August 4, 2020

Newsletter


Redeeming the Hours You Spend at Home
We've all had to reorient our thinking to some degree due to COVID-19. In your home, have the increased hours people are spending together under your roof been a time when faith and love have grown deeper and more mature? If this is a challenge you'd like to address, The Spiritually Vibrant Home: The Power of Messy Prayers, Loud Tables, and Open Doors may be an answer to your prayers.

This book by Don Everts, content development manager for LHM, is big on ideas that can help transform anyone's household into a place that's warm, open, and inviting. Backed by Barna Group research in partnership with LHM, readers will find dozens of ways to make their homes an oasis to others and a delight to those who live there.

Like this book's companion volume, The Reluctant Witness: Discovering the Delight of Spiritual Conversations, Everts has written a provocative book that challenges notions of home life and encourages us to make our households the kind of place we always knew it could be.

You can order a copy of The Spiritually Vibrant Home by clicking here.

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Labor Day Deadline for Men's NetWork WORK DAY Projects!
The clock is ticking down on this year's Men's NetWork WORK DAY timetable. COVID-19 has inconvenienced us all, but one thing hasn't changed: there are people everywhere who need your help.

With social distancing the current new norm around the country, we are encouraging three options for your group:

1. Instead of gathering, find a project to do individually at the same time, in your own neighborhood. You can check out some cool service ideas by clicking here.

2. Consider every day a WORK DAY! Brainstorm ideas with your group on creating positive neighborhood impact. To get the ball rolling, utilize LHM's faith-building tools like Project Connect topical booklets, Barna-based resources, and video Bible studies as a way to build bridges into local communities and neighborhoods.

3. Put a service project idea together right now—even with Labor Day approaching—you'll be amazed at how quickly you can pull guys together to do something great, even on a tight schedule. Remember, too, that we are offering 3 LHM Neighborhood Service Awards for WORK DAY projects.

You can quickly register your group for a 2020 Men's NetWork WORK DAY project by clicking here.

One change for the time being concerns the WORK DAY caps we ordinarily ship. In accordance with St. Louis County mandates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, LHM is operating with minimal staff in our physical office, and caps will not be shipped until further notice.

Thank you for understanding.

All the best on your WORK DAY efforts this year!

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Peace
You may have come to this article thinking to yourself, "Where can I find peace?" If by that you mean how do you get the bad stuff to stop happening in your life, the answer is "Nowhere." Nobody's found a pause button for life yet. If you do find it, let us know! We'd like to use it, too.

But maybe you don't mean that. Instead, you might mean, "How can I continue to live my life and still find peace and quiet -- in spite of all the bad stuff that's happening?"

That question actually has an answer.

A lot of people rely on drugs and mood-changers like Xanax or alcohol. These things can have their place (a very carefully controlled place!) but they're temporary fixes. As soon as they wear off, it's back to the stress again. And since almost all of them are addictive, you can't use them nonstop without screwing up your life.

Some people swear by meditation. Others are into mindfulness practices. Some do nutritional supplements; some carry worry stones; some just scream into their pillows. There are almost as many answers to "How do I find peace?" as there are people.

The Christian answer is more difficult, but more hopeful. We say that peace is found in a Person -- specifically, in Jesus Christ. After all, He taught us to think of Him this way. He's the One who said, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

It's real clear from the rest of what Jesus said that He did not mean "I will take away all your problems and make your life smooth and easy." (We wish!) Jesus warned His followers that they would be rejected on account of Him, would face conflict in their families, and trouble from authorities. And all this would be on top of the ordinary problems of everyday life -- things like sickness, loss, grief, and death. Seems like a pretty sober assessment by Jesus.

And yet just hours before His death, Jesus was able to say to His followers, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27). But how does the world give peace? See the partial list above -- techniques (or chemicals) that create a temporary respite from all the bad things in life. Jesus claims to give peace in a different way: He isn't recommending a technique or chemical; rather, He says He'll give His followers His peace.

Jesus claims to possess peace in a way that can actually be transferred to others. There is clearly a mystery involved here. After all, how do you transfer peace? But Christians down through the centuries have claimed to actually experience this peace. Paul, an early follower of Jesus, described it as "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" which has the power to "guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

I'm going to describe what it feels like for me to know this kind of peace. Feel free to think I'm crazy! But to me, it feels like having a solid floor under my feet. My life may be going nuts. It may feel like there is a flood of horrible things happening all at once, and yes, I may need to go scream into that pillow. But ultimately, I'm not by myself trying to deal with all of this. I have someone who cares about me on my side, who is helping me pull through. Not without a lot of pain and frustration and even fear, but I have that strong presence with me -- that foundation under my feet -- that peace which far "surpasses all understanding." And I know that once the flood of horrible stuff ebbs away, I'll still be there, because Jesus is still there, and He's got hold of me.

This is nothing exclusive to me. I was not always a Christian believer. But in the years since I came to know Jesus Christ, I've had to deal with sickness and disability, life in the slums, the constant yammering of people dependent on me, fighting and discord and things that nearly destroyed my marriage and my health. And yet I'm still here -- not because I'm strong, but because Jesus has hold of me. He has given me His peace.

It turns out one of Jesus' most common greetings after He was raised from the dead was "Peace be to you!" He said that not as token words of well-wishing, but almost as an offer. As if, having defeated death (the biggest, baddest thing all of), He was uniquely positioned to bestow real peace on others. And in fact, that's what He claimed. As He put it, "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

To this day, Christians call Jesus the "Prince of Peace" (see Isaiah 9:6) and believe that Jesus is still making that same offer ("Peace be to you!") to everyone He encounters. This is why anyone who asks a Christian "Where can I personally find peace?" will likely get pointed to Jesus Himself.

Written by THRED team

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