I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

January 15, 2012
NEWS – Missionary Ude this month will be with the brothers in Nigeria, Togo and Ghana. After that he will join with the Mission Bd. Chairman Pastor Ohlmann in Congo and also visit contacts in central Africa. God bless the fellowship.
CLCI SeminaryIndia– Pastor Jyothi reported, “We are grateful to God that He has entrusted us with the CLCI seminary ministry of preparing students for lifetime service of the Lord. We are happy to report that in the midst of these past thirteen years up to 2011 95 fully trained pastors came out of this CLCI Seminary and all of them have been rendering their valuable services in various CLCI congregations. In the year 2010-11 the total number of seminary working days are 194. Six formerly Muslim students are studying also.
Bible Correspondence Course – Over many years through the blessings of our Lord the CLCI Bible Correspondence course has been moving very well. Till now totally 436 students have taken this course since 1993. It is welcoming…from all churches to join in these free courses.
Excerpt from CLCMyanmar Report at Recent Joint Conf. in Chennai
…There are more than 35 ethnic groups in Myanmar, among them we are the so-called Tedim Chin and our main objectives, vision and burden is to proclaim the Word of God and make disciples all over the country(Mt. 28:19).  95% of the people are Buddhists and the rest are from various religious backgrounds. Among the whole Christian population the tribal ethnics are the majority. Sadly to see that though the harvest is great, the laborers are less(Mt. 9:37-38).
…We the CLCM have 12 workers m among them are nine pastors, two evangelists and one peon. There are 56 congregations(villages) and each pastor has divided 6-7 villages for their pastoral works. Once in a month they visit the villages that they are assigned. The evangelists are permitted to go to  village conduction camps and conferences as the situation permits…Ev. Man ventures with his level best telling the love of God to Buddhist soldiers at Kalaymyo…While we had three schools run by the CLCM, due to restriction of our government, the schools are closed.
…This year we distributed 254 Tedim Chin Bibles and 20 Burmese Bibles(to the Burmese military camp)




Willing Inquirer Attracted by Something –Mk.12:28-34

Mark records how after Jesus had answered the Pharisees and Herodians who were sent to entrap Him, that He then answered some Sadducees. The scribe coming upon
Jesus ’refutation of the Sadducees is pleased at Jesus’ answers. Undoubtedly, the scribe, too, disagreed with the Sadducees’ teachings and attitude. He sees in Jesus a kindred spirit. And it is not just the wisdom of the Lord’s answers, but the content. He then puts a question to Jesus.
Upon Jesus answering the scribe’s question the scribe acknowledges their agreement. There is a common ground between them. In our witnessing it is important to have a base upon which to build both our witness and our relationship with the prospect so that he is willing to listen. The scribe knows the law but as yet not the Gospel.
In this case the scribe was attracted to Jesus by our Lord’s wise answers. We always hope that others may hear our testimony to the hope that is within us and ask us about it. Yet there are other things which may also attract an inquirer. For instance, are our good deeds visible, or in other words are we doing them? Is our moral character such that our life is a principled one not willing to compromise with the high standard of God’s Word? If this is the case this may attract an inquirer. One thing is for certain, wickedness not only does not draw inquirers, but even repels them. Why should any want to inquire after evil? After all we all know how to do that already. Why should any want to inquire after compromising a principle? That is the ever present, pragmatic way of the world.
No question but that we see here the importance of having some things in common, or common ground on which to build the witness and relationship. We should even try to establish some things in common. I remember on a canvass once noticing a fine rose garden as I approached a door. I don’t remember whether it was before or after I spoke of my purpose on the canvass that I referred to the rose garden, mentioning that it reminded me of the rose garden my father had and how I was in charge of it. I didn’t just compliment the person on the fine rose garden, but tried to let him know that we were both admirers of fine roses. From this the person can look back to that visit of mine in a more favorable light, in a more friendly light. He can also remember back to that if I approach his door again. It seems like a little thing. Yet it can go a long way in establishing a relationship, avoiding the icy attitude of stranger to stranger. This is also something else to remember. In our selfish , self-centered day there are not that many people who genuinely inquire about others with a real interest. We as Christians should be so genuine not alone with ulterior motive of witnessing sooner or later, but truly interested in people for whom Christ died. Isn’t this part of love?
It is also noteworthy that this encounter ends on a positive note, though not with conversion. Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” The scribe had understanding up to a point. Why not give credit where credit is due? With this encounter you can imagine a later meeting of our Lord with the scribe and a good discussion ensuing. We of course should want to leave our witnessing encounter with a positive note. That is not always possible. For instance when the person exhibits impenitence, rejection and even ridicule then no positive note could end that. We would be false to what we should say then by giving the man to believe that it is fine how he is. But this scribe did not evince any such negative reaction, so that our Lord spoke as He did. Another thing to take note of is that in the encounter there is nothing wrong with a compliment to the prospect if he is correct on something. We just guard against any fawning. An honest statement or appraisal as given by our Lord here is in order.
So in order for an encounter like this to happen, seek to speak, and do and live each day God’s will. And pray that others may see your good works and speak to you with the result that they may join you in glorifying the Lord for His grace and mercy.
We say in the catechism that fasting is a fine outward custom. It was commanded in Old Testament times at Yom Kippur, for the Day of Atonement. In Lev. 16:29 the translation ‘afflict’ is involving fasting. This is also seen in Ps. 35:13 where it says, “I afflicted myself with fasting.” Jesus has fulfilled the Law for us that the Old Testament Mosaic Law is not binding on us except in the moral sense. Jesus is the end of the Law for righteousness to all who believe. Rom. 10:4 The Law itself was a shadow of what Christ would do. Col. 2:17
It is seen to be a custom in New Testament times also. For instance John the baptizer’s disciples fasted, while Jesus’ disciples did not. Mk. 2:18-20 After Christ ascended His disciples also practiced fasting. In Luke 5:33 we see that fasting was in connection with offering prayers. And this is the general area in which we can use this custom with prayers. It is an aid to help us focus in our prayers. Ps. 35:13, Dan. 9:3 It definitely is not used correctly when it is used as some sort of means to gain God’s mercy. We already have His mercy, love and grace.
Fasting is something that has been done as a sign of sorrow, or an expression of sadness. Judges 20:26, I Sam. 1:7-8. When one repents and seeks forgiveness in prayer, fasting accompanies this to focus and express what we feel. I Sam. 7:6, I Kings 21:27-29, Jer. 36:6-9
Our Lord fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. Mt. 4:2 Of course He was out there praying and being tempted by the devil. The 40 days is reminiscent of when Moses did also for 40 days. Ex. 34:28 No time is specified for us to fast since it is a custom.
Posture of Prayer
We of course know that we are to pray. This Scripture reminds us of over and over again. We should talk to God in prayer: confess our sins, ask for spiritual blessings and others as well, praise and thank Him. I Tim. 2:1, I Thess. 5:17
The prayer posture though is left up to us. It falls into the category of custom. Some examples follow:
  • Lifting holy hands – I Tim. 2:8
  • Spreading our hands out to God – Ps. 88:9
  • Not lifting eyes to God, head bowed – Lk. 18:13
  • Kneeling – Acts 20:36
  • Standing – Mk. 11:25
  • Being prostrate – Mt. 26:39
    When we look at these we see that the custom varies and therefore it is allowable to do prayer in different postures. There are other warnings in Scripture that do not deal just with custom, but are God’s directions on prayer. For instance our Lord warns us against using empty words. Mt. 6:7
When it comes to where we should pray, it is definitely at times in public. I Tim. 2:8 Our Lord in the sermon on the mount warns against hypocrisy and so says to go into our private chamber as opposed to making a show of praying. Mt. 6:5-6 This does not mean ‘only’ in private, as the Lord is making a contrast.
Pastor Koenig