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Friday, April 23, 2010

Flower cart at Kitchen Kettle Village, Lancaster County PA 4/22/10
Flower Cart at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA

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"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel!"

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

There is a commercial on television getting a lot of air play lately that is sponsored by iamnotashamed.org.  It features people young and old, black and white, American and international, who joyfully proclaim, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel."  It's one of the few commercials that I don't tune out, but instead I give it my full attention from the beginning to the end.  A smile crosses my face each time I hear the Gospel proclaimed in this message, right down to hearing the Scripture reference mentioned from "Romans 1:16."

As wonderful as I feel during the viewing of that commercial I am quick to acknowledge that the world has always been hostile to the truth that is in Christ Jesus. The hostility of others can contribute to feelings of embarrassment, apology, or even shame to those who espouse Christian views, if they're not well-grounded in the Scriptures. The evidence is overwhelming that this hostility is increasing as is commonly expressed in various settings and in numerous fronts.

Several years ago I was talking with Bob, a pastor friend, about the modern tendency to label those in opposition to a particular view as "phobic."  For instance those of us who hold to the historic, traditional, Biblical position on morality in regard to the homosexual agenda are quickly labeled "homophobic."  More recently those, such as Franklin Graham, who have courageously addressed the issue of violence and terror as the means to a goal in the Islamic religion have been called "Islamophobic". As Bob and I conversed about this subject he concluded the real issue is that so many are "truthophobic."  I agree with his assessment as it is a true reflection of our postmodern era where truth is biased and changeable depending on the circumstances!

Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, "Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:21).  The "apostle's teaching", expressed in the Scriptures, form the foundation for genuine Christian discipleship. It is surely the faith delivered to the saints once for all that Jude in verse 3 instructs us to earnestly contend for.

Our daily verse should be the motto of every Christian:  "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ."  As our world plunges into wickedness and now shamelessly revels in it and even promotes it, Christ's true church needs to stand firm for the Gospel.  Today, as individuals scattered around the world, let us proclaim unashamedly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only power of God for salvation from sin!

We have a choice today.  Do we stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Or do we pursue the ever-changing philosophies and trends of our day?  We really can't do both, since trying to do so will bring about compromise, frustration, lack of effectiveness and the real possibility of falling away from the truth once for all entrusted to the saints.

Joshua challenged the Israelites to make a choice: "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15).  The people had to decide to obey the Lord God who had proven His trustworthiness or the gods of their time derived from the imaginations and philosophies of man.  I consider Joshua's challenge practically every day and his bold proclamation of faith that follows, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Let's stand up today, fellow believer, and also declare to a lost and dying world, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes."

That's why I am not ashamed of the Gospel,
The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am not afraid to be counted,
But I'm willing to give my life,
Now I'm ready to be all He wants me to be.
Give up the wrong for the right,
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, the philosophies, trends, and mind-set of the world stands in great contrast to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Your Word tells us that those who are not for You are against You.  We can't walk on both sides of the fence so we are faced with a choice we must make; the same kind of choice Joshua gave to the Israelites thousands of years ago.  We must choose whether to follow after the gods of this world and forsake You or we must forsake the world and devote ourselves to You.  Father, I choose to follow after You; You who reconciled me to Yourself through Jesus.  You have proven Yourself trustworthy for Your promises are true.  You provide the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit to lead me and direct my every path.  Your Word illumines my every thought.  I choose You today, exclusively and eternally!  Amen.

We would like to show our readers some photos of our day yesterday. Make sure and scroll down to the last photo for the best story of all!

Amish family in open cart, Lancaster County PA 4/22/10
As we traveled on a beautiful Spring day the Amish brethren were out enjoying the weather as well. This little girl smiled and waved at us as we prepared to pass north of Intercourse, PA. (For new readers and those unfamilar with Lancaster County yes there really is a town by that name.)  You know you've become a local when you can ask directions w/o blushing.

Gesenia & Sue 4/22/10
In our ministry as corporate chaplains we visit various worksites, greeting and expressing interest and care toward the employees. Yesterday we visited several hundred employees at five different locations. Gesenia and Sue work in the office and were glad to represent this aspect of our chaplaincy ministry.

Raymond McGallicher 4/22/10We then stopped by to see Raymond McGallicher, a 92 year old man who has been a part of the country church we serve part-time since 1937. He now lives with his son and daughter-in-law and is no longer able to attend weekly services but sure is pleased to have visitors.

Amish children on cart, Lancaster County PA
As we turned toward home in the late afternoon we drove on the rural roads in eastern Lancaster County and there we saw this pony and cart with children coming toward us.  Note: The photo is a bit blurry since we only had about 5 seconds to grab the camera, set it up and take the photo through the windshield!

Dilapidated barn, Lancaster County PA
Dilapidated barns like this are a rare sight in Lancaster County but due to my peculiar photographic interest they remain interesting to me. I suppose they take me back to my childhood visits to Southern Missouri to see my grandparents.  Many in that area had moved off to the cities and the barns were left unused, and eventually rundown eyesores.

Finally, if you've stayed with us, the best story of all:
Zane Jeremiah Gardner 4/22/10 (along with his Mom & Dad)
Mike and JoAnna Gardner with Zane Jeremiah

We stopped in at Lancaster County Women and Babies Hospital for a special visit last night on our way home.

Yesterday morning we got a call from Mike Gardner informing us that the baby he and his wife, JoAnna, were expecting had arrived.  The baby was eager to arrive, like his 2 year old sister, Adoree who was several weeks early.

Two weeks earlier than his due date Zane Jeremiah made his debut into the Gardner family at their residence rather than the hospital. In the early morning hours JoAnna realized that the time had fully come, but Mike felt they had a few hours.  He made a cup of hot tea preparing for the countdown of the labor pains but JoAnna warned him that she felt the arrival was more imminent than the previous pregnancy.  Sure enough, she was right.  Mike the father took over as Mike the doctor and caught the baby as he was being born.  He weighed in at a healthy 6lb 15oz. The ambulance drove JoAnna and Zane to the hospital which is where they are now resting comfortably, although I'm not sure Mike and JoAnna are over the shock of Zane's birth just yet.

We had the honor of praying a dedicatory prayer over this precious little one yesterday.
I also had the privilege of conducting the marriage service for Mike and JoAnna five years ago which included a footwashing ceremony. Here's a photo.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I Am Not Ashamed" is the media campaign mentioned in our first paragraph that you have perhaps seen.  Video

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir This version contains not only the song but also a wonderful testimony.  Here a video of the song only.

"Everything To Me"  Video  Avalon

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  A brief sermon segment by Paul Walsher.  A much needed message for our time!  Video  I especially encourage my pastor friends to listen to this message!

Village of Intercourse, Pennsylvania

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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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