January 5, 2021

Newsletter


The Beauty of Applications
These days, and into the foreseeable future, it's good to know we can occupy ourselves in meaningful ways without going batty. Lutheran Hour Ministries over the last few years has developed a number of web-based applications people can access from their cellphones, laptops, and any other device that links to the internet.

These mobile apps are Bible-based, Christ-centered, and fun to use, wherever you are. All it takes is a simple download. When you do that you have immediate access to powerful weekly messages from The Lutheran Hour, award-winning, original video Bible studies; topical booklets on dozens of subjects; our daily and seasonal devotions; Spanish-language resources, and plenty of other meaningful content—right at your fingertips.

To take advantage of these resources, go to LHM's website and click here.

Once the app is loaded, you're ready to go! No hassle! No charge!

Happy New Year!

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Visit the Glorious Land of Thailand This Spring!
Lutheran Hour Ministries has saved you a seat for a trip to Southeast Asia. This special five-day excursion to faraway places is going to Thailand in 2021. Gospel Adventures: Thailand Trek is a fun-filled, fact-filled learning event loaded with interesting people, captivating cultural features, and the kind of educational experience you've come to expect from LHM's Gospel Adventure trips.

Gospel Adventures is a FREE resource available to schools, churches, homeschools, and anyone else daring enough to get on board. Students will learn about what makes Thailand unique in the world, and see how God is at work in the lives of its citizens —95 percent of whom are Buddhist!

With Thailand Trek, students and teachers get five days of online adventure to explore this captivating region. Student adventures in Thailand take place through short articles, videos, maps, colorful graphs, hands-on activities, eye-catching charts, identification boxes, questions for discussion, and more. These components work together to highlight the country's people groups, manners of living, religion, economy, culture and customs, government, language, history, and other features that make Thailand so fascinating and wonderful for the visitor.

Student takeaways include a fresh awareness of the world's size and diversity as exhibited through Thai culture and its friendly people. With this knowledge, students gain a fresh appreciation of the work of the Gospel in their own lives and see better how God is at work in people's lives around the world.

This only scratches the surface of what this FREE five-day online experience holds for learners. To register, or to download a sample containing Day 1, go to the website for all the details. You can do this by clicking here.

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Responding to an Apology: Do Words Matter?
Have you noticed how much we seem to police our speech these days? It seems we're constantly told what we should or should not say, what's appropriate or inappropriate. And we're held to a high standard. Some mistakes are costly.

In the last 10 years, I've had the privilege to travel to Europe a few times. I'm always glad to go England, because they speak English there. While I've studied other languages, I can't speak anything other than English. So traveling to England is much more comfortable for me than other places I've gone.

Even so, I've learned a few things about how I should police my own speech while traveling in England. Not everything I mean when I say a word means what I think it means in England. For example, as a father of young children I might talk about a stroller -- but in England it's called a "pram." I might talk about changing my child's diaper -- but in England it's called a "nappy." I might talk about a pacifier -- but in England it's called a "dummy," which might be a word of offense here in America.

Of course, even though I used some wrong words from time to time, my mistakes were completely unintentional. You might say they were well-intentioned, as I was just trying to make my way through the world in an unfamiliar place with what I thought was nevertheless a very familiar language.

This got me thinking about some of the other things we say that, while well-intentioned, might in fact communicate things which, were we aware of it, we would not want to be saying.

Imagine that a friend of yours has realized they did something to hurt your feelings, and so they offer an apology by saying, "I'm sorry." Because you're both friends, and perhaps because you think whatever they did was no big deal, you offer a typical response: "That's okay."

This response is unquestionably well-intentioned. It's no different than saying "No worries" or "No big deal" or something similar. But have you ever noticed that such phrases might not be the best response to an apology? What if when someone says, "I'm sorry," the best response might be to forgive them? What if, when we respond with "that's okay," we in fact negate their apology? I mean that our friend has recognized the action as not okay, and so offered an apology, but our response of "that's okay" ignores that recognition or entirely refuses to agree with it.

Of course, this is all unintentional. It's just like my using the wrong words in England. We take our language for granted, using it habitually without thinking. But what if our well-intentioned sayings and responses, like "that's okay" when someone apologizes, have unintentional consequences?

Let's think about this a different way. When Jesus lived, He forgave the sins of humans around Him. He also told His followers to do the same. I was compelled to think more deeply about this recently as I am trying to use my words more intentionally.

Jesus recognized that in forgiving another you're going further than just letting them off the hook; you're fully acknowledging their apology. You're also saying something significant about your relationship with them: forgiveness means you're not counting their offenses against them. In fact, you're telling them, "Your slate is clean with me." This is the same effect as when Jesus forgives us: our slate is clean with Him.

At the very least, this indicates that forgiveness is actually a big deal and that it matters when we respond to others. Saying "I forgive you" when someone apologizes would truly honor the fact that they've apologized and acknowledged a wrong they believe they've committed.

When I consider it this way, it makes me think that Jesus just might be on to something.

Written by Chad Lakies

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