How Writing Can Boost Your Church Website’s SEO 

BY HANNAH OSBORNE

SEO is a scary acronym.

Everyone seems to be talking about SEO, and it sounds important, but how does it fit in with your church? Isn’thaving a website enough?

Not anymore—now, your website must be optimized for search engines. It sounds like a time-consuming, expensive process, but improving your church website’s SEO is actually pretty easy.

First, a little SEO crash course: search engine optimization (SEO) is basically what allows search engines (like Google or Yahoo!) to find your website and determine where it falls in the search list (are you the first link or are you on the tenth page of results?). A large number of factors play into SEO: website code, the URL, integrated media, text, and much more. Based on these critera, the search engine will decide where your website will fall in the list of results.

While SEO might sound a little like luck of the draw, it’s actually a very calculated science. And while there are a number of ways to boost your church’s SEO, one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways is to edit the copy (or text) on your website. All you need are a few basic tips, and your site’s SEO will instantly improve:

Read the rest here.

Be An International Partner!

salt laos
International Partners
On July 1, the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) set aside three of its staff for theological education programs in the developing world. This pioneering work is called International Partners (IP). It is building on the success of ILT’s International Educational Ministries, but the work ahead is such that this separation will help ILT to focus on its particular mission and allow these staff people be dedicated solely to listening and working with Lutheran leaders in Africa and Asia and then translating that mission back to our North American partners.
Only certain churches and individuals have a vision for global mission large enough to grasp the opportunity and needs of the young churches around the globe, and we hope that is you. We also hope you can grasp the significance of what we are announcing.
In 2015 we launched international education as part of the mission of Educational Ministries, our certificate program. Beginning with South Sudan, then India, followed by Southeast Asia, ILT began to help seminaries and young national churches in developing countries to train pastors and church workers. We have been invited to work with churches in more countries in Africa and Asia and will do so once we have more individuals and churches to partner with us.
International Partners’ mission is to address growing demand for international education and connect with sponsors who envision a faithful, growing, global Lutheran church.
  • Create curriculum to train their pastors, evangelists, and church workers
  • Train and credential seminary faculty of partner international seminaries
  • Train international students currently in North America
  • Encourage collaboration between mission groups and cultivate support for partner projects
Our financial need is to raise $110,000 in the first year. Funds are designated for development of modules for international education (a curriculum of twelve courses taught via our own DVD, powerpoints and textbook, staff salaries, travel, scholarships and ministry projects for select pastors who are our students.)
We believe the future growth of the Lutheran Church in the long term is in Africa and Asia. We invite you to partner with us in this vision.
Please consider this prayerfully.
Find more info on the areas of the globe where we are at work here.

May God grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

Some Sky

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

(Psalm 20:1-5 ESV)

Who understands?

after the rain blur

Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
the number of his years is unsearchable.
For he draws up the drops of water;
they distill his mist in rain,
which the skies pour down
and drop on mankind abundantly.
Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
the thunderings of his pavilion?
Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
and covers the roots of the sea.
For by these he judges peoples;
he gives food in abundance.
He covers his hands with the lightning
and commands it to strike the mark.
Its crashing declares his presence;
the cattle also declare that he rises.

(Job 36:26-33 ESV)

What does it mean to say “It Is Well With My Soul”?

white little bells

It Is Well With My Soul

The peace Jesus gives brings a sense of assurance that no matter what happens you know “it is well with my soul.” He says to us, “Peace I leave with you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and… afraid.” (John 14:27)

The peace Jesus gives doesn’t depend on conditions and circumstances. It comes from knowing you’re God’s child and that your Father controls the universe, loves you and always has your best interests at heart. That’s why people who’ve lost everything will often tell you they wouldn’t trade what they’ve learned, even if it meant recouping all their losses.

Joni Eareckson Tada discovered a supernatural peace when an accident confined her to a wheelchair, and Corrie Ten Boom found it in a Nazi death camp. Missionary Elisabeth Elliot found it ministering to the Indian tribe who massacred her husband. She wrote, “Only in acceptance lies peace… not in resignation.”

There’s a big difference! Author Creath Davis puts it this way:

Resignation is surrender to fate. Acceptance is surrender to God.

Resignation lies down quietly in an empty universe. Acceptance rises up to meet the God who fills that universe with purpose and destiny.

Resignation says, “I can’t.” Acceptance says, “God can.”

Resignation paralyzes the life process. Acceptance releases the process for its greatest creativity.

Resignation says, “It’s all over for me.” Acceptance says, “Now that I’m here, what’s next, Lord?”

Resignation says, “What a waste.” Acceptance says, “In what redemptive way will you use this mess, Lord?”

Resignation says, “I’m alone.” Acceptance says, “I belong to you, Lord.”

The Word for Today – UCB,18 August, 2009

Ploughman

wheat

O truth, O strength, O gleaming share,
O patient eyes that watch the goal,
O ploughman of the sinner’s soul.
O Jesus, drive the coulter deep
To plough my living man from sleep…
O Christ who holds the open gate,
O Christ who drives the furrow straight,
O Christ, the plough, O Christ, the laughter
Of holy white birds flying after,
Lo, all my heart’s field red and torn,
And Thou wilt bring the young green corn,
The young green corn divinely springing,
The young green corn forever singing;
And when the field is fresh and fair
Thy blessèd feet shall glitter there,
And we will walk the weeded field,
And tell the golden harvest’s yield,
The corn that makes the holy bread
By which the soul of man is fed,
The holy bread, the food unpriced,
Thy everlasting mercy, Christ.

John Masefield, from “The Everlasting Mercy,” 1911

Some Quotes by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare cropped

 

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!”
― William Shakespeare

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
― William Shakespeare

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Collection)

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
― William Shakespeare

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.”
― William Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.”
― William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d!”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

We cannot encounter Jesus without encountering the cross.

Encountering the Cross

A Meditation for Lent

J. Heinrich Arnold

 For the word of the cross

We cannot encounter Jesus without encountering the cross. His person emanates the way of suffering. Through his sacrifice his great love for all men floods our hearts and becomes in us an urge to go out to save those who are in the grip of darkness. If we love Jesus, the desire to suffer for him will well up quite naturally. I cannot imagine how one can follow Jesus without a deep understanding for his way of suffering.

We constantly need the crucified Christ within us. To receive him we must become silent before God again and again. Christ wants to live in our hearts so that we are able to conquer all things. Through him everything receives its true meaning.

There is no other foundation for true peace of heart than unity with him. Only Christ can bring us to full trust in God. In him we find the sharpest judgment of wrath over all evil, but also the revelation of his loving grace.

The thought that God is all-loving can insulate us from the power of his touch. People know that God forgives sin, but they forget that he judges it too. There is something in modern thinking which rebels against the Atonement. Perhaps our idea of an all-loving God keeps us from wanting to face judgment. We think that love and forgiveness is all that is needed, yet that is not the whole Gospel – it makes God too human.

It is of crucial importance that the cross of Jesus Christ is in the center of our hearts – central to our calling, and central to our mission. The Lamb of God on the cross stands before the throne of God. (Rev. 5:6) The cross is the center of the universe. We must experience its meaning in its height, depth, and breadth as a mystical revelation through the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to believe it; we must ask God that we may be allowed to experience it in a living way.

We need to get past our personal struggles to experience the great thoughts of God. To experience personal salvation through the cross is important, but to remain at this stage is useless. The cross is so much greater than the personal; it embraces the whole earth and more than this earth.

There are secrets that only God knows. Christ’s death on the cross is one such mystery. The Bible says that through the cross not only this earth but also heaven and all the powers and principalities belonging to the angel world will be reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). Man, and perhaps even the angels, cannot know the mysteries that lie behind all this. But one thing we know: Christ overcame death, the last enemy. And through the cross something took place which had power far beyond the limits of our earth, far greater than our souls can comprehend.

 

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

st pat pinterest

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

HT: