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Monday, October 18, 2010

Maple trees near Mastersonville, PA
Early morning fall brilliance near Mastersonville in Lancaster County, PA

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"What Is Christ To You?"

"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).  "He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent" (Colossians 1:18).

The other night I had to get up since Roxie nudged me to wake up. Of course she needed me to take her outside so I stepped out on our deck and gazed up into the clear, star-filled sky.  As I did so a song came to mind that begins, "In the stars His handiwork I see." The song ends with the phrase, speaking of Jesus Christ, "He's everything to me!"

Several years ago a local bank in our area used a slogan for their business and we would see it on a large billboard as we came into town, "It Really Is All About You!" It was surely intended as a nice expression of the caring and attentive customer service the bank offered, but it's also a powerful expression of the "me-ism" that dominates the human race and certainly modern man.  The natural, fleshly inclination is to live life as if it's all about me.

Many of us have sung "Heart of Worship" which deals with this attitude in regard to worship.  It has a repetitive line directed to the Lord that says, "It's all about You Jesus."

Today I want to ask you a question.  What is Christ to you?

1) For some (believers, as well non believers) Christ is popular.
An ungodly entertainer may throw a shout out thanking God at an awards ceremony. A politician may quote a Scripture text to score political points even though he gives little regard to God. Let us consider the crowds and disciples that followed Jesus in John 6 at the height of His popularity but when it got tough they left Him. (See John 6:66)

2) If you are a true believer Christ is present in your life.  (Psalm 23:4, Matthew 28:16-20, Hebrews 13:5)

3) For some Christ is prominent.  By prominent I mean that it is well demonstrated and evidenced that you are a follower of Christ. Your family, coworkers, and neighbors know that you are a Christian.

Friday morning last week Brooksyne and I attended a leadership conference at Lancaster Bible College and heard Rich Sparling, who is the chaplain for the Philadelphia Phillies. He shared that there are several Christians on the team and he would like to see them make a more public witness for Christ. Essentially he is challenging them to allow Christ to be more prominent in their lives

John the Baptist is one of the great Bible characters. His God-ordained role was to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus. He did his work faithfully and then wanted Christ to become more and more prominent.  One of the simplest, yet profound, statements indicating this is found in the daily text, "He (Jesus Christ) must become greater; I must become less." Another version states, "He must increase, I must decrease."  That's not only an appropriate statement for John but is a godly mindset and heart attitude for all of us!  This is an ongoing commitment that needs refreshing and renewal on a regular basis.  Everyday we should awaken with this theme on our hearts; "He must become greater; I must become less."

4) But for a relative few Christ is preeminent. This is God's gold standard concerning what His Son should be to us. Christ Preeminent, what a glorious truth! This phrase from Colossians is translated differently in various translations. The NIV states, "In everything He might have the supremacy." In the NASV it reads, "He Himself will come to have first place in everything."  The Greek word (proteuon) means "to be first, to have the first place, to hold the chief place." He is reigning as the preeminent Being in the universe. He always has been and always will be. The ESV states, "
that in everything He might be preeminent."

I examine my life today and I encourage you to do the same. Is Christ preeminent in your life? Is He the reigning King of your heart's allegiance? May Christ's reign and preeminence be evident in each of our lives today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, anything good or praiseworthy in my life is simply a reflection of Your abiding presence in me.  Help me to grow in Your grace and knowledge so that I place more emphasis on Your kingdom than on my achievements.   The only true success in my ministry is when I point others to You and deflect anything that would center upon me.  I want to walk in humility today as I pray, "Jesus, You must become greater in my life, but I must become less."   I ask You to be at the center of my thoughts, my attitudes, and in my conversations today. In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Greg, Pat, Kyle
Big Buffalo!
Friday evening and Saturday I went to an Honorbound men's conference near Baltimore with my brother and two men from his church in the Lehigh Valley (about 100 miles northeast).  We heard several dynamic messages on living for God and standing up as men of God.

One message, from a pastor named Greg Surratt, challenged the men to be "big buffalo" and used
an interesting nature video as an illustration.  A buffalo calf is attacked by lions and also in the course of the attack by crocodiles! The other buffaloes come back and save the calf with the big buffaloes chasing off the lions and saving the calf. This video illustrated that as men we need to stand up and together fight off the lions that are attacking.

The "Battle at Kruger" can seen here as a YouTube video.
(Note: the video is real and was apparently filmed by tourists and not intended to be a sermon illustration so you may overhear some salty language by the people who took the video.)

Changed life t-shirt front
At the men's conference I struck up a conversation with this man based on his t-shirt which his wife had given him. He has quite a testimony including an attempt to kill himself on a motorcycle at 120 mph with three state troopers and a helicopter chasing him! See here for the other side of the t-shirt!

Jim Smith 10/17/10
Yesterday we heard an interesting testimony in our church from Jim Smith regarding his steadfast commitment to his marital vows as he cared for his wife for many years as she dealt with Alzheimer's disease before she went home to be with the Lord.  Jim's message began with a Scripture that declares, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).  

"Living By Vows" Many years ago I read this outstanding article by Robert McQuilken.  It's well worth the read.  Here's a Video.

Later Jim joined us for dinner and shared a loaf of bread he had made!

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.)

"Heart Of Worship"  Video  Matt Redman  This is the song that has the line, "It's all about You Jesus."

"He's Everything To Me"  Video  The Imperials  I didn't know this group was still together. This is the song referred to in the beginning of the message that begins, "In the stars His handiwork I see."

"Everything To Me"  Video  Avalon  In the course of looking for the song referred to in the message I found this one which conveys the same thought!

"Lord, Reign In Me"  Video  Brenton Brown

"Draw Me Close To You"  Video  Instrumental with lyrics.

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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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