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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Corn shocks 8/31/10
Corn shocks on Amish farm
We passed this farm near Mount Joy yesterday. The Amish farmer was also harvesting and chopping corn and placing it in the silo.

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"The Incremental Impact Of Many People"

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow" (1 Corinthians 3:6,7).

In the last couple of daily encouragement messages we wrote about the spiritual impact we make on others which is part of a composite impact. This includes various methods and is seen over a period of time. Today we want to consider the fact that our impact on others is often in cooperation with many others believers whom we may or may not know.

In our daily text Paul is describing the establishment of the church in Corinth. As the founding pastor he had planted the gospel seed in this fertile church. Apollos followed him in ministry and his further teaching of Scripture and spiritual leadership is likened to watering the seed that was sown in faith. But Paul made it clear that it was God who made the seed of faith to grow.

This principle is the same in individual lives. In some people we sow seeds, in others we feed, water and nourish the germinating seed. Many others may have a role. But God is the One who makes the seed grow, like a flourishing "tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither" (Psalm 1:3).

For some 35 years Brooksyne and I've planted the gospel seed in people's lives, starting in our high school years. We've done a lot of planting and watering and, praise God, we've also enjoyed the fruit that comes from our labors. 

The reaping part so often comes later. We'll see and hear some of it on this side but so much will be revealed at the final accounting, as mentioned yesterday. And by faith we just need to stay obedient to God. The apostle Paul expresses a powerful truth in the daily Scripture. Consider just the phrase, "only God, who makes things grow."

That sure puts us in our place but it also relieves us of the personal feelings of inadequacy or failure when one doesn't respond to the gospel message or even rejects us! God asks us to plant but we are unable to force germination or growth.

Today I encourage all of you in whatever form of ministry you are in to remember that it's God who makes things grow. Be faithful in your duty and rest assured that God will always be faithful in His! Keep on planting; keep on watering; and keep on praying for those whom you seek to impact for Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, help us to remain faithful in planting Your seed of salvation to those who have not yet bowed their knee, to those who have not yet confessed with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. Whenever we open our mouths, may words be given to us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel to those who have not yet heard. We thank You for those who presently come alongside us in our mission and for those who will join us further along in our journey as they also reach out to those whom we seek to impact. We pray for our combined labors that unbelievers will come to faith and in turn reach others for the sake of the gospel. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
(See Philippians 2:5-11, Ephesians 6:19,20)

Brooksyne's Note: In 1993 we moved to Taunton, MA to begin a new pastorate in an established church. About four years after our arrival a middle aged man responded to an altar call following the choir's presentation of the musical, "Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross." He was so moved by the Spirit during the musical message that he finally surrendered his heart to Jesus, though he had visited the church many times over the previous fifteen years or so. His wife was a Sunday School teacher, very involved, and very burdened for her husband's soul. I remember excitedly telling the previous pastor's wife who retired when we assumed the pastorate about Tony's salvation. She said, "We prayed for Tony for so many years." I'm sure they would like to have seen this happen during their role at the church as they'd invested so much prayer and concern for his soul. Yet God answered their prayers during our pastoral role at the church. And the same could be said for each one of us in the sowing and reaping of the harvest.

I have a flowering plant, the cardinal climber, that I planted two or three summers ago and got no results.  Only this summer did it germinate which is a beautiful addition to my plants. I don't understand the delay and, had we moved from our present location, someone else would have reaped the benefit of this lovely plant. In God's plan we simply sow and entrust the germination process to Him. (Side note: Tony not only came to Christ but eventually became a choir member with a wonderful singing voice – sounding a little like James Earl Jones.)

Another Fine Summer Day!

Flowers and barn
Yesterday we passed this beautiful flower setting on our way to Root's Market.

Vic and Etta Mae Gibble
I visited with Vic and Etta Mae Gibble, some new friends in the church we serve. Vic sang a song for me about a mother's wayward son using the Omnichord.

Red with men
Four years ago I served a church in an interim role in the Harrisburg area and made some lasting friends. Here's a photo of a group of us who had gathered for breakfast at an Old Country Buffet restaraunt. Two of the men in the photo are World War 2 vets who have remarkable testimonies. In fact at the time I served that church I shared their stories in daily encouragement messages.

Red is the man with the big white beard in the photo. Yesterday a friend from the church called and told us he is not doing well. Last night I called and prayed with him and his wife Elsie and I kindly ask you to remember them in prayer. I shared his testimony here.

Joe is on the right in the photo. We visited with Joe and his wife Jessie several months ago at their home in Carlisle, PA.
I shared a story about him here.

Root's Country Market & Auction

Yesterday I took my brother Mike over to Root's Country Market & Auction about ten miles from our home.

Root's Country Market, Lancaster County, PA
One of the interesting features is the variety of people you will see including many Plain people (old order Mennonite, Amish and other similar groups). I bought Brooksyne a bushel of peaches that she will can today!  She also has a great recipe which makes seven 7 pies that taste deliciously fresh when she bakes them later in the year.

Root's Country Market, Lancaster County, PA
There are several auctions going on simultaneously.
The auctioneer is colorful, humorous and really keeps the sale moving.

Root's Country Market, Lancaster County, PA
Root's Market covers a sprawling area with both indoor and outdoor vendors.
See here for their website.

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.)

"Tell Them"
Video  It's interesting the songs from the past that come to mind as we consider this supplemental music. I probably haven't heard this song in 25 years but the message really fits for today!

"Bringing In The Sheaves"
 We shared this song yesterday but it really fits so well again with today's message as well.  Note:
Sheaves are the large bundles in which cereal plants are bound after reaping, similar to the corn shocks in today's opening photo. Earlier hymn writers drew from both the Scriptures and their own experiences in conveying truth. Take notice of the excellent lyrics in light of our message today.  Video 

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

"People Need The Lord"  Video

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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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