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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Butterfly on day lily (click to enlarge)
Butterfly on Day Lily
Our backyard is teeming with butterflies
as well as other less desirable insects!

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"Faithful, Loving Service, Too"

"I was sick and you looked after me" (Matthew 25:26).  "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).

Ester with rocker
I have a friend who has a very interesting form of service for Christ. For many years he has regularly visited the pediatric unit at Hershey Medical Center just to lovingly hold premature babies.  Through the years Brooksyne and I have taken in a number of sick children through our involvement with Healing the Children.  We recall people voluntarily visiting children and babies in hospitals we were in but never gave much thought to the volunteer aspect to this service.  What a wonderful way to express the love of Christ!  And what a blessing it is for those parents whose children are long-term patients in the hospital.

So often we think big when it comes to ministry.  Big churches, filled stadiums, lots of television and radio stations carrying ministry programs, a well-known name, etc.  And that's fine, but the vast majority of ministry is taking place one on one or in small, seemingly inconsequential groups  with people expressing Christ's love in tangible ways to a hurting, broken world. 

Some friends and relatives of mine involved in caring ministries are people like Mary who sorts out used baby clothing for the crisis pregnancy center.  Rick visits a large state prison each week to share a Bible Study with a small group of prisoners.  He's done this for nearly fifteen years!  Greg visits three separate nursing homes.  And I could go on and on with people I have known and pastored.

I've also met people who aspire to someday do something big for God, but in the meantime just sit and wait.  The daily verse and context give us a glimpse of the specific forms of service that matter to Christ. They're not really big things, but the accumulative impact of serious followers of Christ obeying His commands has made a tremendous impact on our world.  What are you doing today for Christ? 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I'll cling.
In His blessed presence live, ever His praise to sing.
Love so mighty and so true merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful loving service too, to Him belongs!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I want to be Your hand extended to others in need.  Help me not to turn the other way or to expect someone else to be Your messenger of compassion and care.  I want to seek out those who need a kind touch or an attentive ear.  May I be sensitive and compassionate to those in need. May I also be sensitive and obedient to Your leading.  Amen.

Personal note: It's so good to be home! We got in about 2:00 AM early this morning. Our house is hot and stuffy as we have had a spate of very hot weather and the air conditioners are struggling to catch up and get the heat and humidity out. The lawn needs mowed and Brooksyne has lots of garden work that she already started at 6:30 this morning.  She really missed her gardening while we were away. We finally have ripe tomatoes, a long time coming this summer since she planted the garden late.  We had a great time on our trip but are ready to get back to the grind and plan to make chaplain visits tomorrow. This Sunday I have an opportunity to speak in an area church in Dover, PA.

Brooksyne's Note:  We don't have a photo of the male volunteer at Hershey Hospital, so we featured a photo of Julie holding Ester in the hospital.  Julie's husband was pastoring in Danville, PA where Ester was a patient at Geisenger Medical Center in 1989.  Ester was critically ill from her heart disease when she arrived from Guatemala at 3 months of age.

Within days she underwent two heart operations and was slowly recovering from endocarditis (an infection in the lining of her heart) so she was a patient for over three months and in isolation most of the time.  I had visited Julie's church and later called to see if she or one of her daughters might be able to visit and hold Ester at least once a week.  The entire family got involved and the photo shows Julie holding her in the hospital when 

Ester was six months old.  It was an extremely trying time since we lived over three hours from the hospital and were caring for another child with spina bifida at a different hospital.  I was greatly comforted in knowing that another loving Christian mother was looking in on Ester when I couldn't be with her everyday.

I also recall my freshman year at Bible College when I signed up to visit terminally ill children at Cox Medical Center in Springfield, MO.  Each week I visited with Louise, a child about 9 years old, who was suffering from the ill effects of cancer for several years.  She was gravely ill but she came to know me and looked forward to my weekly visits.  I read to her, sang with her and spent the afternoon just being by her side. It was with tremendous effort and weeks of practice that she finally learned to pronounce my name. The nurses and her family commented on how much my visits meant to her, but the truth is that I was the one who was greatly blessed by being with her.  Here it is 34 years later and I'm tearing up in my remembrance of her very weak but always present smile (very contorted due to the poisonous disease she battled.)  I went home for summer vacation and was so excited to return in the fall so that I could see Louise again.  When I arrived at the hospital my heart was broken after I learned that she had passed away a week or two earlier.  I look forward to seeing Louise in heaven with a beautiful smile and bright eyes.  

Some more photos of our trip

Dinner at Lamberts
Tuesday evening we had dinner with our long-time friends David and Sandy Simpson at Lambert's Cafe between Branson and Springfield, the home of the "throwed roll". What an interesting place to eat! Dave is prepared to catch the flying roll!

Dinner at Lamberts
Dave and I had Country Fried Steak served in a large frying pan!  The server literally throws the rolls to you and comes around with big pots of fried okra, black-eyed peas, sorghum for the rolls, and other southern delicacies in addition to a more than adequate sized main dish.  Tip: If you go there buy the smallest entree on the menu as you can fill up on the delicious homemade rolls and all the stuff they bring to the table in pots!

Jake is Dave and Sandy's very colorful dog, who enjoys eating ice.  He paws the dispenser until the ice falls to the floor and then he chomps it till it's gone.  Then he goes back for more until Sandy finally presses the lock button to keep him from emptying the supply.

Dinner at Lamberts
Yesterday just prior to our flight back east we had dinner with John and Joan Wiseman right beside the Kansas Speedway (of interest to NASCAR fans). They were kind enough to take us from Springfield all the way to the KC airport!

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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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