January 17, 2006

Prayer Alert
Recently our pastors and members suffered from severe flooding in the Chennai area of India. This is in the BELC area. Pray that God would comfort our brothers and sisters in remembering that what truly counts – forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death and the devil, eternal life – can’t be taken from them. This they possess even though possessions may be destroyed. Whenever something like this happens, it is a pointer from God to look from earth to heaven. Heaven is our home. We are only temporarily here.
ELCC- Our Congo brethren are having trouble with the registration of the church body with the government. The government has asked such a large amount for the whole process that the CLC Mission Board is not able to go forward with this. Also there has been one previous failed attempt which was costly in our offerings. Now Pastor Muzakuza and the brothers face a government saying they should be registered. Pray that the Lord would give some solution to this dilemma. It is indeed true that we aught to obey the government. Yet when the government requires what is obviously a ‘bribe’ and not just a registration cost, we find ourselves unable to carry forward.
“Thumbnail Sketches of NT Books”
With this we will be having a series on sketches of the NT books. One way for a person to get more out of a book, any book, is to consider the outline of the book and then to read it. So we will have for each of the NT books an outline. It also helps to know when one book was written in relation to other books, so you have the Timeline from Franzmann’s “The Word of the Lord Grows.”  While some of the dates are more general, still this gives a general idea of when the book was written and in connection with some other events also.
And it is also good to quiz yourself periodically on a subject to have a review of it.  With this beginning we have a quiz to follow. When we finish the series of “Thumbnail Sketches…” why not take the quiz again to see how you did, unless of course you get 100% this first time. The following 27 items are to be matched to the 27 books. See how you do. Which New Testament book is indicated by each of the following:
a) Pastoral letter to Crete,
b) to Gaius,
c) Epistle of Joy,
d) by the brother of James,
e) Ministry,
f) “I am…”,
g) the Most Doctrinal Letter,
h) written by a Gentile of Antioch,
i) about the Church’s Head,
j) about the Church as the Body of Christ,
k) written to a region,
l) the shortest Gospel,
m) Visions,
n) to Jewish Christians (in Rome?),
o) God is Love,
p) Congregational Problems,
q) Warns against Hypocrisy,
r) a Repentant Tax Gatherer,
s) to the Elect Lady and her Children,
t) Pastoral Letter to Ephesus,
u) Slavemaster and Slave,
v) Lawless One in 2:3-12,
w) Judgment
x) the Word of the God Grew,
y) Clear Statement of the End in 4:13-17,
z-1) Epistle of Suffering,
z-2) Paul’s Last Letter.
TIMELINE (Why not cut this out and tape it in your Bible.)
30     Pentecost; Birthday of the NT Church
32     Death of Stephen and Conversion of Paul
43     Founding of the Gentile Church at Antioch; Paul summoned to Antioch by Barnabas
44     Death of James the Son of Zebedee
c.45   Epistle of James
46-48 Paul’s First Missionary Journey
48      Epistle of Galatians
49      Apostolic Council
49-51 Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
50     I Thessalonians; 50 (summer) II Thessalonians
52-56 Paul’s Third Missionary Journey
55     I Corinthians; 55 (summer or fall) II Corinthians
56     Romans
56-58 Paul’s Caesarean Imprisonment
58-59 Paul’s Voyage to Rome
59-61 Paul’s First Roman Imprisonment
59-61 The ‘Captivity Letters’ -Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians
50-60 Gospel of Matthew (the estimates of what year are in this range)
c. 60  Gospel of Mark
62-63 I Timothy (estimate of which year varies)
63     Titus
64     Fire in Rome. Neronian Persecution
65-67 II Timothy (estimates vary for  most of the following books)
61-62 I Peter
62(?) II Peter
65-69 Gospel of Luke. Acts
60-70 Jude
65-70 Hebrews
70     Fall of Jerusalem
90-100 Gospel of John, I, II, III John
95     Revelation
Notice that the books of the NT are arranged not according to time given, but according to type of book as in a library. The same is the case with the OT.
Introduction- We are going to be considering highlights from all sister churches and the fields where our brethren are laboring for Him. This is to encourage each of us to labor more and with new ideas in this world as we await His second coming. We can learn from each other and mutually encourage each other as we labor side by side spiritually, as Paul wrote “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith…” Rom.1:12. Just as Paul wrote to the Philippians naming them who worked together as we are also  laboring  side by side in the Gospel. Ph. 4:2 These highlights of the work in the different fields allow us also to remember each other in prayer. May each of us  have as a goal what Paul expressed, “without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers.” Rom. 1:10
Church of the Lutheran Confession of India
Pastor Nireekshana reports on the CLCI that they have been working diligently this last year to expand their efforts in youth ministries, evangelism, missions and children’s VBS. With 74 congregations and over 7000 souls they have been trying to establish new congregations in rural, suburban and urban areas. Gospel meetings lasting several days each have been used at least three times a year in different areas. They continue to use the Jesus Film also. Within the last year they distributed 4000 Telugu catechisms and 1000 Hindi.
The casting of the seed of the Word has brought forth fruit. They have seen new Hindu and Muslim families join the church. For this we praise the Lord. They have gone about evangelizing by: individual members witnessing to friends on a one to one basis, distribution of New Testaments and tracts explaining our services, making contact with independent groups who are separate from other churches, and using the Bible Correspondence Course.
Some changes have been made in the youth ministry. They have moved from the ‘small format’ meetings to a ‘large format’ one. This makes it more appealing to visitors and has encouraged students to invite their friends. CLCI youth have been given the opportunity to have more input and involvement in activities and planning. Tea and refreshments are distributed at youth meetings to encourage more time being spent in fellowship. They now call the youth ministry “CLCI Youth in Action.” Recently, they have also added  a monthly “CLCI Birthday Club.”
With the CLC-USA volunteers working with CLCI members, 18 congregations were visited in the VBS program and 1500 children attended.
Pastor Jyothi reports that graduation at the seminary saw six men finish their three year study. Now fully 29 of the pastors in the church have gone through the seminary. This school year there are 32 students. This was the 7th graduation ceremony held in celebration of God’s work with these men who serve Him.
Some of his observations follow.
    We have been receiving response from many students who would like to join in this seminary, both from our CLCI and from outside. It has been an ecouragement for us.
    We continue to praise God at the way He shapes and molds our pastors and students here…God has been changing all students to be His better instruments.
    We request you all to pray for our seminary. We need to be reminded that the seminary and all of us all the time are called to be true to Him and His Word.

Pastor Koenig