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Month: February 2017

Project 24 at Udom

The Project 24 visitors to the Lenkishon opening took a trip up Cheparia  to visit the Udom center there.  Udom has been a great success and there are 55 young people there.  You can sponsor children at one of these centers through Christ Cares for Kids Kenya at the LCMS website. Udom has a wonderful and rather sad story behind it.  A former missionary to Africa heard about the Project 24 efforts and was very impressed that laymen were taking up this task.  He called me one day because I was listed on the brochure he had seen and gave a generous gift.  The only stipulation was that he be able to name the center.  While in Africa he had befriended a child who been considered “cursed” by his village and driven away.  The missionary and his wife took him in and basically raised him while they were in country.  They wanted to take him home when their service was over, but the country he served in would not allow it.  Till the day he died he said he would wonder about and pray for the boy he called Udom. Share this on:...

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Mercy is Attacked Because It is Not the Churches Task .

The argument is that the church as a corporate structure (the church you go to is registered as a corporation) has one task and that is to preach the Gospel.  Acts of mercy and care for humans (welfare) is the job of individual Christians in their daily life. A pertinent point was made by a former President of the Missouri Synod. Writing back in the 70’s and addressing the chaos in the church as well as the chaos in the social structures around the world, Oliver Harms said, “God makes His justice be a servant. When God puts His creatures in their place even by acts of violence, then He seeks to preserve the created world as a place of reason and order and civilization. When God brings His creatures to their knees His ultimate purpose is to make them sons of grace not slaves of fear. God spares nations, and He nurtures His church because He seeks the welfare of all that He brought into being. No one portrays better the yearning of God than John the Baptist, who came to prepare the church and the world for the coming of Christ. It is from this vantage point that the church views the international strife in Indochina and the Middle East as well as the noise that occurs when God shakes the earth through quakes, tidal waves, hurricanes,...

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Mercy Is Being Attacked Again Because it is “Toxic”

One of the arguments against mercy work is that I cannot define misery. “Whenever love meets misery, mercy is awakened.” said Wilhelm Loehe. If I cannot define misery than I must allow those who I believe are suffering to define it. Sadly that is taken away from me by the third case against mercy.[1] Mercy exhibited especially in monetary gifts is “toxic”. “When we respond to a chronic need as though it were a crisis, we can predict toxic results: dependency, deception, disempowerment.”[2] One of the great mercy projects is well digging because the need for fresh water is incredible in third world countries, or so I have been told. But now that the mercy well is poisoned I must assume that when a partner church or a group of Christians that we deal with asks for help in digging a well it is because they are now dependant, lying, or have had their own well digging capacity destroyed by my concern. I believe that it was Helmut Thielicke who told a story about visiting a parishioner in his mostly bombed out home after the war. The man was thankful for God’s mercy in having enough of his house bombed out that he didn’t have to take in any refugees who had nothing. He had official sanction from whatever authority there was to be free from any need to...

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Mercy is Being Attacked Again. Why? Fake Misery.

The criticism is raised that we see misery where there may not be any.  People that we think are miserable are used to their situation and really are quite happy.  My judging something as miserable does not make it so. If I am not allowed to make a judgment about misery why would Jesus broadcast a story like that of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and use words like “longing”, (ἐπιθυμῶν), having a  “fixed desire” to be satisfied with crumbs from the table, but instead of that he received  “kaka” (κακά)?  Now you can translate that as you want, but the impression from Jesus and certainly from Abraham in the story is that one of the reasons that Lazarus got “evil things” was the neglect of the rich man.  Lazarus was “tossed’ on to the rich man’s front door by whoever, so that he could get help and he received kaka. The mass migration of human beings in the world has one underlying cause – they are looking for good things.  They may want a better life in the city, education, freedom from fear, or any number of motivations but the point is they are looking for good things.  What they find in places like Kibera is crime and disease, and perhaps the death of the children they were hoping to give a better life.  If malaria, cholera and typhoid are...

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Mercy Being Attacked Again. Why? Continued

Our Lord Jesus “for the joy set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame”.  Christ’s patient endurance is the great example that Christians should follow.  We may not be able to do it perfectly but if joy is “grace recognized” then Christians giving to others because Christ gave Himself for them is a source of joy.  Joy, rejoicing, grace, favor are all cognates.  If mercy projects are denigrated because they make the donor have a sense of joy, then all stewardship emphasis should be stopped now.  Anything related to the joy of giving should be expunged and we need to find a motivation for giving that will help donors feel miserable. Share this on:...

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