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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morning farmview with faith statement
An early morning view in Lancaster County.
This is the Hess farm, right up the road from our house.
(click on photo to enlarge)

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"Making The Most Of Every Opportunity"

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).

You never know when the opportunity for a witness will come to make an eternal impact on another soul. Rex Bornman is a longtime friend in ministry who has an interesting testimony. I spoke to him just this morning. He is currently pastoring in Charlotte NC.

Rex BornmanAs a young man he was living a reckless life without regard to God. In fact he had no religious background at all. One day, in 1971, he was out riding his motorcycle with Gary Bellis in Newport, PA when they came upon a church where the roof was being repaired.  Gary's mother was attending the church at the time so the sight of the pastor up on the roof must have stirred up some compassion with the guys.   They decided to stop and see if they could lend the pastor a hand.

Now at that time Rex was a wild hippy type with long hair. Drugs and alcohol were a large part of his regular intake.  On the other hand the pastor, Harry Vaughn, was the traditional straight-laced type. Rex recalls that he had a crew cut at the time. 

The pastor came down off the roof to greet them and made what surely seemed an odd request to Rex, "Can I ride your motorcycle?" Rex was somewhat taken aback but agreed to let him. The pastor got on the bike and took off down the road at full throttle much to Rex's consternation. A few minutes later he roared back in doing a wheelie!

The pastor went on to have a spiritual impact on both Rex and Gary. God works in mysterious ways, because Gary also gave his life to Jesus and in 1975 he was installed as the pastor of this very church and continues to be the pastor to this day.  No doubt this was an answer to Gary's mother's prayers for her son's salvation.

For the past 34 years we have visited in homes and had folks over to visit us. We are strong advocates of Christianity being expressed at the local level, individually and among families.  But ministry of any sort can, at times, be discouraging. One of the benefits of aging is a long-term perspective and getting an increasingly bigger picture of how God is using us and even the way that God is working things out.

All of you reading this who follow Christ are in ministry, although we often associate "ministry" in a formal, vocational way such as the pastor of a local church. But God has called each of His followers to serve and that's the root meaning of minister.  You are spread all around the world in a wide variety of settings to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, called to make the most of every opportunity.

Today's Scripture text is an ongoing call we all do well to heed:

I say "be careful" a lot and sometimes it seems to slightly offend people.  Perhaps they infer that I think they won't be careful! 
I must confess that I still remind Brooksyne and Ester to be careful when crossing the street.  You can probably imagine the look I get from them. But it's actually an expression of my love. 

In our daily text Scripture states that we are to "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise." This is speaking of the whole of living life. Jesus taught that the wise man builds his house on the rock, hearing and practicing His teachings. (see Matthew 7:24-27

Paul wrote to Timothy a challenge that has meant so much to me especially since my ordination in 1979 when I did a thorough study of verses dealing with ministry. The pastoral epistles were a special focus of my study.  Concerning Timothy's ministry Paul wrote, "Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:15,16).

The daily text continues, "Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."  Today, look for the opportunities to serve that God will providentially place before you.  I wonder when Pastor Vaughn went up on the church roof in the early seventies if he had any idea that he would have an opportunity to make an eternal impact on two troubled young men riding by on motorcycles. It's not just in the pulpit that people are challenged to live for Christ, but it's often in the everyday grind that believers have opportunity to make an eternal difference in one's life.  In fact in my view it's far more often.

Let us share His love and care today.  And let's depend on Him for the long-term results. As life progresses you will increasingly see the blessed fruit of your labors!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we are called to obedience to Your Word which compels us to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.  As we see evil crouching in at every level, it's all the more reason why we must be vigilant to live pure lives so that the light of Jesus shines through our words and our actions in this darkened world.  We want to pay close attention to ourselves and persevere in the truths presented in Scripture so that we will ensure salvation both for ourselves and those whom we have opportunity to influence.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Rex, whom we wrote about in today's story is now pastoring the Christlifechurch in Charlotte, NC and he told me that Harry Vaughn, the pastor in the story now lives in Raleigh, NC.

My brother had shared this testimony when we were at a men's conference this last weekend that had a motorcycle theme (which apparently prompted the memory). This morning I looked Rex up in a minister's directory to confirm the details and saw that he lives in Indian Trail, NC. where
Bob and Linda Southard, also longtime friends live and turns out that Rex knows them as well.
Gary Bellis

Gary Bellis, who was also unconverted at the time and rode motorcycles with with Rex
.  He and his wife Mary were converted to Christ at the church where they had helped the pastor in Newport, PA on Palm Sunday 1971. In the fall of the same year, they responded to the call of God and began preparation for ministry. Upon completion of their education, they returned to Newport and in July 1975 he was installed as Senior Pastor where he serves to this day!

Brian & Beka Althouse 10/18/10
Yesterday Brian Althouse and his new wife Bekah stopped by for a visit and blessing on their new marriage. I had visited Brian several years ago in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. He is now in the service and preparing to deploy to Korea. He is an earnest follower of Christ and shares this brief message with our readers:
"Recently on my way back to Pennsylvania from Missouri where I trained at Fort Leonard Wood my wife Bekah and I stopped at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  While we were there we saw a video presentation by Ken Ham where he used a verse to describe the condition of America today, "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD" (Amos 8:11).  I totally agreed with him, as I have a heart for missions that focuses on the United States.  I have a deep desire to share the true Word of God with our morally decaying nation.  Unfortunately many are not sharing the Word and fewer want to hear the truth of it. The Holy Spirit then led me to read the whole book of Amos and I was very blessed by the experience. Actually, as with most of the books of prophecy, they bear reading more than once, so I continue to read it multiple times to grasp every meaning I can get out of the Word of God."

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.)

"Lead me Lord, I Will Follow"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Use Me"  Video  Ron Kenoly

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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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