February 5, 2004

(Pastor Bruce Naumann)

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus.  Pastor Koenig has invited me, as the CLC Mission Board Chairman, to write to you all in this edition of BASIC.  I am very happy to do so, and to begin by sharing some thoughts with you concerning this time of the church year.

We are now in the season of EPIPHANY, the time of year that follows our Christmas celebration, and that comes before Lent.  The English word “epiphany” comes from the Greek “epiphaino,”  which means to “shine”.  It is at this time of the year that we remember what the Scriptures say  about the shining forth of Jesus as the true Son of God in human flesh.  The picture of Jesus as a shining light is presented to us in the story of the star in the East that guided the wise man to the house where Jesus was.  During Epiphany we also hear of Jesus’ baptism, where He was first publicly revealed as the Christ, when His Father declared with a voice from heaven “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  The Scripture readings and sermon texts which we use during Epiphany often tell of Jesus’ wonderful miracles, because they clearly  shine a bright light on Jesus as our all-powerful Lord.  One of our Lutheran hymns expresses it  this way (the word “manifest” means “clearly seen”):

l.Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise.
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar,
Branch of royal David’s stem,
In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

2. Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
In Thy Godhead manifest’
Manifest in power divine.
Changing water into wine.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

3. Manifest in making whole
Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight,
Quelling all the devil’s might;
Manifest in gracious will
Ever bringing good from ill.
Anthems be to Thee addressed,
God in man made manifest. (The Lutheran Hymnal, #134)

I pray that all of your teaching and preaching will serve to let Jesus shine forth in the hearts of those who hear.  Let the light of His Word reveal Him ever more clearly as God the Son and only Savior!

While I have this opportunity, I would like to share with you some of the current goals and policies of the CLC Board of Missions.  We consider it our great privilege that the Lord is making use of CLC people and funds to help spread the Gospel of Christ crucified in India and Africa.  The four men who serve on the Board of Missions are responsible to discuss the needs and opportunities for the Lord’s work before us, with the counsel and aid of Missionary Koenig. We then apply the money which CLC members contribute in order to help you make this work go forward.  The areas of work which we consider to be most important are these:

1) To establish and support seminary training centers.  When young men are trained in sound Lutheran (that is, Scriptural) teaching, they can then spend a lifetime in preaching  and teaching the true Word of God.

2) When it is needed, to find ways to help pastors support themselves through “self-help” projects.  We recognize that very poor congregations cannot always provide for their pastor’s living expenses.  Since the CLC-USA does not provide for the salaries of individual pastors, we want to help by providing loans for small business ventures, or agriculture, or other means to help a pastor support his family himself.

3) To assist our partner church bodies overseas in reaching out with the Gospel to those who do not yet know Christ.  We see that the fields are white for harvest, as Jesus said!  Our heart’s desire is that, on the Last Day when Jesus comes again, we will see a great many people at His right hand who came to believe in Christ because the Lord worked through you and us.

4) To help make our sister church bodies stronger in God’s Word through the distribution of Luther’s Small Catechism.  We believe that the strength of the churches depends not only on the knowledge of the pastors and teachers, but also on the knowledge of Bible doctrine that  the individual members have.  Luther’s Catechism is the best and simplest way for church members to get to know the true Bible teaching.

5) To help our sister church bodies to become self-organized, self-governing, and self-supporting.  We recognize that our financial help will always be welcomed.  Still, we would like our sister churches to be prepared, if necessary, to be able to continue with the work of the Gospel even without help from us with money.

6) To assist, where we can, in helping congregations as they build their own churches.  We have helped to buy the roofing materials for many congregations already, and we look forward to helping in this way in the future.

The CLC Board of Missions will next meet in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in April of this year. We ask that you would pray on our behalf, that the Lord would guide us in our planning and our decisions.  We will also welcome your thorough reports about how you are doing as we approach the April meetings.

I also have another request to make”  On February 29, Pastor Matthew Gurath will be installed as our 2nd CLC Foreign missionary, in a special church service.  He and his family are set to leave the USA on March 7.  They will live in Efa, Nigeria, near Missionary Koenig and his wife, Mary.  Pastor Gurath’s presence in Nigeria will be a big help there, and will also make it possible for our sister churches in India, Tanzania, Kenya and Congo to have visits from our  missionaries more often.  During Pator Gurath’s installion service, greetings will be read from our CLC congregations, as they express their prayer and good wishes for our new missionary and his family.  We would like very much to read your greetings and prayers for Pastor Gurath also.  If you would please send them to me by email, I will see that they are read during the service.

You may send your greetings and prayers to:
brucenaumann [at] CLClutheran [dot] com.

May the Lord richly bless your preaching and teaching during the remainder of the Epiphany season, as we shine the Gospel light on our Savior, the Lord Jesus, for our people!

In Christ,
Pastor Bruce Naumann, Chairman
CLC Board of Missions