This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy Tuesday! 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. I hope that you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship this weekend, or writing a sermon, I have some helpful links. If you are following the revised common lectionary, check out this look at “Lent 3C” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Also spend some time with this reflection about “Longing for More,” by friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis. You should also give a listen to the “Sermon Brainwave” for this week which features Karoline, as well as friends and professors Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner and Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson. Also on this weekend’s themes and texts, Rev. Dr. David Lose wrote and shared about “Lent 3C: Suffering, the Cross, and the Promise of Love.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary, consider this “Commentary on Mark 12:1-12 or Mark 12:13-17,” from N. Clayton Croy.

My home congregation, First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo, Washington celebrated its 130th Anniversary this past weekend. To help celebrate I shared some thoughts on this blog about those “130 Years of Ministry.”

Brady Slater shared news from Duluth, Minnesota where a fire caused “major damage to historic Gloria Dei Lutheran Church” there.

Carroll Howard Merritt wrote and pondered, “Why can’t we be friends?” Within this Carol highlights two particularly disturbing but not all that surprising statistics, “70% of pastors are depressed and burnt out. 70% of pastors say they don’t have a close friend.” Give this post a read and see what you think.

I came across this post from 2014 by Courtney Ball highlighting “Five Lessons Pastors Should Learn from Community Organizers.”

Back in November, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council adopted this “Social Message on Gender-Based Violence.” The final version has not been realized, but the text has been adopted by the church council as presented here. I think this is an important and needed document.

Thom Rainer unpacked, “9 Traits of Church Bullies.”

What are you doing June 20-24 this summer? If you don’t know, I have a good answer for you, attending Disciple Project 2016 at Texas Lutheran University and sponsored by my friends at LEAD. The Disciple Project is one of the best leadership ministry weeks that I know of in the church, especially for youth and youth leaders in congregations and faith communities.

For congregations and faith communities preparing to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Augsburg Fortress CEO Beth Lewis shared about these “new resources” which are available.

If you are looking for some good congregational resources from a variety of friends and professors, check out these from Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.

Dr. Philip Clayton shared about the importance of “Rebooting Theological Education.”

Friend, blogger, and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this important and helpful post by pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth who argues that, “This one thing will strengthen the church more than anything else… and it may surprise you.” This one thing Clint writes would be that, “Every Christian, every church member, schedules an individual meeting with their pastor.” I think it’s a great idea, and these one-on-ones should be annual conversations. What do you think?

Clint Schnekloth also shared some thoughts about the “Church for Introverts.”

Brian Dodd wrote an interesting piece about 5 lessons he “Learned about Unchurched People from a College Basketball Game.” The lessons were: I am glad I attended with a friend; they were not expecting visitors; they were having fun; does your music connect with unchurched people?; and are our customs turning off the unchurched? What do you think.

Messy news broke last week from Seattle, where as Nina Shapiro writes the Seattle Presbytery has ordered “pastors to vacate” First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Seattle.

In the appalling story of the week Connie Thompson reports about how an “Online church offers prayers — for a price.”

Blogger and pastor Jason Chesnut moderated last week’s Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) chat which focused on the question, “Why Church?

With innovation in ministry in mind, Patty Hastings wrote about how “Churches’ declining numbers inspire creative approach: Reinventing religiosity in Clark County, U.S. comes amid drop in participation.” Give this a read and see what you think.

That article is of particular interest in the community and context I am serving this year as mission developer at Messiah Lutheran Church. From that role, my latest blog post is all about “Listening Out.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Lisa Nikolau wrote in The Humanospherethat at the “U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis calls migrant crisis a ‘human tragedy.'”

Michael Barrick shared this look at “15 Reasons Why Nonprofit Employees Quit.”

Nicole Webb shared some “Key Advice for Overqualified Job Applicants.”

Julian Stodd, social leadership theorist, wrote and reflected about: “The Smell of Knowledge“; Julian shared some “Words about Learning: Dreams“; as well as some thoughts about “An Imperfect Humanity: Pity and Grace.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Julian Stodd pondered, “Led or Leader?” Julian also unpacked, “10 Things a Social Leader Does.”

Brian Dodd shared a look at his “Top 10 Leadership Posts” that he read over the past week, a good list of leadership links and articles, as well as “10 Things Leaders Should Be Thinking.”

Achim Nowak asked, “How Do You Avoid the ‘Same Old, Same Old’ Mentality?

Tanveer Naseer wrote about, “The One Thing Today’s Leaders Need to Do.”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great leadership reflections and tips, including: “Five Things That Go Up when Leaders Listen“; “Seven Ways to Not-Know Like a Leader“; and perspective on how and why “Brainstorming that Works Requires Two Sessions.” Check out these posts and see what you think.

Steve Dunlap pondered, “What if Every Employee You Had Were an Entrepreneur?

Marcella Bremer shared some, “Reflection Questions for leaders, consultants, and other professionals.”

Ted Coine wrote about “The Power of Why.” Within this Ted notes that, “The most important story you can tell and be connected to is the story of why you do the work that you do.” In some ways, Ted is taking up one of my favorite questions for leaders and organizations, “Why do you do what you do?”

Yekemi Otaru asked, “Can Your Organization Have a Social CEO? And does it matter?” What do you think?

In a related post, Andrea Edwards wrote and asked, “Wait, Where Are All the Social CEOs?

Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates

Richard Branson shared this good leadership and life piece on “Melinda Gates and the power of giving.”

Daniel Stephens wrote about “The 4 Essential Tasks” of Effective Leadership which were: to equip; to educate; to empower; and to encourage.

Steve Keating reflected about “Trusted Leadership.”

Anne Loehr shared this spotlight on “Sara Sutton Fell, Flex Jobs.”

My wife Allison shared this piece by Deborah Tannen contemplating about women in leadership, writing about, “Our impossible expectations of Hillary Clinton and all women in authority.”

My friend and mentor Rodney Brown wrote, reflected, and pondered in, “The New Super Power: ‘We the People’?

Thin Difference shared a number of great posts about leadership, community, and collaboration. These included Heidi Oran‘s look at “Community and Collaboration,” as well as Jon Mertz‘s consideration of “How Mindfulness Shapes Effective Strategic Leadership,” as well as how “Community Creates the Music of Life.”


Jeremy Chandler at Thin Difference shared “4 Questions to Help Millennials Grow into Leadership.” The questions are: How am I wired? How do I influence others? How do I learn best? And, what do I truly value? Give those questions some thought. They are good ones for leadership and purpose.

Amy Friedrich shared, “Three Reasons to Work for a Millennial.” The reasons Amy points to are: their businesses are growing the fastest; they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse; and they “get” work-life balance.

Tracy Benson writes that “Motivating Millennials takes more than Flexible Work Policies.”

Erica Perry shared, “3 Things about Marketing to Millennials that Might Surprise You.” The things that Erica highlights about Millennials are that: they are more open to branded content, as long as it’s relevant; their TV habits have changed, but they have not abandoned it altogether; and they live their lives online, but they still live offline experiences.

Kristi at Young Adult Money pondered, “Should Millennials Focus on Income or Net Worth?

Neighbor Love

My wife Allison has been doing a fair bit of preaching lately. During the first weekend in Lent, she preached on Luke 4:1-13 and “Isolation and Toughen Up: What Jesus’ Temptation Isn’t About,” with important words and a response to the misuse of the text shaped with some feminist and liberation theologian perspectives. Allison also preached at a mid-week service as part of Lenten series on water sharing her message about, “The Gift of Water: Yes I Preached on Genesis 24.”

Allison also shared a couple interesting posts including this look at “The Fixer Upper” Couple; and this sermon by Sara Wolbrecht entitled, “Consider the Birds,” based on Luke 4:1-13.

James Martin shared a very important look at “What the pope did, and didn’t, mean when he said Trump was not a Christian.”

Liam Stack relatedly wrote, “In Defense of Trump, Some Point (Wrongly) to Vatican Walls.”

"Under Her Wings" by Vonda Drees, based on this past weekend's appointed gospel text from Luke 13:31-35.
“Under Her Wings” by Vonda Drees, based on this past weekend’s appointed gospel text from Luke 13:31-35.

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These posts included: “reflections of God’s love“; “just how wide?“; “good food“; “enough for everyone“; “under her wings“; “to be hungry“; and “creating connected, whole and holy.”

If you have been tired of hearing people say that a “free education is lazy,” check out this response and see what you think.

Ali Owens unpacked, “4 Problematic Statements White People make about Race – and what to say instead.” The problematic statements are: “I Don’t See Color”; “All Lives Matter”; “If racism is still a problem, how come we have a black president?”; and “Reverse racism is real.” See what Ali suggests you say instead of these problematic statements.

Friend Lynn Willis at LEAD reflected about “Breaking Patterns.

This past weekend I preached about, “The Fox, Hen, and Vulnerability,” based on Luke 13:31-35, the gospel passage appointed for the second weekend in Lent.

Also, based on the Luke 13:31-35 passage, Nancy shared her sermon entitled, “A Mother Hen’s Lament.” Rev. Erik Parker also shared his entitled, “Being Threatened by Jesus.”

Melissa Binder wrote about, “What an evangelical theologian and his gay son can teach us all about respect and reconciliation.”

Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared a recent sermon based on Philippians 3:17-4:1 entitled, “True Citizenship.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for this past weekend which was based on Mark 10:32-52 in which he asked, “What can Jesus do for you?” Also based on this passage, friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon entitled, “The blind who see, but do not see.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some thoughts about “How to be charitable without doing more harm than good.”

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) CEO Linda Hartke explained why she is “Wearing a GPS Tracking Monitor for Lent: Part 1.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth reflected about the beauty of community and worship in writing about “Sunday Morning.” Give this post a read, I think it might warm your heart a little.

For some perspective on society in the United States check out this cartoon from Pat Bagley entitled, “A Christian Nation.”

Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared this article by Sarah Posner looking at “Why Donald Trump’s glitzy style is attracting evangelical voters.”

On this blog I continued with the Lent Photo a Day journey through Lent with daily devotional reflections. These posts included” some thoughts on “Law“; reflections on listening and the importance of being able to “tell” the story; a brief reflection on “evil“; wondering about what it means to have a “rock” you can rely on; thoughts about our “hands” and all that they do and enable us to do; as well as some thoughts on “mock” and “glory.”

Social Media & Blogging

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


COMPASS continued its “Faithful Fun with Finances in February” series with this look at “ a possible tool for budgeting, saving, giving & more,” from Jessica Zackavec.

Stefanie O’Connell shared some thoughts on “How to Save Money with Irregular Income.”

Friend and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared this reflection about “Embracing Stewardship” written by friend and mentor Rev. Chick Lane.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner shared a list of “8 Things to Sell Around Your Home for Extra Money.” The things that Michelle points to are: clothing; electronics and appliances; furniture; cardboard tubes; books; movies; gift cards; and sporting goods.


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some vocational and life updates with her “Tuesday Tea Time” from last week, as well as her “Tuesday Tea Time” for this week, which reveals exciting news about baby Nelson.


If you like planes like I do, you might appreciate this tribute as “Air France gives final salute to the Boeing 747.”


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. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week-TS

Image Credits:  The Links; Bill and Melinda Gates; and “under her wings.”

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