A Prayer For National Healing

By Mark Hagen

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I’ve been thinking of this quote by President Abraham Lincoln often this past year. We are one week removed from one of our nation’s most acrimonious and divisive elections. Pundits and “experts” are taking credit, assigning blame, and assessing what went wrong or what went right – dependent, of course, on one’s political leanings.

I happened to be in Washington, D.C. on Election Day.

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Dare To Make a Difference

By Gretchen Block

Andrea and I have had the opportunity to work together for a little while now. We both work for Bethesda Lutheran Communities.  Different jobs, different responsibilities, but co-workers nonetheless. Last week she attended training on personal outcome measures (POM). I had the opportunity to do so a few years ago. We spent some time talking about our experiences. Continue reading


By Ellen Hierl

Several years ago the question, “What would Jesus do?” was common in Christian circles as a challenge to guide our day-to-day interactions. It’s a great question and frankly, one that is very hard to live up to. All too often I find myself being impatient or self-serving, characteristics that are definitely not in keeping with WWJD.

Recently, while traveling in China, I came face-to-face with a situation that made me question what Jesus would do in this situation.  Continue reading

Advocacy for Change

By Gretchen Block

Change…change…more change. Why is it that things always seem to be changing? Who decided that a change was needed again? Can’t we ever slow down? We just get used to something and then there we go, changing things again. So this time, it’s a new employment opportunity for people that choose Bethesda as a provider?  Hmmm…

Bethesda is in the process of filling six new positions in our organization – Advocacy Mentors. Continue reading

Going to College

By David Morstad

Last week I had the opportunity to visit two institutions of higher learning (yes, you can still use the word “institution” if it’s followed by the words “higher learning”) and learned two important things: (1) college cafeteria food has come a long way in 35 years, and (2) students on campus are willing to spend time and money on post-secondary education for something beyond purely altruistic reasons (if that’s even a consideration at all). Continue reading

Ministry WITH

By Michael DeDominick

The other day I had a great time with several friends of mine. Some people had disabilities, and Bethesda Lutheran Communities provides support staff and housing for them. Some people were staff, whose paychecks come from donations and increasingly shrinking state and federal sources. Some of the people were volunteers from an area congregation.

It started when a youth pastor at an area congregation and Joel, a good friend of mine, were looking for a service opportunity for his church. Joel and I have known each other for a while. I bought Joel and the head pastor lunch a month or so ago, so he may have owed me.  Joel and I met to scheme and plan and generally get on the same page. Continue reading

Can You Have Too Much Good?

By Ben Stuckey

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

Can you have too much good?

I have pondered this question for almost six months as it seemed like amazing transformational opportunities were coming at me left and right, and I wanted to do them all. Nothing makes me feel better about myself than when people are constantly calling me to speak at their congregations, chapels, teach a college class, youth groups, Presbyteries, etc.

As these opportunities kept coming, like an approval addict I would says, “Yes!” Then when the time started for this whirlwind tour to begin, the ministry began expanding; I looked at my co-workers and myself and realized how tired we were, and how our ministries had become a “have to,” and not a “get to.”  The answer came to me: Yes, you can have too much good, but not too much God.   Continue reading