Posts

Drawn to Gratitude

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 By Diane Harpster, Administrative Assistant to the Bishop "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15 As we near the time of year when our hearts and minds turn to giving thanks, I find myself experiencing mixed emotions.  I know I’m not alone in that.  As we briefly considered meeting up somewhere with our children who live out of state, we quickly realized that’s probably not the thing to do this year.  As much as we long to be together, we long more for this pandemic time to be over.  And we are grateful for technology that makes it possible to still be able to gather safely across the miles through a virtual connection.    Even though we are not yet through this time that has presented extreme challenges and changes in the daily life of each and every one of us, Thanksgiving is here again.  And we don’t have to look far to find things for which we are grateful, whether it’s the gif

Growing God's Generous Generations

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  In the Nebraska Synod, ELCA we're growing disciples, walking together, and serving God's world. This is our shared work of discipleship and stewardship- following God's call and invitation to each of us. Through our shared life and vocation as disciples and stewards, we respond to all of God's work and promises for us- joyfully and gratefully. The Nebraska Synod 4G Network (Growing God's Generous Generations) was created to share in this journey and grow together. Resources for discipleship and stewardship will be available on the 4G Network Facebook page . Stories will be told about God sightings, and all of the great work we do as God's people together, pointing to and reflecting our Generous God who makes all things possible. All are welcome to this new space and encouraged to participate in our shared ministry together. We're glad to be part of Christ's church together with you. Watch this 4G Network video about Encouragement to Be Generous. And

Come and Witness the Abundance of Our God

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 By Deacon Timothy Siburg The disciples claim, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." How many times have we said similar things in our lives? "We have nothing, but a few cookies. Nothing but a few people. Nothing but a few hymnals, bibles, and an old church building." This is the language of our human created lie and sin of scarcity. This is the language of a lack.  Language of a lack of resources, a lack of assets, a lack of provision, a lack of hope, a lack of imagination, perhaps even… A Lack. Of. Faith. But Jesus says, "bring them here to me." So the disciples bring the loaves and fish. And God acts.  Jesus sees the loaves and fish as assets and things that have been entrusted to the people's care. They are resources. They are not limits, but things that can be stewarded and shared. They are ordinary things of this life through which God will do the extraordinary. How might our worldview turn, if instead of seeing a lack of something

Open to New Possibilities

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“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   --John 8:32 Over the last six months I have spent a lot of my time alone. As an introvert, I enjoy my alone time more than most. But this time it felt different. It was different. There was a quiet that there truly has never been before. In this quiet I found myself reflecting on my life far more than I ever have in the past. Much like binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, my mind kept replaying scenes from the past. I revisited the decisions, interactions, and some of the major emotional moments that have marked my life thus far.  This self-reflection left me wondering about where I currently find myself. Left me questioning where I am being called. Left me to face what more God could be planning for me. I also wondered how many others out there were finding themselves in a similar place of discernment. If the question- how is God calling me, has come up for you over these past few months, maybe it’s time to listen for the

What Is Your Life-Giving Choice Today?

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 By  April Nible, Certified Spiritual Director  Where do you see God at work in this pandemic?  I’ll answer that question with another question.  “What is the life-giving choice?”  I was in my early thirties and facing some of the toughest, most life-altering decisions of my life. The kinds of decisions that uproot years of planning, relationships, finances, complacency, and would most definitely affect others’ lives as well. It took an intense session with a dear spiritual director to cut through the hem-hawing and floundering voices in my head.  “April,” she said, “Be gentle with yourself. What is the most life-giving choice?” As I sat there, I knew deep in my heart that the choice I needed to make was not the easy path. But it was the honest and true path that needed to be taken. It would require massive change, that would bring changes to others as well. But on the other side of the change, I felt a glimmer of freedom, a loosening from inner bondage. Peace.  My spiritual director c

New Life

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 Shared by Rev. Sarah Cordray, pastor at Luther Memorial in Syracuse Most often through this pandemic, the reality of limitations has caused us to look at what we cannot do. But, Luther Memorial would argue the opposite in what they have been able to do because of what the Drive-In service in their parking lot has brought them. They have learned so much through who has joined them and what they have celebrated together!   Drive-In service has allowed their members to bring their pets to worship. Odin, a yellow lab puppy is being brought up in the church with every honk of “Peace be with You” as he lays in the back seat and chews on his toy. He is the most excited member to greet the pastors after worship in the drive by greeting. Several other new puppies, who were brought home as a result of the quarantine and the additional stay-at-home time for families, have also been a part of their service. Oscar and Scooter were a few of the other dogs who made it apparent that a pet blessing wa

Finding Something New in the Unknown

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 By Rev. Juliet Focken, Assistant to the Bishop  I was feeling pretty unfocused and just a COVID-hot-mess.  With four kids, my husband and I both working from home, there was no quiet time and there was no space for any spiritual practices.  I saw an ad for a program that works on your brain's neuroplasticity, that helps you to be more focused on who you are called to be. It couldn’t have come at a better time.   Walking a fine line between enough scientific research to allow me to trust the program and little steps that are adding new behaviors, the program seemed to be a great fit.  Especially when I’ve been struggling to figure out how I can lead and give direction when it feels like my life is a mess. I’ve been wondering if there was a way to intentionally focus more of my new daily routine into spiritual practices.  The reality of this uncertain time is that there is no additional time to carve out for anything; there is work, kids, and life all happening within the walls of o