The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, October 21, 2010
This plaque hangs above the doors in our dining room and is a reminder to us of God's faithfulness! In our home when we have guests we normally sing together the first verse and chorus of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" prior to our prayer.
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"Be Encouraged Today!"
"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). "When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles" (Acts 9:26,27). "Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus" (Acts 15:39). "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).
Today is a special day in our family. First of all, it's Brooksyne's birthday so that's special for us, though Brooksyne keeps it more on the quiet as the years continue to grow (as with all of us, except my mom who got terribly excited weeks before each of her birthdays)! Early this morning we will be introduced to the employees of a new company we will be serving as chaplains and then we will make some regular chaplain visits before I take Brooksyne out for her birthday meal at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord! It's buy one/get one free on your birthday so that's a big enticement!
But today is also the very day this ministry started 14 years ago with a short email to just two email addresses (both are still on the list). I had preached a sermon the night before from Hebrews on encouraging one another daily and that was the leading I had from the Holy Spirit, although I would have no idea at that time it would continue the next day, then the next day, and now….fourteen years later!
Barnabas is one of our favorite Bible characters to write about. Consider his influence; no book in the Bible was written by him, we don't have the text of any sermon he preached recorded in Acts as we do Peter, Stephen and Paul. In fact I am unable to find even a single quote attributed exclusively to Barnabas. All the information we have about him is a brief, biographical snippet. But these snippets tell a lot about him.
He first comes on the scene in Acts 4 as "Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement)", v. 36. So Barnabas is essentially a nickname and every future reference to him in Scripture uses this nickname given by the apostles!
The first daily verse is so typical of his ministry as an encourager. I sure can understand the apprehension of the disciples! After all Saul had a vicious reputation. His newfound conversion might have been a mere ruse to get in closed quarters with the disciples.
Note just the phrase "But Barnabas." His action is so indicative of an encourager. Barnabas believed in the power of Jesus Christ to perform the miracle of transformation. And Saul (who became Paul) was genuinely transformed. Consider the tremendous contribution he made to the church in his apostolic ministry and letters. I am sure thankful for Barnabas who chose to stand up for him!
But later a sharp disagreement came between the two men over the role John Mark was to have on a missions trip. Paul and Barnabas parted ways and Barnabas took John Mark on a separate mission trip. John Mark had let the team down on an earlier trip and Paul decided against taking him but Barnabas gave him a second chance. It appears that the two were reconciled at a later date when Paul gave John Mark a great reference. He wrote that he was "profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11). I am also heartened that Scripture indicates that Paul and Barnabas at some point reconciled. (See 1 Corinthians 9:6)
Barnabas is an encourager and additional references in Scripture demonstrate this. We are all indebted to encouragers even though it certainly is not considered one of the more prominent ministries, such as a polished preacher or a dynamic worship leader or powerful vocalist.
A subtheme of this ministry is "Everyone Needs Encouragement." I sure believe that. There are matters in our lives that can easily bring on discouragement but thankfully most of us don't live in a state of discouragement. And yet I don't believe there will ever come a time that I'd say, "Naaa, I don't need anymore encouragement. I've had enough for today. Thanks anyway." I am always receptive to other's encouragement! And I expect that you feel the same way, so once again on the 14th anniversary of this ministry, let us once again declare to you:
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we're reminded of the important role people like Barnabas play in our lives. They give us the benefit of the doubt; they reach out to us when others turn away; they see our need even when we don't verbally express it; they steer us in the right direction when we've taken a wrong turn; they model for us the reflection of Christ. I thank You, Father, for Your Spirit manifested through these encouragers who physically, emotionally, and spiritually bless my life by by their encouraging words and actions toward me. Prompt me often to spread the same kind of encouragement to those whom I have opportunity to bless. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Note: I never learned to type right. However I peck really fast with my index fingers, which is so inefficient that Brooksyne can't bear to watch when I'm doing it. Anyway, over 14 years the accumulative total of words typed is now over 2,000,000. (I keep a composite file of all the encouragement messages since the first one and as many of you know Microsoft Word has a nifty word count feature.) However even this total is probably understated since as many writers know you tend to type many words that get chopped in the editing process!
Ministry Update: For those interested I direct you to this short revised ministry update in light of the 14th anniversary of this ministry.
Some Faces of Daily Encouragement
Andy Larrimore has been a friend since 1993 and was in our church in New England. He helped me to secure the domain name and set up the intitial Daily Encouragement website in 1999. Andy had been in the banking industry but felt a leading to change careers. Daily Encouragement was the very first website he built but he now has his own web design business "Webs By Andy". He and his wife Joanne have two grown children, Ashley and Eric.
Brad Park is a Canadian IT professional whom we have never met face to face! Many years ago he contacted me and offered to help with technical issues. He now hosts the website and covers the fee for the podcast. He's always available when I have a question or technical problem. One morning the website was down and although he had a splitting headache he labored to get the site back up! People periodically inquire about the "staff" of daily encouragement. Well, actually that's just Brooksyne and me, along with Brad at this time.
October 21, 1996 - First email sent to a married couple and developed into a list (initially merely a group list added to manually one by one.)
1999 - Website developed
2002 - Moved to professional listserve (automated list manager for large lists)
2003 - Began radio messages
2004 - Resigned from job with EAP agency
2005 - Developed html email (formatted with photos), began podcasting daily messages, set up blogs/RSS feeds, Brooksyne "officially" joined in the message preparation.
2006 - Received official endorsement as an "internet chaplain" from chaplaincy endorsement agency (I had already received an endorsement for corporate chaplaincy and Civil Air Patrol chaplaincy.)
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.)
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" Video by Fernando Ortega
"All Your Promises Are True" Video A faith-building song by Shannon Wexelburg.
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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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