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Friday, August 13, 2010

Courthouse in Greensburg Indiana
Since 1870 the county courthouse in Greensburg, Indiana has had a tree growing out of the top of the tower!

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"That day Herod and Pilate became friends--before this they had been enemies" (Luke 23:12).

Brooksyne and I are blessed with many friends. As we've grown older we've come to increasingly place great value on long-term, lifelong friendships.  Of course we also continue to develop new friendships along the way and expect that many of these will also become friends for life such as Ken and Vickie (photo below). They're friends from Ohio we had dinner with as we were traveling to our family reunion in Indiana. We met them in the last eight years as readers of our Daily Encouragement messages. Making new long-term friends like this is one of the rewarding aspects of our web ministry.

Friendships can be based on positive, constructive mutual interests such as the friendship between David and Jonathan.  That's certainly the kind we value and strive for.

But friendships can also be based on negative, destructive interests
 such as the sudden and rather convenient friendship of Herod and Pilate.  I've witnessed both positive and negative friendships and recall a time when I was pulled into the latter group. It was a learning experience for me and perhaps will be for others as well.

Returning home to my home church in Independence, Missouri from Bible College one summer I was enlisted by a disgruntled member in the church to come up against the pastor and his wife concerning a matter. It was a conflict that I had absolutely no business being involved in, yet my "new friend" persuaded me of the rightness of his side of the story.  As is often the case I never really heard or even tried to hear the "other side".

I still recall the surprise and hurt I caused my dedicated pastor and his wife at the time when I essentially joined an "unholy alliance". Here I was a very young believer, a youth in age and quite immature at the time.  In my years of pastoring I am occasionally the recipient of such treatment and know personally the stinging pain it inflicts and the disunity it brings to the congregation.

Prior to Christ's trial Herod and Pilate were bitter political enemies. Both had ambitious agendas often in conflict with one another. They sought to gain Caesar's favor as rulers over the troubled Palestinian region in the Roman Empire. 

But the old phrase "politics makes strange bedfellows" is very evident in their relationship.  At Christ's trial they quickly became "friends".  I can just see them grinning as they shook hands or patted one another on the back in their newly formed "friendship".  I believe the careful historian Luke is being sarcastic when he wrote "...Herod and Pilate became friends" as he qualifies their friendship when describing their prior relationship as having been enemies. He describes a very sad type of "friendship" that is common to this day, particularly in politics (and I'm not just speaking of the kind in Washington DC but politics that arise in workplaces, churches, even families). 

What kind of friends do you have?  What do you talk about when you get together?  Is it positive and constructive as you share deeply held mutual interests and values?  Or is it negative and destructive?  Does your conversation build up or does it tear down?  I sure don't want Herod and Pilate to be my models for friendship.  What about you?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, I consider the character traits that make a healthy friendship.  Loyalty, compassion, kindness, honesty, patience, forgiveness and a listening ear are just a few of the qualities that are evident in a good friendship.  There are so many stories in the Gospels where these qualities are easily seen in the friendships You had with the disciples and others.  May the foundation of my friendships be based on godly traits as I come alongside my friends to encourage, challenge, inspire, and stimulate them toward good works in Your name, Jesus.  It is in Your name that we pray.  Amen. 

We are in Columbus, Indiana attending a family reunion this weekend. This is a reunion on Stephen's mother's side that get together each year from all over the country and from overseas.
 Here are some photos we took along our journey the last couple of days.

Naomi 8/11/10
 Naomi Wolgemuth is a dear saint who attended the church we pastor all her life until the past several years since she's been living at Messiah Village, a nursing home near Harrisburg.  We stopped by and paid an unannounced visit on our way out to the midwest.  She looked great, was very pleased, and was quite surprised!

Ken & Vickie Bender
 Ken and Vickie Bender from Lancaster, Ohio. We had dinner at a Cracker Barrel restaurant near Columbus Ohio Wednesday evening and took this photo as we visited while sitting on the white rocking chairs in front of the restaurant. They each have an earnest desire to follow the Lord and serve Him faithfully in the opportunities God gives them.

General store in Greensburg Indiana
In Greensburg Indiana we found a neat old general store that features a daily food buffet, floral shop, and delicious homemade fudge. But best of all they have a train that circles the facility; whistle, lights and all!

Hardware store in Greensburg Indiana
In Greensburg we also found a hardware store that was one of the old, unrefurbished kind that had real hardwood floors, narrow aisles and lots and lots of neat stuff (a little dust covered which made it even more authentic). It  had a distinct old store smell that reminded my brother and me of the small town Harwood Bank from our childhood, where our grandfather, uncle and aunt worked!

Hardware store cash register in Greensburg Indiana
This is the cash register at the hardware store which is 86 years old and still used for each sale.  The owner invited Ester to step behind the register and wind the handle (to the left) as he rung up our sale!

Interstate bridge in Columbus Indiana
Columbus Indiana is famous for architecture. Even the bridge over the interstate is an interesting and unusual design.

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.)

Friends  Each church I served had this song sung during our farewell (in 1993 when we moved on from northern PA and again in 2001 when we left New England to move to Lancaster County). Thankfully we have many friends from each of these churches to this day and have collected many more along the way!

Old Friends  
Along with my dad I enjoyed listening to Roger Miller songs growing up in the sixties in the Kansas City area.  (This is not a spiritual song but has an interesting sentiment.)

Note: Due to our travels and at times spotty or slow internet service we may not be able to post these messages each weekday as is our practice.

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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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