Friday, April 29, 2016

Book: The Spirituality of Wine

In The Spirituality of wine, Gisela Kreglinger offers a fresh, holistic vision of the Christian life that sees God at work in all created things, including vineyards, the work of vintners, and the beauty of well-crafted wine shared with others around a table. Kreglinger begins by examining wine in the Bible, in the history of the church, and in the Lord’s Supper, and these reflections culminate in a theology of joy and feasting that celebrates the human senses as gifts for tasting the goodness of God.
In the second part of the book Kreglinger brings Christian spirituality and the world of wine together in new ways, exploring such matters as technology and wine-crafting, the health benefits of wine, alcohol abuse, consumerism, and soul care. Her discussion is enriched by interviews with thirty vintners from around the world as well as her own experience growing up on a family winery in Bavaria.


  • Wine in the Bible
  • Wine in the History of the Church
  • Wine in the Lord's Supper
  • Wine and communal feasting
  • Wine and attentiveness
  • The vintner as (practising) theologian
  • Technology, spirituality and wine
  • Wine and its health benefits
  • Wine and the abuse of alcohol
  • Wine, viticulture and soul care

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artilce: Three ways to encourage peace between generations

In this article Ed Stetzer explores that diversity in a congregation or denomination can be a real blessing, however it will take work....
He suggests that congregations and denominations looking to encourage peace need to:

  1. Refrain from arrogant attitudes
  2. Respect God's varied ministry callings
  3. Reinforce a culture of peace
He concludes with the following:

In the end, it is important to remember that substance is more valuable than style. We can and should be aggressive when it comes to issues of substance. There are things you cannot be and still be considered within the boundaries of your theological tribe—it isn’t a free-for-all.
If you are going to be in a family, value what the family values.
But we should be generous when it comes to style. There is more space for variations. When it comes to flexible issues that will change according to context, intentionally work in and toward peace.
Denominations and networks must have common beliefs with diverse applications across ethnicity, languages, and cultures. That's a given. What is harder for some is to see that diversity across generations.

Book: Compelled - Living the mission of God

Understand what it means to be compelled by love.
Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation challenge readers to look at love within the context of God, the church, and the lives of individual believers.  Compelled provides readers a basic theological grounding and a platform for personal application as they understand what missional living is all about it is simply the calling to love others.  Look at the love of God; begin to truly understand what is at the center of the church’s foundation, commission, and direction; but most importantly, understand your role within the mission of God as you integrate love into all aspects of your missional calling.

Part I—Death by Love: God and Mission
Searching Love: The Father’s Heart for Us
Dying Love: Love in the Life of Christ
Indwelling Love: The Spirit’s Living Love
Part II—Identifying Love: the Church In the World
Identified by Love: Having a Mission That Shows
Commissioned by Love: Living with Jesus’ Mission
Directed by Love: Giving Up on Our “Needs”
Sent to Love: Delivering What the World Needs Most
Joined by Love: Loving the Church and Being Loved in Church
Part III—Formed by Love: Believers and the World
Obedient Love: Intersection of Two Ideals
Guided by Love: Seeking to Do the Will of the Father
Called to Love: Living a Missionary Passion for the Lost

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book: The difficult doctrine of the love of God

At first thought, understanding the doctrine of the love of God seems simple compared to trying to fathom other doctrines like that of the Trinity or predestination. Especially since the overwhelming majority of those who believe in God view Him as a loving being.

That is precisely what makes this doctrine so difficult. The only aspect of God's character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty, His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with a "loving" God. Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God's love, many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it and, in turn, lost a vital means to knowing who God is.

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost. In this treatment of many of the Bible's passages regarding divine love, noted evangelical scholar D. A. Carson not only critiques sentimental ideas such as "God hates the sin but loves the sinner," but provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and why He loves as He does. Carson blends his discourse with discussion of how God's sovereignty and holiness complete the biblical picture of who He is and how He loves.

In doing away with trivialities and cliches, this work gets to the heart of this all-important doctrine from an unflinching evangelical perspective. Yet it does so without losing its personal emphasis: for in understanding more of the comprehensive nature of God's love as declared in His Word, you will come to understand God and His unending love for you more completely.

On distorting God's love
God's love
God's love and God's sovereignty
God's love and God's wrath


Monday, April 18, 2016

Seminar: What makes Australian Church plants work?

 One of the key questions being asked by church planting teams as they engage in local mission, prepare to launch new congregations and see the lost mature in Christ is 'What impacts the growth of weekly church attendance?'.  The recent survey into Australian Church Planting identified the importance of intentionality, experience and support.  Scott Sanders unpacks these 3 areas further in the seminar what makes Australian Church plants work...

a summary of the seminar can be found at

Mothers Day 2016

Mother's Day offers us an opportunity to remember how we have been blessed through our mothers and how our mother's need God's support and calling to live out their vocation of being a mother.  

Following are some resources from around the web that may help you in preparing worship and other activities in relation to mother's day

6 High-Impact Outreach Ideas for Mother's Day

Creative Mother's Day from ReThink

From Make a Mother's Day

From Desperate Preacher

From Ministry Matters

From Worship Helps

Mother's Day sermon's and sermon ideas

From Pastor Dawn

Our earlier Mother's Day recommendations 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mission videos from North American Lutheran Church

North American Lutheran Church has made available a number of mission videos including:
2015 Mission Festival, Mission (im)Possible
2014 Mission Festival, Abida: Hearts on Fire
2013 Mission Festival, Discipleship – It Takes One to Make One
Open Minded Christian (G. Buba)
Game Plan: What Does Scripture Say (G. Buba)
Experience: Worship – Grow – Impact: Grow (G. Buba)
Westmont College – preaching at worship service (G. Buba)
Faith, Hope and Love: Faith (G. Buba)
Followers Wanted: You Know Who You Are (G. Buba)
Interview with Bishop John Bradosky – (November 2012 NALC Renewal Conference)
Interview with Bishop John Bradosky – (February 2015)
Renewal, Mission and Discipleship — Interview with Pr. David Keener at the June 2014 Mission Summit
Discipleship — (Dennis Blevins  at the 2014 Mission Festival)
Mission Planters Training Event – Part 1 (May 2011)
Mission Planters Training Event – Part 2 (May 2011)
Mission Planters Training Event – Part 3 (May 2011)
Mission Planters Training Event – Part 4 (May 2011)
Global Realignment of Christianity and Our Place in It – presented at Dallas Ecumenical Leadership Summit (G. Buba)
Faith Lutheran Church – Spencer, IA (Sept. 29, 2013)
Unleashing the Gospel Conference – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Marion, IA (Oct. 26, 2014)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church – Marion, IA (Oct. 26, 2014)
Mission and Building Relationships
Connecting a Broken World with Jesus  – Faith Community Lutheran Church, Longmont, CO (June 29, 2014)
Dr. Buba preaching at congregation in Slovakia (2014)
Missions 101: The Basics – Mission Built on Relationship (2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 1 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 2 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 3 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 4 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 5 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 6 (March 2015)
LCMC Gathering Plenary 7 (March 2015)
Confusion to Confession (Easter 2015)

Visit to view these videos

Friday, April 15, 2016

Conference: Lutheran Renewal

Lutheran Renewal Conference featuring
Roland Baker, Barry Manuel, Edgar Mayer and Andrew White (Vicar of Baghdad)
28 - 30 October 2016
Cornerstone Lutheran College
68 Adelaide Road, Mount Barker,  South Australia. 
Free Conference

For more information visit

Book: Inside the Reformation

Inside the Reformation is a visual journey through the Reformation with concise text and richly designed pages. While not laid out as a traditional history book, it communicates the same information through pictures, illustrations, and short articles in a fun way. This book makes a great addition to school libraries, classrooms, and personal collections.     It is ideal for people in later primary school up

Inside the Reformation covers:

  • The People, 
    • Learn all about the people and everyday life during the time of the Reformation
    • You may have heard of Martin Luther, but who were the other people of the Reformation?
    • How did people live in the sixteenth century?
    • What did they do for fun?
    • What was school like?   
  • The Ideas & Events
    • Learn about amazing inventions and ideas that helped shape the world as we know it today
    • How could Martin Luther's writings change the history of the world?
    • What inventions helped make the Reformation possible?
    • What events changed the course of history? 

Reformation 500 source book

As congregations plan the ways they will observe the Reformation’s five hundredth anniversary, this Sourcebook will be an essential guide. Gathered in this Sourcebook will be a variety of ideas for planning worship services, education events, music festivals, service projects, and connections with other Christians. A CD-ROM of reproducible, customizable content is also included.

Samples from the book available here 

Webinar relating to the book available here

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Anzac Day Resources 2016

In addition to the Anzac Day resources we posted in 2015 which can be found here

The following resources may be helpful if you are planning an Anzac Day Service for church, Christian school or other Christian worship environment...

Service:  Remembering those who have sacrificed for you, a service prepared for a secondary college

Australian War Memorial web site provides resources including stories, recordings and facts

Christian Origins on the first ANZAC Day Service

Tract:  Fighting Mackenzie - the man and his message

Tract:  Hey true blue

The Anzac Spirit by Col Stringer
The Man the Anzacs Revered by Daniel Reynaud
Anzacs and Israel: A Significant Connection  by Kelvin Crombie
Anzac Day Origins by John A Moses and  George F Davis
The Spirit of the Lighthorsemen by Col Stringer
The long tragedy by Robert Lindner

Book: Moving Messages Ideas That Will Revolutionize the Sunday Experience

Pastors…teachers…every church leader longs for Sunday messages to be memorable and meaningful, to move listeners closer to God.
So why are so many messages forgettable?
Pastor and author Rick Bundschuh asked the same question—and began finding new ways to connect his church audience with the life-changing truths of the Bible. He preached participatory sermons, wove experiences into messages, and invited congregational conversation as part of the Sunday morning experience.
The results? Astounding—for Bundschuh and his church.
In this report from the front lines, Bundschuh shares what he did, how it went, and what he learned along the way. Practical and proven, here’s the best of what invigorated the Sunday experience for him and his congregation.
This book is a must-read for all church leaders eager to make Sunday messages engaging and impactful. You’ll benefit from Bundschuh’s journey and transform passive listeners into active participants in next Sunday’s message.

Sample of the book is available:  here

PART 1:  The Journey
The Reason We’re Going on This trip in the First Place
A Willingness to Explore
Preparing for the Road Ahead
The Changing and the Unchanging: New Methods, timeless truths

PART 2: The Case for a New Paradigm on Sunday Morning
The Importance of Experiential Worship
Teaching Like Jesus
How Ideas Are Absorbed

PART 3: Creating an Environment for Success
Where Good Things Run Wild
Rethink the Space
Consider the Men
Teach as a Team
Let Others Bring Something to the Table
The Most Important New Hire: A Storyteller

PART 4:  Elements of Experiential Teaching
Ingredients of Memorable Messages
Teaching in Bits and Pieces
The Power of Story
Peer-to-Peer Interaction
Music, Movies, and Other Media
A Continuing Conversation
You Figure It Out
What Do I Do With This?
The “So What?” Factor
Special Ingredients

PART 5: Get Your Motor Runnin’
How to Introduce Experiential Worship
Easing Into the Shallow End
Moving toward the Deep End
Handling Skeptics
In Real time: An Example of How It Happens
A Note of Encouragement

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book: The fourfold leadership of Jesus

Don't follow me. Follow Jesus!' runs a popular slogan. Yet the apostle Paul wrote, 'Follow my example, as I follow Christ.'  Can we hope to echo Paul's words, or should we always be pointing away from ourselves to Christ?
This book considers four of Jesus' commands to his disciples as the basis for four models of leadership in the church which may be appropriate in different seasons of ministry:

  • come (a pastoral approach),
  • follow (inspiring by example),
  • wait (faithful in obedience),
  • go (evangelistic and mission-focused).

Above all, Andrew Watson concludes that developing individual character and discipleship is an essential aspect of leadership in the church.

These are days when the Church needs leaders who know Jesus and seek to lead like him. Andrew Watson is one such man. Drawing on his experience of leading a growing church, this book is packed with wisdom, good advice, and sound biblical principle. It will change and inspire.     Mark Russell, Chief Executive, Church Army

Leadership is complex - ask any leader. Simplistic advice is rarely true or helpful. That's why this book is so valuable. Andrew Watson offers clear biblical reflection to inspire and encourage leaders to lead more like Jesus.    James Lawrence, Director of the CPAS Arrow Leadership Programme

In this readable, well thought-out book Andrew Watson offers wise, practical advice to leaders, encouraging them to lead like Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to come, to follow, to wait and to go, and the book's basis is that each of these commands represents a different aspect of the call to discipleship. The author also believes that leadership and discipleship are so closely related as to be virtually indistinguishable from one another. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to become more like Jesus.  Reviewed by Jackie Rowe

Over the last 15 years the Diocese of Hereford has done a considerable amount of work on developing the ministry of all believers. As more people have engaged with the mission imperative of the church and are active in ministry the Diocese has recognised the need to enhance the leadership skills of the Clergy.
There are many models of leadership out there and Andrew Watson, in his well written and easy to read book, has chosen to concentrate on an analysis of the leadership model of Jesus. It is a fascinating read filled with insight. It challenges the exhausting activist models of leadership that are so often presented in the secular world. Andrew Watson points the reader to the nature of the undergirding spirituality which shapes the model of leadership adopted by Jesus.
Andrew Watson has recently been appointed as Bishop of Aston and will be moving from the Church he has led for the last 12 years - a church which has grown from 300 to 1000 under his leadership. His study of Jesus' leadership has been lived out in the busy activist world of parish ministry and so it makes a very credible read.   Reviewed by Graham Sykes

Book: Rhythms of Grace

Rhythms of Grace emerges from a personal exploration of contemplative spirituality. Coming from an evangelical and charismatic background, Tony Horsfall felt an increasing desire to know God more deeply.
At the same time, he felt an increasing dissatisfaction with his own spiritual life, as well as concern at the number of highly qualified and gifted people involved in Christian ministry who experience burn-out.
In this book he shows how contemplative spirituality, with its emphasis on realising our identity as God's beloved children and on being rather than doing, has vital lessons for us about discovering intimacy with God. It also provides essential insights about building a ministry that is both enjoyable and sustainable.

This book will significantly widen our worship experience as we present our real selves to a real God. Dave Bilbrough, songwriter and worship leader For over-busy Christians and leaders, this book is a must. It is about much more than pace in the race. It is about going deeper with Jesus. The Right Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, Church of Ireland 
I commend this book to all who desire to be drawn closer to God because he is pleased with who we are more than what we do. Paul Tan, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Singapore 
I greatly enjoyed reading Rhythms of Grace. Tony Horsfall's message to those of us who are so busy that we hardly ever have time to sit still and simply be is a timely one. It also helps us to realise just how precious we are to God, and that though we may feel we don't measure up as Christians, God accepts and loves us as we are, and longs to deepen our relationship with him. From Susan Hibbins, Editor of the UK edition of The Upper Room From The Good Bookstall - 14 April 2012
Horsfall's message here is a prophetic and timely one. Experiencing intimacy with God in a busy life is a perennial if not cosmic wrestle. The world, the flesh and the devil all collaborate with our busyness and vulnerabilities, to minimise the truthfulness that comes from silence and solitude with our Saviour. Rhythms of Grace has a pulsing beat emanating from a personal exploration of contemplative spirituality. Evangelical and charismatic pathways fuse meaningfully in an experiential pursuit of God. This is full of insights, wisdom, reflection and signposts toward action and transformation. Dense, definitive and delightful for the soul! This is a great title deserving of more than just shelf collection. Read and then re-read this gem of a book! This is a well-crafted and compelling invitation to walk in intimate grace with the risen Jesus Christ. This book in God's goodness could birth healing for many. Reviewed by Johnny Douglas From The Church Times - 18 May 2012
I confess that I approached Tony Horsfall's book with a cautious heart, but came away from it with a glad one. The writer comes from an Evangelical background, which is not my own, and my prejudices got in the way. His aim is to widen the spirituality of the 'usual' Evangelical (if there is such a person), and introduce him or her to a kind of spirituality which for many good Christians would be entirely new. He does this with great sensitivity - and possibly a little deliberate cunning. The first chapters describe issues that will be quite familiar to most Evangelical Christians, and probably form part of their daily devotions. But, slowly and gently, he leads his reader into what is probably, for most British Christians, new ground. He plays no tricks, but opens up radically different ways of prayer and listening to God. None of these is new to Christianity - indeed, many have ancient roots - but most have only relatively recently found their way into the daily devotions of today's Anglican (and probably Free Church) Christian lives. With Horsfall, prayer becomes listening and waiting rather than speaking and asking - as (he tells us) he has himself discovered. Reviewed by Canon John Armson, former Precentor of Rochester Cathedral

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2016 Curriculum Charts by Building Faith

Building Faith a free website that offers practical resources for ministry with children, youth, and adults has surveyed and summarises a considerable number of 2016 curriculums. They provide these summaries in a chart form which can be found here

Worldview Everlasting TV

In 2010, Pastor Jonathan Fisk created Worldview Everlasting (WE) to blast through the choking smoke of false gospels and Christian fads with the sweet oxygen of the God-breathed Good News of Christ. For you.
Proclaiming the rescuing work of Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins to the murky, hopeless corners of the internet, WE leads this generation to the safe house of Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and the nearest orthodox Church rightly distributing Christ’s gifts in Word and Sacrament.
WE might not always be serious and can sometimes be downright silly, but the poisonous leaven of the devil is deadly serious. The church needs individuals equipped with the antidote of their baptismal waters, clothed in His righteousness to survive the never ending onslaught of this present evil age. WE equips you to fight back ninja-style with the Christian’s only weapon—the awesome truth of God’s Word and promises.

There are a number of different posts each week.
To explore Worldview Everlasting visit

Bible Studies from around the world

Around the Word Bible Studies are prepared for use in the congregation and home and are great for both group and personal study.
Each study is formatted on two pages and is intended to lead you deeper into the Scriptures to receive the Lord's truth and comfort.
These studies are free to use, in whole or in part, in any way you find helpful to the Gospel.

Studies series available include:
The I AM Sayings of Jesus
Author: Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz
During this Easter season we reflect upon Christ’s saving work in his death and resurrection on our behalf. The season of repentance has given way to rejoicing. The fast has given way to the feast. The prophecies and promises are fulfilled. As Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished.” Through Jesus’ dying and rising, we receive God’s gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Everything that Jesus promised, has come true for you.
This is abundantly true in the famous “I AM sayings” of Jesus in John’s Gospel. Jesus used these seven titles for himself in order to fulfill God’s promises in the Old Testament and to point us to his saving work on the cross. In this bible study series, we will study the seven “I AM sayings” of our Lord in their context as well as their fulfillment in Jesus’ death and resurrection. We will also look at a second set of Jesus’ “I AM sayings” that are less familiar, but equally important in declaring Jesus’ saving work. Join us for this study as we rejoice in our risen Lord, whose saving Name, I AM, delivers God’s promise, presence, and peace to us.

The Blood of Christ
Author: Rev. Jeffrey Ries
Blood is often not a pleasant subject.  It appears in such uncomfortable phrases as “blood and guts,” or “blood, sweat and tears.”  The sight of blood makes many squeamish.  Because of infectious diseases, blood is treated with no small amount of caution. But blood is a very prominent biblical theme.  And just like the phrase used by the Red Cross’s blood donation program, “Gift of life,” when the Bible speaks of blood, it’s all about life.  Jesus shed His holy, precious blood to give us the gift of life eternal.  This Lenten Bible study series focuses on this gift of life – the blood of Christ.

Hymn Study: O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright
Author: Rev. Eric Andersen
The hymn, “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” was written by Pastor Philipp Nicolai during the Great Pestilence of 1597, which claimed the lives of 1300. In July alone, 300 people died, and Nicolai often buried up to 30 people in a single day. “O Morning Star” is a hymn that overflows with the comfort, peace, and joy of the Gospel—even as it looks death square in the eye.

Isaiah on Christmas
Author: Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller
Jesus is the “promised One.” All the prophets testified of Jesus, of His suffering, and of our forgiveness in His name. Chief among these prophets is Isaiah. His writing has been called “The Fifth Gospel” because he preaches so clearly of Jesus, His birth, His life, His suffering and death and resurrection. Isaiah preaches Christ crucified for sinners. In this four-part Bible Study we will consider Christmas in Isaiah, looking specifically in Isaiah 7:10-16, 9:2-7, 11:1-10, and 12.

Author: Rev. Jeffrey Ries
Things are not always as they seem, and this is definitely the case with our Lord’s parables. The characters and items in the parables stand for something else (allegory) and teach us about the reign of God in Christ Jesus. But our Lord also uses the parable genre to convict His hearers of their sin. Like Nathan, who tricked David into indicting himself by telling him a parable about “a little ewe lamb” (which was really about Uriah and Bathsheba; see 2 Samuel 12), our Lord often uses the parables to get His hearers right where He wants them before pulling the rug out from under their feet. In this way, the parables do the very important work of both convicting us of our sin and preparing the way for grace.

The Seven Churches of the Revelation
Author: Rev. Travis Loeslie
Revelation records seven sermons of our risen and exalted Lord Jesus Christ, sermons that are absolutely packed full of Law & Gospel. Here the Great Preacher does His work of killing and making alive by calling His Church to repentance and faith, admonishing, encouraging, and assuring us of His steadfast love. These letters are an excellent window into Holy Scripture and couldn't be more relevant for the contemporary church.

I Am Content: A Study of Ecclesiastes
Author: Rev. Eric Andersen
King Solomon was known for his practical wisdom, and the book of Ecclesiastes is no exception. In this book, he takes a no-nonsense approach to the follies of materialism and hedonism and points to Christ, the only source of true and lasting contentment.
Introduction to Ecclesiastes | Download Here

Resurrection! A Study of 1 Corinthians 15
Author: Rev. Randy Asburry
St. Paul puts forth his teaching of the resurrection in this great chapter. We will spend five weeks unfolding the beautiful and wonderful truth of the Lord's resurrection and our own.

The Seven Penitential Psalms
Authors: Rev. Eric Andersen & Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller
The seven penitential Psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) teach us the Biblical doctrine of repentance, sorrow over our sin, and the sure and certain hope of the forgiveness of all of our sins. We offer these seven studies for the seven weeks of Lent, 2015.

Weekly Devotions from Around the world.

Around the Word publishes a weekly devotion with daily meditations.
These devotions include a Psalm, Verse, Prayer, and Hymn for the Week, as well as the order of devotion from the Small Catechism.
You can download the most recent devotion below, or sign-up to receive these devotions by email.
For more information visit

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Brochure: Has God Abandoned Me? For Women Facing Domestic Violence

'Has God Abandoned Me? For Women Facing Domestic Violence' is a booklet from Lutheran Hour Ministries that covers:
Domestic violence has no boundaries, and it does not care about social standing, age, ethnicity or religion. It traps its victims in a very lonely and frightening prison. This booklet is designed to answer questions and help you understand the cycle of violence, develop a plan for the future and know that God will never forsake an abused woman.

To download a copy of the booklet visit here

Men's Video Bible Study: Reel to real of fish and men

As Reel to Real-Of Fish and Men shows, there's more to fishing than catching fish.

Listen in as five guys talk about temptations, trophy catches, the one that got away, and that day when the fishing season finally ends-for all of us.

Reel to Real-Of Fish and Men looks at life from the perspective of five fishermen.
Filmed at Richland Chambers Reservoir south of Dallas, Texas, this four-session Bible study includes Lutheran Hour Ministries' Executive Director and host Bruce Wurdeman, Pastor Jim Rhiver, and three anglers from 2012's Fourth Annual Men's NetWork North American Fishing Tournament: Joel Brutcher, Jake Oberheu and Chris Hansell.

With filming done on the water and in a nearby lodge, this Men's NetWork Bible study draws its theme from the world of fishing. It looks at how fish are attracted to and snap at lures that outwardly appeal but in the end spell disaster; so too do we face temptations that lure us toward sin. Along that line, one of angling's greatest pleasures is persuading a lumbering hawg to take the bait and give that lucky fisherman the fight-and trophy catch-of a lifetime. In these instances, though, it's vital to remember that success in fishing as in life is ultimately the work of God, who operates in unseen ways. Because His activities are behind the scenes, it's easy for us to take the credit, whereas God is the One who deserves it.

As any fisherman knows, humility and fishing go hand in hand, especially in respect to the big ones that got away. While there are regrets in not landing that elusive lunker, life, too, is marked by such sorrows. When we blow it or fall short, Jesus doesn't yank us from our lives and families. Instead, He restores us. The classic example here is Peter, who professed his unshakeable allegiance, only to crumble and deny his relationship with his Savior, when under pressure. Finally, Reel to Real looks at death and-whether you're a fisherman or not-we've all got a line in the water on this one.

Throughout these four sessions, Wurdeman as host interacts with the other anglers, who share their insights, humor and introspection. The result is a Bible study that offers a telling glimpse of faith at work in the lives of individuals who are Christ-followers first and fishermen second.

To view the videos and buy the studies visit:

Counselling Leaflets

"New Life" Pastoral Counselling Leaflets are a series of leaflets designed to be left with persons in primary counselling situations: the hospital, after a funeral, at retirement, after a birth or marriage, etc.
Each leaflet is full-color on a high-quality "greeting-card" paper and folded to 8 1/2 x 3 3/8" which fits conveniently in a coat pocket or #10 envelope.
Each leaflet contains a message that you will be proud to leave behind.
Each message deals with the circumstances of the reader in a positive manner.
All are focused on the affirming idea of New Life.
Deeply Christian, theologically and clinically sound, these leaflets have been used by thousands of pastors.
Leaflet series include:

  • Divorce
  • In the Hospital
  • Marriage
  • New Parents
  • Retirement
  • Waiting
  • Why Me?
  • After The Funeral
The New Life Pastoral counselling leaflets are available here

Bible Study: Disciples and other sinners

Disciples and Other Sinners by Ronn Kerr is based on the popular new concept in adult study programs -- powerful stories written in first person from the perspective of real New Testament people.
In Disciples and Other Sinners, each of the thirteen weekly class sessions evolves around a story by a single character in the life of Jesus. Peter. John the Baptist. Mary Magdalene. Mary, Jesus' Mother. Joseph. Pilate. John of Zebedee. Herod Antipas. Caiaphas. Mary of Bethany. Judas. Nicodemus. Levi. In all, thirteen different Gospel characters are described in these Bible-based stories.
Each story is a first-person account by the key character which is Biblically accurate and filled with detail about life in First Century Palestine. Students learn significant details about the individual characters, their motives, and lifestyles, as well as learning how the people lived and worked and worshipped. A primary impact on students is that they come to understand the New Testament figures as real people living in the real world.
Test results on this study proved that older youth and adult students truly enjoyed reading and preparing for classroom sessions. And, they felt the format helped them learn much more about Jesus as well as about the many people around him.
In addition to the stories in the Student Book, the Disciples and Other Sinners course comes with an extensive, loose-leaf, 3-hole punched Leader's Guide with scholarly Biblical background material, leadership suggestions, and creative discussion starters for each story.
Disciples and Other Sinners study is available here

Book: Church in a Age of Crisis

Jame Emery White,a pastor, adjunct professor, award-winning author and host of  identifies 25 cultural trends facing the church, showing readers how to prepare and respond to these challenges.

More about the book
It's time for a reality check.
Though many of the signs of the times are disturbing to those of us in the church, we ignore them at our great peril. Changes in belief, culture, marriage and family, media and technology, and mission affect us not only as individuals but also as a body of believers.
Functioning as both a telescope and a microscope, this hard-hitting examination of the future of the church looks into the vastness of the world and into the minute recesses of our hearts. James Emery White calls on us to sharpen our spiritual drive and determination in order to meet the challenges of our day--and the future. He calls us to look beyond the daily conflicts in order to see the much larger battle in which we are engaged, so that we might play our vital role in preserving and growing Christ's church in the coming age.

What others are saying
"Hard-hitting as well as carefully researched. It is also extremely relevant for our day. In twenty-five concise chapters, White scans the landscape of the postmodern world we now live in. This book will serve the church well."--Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"The Church in an Age of Crisis is more than a survey of the cultural landscape of contemporary America. It is a call to bring Christian values to bear in the marketplace of ideas. With prophetic insight, James Emery White directs the church to be true to its calling--to be salt and light in a dying world."--Alec Hill, president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA
"This book is a wake-up call for those who really care about America and how lost so many are today. The Church in an Age of Crisis provides positive answers on how the grace of God in Christ can break through even the stoniest of hearts."--Jerry Newcombe, Truth in Action Ministries
"This book is essential for those who desire to bring the truth, love, and light of Christ to our challenging present age."--Glenn T. Stanton, director, Global Family Formation Studies and Ministry Strategy Development, Focus on the Family


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Revitalization: Lutheran Revitalization

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's Office of National Mission is addressing the challenge of congregational decline through a comprehensive Revitalization initiative.
In the language of 1 Cor. 3:5-9, revitalization is centered on planting and watering in anticipation of God providing the growth.

Visit  details of workshops and Gospel Seeds

Visit Mark Wood's (Director of Revitalization) blog for some helpful articles and groups studies relating to Revitalization

Saturday, April 02, 2016

pastoral and spiritual care for those with dementia, Parkinsons and Alzeheimers

Dementia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's affect many people in our community.  When a person is affected by either of these not only do they have specific physical needs but they also have Spiritual needs to help them have a quality of life.   Following are some resources to help you and your congregation in developing an approach to spiritually helping people with Dementia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

General Resources:
Alzehiemer's Australia - fight dementia 
Alzheimer's Queensland
Alzheimer's Association USA

Articles and Papers
Anglican Retirement Villages foundation - Dementia and faith 2016 symposium
Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy - articles relating to Parkinson's disease
Various theological journals - articles relating to spiritual care for people with Dementia



Graceful Alzheimer’s Care is a fourteen-week study guide for church and lay leaders to explore the church’s role in providing Christ-like care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases.
Due to medical and health advances, there are far more elders in our congregations today than ever before—with an alarming percentage living with Alzheimer’s.
Although many faith communities have strong healing ministries, they have fallen short in understanding the challenges of dementia and their ramifications on the individual and caregivers.
Inspired by the two main covenants of the Bible, Graceful Alzheimer’s Care encourages the development of a caregiving covenant with three pillars: prayer, presence, and practice. Then, using uplifting stories from the Old and New Testaments, Dr. Cate applies powerful spiritual wisdom to the international Alzheimer's crisis.
Bringing over forty years of practical, academic, and spiritual knowledge in assisting individuals with dementia and their families, author Cate McCarty, PhD, ADC, wrote this book as a call to action for the spiritual community.

Facilitating Spiritual Reminiscence for People with Dementia: A Learning Guide
Spiritual reminiscence is a way of communicating that acknowledges the person as a spiritual being and seeks to engage the person in a more meaningful and personal way. This practical guide teaches carers how to facilitate engaging and stimulating spiritual reminiscence sessions with older people, and particularly with people with dementia.
After reading the guide, carers will understand the many and varied benefits of spiritual reminiscence, and will have developed the skills, confidence and communication techniques needed to support people with dementia in this activity. The authors present in accessible terms the evidence-base to support the benefits of the approach and provide clear, step-by-step instructions for facilitating spiritual reminiscence sessions, including useful suggestions for ideas and questions to stimulate discussion.
Intended to be used either as a self-learning tool or as the basis for staff training sessions, this will be a valuable resource for staff in care homes and day centres, activity coordinators, pastoral and spiritual care professionals, clergy and spiritual leaders.

A Guide to the Spiritual Dimension of Care for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia: More than Body, Brain and Breath
Drawing on her years of experience as a clergywoman working with older people in care settings, Eileen Shamy discusses how pastoral work can help to develop holistic care for those suffering from dementia and related conditions - care which involves understanding of their spiritual as well as physical needs.
This sensitive and informative book provides guidelines for pastoral visits to people with dementia, showing how to empathise with, understand and support individuals during a visit. Emphasising the importance of retaining dignity and freedom of choice for people with dementia, it also presents practical advice about memory cueing and provides frameworks for leading worship for those with dementia.
A useful resource for a variety of people involved in pastoral care with older people, whether professionals or volunteers, this book provides inspiration from a respected author in the field of psychogeriatric care.
'This is a book for those actively engaged in or interested in spiritual ministry to persons with dementia. Shamy draws heavily upon her experience, making this book very personal in its approach. I appreciated this style, feeling that the anecdotes anchor the book in the realm of what can be done rather than the theoretical world of the "maybes". The main concepts of the book, those of spirituality, retained through dementia, and personal worth should be acceptable to people of most world faiths.'  - Leveson Newsletter
'This is an important book that has much to offer at a variety of different levels. It ranges from deep philosophical thinking to practical recommendations... a book that should be bought, digested and used frequently.' - Christian Council on Ageing
'Contains valuable material. The passages that attempt a definition of spirituality, and the stories about persons with dementia and how they have been helped to greater well-being, are relevant and excellently done. The spirit of Eileen Shamy shines out from these pages and carries its own message of passionate concern. One of the book's greatest strengths is its stories, which are unfailingly well-told and apposite.'  - Ageing and Society

Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia explores spirituality in those with dementia to enrich our understanding of the neurological and psychological aspects of hope, prayer, and the power of belief. You will discover how your ministry is vitally relevant to the clinical well-being and quality of life of people with Alzheimer's disease. Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia provides you with a model spiritual care program for long-term facilities that supplies you with ideas you can implement in your own ministry.
You will learn to avoid cognitive pastoral care method that can be hurtful to those suffering with dementia by using new approaches found in Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia. This book provides you with suggestions about how to spiritually care for people with dementia. These important recommendations include:
understanding the value of pastoral contact when ministering to people with a loss of cognitive functions and memory
discovering the Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold psychosocial model (PLST) that can make important contributions by enhancing the quality of life for people with dementia
providing pastoral care using nonverbal methods to overcome the barriers of cognitive dysfunction
exploring a client's cognitive and emotional reality on a daily basis to determine how to best interact with him or her
gaining insight into how a thorough analysis of the illness and personal religious history can assist in planning religious activities that provide comfort and solace for people with dementia and their families
Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia describes religious, theological, and psychodynamic perspectives that will help you to offer better spiritual care for people with dementia. Using your newly acquired skills from Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia, you will be more effective when ministering to people with Alzheimer's Disease and to their families.

Do This, Remembering Me: The Spiritual Care of Those with Alzheimer's and Dementia
 • 5 million+ in the U.S. live with Alzheimer's, 5.5 million caregivers provide 17.7 billion hours’ unpaid care (2013)
• Key resource of practical tools/real-life applications for spiritual and physical dementia ce
“What do I do to help?” Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, almost everyone knows someone with some form of dementia, yet few know how to answer that question, and very little material exists on providing spiritual care to adults with dementia-related diseases. Even seminaries rarely provide training or clinical pastoral education in this field.
This book is an answer. It provies a hands-on manual that will give clergy, spiritual care providers, and family members an understanding of the ongoing spiritual needs of individuals with dementia, as well as practical tools such as how to create a religious service in a memory care unit and how one might plan a nursing home visit. Accessibly written, with real life applications and sample services for a variety of settings. More than just useful, the book inspires with shared stories that are tender, sad, funny—and sometimes all three at once, encouraging readers to develop spiritual care ministries for people with memory loss in congregations, homes, nursing facilities, or other communities—a ministry that will only gain in importance in the coming decade, as Baby Boomers age and the number of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia skyrockets.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Holy Humour Sunday

The idea of setting aside one Sunday has a long and rich history in many Christian traditions.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote:
“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
Never forget that the devil fell by force of gravity.
He who has the faith has the fun

Laughter Sunday (also known as Holy Humour Sunday, Hilarity Sunday, God’s Laughter Sunday, Bright Sunday or Holy Fools Sunday) has its roots in a number of different Christian traditions.

Churches in 15th century Bavaria used to celebrate the Sunday after Easter as Risus Paschalis (‘God’s Joke,’ or ‘the Easter laugh’).  Priests would deliberately include amusing stories and jokes in their sermons in an attempt to make the faithful laugh.  After the service, people would gather together to play practical jokes on one another and tell funny stories.  It was their way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ – the supreme joke God played on Satan by raising Jesus from the dead.

The observance of Risus Paschalis was officially outlawed by Pope Clement X in the 17th century.  Perhaps people were having too much fun.

In the Orthodox tradition, people would gather on Easter Monday to tell jokes and funny stories, and to dance and eat together.

Other traditions celebrate Laetare Sunday (also known as ‘Mothering Sunday’) on the fourth Sunday in Lent.  “Laetare” simply means ‘rejoice,’ and comes from the opening collect for that day: ‘Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow.'  On this Sunday, the usual Lenten purple vestments and altar cloths are replaced by rose-coloured ones instead.  Flowers (not normally present during Lent) are also brought into the sanctuary.

Some resource relating to Holy Humour Sunday include:

Article:  God has given me cause to laugh by Paul Thigpen

Sermons and sermon material for Holy Humour Sunday

Background and other information relating to Holy Humour Sunday

Service Order

Worship resources from Re:Think

Richard Fairchild resources