Experience Health & Joy

Weekly Blog

Healthy Churches Clear the Air!

Reading time: three minutes. I have a natural aroma, a scent all my own.  It's not that pleasant, but I'm learning to deal with it pretty well.  I'm not talking about body odor.  For that aroma, a daily shower with some de-odorant soap and a quick smear of de-odorant stick and I'm set to face the public. The natural scent that follows me around that is much more deeply a part of me than my body odor is the smell of filthy rags.  It's the fragrance of the underside of a sheep.  It's the aroma of my natural tendency to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, think the wrong thing and usually at just the wrong time. Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who is familiar with the smell of sheep, and willing to wrap them around His shoulders and carry them home. Read More

Healthy Churches Listen Well!

Reading time: Less than three minutes. Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."  That's hard to argue with. I'm a big believer in continuing education programs.  My personal goal is to say, "I learned something this week" every week.  But I think intellectual wellbeing goes far beyond book learning. In the body of Christ, every person has something to share, some insight or experience from which I could learn.  You can observe a lot just by listening. Read More

Healthy Churches Are Built on Trust!

Reading time: three minutes. Are there scarier words in the world than "Trust me!"?  I've got older brothers.  Growing up, when I heard "Trust me," it was usually followed by something cataclysmic, a couple of bruises and potentially a few stitches.  Over the years, we all learn that the safest response to the question, "Do you trust me?" is "Of course not!  Do I look like Charlie Brown?" The Christian faith is based on trust.  God is trustworthy.  And we're learning to trust each other. Read More

“A pastor’s wife that changed my life”

Written by:  Deaconess Heidi Goehmann From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  Ephesians 4:16 When I was growing up my pastor was larger than life in my eyes.  He wore these special outfits, could fill a whole church with his voice, and just knew so much!  Once confirmation hit, he patiently listened to every argument I had about women in the church.  And he never once made me feel like I was a heathen (even though my teen years were rocky at best).  All of this made a huge impact on my life.  I understood forgiveness and mercy and grace because it was extended to me, not just through the booming voice from the pulpit on Sundays, but through the man I knew as Pastor. All of this matters, but there is a piece of the story that could easily go unnoticed.  When I was 17 and trying to pick a college, it was a major ordeal.  I was at a crossroads.  I visited no less than 20 different schools; state schools, private schools, all girl schools, huge schools, tiny schools.  I knew somewhere deep down that whatever I chose had the power to change the course of my life, and I hated that.  I was frustrated and scared and too immature to know that God would work in my life no matter what path I took. College Freshmen! One Sunday, after returning from a particularly daunting round of college visits in Chicago-land, my pastor's wife found me in the giant post-service crowd. "How did it go?"  she asked.  "OK.  Blah.  I don't know".  I replied in my teenage angst. "Have you every thought about Concordia?" Read More

Church Health: Open Heart Church!

Reading time: three minutes. What does your church smell like? I once had a call to a church who's parsonage was across the street from a pig farm.  "Don't worry, Pastor.  It's downwind... most of the time."  That's not what I'm talking about. Does your church emit the fragrance of Jesus?  Can people tell when they walk in that Jesus hangs out here? Read More

Church Health: Who Are We?

Reading time, three minutes. In 1974 I was 6'3" and 160 pounds so I bought a pair of platform shoes with three inch heels.  Not only did they look stupid, they didn't feel very good either.  I looked like a stork with a limp (the plaid bell bottoms didn't help much), and every bone in my ankles and feet screamed at me, "What are you DOING!?!" I wanted so badly to look cool like some guys I knew who really did make those shoes work for them, that I ended up miserable.  Churches can do that too. Read More

Grace Place Wellness attends the 2015 National LWML Convention

Grace Place Wellness Booth – Melissa Hower, Mission Advancement Officer 2015 LWML Convention was held at the Iowa Convention Center in Des Moines, Iowa on June 25-27.  4500+  women and men came together in support of the LWML.  We enjoyed sharing Grace Place Wellness’ story with each… Read More

Health and Joy at District Conventions!

Reading time: three minutes. I didn't attend all 35 district conventions, just a small sample of about a half dozen.  Michigan will just be wrapping up when you receive this, completing the cycle for this season. I was impressed by the measure of health and wellness I experienced.  If you don't mind, I'll break from my pattern of reflections on the Lutheran Wellness Wheel to share some of what I saw at our conventions. First and foremost, it's clear to me that the healing ministry of Jesus our Lord is advancing powerfully by His Spirit and the Word of life. Read More

Financial Generosity Is the Power of WE!

Reading time: less than three minutes. Eustolio Gomez, CPS Here's a perfect example of "The Power of WE."  In our sixteen years of ministry, we've sponsored nearly 280 Grace Place Wellness Retreats for almost 8,000 church workers and spouses of The LCMS. Eustolio Gomez of Concordia Plans Services has attended about 270 of those retreats and led a Financial Planning Workshop for church work couples that consistently is mentioned as one of the most impactful parts of the week.  Thanks for your partnership, Eustolio!  You're an important part of our WE at Grace Place Wellness. I've only been at about twenty of those workshops.  I gain something new every time.  But here's the most amazing part of the feedback we get. Couples tell us, "This morning was the best, most productive conversation we've had about our family financial situation in twenty or thirty years." Read More

“The Revolving Devotion Book…”

I Love My Shepard blog by:  Deaconess Heidi Goehmann, MSW, LSW "Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you.  Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV) My friend, Emily Cook, sent me one of the devotion books that she wrote a couple of months ago.  I let it sit, untouched for a couple of months, on my bedroom dresser.  It had a happy cover and I liked the look of it for decoration.  I knew it was meant to be used though, so the guilt kind of gnawed at me to crack it open.  But still it sat.  Why?  I don't know.  It's a devotion book for pity sake's.  It doesn't require fifty pages be read in a night, it doesn't really require anything of me, but to soak it in.  Emily is a beautiful writer, with precious words that smooth over your heart like a balm.  I knew that.  I had read her stuff from her blog and was eager to read this book, but some unseen force kept me from reading even page one. Read More

Physical Vitality Is the Power of WE!

Reading time: less than 3 minutes. Getting in better physical condition is simple.  It's just not easy. I'm not a personal fitness trainer and I'm not a dietitian, but I've learned a couple of simple things along the way, thanks to great mentors like Dr. John Eckrich, our Founder, and my wife, Carol, R.N.  I've read books and articles, but mostly I've tried to put some simple ideas into practice.  Simple works best for me. I like to say that there are twelve key words to getting started on a diet and exercise program.  The first eight are the simple part.  "Walk like you're late" and "I don't eat that." The last four words are intended to give you help with the "not easy" part of getting more fit.  "Get an accountability partner."  That's the Power of WE. Read More

Grace Place Wellness featured on KFUO – June 10, 2015

    Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman, VP Programs and Melissa Hower, Mission Advancement Officer of Grace Place Wellness talks with Andy Bates, KFUO on June 10, 2015. Melissa Hower expressed “We thoroughly  enjoyed our time with KFUO!   What an awesome opportunity to share how God continues to work through… Read More