The Lutheran Church of Pakistan

Blessed New Year to each of you in the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ!  The Kairos Network is pleased to announce to you that there will be a Mission Forum for the future work of the Lutheran Church of Pakistan on January 12-14, 2020.

The Purpose

A forum of the church to come together by LCMS missions and sister churches to bring God’s Word and Sacraments to Pakistan.

Presentations

PRESENTATION 1 – Can Orthodoxy Be Missional?

PRESENTATION 2 – Building A Sacramental Culture

PRESENTATION 3 – The Lutheran Church of Pakistan Project

PRESENTATION 4 – Missions To An Unbelieving World

Presenters

Dr. John Bombaro
Dr. John Bombaro

Rev. John J. Bombaro, Ph.D. (King’s College, University of London) is a missionary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, serving as the Assistant Director of Theological Education at the Luther Academy, Rīga, Latvia. In this role, he works to plant an English-speaking congregation in Riga. He teaches Lutheran theology and mentors seminary students in a Bachelor of Divinity program at Riga Luther Academy (the Latvian Ev. Luth. Church’s seminary). He assists in the re-accreditation of the seminary, not only as a Latvian seminary but also as an English-speaking seminary accredited throughout the European Union. He builds confessional and strategic relations between regional partner churches and synods. With Melinda’s help, John also coordinates conferences around Eurasia for pastors and other church workers.

Rev. James Krikava
Rev. James Krikava

Rev. James Krikava serves the Lord as a missionary through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the Eurasia region, based in the Czech Republic. In this role, James serves as the regional director for the Eurasia region. He partners with local church leaders and current LCMS international mission leadership to strengthen and sustain existing congregations in this part of the world. He also is involved with theological teaching and with building relationships with other church bodies that are currently not in fellowship with the International Lutheran Council (ILC).

Jay dass
Vicar Jay Dass

Vicar Dass, along with his wife Julie (not pictured for her safety), are missionaries to all people, but mostly to adherents of the religion of Islam.  They both grew up as Christians in Pakistan, but now serve as dedicated servants of Christ in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Vicar Dass is studying to be a Lutheran pastor through the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and will be ordained in 2021.  His passions are studying God’s Word, sharing Christ, and reading the writings of Martin Luther.  The Lord is preparing them to go to Pakistan to establish a Biblical, Lutheran Church there.  Jay and Julie are working with 9 young men in Pakistan who are eager to study at the Lutheran Seminary in Riga, Latvia in Fall of 2020.

Location

Living Faith Lutheran Church

1171 Atlanta Hwy

Cumming, GA 30040

LivingFaithLutheran.com

Lodging

Hampton Inn

915 Ronald Reagan Blvd

Cumming, GA 30041

Call and set up your reservation at 844-359-4652.  Mention the Mission Forum at Living Faith Lutheran Church to get the special rate.

If you are in the area, attend as many events you are able.

Tentative Schedule

                      Sunday: January 12, 2020                       

9:00 AM – Bible Study 1

10:15 AM – Divine Service – Rev. Jim Krikava

12:00 PM  – Lunch and Fellowship

Afternoon – Open for Mission Meetings

                               Monday: January 13, 2020                             

8:00 AM – Coffee and Welcome

8:30 AM – Matins in the sanctuary

9:15 AM – Bible Study 2

10:15 AM – 1st Presentation – Dr. John Bombaro

11:30 AM – Table Discussion and Prayer

12:00 PM – Lunch at Living Faith Lutheran

1:00 PM – 2nd Presentation – Dr. John Bombaro

2:15 PM – Table Discussion and Prayer

2:30 PM – Break

2:45 PM – Lutheran Church of Pakistan Project

4:00 PM – Question and Answer

4:30 PM – Overview of Islam – Rev. Bruce Lieske

5:00 PM – Dinner at Living Faith Lutheran

6:00 PM – Evening Prayer in the sanctuary

7:00 PM – Reception at Living Faith Lutheran

                     Tuesday: January 14, 2020                      

8:00 AM – Coffee and Fellowship

8:30 AM – Matins in the sanctuary

9:15 AM – Bible Study 3

10:15 AM – 3rd Presentation – Rev. Jim Krikava

11:30 AM – Table Discussion and Prayer

12:00 PM – Midday Prayer and Departure

+VDMA+

 

 

Rev. Rojas on the Giver of Life

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14


Meditation: The Author and Giver of Life

God is the Author and Giver of Life, and life begins at conception. When God created this world, He blessed Adam and Eve with the command to procreate: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). This wasn’t a command to “be productive” or to “work hard.” This was a command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) with people. Soon after giving this command, God reveals to Adam and Eve exactly how they will “be fruitful” and “fill the earth”—”A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” It’s a common misconception that “one flesh” refers to some spiritual union between husband and wife (think of the language of ‘soul-mates’ and ‘destiny’). But this is not what Scripture says. When Scripture says, “they shall become one flesh,” it means they will have a baby. An infant is the flesh of only the father and the mother combined. Every human being who has ever lived (except for Adam and Eve, and Christ Himself) are the combined flesh of their two parents: father and mother.

God didn’t keep the joy of creation for Himself—He gave it to us. (Christians should ban the term “reproduction” from their vocabulary; instead, use “procreation.” “Reproduction” is an industrial and business term that refers to inanimate objects. People started to use this word to refer to “making babies.” It’s crass. We “procreate.” This language affirms that there is a Creator—God—who “brings forth” His creation through His creatures. It’s a beautiful image.) God shares a glimpse of His joy of creation with us! The unspeakable joy that a father and mother have in seeing their child’s face at birth and then showering that child with undeserved gifts for the rest of his life is a splinter of the joy God has in creating and sustaining us.

God creates life through a man and a woman. If you ever want to know the definition of marriage and family, just consider where every human being came from—The sexual union between one man and one woman. When God chooses to make another human, when God chose to make you, He chose to first bring together your father and your mother. In doing this, He joined them together in the most profound and blessed union on the face of this planet. And, in God’s time and according to His Will, He caused you to be made in conception. He formed your inward parts. He knitted you together in your mother’s womb—He threaded your veins and arteries from your heart to your limbs, He formed your bones and jointed them together, He placed every hair follicle precisely where He determined it to be. And for all of this, it is our duty to thank and praise Him, serve and obey Him. Every human being is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Lamentably, there are many who deny this. There are many who claim that there is no Creator, that life doesn’t begin at conception, and that some people are not fearfully or wonderfully made. Some people advocate and pay for the murder of infants in and out of the womb(even nominally Christian denominations!), simply because they reject the undeniable and demonstrable truth that life begins at conception. Others are driven to despair and end their life because they hate their bodies, their life, and their entire being. They reject the fact that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by their dear Father in heaven who loves them. Birth defects and physical troubles don’t negate God’s love. These things prove that original sin and its consequence of death is real—This should move us not to deny this life, but to seek eternal life in Christ all the more!

There have been 61 million abortions and counting in the United States alone since Roe v. Wade (There have been 1.5 billion worldwide). This is a holocaust. This all comes from the denial of God as Creator, the Father, the Source, the Author and Giver of Life. When we deny that God gave us life, we will soon deny the life God gave to others. To murder infants—for whatever reason—is an abomination. This is an indescribable horror, one too ghastly to think about. Yet it happens every day.

The world denies God and the life He so graciously gave them. But it shouldn’t be this way with you. Don’t despise God or the life He gave you or the body He so fearfully and wonderfully knit together in your mother’s womb. Learn to accept your life as a gift of God and the life of others as gifts from God as well. Don’t fall into the “pragmatism” of the day that prevents children from being born through birth control or “Plan-B pills.” Learn to confess that children are a gift from God Himself and that we should never prevent God’s Will from being done. Husbands should never deny children to their wives, and wives should never deny children to their husbands (1 Corinthians 7:4). There’s never a good reason to prevent or end the life of a child. However, if you’ve fallen into such vice in the past before, repent. Repent and remember that God, the Author and Giver of Life, willingly gave Himself into death for your sake to forgive all of your sins. Remember that God loved your life and body and existence more than you ever could. He not only loved you into existence, but He loved you into His kingdom as He gave life and limb, flesh and blood for your salvation. The God who formed you in your mother’s womb made Himself to be in the womb of the Virgin Mary to redeem you, to live the perfect life in your place since His conception. He created you. He redeemed you. And now He sanctifies you with His Word.

Rejoice in the life God gave you now, and the eternal life He has promised to you through faith in His only begotten Son. Love and protect the life that He gave to your neighbor, even your neighbors you haven’t met yet still in the womb.

+ Rev. Roberto Rojas Jr.

About Time

Look at these great bullet points from Rev. Matthew Harrison about our Lord’s eternal work within the confines of time.  It is definitely a comfort for all of us who are becoming aware that “we cannot do it all.”  Better yet, “we cannot do it at all.”  May you take comfort in what you cannot do, but what our Lord Jesus Christ HAS DONE.

In Christ,

The Kairos Network

 

by Matthew C. Harrison

As happens every month, I was told that the deadline for The Lutheran Witness was at hand. “What’s the theme?” I asked again. “Time” was the response. Hmmmmm.

Time. Does the Bible say that much about time? My thoughts immediately moved to mortality. My wife’s lovely mother has just passed from this vale of tears to eternity. I’d known her for 40 years. A blessed Christian mother, as lovely inside as out, who believed deeply in Jesus her Savior, loved studying the Word of God and prayed for us every day — all with joy and laughter and strength of faith along the way. The last year had been very difficult for her, and for her caring husband and children. Not two weeks ago I was face to face with death, again.

Time often strikes as Law. Saying goodbye to loved ones is bitter. Contemplating one’s own mortality is sobering, to say the least. I’ve been by the bedside of dying loved ones. I’ve completed the death watch with many parishioners as a pastor. I’ve sung many Easter hymns alone with dying Christians, and with grieving family present. I, we, they, believed and believe in Christ. But death is bitter.

My time on earth is now. It’s but a flash and gone. I think of all the generations past. What a strange privilege it is to be alive now! And how small I feel! James 4:14 is truth: “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time (literally, as a “little phenomenon”) and then vanishes.”

Walking through the excavated ruins of Herculaneum in Italy, frozen in time by the ash of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 70, I was struck by how very similar life was then — the carpentry (paneled wood doors in homes), provisions for water and sewage, art, decorated homes, flooring, social life, alcohol, debauchery, philosophy, hedonism, social status, wealth, poverty, trade, markets and restaurants. Despite all our technology today, there is finally “nothing new under the sun.” And death is ever present. These thoughts of mortality render me melancholy. That’s what time as Law gets you.

Nevertheless, the Bible has a shocking plethora of things to say about time, and much of it is of the blessed Gospel! In fact, it lifts the pall on time and reveals Christ in eternity.

  • Jesus Christ is the One who rules time and eternity. “To the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 25).
  • God has ordered all time, and at just the right time, sent His Son for us. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4). “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20). “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). The Father sent Jesus at just the right time. Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:6).
  • Eternity is near. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).
  • Struggles with the world are part of living in time. “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 18).
  • Time without Jesus is wasted on passions that lead to hell. “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” (1 Peter 4:3).
  • Times of trial are purposeful. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).
  • Time with Christ is time looking to a blessed eternity. “Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2).
  • The time we have on this earth is to be purposefully lived as Christians. “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Peter 1:17).
  • God Himself, Creator of time, protects us in our earthly walk, preparing us for eternity. And we “by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
  • God promises to be with us through time. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (literally: “at just the right time”) (Heb. 4:16).
  • Christ bids us hold to Him in faith, believe His Word and go to church. It is possible to fall away. “And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away” (Luke 8:13).
  • Paul’s apostolic blessing covers our lives on this earth. “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thess. 3:16).
  • Christians are to be wise about the time we have. “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Col. 4:5).
  • We are to be sober about the world in which we live. “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
  • We live in blessed hope and optimism, even in the face of death, because God has “a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10).
  • Now is the time for us to believe and to tell others of Jesus. “For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
  • While our flesh looks at time as morbidity, by the Spirit we behold life to come. “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
  • The preaching of John the Baptizer and Jesus is as urgent and relevant today for us as it was for its first hearers. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

— Pastor Harrison

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison is president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.