From the NPH Director of Worship & Sacred Music

Dear Fellow Musician,

“I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6).

We rejoice each year in the gifts God gives to his church on earth for the proclamation and praise of his goodness, in particular the gifts of music and faithful composers and arrangers. The last few months have seen the release of several new music products. One is from the newest and growing series that NPH offers, Hymn Settings for the Contemporary Liturgical Ensemble. Named for their hymn tune, these arrangements for piano, guitar, and additional instruments—sometimes identified as a “contemporary ensemble”—are designed to accompany the singing congregation. With the assistance of song leaders, the congregation can sing right out of the hymnal. “Erhalt Uns, Herr” serves as the tune for three hymns in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal. Other arrangements in the series include the tunes “Nun Freut Euch” and “Sieh, Hier Bin Ich.” For a single price, each arrangement comes with a full score and parts for instrumentalists. Full previews are available at nph.net, and more are planned for future release.

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How To Teach Create Learners

Teach the Word“Create” learners are the exact opposite of the Step learners.

Create learners love to synthesize to learn. They desire to generate something (create something) in order to really “get it.”

They prefer to learn by being creative and using their imaginations and creative ideas to plan and organize concepts. They prefer working on a number of tasks at one time, discussing real problems and looking for real solutions. They also enjoy searching for alternative solutions to problems, looking beyond those normally considered. (Some might call this divergent thinking.)

Create learners learn best with creative and artistic activities that are used along with open-ended discussions about personal and social values. They do best with activities that enlighten and enrich understanding, such as stories, dramas, etc.

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Neuroscience

So, parent of an infant or toddler, what are you doing to help your child make lots of neural connections these days? Maybe you need to learn more about what you can do to help your child develop those all-important neural connections that bring about learning.

Neuroscience studies the brain and how it functions. It explains that through the workings of billions of nerve cells with trillions of connections, the brain receives stimuli, processes it, remembers a lot of it, and produces learning. Neuroscience demonstrates the complexity of the human mind and the wonder of God’s creation. It supports what the psalmist observed for us long ago: “I praise [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Continue reading

A Letter from the Editor Regarding Luther’s Protest

Dear fellow servants of the Word,

Wise King Solomon observed, “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). That certainly is true of books in general, and we can also safely say that it’s true of books about Martin Luther and the Reformation. In fact, it has been said that more books have been written about Martin Luther than any other person in history, except for Jesus Christ. I have never seen actual statistical evidence to back up that assertion, but it does seem reasonable. And over the years Northwestern Publishing House has contributed more than a few titles to that ever-growing list of books on Luther. This Reformation 500 anniversary year, NPH has published four new Luther titles and brought back into print or reissued new editions of several older Luther books. Some are aimed at younger readers and people with little knowledge of Luther. Other books are aimed at pastors and teachers, as well as laypeople who already have some knowledge of Luther and the Reformation. Continue reading

How to Teach Step Learners

Teach the WordStep learners (just like the name) love to follow steps to learn. They desire goals and practicality.

They prefer to learn by seeing tangible results through practicing what they have learned and following directions one step at a time. They like being active, rather than passive, learners and need to know exactly what is expected, how well the task must be done, and why.

Step learners learn best by drill and repetition, demonstration, direct instruction, and guided practice exercises.

They really like doing things that have an immediate and practical use. They appreciate being acknowledged for thoroughness and detail, and they enjoy praise for prompt and complete work. They are also into competitions when they learn along with immediate rewards, privileges, etc.

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At Times of Loss

A death in the family can provide parents with a wonderful opportunity. What better time to teach your children the story of God’s love for all people? The gospel brings great comfort at such a time—comfort that every Christian sooner or later learns to appreciate at the death of a believer.

There are all sorts of clinical reasons why people die; there is only one real cause of death: sin. “The wages of sin is death . . .” But death is not an end. Because of God’s great love for all people, Jesus came into the world to forgive sins and lead the way to eternal life in heaven. “. . . but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Continue reading

A Letter Regarding the New Catechism

Dear Brothers in Christ’s Ministry,

Luther wrote his Small Catechism to help pastors teach God’s Word, especially to children. He could not have imagined the sheer numbers of students who would be armed with the Word of Truth through his little book. No other book of Christian instruction has endured for almost 500 years. Not one! No other book of Christian instruction has been so widely used. It is with a deep sense of awe and gratitude that we consider the blessings God has given to the church through this book. It is truly amazing. Though our world has changed in innumerable ways over these last five centuries, the value and relevance of Luther’s Catechism are just as great today as when it was first written. Continue reading

Drugs and Alcohol

They know it’s wrong. They have learned it’s harm­ful. Why, then, do children still choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol?

Think of a hungry lion, stalking its prey—the weak and vulnerable—those who wander from the group. The beast selects a target and waits. That is how Satan operates (1 Peter 5:8). Our children are unprotected when it comes to dealing with the temptation to experi­ment with drugs and alcohol. Continue reading