A new year is already upon us and at C.L.E.W.S. we are eagerly planning an exciting year, as we begin holding registration for the 2019-2020 school year.
PHASE I: Now through January 19, 2019 for Christ Lutheran and CLEWS families.
Early registration enables Christ Lutheran and CLEWS families to receive priority class placement before we open the classes to the public.All eligible Cradle Roll and Sunday School children’s families will be mailed the packet of registration information, or you may pick it up in the church office. Be sure to turn in your registration before January 20, 2019 for priority placement.
PHASE II: Sunday, January 20, 2019 begins OPEN REGISTRATION for new families to the CLEWS program.
CLEWS is beginning its 36th year and still maintains its excellent reputation. Thanks is due to the dedicated staff, and to the loyal families who continue to spread the word about their experiences at CLEWS.
Parent Meeting…Tuesday, January 15, 2019 7:00 to 8:30 PM
THE GIFT OF A YEAR-Kindergarten Readiness and Beyond
At this meeting, researched information and factors to consider about kindergarten readiness will be presented. Also, a panel of parents and educators will be present to share their experiences with preparing their child for kindergarten, including what factors they considered when making the decision to send their child to kindergarten and what has been the outcome now that their children are older.
We ask that you pre-register so that we know how many to plan for and in the case of inclement weather (as happened last year when we had to cancel) we will be able to notify you. Please call the CLEWS Office at 708-349-0171 and leave your leave your name and contact number if you plan to attend this meeting.
Blessings, good health, and happiness to you and your families in the New Year!
by Barb Mazarakos
Missionaries have long faced challenges in their efforts to spread the Word of God to all nations, but perhaps none faced the struggles that the first overseas missionaries of the Lutheran Church-Missouri synod, Rev. Theodore Naether and Rev. Franz Mohn, did.
Commissioned at what now is the site of Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Missouri on October 14, 1894, the two men and their families began the long journey to the Krishnagiri region (Krishnagiri means “the mountain of Krishna,” a Hindu deity) of India.The work was often difficult, and work days would begin between 2:30 and 4am, depending on how far the villages they were trying to reach were located. Returning in the late morning for breakfast, prayers, and devotional time, Naether in particular would work on sermons for the next day before heading to a school where accounts show he taught catechism, religion, and Bible history. After school ended, he would go out to try and reach nearby heathen if his strength and energy allowed.
Naether continued working in this way for 10 years, until he died of the plague in 1904. His brother in- law, Georg Naumann, continued his work, and it goes on to this day. In a country that as of a 2011 census was 79.8% Hindu (with 6% of the population following “other” religions such as Christianity- the 3rd largest religion in India- Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism), India Evangelical Lutheran Church, which has its seed planted by those original missionaries, now numbers approximately 125,000 members. Yet another extraordinary example of how God works through us to spread the Good News through the world.
by Pete Schrank
During a recent trip to India, one of my business colleagues who lives there and is not at Christian said to me, “Do you know that the Apostle Thomas was sent to India?” I answered, “Yes, ‘Doubting Thomas’ was sent to bring the message of resurrection and redemptions and is the Apostle to India.” I remembered that after Christ gave all believers the Great Commission and ascended into Heaven, the Apostles were sent to various regions to spread the message of salvation. Their mission was to increase the Kingdom of Christ to all the world.
This has been my most researched article I have written to date. I figured a quick Google search would tell me the 12 Apostles and where they were sent. However, not happening this time. After Jesus’ ascension and the giving of the great commission the Apostles were sent, but there was not definitive historic documentation as to where. As one web site proclaimed, “This sending was about the spreading of the Gospel, not about the messengers that were giving the message.” I remember from “The Purpose Driven Life”, worship is not about you but about God; we come to praise the Lord. So, you can see why complete documentation is not available. It wasn’t figured as the important aspect of the Great Commission.
Back to the sending of the 12. The Hebrew word “salah” is translated as “apostello” in the Septuagint and means “stretch out or send”. Some assign “Apostle” to the 70 plus believers that were sent after Pentecost. For the sake of this discussion we will use this to define the 12: Andrew, Bartholomew, James the son of Alpheaus, James the son of Zebedee, John (James’ brother), Mathew/Levi, Simon/Peter, Phillip, Simon the Zelot, Thaddaeus, Thomas, Matthius (replacement for Judas), and Paul/Saul. Oh, that is 13. It is taught by most Christian faiths that all the Apostles were martyred for taking this message to all that would listen. My research says that this may or may not be true because of limited historic documentation. Again, this not critical to the story I am trying to tell, the point is the sending of Christ’s message of salvation. Based on limited information, Andrew went to Georgia and Bulgaria. Bartholomew went to India and Armenia. James (not the person that wrote the book of James) was stoned in Jerusalem. James the son of Zebedee preached in Judea and was beheaded by Herod as found in the book of Acts. John preached in Asia and was exiled to Patmos, where he died of natural causes. Matthew went to the region that we now call Iran. Peter was missionary to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy, Asia and as a martyr was crucified upside down in Rome. Phillip, they say, was sent to Turkey. Simon the zealot became the bishop of Jerusalem after James was killed. Thaddaeus was sent to Iraq and Syria. Thomas as stated earlier went to Afghanistan as well as India. Matthias, who replaced Judas, appears to have preached in and around Jerusalem. Paul was missionary to Croatia, Spain, and Italy.
2000 years later our mission remains the same. People often wonder what their gifts are and what their mission is while occupying this mortal coil. Most if not all the Apostles were simple hard-working men. They were humble and not pretentious in any way. Most were not formally trained as Rabbis or religious leaders. They were fishermen who helped change the world by what they did in their short time on earth. We should all look at these examples to understand our mission and our purpose.
by Barb Mazarakos
Happy New Year! It seems like each year goes a little faster and here we are now with the start of 2019, another 365 days of blank slate in front of us. Some of us may have made resolutions: lose weight, eat more veggies, read a book a month, get to church more regularly. We look at the start of a new year as a chance to better ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually. I long ago gave up making resolutions; I never seem to get past mid-January on most of them anyway. Instead I make a list at the end of each year of things I would like to improve in the year ahead. Sometimes it has to do with my physical well-being (I could definitely use more veggies and less caffeine in the new year) and others my spiritual (giving 100% focus to my daily devotional readings instead of letting my mind wander to the never shrinking to-do list makes the cut for 2019). Whatever that list holds, it is made up of things I would like to do to make myself a little better/healthier/at peace today than I was yesterday.
As I started tossing ideas around for the year ahead, I started to wonder- what if one of the ways I try to improve myself, also improves the life of someone else? Often when we think of “Missionaries”, we think of people like the 12 Apostles Pete Schrank mentioned in his article in this issue. Most were regular men called and prepared by God to go across physical borders to spread the Gospel. They sacrificed and they served and sometimes they died, all to follow the directions of the Great Commission and spread the Word of God to all the nations. You and I may not be ready to take up that kind of journey, but what about on a smaller scale? Where is God calling you to be a “Missionary” a little closer to home?
Of course the first and most obvious answer to that question could be right here at Christ Lutheran Church. There is always a need for another Sunday School or VBS staff member, singer in a choir, or writer for the newsletter. If you are handy with tools, computers, reading a lesson on a Sunday morning, or handing out bulletins before church, there’s a spot we could use you. But I would also encourage you to look beyond the walls of CLC and into our surrounding community. As we as a society seem to turn more and more into ourselves and our technology, where does that leave all of the helping agencies and people who need social contact from more than their computer screen?
Do you have a confidence working with children? Perhaps you could tutor or get involved with a mentoring program. There is no such thing as too many caring adults in the life of a child. Good in the kitchen? Double tonight’s meal for your own family and visit someone who recently lost a loved one or had a baby or suffered an injury that makes cooking hard on them. And be sure to allow time to chat with them when you drop the meal off. So many people are lonely in this big world, and what would make them happier than anything is just a conversation with someone. Know of a neighbor who doesn’t drive anymore but wants to go to church? Offer to pick them up and take them home. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Cut the elderly neighbor’s grass. Donate a toy at Christmas. If you aren’t sure where to look for such opportunities, may I suggest your local township office? If they can’t give you direction, I bet Pastor Ray could.
Mission work is all about spreading the Word of God to all people. What better way to do that than to SHOW His love in action? Our world may be getting smaller thanks to technology, but in many ways it seems to also be getting colder. As the New Year begins and you look for ways to make your life better, please consider mission work. Big or small, there are few things that feel as good as doing good for someone else.
“…do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
By Barb Mazarakos
There is a common piece of advice given to writers when they start out to “write what you know”. These words are often the purest, coming from a place close to the heart where feelings and thoughts mostly unspoken find their way into the world. Such is the tale of one of our most beloved hymns, Amazing Grace.
It is ironic that the man responsible for these beautiful words was once known as “The Great Blasphemer.” For the first seven years of his life, John Newton grew up under the watchful eye of his Puritan mother, being taught the Word of God. When she died when he was 7 he was left to be raised by his father, who was a stern man of the sea. At 11 years old John went to sea with his dad and quickly adapted to some of the less desirable traits of sailors, including cussing, drinking, and overall debauchery.
Newton became impressed in the British Navy but by his bad behavior (and an attempt at desertion), he was demoted to the rank of common seaman. He ended up serving on a slave ship but didn’t get along with the crew, who ended up leaving him in West Africa with a slave trader by the name of Amos Clowe. Clowe gave Newton to his wife, who mistreated him as she did all of the rest of her slaves. In 1748, after 3 years of captivity, Newton was rescued by a seaman who was hired by his father to find him. They began their trip back on the ship Greyhound, which spent over a week thrashing around in a storm on the open water. As the sailors struggled to manually control the ship, Newton had the first moment of his conversion. He cried out to God for help in the middle of the night and the ship was spared. Newton began to spend time studying the Bible and in prayer, just as his mother instilled in him in his earliest years.
He gave up on gambling, women, and drinking, but continued to run slave ships and be involved in slave trading until 1754 when he suffered a stroke. Again he cried out to God for help. The next year he took a position as a tax collector but began studying Greek, Hebrew and Syriac in preparation for serious religious study. He was married to his childhood sweetheart and adopted his two nieces and worked as a lay minister, even applying to be ordained. It took 7 years for him to be accepted and he was ordained as a priest on June 17, 1764 in Olney, Buckinghamshire.
While in Olney, Newton would write hymns to accompany his services. In 1772 he wrote “Faith’s Review and Expectation”, or what we now know as “Amazing Grace”. In 1788, 34 years after leaving the slave trading business, Newton published a pamphlet called “Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade”, which gave details of the condition of slave ships and denounced his former business, even saying “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”The pamphlet was so popular it was reprinted and sent to all of the members of Parliament. Later, under the direction of William Wilberforce, slavery was outlawed in Great Britain in 1807. John Newton lived to see this happen but then passed away in December of that year, amazed by grace and no longer lost.