March 19, 2019


Coming Fast: Men's NetWork 2019 WORK DAY
In a little more than a month, the Men's NetWork is having its "official" WORK DAY for 2019. (Jobs can be done on other days of the year, but April 27 is the day we set aside to rally the nation together.) This is one of those golden opportunities for men's groups and other interested parties of guys to help others in their neighborhoods and communities.

Hard to believe, but this is the seventh year in a row the Men's NetWork has promoted the WORK DAY. We've seen guys do everything from hauling trash and painting playgrounds to interior remodeling and scrubbing headstones. Groups do their work in a variety of ways: they come up with their own projects; they ask local organizations how they can join in and help; they team up with works in progress; and in the process, they share God's love by doing what Jesus did: help and serve others.

You can access the Men's NetWork's registration and sign-up pages by clicking here. You can also find some suggestions for WORK DAY jobs on our website. Be sure to check them out; one of them might be just the job your group is looking for.

Online registrations received at Lutheran Hour Ministries by April 12 (it's super-fast and easy) gives us time to get all the participants in your group caps to wear for your event.

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Ideal for Individual and Group Use: LHM Learn Online Courses
Online courses from LHM are ideal for digging into a particular topic, exploring it, and coming away with insights to use in your everyday life. New courses like Nature and Glory of God, Behind Bars I: Called to the Incarcerated, and Then and Now: The Nature of Spiritual Conversations are giving users valuable resources to delve into topics of interest while fortifying their understanding of Scripture.

Courses from LHM Learn fall into five different faith-strengthening categories. Here they are:

* Christian Foundations (the basics of Christianity from biblical, theological, and historical perspectives)
* Cultural Concepts (resources to understand the different demographics, cultures, and religions in our world today)
* Everyday Insights (thoughts about the good and bad that life throws our way)
* Outreach Essentials (personal evangelism and tools to reach others with the Gospel)
* Spiritual Reflections (devotional thoughts meant to strengthen and encourage)

To find out more about these thought-provoking courses and how to empower your faith and witness, click here.

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That First Sweet Grilled Steak of the Season
Spring arrives in a few hours, and that means grills will be making their appearance on decks, patios, and backyards across America.

As you spring into action and boot winter's doldrums out the door, keep us in mind. We're looking for fresh grill recipes for making everything from shrimp and seafood to corn on the cob and grilled veggies. (That you would send us your favorite recipes for beef, turkey, and chicken is a given.) And while you're at it, take a few minutes and snap a shot of your grilled cuisine and send it to us, along with the recipe behind it. (There's an easy-to-fill-in-the-box form to use on our website to get you going.) When you send us a recipe and a picture, we'll send you a very handy Men's NetWork fire-starter. They're perfect for setting your grill aflame and getting the party started.

Just click here to get going.

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Take a Picture: Share the Gospel
Did you know your WEAR in the Word pics can have a big impact on someone else?

That's right. We're giving away our brand new "Sharing Jesus Bundle" for your pictures. This wonderful resource features ten booklets each of Who is Jesus?, Why Did Jesus Die?, and What Is Faith in Jesus?, along with ten copies of Do You Know Who Jesus Is?, a pocket-sized volume with an illustrated story that kids will love to read and pass along to others. All this comes in a handy four-slot display stand that will look great in your business office, at your spring or summer fair booth, or, if you're feeling particularly generous, as a gift to your church for use in its narthex or church offices.

In other words, for your submitted picture(s), the booklets you receive just might give others the chance to spend a few minutes learning about Jesus—who He Is, why He died, and what it means to believe in Him.

All because you took a picture.

To get your "Sharing Jesus Bundle," send us a photo that meets the following criteria:

1. The photo must show you wearing a recognizable Men's NetWork item -- hat or shirt.

2. The picture must be of an identifiable and commonly accepted landmark location! We define this as the majority of the judges can view the picture and immediately recognize where the photo was taken. If the judges have to go to the internet to find the location, it's probably not easily recognizable. NOTE: standing by a sign naming the location in the picture may not make it commonly recognizable; unless, of course, the pyramids are in the background.

3. To get your gift, you must include your full mailing information.

4. The decision of our esteemed and impartial panel of judges is final.

Click here for more information and the submission process. You'll see the box at the top right of the page.

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What's Different About This Time of the Year?
In the last Men's NetWork e-newsletter, we ushered in the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. That was two weeks ago already. Have you noticed anything different since then? Hopefully, you've spent some time reflecting on the Passion of our Lord through your own Bible study, your favorite radio or television ministry, or by reading this year's Lenten devotions from LHM: People of the Passion. Once again, Dr. Kari Vo, LHM's theological writer, has penned a memorable set of seasonal meditations on God's Word and the sacrificial ministry of His Son Jesus.

As quickly as it began, Lent will soon be gone again for another year. It's easy to let it slip through our fingers and miss the opportunity for some serious study and contemplation on this truly awesome time in the church calendar. To help you draw more from this season, LHM gives you a number of ways to tap into the spirit and power of Lent.

You can read People of the Passion or hear it as a podcast. During the Lenten season, you can receive these devotions as a daily e-mail. Simply sign up! A downloadable version, which includes a large-font text and bulletin inserts, is available, too. An audio component features Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker for The Lutheran Hour, reading the devotions. You can click here for more details.

Los personajes de la Pasión, the Spanish-language version, is available to read or hear online, or to receive as a daily e-mail through the Lenten season. A customizable print version is now available. Rev. Hector Hoppe supplies the audio. You can click here for more details.

The regular Daily Devotions will resume on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

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Failing Friendships and Learning to be Kind
I've heard it said that, even more than their lessons, educators teach who they are as people. Students learn about their teachers' passions, annoyances, available buttons to push, and amount of care they hold for their pupils-perhaps even more than they learn about their coursework. As a teacher, I have seen this happen. As a former student, I've learned that the most important person a student can learn about is oneself.

Of course, I recognize that academic lessons in school are necessary. I still remember the pride I felt on the day I mastered spelling that word: necessary. I feel a sense of pride each time I spell it correctly, with only one "c" but a double "s." There are also personal lessons to be learned that have a huge impact on a child's future. Failure is a frustrating but useful tool to guide a student's holistic education.

Growing up, the walls of my classrooms and libraries were covered in motivational posters about how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, or how Thomas Edison failed "x" number of times before he successfully lit a lightbulb. The details of those stories may be more myth than truth, but the lesson was clear: "Don't let failure hold you back. Don't give up. Keep trying."

Failures are not fun, but they can be valid and helpful experiences in shaping who a person becomes. Looking back, certain childhood failures might not seem as monumental as they did at the time. However, I certainly learned more from a few notable negative experiences than I did from any lecture. Memorable failures from my school days taught me how to trust my young self and motivated me to grow into the person I hoped to become.

During my adolescence, I experienced one such memorable "failure." It involved a good friend. Those were the days of embroidery thread friendship bracelets and halves of heart necklaces, so she was my best friend. In typical teen fashion, we started to drift apart as she became closer to a different friend who would replace me as "best." I remember feeling confused and a little desperate, willing to do whatever it took to win back my friend. Changing my hairstyle or going to parties didn't help. Laughing at dirty jokes or trying to like sports didn't help. Not even pretending I knew the band Nine Inch Nails helped. Honestly, I was probably pretty unconvincing on that one.

This all seems ridiculous now, but the fact that I couldn't hold onto a best friend made me feel like a gigantic failure. I stupidly loved decades-old music and had hair that was impossible to de-frizz. I couldn't succeed at being a girl or a teen-least of all a friend that people wanted to be with. Most of us remember sad and lonely times like that from school. It felt like I was forever doomed to be friendless and worthless.

One day the alliances of friendship suddenly shifted again. Thankfully, this opened my eyes to the fact that my friendship problem did not rest with who I was as a person. I realized how incredibly unhappy I had been pretending to be someone I wasn't. It didn't work anyway, so what was the point? In time, my world expanded, and I learned that there are many opportunities to make friends. First and foremost, I needed to be comfortable and happy with who I was. It was okay to trust myself to be me. I might not always be happy. I might sometimes be lonely. But I had the freedom and peace of knowing that a fake identity is not satisfying.

Sometime later, I had a much better friend. She was unendingly fun and truly kind. We made mountains of memories that I treasure (although they would be pure nonsense to anyone else). With her I could definitely be my odd-music-loving, frizzy, dorky self. But there was a moment in this friendship that taught me that "being yourself" shouldn't come without warning.

We were both smart, but very silly. She was better at math than I was, but she was a horrible speller. I knew that she was sensitive about her spelling. It had come up in discussion many times. I still cringe a little when I remember the day our group was talking and teasing each other and people started making fun of my friend for a basic word that she had misspelled. "You can't spell worth crap," a friend said. To which I immediately chimed in, "She can't even SPELL crap." Beat.

It wasn't a big deal in the world of insults. I only saw surprise and a tiny bit of hurt on her face for a second before she started laughing with everyone else. It was funny, but that had never before been the tone of our friendship. We didn't talk to each other that way. We told each other that we were beautiful and wonderful.

She might not even remember that moment, but I will never forget it. It was when I realized that I wasn't always "nice." I must have been delusional, but I truly didn't know until that conversation that I could be purposefully unkind to a friend. "Nice, kind, and sweet" was who I was. People had always described me this way. No one had ever said that I would be willing to betray my friend (even in a small way) for a joke. The point really wasn't that I made fun of her spelling. The point was that, in my heart, I knew that I had made this silly joke on purpose for attention to get a laugh. I knew that it would be at the expense of her feelings. I had failed my friend.

Failure is okay. It helps us grow. Michael Jordan and Thomas Edison's experiences attest to this. Teachers believe this. When pressed, even most students will admit that it's true. Frizzy-haired, smart-mouthed girls everywhere should take heart. Failure, though painful at the time, is often beneficial in the long run. I am thankful that I know how to be me. My mouth has gotten me into less trouble than it could have because of the lesson in kindness that I learned. Where would be if we lived our lives free of failure? Perhaps without any great success. Learning from failures helps us to grow in honesty as well as compassion. Those are two of the greatest successes that I can imagine.

Written by Elizabeth Rehwaldt

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Upcoming Events:
  • IL, Belvidere: 9th Annual Men's Retreat
    April 5, 2019 - April 7, 2019
    Host Church: Belvidere Immanuel Lutheran Church
  • IN, Seymour: 2019 Men's Gathering
    April 5, 2019 - April 7, 2019
    Host Church: Lakeview Ministries
  • IN, Seymour: 2019 Men's Gathering
    April 5, 2019 - April 7, 2019
    Host Church: Men's Gathering

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    Jordan, MN
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    Garden City, NY
  • Bible & Bacon
    Chaska, MN
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