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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Study guides
12/1/2014
December 2014:

Wait, it's Advent

North Americans hate to wait for anything—as evidenced in the avalanche of advance orders for the iPhone 6, blockbuster midnight releases of Hollywood movies and the popularity of takeout dinners. So for our culture, Advent provides an especially countercultural corrective and a reason—and method—of experiencing a different flow of time and way of life.

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

Exercise 1: Winter rhythmns
Exercise 2: Day by day
Exercise 3: Slow-lane living
Exercise 4: Advent adventures
Exercise 5: 12 days of Christmas
Exercise 6: Not Christmas
Exercise 7: Lectio divina
Exercise 8: St. Nick vs. Santa

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12/1/2014
December 2014:

Truth in advertising

As an undercurrent in all the media we watch, hear or see all around us, advertising asserts an enormous cultural influence in our lives. It shapes how we view ourselves, our neighbors, our money and our relationship to the world. As Christians called to allow God’s words to be the primary influence in our lives, how can we cope?

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

Exercise 1: Television ad log
Exercise 2: Ad messages
Exercise 3: Push my buttons
Exercise 4: Values clash
Exercise 5: La dolce vita
Exercise 6: Motivation
Exercise 7: Programmed unhappiness
Exercise 8: 'I shall not want'
Exercise 9: Human 'buy-ings'
Exercise 10: Advertising tally

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11/1/2014
November 2014:

Get set for clergy retirement wave

Our church is changing, and the leadership of the church is changing with it. In the next decade thousands of our pastors will retire. It may present short-term difficulties in finding people to take their places, and our church may suffer from the loss of so many experienced clerics. But their retirements may open the door for younger clergy with new ideas to lead our church.

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

Exercise 1: Pastoral experience
Exercise 2: Retirement loss
Exercise 3: Retirement gain
Exercise 4: New leaders
Exercise 5: Elijah's retirement
Exercise 6: David's selection
Exercise 7: Judas' replacement
Exercise 8: Pastoral history

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11/1/2014
November 2014:

Staying alive

Lutheran seminaries are increasingly opening their classes and programs to other Christians, not only as a strategy for stability but also to grow into the future along with our culture. Increasingly, denominational identity is playing a less important role in our religious landscape, and partnership and collaboration is a way that our denominations are finding strength and connections. The seminaries are learning, as are other religious organizations, that they are stronger with partners.

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

Exercise 1: Student decline
Exercise 2: Streamlined programs
Exercise 3: Seminary education
Exercise 4: Denominationalism
Exercise 5: Expanding base
Exercise 6: Ecumenical partners

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10/1/2014
October 2014:

Older adults: The church's challenge

“We need more young families” is the refrain often heard at congregations where older adults comprise the majority of worshipers. Although it’s a worthy goal to seek greater balance in the age of the membership, it’s a mistake to overlook either the needs of older members or the gifts, skills and opportunities they offer the congregation.

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

Exercise 1: Young emphasis
Exercise 2: Burden or blessing
Exercise 3: Spiritual continuum
Exercise 4: The 'new' old
Exercise 5: Service of elders
Exercise 6: Service to elders
Exercise 7: Intergenerational
Exercise 8: Ages in the rolls
Exercise 9: Ages in the pews

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10/1/2014
October 2014:

As children flee, Lutheran families, churches speak out

What’s a Christian nation to do when children by the tens of thousands are making a dangerous journey from their homeland across the border to flee violence and death in their home country? Should we treat them as criminal trespassers or victims in need of help? What would Jesus have us do?

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

Exercise 1: Bold words
Exercise 2: Border-Children collage
Exercise 3: Jesus, child refugee
Exercise 4: What kind of crisis?
Exercise 5: Courageous kids
Exercise 6: The least of these
Exercise 7: Illegals or refugees?
For further study and action
Answer: Bold words

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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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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

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