The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO
A great seasonal childhood Christmas memory was our family trip to see the Christmas lights at the Country Club Plaza.
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"Looking Out For The Interests Of Others"
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:3-5).
As part of our chaplain responsibilities we make regular calls to the companies we serve to visit with the employees at work. This is to build relationships, show interest, express care and make ourselves available to anyone who might have a personal need. But we also make calls to the employees or their immediate family members when admitted to hospitals and nursing homes. I once stopped by to see the father of an employee who had dealt with Parkinson's disease for several years. I had visited him a number of times over the course of several years as the disease was slowly progressing.
He had a very hard time expressing himself so I had to often ask, "Would you say that again?" attempting to understand what he was saying. Any of you who've had these kind of experiences know how wearying this can be, both for the one speaking and the one listening.
But something came out of that visit that was incredibly encouraging and instructive to me. He laboriously asked me how my health was since I had just come through surgery. Then he further inquired, "How's your daughter?" Here's a man dealing with such severe impairment that every thought he tries to convey is a painstaking effort, and yet he was able to recall the health needs of my daughter. He hadn't even met her but learned about some health problems she was dealing with through the Daily Encouragement posts. I prayed with him and left feeling strengthened by his most generous expression of care. (He has since departed to be with the Lord.)
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests." Paul isn't suggesting some unrealistic goal in this passage. It's natural to look out for one's own interests. Rather than a selfish attitude it's a responsible one that leads us to take care of our health, finances and so forth and make prudent plans for the future. The important words in this portion are "not only".
In addition to caring for our own needs we are to look out for "the interests of others". This verse is a call for believers not to be so self-absorbed that they fail to see others in need or fail to respond to their need when it's within their ability to do so. It's easy to rattle off, "I'm really concerned about ________". It's quite another thing to demonstrate that care.
There's such a tendency in human nature to focus on our own interests. I found the daily text so forthright in acknowledging that we will look out for our own interests. However the tendency is to focus on our own needs to the exclusion of the needs of others.
This is especially acute when we are dealing with a very serious situation in our own lives and that's what made my elderly friend's expression of care so touching. "Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."
The apostle Paul goes on to describe how Christ demonstrated this attitude using the very powerful teaching of kenosis; how Christ emptied Himself or made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:5ff). The fundamental teaching of the Christmas story is God looking out for the interests of the human race.
Today I encourage each of you to express care for others in fulfilling God's call. Our primary motive in doing so is that we are following Christ's example.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are all recipients of the kindnesses of others who lay aside their own interests; who give generously of their time and resources to assist us in our hour of need. An even greater blessing results when we are the one who extends ourselves to those in need. Jesus knew of our greatest need and laid aside His throne in heaven for the footstool of earth. He didn't consider equality with You to be more important than our need for salvation but deferred to our need above His own interests. Help us to follow His supreme example as we look to the interests of others in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Yesterday Brooksyne and Ester decorated our home and made Christmas cookies. Ester also had some fun with our pets!
Our dog Roxie or should I say Reindeer Roxie! Ester and Brooksyne thought she might just qualify to be in the reindeer line-up with these bright red antlers. After all, Rudolph got to lead because of his bright red nose! However we don't think Roxie was amused.
Our cat Dottie was rejected on the basis of her head just not being big enough to support antlers, but we love her anyway.
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.)
"One Day" Video This is a wonderful old hymn by J. Wibur Chapman written over 100 years ago. But the tune and arrangement is a contemporized rendition by Jeff Johnson, but thankfully the powerful lyrics are not altered. (For this version it's been renamed "Glorious Day".) This song goes through the life of Christ from His birth to His second coming. The first verse of the song is most related to today's message.
One day when Heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin,
Dwelt among men, my Example is He!
"Christmas Shoes" Video This song has a touching message of giving and service. This is a version directed by a man with some interesting visual effects but the song is sung by New Song.
"We Are The Reason" Video We first heard David Meece sing this song at a "Fishnet" Christian festival near Front Royal, Virginia in the late seventies.
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)
Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season. As we find additional material that we believe will be a blessing we will add it to this list as well.
"In Remembrance of Me" pdf This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services many years. We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.
"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.
Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18 pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" pdf
My First Christmas In Heaven This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year. This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.
Christmas Knowledge Test
We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).
Are you Christmas shopping online?
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Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your parents?
Here's an idea! "The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents"
Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your children?
Here's an idea! "The Blessing"
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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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