September 17, 2019


Siebert Lutheran Foundation Funds Courses on Cross-Cultural, Rural, Outreach
Two new courses from LHM Learn will add depth and dimension to your online learning this fall. Caring Conversations Across Cultures is a four-session course that explores how we communicate with others over cultural divides. The course objective is simple but profound: develop a friendship with someone from another culture. Course host Dr. Amy Narishkin has spent years involved in these kinds of contacts and relationships and brings a wealth of knowledge to this course.

Reaching Out in Rural America is a four-session course that explores how we make contacts and encourage connections in rural America. Course host is Chris Macky, instructional designer with LHM. Dr. Kari Vo, LHM's theological writer and Daily Devotion contributor, authored the course. Rev. Monte Meyer, parish life facilitator for the Minnesota North District, adds his perspectives from years of working in rural areas.

Each course includes a journal, discussion guide, video transcript, and helpful tips for using the resource in small groups. Both courses were funded by the Siebert Lutheran Foundation.

All LHM Learn online courses are FREE and need only your registration to use. To check out this course and the others at LHM Learn, you can click here. Don't forget too that you can start and stop courses mid-stream, returning later to where you left off, so they are ideal for people with busy schedules.

Online 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)

Courses from LHM Learn are suitable for self-study or to work through in groups. Look through the above menu of offerings to see what interests you and your group.

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When You're Ready to Take Your Conversations to a New Level
The Spiritual Conversation Starter Kit will empower the way you speak to others by sensitizing you to conversational variables you may not have thought much about in outreach contexts.

The Starter Kit includes a collection of materials that will get you thinking in new ways about the dialogues you have with others. You'll learn how to "graciously adapt" your conversations to the people you speak with—mindful of where they are in their spiritual journey. You'll find loads of current data that show how Christians share their faith today—and how we can do it better. There are booklets on Jesus—who He is, why He died, and what it means to believe in Him.

"The Spiritual Conversations Kit is all about equipping us to better tell the Jesus story," said Dr. Jason Broge, LHM's director of design and development, and the lead presenter on "Eager Conversationalists," the first of two workshops on the Spiritual Conversations DVD. "The resources in this kit which LHM has produced with Content Development Manager Don Everts' input and direction will, we believe, be a real blessing to any Christian wanting to make their faith a more active part of their daily conversations."

These are the resources in the Spiritual Conversations Kit:

* How to Talk About Your Faith: An Introduction to the Spiritual Conversation Curve
* My Digital Voice: An Introduction to the Digital Conversation Pledge
* Who Is Jesus?
* Why Did Jesus Die?
* What Is Faith in Jesus? (these first five items are Project Connect booklets)
* The Reluctant Witness: Discovering the Delight of Spiritual Conversations (hard-cover book)
* Do You Know Who Jesus Is? (kids' booklet)
* Spiritual Conversations Workshops (DVD featuring two workshops)
* The Spiritual Conversation Curve (illustrated card)
* Spiritual Conversation Curve Cards (packet of 25 business-sized cards)
* Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age (Barna-LHM perma-cover monograph)
* Invitation to enroll and experience LHM Learn's FREE online courses and webinars

You can order your Spiritual Conversations Kit from LHM for $37. You can find it by clicking here.

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Head to THRED for Topical Comments on Life and Faith
One thing that's marked THRED from the beginning is its freshness of perspective. At THRED you'll find contributors and visitors who are interested in honest exchanges about the things that matter in their lives, and they're eager to learn from others, too.

At THRED you can share your perspective, respond to others, and come away invigorated by the exchange. THRED offers an open forum for people to talk about the things they care about. While it offers a Christian perspective, visitors to THRED will find that it's amenable to all kinds of viewpoints.

At the THRED website, there are articles and vlogs (video logs) on relationships, community, society, God, Christianity, and other items of intrigue and fascination. These can be accessed by clicking here.

At THRED we believe your voice and experiences are valid and significant. We think we can learn things through dialogue with each other that makes for wonderful and enriching discoveries. And we think the hardest topics should be talked about more, not less.

At THRED we want to hear from you!

Your voice matters.

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There's Still Time To Go to Peru!
Kids like to travel, too. Well, if you know some youngsters who like to experience the world beyond their neighborhoods, introduce them to LHM's Gospel Adventures!

This year's kid-friendly road trip takes youngsters to South America. In partnership with Group Publishing, LHM is bringing Peru to kids (and grownups) in a fascinating, interactive exploration of this wonderful country. Through activities, videos, and discussion questions, kids in the U.S. will learn as Peruvian kids tell stories about what it's like to live in a country with pink dolphins, monstrous sand dunes, delicious foods, the deepest canyon in the world and, of course, the lofty Incan site of Machu Picchu.

Here's how it works: Day One of Passport to Peru features six different elements. There's a 1) geography lesson on the country of Peru and its place in the world; 2) a video trip with Neil and Sharith, Peruvian twins who share a bit of their daily lives and who then visit the ruins at Machu Picchu; 3) fascinating information on the Inca who built Machu Picchu and the culture that thrived in Peru some 700 years ago; 4) video and pictures of wildlife in Peru; 5) a look at Psalm 23 with questions about how God comforts us as our Good Shepherd; and 6) additional discussion questions for students which review the day's highlights.

To sign up for Gospel Adventures: Passport to Peru, click here.

* Upon registration, you will receive a link to our interactive webpage, and a FREE teacher curriculum PDF download.

* The videos on our interactive page are pre-recorded, so you can choose the best time during VBS to show them in conjunction with your curriculum. (Please note: Gospel Adventures: Passport to Peru can be utilized anytime during the year.)

* Teachers will have access to materials to enhance the lessons learned through the Gospel Adventures videos. Kids will have the opportunity to answer questions and enjoy activities related to the daily video.

"With high-quality videos and engaging activities, the curriculum helps kids learn about life and culture from kids like them but who live in another part of the world," said Ashley Bayless, curriculum development manager for LHM. "Kids are constantly surprised how life isn't all that different in other places around the world. Kids go to school; they help with chores; they play soccer with their friends— and yet life can still look very different: new foods, different transportation, another language. One of the greatest similarities, though, is God's love for all His children, no matter where they live in the world."

Gospel Adventures ... a great resource for those who want to expand their horizons and see how the rest of the world lives.

Stay tuned: in 2020 LHM is heading to Mongolia!

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LHM-Barna Partnership Key to Producing Christ-Centered Outreach Resources
As LHM continues its partnership with Barna Group, new resources are in development. A growing collection of outreach tools like booklets, monographs, CD webinars, and other items have already been the fruitful result. As LHM and Barna continue exploring issues of faith, religion, personal belief, culture, and the way groups live, thrive, and interact, additional resources will be created for both the churched and the unchurched.

The first joint monograph, Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, was released in 2018. It features research and insights that focus on how we communicate in the rapid and ever-changing landscape of our digital world. In 2019, LHM released its second monograph, Households of Faith, which features reams of data and commentary on the way we live, who we live with, how we interact, and insights on how Christ can be sensitively shared in these varied contexts. Coming up in 2020 will be research centering on Communities of Action, and how communities can be better equipped to do God's kingdom work.

You can learn more about LHM's partnership with Barna by clicking here and reading more.

You can order copies of LHM's Barna-based-research products by clicking here.

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The Lies We Tell Our Kids
It's not intentional, really. We want to believe it's true when we say that they can be and do anything they want when they grow up. We want to believe that there's some relationship between that idea, and the need for them to perform throughout their teen years as if their lives depended on it.

We want to believe that there is no conflict between our urging them to "Follow your dreams!" morphing suddenly and abruptly into "What are you going to major in?" and "How are you going to support yourself for the rest of your life doing that?"

We tell them to do all the "right" things because we don't know what else to tell them, and we can't bear to tell them nothing. Or to let them fail. Or to let them veer from the prototypical success model-who knows where that might lead?

Maybe, just maybe, it will lead them slowly, and with some requisite turbulence, to themselves.

So if we really want to help our teen and young adult children, I'm thinking we should stop telling them that who they are is a series of grades and tests scores and titles and victories that must be accrued in a deliberate time and sequence-or else-and we should start telling them the truth, which, when you step back, I believe, looks something like this:

Between the ages of 15 and 25-give or take-you're going to want to learn some things, for example:

 What you like to do, and what you're good at, and if those are the same things

 What kind of people make you happy and what kind of people seem happy to be around you

 What it feels like to love another person and the delirious grace that comes from being loved back

 Whether or not sex is going to become a defining factor in your life

 How to dig yourself out of a hole

 How to throw yourself into an idea that is bigger than yourself and seeing what happens

 How to cook a meal, do your laundry, clean your bathroom, and live with roommates

 How to look someone in the eye when you shake their hand

 What it feels like to earn a paycheck and then pay for something with money you earned

 Whether or not you can make enough money doing the things you like and are good at to live the way you want to live

 Or if money is more important to you than spending your time doing things you like or love and what that choice will cost you down the road (this usually has to be learned later)

 You'll want to know what you believe in about Big Questions like God, and compassion, and why there's evil in the world, and if you think you're contributing to it, and how you feel about that

 You'll want to know how to learn new things-some of your choosing, some not

 You'll have to decide if your word will be your bond

 And to recognize those whose word is not

 It's hard to build a good life on a wobbly foundation so you're going to want to develop some confidence-if you're lacking in that area-or some humility, if you're not

 Do you know what makes you feel confident yet?

 Do you know how to express your thoughts and feelings?

 Do you know what you were put on this Earth to be and do?

Our kids will learn these things, and others, in no particular order, and often multiple times. No one will give them a certificate or a grade or a degree or a prize for them. But when they feel they've got a handle on most of these, they'll be ready to have a really nice life. Let's remember to tell them that sometimes.

Written by Heather Choate Davis

Nobody said raising kids was easy, and if they did, they weren't too bright. Do you have any time- and experience-tested truths you can add to the above list?

You can let us know by clicking here and leaving a comment.

You can let the folks at THRED know what you think by clicking here.

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    Host Church: Galilee Lutheran Church

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