This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy August! Can you believe it’s already August? Where has time gone? I guess that makes sense, since I’ve been having so much fun, there haven’t been any links in about a month. Well, hopefully you enjoy this week’s offering. Tuesday on the blog generally means that it is time to share some links to things that I have read and found interesting over the past week. To help make sense of the links, I have grouped them in 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 you enjoy this edition of the links.

Church & Ministry Thought & Practice
Are you preparing to preach or lead worship later this week? If so, I highly encourage you to check out friend, professor and advisor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner’s take on the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 in, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” For more thoughts on this week’s reading, I also humbly offer you these thoughts on preaching on stewardship these week which are hopefully helpful if you are following the revised common or narrative lectionaries.

In exciting news in the Nebraska Synod, the Rev. Dr. Richard and Rev. Dr. Michelle Carlson have accepted calls to serve as co-pastors at First Lutheran in Kearney, Nebraska.

In news from the west coast, it was announced last month that the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California and Willamette University in Salem, Oregon will explore a potential major partnership between the two institutions.

Back in June, Brian McLaren took up the question of “Why Pastors and Priests are Leaving the Church.”

Holy Spirit Lutheran in Kirkland, Washington was recently in the news as Catherine Krummey details that the church has joined a refugee hosting program, a wonderful example of ministry and neighbor love in action.

Also in the news recently was Kountze Memorial Lutheran in Omaha, Nebraska as Michael Kelly reports that the “Kountze church’s addition will allow clinic, food bank, to operate 5 days a week.”

lead team
Friends Rev. David Hansen and Deacon Peggy Hahn, two great minds and part of the wonderful LEAD team.

Friend, church innovator, Executive Director of LEAD, and fellow Deacon in the ELCA, Peggy Hahn shared some great leadership and ministry insights in her recent post, “Fly Through the Crash.”

Friend, pastor, and director of communication & innovation for LEAD, David Hansen recently shared thoughts in a great interview on “Church Leadership” with Church Marketing Sucks. Definitely spend some time with this, and see what you think about David’s insights.

Amalia Vagts from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries shared “A Short History of Vision and Expectations,” a document that has been important in the candidacy process in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since nearly the denomination’s creation in the late 1980s.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared an honest, and I think humorous look, at what life is like as part of a church council, writing that, “Left to their own devices, people will not get along.”

Last month Barna released this new infographic showing what it calls, “The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2017.” Does this data surprise you at all?

Cross-Sector Collaboration
The next link could have gone under a number of categories today, so I am placing it here. Friend Rozella White, a LEAD consultant, shared a great post about and starting place for, “Developing a Statement of Theology: who we are; what we value; and how we show up in the world.” Definitely spend some time with this.

If you live in the first congressional district of Nebraska, I think it’s important to share that Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is hosting town halls across his district this week. Check out the schedule, and participate and attend if you have questions or would like to take this opportunity to be an engaged citizen.

In thinking about our society, Matthew Dowd from ABC News wrote a column that I have been sitting with for the last few weeks, writing, “If we lose our decency, we lose America.” I tend to agree. What do you think?

Leadership Thought & Practice
With insights for leadership and society, Nick Vissar shared a look at a recent gathering and conversation between Presidents Clinton and Bush, “In Talk with Clinton, Bush says being ‘Humble in Victory’ is Key to Presidency.”

If you don’t read another article this week, please read this one from Jon Mertz at Thin Difference. Jon writes and shares a call for a “Return to Calmness: a Leadership Imperative,” especially critical amid all of the chaos that seems to be around us throughout society.

Marcel Schwantes wrote and shared a great piece on leadership, and particularly servant leadership. Check out how, “This 17-year old sums up in 1 paragraph what great leadership looks like.”

Marcel also shared these “5 Unusual Facts about Google’s Odd (and wildly successful) Management Practices.” The five facts that he highlights and unpacks include: be consistent, not all over the place; have a moral, not a business, mission; share everything; give employees a real say in how the company is run; when hiring, high GPAs and test scores don’t matter.

Ron Edmondson wrote and asked, “Are You a Better Leader or Manager?

My wife Allison shared this podcast and post from last month from “On Point,” entitled, “Have Faith Millennials.” The panel which featured a Millennial Rabbi, Imam, Episcopal Priest, and Catholic Priest, in conversation together and was hosted by Ray Suarez. Give this a listen and enjoy.

Thin Difference shared this guest post by Victor Prince who pondered, “Will Millennials be the first generation to complete their bucket list?

Friend Trip Sullivan shared this humorous but also annoying look at the bad reputation Millennials are getting by sharing, “Someone Rounded Up All the Industries Millennials are ‘Killing,’ and here’s how Millennials Responded.” Take a look and see what you think.

Neighbor Love
Friend, pastor, chaplain, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared an honest and relatable reflection in writing about, “Searching.”

staff 7.20
Lisa Kramme’s eyes are on the left, as she took this great selfie of some of the Nebraska Synod staff recently who were in the office sharing lunch together, one day last month. I have the best team of colleagues!

Friend and colleague Lisa Kramme shared a beautiful and heartfelt post about how she is, “Grateful for the Unknown Hosts.” She shared her gratitude as her son Jesse was in the midst of a cross-country journey exploring the United States’ many national parks, and had been welcomed, greeted, and visited by many people near and far.

Ben Tinker at CNN shared a story about how “A chaplain designed a way for ICU patients to request prayers, poetry, and a hand to hold.” Thanks to Allison for sharing this with me.

Friend, pastor, and blogger Andrew Dietzel shared some reflections in thinking about, “Keeping Our Word.”

Becky Metrick shared a recent, “I am an American Q&A with Pastor Fred Schenker,” a Pittsburgh area Lutheran pastor.

Friend and Executive Director of The Mennonite, Hannah Heinzekehr wrote a great editorial based on her recent experiences at the Future Church Summit entitled, “You’ve got a place.”

Michael Cooper-White wrote about “Luther and ministry ‘in crisis‘” in Living Lutheran. 

Friend and spiritual director for LEAD, Lynn Willis wrote a nice reflection titled, “Chicken and Eggs: A Tale of Mindfulness.”

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared a recent sermon based on Ephesians 2 which I think is really worth some time titled simply but profoundly, “Grace is Offensive.”

Social Media & Blogging
Mark Zuckerberg earlier this summer shared his vision for Facebook, social media, and institutions. This has Andrea Syverson asking, “Can Facebook Replace Church?” What do you think?

Are you preaching this week? If so, perhaps these nuggets and thought starters on stewardship might be helpful in your sermon and worship preparation?

My sermon from this past week, was partly inspired by a recent visit with our best friends from seminary (who are also parents to our godson). Pictured here: Allison and I with our friends Amanda and Jeremy.

I have preached a few times recently. On July 9th, I had the joy of being with the good people of Bethel Lutheran in Omaha, preaching on Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30, “Christ’s Invitation to Rest, Abundant Life, and our Response.” This past weekend on July 30th, I preached at Our Savior Lutheran in Wayne, preaching on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, “The Kingdom of Heaven- God’s work and our stewardship.”

Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared an introduction to his new book which he edited, Beyond the Offering Plate: A Holistic Approach to Stewardship. Check out the book’s introduction in this week’s blogpost and upcoming posts, and if you are intrigued like me, order the book.

My wife Allison shared this look by Drew Hendricks at how “6 Small Changes to Your Morning Routine will Transform Your Entire Day.” The changes include: give yourself at least 15 minutes of no screen time; swap out the coffee for lemon water; sit up correctly; set and affirm your goals for the day; stretch; and meditate. What might you add to the list from your experience of what works for you?

Speaking of vacation, Allison and I recently took a few days to hang out with our godson Joel.

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some life and vocational updates with her Tuesday Tea Times over the past month at their new WordPress home. Check out the new home, and new look, and join Julia’s journey, taking some time for your weekly (or daily) tea.

Friend, professor, and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared, “I don’t have words!” offering a look and reflections on her recent experiences while in Tanzania.

Pastor Tim Brown shared an important reflection for many people, especially those in ministry, writing about, “Why I’m On Vacation (again)… and you probably should be, too.” Five reasons Tim highlights include: “I’m never not a pastor unless I’m gone”; “I’m allotted the time, but no one expects me to take it”; “when I’m ‘off,’ I’m not off”; his grandfather; and he loves his family more than his work. See Tim’s thoughts, and think about how they might compare or contrast with your own.

with miriam
Spending some time with our friend Miriam before she ended her time serving in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.

Friend, blogger, and soon to be seminarian Miriam Hanson shared some “Post-LVC Laundry” on her blog, as she reflects on the conclusion of her year of service in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Omaha. Miriam, we’ll miss having you around so nearby, but we’re excited for you as you head to Trinity in the fall.

Now for a fun story about a now famous Lute, Rosanna Pansino, “The YouTube Star Who’s Teaching Kids How to Bake,” as written and reported by Neda Ulaby for NPR.

If you have followed this blog and the links long enough, you have figured out that I am often fascinated by airlines, airplanes, and all things air travel. So, with that in mind, have you ever wondered how airports get their codes? If so, check out this look by Jessica Placzek at the question, “Why the ‘O’ in San Francisco’s Airport Code, SFO?

Also, for you Disney lovers out there, check out this story from The Smithsonian about how “Disneyland’s Terrible First Day Didn’t Stop the Crowds from Coming,” as written by Kat Eschner.

That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. If you have ideas for me, please let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading and being part of the conversation, and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links & David & Peggy

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