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2018-19 Preliminary Budget

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Eighth Grade Poetry Reading Night

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Thursday evening, Lincoln Lutheran's 8th grade English classes hosted a Poetry Recitation Night for family and friends at a local coffee shop. 8th grade writers gathered together with excitement to read their original poetry and celebrate their work during National Poetry Month.

Mrs. Nicholas' English students took National Poetry Month seriously this April. They drafted poetry, read poems daily, and revised their work in order to grow in crafting figurative language and theme. They succeeded immensely in composing interesting verses, which inspired their teacher, Mrs. Nicholas, to gather their poems together and print an Anthology called Lincoln Masquerade: Poetry from the 8th Grade

In this unit, Mrs. Nicholas gave students the task to 'unmask' the normal things of everyday life with their poetry.  Each student participated in writing the Anthology, and around 20 students attended the Anthology release party and recitation night, this past Thursday at NuVibe Juice & Java!

The crowd enjoyed smoothies and coffee in the outdoor patio, while flipping through their copies of the Anthology. Mrs. Nicholas welcomed parents and opened with a prayer before reading her own poetry. Students then recited poems of their choosing. 

"These students did such a great job. I am so proud of them," Mrs. Nicholas reflected on the experience. "It is so important for teachers to write along side their students to remind them of the gift God has given us in language. I was so happy that Mrs. Olp, Miss Carr, and my husband, a long term substitute at Lincoln Lutheran, showed up and read their own poetry!"

The poems of the evening ranged from topics of nature, like trees, birds, and nature, to emotions, like courage and anxiety. Many wrote about the difficulties of growing up. Mrs. Olp read her poem recounting the 8th Grade Class trip to Kansas City that left the whole group laughing! Several students read their work out the Lincoln Masquerade Anthology, but others were inspired to write new poems to bring to the "stage." Overall, these middle schoolers showed their immense writing skills and confidence during this celebration of poetry! 


Community Outreach Team April Events

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COT Strikes up Support for Big Brother Big Sister

April’s outreach event was unique in the fact that we went bowling – I’m quite certain that’s a first. It was like many other events though in the fact that we really enjoyed being together. Two teams (teachers vs. seniors) raised funds to donate to Big Brother Big Sister’s annual fundraising drive: “Bowl for Kids Sake” held at Sun Valley Lanes.

“It was easy going and fun to participate in” said senior Ashlee Mitchell. “And, knowing it is for a great cause makes it even more meaningful.”

The two teams’ combined effort raised hundreds of dollars in support of this mentoring service. According to its website, (, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ impact on our community’s boys and girls is significant.

“We are so grateful to have a strong partnership with Lincoln Lutheran,” said Nicole Hecht Juranek, Director of Corporate Relations. “Our organization depends on the commitment of our volunteers, contributions from our donors and collaborations with our community partners. We have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know teachers and students from Lincoln. We look forward to working together in the future.”

In addition to creating more positive attitudes toward school performance and family relations, researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their “bigs”, the “littles” brothers and sisters are:

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
27% less likely to begin using alcohol
52% less likely to skip school
37% less likely to skip a class
46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs

Partnership with Brownell Elementary is a Meaningful Ride

Wednesday, April 29th at Brownell Elementary (60/Aylesworth) from 6-8pm, Lincoln Lutheran volunteers helped youngsters learn bicycle safety. Students managed safety stations that helped elementary students learn bicycle skills and safety rules. It would be more than fair to say that watching the high schooler’s expressions was even more charming than watching 2nd graders learning to weave figure-eights on a bike.

“It was really fun talking to the kids,” said junior Kacey Kohlhof. “We talked about more than just bicycle safety and it was fun to make a connection with them.”

Brownell’s after school program marks the 14th organization served by the Community Outreach Team in its first year. Service efforts have resulted in over 740 hours by 140 unique volunteers.

The event for May will be serving a meal at the Gathering Place. Contact Joel Stoltenow ( for more information.

April "Warrior Thought"

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An April “Warrior Thought”

This Warrior thought represents the fifth of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, 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?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

          The following statement comes from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”

To Provide a Safe, Caring Place for Children:  Unfortunately, in many communities children are not safe.  Lutheran schools provide places where children don't have to worry about being attacked verbally or physically.  Loving teachers and other staff members daily demonstrate Christ's love for them and their love for children.


As parents we want our children to be safe.  Our Warrior staff serves families in the name of Christ.  This means we can care for students in a different way.  As a team, we are unified in loving students in a way that Christ modeled for us in scripture. 

Very recently I attended the funeral for the parent of two recent alumni.  This woman was a product of Lutheran secondary education.  She died at age 57, before anyone was ready for her to be called home to heaven.  God knew it was time.  He invited her home.  She had a deep and firm faith-foundation, part of which was in place because of the Christ-centered education she received.


She loved her family, and as a mom she loved and cared for her children.  Christian education was a priority in their home.  I sat next to three fellow staff members during the funeral.  Our hearts hurt for this family.  Serving in a ministry where God’s gift of grace is at the core causes each of us to take our job very seriously.  There are eternal consequences for these young people.  It means we love deeper, in a manner only possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I am so thankful to be able to place my three girls in an environment where I know each and every team member has heaven as the ultimate goal.  I know they are loved in an everlasting love - extended by God, through Christ, by way of servant-oriented teachers and staff.  Our Lutheran schools aren’t perfect.  Sometimes fellow students are unkind.  Sometimes staff makes mistakes.  But I have confidence knowing the greater good my children receive more than outweighs a bump in the road along the way. 


Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:


Doesn’t a Christian high school shelter students from the real world? Shouldn’t teens experience the real world found in public high schools?


The “sheltering concern” regarding Christian education makes two erroneous assumptions about the spiritual nature of the world in which we live:

1. Teenagers need to experience (or be around) sin to know how to avoid it.

2. A Christian high school is somehow without sin (or does not have as much sin) as a public high school.

Let’s start with the first assumption. Scripturally speaking, the Bible does not teach that you should surround yourself with sin 35-50 hours a week and then you’ll know how to avoid it. In fact, the Bible makes a clear case for avoiding temptation and evil influences. One need not experience or observe sin to know that it is wrong. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthian 15, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" In Proverbs 15, King Solomon states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

What are proponents of the “real world experience” hoping to accomplish? At best, it could mean subjecting teenagers to unnecessary peer pressure. At worst, teenagers may ultimately be in an environment that will not respect (and possibly denigrate) their Christian faith. The overriding humanistic philosophies of mainstream academia – Darwinism, moral relativism, secular humanism, etc. – WILL have an effect on the development of a teenager’s outlook. It is hard to see the logic in subjecting adolescents to unnecessary pressure to abandon the Christian truths that have been instilled in them from Baptism. At a time when teens are most vulnerable to influence, is it really wise to surround them with an increase in non-Christian influences?

As for the second assumption, does enrolling a teenager in a Christian high school mean that they won’t have to deal with temptations and other tests of their faith? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Put simply, Christian high schools, including Wolf River Lutheran High School, can have the same problems as any public high school. Anyone who has worked in or attended a Christian school can verify that fact. All of the same issues that arise in other high schools – bullying, drinking, sex, and drugs – can occur in a Christian high school too. So what, then, is the value of a Christian secondary education?

The best benefit lies in the approach to sin – a careful balance of Law and Gospel. Wolf River Lutheran High School students experience temptations like their public schools counterparts – but we use different weapons!


Because Jesus Christ conquered sin on the cross, our spiritual arsenal includes: 

  • Reliance upon Word and sacrament 
  • Clear delineation of Biblically defined right and wrong 
  • Teachers and staff who provide Scriptural Christian advice 
  • A supportive environment of fellow believers that promotes growth in Christ 
  • An atmosphere that exalts obedience to God’s Word 
  • Forgiveness given freely 
  • Appropriate consequences assigned when actions call for it 
  • Recognition of each student as a dearly loved child of God

What is “real world” anyway?

At Wolf River Lutheran High School, our students face real challenges, real expectations, real accountability, and real problems. There is no doubt that our students are in the real world every single day. However, as we are reminded in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but…you are not of the world…I chose you out of the world…” Therefore, our Lutheran trained teachers stress the importance of not succumbing to the world’s expectations. In short, we encourage our students to be IN the world, but not OF it (Romans 12:2).


This is an argument for choosing public schools that I hear a lot.  I would like to affirm two points.  First, we know we are far from perfect at Lincoln Lutheran.  Mistakes are made.  We are sinful people.  However, we get to work through mistakes and issues using a common ground as Christians, balancing Law and Gospel.  This is not the case in public schools.

Second, society is winning the battle for the attention of our children.  Just probe with your children about some of the hot topics in the media.  Scripture provides us with absolute truth about right and wrong.  Movies, blogs, opinion pages, advertisements and popular music bombard youth with messages attacking any notion of absolute truth, doing everything they can to convince the consumer we have the right to choose “anything” in life – and that no one should tell us we are wrong. 

The sheer magnitude of these messages should be affirmation enough to place our students in a daily environment that teaches them to think critically with a Christian Worldview.  We are training up Warriors to be a light in an ever darkening world.  They need as much training as we can give them.  Thanks be to God we have the Gospel message to reaffirm in our children to take out into our community.

God’s blessings on these final weeks of school.  I am thankful for the opportunity we have at Lincoln Lutheran to love students in Christ!


Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS


A March "Warrior Thought"

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This Warrior thought represents the fourth of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, 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?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

The following statement comes from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”

To Help Children See All of Their Lives from the Perspective of God's Word:

As the Christian faith is integrated into their lives, Christian decision-making and problem solving are facilitated.

Preparation is the word that comes to mind when I read the statement above.  

Think about the number of decisions we make each day.  Every decision results in consequences, either good or bad.  Most decisions are relatively small and are made without critical thought.  Some decisions are monumental and could alter the course of life.  Even as an adult, I don’t always wrestle through tough decisions by contemplating “What would Jesus do?”  We are blessed at Lincoln Lutheran to help students grow in their decision-making skills daily.

There is so much information readily available to our children.  They can type a few key strokes or ask Siri to find what they need.  Every piece of information is created with underlying assumptions and influences.  Yes - I said every piece!  Christ-centered education can help build the skills our students need to think critically about the information they consume.  The longer our youth learn in an environment that will challenge them to think critically as a Christian, with a Christ-centered worldview, the better equipped they will be to navigate the misinformation that exists in the world.  Because the brain doesn’t fully mature until after high school, secondary Christian education is critical in preparing students to function with a Christian worldview as an adult!  

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to questions they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

Shouldn’t Christian teens be witnesses in the public high school system?

Aren’t Christians called to be the ‘salt and the light?’

Witnessing for Christ takes on three basic forms: intentional evangelism, sharing Christ through word and deed, and defending the faith.  Ask yourself this, is the average Christian teenager equipped to actively engage in all three types?  For example, are they ready to answer questions like these if posed to them by a classmate or a teacher?

How do you know that God exists?  Isn’t the Bible just a book of legends and half-truths?  How do you know that Jesus really rose from the dead?  What right do you have to suggest that Christianity is the only way to heaven?  Aren’t all religions valid?  Don’t they all end in the same result?  If your God is so great, why do bad things happen?

Better yet, direct these types of questions to a teenager you know.  If his or her answers are slow to come, vague, or sound less than confident, then you might want to consider the possibility that many teens may not be an open witness for Jesus Christ or an active defender of the faith in a secular environment.  A FEW Christian teenagers may well have the gift of evangelism and actively speak of their faith in the public high school setting.  For others, their actions and relationships may be an effective Christian model for their peers.  Yet, the majority of adolescents will be uncomfortable speaking of their faith or openly resisting peer negative pressure largely because they are undertrained, untested, and discouraged from doing so.

The analogies are endless.  We don’t send untrained soldiers into combat, we don’t call pastors to lead a congregation without first going to the seminary, and we don’t let surgeons operate without proving their expertise.  Doesn’t it seem a little odd that we would send our Christian youth into a non-Christian environment with only the slightest hope of being effective witnesses?

The teachers of Wolf River Lutheran High School are committed and trained to teach their students to be witnesses to others and to better defend their Christian faith effectively in an open marketplace of ideas.  The existence of God, the historical reliability of the Bible, Jesus’ resurrection, and the validity of Christianity as a proper worldview are topics that are objectively studied within our walls and across all academic disciplines.  God’s Word is used to educate students as disciples.  Our students can then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, be a bold witness and example to their peers and acquaintances both during and beyond their high school years.  In fact, you could make the argument that the emphasis of evangelism and proper guidance while attending a Christian high school may increase the likelihood of a teen sharing his or her faith with a non-Christian peer.

Sharing Jesus Christ can be a daunting task even for mature adults.  Development as a disciple for Christ is a life-long affair.  Therefore, it is important for us as Christians to arm our youth with the tools that they need to adequately defend their faith and spread the Gospel.  It is vital to live the words of St. Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give a reason to anyone who asks for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Wolf River Lutheran High School believes that a Christian education through 8th grade, the successful completion of Confirmation, and regular participation in personal Bible study are all valuable steps in the spiritual maturation process.  However, we also firmly believe that a Christ-centered secondary education can prove invaluable to both student and family and is capable of strengthening the mind and soul of any teen – Christian or not.

Because this is so well written, I don’t have a lot to add.  We certainly desire for our students to grow the skills and confidence to be bold in the sharing of their faith.  This becomes more natural for kids when their personal relationship with God grows deep and when they acquire the knowledge and skills to become confident in sharing their faith.  Let’s be honest, this is tough for most adults.  As a parent, I believe sending my children to Lincoln Lutheran through high school is putting a rock-solid foundation in place so they can be a fertile soil for God to grow His seed for the kingdom!

I will close by sharing that I recently attended the annual Association of Lutheran Secondary School’s conference in Nashville, TN.  I have been blessed to attend this conference a number of times in the past 13 years.  One of the biggest blessings is being reminded of the Lutheran School community that exists around the world.  More importantly, I get to spend time with hundreds of school leaders who care deeply about students and are passionate about the importance of Christian Education!  What a blessing!

God bless your family as you celebrate the gift of grace found in a cross and empty tomb!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS



COT Events in March

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Saturday, March 14th found 41 students, staff and parents gathered for prayer and devotion before splitting into two groups to serve in the Lincoln Community.  Some sorted, stocked and cleaned at People's City Mission.  Others spent the morning with residents at Lancaster Manor making crafts, assembling supplies for Children’s Hospital and making Easter Eggs for a neighborhood hunt.  And, from Leprechauns to the number Pi, there was joy in serving our neighbors; but, more on that in the lines to follow!

The devotion could be summarized with this phrase: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.”  The point is simple.  We are called to be reunited for eternity with God because of the work of Jesus Christ our Savior.  So, in the meantime a natural response is to be united with Christ by serving our neighbors.  Just like the first apostles, there may be nothing especially impressive about us.  That doesn’t matter.  We are called to lose ourselves in service of others.  As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  And, as the crew found out Saturday, those good works were quite diverse.


Girls Soccer Team at Lancaster Manor

As part of a larger team-building effort, the Lincoln Lutheran girls' soccer team worked together to accomplish some off-the-field goals.  Some of the team assembled Easter Eggs (over 1,000 at last count!) to be used in a neighborhood children’s Easter Egg Hunt.  Other girls created an activity book that will be sent to the Children’s Hospital in Omaha.  The remaining girls helped residents with a craft activity.  Last weekend was National Leprechaun Weekend, for those of you who may have forgotten. So, fittingly, the craft activity resulted in many fine art pieces of leprechauns.


Students at People’s City Mission

In partnership with Messiah Lutheran’s youth program, the Lincoln Lutheran COT spent Saturday morning cleaning, stocking and organizing goods at People's City Mission.  It was the first time the COT served at PCM, but it most certainly will not be the last.  There was a palpable attitude of joy in service. Volunteers busied themselves with a variety of duties and even enjoyed some pie on national pi day.  So while the leprechauns provided a theme for the soccer team’s service, math and desserts did the same at PCM.



Once again, it serves as a great illustration that service is not a “have to” … but rather a “get to.”  Those with servant hearts will find any reason they can to share the love of Jesus.  On a Saturday in March, our Lincoln Lutheran students did just that.  “Well done, good and faithful servants!”

Gala Dinner & Auction

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The 2015 Lincoln Lutheran Gala and Auction is rapidly approaching!  After many years of organizing and working at school auctions in the past, this will be my first Lincoln Lutheran Gala and Auction.  I am very excited to be involved in the planning process and to attend this year. 

The Gala and Auction is a Lutheran Education Foundation event that supports the general operations of Lincoln Lutheran Middle/High School.  It is a special night when everyone comes together to celebrate and support the school that equips young people to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ by providing an excellent, Christ-centered education.

This year our “Founder’s Award” will be presented to Don Duitsman and John Roeber.  This award is given to those who have shown commitment to and steadfast support of the mission of Lincoln Lutheran.  We invite everyone to attend, celebrate, and thank these two for their combined 67 years of dedicated service to the Lincoln Lutheran ministry.

My previous career in Information Technology taught me quickly that CHANGE was inevitable and occurred frequently.  Our 2015 Gala and Auction is no different; there are many changes.

This year’s event will be held Friday, March 27th.   YES, it is on a Friday evening this year, as the following day was not available at the Embassy Suites.  Doors will open at 5:30 pm instead of 5:00 pm, allowing more time for travel after your work day is complete.  This change will be something new for all of us, but we feel it may be a very positive change for the event.

We have many new and unique items for the live auction and the Lutheran Education Foundation has brought back the LEF Scholarship Challenge.  This year, for each $100 donated to the LEF Scholarship Challenge your name will be entered in a drawing for a handmade, custom Lincoln Lutheran quilt that was donated to the school.

It is sure to be another FUN and EXCITING night in the history of Lincoln Lutheran!  If you are planning to attend, you might want to purchase your tickets early as they are going fast.  If you need any additional information or have questions please contact Kristin or Lloyd at 402-467-5404 or you can email us at or

I look forward to seeing you March 27th!

Lloyd Wagnitz
Director of Ministry Advancement

A February "Warrior Thought"

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A February “Warrior Thought”

This Warrior thought represents the third of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, 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?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

Two statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry –

“Why Lutheran Schools”:

To Demonstrate the High Value the Congregation Places on Children:

Lutheran schools require a considerable investment of prayers, energy, money and staff.  Such an investment by a congregation clearly demonstrates to the community that it places a high value on children, God's beloved little ones.

To Fulfill the Congregation's Responsibility for the Christian Education of its Children:

When the Synod was formed, it became a requirement of synodical membership that congregations would provide Christian education for their children.  This was before public schools were available and before Sunday schools were popular.  Thus a congregation was expected to operate a Lutheran School if it was to become a member of the Synod.  The Great Commission was not given only to parents, but to all members of the church.  A current proverb, "It takes a village," reminds congregations that it is their corporate responsibility to provide a Christian education for the children of the congregation.

These two statements represent the true blessing of Lutheran Education.  There is a rich and strong tradition within the LCMS to do what is best for children - to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  The Lincoln Lutheran School Association has seven member and two mission partner congregations.  Most of these churches have either a day school and/or preschool as a part of their ministry.  Those that don’t have schools make considerable resources available each year to encourage families to choose a Lutheran school for their child.  This type of support is part of the DNA of Lincoln’s LCMS Lutheran community.

Being a parent is a very humbling responsibility.  This is not an easy time to raise children.  Our world is full of temptations, relative truth, and many challenging stumbling blocks.  I am thankful that Sara and I don’t have to raise our daughters on our own.  When I think about our Warrior Family, and the Lutheran Schools Family in this community, the proverb “It takes a village” truly applies.  Our families and congregations seek to create a foundation for children built on the ROCK of Christ.  We unite and share resources to make possible an excellent education that teaches a Christian Worldview in a rigorous academic setting to create a wonderful experience for our students – from preschool through high school.

Originally Lutheran Schools were viewed as a way to serve the students within a congregation’s membership.  There are many who still view Lutheran schools this way.  Our schools have become so much more!  While the schools still serve students of the congregations, we also desire to be a resource to families seeking a small, caring, loving and Christian environment for their child, regardless of their church membership.  This type of “Great Commission” ministry allows us to serve students who may come to our campus with limited or no knowledge of Christ.  Some of these students get baptized and join the body of believers.  To God be all the Glory!!!

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

Shouldn’t a teenager be able to choose which high school to attend?

One of the toughest challenges faced by any parent is balancing the desire to make their child happy and doing what is in their child’s best interest.  Simply put, teenagers often have issues with decisions their parents make, including decisions related to choosing the right school.  For instance, friends are extremely important to the average 13-14 year old.  It is not surprising that they would want to do what their friends are doing and go where their friends are going.  High school can be a scary proposition in the best of situations and going into a new environment with their best friend at their side can be very appealing and puts pressure on parents to give too much weight to that fact.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking a child’s thoughts on all manner of decisions, including school choice, it is ultimately up to the parents to determine the most appropriate course of action.  When such a decision goes against the child’s will, scripture reminds everyone that parents have the ultimate responsibility of doing what is best, even if the decision isn’t a popular one.

As for the potential loss of friends, the reality is that teenage social circles are constantly evolving…even attending the same school is no guarantee of a life-long friendship.  Personalities change, priorities change, and needs change, all of which can drastically impact a teen’s social outlook for better or for worse.  Besides, they can and will stay in touch with their existing friends wherever they may go, by hanging out after school and on the weekends, texting, and talking on the phone, but they will make new friends as well.  In some ways, in fact, closer, more meaningful friendships are easier to find in smaller, Christian schools like Wolf River Lutheran High School.

The topic of student choice is coming up more and more as decisions are made regarding school enrollment at both the middle school and high school level.  As parents, Sara and I recognize we are fully responsible for our girls through high school graduation.  Once they graduate we will still love them, we will continue to support them in a variety of ways, but they will begin to fly on their own and take more of a role in all of life’s biggest decisions.  Our job as parents is to make sure we provide them everything they need to be a disciple of Christ as an adult.  It is our responsibility to decide what education/school will be best for them.  Our daughters know this.  I believe they find a certain safety and assurance that in our home Christian Education is non-negotiable and a very high priority.

One comment I’ve heard is “my child is very mature and can make the decision for themselves.”  Regardless of how “mature” a child might seem, all the research suggests that the brain doesn’t fully develop until the early to mid-20’s.  An adolescent, regardless of how much responsibility and trust they might have earned from a parent’s perspective, simply doesn’t have the wisdom and bigger picture decision-making skills of an adult.  I certainly want to give my daughters more and more responsibility as they show they can handle it, but their elementary and secondary education is not on that list of responsibilities.

I pray that a Christian education already is, or might soon become, a non-negotiable in the homes of our current and prospective students.  If it isn’t non-negotiable, school choice for our children starts to compete with a lot of other noise - cost, friends, convenience, programs, athletics - the list goes on.  Once it becomes negotiable, kids are smart and they know all the right buttons to press.  Our children are too valuable to let the noise creep in.

I am so appreciative of all those who’ve paved the way to make Lutheran Education possible within our community.  I look forward to continued efforts to provide a ministry parents can trust to connect their desire for growing their children in Christ with strong programs and academics.  I pray we can work together to quiet the noise that can get in the way of celebrating the amazing work God is doing in lives of our students and their families.

May God Bless our journey through Lent as we look ahead to a cross we deserve and an empty tomb we did nothing to earn!  Thank God for His grace found only in Christ!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

COT at Center for People in Need

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Together Everyone Accomplishes More

You may notice the blatantly cliché phrase in this month’s title.  As you probably know, the acronym spells TEAM.  My apologies for the cliché.  However, the reason clichés become overused is because they are simple and true.

Never was this truth more apparent than Saturday, Jan 31st, when the Community Outreach Team spent the morning at Center for People in Need. A total of 39 volunteers, made up of Lincoln Lutheran students, staff and parents, unpacked and organized 22 pallets of donated items.  One of the more touching moments came when a watery-eyed volunteer coordinator shared with us that it would take her staff over a week to accomplish what this group did together in a matter of hours.  Possibly even more touching was our students’ reaction. Without using words, they projected an attitude of “happy to help…”

The COT was bolstered in numbers thanks to the inclusion of the boys’ basketball team, which used it as a team-building service project.  One joy of the day was seeing different groups all working together.  The work was simple: open boxes stacked on pallets and sort the donated goods in preparation for distribution.  Another joy of the day was observing young men and women “get it” so clearly.  That work was simple as well: help those who are helping others in need.

In past events, I have noticed that people are very anxious to do something that involves instant results of service.  And, certainly, that is a good thing.  However, there is also a great need (often times overlooked) for helping those who are doing the serving.  We don’t always need to do everything ourselves.  I guess it ties in once again to the T.E.A.M. mentality.

 “Wow! 22 pallets.   We are so grateful to the Lincoln Lutheran volunteers,” said Special Events Coordination Barb Solomon.  “The Center for People in Need is funded by grants and donations, like the one Lincoln Lutheran made, but we need to have community volunteers to help us assist those in need.”

The day got off to a great start with junior Kacey Kohlhof’s devotion and a basketball mom bringing in bagels and juice.  Kohlhof reminded us that everyone is someone’s “son” or “mom” or “grandparent.”  She had us reflect on the fact that none of us wish for our loved ones to go without care and provisions.  And, those feelings are just the beginning of how God sees each of his creation.  Each person is loved by God and are worthy of giving care and provisions.

This event marks the fifth event this academic year.  Total volunteer hours (446) and total volunteers (90) are well ahead of the goals set by the school when this all began last spring.  A huge thank you to all the people who help grow a culture of love and service at Lincoln Lutheran.

Boys Basketball Coach Jason Glines noted that attitude throughout the day.  “Yes, it is important to serve like we’re doing here today.  But, to me, what is even more important is the serving attitude and the way that service is being done,” Glines said.  “There is always going to be a need in our communities.  If our students learn this at a young age, they are so much more prepared for life.”

If you’d like to help us accomplish more at our next event, please consider how you might help in February.  The event is scheduled for Monday, February 16th at Matt Talbot Kitchen.  We have enough staff to serve the meal.  However, we still need people to donate side dishes or bags of chips.  To do that, you may sign up on the bulletin board at school or contact Mr. Stoltenow ( 

Singing Valentines

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The Lincoln Lutheran Choir are selling and delivering Singing Valentines again this year!  Valentines are available in Lincoln and Seward.  You can even request your favorite Lincoln Lutheran music student to deliver the Valentine!  Valentines are $30.00 - order forms are available in the LL office or you can print one from this article.  Orders submitted after February 9th are an additional $5.00.  Call the LL office if you have questions (402.467.5404).  Make your sweetheart's day and order a one-of-a-kind Singing Valentine!

A January "Warrior Thought"

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A January “Warrior Thought”

This Warrior thought represents the second of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, 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?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

Two statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools”:

To Strengthen the Congregation:

Lutheran schools equip children to become Christian leaders in the congregation. The school also involves young parents in congregation activities more than in congregations without schools.  These young parents frequently become new leaders of the congregation.  Students are encouraged to become future pastors and teachers, ensuring an ongoing supply of church workers.

To Strengthen their Communities:

Every community needs students who are academically qualified and have learned to practice appropriate morality and respect.  Since Lutheran schools accept students from all parts of the community, they can have a strong effect on the community itself.

The most important resource within any congregation or community is people.  The first statement above highlights the impact a school has on encouraging engagement and leadership for parents of the school’s students.  This reality is reflected in our congregations with schools in Lincoln.  We at Lincoln Lutheran also draw upon parents to fill important and key leadership positions on boards, committees, and the delegate assembly of the Association.  Being invested in a child’s faith-based education creates a passion and commitment for improvement and growth, which keeps our ministry ever changing and expanding to better serve students.

When we consider formal vocation within the church, a young person’s time being mentored and cared for by teachers in a Lutheran school has a profound influence on those who enter formal ministry.  That was certainly the case for me.  I was blessed to have some great teachers who loved and mentored me, making an eternal impact.  The Spirit grabbed hold of my heart to convince me I wanted to play a similar role in the lives of young people.  Many of our staff members have a similar story.  We are so blessed to have staff who truly love and care for our students!

Ask an employer in the city of Lincoln about the impact of Lincoln Lutheran on students.  I have heard the following phrase countless times: “I know if the young person attends Lincoln Lutheran they are going to be a great employee.”  Our students are respectful, caring and willing to do their best and it shows when they start working out into the community.  The community of Lincoln is a better place because of the great Warrior students and graduates who now serve and work within the community!

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to two questions they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

Isn’t a public high school a neutral environment?

Isn’t the public school experience good enough?

First, a disclaimer is needed. Any thoughts shared in this booklet are not intended to disparage the public school system. It is widely acknowledged that many outstanding Christian students, parents, and teachers exist within the public school system doing their utmost to be ‘the salt and the light.’ Many parents are emotionally attached to their own public education background or their local public high school. These thoughts are not meant to discourage those feelings. The intent is to encourage people to consider, on a more equal footing, the benefits of a Christian secondary education.  

Scripturally speaking, the message or worldview espoused by any school CANNOT be neutral. A worldview is either Christian or non-Christian.  Christ put it this way, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” (Matthew 12:30) Is it realistic to believe that when Christianity is removed from a school that it leaves ‘nothing?’ If the worldview of a school isn’t centered in Christ, then something else must assume that role. That something is most definitely a religion of sorts – secular humanism. In today’s public high schools, teenagers are often told in some fashion that Biblical principles are irrelevant, that absolute right and wrong do not exist, and/or human existence is due to evolution. Secular education, officially and deliberately, excludes God from the classroom. By doing so, public high schools will inevitably promote, intentionally or not, a non-Christian worldview.

What does this mean? At best, a Christian student in this environment will fight the constant battle of discernment – dissecting what is being presented and avoiding the influence of the humanistic worldview. At worst, a Christian student will entertain non-Christian ideals; mixing them with his or her Christianity resulting in potential strain on their relationship with God.  

Granted, much of the life of a Christian is spent in environments that are non-Christian in nature. Discernment of right and wrong while in the world is indeed an important spiritual discipline. However, many teens are not ready for 35-50 hours a week of a message that says, “Your worldview is wrong, intolerant, and/or old-fashioned.” Christian parents have the opportunity to help shape the worldview of their children for Christ.

The average teenager attends school for 8 hours a day, including athletics and other activities. That’s 1440 hours per school year and approximately 40% of his or her weekly awake time. That’s a big number! The question is where might that time be best spent?  Current scientific research tells us that a teenager’s brain is not fully developed. An underdeveloped frontal lobe explains certain teenage behaviors like recklessness, emotional outbursts, and poor decision making. Simply put, high school plays a pivotal role in the development of the brain and there is no doubt that it can have an effect on how the brain of a teenager is hard-wired.

The truth is that Christian high schools have the one thing that public schools can never have – the intentional presence of Jesus through His living Word, the Bible, which forms the basis for our Christian worldview.

In our high school, we use the Holy Scriptures for:

Salvation – Our students do, with the help of the Holy Spirit, develop a close personal relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Training – Our students not only learn daily about God’s grace, but also gain the academic skills necessary for success, how to defend their Christian faith, and discover what it takes to thrive as a Christian in today’s world.
Giving Praise – Our students learn more deeply of God’s goodness for us in life and faith, and are moved to reflect a sense of joy and thanksgiving in all that they do.

This is a very well written response to the issue of influence within the lives of young people.  As the father of three daughters, I question each and every day if I am doing the right things as a parent to teach and prepare my girls for their future.  I will make bad choices and won’t always get it right as a parent.  However, I know that Kayla, Addi and Jordan are being surrounded and influenced by teachers, friends, and families that reflect a Christian worldview.  

A couple of years ago I attended a presentation at my church when Messiah was going through a fundraising campaign.  Several people shared testimonials about the impact the ministries of Messiah were having on their families.  One parent, whose daughters had been attending public school, stated that when her girls first started elementary school the education and experience they were getting was “good enough.”  She eventually came to the determination that she didn’t want “good enough” for her girls; she wanted something more, something that only a Christian school can give, Christ!  Her testimony brought me to tears.  

I attended public elementary and high school.  I was blessed to attend Lincoln Lutheran Junior High.  My time in 7th–9th grades established a path for me that only God knew at the time.  God is working in both big and small ways each and every day in the Warrior ministry.  Don’t take for granted the blessing our ministry is for students as their hearts and minds continue to develop and mature.  Don’t underestimate the strong non-Christian influences that exist within our society and culture.  I praise God for the sacrificial leaders who stepped out in faith over 50 years ago to start a junior high and over 20 years ago to start a Lutheran high school.  To God be the Glory!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS