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Friday, August 25, 2006

Photo of Stan and Deb, Ester's youth group leaders
Stan and Deb along with Ester

"Fellow Workers"

"Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ" (Romans 16:9).

I shared in a note yesterday that my family is traveling up to New England today. This Sunday we will share our internet chaplaincy ministry at Liberty Christian Center in Taunton Massachusetts, where I served as pastor from mid 1993 through 2000.  We are looking forward to seeing our many friends from that congregation.

This Tuesday Ester will have her pacemaker replaced at Boston Children's Hospital.  We are blessed with many family and friends who have called, written, emailed and stopped by expressing interest and assuring us of their prayers.

Photo of Ester with her youth group leader Stan in Chicken House
Early last night two of Ester's youth leaders stopped by to visit and pray for her.  Stan and Deb are very dedicated to the youth of our church and carry a burden for their souls.  They have been leading the youth group since we moved to this area over 5 ½ years ago and that's quite an achievement!  They own and operate a large chicken house raising some 24,000 high quality organic broilers at a time.  

They, like the vast majority of us who are seeking to advance the Kingdom of Christ, serve in relative obscurity. Only a few of you reading this have ever heard of Stan and Deb but you all know people like them.  These are the people who have made an impact for Christ in the sphere of influence that God has placed them in and this is extremely significant. I earnestly believe the vast amount of God's work is done on this level and the incremental, accumulative impact of people like Stan and Deb all over the world accounts for most of the church's ministries.

In yesterday's message I referred to the 35 proper names in the 16th chapter of Romans. The Apostle Paul, who wrote this book is quite famous and even a young Christian will quickly learn of his role in the growth of the early church.  He surely was a man who had many friends and ministry associates! 

Urbanus is mentioned only once in the entire Scriptures. He wasn't one of the "major players" like Paul and other famous Bible characters.  Most readers, even those who faithfully read the Bible, have probably never considered his role at all. But Paul calls him a "fellow worker", which is the sum total of biographical data we have on him.

But that says a lot, although no indication at all is provided as to what he did. Perhaps, like Stan, he worked with the Youth Group in Rome. That was probably quite challenging then just like it is today. Perhaps he did nursery duty, along with his wife (this would have been before they had disposable diapers).  Perhaps he cleaned up after they had meetings (somebody had to do that).

Wayne and Yvette, youth leaders in Taunton MA
On Saturday the youth group from our former church will be involved in street ministry in downtown Taunton, Massachusetts. Wayne and Yvette lead this group of young people.  Most of you haven't heard of them either but they're on the same team as Stan and Deb, although they haven't met as their assignments are about 500 miles apart.

I am thankful for the scores of "fellow workers" like Urbanus, Stan, Deb, Wayne and Yvette who are serving today in the work of the Lord.  Are you joining them?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, how grateful we are for those who roll up their sleeves and get involved in Kingdom work.  They carry the burdens of those who are weighed down.  They pray people through to salvation.  They visit the sick and imprisoned.  They give generously of their resources.  They take a stand for righteousness sake.  They endure trial after trial.  These fellow workers make the journey a little sweeter and a lot more enjoyable as we travel through to the other side. We give thanks for our fellow believers who come alongside us. And we give thanks for those whose kinship we feel through the daily encouragement.  Bless our fellow workers in Your name, Lord Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's note: A number of readers have inquired about Ester and expressed that they will be in prayer for her over the next week.  Thank you so much.  A very specific request we'd like to share is regarding the challenge the surgeon will have on Tuesday in locating the "sweet spot."  Due to excessive scar tissue from Ester's five heart operations the challenge to find the essential "sweet spot" that connects the lead from the pacemaker to the heart can be rather difficult.  The only way the pacemaker will function properly is when this exact spot is found.  (This is an extremely simple explanation since I have no medical training, but perhaps this will give you a specific request to bring before the Lord.  I'm sure the surgeon would appreciate your prayers in this matter.)

Yvette has a wonderful testimony.

Photo of Mike and Kay, Ester's youth group leaders
Late last night another leadership couple from Ester's youth group dropped by to pray with her!  Ester is deeply touched by so many who bear her health burden with her.  And so are we!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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