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Toolkit

Practical ideas to care for your God-given gifts

Toolkit offers practical ideas to care for yourself and others, particularly in ways that reflect your faith and values. Published every other month, this free newsletter is a quick read – only two pages – on current news and trends with important but simple applications for your life today.

Volume 44, Number 4 - July/August 2017

Sermon content is key

The content of sermons is the most important reason people choose a particular place of worship, according to a Gallup poll released in mid-April … That’s probably not a shocking finding, but the factor that finished last among seven in the survey did surprise some people – music … The other points to choose from included spiritual programs for children/teens, community outreach/volunteer opportunities, dynamic leaders and social activities … Of those who used to go to church regularly but don’t now, 44 percent say they prefer to worship on their own.

Walking vs. running

The potential health benefits of staying active are well documented, but is walking strenuous enough to do much good? … Actually, yes – walking and running are both good ways you can get a cardio workout … Researchers studied the health of 48,000 runners and walkers and found that, mile for mile, brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does, reported webmd.com … But you would have to spend more time walking to enjoy the same benefits as running because runners cover the same distance in less time … Walkers can boost their calorie-burning efforts by mixing in few short sprints.

Cut down on your debt

An Everence® partnership with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s LSS Financial Counseling has helped people pay off more than $1.8 million in debt over the last nine years … Since 2008, our partnership has helped more than 1,200 people receive financial counseling … You may access this free service toll-free at (877) 809-0039 for English-language counselors or (855) 292-0131 for Spanish-language counselors. Learn more at everence.com/lss.

Some malls on thin ice

Economic recessions are tough all around, but the next one may be especially hard on your neighborhood shopping malls … Thirty percent of the malls in the U.S. are likely to shut down the next time the economy dips into recession, a real estate expert recently told NPR … The very large malls should be fine, said Christopher Leinberger, but smaller ones – especially those anchored by Sears or JCPenney – may increasingly go dark … Leinberger is chairman of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University.

Need a pipe organ?

It’s getting harder to find good homes for pipe organs … A case in point was an organ in a former church building in Nashville, Tennessee … The person who bought the property didn’t want the organ and offered it free of charge – if the buyer could pay $10,000 to $30,000 to take it out of the building and reassemble it elsewhere … The Nashville organ is one of about 450 available across the country, according to a report on usatoday.com … Closing churches and music featuring guitars and small, electronic keyboards are the main causes of the growing organ supply.

Income facts and figures

If your individual income is $32,400 per year or more, you’re in the top 1 percent in the world, investopedia.com reported recently … Within the United States, it takes an income of about $450,000 to crack the top 1 percent of wage earners … Oxfam, a poverty-fighting organization, reports that one in 10 people around the world survive on less than $2 per day … While the U.S. ranks sixth worldwide in household wages, it’s 26th in median wealth – mainly because U.S. consumers rely more on debt than their counterparts in other industrialized parts of the world.

Be careful with swabs

Improper use of cotton swabs sent 263,000 children to emergency rooms during a 20-year study by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital … About 75 percent of the injuries resulted from using cotton swabs to clean ear canals, and about 10 percent involved children falling while the swabs were in their ears … A doctor at the hospital said, “One of the biggest misconceptions I hear … is that ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that cotton-tip applicators should be used to clean them; both of those are incorrect.”

Insight into the markets

Do current events in Washington, D.C., and on Wall Street ever make you think about the future of your investments? … Everence Chief Investment Officer Chad Horning, CFA®, presents his thoughts in our monthly market commentaries … Chad offers you his knowledge and experience to explain how recent developments might affect the financial markets … See what’s new every month at everence.com.

Repression in Russia

Russia should be declared a “country of particular concern” for violations of religious liberties, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said as it released its 2017 report … Russia is the only country that has consistently increased its repression of religious freedom since the organization started monitoring it … Other nations that the group wants the Secretary of State to add to the list of countries of particular concern are Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and Vietnam … Remaining on its list from previous years were Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

High-tech complications

About 80 percent of parents believe they have a more complicated job in raising their kids than their parents did raising them, according to a new book, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Proper Place … The big difference is technology/social media … Children spend five hours per day, on average, on electronic devices such as phones, tablets or computers, according to author Andy Crouch, strategist at John Templeton Foundation and former executive editor of Christianity Today … The information in this report came from Barna Group, which analyzes cultural trends related to beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

 

July/August 2017 issue

 
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