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Monday, August 6, 2007

Sunset on Table Rock Lake
Sunset on Table Rock Lake

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"The Ultimate Reunion"
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Many of us have family reunions, although sadly there is an increasing disconnectedness, making it impossible for some to have such a gathering. Some families live relatively close and see each other frequently but in my family we're spread all around the country and even in some foreign countries. Since we don't see each other regularly a family reunion is a very special time for us.

We just completed our annual Steincross reunion here in Branson, Missouri with some 80 descendents of my grandparents attending.  We've been doing this since 1975. Prior to that year we gathered at my grandparents little white house in Harwood, Missouri but never actually called it a reunion. But when my grandparents died the next generation began an intentional effort to stay connected.

We gathered and reminisced from Thursday through Sunday morning but there came a time we said our goodbyes, expecting, but by no means certain, that we will see each other again next year. Two years ago my Mom attended her final earthly reunion in Oklahoma. Earthly reunions all end that way don't they?

Our daily text speaks of a great future reunion unlike any other. Indeed it will be the ultimate reunion and will include several notable, distinct features.

1) It will include all of our loved ones who have lived for Christ. Some have been missed at other reunions I've attended. At these reunions some had already gone on to be with the Lord. Others simply couldn't make it due to a conflicting schedule.

2) There will be no transportation problems getting to this reunion. No one will miss because they had to work. Sickness or disabilities won't hinder. Wheelchair ramps will be done away with and hearing devices will be nonexistent.  No one will be excluded due to the cost.

3) Our "family" will be greatly expanded. Those who followed Christ will be there from every tribe and language and people and nation. The redeemed from all the ages will be at this reunion. Our common bloodline will be the divine, redeeming blood of Jesus Christ!

4) It will be in the loveliest location; far, far exceeding any beautiful place on this earth. Now I've been to some mighty pretty areas as the Creator sure made a masterpiece on this earth. But this reunion will be in heaven. One of my favorite theologians, R.C. Sproul, asserts that "the remarkable descriptions we have of heaven in the Bible are greatly understated."

5) This reunion will be forever. No more tearful hugs of departure. No more, "See you next year" when that just may not be the case. "We will be with the Lord forever" the Scripture tells us. Notice that wonderful pronoun "we", which refers to both the dead in Christ and those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.  And it will include the abiding presence of the Lord, not just spiritually but also physically. That will be the very best part.

Won't it be wonderful there! But for now we "encourage each other with these words."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I pray that You will capture our minds and draw our hearts to future events. May we with child-like anticipation keep our attention drawn to the eternal truths of Your Word.  And may these spiritual truths turn our face toward heaven. Our future home where we will enjoy a sinless atmosphere, never-ending fellowship with our brothers and sisters and the majesty of Your presence forever.  Amen.

We have more photos than usual to share today!

First cousins
Stephen's first cousins
There is a 25 year+ span of ages among us.

Doug and Georgia
Stephen's cousin Doug and his wife Georgia live in Wisconsin.  
The wives devised a way they could be taller than their husbands!
(Doug is obviously taller than Stephen, who is 6 foot 2 inches.)

My grandparents
Stephen's grandparents, George Washington and Nellie Mae Steincross
They passed away in the early seventies
7 children lived into adulthood
(all but one, their youngest daughter has passed away.)

16 grandchildren (all living)
Many great as well as great,great grandchildren.

Aunt Frances
Aunt Frances, my Mom's youngest sister. She and her husband, my Uncle Jim, made quite an effort to come down from Lincoln, Nebraska but we were sure blessed by their presence!

Ester got to drive the "Duck" boat on Table Rock Lake
and received her "official" duck boat license.
Stephen has decided that he would like to some day be a duck driver, since they meet people from all over and have a lot of fun!

Branson Landing light show
The Branson Landing has a spectacular water, fire, light and music show.  We enjoyed this beautiful show last night.  (These are not my photos, although I tried!)  See here for info.
Branson Landing light show

Jody Sherrell, Ester, and Brooksyne
Brooksyne enjoyed a visit with her youngest brother who joined us for an extended afternoon luncheon at the Branson Landing.  Jody resides in Tulsa which is over 200  miles from Branson.

Today's suggested music:
"I can only imagine" 
This version is from a musician named Brian Powell. 
Listen to instrumental audio version  This is a beautiful instrumental version with saxophone from this site.

Pesonal note: We will spend another day here in Branson and plan to return to Springfield tomorrow, then Kansas City to Baltimore and home to Pennsylvania late Wednesday.  We hope to get another message off tomorrow before we leave Branson.

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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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