May 14, 2019

Newsletter


Takes a Few Minutes to Send Us Your WORK DAY Update
The recently completed "official" Men's NetWork WORK DAY on April 27 once again showed us just how valuable—and needed—the service you provide others is. With a combined workforce around the country of more than 500, there was a lot of good done for a lot of people.

Be sure you take a few minutes and tell us about what your group did, won't you?

You can let us know in a couple of ways: you can go to Lutheran Hour Ministries' Facebook page and click here to add your pictures and a short description of your project(s).

Or you can let us know in an e-mail by sending your pictures and a brief description of your efforts to the mensnetwork@lhm.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks again to all those who took time from their busy schedules to participate in this year's seventh annual WORK DAY.

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May-June Issue of Layman Teems with Ministry Goodies!
Probably nothing is more gratifying to a ministry than to hear firsthand about the lives of people who have been changed by God's love and the redemptive power of Jesus' work on the cross. This issue again features stories from various places on the globe: Liberia, the U.S., Russia, South Korea, and Chile. These brief snapshots of people's changed lives is a powerful testament to God's goodness and grace—and His continual work in this world as He calls people unto Himself.

Leading off this issue is an in-depth piece on LHM's Gospel Adventures (formerly our Online Mission Trip). Written by Megan McDaniel, this article gives the details of this exciting program for kids, showing how it works and how it's being used by schools, congregations, and individuals. Readers will be glad to hear that LHM's Barna-based monograph Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age took Outreach Magazine's award for "Resource of the Year for Evangelism." This recognition speaks to the research quality of this piece and its practical utility in helping others understand evangelism and, especially, how we can all be more effective witnesses for Jesus.

Also, in this issue is the next Layman Bible study: Nurturing Your Faith: Called by God, the first of a four-part look at this important aspect of the Christian life. Around the world more of LHM's work is highlighted in places like Kenya, China, Panama and, through our social media website THRED, Central Asia. For those with Spanish-language interests, Sentido Latino, LHM's podcast, is now going to a weekly format. Two new courses are on deck for LHM Learn: Behind Bars I: Called to the Incarcerated and Behind Bars II: Serving the Incarcerated. Both offer excellent details on doing prison ministry, what it involves, how necessary it is, and how you can help serve those who are behind bars.

Comments from Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker for The Lutheran Hour are included, along with those from Phil Johnson, chairman of the Int'l LLL Board of Directors, and Kurt Buchholz, president and CEO of LHM.

To check out the current issue online, go to LHM's homepage when you click here; then drop down to the bottom right of the page and you'll find it.

To receive The Lutheran Layman by mail six times a year, simply send your request and $5 to our offices at 660 Mason Ridge Center Dr., St. Louis, MO 63141.

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You're Invited!
At THRED you'll find a vibrant online space for people to interact and share their thoughts on everything from society and culture to Jesus, faith, and spirituality. It's where conversations take place among people who differ in perspective but who share an interest in learning more about others and the world around them.

Using social media as a way to connect people, THRED invites you into the conversation—to participate, share your points of view, respond to others, and come away invigorated by the exchange. The idea behind THRED is to establish an open and engaging place for people to talk about the things they care about. Users will find that while THRED offers a Christian perspective, it's open to all kinds of different ways of looking at things.

At the THRED website, there are loads of articles dealing with relationships, community, society, God, Christianity, and other intriguing items. These can be accessed by clicking here.

At THRED we believe your perspective and experiences are valid and important. We think we can learn things through dialogue with each other that we can't learn any other way. And we think the hardest topics should be talked about more, not less.

At THRED we believe your voice matters.

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Grab Your MNW Hat When You Head out the Door
For those familiar with the Men's NetWork WEAR in the World photo feature, they know it's an incredibly simple way to win fabulous prizes. Bible studies, camping chairs, computer bags, and golf balls have all been given away previously.

Our current giveaway is for the reluctant witness in all of us. It's the "Sharing Jesus Bundle." This Gospel resource features ten packs of three separate booklets: 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 kids will love to read and share with others. The booklets also come in a handy four-slot display stand that's ideal for displaying in most any location.

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: a 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 Pantheon is in the background.

3. To get your booklets and display stand, 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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Register Your Men's Group with the Men's NetWork
If you receive this e-newsletter and are part of a men's group at your church, be sure to sign up with us and get your group on the Men's NetWork. There's nothing to it and it adds your group to our nationwide map showing where groups are, what they do, when they meet, and who your contact person it.

To get on board, you can click here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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My Actions & My Intent
In recent years, I've noticed a trend: my friends and acquaintances have been justifying their not-so-great actions with the phrase, "but I'm not a bad person."

To me, that is a particularly nondescript way of defining one's self. Because at any given time, the sum of the things that do define you will be far smaller than the sum of the things that don't. I am a 27-year-old man. I am not a 26-year-old, 25-year-old, 53-year-old etc.

Doesn't it make more sense to define yourself by stating what/who you are? In other words, wouldn't it be easier to say, "I am a good person."

But therein lies the problem. That statement would force us to confront the truth: we don't feel that we are inherently good. And to make that statement and to be lying in doing so would be, well, ironic.

So, how do we define what it means to be a "good person"? That question is probably a bit too lofty for a blog post. Therefore, I will pose another: is it a worthwhile endeavor to attempt to define what it means to be good?

When I began this post, I asked a number of colleagues that question. Invariably, we all concluded that the answer was likely "Yes," but we could not put a finger on why.

In my opinion, we as humans have a unique focus on intent. It's not usually a person's actions alone that define them for us. We care about the things that led up to the action. That's why whenever a mass shooting occurs the news anchor remarks about the defendant's facial expression as they are sentenced, and we learn about the pre-existing conditions that person was living in. It is unnerving if that person sits emotionless or if it becomes apparent that there was nothing remarkable about their life before the incident. Meanwhile, we are relieved if they are repentant.

This same instinct is what allows us to forgive a child who breaks our favorite vase or writes on the wall. Likewise, this is what allows us to give our best friend a pass when they say something that offends us. We are concerned with the hearts of our cohabitants, and we understand nuance on a fundamental level.

Additionally, when we look introspectively, we attempt to define ourselves in regard to this amorphous set of values that we have been establishing internally our whole lives. And, well ... I think it's worth it. There are moments when we cut ourselves some slack because we know we don't mean to devalue our relationships when we flake out at the last minute. In that moment, our intent matters in helping define ourselves to ourselves. "I'm not a bad person."

Now we are back where we started. As I stated earlier, defining what it means to be a good person in its entirety is a fool's errand. But it does seem as though we are always doing so in part. Based on the previous example (flaking out on your friend), we see that you could hardly call yourself a good person just because your intent wasn't malicious. In this way, not being a bad person is passive.

But in order to be considered (even if it is only to some degree) a good person, you'd likely have to do something positive. Perhaps something like ... showing up? This is just my opinion, but it seems that intent alone cannot define us either. It must be paired with action.

I know these examples will be cliché, but they make the point. Mother Theresa would have just been a lady with nice thoughts if she hadn't acted in Calcutta. Kobe Bryant would have likely been another dad with unfulfilled dreams if he hadn't gone to the gym daily to work on his shot. See what I mean? Actions paired with intent define us.

The reason I say all this is to affirm something that I started this post saying. It is important to consider what it means to be a good person.

Consideration is defined on dictionary.com as

(noun)

1: careful thought, typically over a period of time

2: thoughtfulness and sensitivity toward others

Consideration spurs intent. Intent leads to actions. Actions become habits. And I would argue that habits, given time, end up weaving themselves into our legacy (the way people think of/define us). Being defined as a good person doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens in relationship. When we look in the mirror and ask ourselves, "Am I a good person?", we have to consider how our actions/habits generally affect others.

And while we may never agree on the full definition of what it means to be a "good person," it's important to consider it. Because consideration can prompt change. Change is the agent of growth. And growth may just be the purpose of life.

Written by Jon Christopher

You can let us know your thoughts 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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Upcoming Events:
  • MD, Pasadena: Galilee Men's Bible Study
    April 13, 2019 - December 13, 2019
    Host Church: Galilee Lutheran Church

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Newest Men's NetWork Groups:
  • Good Start
    Jordan, MN
  • Men's Ministry
    Garden City, NY
  • Bible & Bacon
    Chaska, MN
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