Dianna E. Anderson, “Taking the Lead in Developing New Sexual Ethics,” which also highlights news about her new book, “Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity.” Check out both of these.

Eric Worringer shared some thoughts about “Vaccinating and the Body of Christ.” In a related piece, see Paul Offit’s reflection on “What Would Jesus Do about Measles?

"fallen in love with solid ground" by Vonda Drees
“fallen in love with solid ground” by Vonda Drees

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of great reflections and posts over the past week. These include: “God’s tenderness,” “inherent dignity,” “fallen in love with solid ground,” “a pool of grace,” and “vulnerability… heart, soul, mind, strength.”

Have you seen the pledge from glaad calling people to “Speak out as an LGBT ally. Take the the pledge. #GotYourBack?”

In a related post, “Christians pledge to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in Pennsylvania.”

Last week at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama shared some remarks. These remarks seemed to be well received by some, and not so much by others. Frankly, I don’t see an issue with the President acknowledging that People (throughout history) have “Committed Terrible Deeds in the Name of Christ.” To say otherwise is to ignore history. Rev. Susan Russell added her thoughts in “An ‘Amen’ from a Priest for the President.” Greg Boyd also shared some of his thoughts in this “Thank You.” Even The Economist chimed in, in “In God’s name, dismount.”

Brian McLaren shared a quote from Archbishop Justin Welby on “Inequality.”

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared his sermon from this past weekend based on Matthew 14:13-33, “It’s not that you can’t walk on water. It’s that, eventually, you will sink.”

The Humanosphere shared a podcast with “Morten Jerven on how poor numbers undermine the fight against poverty.” Also for the Humanosphere, Tom Murphy shared news that “Islamic State slaps branding on U.N. food aid.”

Ministry Matters and Shane Raynor shared an “Interview with Mike Slaughter: Renegade Gospel.”

Friend and pastor Stephanie Vos writes that, “Bodies Can’t Lie- And That’s Why We Hate Them.” Within this, Stephanie writes, “Just like a friend opening up to you, leading with vulnerability, you have to be patient and open yourself to hear what they’re saying. It takes practice, it takes patience, it takes a desire for peace. But it happens. And once you experience it, you’ll never want to live any other way.” Give the whole piece a read.

As of yesterday, “Alabama has begun issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.” There was some question as to whether this would happen, because as of late Sunday, Alabama Chief Justice “Roy Moore orders ban on same-sex marriage licenses.”

Coach Dean Smith with Michael Jordan
Coach Dean Smith with Michael Jordan

Pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston asked in light of the passing of basketball coach and legend Dean Smith, “What Does it Mean to Be a ‘Class Act’?

Wil S. Hylton detailed about “The Shame of America’s Family Detention Camps.”

Friend and blogger Jenna Grace Reyna shared some great theological, vocational and neighbor love thoughts in “Let the children come…

Susan Cottrell shared one of the more powerful posts I came across last week in “Pastor Looks Up in Tears. ‘I Had No Idea.'”

Shobi’s Table shared important social justice and neighbor love thoughts in “Families and Safety.”

Blogger and pastor Victoria shared her recent sermon based on Mark 1:20-28 entitled, “Sermon: Possessed by the Spirit.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a number of links that I found particularly interesting from a neighbor love perspective over the past week. These posts which raise great questions included: “The Update- Setting Safe Space Rules with Dr. Franken Hanzel Jaminson,” “Americans are Fleeing Religion and Republicans are to Blame,” and “Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987-2012.”

Antonia Blumberg shared, “This is How Many Words Are Spoken by Women in the Bible.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared her sermon for this past weekend, “Ruthless Trust, part II.” Diane also shared a very important and thought provoking post about “The Questions We Don’t Ask.” I wholeheartedly agree when she writes, “It’s not the questions I ask that get me into trouble. It’s the questions I don’t ask, because I am not curious, because I think I know the answer already, because I am making assumptions based on my own life and my own experiences.”

Social Media & Blogging

Here’s one mom’s story about earning income via managing social media. I’m not sure that I could ever do this, but maybe this makes sense and seems possible to you.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links with his “Really Recommended Posts.”

Brian Honigman shared, “7 Techniques for Embedding Social Media Content.”

Friend and colleague Marcia Shetler shared this post by Tom Pick with me featuring “104 Fascinating Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014 (and 2015).”


Marcia Shetler also shared news on behalf of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center about April’s “North American Conference on Christian Philanthropy.” Check out the conference and be sure to register!

If you are a young adult, Millennial or recent student (or their parent, family or friends), you should check out this post from Stefanie about “Student Loan Payoff Strategies.”

Sarah Cooney shared some thoughts, experience and reflections in “Down the Healthcare Rabbit Hole.”

Satya Patel writes that, “The only way to raise money: Make them believe.”

During the month of February, the COMPASS blog is providing space for reflections about couples, money and money decisions. Check out the introductory post of the series and be sure to follow the blog to see the upcoming posts.

Young Adult Money shared important thoughts about life insurance in “The 1 Thing You Need to Improve Your Finances in 2015.” Young Adult Money also shared some good frugal tips about “How to Go on a Date Without Spending a Dime.”


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a number of vocationally rich posts including her “Tuesday Tea Time,” “Friday Favorites,” “Sunday Snippits,” and more “Tuesday Tea Time.”

"You can still be afraid and act bravely."
“You can still be afraid and act bravely.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller writes and asks, “‘I Am a Bi-Vocational Pastor’ – What the heck is that?

Friend Kim Parker shared this “Art to Self” post inspired by Brene Brown by Steph with me, “You can still be afraid and act Bravely.” Check this out.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote about “Using the Fire You Have.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a couple vocationally themed posts in “My Sacred Story,” and “What dreams did I create last night?



Friend and professor Dr. Gregory Youtz shared three great posts over the past week. These include: “Wolfgang at the Gates: a dialog with Mozart,” “For those who wait: a dialog with Bach,” and “The Blooming Season: finally tracks with vocals!

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes responds to the ridiculous notion of some lawmakers that they should “Quit Requiring Foreign Language Courses.”


That concludes this week’s edition. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if there are topics or questions that you would like me to think about on the blog, or types of articles to include in the links, please let me know. Until next time, thanks for reading and being part of the conversation. Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Lessons from the Seahawks; “Fallen in love with solid ground“; Dean Smith with Michael Jordan and “You Can Still Be Afraid and Act Bravely.”

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