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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Study guides
9/1/2014
September 2014:

Reinventing Sunday school

As with other areas of church life, Christian education has changed dramatically with our nation’s social shifts over the last generation. The bad news is that traditional Sunday school no longer works as the primary way to teach the faith. The good news is that congregations are finding creative, innovative and exciting ways that not only educate but also form people and communities of faith.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Great Commission
Exercise 2: Formation
Exercise 3: Teach
Exercise 4: Your formation
Exercise 5: New ideas
Exercise 6: Innovation
Exercise 7: Disconnected
Exercise 8: Lifelong learning
Exercise 9: Integration
Exercise 10: Changes

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9/1/2014
September 2014:

Work matters for our faith

Work is an inevitable part of life and, let’s face it, most of us spend a great deal of our time and energy at work. Since it occupies so much of our lives, work ideally should be something we enjoy and find fulfilling. But regardless of how much we like our job or how much it pays, we know we are Christians even when we are on the job. Work also provides us a circle of influence in which we can love our neighbor and model our values.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Christian at work
Exercise 2: First job
Exercise 3: Worst job
Exercise 4: Job or career?
Exercise 5: Work value
Exercise 6: The Seventh Commandment
Exercise 7: Serving neighbor
Exercise 8: Christian ethics
Exercise 9: Love your neighbor
Exercise 10: 'Perfect' job

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8/1/2014
August 2014:

Evangelism basics

Like the people he met two millennia ago, Christ calls us from our varied stations in life to follow him and be his disciples. And in the succeeding 2,000 years Christians have struggled with exactly how to be faithful disciples of Christ while keeping their jobs, raising families, paying taxes and being good citizens of the countries in which they live.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: What's a disciple?
Exercise 2: Great Commission
Exercise 3: Disciple-making
Exercise 4: The Way
Exercise 5: Discipline
Exercise 6: Six marks
Exercise 7: Discipleship costs
Exercise 8: Discipleship covenant

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8/1/2014
August 2014:

Call her blessed

No other woman in history commands as much respect, admiration and mystery as Mary, the mother of Our Lord. Mary is revered as foremost among the saints and as intercessor by Roman Catholics, whose second line of the Hail Mary begs, “Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” While rejecting her role as intercessor (and the cult of saints generally), Lutherans share the sense of wonder and mystery about Mary, whom we honor as an example of how God works through ordinary people to accomplish great things.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Mary's character
Exercise 2: Mary's status
Exercise 3: Mary's risk
Exercise 4: Mary's response
Discussion questions

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7/1/2014
July 2014:

Economic and income inequality

As we live into the 21st century, our nation is undergoing dramatic changes in social and economic life. Many people are working harder just to stay even, and security is more tenuous in employment and retirement. Yet statistics show that the wealthiest among us are doing better than ever. Is there a better way?

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: The golden rule
Exercise 2: Problem of the poor
Exercise 3: Job shifts
Exercise 4: The American dream
Exercise 5: Income inequality
Exercise 6: Public vs. private
Exercise 7: Tax fairness
Exercise 8: Minimum wage
Exercise 9: Money choices
Exercise 10: Social Security

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7/1/2014
July 2014:

Same table

The presence of convicted sex offenders in our communities and our congregations raises conflicting issues for Christians. While we are commanded to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and tend to the imprisoned, we are also entrusted to protect our children and defend the most vulnerable in our midst. How would your congregation find a way between these two responsibilities? Ministering to any “returning citizens” who are released from incarceration demands thoughtful deliberation and preparation, but outreach to those who are convicted sex offenders involves particular risks and requires extra effort. The best advice is to proceed with caution, study carefully, debate openly, and develop firm policies and procedures.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Captive to sin
Exercise 2: Sinner and saint
Exercise 3: Open worship
Exercise 4: Paid the dues?
Exercise 5: Safety and protection
Exercise 6: Policies, precautions
Exercise 7: Model response

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6/1/2014
June 2014:

Accessing church with social media

In the beginning there was email, and we saw that it was useful. Now there are hundreds of ways to communicate by text, voice, photo or video—not only via computer but with all sorts of portable electronic devices. Social media has transformed how we communicate with one another, providing both challenges and opportunities for Christians.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: My social media
Exercise 2: Media inventory
Exercise 3: Media mission
Exercise 4: Ministry potential
Exercise 5: Connections
Exercise 6: Newspeak
Exercise 7: Media survey
Exercise 8: Sacred media?
Exercise 9: Out of it?

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6/1/2014
June 2014:

Duty & delight

It’s been called the toughest job that humans can possibly take on—raising children. What could be more important than nourishing, forming, guiding and teaching our youngest family members to be healthy, strong, compassionate adults? Yet parenting isn’t taught in schools or colleges. Mothers and fathers kind of muddle through—with God’s help.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Parental 'mission statement'
Exercise 2: Metamorphosis
Exercise 3: Parent lessons
Exercise 4: Duty
Exercise 5: Delight
Exercise 6: Sacrifice
Exercise 7: Tall cedars
Exercise 8: Gifts of God
Exercise 9: Setting limits
Exercise 10: Scripture reflections

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5/1/2014
May 2014:

Connecting God's love

About one in four adults has a mental illness in any given year,” according to the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/risk-factors/con-20033813). “About half of U.S. adults will develop a mental illness sometime in their lives.” They are our family members, co-workers and friends. Not only those who live with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia or major depression, they are all of us who cope with less debilitating issues, such as phobias, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsion, anxiety or panic. Mental illness is part of the human condition that challenges us in our desire to fulfill Christ’s command to love one another as ourselves.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Definitions
Exercise 2: In our midst
Exercise 3: Stigma
Exercise 4: Shame
Exercise 5: Fear
Exercise 6: Hard to love
Exercise 7: Learn more

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5/1/2014
May 2014:

Lutherans, Catholics forget who's who in rare ecumenical community

For centuries following Martin Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church in 1521, it was unthinkable that Lutherans and Roman Catholics would worship together and form community. Yet Lutherans and Roman Catholics of Mission of the Atonement in Beaverton, Ore., have developed an organic congregation based not on the things that divide them, but that which unites them. We can learn much from them.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Christian bonds
Exercise 2: One in Christ
Exercise 3: Laws of love
Exercise 4: Strength in differences
Exercise 5: Eight points of light
Exercise 6: Full communion
Exercise 7: Love is a choice
Exercise 8: Beyond JDDJ
Exercise 9: Unity at 500?

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SEPTEMBER issue:

Reinventing Sunday school

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