Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Driving Can Be Distracted Driving

With the coming of cell phones much has been written and discussed about distracted driving. Most of us have had the experience of the car next to us drifting into our lane, causing us to honk, brake, swerve and comment sharply on the driver's erratic moves, only to discover he or she was looking down at a cell phone -- presumably texting. This would be classified as distracted driving.

It's possible this will be an experience you have one time or another in the coming weeks.

We have also probably witnessed the driver in front of us engaged in an animated conversation on the phone, gesticulating passionately about the call. Soon the car seems to be following the gestures: weaving, bobbing and faking like an NBA guard. This too would be classified as distracted driving.

Not long ago I experienced a different kind of distracted driving. I was on a lengthy road trip and purchased an audio book for the cruise home. I was so engrossed in the book I failed to notice the gas gauge in my rented vehicle. When I finally did I pulled into the nearest gas station and put 11.49 gallons into a tank that holds 11.5. That was distracted driving.

Men, we all know what it's like to see others who are driving while distracted, but the truth is we may drive that way ourselves. We prove that it isn't always possible to give our full attention to two tasks at one time.

Thus I am advocating we give our full attention to the most important tasks at hand, especially those that involve our family.

When the woman in our life desires a conversation, it's not enough to mute the TV. Instead, we need to turn it off and give her our complete -- and undivided -- attention.

When our child asks for help with homework, we need to detach ourselves from our football game and give him or her our full consideration.

Let's show the most important people in our lives how much we value them and give them our full attention, especially now, during this time of year, when God gave so much attention to us.

What distracts you during the Christmas season? Is it any different than at other times of the year?

You can share your thoughts by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Tis the Season to be Thankful

With Thanksgiving on the horizon next week, it seems only fitting we should be thinking about what makes us thankful.

Here are a few comments we've received recently from people using Lutheran Hour Ministries' many resources:

For The Lutheran Hour, one listener had this to say about Rev. Gregory Seltz's message:

"This message was immensely enjoyed. In our days of hectic, frantic scurrying about to no purpose, I love the call back to reality from the Word. I am very new to the ministries of The Lutheran Hour. It has been the proverbial 'shot in the arm' for me. Please keep up the good work. May God bless your efforts to His glory."

And then there was this,

"Your message today was very pertinent, and you also speak to contemporary times in the language of today. I was also impressed with the Q & A regarding the saints. The explanation was very good and pertinent in light of the Catholic Church's naming a new saint just recently. I also heard you this morning on my program "Worship for Shut-ins." I wish The Lutheran Hour would be on TV, as my radio in Michigan does not function very well without a special antenna."

For LHM's long-running float in the Tournament of Roses, we heard this:

"This is a personal thank you for your participation in the Tournament of Roses, thus keeping 'Jesus' in this grand event. The Lutheran Hour float about Jesus was the shining best. People cheered and stood as this went by. My heart reacted and there were tears in my eyes to still have this float in this day and age. No trophy was needed, nor would do. What an exquisite application of artistry and talent and divine message."

And from a retired schoolteacher who attended the parade,

"Thank you Lutheran Hour Ministries for your wonderful float in the Rose Bowl Parade! We attended the parade for the first time and were so excited to see your float proclaiming the Gospel message for all to see. After the parade, when the floats were on exhibit, many people stopped to take pictures and I heard parents reading the John 3:16 passage to their children."

We received these comments for Pastor Klaus' and his Daily Devotions:

"I just wanted to say how thankful I am for Pastor Klaus' daily message. Each message talks about Jesus. How beautiful! Although I am not Lutheran, I am a child of Jesus Christ. And for that I am thankful. I thank our Lord and Savior for using Pastor Klaus in such a way to take every day things and apply them to what is important: salvation."

And here's another:

"I am a daily listener of Rev. Klaus' Daily Devotions and have for almost a year now. I live in a nursing home in Festus, Missouri. And I do, indeed, listen to Ken's devotions over my first cup of coffee. His devotions help get my day off to a good start. You could say that his devotions are part of my spiritual breakfast. Along with my eggs and toast, I get fed twice!"

And for Men's NetWork Bible studies, we received this remark:

"You have labeled them under 'Mens NetWork,' but we are using them for our Wednesday night service, which is a worship service with Communion, but it is more like a glorified Sunday school class. The sermon is usually about 45 minutes long and is open for questions throughout the service. I do not know where the sermon will end up. I simply start it, and we see which direction it goes. I call it an 'interactive sermon.' The video series fit right in and work great. We go through the discussion guide questions, and that takes about 45-55 minutes. We move into the service of the Sacraments and have Communion. The Wednesday night service has grown from around 25 people to 47 last week. Not bad since we average around 75 on Sundays. We also have a hot meal after the service, which invites a lot of fellowship. Service begins at 7 p.m., and we usually are leaving by 9 - 10 p.m. I have men and women, young families to 95-year-olds. We have been enjoying them and using them."

Did you get a chance to use any of LHM's resources in 2016? If so, drop us a note and tell us about it. We'd like to hear from you.

You can share your thoughts here: click here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Putting One Foot in front of the Other

I don't know if it's age or routine or what but I don't get outside to walk quite often enough these days. I remember periods in my life when going for a walk just to go for a walk was an anticipated and almost daily occurrence. The chance to brush off the cobwebs in the open air was a welcome respite from the stale oxygen of closed spaces. And there was always a feeling of rejuvenation at the end of my trek, with a renewed focus on whatever the day held next.

I might add too that the particular peregrination of which I speak is unaccompanied. Absent are cell phone, headphones and a playlist of jams, and/or any other device that distracts or preoccupies your thoughts.

Rest assured, you can do without them for a while.

Evidently, not a few creative types have found walking a healthy pursuit, with a dedicated allegiance coming from those who write for a living. Authors from Dickens and Thoreau to Orwell and Nabokov were fond of practicing the simple art of ambulation in their quest to vent their minds and inspire their creativity.

"There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together," said Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, in a BBC interview. "Walking requires a certain amount of attention, but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively. Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I'm far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and thinking."

So, do you ever feel like your brain's not firing on all cylinders? Is your thinking sometimes dull and uninspired?

If so, put on your favorite pair of kicks and see where you end up. You may find the fresh air and open spaces therapeutic in ways you never imagined. (And remember, leave the gadgets at home.)

Do you have any favorite treks you make to clear your head and sort out your thinking? You can share your thoughts here: click here!