Stressed Out

Posted on May 10, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Midweek Reflection: Stressed OutFor Sunday, May 14, 2017,
5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 6:1-7
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Stress! On May 1, USA TODAY headlined that Americans are breaking records for being stressed. What is happening to us? Americans have a long history of being resilient, strong, free, and brave. Our history is filled with a vast array of experiences and events that should have led to record-breaking periods of stress. Two World Wars, threats of nuclear war, riots, assassinations, 9/11, just to name a few. But 2017 is the record-breaking year. Again, what is happening to us?

According to psychologist Melanie Greenberg, author of The Stress-Proof Brain, “Changing the way you think about stressors can eliminate this phenomenon.” So, it isn’t our fast-paced life, our political turmoil, the world threats that are causing stress, but our reaction to these stressors that has caused the American Psychological Association’s new evaluation. (more…)

Hard to be Humble

Posted on May 9, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

By Main Thing contributor Chuck Frost

Hard to be HumbleOne of the more humorous songs of my childhood was Mac Davis’ “Oh Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble”:

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.

I can’t wait to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day.

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, but I’m doing the best that I can.

We often misunderstand humility. We think humility is about understating or even downgrading our own gifts and abilities.

When I was younger, one of my pastors told me that he believed true humility was an honest assessment of what gifts you have and the willingness to step forward to use them when needed. It is also the restraint we show by not stepping forward when others among us are more gifted in a particular area.

Based on her study of the early desert monks, Roberta Bondi puts it this way: “Cultivating humility also means that we will begin to stop measuring ourselves continually against others…. Having humility will mean that we will have no particular desire to do better than others, and we will not care if someone else does better than we.” (To Love As God Loves, 1987)

Thinking of humility this way, we see that it connects to envy, pride, and even patience – and it’s quite a challenging virtue as Mr. Davis wryly sung.

But it’s okay not to be the best at something.

It’s okay if someone is more “successful” than we are or whose gifts get a bigger audience.

God has not called any of us to be the best or successful as those concepts are often defined by the world. God has called us to discover and use what he has given us. And no matter how small our gifts may seem in the eyes of the world or even our own eyes, we are asked to humbly step forward and offer them to the Lord.

Chuck Frost is Pastoral Associate at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

Sending a Message

Posted on May 4, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

By Steve Botsford

Send a MessageOne of the most important things we do is send messages. Emails. Texts. Facebook messages. And if we call someone and they don’t answer, we leave them a message.

We prepare little elevator speeches and messages hoping to pique someone’s interest enough to follow up with us for more information. And sometimes we may only have a minute or 140 characters to convey the best possible message.

Effective messaging is an art, and most messages we create are for our own interest and benefit.

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace,” (1 Pt 4:10).

Effective stewardship means managing resources that are for the common good – the good of others. We have received a glorious gift that can benefit all people, the gift of faith. Today’s readings remind us of the eternal message, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). This message is the foundation of our faith.

Now it’s easy to become sidetracked by programs, procedures and problem-solving. In our abundance of information and communication we can get lost in our own messages. Today, Paul and John help us focus on what the true message really is. To know the Father we must first know Jesus.

In the midst of preparing messages for our daily business, let’s not forget the Main Thing– we are disciples of Christ. All of our activities must lead others to know the One who is the Way to eternal life, which begins here on earth.

We are Jesus’ hands and feet, face and spokesperson. Our actions are Jesus’ actions. After all, whoever has seen us has seen the Father (John 14: 6b, 9c).

Jesus, help me to be ready to use our messages to communicate the good news found only in you.

Steve Botsford is a husband, father, catechist, educational consultant, blogger, and game designer.

Knowing the Good Shepherd

Posted on May 2, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Midweek Reflection: Knowing the Good ShepherdFor Sunday, May 07, 2017,
4th Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20b-25
John 10:1-10

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”
John 10:27-28

In 2013 in his message for the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations (which is celebrated each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter), Pope Benedict XVI observed, “Hope is the expectation of something positive in the future, yet at the same time it must sustain our present existence, which is often marked by dissatisfaction and failures… To have hope, therefore, is the equivalent of trusting in God who is faithful, who keeps the promises of the covenant.”

This sense of hope is at the heart of this Sunday’s Gospel, which places before us one of the greatest biblical images of God’s faithful care and mercy: the Good Shepherd. The Evangelist John uses the image of the Good Shepherd (cf. chapter 10) to illustrate the intimate way Christ knows each of us—the flock entrusted to his care—and how, like a faithful shepherd, he constantly watches over us and lifts us up. (more…)

WeConnect Maintenance Notice—May 26, 2017

Posted on May 1, 2017 by - Release Notes, WeConnect

As we continue to improve the WeConnect user experience, we will be performing maintenance on the WeConnect software. The details are as follows:

Why: Updating calendar feature to show three (3) upcoming events and improving how forms are submitted, repairing the capability of emailing the form to the administrator while also saving it for download.

When: Friday, May 26, 2017— maintenance starts 10:00 pm CDT.

Duration: Up to one (1) hour, maintenance to be complete by 11:00 pm CDT.

Impact: During maintenance time all WeConnect websites will be unavailable for both the WeConnect Admin and website visitors.

A vibrant online presence contributes to the success of your mission. LPi is dedicated to serving you and will take every precaution to ensure quick and high-quality software maintenance.

IMPORTANT: WeConnect Maintenance

Posted on May 1, 2017 by - Release Notes, WeConnect

WeConnect will be unavailable on Friday, May 5, 2017, from 9:00 pm–10:00 pm. During this time LPi will address the issue affecting building linked images in the WeConnect Admin Panel when using Google Chrome version 58 and Firefox. After the maintenance is completed you can return to using Google Chrome and Firefox, in addition to Safari and Internet Explorer, to access the WeConnect admin panel to update or add images to you website.

We thank you for your patience as our team addresses this issue and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Dinner With Strangers

Posted on April 25, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

This post was written by Main Thing contributor Chuck Frost.

My wife and I had a late work day last week, so I decided to swing by a drive-thru and grab a sandwich for dinner. In front of me was a car with roughly 20 bumper stickers on the back. Some of the stickers didn’t make sense to me, but most of them were related to video games that I am familiar with.

The young man in the car was a little unkempt and I imagined he probably spent a good amount of time behind the computer with headphones on. Admittedly my mind went to gamer stereotypes, which are mostly untrue, but still embedded in pop culture. (more…)

Practicing Philoxenia

Posted on April 25, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Midweek Reflection: Practicing PhiloxeniaFor Sunday, April 30, 2017,
3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 22-33
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

I was roaming about on the Internet and found a great website about travel to Greece called Mysterious Greece. With an extremely thorough portrayal of all that Greece has to offer, it makes Greece look like a must-see destination for everyone. In one of the blog posts, the writer speaks of the rich history of hospitality in the country and how we have a real need for a more welcoming demeanor in all aspects of our daily living. The post begins with the words, “If there is one Greek word that everyone should know it is this word— ‘philoxenia.’” The word literally means “friend to the stranger,” but the practice of this form of hospitality speaks to a much deeper reality and should rest near the top of all the virtues. (more…)

Believing the Unbelievable

Posted on April 21, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 2nd Sunday of Easter / Divine Mercy Sunday

St. Thomas and JesusDue to the constant unchecked flow of data and information through the internet, it can be hard to know when a story is real news or rubbish. It never ceases to amaze me when someone I know has bought into some crazy fake news story.

Sometimes the story is just so unbelievable: celebrities who gained 200 pounds in a month, women having babies who were never pregnant, or people actually being seen who are dead! Like Elvis!

The apostle Thomas found the news that Jesus was alive just too far-fetched to believe. But he didn’t first hear the news on the Internet or read it standing in the grocery store checkout line. His friends told him. His fellow apostles told him they had actually seen the Lord with their own eyes.

But their testimony was not enough. Thomas needed proof.

(more…)

You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

Posted on April 20, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

Post By Steve Botsford

Personal CommunionIt’s true with just about everything. Money. Love. Education. Personal Communion.

Wait…personal communion?

During this Easter Season, we have an opportunity to dig deeper into the meaning of faith. We begin with the reflection on The Road to Emmaus. In a recent post, I mentioned the term “companion” and it’s Latin meaning, “with bread.” Jesus is our companion. He is always with us as the Bread of Life.

One of the highlights of my adult life was my confirmation into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil in 1992. As I reflect on all those who came into the Church Saturday night, I recall my life during that time. It was my adult decision to enter into the fullness of faith as a Catholic. My entry to God’s family happened several years earlier when I was baptized and that decision was confirmed that night.

(more…)