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Spilling All Over the Place Is Good!

Reading time: two minutes. Today is the last of the "water analogies" around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel.  Today: Financial. Thirty-five years ago when we were raising babies, I thought the "sippy seal" was about the greatest invention ever.  Our kids used the Tupperware cup with a snap on lid and a little spout that when it tipped over only dumped out a little bit of juice.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the new version our grandkids use that let's drips out about like Fort Knox leaks gold!  Great design!  Advancements in sippy seal technology! It makes me wonder a bit what God had in mind when He designed us to leak like the crankcase of my old 1966 Ford Falcon.  Really? Read More

Calm Waters Bless Everyone!

Reading time: two minutes. The best water analogy I can think of for Emotional Wellbeing comes from Psalm 23: "He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul."  Emotional wellbeing is about managing the turbulence that surrounds us so that it doesn't penetrate the inner life.  Quiet waters in the soul are good for everyone. Today I want to suggest what I've found to be the greatest cause of my own internal anxieties when it comes to managing conflict. Read More

A Good Baptismal Wash!

Reading time: two minutes. It's water season.  Life-giving water season.  April showers bring May flowers.  (By the way, do you know what May flowers bring?)  The rivers and streams are full in most places this time of year.  No sprinklers necessary quite yet. Let's walk through the Lutheran Wellness Wheel with water analogies in mind.  I hope these next eight reflections will give you another handle to use to assess your wellness.  Let's begin with Baptismal Wellbeing, and a good wash! Read More

Easter Week: Celebrate, Pastor!

Reading time: two minutes. Christ Is Risen! That's reason to shout and sing.  For all the pastors reading this, I want you to know that I have been praying for your Easter celebration, hoping that you would be not just a worship leader, but a worshipper. I remember an interview with Jim Bakker after he was jailed for the PTL scandal of the 1980's.  When asked, "What happened?" he replied, "We were so busy doing the Lord's work, we forgot about the Lord." I guess that's an occupational hazard any time of year, but it's especially dangerous in our busiest time.  Let me throw out a few suggestions for your Post-Easter-Recovery-Regrouping time in this week after the great celebration you helped lead. Read More

Lenten Self Care: Baptismal Identity!

Reading time: two minutes (Maybe less.  It's Lent!). Tomorrow we begin the busiest season of the church year, but pastors already know that because the preparations began months ago.  As the paraments change to purple, as the bulletin printer goes into overtime, as the weekly cycle of sermon preparation kicks into double time, it's more important than ever to care of yourself. Strap on your own oxygen mask, Pastor, before you try to take care of everyone else!  My weekly Lenten reflections will offer a real short and simple thought for self-care in the busy season of Lent.  Today's topic: Don't let your jammed full calendar define you! Read More

Baptized Arguments!

Happy Valentine's Day! Reading time: two minutes. I hope you and your beloved have a good argument today.  I mean a really good argument.  Or maybe I should italicize that differently: a really good argument. I suppose it's possible that on a day like Valentine's Day a couple in love could go the whole day without any argument at all.  It's possible.  One of you might be out of town or something. The reality is that most every day we'll do something to irritate one another, just enough to elicit a snippy, biting or sarcastic remark that changes the atmosphere of the home.  That's normal.  That's who we are.  The bigger issue is how we move from there through the disagreements and arguments and back to a peaceful and loving "WE" oriented relationship. That takes a good argument.  Let me explain. Read More

Best Advice from You! Financial Wellbeing

Reading time: two minutes. I'm always pleasantly surprised when our retreat evaluations indicate that for many couples, the financial workshop offered by our friend Eustolio Gomez from Concordia Plan Services was the most significant part of the retreat! I'm not surprised that Eustolio does such a good job, I'm just glad to hear that the message of financial wellness is addressed in a way that it helps professional church work families who are experiencing stress and anxiety in their financial lives. As I listen to table conversations where couples offer counsel to one another, I often hear that couples had their breakthrough in financial health when they finally said to each other, "Let's get some advice."  Maybe that's a good place to wrap up my thoughts on the best advice I've heard from you through the years. Read More

Best Advice from You! Emotional Wellbeing

Reading time: two minutes. "Hmmm.  That's very interesting."  Those are four words I've heard from many of you over the years as we've discussed handling our emotions in high stress moments of anxiety. When someone shares an opinion that is clearly loaded with emotion, and when the impulse that surges up inside is to respond with a similarly emotional outburst, sometimes (usually!) the best response is a pause for quiet reflection, triggered by those four little words, "Hmmm.  That's very interesting." Churches are like families: they are very emotional places.  How we handle all of the passion and the emotional outbursts will go a long way to determine the atmosphere of our homes and churches. Read More

Best Advice from You! Baptismal Wellness

Reading time: two minutes. I'm learning so much from the wisdom that you have shared with me in recent months that I'm dedicating the next eight weeks of blogs to you and the conversations we've shared. When I ask you, "What do you do to remember your baptism," I hear all kinds of things about how raindrops and rainbows and water fountains and showers and a cross in the pocket can serve of reminders of baptismal grace. One idea I heard has really stuck with me.  A pastor told me that now when he makes the sign of the cross, he remembers the words spoken at his own baptism, "Receive the sign of the holy cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified" as he makes two small crosses once again on his forehead and on his heart.  I like it! Read More

Simple Financial Wellness: Four Words!

Reading time: two minutes. I'm enjoying this "four words" series.  I hope you've found it helpful.  Every aspect of the Lutheran Wellness Wheel is incredibly complex.  Finding the healing touch of Christ in every area of our lives is a wonder of God's kingdom, and to Him belongs all the glory. But it's also important to keep this as simple as possible.  I hope these four word handles on wellness have been encouraging to you as we all seek the Lord's healing grace to help us live as stewards of self. Week eight of the series brings us to financial wellness.  Here are my four words of encouragement: "Let's have a talk." Read More

Simple Emotional Wellness: Four Words!

Reading time: two minutes.  I don't want the topic of self-care to become burdensome or overly complex.  I like the Lutheran Wellness Wheel because it gives us a simple handle on eight aspects of wellness.  I've gotten good feedback on this "four words" series.  Which four words are at the heart of emotional wellbeing, at it's most basic and simple?  I think I'd sum up emotional wellbeing with these four: "My problem is me."  Diagnosis is always the first step in treatment.  I'd love to be able to blame my sour moods on the weather, the government, the latest Cardinals loss or the bad service at the credit union, but those minor irritations can't drain me of the Spirit's gift of joy. Read More