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Posts Tagged ‘Witness’

Udom Remembered

There is a sense that I am having as I grow older that I need to be reminded to remember things.  It is getting a bit frightening to tell myself or someone else that they need to help me remember.  I am getting worried about Project 24 when I think of the fact that some who are intimately involved in running and managing and giving and supporting the work of mercy around the world do not know the history.

This is a picture of the Udom Project 24 Center at a place called Cheparia.  It is called Udom in memory of a young boy that came to the attention of a missionary in Africa, (not in Kenya), who was born with a handicap that meant he was shunned by his village.  He was basically on his own from the time he could walk and the missionary took him in, cared for him, educated him, but most importantly, taught him about Jesus.  When his missionary term was over and he had to come home, the attempt was made to adopt the child and bring him to  the States.   That was not allowed by the country in which he was born.  The missionary told me that once he flew away he never heard from or about that boy, whom he named Udom.

Haunted by the memory of the child and not able to go back because of health, he gave us a substantial donation to build a boarding school where like children like Udom could be educated and cared for.  He had a condition.  If he gave us this large gift of love, the center that would be built should be named Udom in the boys memory.  He did and it was.

Memories can be blessings and curses depending on how we use them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Were the Wise Men on a Short Term Mission Trip?

 

Short term missons 1

Epiphany is a mission season.  It is a mission season in reverse to what we normally think of when we think of missions.  Instead of Christians going to visit those who don’t know Christ, the so called “pagans” come and find Him.  The visit of the Magi presupposes some missionary enterprise had taken place before.  Maybe some Israelite had journeyed to a far country and made witness to a coming Messiah and these wise guys heard of it, or maybe the arch-missionary, the Holy Spirit made it known in some other proclamation of the Word we don’t know about.  How ever it happened the Magi were on a mission – they were an embassy to greet the King of all, and the Lord of Lords.  Foreigners came and made it know to God’s chosen people that Christ had been born in their midst.  They become witnesses to us of God’s desire that Christ be the Savior of all.

Mission is important, in fact I believe that the church exists for that purpose.  People love to go on short term mission trips for a variety of reasons.  Yet sometimes when folks come back from a short term missions they find out that not everyone is as thrilled with them or their trip as they think they should be.  I had a correspondent on this blog tell me that when they came back to their home church their Pastor was frustrated that they called themselves “missionaries” because they were not sent.  Their well intentioned trip caused a problem between them and their called servant of the Word.  Others go abroad and find that they were working with folks that do not have the same confession of faith and they were participating in what we call a “heterodox” mission endeavor.  Some go and find that their well intentioned efforts had negative consequences to the folks they visited with and the church to which they belong.

I thought that “mission” was a pretty simple endeavor until I came on board a Board.  The Board for International Missions is, according to Lutheran Church Missouri Synod bylaws, the only sending agency for funds or personnel into the “foreign mission field”.  Sounds pretty simple right.  Well when we throw into the mix mission societies and individuals and other folks this rather simple statement becomes at least for some a real stumbling block.

We are going to be thinking about that over the next few days because the idea of controlling the sending of missionaries or suggesting ways that it could be planned and carried out in and “decent and orderly” fashion really bugs some folks.  I could make a quip here and say that we need to be “wise men and women” when we go on a short term trip but I won’t.  Instead I will refer you to handy little piece of work put out by the Office of International Missions that will help you in getting ready and planning for a short term mission trip.  Please check it out and download it and comment.

http://wmltblog.org/2015/01/lcms-best-practices-in-short-term-mission/

 

 

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Tim Tebow was here.

Tebow celebrates

So what do we make of this – that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, or that the Vikings are somehow cursed?  I am starting to go with the Vikings are cursed theory but that is a blog for another time.  If Tebow prays for a victory does God intervene in the football game to give him one?  That is also a discussion for another time – what I am interested in is this continued bludgeoning that takes place whenever a Christian brings their faith “out of the closet”.  This idea that faith is a “private thing” a personal thing is really starting to get old and needs to be addressed.

The entire trajectory of the ministry of Jesus leans toward sharing of the faith with others, (except for the times when Jesus tells the disciples to tell no one, but I believe that there is a very specific reason for that demand) and a public witness that takes place before the “whole world”.  The call of the disciples leads to making them “fishers of men” and will result in them being dragged before councils and Kings to bear witness.  The call of Christ is such that they cannot but “speak of the things that they have seen and heard”.  Jesus own witness is public.  He preaches in the synagogues and is publically examined by the religious authorities and does nothing in secret.  His call will ultimately demand that the whole world be told the message of salvation.  The second advent of Christ is even being delayed so that all get a chance to hear before the time of grace is over.  They can’t hear if we don’t speak, and we won’t speak if we believe that our faith is a private thing.
 
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All Saints Day – Witness,Mercy, Life Together

 

Yesterday was All Saints Day and I meant to post this blog but didn’t.  I have thinking about the LCMS emphasis of Witness, Mercy and Life Together and trying to tie it into a worship service and I found this blog by Paul McCain.  If you notice the quote is the Apology to the Augsburg Confession and its encouragement ot honor the Saints is Witness – as they strengthen faith, Mercy- as they were examples of the same and Life Together – we imitate them in our vocation as we live with our neighbors and struggle for the sake of Christ. 

http://cyberbrethren.com/2011/11/01/we-feebly-struggle-they-in-glory-shine/

Here is what Article XXI of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession has to say about the proper manner in which we honor and remember the saints.

Our Confession approves honoring the saints in three ways. The first is thanksgiving. We should thank God because He has shown examples of mercy, because He wishes to save people, and because He has given teachers and other gifts to the Church. These gifts, since they are the greatest, should be amplified. The saints themselves, who have faithfully used these gifts, should be praised just as Christ praises faithful businessmen (Matthew 25:21, 23). The second service is the strengthening of our faith.When we see Peter’s denial forgiven, we also are encouraged to believe all the more that grace truly superabounds over sin (Romans 5:20). The third honor is the imitation, first of faith, then of the other virtues. Everyone should imitate the saints according to his calling. The adversaries do not require these true honors. They argue only about invocation, which, even if it were not dangerous, still is not necessary.

Source: Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XXI Paragraphs 4-7. Concordia CPH: 2006, p. 202.

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