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A December "Warrior Thought"

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In the daily hustle and bustle of life, it is too easy to take for granted the many blessings God places in our lives.  One such blessing is a Lutheran middle and high school in Lincoln, NE.  It is a privilege to serve in a ministry where God uses outstanding teachers and staff to do amazing work in the lives of young people and their families.

Over the course of the next 7 months, I would like to take time to remind our Warrior Family (and myself) why a faith-based education is so valuable.  In order to accomplish this, I will draw on two sources.  First, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.”  I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” written by a sister school to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

A statement from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools”:
To Nurture the Children's Faith:
Faith is nurtured by daily proclamation of the Gospel, teaching children the Word of God and how to read and understand that Word on their own, and by modeling and challenging students to live the Christian faith.

This statement captures the very heart of why we have a ministry called Lincoln Lutheran.  It demonstrates why schools have always been a focal point of the LCMS since churches first started forming in the 1800’s.  The first established and longest serving LCMS church and school in Lincoln (Trinity) has been serving the community for nearly 150 years.  The school has always been an integral part of their mission and their ministry to families. 

As a Christian father, I am blessed with three wonderful daughters.  Sara and I have been given a huge responsibility by God to bring our daughters up in the training and instruction of Christ.  While this begins in the home, and is reinforced by our church family, this faith-nurturing responsibility is maximized through the care, love and Biblical instruction our daughters receive each day in a Christ-centered school setting.  While things don’t always go perfectly, we recognize that the blessings more than outweigh the occasional challenge or frustration.  We are so thankful for the village at Messiah and Lincoln Lutheran schools as they help us raise Kayla, Addi and Jordan.

One of the strongest challenges to serving more families in Christian Education is the cost.

An excerpt from the publication “Why Lutheran High?”, developed by Wolf River Lutheran High School:
Isn’t a Christian high school too expensive?
It is true that Christian education comes with a price tag. Lutheran high schools across the country range in tuition from $2,500 to $15,000 per school year. Spread out over ten school months, it can mean a commitment of $250 to $1,500 a month for a single student. Consequently, a family that otherwise sees the potential value of a Christian secondary education is reluctant to pursue the opportunity assuming that the cost is prohibitive.

Fortunately, this obstacle isn’t always as daunting as it first seems.  Wolf River Lutheran High School, like most Christian schools, doesn’t rely solely upon tuition to pay the bills. To do so would make enrollment too expensive for virtually any family. In fact, the average cost to educate one of our students exceeds $13,000 and yet our current tuition rates are only $3,900 for students of association churches and only $4,900 for non-association students. The remainder of the income is generated through church association dues, donations, adopt-a-student sponsors, fundraisers, etc. To be blunt, you get far more than you pay for even if you pay full price. 

The best news is that MOST families don’t pay full price! We want Christian education to be available to anyone who wants it, so we aggressively work to provide financial assistance to any family that is willing to formally apply and qualify for a reduction in tuition. We also offer interest free payment plans, paid-in-full discounts, work service credits, and multiple child discounts to help ease the burden.  Even with assistance, the tuition amount may still seem discouraging, especially when public schools seem to be free.

How does a family get past this? A positive attitude can be the key. When something becomes a priority, it is easier to find a plan to make it work.  If you believe that a Christian high school education is important in the academic and spiritual development of a child then sacrifices in other areas become more acceptable and realistic. It isn’t always easy, but tens of thousands of families across America find a way to make it work year after year. A little thought and creativity can go a long way. There are countless ways to adjust spending habits like adjusting cell phone or cable television packages or eating out less.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to cost for education.  The information above digs into a lot of the same concepts we experience at Lincoln Lutheran.  Regardless of a family’s ability to pay, all families seem to wrestle with the issue of cost - is this investment worth it?  There are endless examples of the ways God has used Lincoln Lutheran in the lives of young people to make an eternal difference.  One doesn’t have to look back too far to recognize 4 baptisms in our senior class last year.  Countless alumni reflect a depth of faith and maturity which sets them apart from their peers.  I’ve watch God use Lincoln Lutheran take a young person, confused by adolescence and challenging family situations, and form them into young adults of such strong faith and conviction.  In many ways, one cannot and should not put a price on the work the spirit does in the lives of our students.

Still, there is a price tag.  The average cost of education this year at Lincoln Lutheran is nearly $8500 per student (the state average in our public schools easily exceeds $10,000).  Cost is higher for the upper grades and less for our lower grades, but that cost represents an average.  Of that cost, parents pay 62% of the overall cost to educate our students.  Our Association picks up an additional 29% and our fundraising efforts cover the rest.  Over $200,000 was issued this year in the form of discounts, scholarships and financial aid.  Our goal is to make Lincoln Lutheran accessible to any family who wants to be a part of our family.

For most families there is still a sacrifice that must be made.  I especially like the phrase from above, “When something becomes a priority, it is easier to find a plan to make it work.”  A parent of three alumni once shared with me, “We decided to send our daughters to Lincoln Lutheran.  I don’t know where the money came from (he knew the exact dollar amount).  It wasn’t in our budget.  With all the miles we drove (from Seward), our vehicles never ran out of gas, never broke down, and we never had an accident.  We asked God to bless our decision of Christian education and He took care of the rest.”  What a testimony!

I am thankful to work with a Board of Directors that works hard to keep costs down while running an efficient and impacting ministry.  They recognize the impact tuition increases have on a family and continue to develop new ways to slow the impact the increased cost to teach our children has on families. 

So is it worth it?  Listen to our kids speak about the Bible, explain doctrine, and reflect a spirit of service in our community.  Their level of knowledge and maturity humbles this life-long Lutheran.  God is doing amazing things in our Warrior Family.

May God’s richest blessings and peace surround you this Advent and Christmas season, where we celebrated the ultimate gift - a baby born in a manger - who would one day die for you and for me!

Because of the baby Jesus,
Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

Lincoln Lutheran Spanish Students Mentor Trinity Kids

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Lincoln Lutheran's Spanish 1 students had the privilege to share their knowledge with their 4th and 5th grade Spanish buddies at Trinity Lutheran School. Miss Kelly took her high school students over to meet with Mrs. Ziems' classes, which has become a bi-annual Spanish class gathering. 

Lincoln Lutheran students reminded Trinity students of blessings that God has given to all of us, using phrases in Spanish and pictures to aid in translation.  Overall, student learned that Dios nos da mucho, or God gives us a lot! All students sang two Christian songs together and then the high schoolers led small group review games with the elementary kids.  Trinity passed along a big gracias for the great time of fellowship and teaching.  Both classes look forward to our next gathering, when we will have another mini-Christmas celebration together.  What a special partnership!

Jacob's Well Part 1: Faithfully and Joyfully

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This article will be somewhat different in the report December’s partnership with Jacob’s Well. It will be a bit of a devotion first, followed by images from Part One of our service in the community.

At a recent chapel, I was struck by the lines of the Christmas hymn, “O Come All Ye Faithful / Joyful and triumphant…” And actually, I was tempted to use those words as the title of the article, inviting us to come and serve our neighbors faithfully and joyfully. I was thinking it could really elevate the prominence of the Community Outreach Team. But, then I realized that really isn’t what the song is about; it’s a meditation on God’s marvelous incarnation with an angelic host bearing witness. And, those who went faithfully and joyfully were there to celebrate God’s first coming, not really looking to serve in the community.

But it did get me thinking. Indulge me in some reflection during this Advent season, and feel free to reference Matthew 25:31-46 ahead of time for hints as to where this is going.

If we ever were to adore Him and behold Him, and if we ever were to encounter this king who is now in flesh appearing, what would we do? Actually, there really is nothing we can do to initiate that. It is not about us going to be with God. Just the opposite, the point of this hymn is to remind us that God has come to be with us ("Immanuel" in the Hebrew). Apart from God’s revelation in his Son, we would never know our God or anything about his first coming.

Speaking of God’s revelation, though, Christ himself tells us a little about how it will be like in his second coming. Consider the Message translation of Christ’s words in Matthew 25:40 “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored – that was me—you actually did it to me.”

How amazing to think: God can be found here on earth when we lose ourselves in acts of service for others. Isn’t that just like God? He has never required us to look “up” and go find him, but rather look around, right among us. He was found in the lowly manger. Anyone could have come to behold, adore and worship him in his first coming. Similarly, anyone can find time to serve those in need as we look forward in hope for his second coming. And, in the meantime, who knows, maybe we’ll find that service brings peace to our little corner of the world? And, maybe this connects nicely with Luke 2:14 from that first night when angels bore witness to God’s first coming, announcing, “Glory to God and peace on earth.”

With that in mind, here is the latest report of the Community Outreach Team in our little corner of the world and its partnership with Jacob’s Well. We will have two more outings this month (details below), so stay tuned. Here are photos and some reflections for those involved in “Jacob’s Well: Part One”

Community Leader Mark Thornton

“The importance of partnerships between local ministries and different churches or schools is important because it provides volunteers, dedicated prayer partners, encouragement, and financial support,” said Mark Thornton, executive director of Jacob’s Well. “And, many people simply don't realize there are people in need in their community for a variety of reasons. Serving with local ministries puts faces and names and friendships next to Matthew 25:34-40 and gives the group a way to out those words into action.”

Thornton went on to recognize the universal call to the body of believers. “The real importance of these partnerships is the way it promotes a ‘kingdom work’ mindset. We may have our different areas of town or individual churches that we worship at, but at the end of the day we are serving the same God and are working together to build His kingdom. And that is awesome.”


Parent Amy Blum

“It is hard to put into words the value of participating in events like the Jacob's Well food distribution,’ said Amy Blum, Lincoln Lutheran parent. “The main thing for me is that it made us take a step back from our busy lives and focus on helping others. We become closer as a family by realizing how fortunate and blessed we are and that just a little bit of time and effort on our part can make a huge difference in someone else's life.”

Student Nathan Gebers

Senior Nathan Gebers found joy in the highly repetitive task of organizing vegetables for the distribution table. “Even though putting 8-12 bell peppers into a bag only helps people carry things, knowing that it helps people in some way makes it fun.”

If you are looking for ways to serve along with the Community Outreach Team, please contact Joel Stoltenow ( Upcoming events in December include the following:

Dec. 14th @ "F" Street Community Church
Evening Worship - 6pm
Potluck Dinner - 5pm

Dec. 20th @ First Presbyterian Church
Food Distribution
Meet @ School - 9am
Return - 12noon

Community Outreach Team & Tabitha Create Firsts

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The first major snowfall landed Saturday, and on that same day the Lincoln Lutheran Community Outreach Team chalked up a few of “firsts” of its own in a partnership with Tabitha.  It was the first time some of the crew delivered Meals-on-Wheels to the home-bound.  It was the first time some of the crew spent a couple of hours visiting with elderly or singing piano tunes.  And, for a few of our international students, it was the first encounter with snow.  For all involved, it was a great reminder that God brings us together to share his love through service.

A group of parents joined 18 students inside with those students visiting and sharing stories of snowy days, holidays and days gone by.  Four other students joined Mr. Stoltenow shoveling sidewalks and making local runs for Meals-on-Wheels.

“I have shoveled snow before, but I have never delivered meals or even considered what it takes to get 500 meals out to the Lincoln community,” said Mr. Stoltenow. “What a great service Tabitha provides.  It is amazing that they never skip a day – 365 days a year.  I learned that some volunteers do this on a regular basis.  That is commitment to loving your neighbor more than yourself!”

Like previous partnerships, the COT efforts went beyond Saturday’s service.  The team prayed for Tabitha’s ministry all month long, the team enclosed a donation check with a card of appreciation and the team provided some fellowship time before and after the service.

Before the event, Senior Sam Otte led devotions at school before the group served.  In it, he shared a story of dishtowels.  The towels were a reminder that serving like Christ means finding joy in service to others; and, that service calls for our best.

“I believe that after this service event at Tabitha, the whole group can agree that service can come in a variety of ways.” Otte said.  “Whether it was shoveling snow, painting fingernails, visiting with the elderly people, I think I can say that we can serve in many different ways, not for us, but for others.

After the event, some students went to lunch while Mr. Stoltenow and the Vietnamese students had a (mostly) friendly snowball fight outside in the snow. Senior Trung Doan even demonstrated the proper form in the art of snow angel making.

“It was really fun to serve other people, especially people I didn't know before,” Doan said.  "I really enjoyed the beautiful snow, but the most enjoyable thing that I experienced that day was I had a chance to meet a 87 years old lady.  [By the time] I was done talking with her – a stranger for when the day started – I felt like I had talked with her for a while."

Doan continued, “I felt like I talked with my grandmother who I miss a lot.  Besides that, had a chance to make a snow angel after serving other was also a fun experience.  Even though it was really cold outside, I had fun so much fun, it made me felt warm inside.”

Janelle Nosal, volunteer coordinator at Tabitha commented on how visiting groups help make meaningful connections.  “The connections made during these encounters bridge the generational gap and give the pure joy of spending time with one another.  Everyone leaves feeling like they have made difference in a person’s life.”

And those differences are a two-way street.  Many students found themselves reminded of the value of our elderly to our community.  They have been through a lot in life and have important stories to share.

Trung wasn’t the only one who thought of his grandparents.  Another student put it this way, “I don’t see my grandpa very often.  And today I saw someone else’s grandpa.  That’s kinda neat to think about.”

Neat indeed!

As a result of the November outing at Tabitha, the COT surpassed the 200-hour mark in its first year of organized outings.  Over 60 different people in the Lincoln Lutheran community have contributed service: a combination of students, parents and staff.  If you would like to be involved in the December partnership, please contact Joel Stoltenow (  The COT will partner with Jacob’s Well in the month of December.

Device Satisfaction Survey Results

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Next week we will send out our annual device Buyer’s Guide, but before we do that, we would like to share with you the results of our survey of how satisfied students are with the devices that they currently have. These results come from surveying all of our students at all grade levels with a 95% participation rate.

Devices used

Approximately 65% of our students have an iPad or an iPad Mini. This is not surprising as this is the device that we indicated our teachers were most familiar with. It is also the type of device that we lease to students. About 7% of our students use Android tablets and about 4% use Windows tablets. 23% of our students use laptops (13% Apple, 10% Windows) and 2% of our students use Chromebooks. Note the relatively small number of Chromebooks and Windows tablets when you read the data below. It is a pretty small sample size.

Would/Did you switch devices?

Approximately 11% of students have switched devices since the start of the school year. Students with an Android tablet were the most likely to switch to a different device (28% of them switched). Most students who switched to another device chose the Apple iPad as their new device followed by an Apple laptop.

We also asked students if they would chose the same device again if they were starting the school year over. About 80% of them would keep the same type of device. Students with an Android Tablet (42%) or Chromebook (50%) were the most likely to switch with the Apple iPad and laptop the most likely device to switch to.

Note that Android tablets and Chromebooks tend to be lower priced devices and Apple iPads and Laptops tend to be higher priced devices, so this may just be students wanting a more expensive device.

Also worth noting is that we did not include students in the above statistics if they switched or indicated they would switch to a newer version of the same device, for instance, from an iPad 2 to an iPad Air.

Battery usage

Most of our students report that their devices (94%) have batteries that almost always last for an entire school day. Windows tablet users report that their battery life lasts the longest (averaging 8 hours) and Windows laptop users report that their batteries last the shortest amount of time (averaging 5.6 hours).  Keep in mind that these are survey results and that actual usage will vary by student and by day.

Problems with school work

Students with Android tablets, iPad Minis and Windows tablets reported the most problems working on school related tasks. Students with Windows laptops and Apple laptops reported the fewest problems. One reason that laptops had the fewest reported problems is that it is assumed that you cannot annotate assignments with a laptop and that you can with a tablet. Annotating with eBackpack has been somewhat problematic.

In this section we asked students how often they had problems with the following school related activities:

  • Getting assignments from eBackpack (best: Apple laptops, worst: Android tablets)
  • Turning in assignments with eBackpack (best: Apple laptops, worst: Android tablets)
  • Using Google Drive/Google Docs (best: Chromebook worst: Windows tablets)
  • Using Moodle (best: Chromebook, Windows laptop, worst: none)
  • Using email  (best: Chromebook, worst: none)
  • Using Kahoot, Quislets & Socrative  (best: Windows laptop, worst: Chromebook)
  • Using word-processing software  (best: any laptop & windows tablet, worst: chromebook)
  • Using spreadsheet software  (best: any laptop & windows tablet, worst: chromebook)

Chromebooks performed surprisingly bad on word-processing and spreadsheets. This may be due to problems printing or turning in assignments rather than creating them (an area where we expect Chromebooks to beat tablets).

Of all of the questions we asked, this is the one that will most strongly affect the types of devices that we recommend. In general we will be suggesting that parents avoid certain kinds of Windows and Android tablets and devices with small screens in the future.

Satisfaction with devices for school work

We next asked students how satisfied they were with using their device when working on the same types of activities as above. From most satisfied to least satisfied they were: Apple laptops, iPads, Windows laptops, iPad Minis, Chromebooks, Windows tablets and Android tablets.

Satisfaction with devices for personal use

Because some parents buy devices as birthday or Christmas presents, we also asked how satisfied students were with their devices for personal uses. We asked them about listening to music, reading books, playing games, using social media, browsing the internet and reading news. For personal use the devices fell into three groups. At the top were Apple laptops, iPads and iPad Minis. In the middle were Android tablets, Windows laptops and Windows tablets. At the bottom were Chromebooks.

That Chromebooks were at the bottom for personal use is not surprising and not necessarily a bad thing. They are usually viewed more as productivity devices than personal devices.

Device quality

Overall, students with Apple laptops and Apple iPads were most satisfied with the quality of their device. Students with Android tablets, Chromebooks and Windows laptops were least satisfied with the quality of their devices. Specifically, we asked students about these items: Durability, Battery Life, Screen Size, Screen Quality, Camera Quality, Speaker Quality and Ease of Use.

Under Durability, Apple laptops came in first by a wide margin. Chromebooks came in last, but we are not aware that Chromebooks have been damaged at a higher rate than other devices. This result is to be expected as Apple laptops are, on average the most expensive devices that students have and Chromebooks are the least expensive.

For Battery Life, Apple laptops come in first and Windows laptops come in last. You can buy Windows laptops with just as good battery life as Apple laptops, but they cost more than cheaper Windows laptops (our buyer’s guide will have Windows laptops with a battery life over 7 hours).

Students with iPad Minis and smaller Android devices were the least happy with the Screen Size of their devices. Apple iPad and laptop owners were the most satisfied. This result was mirrored in the Screen Quality section with the added note that Chromebook users were also unhappy with the quality of their screens.

Students with Apple devices thought more highly of the Camera Quality of their devices than any other group. This result was mimicked by Speaker Quality with the exception that Windows Laptops also performed above average in this category.

As far as Ease of Use goes, students with Apple laptops and iPads thought their devices were much easier to use than others. Users of Windows tablets and iPad Minis were in the middle of the pack and users of Android tablets, Chromebooks and Windows laptops were at the bottom.

It should be noted that there are many different types of Android Tablets, and that the higher end devices scored higher than the low-end devices. Also, Android tablets with a more recent edition of the Android operating system tended to score higher. The same thing applies in general to all devices. Students gave higher marks to the iPad 4 than to the iPad 2.


There were students who were happy with each kind of device and students who were unhappy with each kind of device. All we can present here are general trends. We hope these are helpful for you when you decide that it is time to purchase a new device.

Next week we will publish the list of devices that meet our requirements. If you are interested in receiving an email when we find a good price for one of these devices, please subscribe to our “Device Deals” email list here:

Lloyd Sommerer


Fine Arts Sound Enhancement Fundraiser A Success!

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The Fine Arts Department extends a huge THANK-YOU to ALL who contributed to the success of our recent Music Department soup supper fundraiser – Thanks to the students who blessed us with their performances; the parents, faculty and staff who invested their time and talents in the soup supper and fundraiser; and to EVERYONE who attended the soup supper and Fall Sampler Concert and donated generously to the project!

We are excited to announce that your donations helped us reach our goal of $5,000 to be applied to the project!  With this $5,000 added to the funds already committed, the Fine Arts Sound Enhancement Project is fully funded.  Work has begun on the project and our plan is that the members of our Lincoln Lutheran family will soon be able to experience the enhanced quality and enjoyment of fine arts events held in the small gym.  Again, we extend our sincere THANKS to all who stepped up to support this project!

Girls State Golf Results - Tuesday, Oct. 14th

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The Lady Warriors varsity golf team completed their terrific season Tuesday, Oct. 14th with a third place finish at the State Championship held at the Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus.  The team had a two day total of 788 to finish behind Minden (750) and Columbus Scotus (766).  The Lady Warriors were led by Klaire Nuttelman who had a two day total of 190 to place her 14th overall.  Haley Wineman and Abbie Fahleson each had a total of 195 to place in a tie for 20th.  Erika Smith completed the team scoring with a 198 total placing her 26th out of the 92 total competitors.  The team had an overall excellent season going undefeated through their regular season and winning their District Championship!  All of the team members will be returning next season, and each of them has set the goal to work hard and keep pushing themselves and each other for greater successes next season.  Way to go, Lady Warriors!

Lady Warrior Golf Team - District Champs!

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Congratulations to the Lincoln Lutheran Girls Golf Team!  The varsity team brought home the District Championship trophy on Monday, October 6th.  Competition was held at the Oakland Golf Club in Oakland, NE.  

The Lady Warriors won Districts with a team score of 377.  The Lady Warriors placed four girls in the top five in the 13 team District Championship.  The team was led by Junior Haley Wineman who shot a 91 to finish 2nd overall.  Abbie Fahleson (Junior) finished 3rd with a 93, followed by Klaire Nuttelman (Junior) in 4th with a 96.  Erika Smith (Sophomore) shot a 97 to finish 5th overall in the 59 player field.  Junior Makenna Drewel made up the 5th member of the Lady Warrior golf team competing in District action.

Way to go Lady Warriors!  You make us proud!

Second Community Outreach Team Event

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In the second Community Outreach Team event, the impact in our community truly was a team effort. The event, created by a partnership with City Impact, found students, staff and parents pooling efforts to recognize over 160 tutors in nearby schools.

Media Specialist, Anna Rickords, who organized workspace in the media center and coordinated parent volunteers, observed first-hand this teamwork.

“Working on September's COT project was a wonderful experience.  It was amazing to see the Lincoln Lutheran community (students, teachers, students) work side-by-side to bless the tutors in our neighboring public schools,” said Rickords. “The project was a great way to pass along the Lord's encouragement, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ (Matthew 25:21) to those who are helping the youth of our community.”

Here’s some history behind the event. Every week City Impact coordinates adult volunteers to tutor students in four LPS schools: Clinton, Elliot, Hartley and McPhee. Jill Doctor, Impact Reading Center coordinator with City Impact, agreed to work out a unique outreach event with Lincoln Lutheran. She remarked how the tutors are often under-appreciate, but ever so important for students who need help in the classroom.

“When I got the phone call, it was like an answered prayer,” she said.  “The greatest piece of this was the hand-written cards to each volunteer from students.  We feel so loved, and so do our volunteers.”

From there a handful of moms took over. They purchased and organized the materials for “care packages” to be given along with a personalized note of encouragement. Students and adults assembled the packages and added cards during time in AP classes. Each package contained an arrangement of thematic treats and encouraged the tutors to continue their selfless efforts to make a meaningful impact in a child’s life. Below is a quote I read from one of the cards:

“Never stop doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.”

With the packages delivered to area schools, the City Impact / Lincoln Lutheran partnership recognized the last week of September as “Tutor Appreciation Week.” It is, we hope, the first of many. Both City Impact and Lincoln Lutheran are planning to make this an annual event.

“There is never a wrong time to appreciate each other – especially those who give of themselves for kids,” said parent Sheila Ziems, who hand delivered packages to Clinton Elementary.

For each event this year, a student will prepare a short devotional. This month senior Katie Cook led the devotion, which was inspired by Philippians 2. It focused on the Spirit’s work through our vocations. It emphasized the importance of building relationships with each other and with our neighbors. Near the end of it, she posed this question and concluding thought:

You may be asking “what can we do in such a short time?” Well, not much, if the emphasis is on you. It is all about the Holy Spirit. Praise God that Jesus is still here among us in the person of the Holy Spirit! And, he can use us to show His love to others.

Amen! That Spirit-filled testimony is exactly the sort of outreach that we Christians ought to be preaching. It reminds me of another quote by Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the monthly COT events, please contact Joel Stoltenow. October’s event is in the planning stages. Our community partner is Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.

Community Outreach Team's First Event

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Greg Olson, manager of the Lincoln ReStore, and Michele Williamson, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity (Lancaster), have a passion for supporting those in need by repurposing items. Wednesday evening, 10 Lincoln Lutheran students, parents and staff shared that same passion. The cross-generational volunteer group organized and cataloged 700+ books to be displayed on shelves, swept the entire store floor, dusted shelves and for sale items at the newly-opened home store.

On one hand, the event was just another example of God’s people working out their vocation in the surrounding community. On the other hand, this event was the first of its kind; it was LL’s first Community Outreach Team (COT) event. Open now for about a month, the ReStore is one of many across the country that make a significant impact on communities.

According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the newly opened ReStore is,

a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.” (

Organized and led by LL students, events like these are planned for every month of the year. The goal is simple: empower students to organize events that serve our neighbors while bringing the gospel message into focus. Once a month, the COT team (made up of different students, parents and staff each month) will serve community agencies who demonstrate God’s love for others. Besides providing physical service, some of the other aspects of the COT events include:

  • Praying for the Community Agency in that month
  • Sharing a short written testimonial (speaking to the love Christ first showed us)
  • Making a small donation to the Community Agency thanks to money raised from the Men of Faith basketball tournament
  • Beginning each service with a devotional time and prayer

“It was enjoyable to work alongside some of our Lincoln Lutheran students cleaning and organizing donations. The ReStore is an ideal way for the community find a new home for items they might be done utilizing. It was great to hear about their vision to make a greater impact on the community by generating more opportunities to build homes for those in need,” said Scott Ernstmeyer, Executive Director of Lincoln Lutheran.

Three adults and seven students joined together in a way that is unique from the classroom. When we have parents, teachers, staff and students work together, it tends to re-purpose the usual social relationships, making each member of the group equally significant.

Our structure at a school requires that kids sit and listen while teachers teach. Similarly at home, parents need to instruct and kids need to listen. To be sure, that is a good thing on many occasions. But, our youth are very capable and respond impressively when given a chance to lead. And, that can go a long way in reminding each of us of our purpose in Christ. Senior Emily Kunze opened the time with a devotion that struck to the heart of that sentiment it was based off of 1 Corinthians 2.  As God’s children, we are called by the Spirit to serve others with the mind of Christ.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Senior Derek Baden. “It really can be fun to know you’re helping people who need it. And, it’s fun to do it with people at your school.”

Taking things that the world would label as “insignificant” and repurposing them does have certain biblical ring to it, does it not? Displayed in the Love of Christ, God has reached down and claimed each one of us by His grace. We are redefined by God because he calls us His. We are repurposed to love and serve one another because that is what Christ did for us.

Check out the Flickr link at the Lincoln Lutheran Lutheran main page. If you have questions concerning how to help serve as a student, parent or staff member of the Lincoln Lutheran Community Outreach Team, please contact Mr. Stoltenow at