June 27, 2017

Newsletter


Seltz Accepts Call to the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty
"It's been a blessing to have Pastor Seltz serve in the long line of gifted speakers who have shared the Gospel with millions over the airwaves since The Lutheran Hour's first broadcast in 1930," says LHM President & CEO Kurt Buchholz. "Pastor Seltz and I are confident that God has a plan for this important ministry that is a critical part of LHM's focus on media outreach. We ask for continued prayers for Pastor Seltz and his family as he transitions into this new role with the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty."

"It has been the greatest honor of my life to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Walter A. Maier, Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, Dr. Dale Meyer, Dr. Ken Klaus, and all the other great Speakers on The Lutheran Hour over the past 87 years," says Seltz. "What a privilege to serve the wonderful people of the Lutheran Laymen's League and the churches of the LCMS in carrying out ministry alongside the tremendous and dedicated LHM staff. Together, we have advanced the cause of the Gospel and reached so many people each week on the radio.

"I do believe, though, there exists a great challenge before Christ's church in the current milieu of the American culture. My new position will seek to ensure, maintain, and defend religious liberty protections for our churches, schools, universities, and fellow believers so that the Gospel may indeed have free course in our culture, calling all people to faith in Christ. I believe my work with the National Religious Broadcasters, my previous work with Concordia, Irvine, and my many years in urban ministry have indeed prepared me to engage such things by God's grace and power."

Based in Washington, D.C., the goal of the LCRL is to monitor and protect First Amendment rights in the public square, from a uniquely Lutheran perspective.

Since becoming Speaker in 2011, Seltz developed a bold vision for expanding the reach of The Lutheran Hour program through live broadcasts and other 21st-century media while being in high demand for speaking engagements about evangelism, entrepreneurial leadership development, and team ministry within the city. His well-rounded ministry experience previously included training students at Concordia University in Irvine, California, to launch ministries in a variety of cultural settings; serving as executive director of an urban, not-for-profit evangelism ministry in Manhattan, New York; founding the first new Lutheran mission start in New York City in more than 40 years (Church For All Nations, The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod); and planting a mission church in Dallas.

The Lutheran Hour currently reaches more than 1 million people a week. It airs on more than 1,700 radio stations across North America and is also available online, through a mobile app, and on the American Forces Network.

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Brief, Lively, to the Point: GodConnects Hits the Mark
How many times do you wish you knew more about the essentials of the church and what you believe? While faith in Christ as our Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives are central to the Christian faith, there is more, much more. In a world where we confront opposing viewpoints and ideologies regularly, it's easy for our faith to get tested. How well do we understand what we confess? What are the roots behind the doctrines we profess? These are questions we would do well to answer, especially when someone calls them into question.

Hosted by Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour, these 12, brief film clips offer an easy-to-use resource for deepening your Christian faith. They are especially good as a pass-along resource to those in your circle who may have questions concerning God and faith and who would benefit from a succinct presentation of essential facts and concepts. In these videos, Seltz looks at topics like God's nature, Communion, the end of time, prayer, the Ten Commandments, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and more.

Accompanying these videos are detailed discussion guides that maximize onscreen content for the user. "Things to think about" and "Digging Deeper" links expand the subject matter in profitable ways, while relevant Bible passages beef up the content and add depth to the topic under consideration. Overall, the series will allow viewers to gain a fuller comprehension of God's revelation of Himself, especially the Savior's work on our behalf. As Seltz says in session four, "Nature of God": "God loves us deeply -- so much so that when the first people, Adam and Eve, fell into sin, He promised to send His One and only Son Jesus, to make right everything that was ruined by sin."

As a church resource, GodConnects can be used for new-member classes, in adult Bible study groups, as a supplement to Catechism instruction, by youth groups, or as a resource offered to members and visitors. It's ideal for individual study as well. Are you wondering how best to get the word of GodConnects out to your fellow church members? No problem. Getting GodConnects up and running in your church is easy when using the program's built-in promotional tools. On the website you'll find all the resources to implement a GodConnects class in a congregation or group study environment. For instance, under "Pastor's Resources" there's a preparation guide and checklist to obtain class materials and set up scheduling. Included too are helpful tips for promoting the videos and personalizing invitations. A set of PowerPoint slides for each session highlights important ideas and directs attendees' focus to the material presented. As an aid to manage ongoing classes and to help plan future classes, a referral form and Excel spreadsheet are also provided.

Check out GodConnects by clicking here to get started.

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Where Will the Fourth Find You This Year?
If this coming weekend is one of travel for you and your family, be sure to don your Men's NetWork cap and get yourself framed -- in the picture, that is.

Throughout the summer, we're looking for pictures -- like the one of Ed Bieno on the cover. The pic can be taken at cool destinations, here or abroad. Are you boarding a cruise ship this year? Grab your MNW hat while you're roaming the ruins down in the Caribbean. Are you hiking the Grand Canyon? Put on one of our many MNW shirts (a classic from a past fishing tournaments will do) and get in the snapshot.

You get the picture.

Those who send us a photograph for our WEAR in the World feature are entitled to a monthly premium, which this month is a high-quality T-shirt with white lettering on a red backdrop. It features our global logo, gives our age (1917-2017), and lets the world know we're all about Bringing Christ to the Nations-and the Nations to the Church.

Qualifying pictures for our WEAR in the World feature get posted to our website and will likely appear in our bi-weekly e-newsletter.

Here's how to get your T-shirt:

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 either, unless, of course, Mt. Fujiyama is behind the sign.

3. To get your T-shirt, 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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The Conversation Is Now in Session: THRED
Looking for a place online where a healthy dialogue is currently in session? That's what THRED from Lutheran Hour Ministries is all about. As you already know, many of today's "conversations" take place between people and among groups in ways unheard of just a few years ago. Social media allow people to share their ideas without ever physically speaking to one another.

THRED engages its audience in a manner that takes advantage of this phenomenon. Here you'll find a spirited give-and-take about world religions, views on God, life after death, the value of family, relationships, the Person and work of Jesus, beliefs in the 21st century, and much more.

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 also open to all kinds of angles at looking at things.

THRED's initial point of contact is its Facebook page, which you can access by clicking here. Here you will find an open invitation to jump into the discussion and let us know what you're thinking.

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Classic Writing from Prominent LHM Voices
If you're looking for inspiration from a variety of people who have dedicated their lives to the cause of the Gospel, it's here and available now. In Called. Equipped. Sent. Inspirations from 100 Years of Sharing the Gospel, you'll enjoy dynamic messages of hope and faith, love and devotion. Penned by writers like Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker for The Lutheran Hour; Dr. Herman Gockel, director of Lutheran Television for 20 years; Dr. Oswald Hoffman, 33-year Speaker for The Lutheran Hour; and Phyllis Wallace, host of Woman to Woman, these exceptional messages show the power of God at work through Lutheran Hour Ministries' exciting history.

How better to celebrate the International Lutheran Laymen's League/Lutheran Hour Ministries' first 100 years of service than by showing in words and pictures what God has done in the last ten decades? That's what Called. Equipped. Sent. is all about. Beautifully illustrated, this soft-cover volume blends fresh color photography with vintage images of people, places and events, chronicling LHM's storied history, in North America and around the world.

Perfect for your desk, coffee table, guest bedroom, or as a gift to someone who appreciates the finer things in life, Called. Equipped. Sent. is available through LHM's storefront for $22. Whether heard on radio, seen on television, or read in print, here you'll find excerpts from The Lutheran Hour, reflections from the Daily Devotions, clips from The Lutheran Layman, conversations from Woman to Woman, and more. The end result is a rich tapestry of intersecting lives and service, each showing God's generous work in Bringing Christ to the Nations -- and the Nations to the Church.

To get your copy of this 100th-anniversary commemorative booklet, click here.

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Purpose. What's Yours ~ And How Do You Know?
My son Adam has a friend I'll call Ben. The two of them met online in a web-based training program for professional animators. Ben lives in Alaska; he is a very quiet guy; and he and his family have absolutely no connection of any kind with church or the Christian faith.

Now, since making connections in the animation industry is tough from Alaska, Adam invited Ben to come live with our family in Missouri. We invited Ben to church often; we invited him to join us in prayer; Adam invited him to the Bible study he was involved in; we had our natural family conversations about faith around him; when my wife was in the last days of her battle with cancer, we included him in our prayer times and times of devotional singing. In short, I know Ben saw a lot of the whole range of experience that we would call the Christian life.

Okay, so I'm confident the Holy Spirit was at work the whole time; I won't deny Him that. But as far as I could tell, our witness didn't have an impact on Ben's resistance.

I don't know for sure if it would have made a difference, but there is something that came to me later, after he had returned to Alaska (why does it so often seem to happen that way?). I know that Ben would at least have to have put in some thought if I had asked him one question: BEN, WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE?

Visionary Gabe Lyons beautifully articulates purpose as Christians understand it in his book The Next Christians: "The next Christians believe that Christ's death and resurrection were not only meant to save people from something. He wanted to save Christians to something. God longs to restore his image in them, and let them loose, freeing them to pursue his original dreams for the entire world. Here, now, today, tomorrow."

Yes! As the one thing in all creation that God made in His own image, humans were made to work alongside Him in caring for everything else He had made; and in a fallen universe, God still calls us to work alongside Him -- to help Him restore everything to Himself again -- starting with other humans.

But if you don't believe in God -- if you're convinced, for example, that we're all here by way of a process of random mutations and other happenstances -- how do you discover your purpose? How can you even intuit that you have one? And if you do discover something you believe to be your purpose, where'd it come from? No, really -- where'd it come from?

The thing is, faith or no faith, people want to know their purpose; they search for it daily. Google it for yourself: just type in "What is my purpose in life?" What you'll find is that folks from Focus on the Family to Forbes to Psychology Today -- and on and on -- have advice for you. More often than not, if the adviser does not have God to point to, then he or she will try to persuade you that your purpose comes from within you.

But in a worldview without God -- in a universe where you and I might be random results of random occurrences -- that explanation doesn't satisfy. "What's your purpose?" becomes a question without an answer. In a worldview with God ... well, it's really not a mystery.

Your turn. What's your purpose? What would you have to share with a guy like Ben?

You can share your comments by clicking here.

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Upcoming Events:
  • OH, Wooster: North Street Mission
    May 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
    Host Church: Trinity United Church of Christ
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    Host Church: Belvidere Immanuel Lutheran
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    Host Church: King of Kings Lutheran

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