Archive for December 2014
The Christmas and Epiphany seasons in the church year are excellent times to remember the Synod’s efforts to share the Incarnation, Nativity, Epiphany, Baptism, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus (see “The Litany” from LSB pg. 288) with the entire world. The 140 Synod International Missionaries (career and GEO missionaries) share the Gospel with those who haven’t heard it before and work to strengthen Lutheran churches where they serve. Please remember them in your prayers.
January 2015 marks the Synod’s Mission Emphasis. The link to the Synod’s emphasis on International Mission includes link to bulletin inserts and other resources (including prayer cards for LCMS missionaries) that can be used by Districts or congregations to increase awareness of international mission work and to support the Synod’s missionaries and mission efforts around the world.
The LCMS Reporter Insert for the month of January also features international mission work, as does the upcoming January Engage magazine.
With the Lord’s help, the coming year looks very exciting for International Mission. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest send labors into his field.
Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D.
Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations
The Gospel for New Year’s Day, the “Name of Jesus,” is very simple: “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).
That’s all. Eight days after his birth (which we celebrated December 25th), he was circumcised and given the name Jesus.
Yeshua = “the Lord saves” – “for he will save his people from their sins,” the angel had told Joseph in dream (Matthew 1:21).
So we begin the new year 2015 in the name of Jesus, as the church observes on January 1.
Whatever the new year brings, Jesus has it covered. Whatever happens to us, we bear the name of Jesus. Whatever we go through, Jesus has been there before us.
Eight days old and he already sheds his blood for us. Eight days old and the name he is given is for our redemption. Eight days old and he is already being prepared for his saving work for us. It is as the church sings:
Jesus! Name of mercy mild, Given to the holy Child
When the cup of human woe First He tasted here below.
Jesus! Only name that’s giv’n Under all the mighty heav’n
Whereby those to sin enslaved Burst their fetters and are saved.
Jesus! Name of wondrous love, Human name of God above;
Pleading only this, we flee Helpless, O our God, to Thee.
(Lutheran Service Book, #900, st. 4-6)
Happy New Year, then, in the name of Jesus. “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).
A blessed New Year to one and all!
+ Herbert Mueller
First Vice President – LCMS
The message of Christmas is huge, of eternal proportions and significance: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman….” (Galatians 4:4-5). This hugeness of Christmas is so important to bear in mind, its dimenions having been so diminished in our day, often reduced to mere tinsel and trappings.
No hymn captures that hugeness better than that of Prudentius of the 4th century, aided by the 12th century plain-song tune we have sung many times (TLH 98). We do well this Christmas season to devote a little personal time its proper perspective:
Of the Father’s love begotten ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.
Oh, that birth forever blessed when the Virgin, full of grace
By the Holy Ghost conceiving bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer, first revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.
O ye heights of heav’n, adore Him; angel hosts His praises sing;
Pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him and extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent, ev’ry voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.
This is He whom heav’n-taught singers sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the long-expected; let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.
Immersed in and bombarded by a society and culture that have relegated Christmas to a cute little story in a faraway little town, we do well to join Prudentius in pondering the eternal dimensions of this holy day and its celebration:
Christ, to Thee, with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion, and evernal victory
Evermore and evermore.
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) in cooperation with the Office of International Mission (OIM) has launched a Missionary Gift Registry to benefit the work of sharing the Gospel overseas. In a joint meeting between the LCMS Regional Directors and Dr. Bruce Kintz of CPH, the Regional Directors asked if CPH could find a way to help missionaries get CPH materials onto the mission field, where emerging churches could make use of the material. CPH created a webpage that contains a list of materials LCMS missionaries would like to sue on the mission field with partner churches, emerging churches, and converts to the Christian faith. The web address is https://www.cph.org/t-international-missions.aspx
Each quarter the regional directors will update the list and provide CPH with a list of needed resources. CPH also is working with LCMS missionaries to identify resources to translate into other languages. Please take a look at the CPH site created to help our LCMS missionaries.
The CPH website helpfully shows the regions of the world where the LCMS works and provides the name of the regional director.
This is part of the Latin America list of needed resources. As the image shows, a number of resources have been identified with the quantity required and the amount fulfilled.
Eurasia is looking to get LSB hymnals for the Old Latin School in Wittenberg.
Thanks CPH for working with the Office of International Mission on this. It is a great way to collaborate.
— Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations
On Sunday, December 14th, a group from the Missouri Synod arrived in Prague for a week long conference with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC). In 2010, the LCMS and the SECAC, who are not in altar and pulpit fellowship, signed a working agreement describing how the two churches will work in the area of human care (particularly in the area of people with disabilities through Slezská diakonie) and in the realm of theological education and conferences. (Read more about that at http://abc3miscellany.blogspot.com/2010/11/working-agreement-with-silesian.html)
The Slezská diakonie requested that the Missouri Synod present on the topic of the theology of mercy, so that the church can remain closely connected to human care work. Dr. Collver presented on the Biblical view of mercy, both to the Slezská diakonie and to a pastors’ conference at the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC).
Approximately, One hundred of the 600 staff members attended the conference. Deaconess Grace Rao and Deaconess Dorothy Krans also presented to the staff of the Slezská diakonie.
Pastor James Krikava, Eurasia missionary to Czech Republic and associate Eurasia regional director, presented to the pastors’ conference at the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC) in Czech. His paper addressed the topic of mercy in pastoral care through confession and absolution.
Above is a short video (15 seconds) of Rev. James Krikava presenting at the SECAC pastors’ conference in Czech. The LCMS believes it is very important for her missionaries to know the local language. Rev. Krikava, born and raised in the United States, learned Czech at home from his parents and attained fluency during his 15 years of experience as a missionary to the Czech Republic.
Rev. Peter Lang, 1st Vice-President of the Kansas District and Pastor at St. John’s in Topeka, KS, was part of the LCMS delegation to Silesia. Pastor Lang’s congregation has supported the international mission work of the LCMS for the past 15 years, primarily through the Network Supported Missionary (NSM) model. In the video below, Pastor Lang describes how his congregation provides support for Rev. James Krikava in the Czech Republic.
If there is interest to support the work of Rev. James Krikava in the Czech republic please visit: http://lcms.org/krikava
Kay Kreklau, President of from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), came to the Czech Republic and Poland as part of the LCMS delegation. Kay Kreklau was particularly interested in how the LWML can work more closely with the Office of International Mission (OIM) to better support LCMS missionaries and their work.
The future work of the Eurasia team under Rev. Tony Booker, Regional Director for Eurasia, is looking bright with many opportunities for strengthening Lutheran identity in Central Europe. Rev. Tony Booker also serves as the pastor of St. Michael’s English Congregation in Prague.
— Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D., Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations