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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
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It's harvest time here in our area and all around us we see, hear, and at times even smell evidence of the harvest. This week we are sharing a series on the Ultimate Harvest based on Matthew 9:35-38. Yesterday's message was titled "The Ultimate Motivation"
"The Ultimate Need"
"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36).
As a human race we face a variety of needs. Some are very real, while others may be a misuse of the word "need". In the affluent lifestyle we have become accustomed to here in the West we often hear the word "need" used to describe that which might be laughable or unimaginable by those who live in many other parts of the world. For instance we may hear someone say, "I really need a new TV" even though this is not something we can't live without. (In many cases we may merely want to replace a TV that works perfectly fine with a newer model.)
In the Scriptures there are certain needs common to all humanity such as food and clothing. (1 Timothy 6:8). We also genuinely need love, security, peace, freedom, relationships with others and so forth.
Yet today in the media and in some churches there are other causes being heavily promoted as "The greatest needs facing the human race." Included in the top ten as the "greatest needs facing mankind" are such causes as healthcare, the environment, the role of the government, etc. I recently perused an evangelical magazine entirely devoted to environmental themes that included a reference to a sermon series titled, "God is Green." I searched the entire magazine in vain for any reference to the human spiritual need. The experience left me feeling empty and anxious about the present state of the Evangelical church.
In our daily text, Jesus models to all who look on that He was motivated by compassion; "when He saw the crowds He had compassion on them…" Our ultimate motivation in helping others is to be that of compassion as well. That was yesterday's message.
He also expressed the very heart of what is the ultimate human need as the crowd was described as "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." People continue to be "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" which is a result of our spiritual separation from God.
The most vivid example I've witnessed of people being harassed and helpless took place over 18 years ago though I can still see it in my mind's eye today. Brooksyne and I were visiting the orphanage where Ester was born in the Rio Dulce area of Guatemala. With no warning signs there was a sudden heavy downpour of rain accompanied by flashing bolts of lightning and loud clapping thunder. About 30 to 40 children, many under six years of age, began to cry and run to a dry place but others just dropped to the ground in a fetal position with their arms folded over their heads. One little girl about 4 years old ran to the swing set and began to swing with her body drooped over the swing so that her head faced the ground as she attempted to keep her face out of the splattering rain.
The government sponsored orphanage lacked sufficient volunteers and workers for the children, so for the most part, they seemed to be on their own in the midst of a great storm. Brooksyne and I tried to gather them out of the rain but there were only two of us and we didn't speak Spanish though the children surely understood our good intentions. They were truly like sheep without a shepherd, harassed by the tropical storm and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, at a time when children would normally have mothers and fathers gather them close for safety and reassurance.
I just described the emotional and physical needs of the orphaned children, but each of us also has a spiritual need. We are incessantly harassed by the enemy and are helpless apart from our spiritual need being foundationally met through a relationship with Christ who calls people to repent, believe, obey and follow Him.
Throughout the Book of Acts and teachings in the Epistles we see the early Church seeking to fulfill this Ultimate Mission of making "disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19,20).
I recall a statement from my Bible School days that I still very much believe: "Christ started the church the way He wanted it and He wants the Church the way He started it." Throughout history the enemy has so often tried to get the church off track but our mission must remain primarily meeting the ultimate human need which is spiritual in nature. Humankind remains "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Today let us ever keep this great need before us and provide them with the answer!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we have freely received Your gift of forgiveness and salvation. Because of this we are motivated by compassion for the lost as we recognize their ultimate human need is to have a spiritual relationship with You. We want to be a part of the ultimate mission in reaching them with the gospel message so that they might have forgiveness of sins and enjoy eternal life in heaven. Keep us ever mindful of our mission and obedient to Your leading. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Several weeks ago we posted a photo of a large hornet's nest in a tree in our front lawn. We had heavy winds and the nest fell out of the tree onto the ground and really stirred up the hornets two days ago. Roxie was curious about it and went over to investigate as dogs tend to do. Although she didn't get all the way to the nest she apparently got stung on her paw. She didn't yelp as I would have expected at the pain of a sting, but she tried to tend to it with her mouth. She limped last night and didn't show her usual enthusiasm at life but she's fine this morning!
We thought the most interesting races were dogs that had been trained to run to the end of a hurdle course, pick out a tennis ball and then run back all on their own. Dogs of all sizes did this and it was quite a humorous sight. I have no question that Roxie would have the speed to compete well, but keeping her on the course and getting the tennis ball would be another thing!
photos of the generator move posted on a local news site.
Last Friday I shared about two huge steam generators that are coming through our area on the way to Three Mile Island. We stopped by to have a close look. As I talk to people about this, one of the questions they ask is, "What does the front look like?" Although the area is closed off and guarded by State Police here's a photo I managed to take of the front. Two operators work the transport from the front and two from the back. I didn't see a steering wheel.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"Field Of Souls" Video
"In Heaven's Eyes" Video
"The Harvest" I was unable to find a version of this powerful video to view online but if you can get a hold of it, it will surely touch your heart.
The Harvest, Multiple Language DVD Edition
By Randolf Productions Inc
The season to gather in the crops has arrived, but in the midst of crisis, only a young boy's prayer can save The Harvest. Based on a true story, this powerful modern-day parable will inspire you to commit your energy and talents to reach the world for Christ---one person at a time. Approx. 17 minutes.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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