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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Study guides
10/1/2013
October 2013:

Gone fishin'

Many of us plod through life never doing the things we like or working at jobs that are unsatisfying. But Jay Graves found a way to mix his vocation and his leisure passion by serving as a bi-vocational pastor. What would you sacrifice to live a more authentic life? In the end, would it be a sacrifice?

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

Exercise 1: The life abundant
Exercise 2: Work satisfaction
Exercise 3: God work assessment
Exercise 4: Leisure satisfaction
Exercise 5: If you had everything

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9/1/2013
September 2013:

My job! My job!

Employment is one of the chronic social problems of our time. The 2008 economic crash put tens of millions of people out of work, and the good jobs seem to be taking forever to come back. Unemployment remains high — 7.4 percent in July 2013. Meanwhile, the employment environment is awful. Job security? Forget about it! Millions of our neighbors and friends are continually washed onto the shores of joblessness by the ebb and flow of the economic tide. Those who lose their jobs face not only economic loss but also self-doubt, shame, fear, guilt, anger and a host of other emotions. Those who have jobs often find themselves working harder and putting up with more stress, fearful of losing employment.

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

Exercise 1: My job loss
Exercise 2: Job insecurity
Exercise 3: Changing employment
Exercise 4: Coping strategies
Exercise 5: My job, my identity
Exercise 6: Our source of hope
Exercise 7: Caring community
Exercise 8: Pray
Exercise 9: Watch a movie

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9/1/2013
September 2013:

Friday night lights ...

Psychologists say grief over losing a child ranks among the worst hurts one can suffer. When the child is also the victim of suicide, the pain is unimaginable to any who have not endured it. Jeff Olson’s decision to talk about his experience may enable the rest of us to more fully understand, to help friends and family who have experienced the same thing, and to prepare us for our own losses.

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

Exercise 1: Confidentially speaking
Exercise 2: Talking about suicide
Exercise 3: 'Do they go to heaven?'
Exercise 4: Left behind
Exercise 5: Suicidal warning signs
Exercise 6: Teen suicide
Exercise 7: Losing a child
Exercise 8: Inspiration and insight
Exercise 9: Get help!

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8/1/2013
August 2013:

Looking back, leaning forward

As the ELCA turns 25, we can look back and see we have made some remarkable accomplishments, taken some bold stands on issues of the day and overcome some pretty steep hurdles. Nevertheless, we also see that we still face tough challenges. Our silver anniversary offers us the opportunity not only to celebrate and reflect, but also to dream boldly and pray for the Spirit’s guidance to set a course for the future.

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

Exercise 1: Remembrances of 1988
Exercise 2: Mainline malaise
Exercise 3: Cultural support
Exercise 4: Media marketplace
Exercise 5: Social connections
Exercise 6: Creative ministry
Exercise 7: The Great Commission
Exercise 8: Hope for the future

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8/1/2013
August 2013:

Seminaries provide free financial coaching

ELCA seminaries are teaching students the basics of finance so they will manage money better. It’s one important way seminaries are coping with a disturbing trend—the need for pastors and other rostered leaders to take on increasingly heavy debt in order to prepare for a career serving God’s people. With better financial management skills, students may be able to avoid taking on too much debt while in seminary, and then later be better able to pay off the debt they do incur. Financial coaching—it’s something we all can probably use.

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

Exercise 1: Increasing debt load
Exercise 2: The first-call bind
Exercise 3: Not just a church problem
Exercise 4: Financial coaching
Exercise 5: Congregational help
Exercise 6: Do a money autobiography

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7/1/2013
July 2013:

Environmental urgency

Humans have put the planet on a crash course simply by continuing to do what has come naturally for millennia—using as much of the earth’s resources as we possibly can to build better lives for us, our families and our communities. We got away with it when the population was small and resources more plentiful. But now that there are 7 billion people on earth, we are consuming resources at an unsustainable rate, our pollution is altering the climate, and population continues to rise.

Changing direction will mean doing what comes unnaturally, at least at first: restraining our desires, lowering our consumption, and developing a worldview that sees everybody as interconnected and evaluates every decision for its impact on others. In other words, living a Christian life.

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

Exercise 1: The good life
Exercise 2: Population explosion
Exercise 3: Deny yourself
Exercise 4: Lopsided consumption
Exercise 5: Love your neighbor
Exercise 6: My brother's keeper
Exercise 7: Reduce, reuse, recycle
Exercise 8: "Kenosis"

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7/1/2013
July 2013:

Wild thing

Talk about a big first impression! On the Day of Pentecost the Spirit came upon Jesus’ followers with the rush of the wind, tongues of flame and a universal language translator—intoxicating the crowd with joy and love. The same Spirit still blows afresh through our lives and communities, intoxicating us and filling us with visions.

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

Exercise 1: Spielberg's Pentecost
Exercise 2: 'Spirit, Spirit of gentleness'
Exercise 3: We are Spirit people
Exercise 4: Post-Pentecost living
Exercise 5: The Trinity
Exercise 6: Imagining the Trinity
Exercise 7: Come, Holy Spirit

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6/1/2013
June 2013:

Bless this food

Jesus said, “One does not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4), thus underscoring the universal necessity of food. We don’t live by bread alone, but we can’t live without it. No wonder food figures prominently in our church ministry—the Lord’s Supper, pantries, potlucks, soup kitchens, coffee hours, nutrition programs, environmental awareness and more.

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

Exercise 1: Feed the hungry
Exercise 2: Think globally, eat locally
Exercise 3: Keep of 'food diary'
Exercise 4: Food spending
Exercise 5: Food, glorious food!
Exercise 6: How much is enough?
Exercise 7: Poverty in America
Exercise 8: Community poverty levels

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6/1/2013
June 2013:

Hearing faith in our everyday lives

What’s the best-kept secret in the Lutheran world? It may just be how Lutherans are working in their everyday lives in order to accomplish what our denomination’s motto claims: “God’s work. Our hands.” Across the nation our members and congregations are doing tremendous things. Don’t you think it’s about time we started letting everybody know?

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

Exercise 1: Shiny people
Exercise 2: Priesthood of all believers
Exercise 3: Your work is holy work
Exercise 4: God's work. Our hands.
Exercise 5: Christ's body
Exercise 6: I love to tell the story
Exercise 7: Ask for stories
Exercise 8: "The Blessings Board"
Exercise 9: Time of sharing

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May 2013:

Favorite hymns

“Music,” Martin Luther commented, “is an endowment and a gift of God.”  The reformer loved music and wrote “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and many hymns that are even today sung and loved by millions. Fittingly, Lutherans still put music and hymns at the center of worship, to glorify God and bring the faithful into the presence of the holy.

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

Exercise 1: Moving music
Exercise 2: Servant of the gospel
Exercise 3: Your favorite hymn
Exercise 4: Hymn texts
Exercise 5: A different song
Exercise 6: Music styles
Exercise 7: New life for hymns
Exercise 8: Humming hymns

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July issue

JULY issue:

Economic inequality

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