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Thursday, December 13, 2007
"Here’s the church and here’s the steeple.
Open the door and see all the people!”
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"We Really Do Need Each Another!"
"From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Ephesians 4:16).
Today our church is having a twenty-four hour prayer chain, which began at midnight and will end at midnight tonight. Brooksyne and I signed up for ½ hour slots at 6:00 and 6:30 this morning. An interesting feature of this method is that we were to prompt the person following us with a phone call when our time was finished. At 6:00 Brooksyne received a call from Musser, who is in his seventies and at 7:00 I called Renee, a teenager. This multi-generational participation and cooperation is heartening to us.
These calls were not only reminders but were also intended to enhance our sense of cooperation. For those who signed up in the wee hours of the morning it also helps them to feel less isolated during this sleepy hour as others are awake with them. (I can't help but think it might also keep one who is praying from drifting into a sleepy state when they know they're responsible for the next call in the chain!)
I recently read an article by John Palmer, a friend of ours from Bible College, and appreciated an illustration he shared about an experience in a primary class.
A new boy, Davey, showed up just as the class started. Because he had just one arm, the teacher was a bit nervous, concerned that one of the other children would comment on his handicap and embarrass him. But since there was no opportunity to caution them, she proceeded.
She began to relax as Davey fit in very well. Then, when it was about time for the class to end, she asked the students to stand and join her in making the church. Showing them how to put the fingers of their two hands together, she said, “Let’s make a church. Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.”
As she saw Davey holding his one hand in the air, the awful truth of her actions struck her. The very thing she had feared the children would do, embarrass Davey, she had just done. She stood speechless, embarrassed by her own unintended insensitivity.
But before she could do anything, Sarah, the little girl next to Davey, put her right hand into his left hand and said, “Davey, let’s make the church together.”
What a tremendous illustration of the Body of Christ at work in cooperation. Today's text is a powerful statement using the analogy of the body but for this brief thought let me merely focus on the final phrase, "as each part does its work."
It is easily observable that when everything works properly each part is doing its work. This is true all through God's creation and is also evidenced in man's designs. Little things do matter and their failure to perform properly and on time can impair or at times completely destroy the functioning of the whole. Think about it, essentially everything that fails does so ultimately because of something small. Even a catastrophic failure generally begins with something small.
Let us do our part today in advancing the Cause of Christ in the various ways we serve and realize this is best done in a spirit of cooperation. I encourage you today to faithfully serve in whatever manner God has led you in your local church and in other areas of service for the Lord. The Body of Christ truly works, growing and building itself up in love, as each part does its work. We really do need each another!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, so many times in the midst of crisis we've said, "What do people do who don't have a church supporting them during these times?" And that is so true because the church body intervenes as though they are Your hand. They see our need, and with their compassionate and generous response, they help us to declare, "All is well!" Thank You for the body that works cooperatively instead of competitively. May we be fervent in our witness and in our commitment to one another even as Satan attempts to cause division and silence the church, making us weak and ineffective. Help us to aim our double edged sword toward the true enemy, Satan, not toward our brothers and sisters in the faith. When difficulties and differences arise, help us to petition prayerfully and make us scripturally sensitive, as we commit our thoughts, attitudes and actions to You. Let us join hands with our brothers and sisters so that in areas of weakness we come alongside one another with support and supplication strengthening the body of Christ as a whole! In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
"If We Are The Body" (Video)
"I Thank The Lord For You" (Audio)
"I Look To You And You Are Love" (Audio)
"Body Of Christ" (Audio)
Today's message title, "We Really Do Need Each Another" is actually a song I recall from the late 70s/early 80's by Ray Hildebrand, who still lives in the KC area where I am from. I have not heard the song in many years and was unable to find a copy on the internet although I do see that Ray Hildebrand is still active in ministry. He probably is most famous for "Hey Paula" (audio), which has an interesting story behind it. This was long, long before my time!
Brooksyne's note: As I considered today's message a hymn background story came to mind. Fanny Crosby, born in 1820 lost her sight at six weeks of age, due to an improper medical treatment. Though Crosby could not see physically God revealed many truths to her spiritually which she generously passed on to us through her inspirational writings of more than 10,000 texts put to music. She sought God continually for her every need. The hymn, "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" was written in gratitude for answered prayer.
One day she desperately needed five dollars and had no other resource from which she could obtain it. As was her custom, she began to pray to God about the matter. Within minutes there was a knock at her door and a stranger appeared with the exact amount she was praying for. This was her response to the miraculous encounter, "I have no way of accounting for this except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, I immediately wrote the poem and Dr. Lowry set it to music." This hymn of confidence and guidance was first published in 1875.
Here's an mp3 audio reading with a perspective from Brooksyne.
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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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