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Financial Wellbeing and 1 Chronicles 29

Reading time: less than 3 minutes. This is our last stop on our current tour: What's a Scripture that epitomizes the eight aspects of wellness depicted in the Lutheran Wellness Wheel? Peter and David are such beloved characters because they display in their lives both the best of a walk of faith and the worst.  We love them because they are like us.  Flawed. Toward the end of his life, David had one of those episodes where he showed us again what it means to be a man after God's own heart.   Read More

Emotional Wellbeing and Genesis 50

Reading time: less than three minutes. There's a collective wisdom among brothers, or at least, there should be.  I've got three brothers.  None of us is a genius of any sort, but between the four of us, I bet we could work our way through just about any life situation.  Before my parents died, I think they felt pretty confident that our family would do just fine after their passing. I think Jacob felt that way about his sons, but maybe even more so because of his son Joseph.  As we work our way through Scripture passages that exemplify each of the aspects of wellness depicted in the Lutheran Wellness Wheel, the story of Joseph and his brothers says "Emotional Health" to me. Joseph knew how to clear the emotional atmosphere through gracious, undeserved forgiveness.  That's emotional wellbeing, and we could all use a good dose of it. Read More

Baptismal Wellbeing and Psalm 103

Reading time: less than three minutes Just in case you haven't had reason to sing to the Lord yet today, here's one: the splash of the water!  God has made you His child by the water and the powerful word of grace, cleansing and renewal of holy baptism, and that's enough reason to rejoice and sing.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  Always. So what do we sing?  How about a song the Lord Himself has written through His inspired servant, David.  How about a song of celebration from the anointed prince of Israel, a great sinner (like me) who knew the joy of sainthood (like me)? Here's a song for you: "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name" (Psalm 103:1). Read More

Healthy Churches Pay a Healthy Salary!

Reading time: three minutes It's funny to me that churches often have such a hard time talking about money in general and salaries in particular.  Jesus spoke a great deal about money, treasure and possessions.  Why can't we? Our Lord taught that our possessions should not own us, but that we should manage them to God's glory.  I think it glorifies God when professional church workers are paid a decent, honorable salary for the service they perform.  I think it's a topic worth talking about in every congregation. If I could, I'd ask the lay leaders at every church I visit four important questions.  Wait a minute.  I DO ask every church I visit four questions!  Here they are... Read More

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

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

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

Emotional Harmony Is the Power of WE!

Reading time: less than 3 minutes I don't claim to be an exorcist, but I know how to stop the devil in his tracks.  Three little words: trust, respect and love.  He hates that. Conflict is tearing apart way too many of our congregations.  When we talk about emotional wellbeing here at Grace Place Wellness, we focus on clearing the air, refreshing the atmosphere that's been clouded by anger, resentment, hostility, gossip; basically the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:20-21).  It's in our broken relationships that the devil gets his foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Harmonious relationships that exhibit a high degree of emotional wellbeing are Satan's bane. He hates when that happens, and runs from love like crazy. Read More

Baptismal Wellbeing Is the Power of WE!

Reading time: less than 3 minutes. I once was asked on a theology test: "Explain the Trinity.  Use the words essence and substance."  Fortunately the professor only left room for about 50 words on the test paper.  I'm sure my answer was pathetic. I wish I'd known about "perichoresis."  Not to impress the instructor, of course.  Well, maybe just a little.  Perichoresis is a term the ancient Greek Fathers used to describe the relationship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  It literally can mean "dance around" (get it... "Peri" like perimeter + "Choresis" as in choreography).   Some say the Greek dance involving at least three dancers, weaving in and out of one another inspired the Fathers to say, "That's what the Trinity is like!" What a wonder that in the grace of baptism, you and I have been invited to join in the dance! Read More

JOY Is… Emotional Harmony!

Reading time... less than 3 minutes It's storm season here in the Midwest.  It's amazing how quickly the weather can change. Relationships have an "atmosphere" also, don't they?  Bad weather can hang around for a long, long time.  Jesus changes things in an instant. When I met Bob for the first time, his family was a mess.  He had been divorced for years, only a couple of his five grown children were speaking to him, and few of them were speaking to each other. I would never have imagined how powerfully God would transform Bob's family. Read More

JOY Is Baptismal Renewal!

Reading time: 3 minutes What does JOY look like?  I've got a pretty good idea of what joy looks like.  I've seen it a few times. Have you ever been at a ball game where the announcer says over the loudspeaker, "Today we honor the families of our military personnel serving overseas..." and out marches some children of soldiers?  Then suddenly, sneaking up on the children from behind, comes daddy or mommy, returned home from service unannounced and sooner than expected. Read More

Financial Wellbeing Is… Generosity!

Reading time: 3 minutes Did you watch the Oscars?  Did you see the glamour and glitz of the Red Carpet and the Hollywood icons? I didn't watch much either.  A little bit goes a long way.  Now, you've got to keep up with Hollywood to keep your finger on the pulse of where society is going (that's another topic for another day!), but I have a hard time watching the excesses of wealth.  "Who are you wearing?"  For real? In the kingdom of God, success and personal worth is never measured by material wealth. Read More