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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Photo of Joe and Jessie with Marsha
Joe and Jessie, along with Marsha

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Brooksyne is playing the song "Compelled By Love", as the background.

"Compelled By Love"

"For Christ's love compels us" (2 Corinthians 5:14).

I enjoy asking others about their testimony of salvation and how it came about.  Marsha attends the church we now serve as interim pastor and runs the Sound System and Power Point program.  I asked her one evening after the service to share her personal testimony of how she came to Christ. She told me that when she was a small child she lived in a trailer park with her parents and younger brother.   Their home was void of any Christian influence when she began attending the church at that time.

I asked her "What led you to get involved in a church when you had no Christian background?"  She pointed to an older couple in the front of the church and said, "Joe and Jessie picked us up on the church bus."

Over twenty five years ago the pastor challenged the members of the congregation to reach out to others in winning their world for Christ.  At that time a popular outreach was bus ministry where church members would reach neighborhoods for Christ by visiting, inviting and then bringing them by bus to church on Sunday mornings.  Joe had come to faith in Christ later in life when he was 49 years old.  His wife, Jesse, prayed him into the kingdom just like so many Christian wives who have prayed over their husbands for years before they surrender to Christ.

Joe and Jessie, with a burden for the lost, decided that they would reach out together. Trailer parks can be pretty rough places but one by one they visited the individual homes, inviting the children to church. Joe would faithfully drive the bus to the trailer park each Sunday picking up Marsha and her younger brother.  They received training in the teachings of Christ through the various ministries of the church. Though twenty five years have passed Marsha continues to be an active part of this church.  Her younger brother lives in a nearby state and raises his family in the ways of the Lord.  They continue to believe God for their family's salvation.

In our freshman year of Bible College a student wrote the theme song for our missions convention and chapel services. It's based on the daily text and the powerful compelling nature of Christ's love. Brooksyne and I both consider this one of the formative songs that spoke to us personally about reaching others for Christ through vocational pastoral ministry.

As the apostle Paul wrote the Scripture text he was indicating the supreme motive for the ministry of reconciliation.  We are to be compelled by Christ's love. The underlying Greek word translated "compels" has the sense of "the pressure which confines and restricts as well as controls."  The present tense indicates the continual habit of life.

Today, millions and millions of believers, like Joe and Jessie are faithfully serving the Lord. They are reaching out one by one, motivated supremely by the love of Christ.  How is the love of Christ compelling you today?

Compelled by love to forfeit my own will,
Compelled by love to give and give and give;
When changes come to keep on loving still,
Compelled by love to love and live for Him.*

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, Your love compels us to love others in the same way that You love us.  You loved us so much that You gave Your divine Son to die for our sins so that we might not perish but live eternally.  Though You have asked very few of us to give our physical lives, You have commanded that we all give ourselves to others by loving, praying, sharing, and leading them to salvation.  Apart from Your Spirit we could not do this, but You have promised the power of Your Holy Spirit to go before us and prepare the hearts of those You are drawing to Yourself.  I want to be a faithful instrument through which Your love compels the lost to be found and the blinded eyes to see.  Amen.

* We were unable to find a version of the song "Compelled By Love" mentioned in today's message and are not sure if it was ever even published beyond our use at college, although it sure should have been! I managed to get Brooksyne to record the song, singing it to her own accompaniment! (mp3) It was written by Debbie Amstutz, but no other credit attribution available. Debbie Amstutz had ministry in Christian music following our years at Central Bible College and had a popular duet with Dallas Holm in the early 80's titled, "No Other One." 

Today we also want to share a musical selection that relates so well to the message and is a challenge for each reader. The song is titled "Each One, Reach One" written by Babbie Mason. Here's sample clip by the original artist. Here's a full mp3 audio version by a musician from Ohio named Jennifer Morgan.

Interesting note: Yesterday my travels took me through eastern Lancaster County and a friend and I drove by where the schoolhouse shootings took place early last month. The little schoolhouse was demolished right after the shootings and the area reseeded as meadow. There were horses in it and I would have had  absolutely no clue that this had been the spot where the tragedy occured if it had not been poined out to me.

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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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