I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
September 29, 2012
Like Cold Water to a Thirsty Soul is Good News from a Far Country There are many ways of doing outreach in the world. One method that has been on the increase among Christians is by a congregation initiating work. In the CLC this has been happening also. Here is a report on such from Pastor Hein. His new member Alvin wrote, “Just two years after becoming a full fledged member of Grace Lutheran/CLC USA, thoughts are now directed at my Natal, Liberia where by God’s Grace, Grace would be expanded.” Read the report and let the joy well up. You can also see a You Tube presentation.
In March of 2010, Alvin Jask made contact with Grace Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN. He received instruction in God’s Word, became a baptized child of God, and in August he professed his Christian faith and his agreement with the teachings found in God’s holy Word. He has had a fervent desire since that time to share the Good News of his Savior, Jesus Christ, with the people in his homeland of Liberia. He believes that the fields of God’s harvest are white and plentiful for the Holy Spirit to do His work. While he has lived in the United States for the past few years, this past summer Alvin returned to Liberia for a visit there. Grace had collected items for various needs that Alvin had identified for some of his people back home. Some of these included items that he desired to collect for children to use in his dream of having a Christian Day School. These items were shipped in barrels to Liberia. But Alvin personally flew to Liberia in order to ensure that the contents of the barrels arrived to the people and location he intended. The people there were immensely grateful for these gifts of love. Alvin currently owns a four acre tract of property in the remote but developing area of Bopolu, Liberia. He has already started construction of a building in which to house his dream of having a Christian Day School there. He believes the area is well-suited for this since many young couples live in poverty there and end up with many children. Most of the major construction of the building is already complete. Details on the inside of the building are yet to be finished, things like painting, floors, and bathrooms. In addition landscaping is being completed in order build a working relationship with the local government. By having his current property in good order and keeping it well-maintained, Alvin believes that he will be able to add to it as the local government owns six acres of property adjacent to his and they often grant more property to good owners as a way to encourage further development. Brush is being cleared and palm trees are being planted in order to mark his current property lines. Alvin plans to make other trips to Liberia in order to monitor progress on the building and to prevent people from taking financial advantage of his resources. He currently has invested about $15,000 of his own money in this project. The next step is to train his niece, Naomi, to be a Christian Day School teacher. Naomi is handicapped, having her leg recently amputated due to illness. It is Alvin’s hope that she can fly to the United States and learn about the daily operation of a school from our Christian Day School staff at Grace. She would also receive instruction from Pastor Hein during this time. With the instruction and tools she would receive, she would then return to Liberia to teach at the school. Alvin plans on starting with a limited number of younger grades and then adding grades as the school gets more and more established. Alvin has a number of connections in the capital city of Monrovia. He had formerly served as a public spokesperson for the Liberian police. He is friends with the current president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and has many other political and business acquaintances who have helped him with some of his goals to improve conditions in Liberia. Alvin has very limited eyesight and is considered legally blind, having lost much of his eyesight during the turmoil of civil war. He is highly motivated to provide help to others with limited eyesight and other limiting handicap situations. He has been working at Apple in the Twin Cities, and has established strong ties there with his work ethic and his ability to help others learn how technology can help them. Alvin is using his abilities to set up a computer business in Liberia and to help train those who have limited eyesight. In addition, he is working with the government and universities in Liberia to see what programs can be put in place to help blind people like himself, programs like those he personally utilized in the United States to get stability in his life and to be able to become more independent with his daily living. This work, too, has been having an impact on his mission opportunities in Liberia. During his recent trip to Liberia, Alvin took some video in which he shares his dream of having a Christian Day School there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCfICoQqUQM&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Praise the Lord.
Two Teachers on the Master Teacher
Herman Horne, who was an educator, wrote a book “Teaching Techniques of Jesus” in which he points to essential qualifications for a great teacher and how Jesus is it.
A great teacher has:
  1. A vision that encompasses the world
  1. Knowledge of the heart of man.
  2. Mastery of the subject taught
  3. Aptness in teaching
  4. A life that embodies the teaching”
As we look at these there is no doubt about it, this is our Lord.
  1. Jesus had a vision of what He was about on earth and He stuck to it. His vision was of more than just Israel. “I have other sheep; them also I must bring.” He knew His end and its fulfillment as the beginning of the worldwide kingdom outreach. “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Me.” In His parables as well as in other teaching instruments He taught what the kingdom of God is. He not only commanded that His Gospel should go into all the world, but prophesied that it would. Before He ascended He prophesied “You shall be My witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Quite a vision and it is still in effect and being fulfilled today.
  2. Jesus knew what was in man’s heart since He was God. We cannot look into man’s heart but we know what Scripture says.”The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” While Jesus personally “needed not that any should tell Him, for He Himself knew what was in man,” we know from what our Lord and His Word says. A diligent study of Scripture will enable us to “test the spirits” to see if what we behold is truth or error, sincerity or hypocrisy.
  3. Jesus was the Master at what He taught. He learned in humiliation, learning by even what He suffered. “Never did a man speak as this man.” There were times when “no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” He so ably answered. We do not have the nature of God that we may draw upon the infinite wisdom and knowledge that God alone possesses. But we can walk with Jesus and learn. Ordinary men became apostles who people could tell had walked with Jesus. There was a marked change in them and will be in us as He walks with us and talks with us through His Word.
  4. Another proof of Jesus being the apt teacher is in those “unlearned and ignorant men” who became the Rabbi’s students and then went forth. Or consider the lengthy accounts in John 3 and 4 of Jesus teaching Nicodemus and the woman at Jacob’s well. ‘Apt’ is an understatement of how our Lord taught as He moved them from ignorance to understanding, and from sin to grace.
  5. As our Lord lived what He taught what a contrast that was to the scribes and Pharisees and the whole Jewish religious structure. Of Jesus it was said, “This man has done nothing wrong.” “I find no fault in Him.” Jesus taught that “He who loses his life will find it.” He died and rose again. If our life is blatantly different from what we teach people will go by what they see and not by what they hear. The problem for us is the sinful flesh’s continuous inclination that we have to fight against. For us as different from the Master when we sin we must repent and say we are sorry. This goes a long way to correct things. This corrects the life picture that might contradict what we teach. With Jesus we have the life to ponder on as our example.
Another educator had the following on how Jesus preached and taught. “The form of preaching of Jesus was essentially Jewish. The Oriental mind does not work the same way as the mind of the West. Our thinking and speaking, when at their best, are fluent, expansive, closely reasoned. The kind of discourse which we admire is one which takes up an important subject, divides it out into different branches, treats it fully under each of the heads, closely articulates part to part, and closes with a moving appeal to the feelings, so as to sway the will to some practical result. The Oriental mind, on the  contrary, loves to brood long on a single point, to turn it round and round, to gather up all the truth about it in a focus, and pour it forth in a few pointed and memorable words…The Western speaker’s discourse is like a chain in which link is firmly knit to link; an Oriental’s is like the sky at night, full of innumerable burning points shining forth from a dark background.
Such was the form of the teaching of Jesus. It consisted of numerous sayings, everyone of which contained the greatest possible amount of truth in the smallest possible compass, and was expressed in language so concise and pointed as to stick in the memory like an arrow. Read them and you will find that every one of them, as you ponder it, sucks the mind in and in like a whirlpool, till it is lost in the depths…Even before the meaning has been apprehended, the perfect, proverb-like expression lodges itself fast in the mind.”
This educator has some overlapping of Jesus as the Great Teacher with what Horne says, naturally
since they focus on the same subject. This man lists the chief qualities of His style as:
1. Authority – “The people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Mt. 7:29 He dwelt on the great themes of justice and mercy, God and love.
2. Boldness – “Lo, He speaks boldly.” Jn. 7:26 Think of His withering assault on the scribes and Pharisees (Mt.23), priests and Levites (Lk. 10:25-37).
3. Power – “And they were all amazed and said to one another, ‘What is this word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Lk. 4:36 True enough that His miracles underlined his teaching. Yet He was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure so that the truth possessed Him and as He spoke it was hearts and minds being captured.
4. Graciousness – “They wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” Lk. 4:22 The glow and warmth of the Savior was in stark contrast to the hard, proud, loveless words of His adversaries. Think of their objections to Him healing on the sabbath, condemning it as work that should be done on another day.
5. And He addressed men as men, not as of one class or rank. Think of Him in the house of a tax collector and dealing with the lowly just the same as with the mighty. Mt. 9:10, 11:19, 21:31-32 What He taught, He lived.
Think how He rightly handled the Scriptures and directed people into the Word. He spoke in the language of life, from everyday life relating it to the future life. This fixes in the earthly mind that knows the earthly a picture of the heavenly. The gorgeous beauty of lilies waving in the fields; sheep following a shepherd; broad and narrow gates; virgins with the lamps awaiting in the darkness the bridal procession; the Pharisee with his broad phylacteries and the publican with the bent head at prayer together in the temple; the rich seated in his palace at feast, while the beggar at his gate has dogs licking his sores and hundreds more pictures He gave to convey the spiritual that people might understand.
Though no man ever taught like this man did, we follow after to learn from Him in content and style as much as we can.
Pastor David Koenig