This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy New Year and Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas! Each week on the blog I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting and thought provoking over the past week. To help make sense of all of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; and Miscellaneous. As I took last week off largely from blogging for some family Christmas time, this week’s edition of links has a bit more than usual. And as you might guess, there are a number of Christmas and New Year’s themed posts. There is much more too, and I hope that you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you putting last minute touches on an Epiphany worship service for tomorrow (January 6th), Bishop Michael Rinehart shares this look at Epiphany and its appointed readings.

For those of you preparing for worship this coming weekend, I have a number of links and resources for you. First of all, if you are following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 2:1-22,” from James Hanson.

If you are following the revised common lectionary, check out this look at “The Baptism of Christ,” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. For a deeper look at the appointed gospel passage from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, check out this Commentary from Ron Allen. Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shares a nice look at the connections between Jesus’ baptism and Epiphany in reflecting about “Baptismal Epiphanies.”

Love has come. O come, all ye faithful, and join and worship and share that love. If you do not have a faith community to join this evening, I invite you to join me at Messiah Lutheran in Vancouver.
What the Christmas season has looked like at the church I serve, Messiah Lutheran.

Over the past week, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis also shared a number of other posts and reflections including this look inspired by this past week’s reading from John 1 in “A New Genesis,” one inspired by the Luke 2 text from the previous weekend in “Divine and Human Favor,” and some thoughts about Christmas and “The Need for Christmas Preaching.”

Speaking of Christmas, I greatly enjoyed this article by Martin Clarke at Sir David Willcocks in writing, “The choirmaster whose carols became the sound of Christmas.”

In December I started blogging weekly as part of my role as a mission developer at Messiah Lutheran Church. Over the past couple of weeks I shared some thoughts on “Christmas, Communion and Prayer,” as well as “The Incarnation, a North County Meeting, and More.”

In the spirit of the new year and year end, friend and pastor Peter Braafladt reflected about “Beginnings and Endings.”

In the same new year’s spirit, Samantha Tidball shared, “Faith Resolutions for 2016.”

Brian Dodd shared a good list of “The Top 30 Blogs Christian Leaders Need to Read in 2016.”

Kathleen Tarrant shared a fascinating look at “How Christianity Infiltrated Seattle Music with a little help from Mars Hill Church and the City Council.”

Kristin Berkey-Abbott reflected about the challenges, joys, and beauty of “Extending an invitation to church.”

Thom Rainer pointed to “One Sentence That Pastors and Church Staff Hate to Hear,” which to me is a good summary of how much of the triangulation, finger pointing, and potential conflict emerges or manifests itself in congregations and faith communities.

Blogger and pastor Nurya Love Parish invited her readers to partake in a reader survey to help improve the blog and conversations for the new year.

Congratulations are in order for Gustavus Adolphus College as in December it received a “Lily Endowment Grant to establish summer academy for faith, science, and ethics.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

The Seattle Times Editorial Board shared an important editorial writing that, “Keeping KPLU would preserve region’s media voices.”

Joel Connelly adds news in the Seattle PI that according to at least one official, “UW will ‘gladly step aside’ if community buyer for KPLU steps forward.”

In looking back at 2015, NWB shared a list of “15 lessons for the nonprofit sector we learned in 2015.”

I came across this nice post from Joe Myers back in November considering, “How does your economy compare to US states?

Angus Hervey shared an important look at why “2015 was a Great Year for Humanity.” See why.

Back in July, Clay Forsberg shared some good thoughts and ideas on “Solutionists and Community Empowerment Concierges.”

My wife Allison shared a couple posts and thoughts for creating effective education and learning experiences. Allison shared this list of “22 Powerful Closure Activities” from Todd Finley, as well as this video tour of “Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment that Kids Need.”

Social leadership theorist Julian Stodd shared an update on “Mapping the Social Age,” as well as this “Learning Technology Map 2016.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

With the new year in mind, Justin Irving wrote about “Rethinking Resolutions- Prioritizing for the New Year.”

Ted Bauer shared some thoughts on “How to Actually Manage Your Time at Work.” Ted also asked, “Is Empathy the Next Great Management Trend?” I also greatly appreciated this look at the relationship of story telling and effective leadership in this post about a, “Key, Oft-Ignored Leadership Aspect: Good Storytelling.”

Steve Dunlap explained why, “Social Selling Will Always Beat the Cold Call.”

questionsSteve Keating asked, “Do You Have Gaps?

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great leadership posts over the past few weeks. Among these Dan highlighted, “5 Questions that Release the Power of Humble Leadership,” particularly questions like: Who is helping you succeed? What are they doing? How are you honoring them? How might you energize, engage, and enhance them? How might you get out of their way?

Dan Rockwell also shared some thoughts about “The First Habit of Highly Successful People,” “The Exponential Leadership Goal for 2016,” “The Question to Answer in 2016,” and why “Yapping Dogs Make Lousy Leaders.”

Brian Dodd highlighted “20 Things A Leader Should Never Say.”

Seth Godin shared a couple posts with good implications and insights for leadership in writing that “Software is Testing,” and about, “Fighting entropy.”

Cynthia Bazin and Dan Forbes shared a look at “The Best of Lead With Giants” for January 2016.

Anne Loehr shared a look back and a look forward in sharing about her “Top Future Leadership Posts of 2015.”

Matt Monge shared “13 Questions to Increase Your Self-Awareness.”

Ted Rubin wrote and invited, “Lets Help Everyone in 2016 ‘Metaphorically Skip’ with Every Interaction.” There is both practical advice in the practice of skipping, but also some good food for thought here about improving leadership, relationships, and healthily responding to and reducing stress.

Rebecca Knight shared some helpful thoughts on “How to Say No to Taking on More Work.”

Eric Torrence at Thin Difference shared a look at “Four Biographies for Every Leader’s Must-Read List.”


Thin Difference shared a guest post by Rachel Allen which pondered, “What Will a Millennial-Dominant Workplace Look Like in the Future?” What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared this reflection about peace timely on Christmas Eve, “Peace in Two.”

With Christmas in mind, friend and pastor Brian Mundt shared this look by Bruce David Forbes  at Religion Dispatches, who pondered, “What Did the Puritans Have Against Christmas?

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller re-shared an updated post from a few years ago about, “Baby Jesus, John the Baptist, 2013 & Leadership… What do they have in common?

A number of friends, pastors, and bloggers have shared some great Christmas season sermons over the past few weeks. Friend Aaron Fuller shared his Christmas Eve sermon based on Luke 2:1-20 which he titled, “Walls.” Based on the same text friend Frank Johnson wrote and shared about, “A failure of creativity.” Frank also shared some sermon fragments from this past weekend based on Mark 1:21-45 in writing, “Just Noise.” Victoria also shared her sermon for this past weekend based on John 1 and the carol, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” cleverly titling her sermon, “Of the Parent’s Heart Begotten.”

From the weekend after Christmas, my wife Allison shared her “Third-Day-of-Christmas Sermon,” based on Luke 2:41-52. Interestingly enough, I also preached that same weekend on that text and shared my take in this sermon on, “The Boy Jesus in the Temple & Christmas Surprises.”

On this blog I also wrapped up my Advent series writing through Christmas Eve and sharing posts about “Peace & Freedom,” “Justice & Truth,” and “Love- Christmas Eve.”

With Christmas and current events in mind, Jim Wallis explains “Why Jesus Was, and Is, a Political Threat.”

"Happy New Year!" by Vonda Drees- depicting the reality that saying "yes" is "messy sometimes."
“Happy New Year!” by Vonda Drees- depicting the reality that saying “yes” is “messy sometimes.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth shared a number of reflections related to Christmas and the Christmas season, including, “Searching for Christmas,” and “The Christmas Program Prelude.”

The Millennial Journal shared this piece by John McCarthy who wrote that, “Christmas is a Call to Activism.”

In the spirit of Christmas, blessings, and gifts, LEAD shared this beautiful “Christmas Blessing.”

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past couple of weeks. These included: “rumors of peace“; “peace calls us“; “dare we pause?“; “Stoke the hearts!“; “ever-expanding and perpetual“; “sit quiet“; “pARTicipate“; “thank you“; “Happy New Year!“; “the garden dance“; “the unbeheld Source“; “radiate beauty“; “listen for beauty“; and “experience beauty.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Stephanie Vos wrote over at The Salt Collective that “We’re All on Mother Nature’s Naughty List.”

With the recent release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” you might not be surprised that it has inspired a few different posts. At The Salt CollectiveJesse James Deconto reflected about “The spoiling of Han Solo’s nihilism.” Friend, intern pastor, and blogger Matt Byrd shared thoughts about “Star Wars and expectations.” Also, my wife Allison shared this look by Jon Greenberg at “6 Reasons Why ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Matters Beyond its Entertainment Value.”

In looking back at 2015, the Kitsap Sun shares this look by Chris Henry, “Remembering whom Kitsap lost in 2015.”

As we enter this new year, 2016, the Millennial Journal shares that “Pope Francis’ Message for 2016 (is): Overcome Indifference!

Speaking of indifference, one way we can overcome this is by taking a more active stance to respond to racism and injustice. Almost a year ago, Charles Blow wrote about “Tamir Rice and the Value of Life.” This piece has resurfaced given the recent decision not to indict a police officer for using lethal force on an unarmed, 12 year old, Tamir Rice. Friend and musician Heatherlyn also shared some important thoughts in response to this sharing, “Why the Life and Death of Tamir Rice Matters to Me.”

In speaking against indifference and calling out hypocrisy, Kayla Koterwski reflected about, “America, Land of the Pretending.”

In response to indifference, hate and harmful rhetoric, pastor Becky Langholz writes, “Disturbed by increasingly dehumanizing rhetoric.”

Friend and pastor Eric Worringer shared news about “InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter.”

In shedding light of hope on those who are working to address and bust poverty across the world, Bruce Wydick profiled “5 Poverty Busters You Should Know.”

Friend Rozella Haydee White shared this powerful guest post about, “A Word on Coming out of the Shadows.”

I have to confess, one of my favorite TV shows of all time is The West Wing. I still hold out hope that it will return in some form some day soon. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this great interview from “On Being” with Krista Tippett, who recently interviewed “Martin Sheen- Spirituality of Imagination.”

Teri McDowell Ott shared some “Reflections of a college chaplain,” about life “In the realm of the nones.”

In good news Bishop Michael Rinehart shared that the “Number of Police killed by gunfire (was) down 14% in 2015.”

Switching gears a little bit, I enjoy following and reading the thoughts from pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth. He recently shared a long form reflection entitled, “Exposing ‘Exposing the ELCA.'” It’s a look at the challenges of dealing with people we disagree and who work at times to cause harm rather than helpful dialog. Sometimes in that process we mess up. I can’t say that I haven’t fallen into this challenge and trap before. As an ELCA Lutheran I have even faced a little of this myself on social media. My deep held belief on this is that by being who we are called and created to be, God will take care of the rest. If it helps to remember that “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” then use it. If, however, brokenness, neighbor love, and the hope for reconciliation and justice require a response, then respond. What do you think? How do you approach situations like this?

Social Media & Blogging

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth also shared some great blogs and essays in, “Reading the Long Way into 2016.”

New Year’s is an opportune time to look back and look forward on your blogging and social media. Thanks to the good work of the people at WordPress, my wife Allison was able to share this “Look Back: Blogging in 2015,” and I too was able to share this look back at the blog in “2015 in review.”

Steve Nicholls wrote and asked, “Can Social Media Kill The Paper CV/Resume?


Happy New Year's from the surprising snow in Western Washington!
Happy New Year’s from the surprising snow in Western Washington!

COMPASS shared this look back in “2015 in review,” highlighting the growth and #faithandfinances conversations that occurred, and helped look ahead at where the conversations might go in 2016.

With New Year’s, many people make resolutions. COMPASS is getting into the fun and reflection of making and sharing resolutions this month especially related to faith and finances. I shared the opening post in that series sharing five promises that I am making to myself that are somewhat related to faith and finances. What promises or resolutions are you making this year?

In the spirit of the New Year, Young Adult Money shared a list of “12 Financial Moves to Make This Year,” as well as “100 Goals to Focus on for a Successful Year,” both compiled by Erin.

Meredith Simonds shared the “Best of the Personal Finance Bloggers, December 2015: Money Saving Mom, Phroogal, The Broke and Beautiful Life, GoGirl Finance.”

Sanjay Bhatt detailed about a potential alternative living situation and community for home ownership, in writing about “Seattle friends who joined forces see homeowner dreams come true.”


Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this poll and invitation to participate in it, in “Looking ahead to 2016.”

If one of your goals for the new year is to be more organized, check out these “16 Ways to Make 2016 Your Most Organized Year Yet,” as compiled by Rebecca Shapiro.

In thinking about the New Year and Christmas, Martha Spong wrote “The Reset Button.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth shared some vocational and life reflections in writing about “Breathing Deeply in the New Year.”

Speaking of the New Year, friend and blogger Ben Tully wrote about “Counting Down.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared some vocational, life, and leadership reflections about new years, second chances, change, and new opportunities in writing about “62 Second Chances.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her usual vocational dose of “Tuesday Tea Time,” as well as a new edition today for the new year, “Tuesday Tea Time! One Word 365!

COMPASS board member and fellow blogger Nicole Brennan shared some “Parting Words of Wisdom” over at ModCity Magazine.

Friend and PLU professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some thoughts about “Choosing to Be Different.”

Speaking of PLU, I was excited to hear news about this new scholarship for students in “The 253” area code. That’s great news.

Conversely, as has been covered over the past few editions of the links, I have been saddened to see the way the KPLU decision has been handled by PLU and its President, Dr. Thomas Krise. I have to admit that through the way this has been handled I agree more and more with Doug Andreassen who wrote, “KPLU: PLU loses its community connection.” For me, KPLU was a way that PLU lived out its vocation to serve the larger world. Somewhere along the way, that relationship and fact has been lost. I’m hopeful though that it can be restored, or at least that KPLU can continue to grow and serve as it has for so long.

I greatly appreciated this look by Amanda Kohr at “Why Creating for Fun is Not a Waste of Time.”


Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg shared a look at possible additional fits for the Mariners in writing that there are “So Many Remaining Free Agents.”


That concludes this edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if you have particular questions or topics for me to think about on the blog, please share them. Also, if there are things you would like to see included in the links, please let me know that too. I hope that you have had a Very Merry Christmas season, and a wonderful start to the New Year. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week-TS

Image Credits: The Links; Questions, and “Happy New Year! from Vonda Drees.”

One thought on “This Week’s Links

  1. Thanks for the mention Timothy. Here’s a tip for you… try to figure out a way to get your customers, clients or shoppers, vendors, employees, friends and family, to “metaphorically skip” whenever they experience you, your product or service…. with every interaction! What can you offer or show that can help them reap the same benefits that you get from a skip around the block? Deliver that for them, and you’ll not only have happy customers—you’ll have evangelists who will sing your praises to everyone they know. Talk about Return on Relationship!

    #RonR… #NoLetUp!

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