The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, December 10, 2010
"Green" Parking lot at an Amish church service, in keeping with the current environmentally correct green theme. The Amish meet in home meetings every other Sunday.
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"A Stranger Or A Savior?"
"He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:10-12).
Yesterday in our chaplaincy ministry Brooksyne and I visited one of our companies that sends out workers all over South-central Pennsylvania to make heating and air-conditioning service calls. Very early in the morning the workers receive their assignments for the day and load their trucks with the needed materials and tools. But right at the exit door before they leave is a large full length mirror with this sign above it, "Would You Want A Stranger Who Looks Like This Coming To Your Door?" It serves as a good reminder of the importance of their appearance; attire and grooming, the display of the company logo for ID purposes, and even their countenance.
This got me thinking about the Messiah’s visit as a Stranger to our planet 2,000 years ago. What was the people’s first impression of the Messiah? How did they respond to this Stranger's visit?
John was one of the twelve disciples who served with Jesus during His earthly ministry. John was also a part of the inner circle of three along with Peter and James who seemed to have an even greater access to the miracles of Christ and unique experiences such as the Mount of Transfiguration and Christ's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
John's Gospel is the last of the Four Gospels not only in the order of books but also in regard to the time it was written. Many believe he wrote late in the first century perhaps sixty years after Christ's mission to earth. The first 18 verses in his gospel serve as a prologue and provide a deep theological perspective regarding Christ’s Mission on earth.
Today let’s consider just three verses from this powerful prologue:
• ”He was in the world, and the world was made through Him.” Our Lord was in the physical world for a brief time in history. John established in verse 3 that the world was made by Jesus. And yet He entered the world in bodily form of a person, the “true light” (v.9) who came into the world He had made.
• "And the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." One of the most indicting rejections of Christ was at His trial in Pilate's Hall: "We don't want this man to be our king" (Luke 19:14).
The rejection of Christ is a stunning, but intriguing truth evident not only at the time that Christ dwelled on earth, but also very evident in our own age. Bible students interpret the phrase "He came to His own" in two senses: in one narrower sense it surely means the unique people He came to, that is, the descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people), but in a fuller sense it means the entire human race, all descendants of Adam.
• “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." The phrase "as many as" indicates the marvelous extent of this offer. Regardless of one's religious, ethnic or racial background the offer stands. Our part is to receive and to believe in His name.
Today I reaffirm the decision I made nearly forty years ago in 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri to receive Him and to believe in His Name. Brooksyne made a similar decision as a young teenager in Tulsa Oklahoma. Most of you reading this today have also received Christ and we welcome you to join us in your own reaffirmation.
However some of you have not yet made a confession of faith. Perhaps you've been under the mistaken notion that you're automatically in. You may be relying on your religious heritage or good works. Some of you may realize you have actually been rejecting Christ. We urge you to receive and trust in Christ today!
To so many Christ remains an unrecognized stranger, but for those of us who believe and receive Him He is our eternal Saviour!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are grateful to be Your children. It is not by our own goodness, giftings, or generosity that we can buy or earn this standing. It is because of Jesus who came in earthly form so that He could reach His own people and release them from their sins. Though many still turn away from the Gospel message we choose to believe and gratefully declare that we are the children of God. Nothing can compare with such privilege or power as we make our earthly journey. In the name of Jesus we reaffirm and joyfully proclaim our decision to follow You all the days of our lives. Amen.
Digging Deeper: Yesterday's message was based on how the Lord works in mysterious or unexpected ways and shared how in the genealogy of Jesus we have Judah, rather than Joseph whom we might expect due to his character and prominence in the Book of Genesis. Tommy Carpenter, a preacher friend of ours made the following observation: "As you referenced Judah being in the genealogy of Jesus, I was reminded that he was the son of Leah, the unloved wife of Jacob. Yet, his name was "Praise." When Moses, in the battle with Amalek in Rephidim (Exodus 17) needed help to keep his hands raised, it was Aaron and Hur (Judah's descendant) who kept his hands steady! This may be just a bit of trivia in the Treasure Chest of the Word!"
A humorous recollection: Glenn Babbitt, a friend from Connecticut recalled a memory from yesterday's pump photo. Your photo of the hand pump reminds me of something funny that happened to my cousin and I when we were about 10. We were walking along a road on a hot day and passed a water pump set atop a tripod. It was a hot day, and we were thirsty! My cousin decided it would be a great idea to get a drink from it.http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%201:9&version=NASB
Being the son of an engineer, I was suspicious of the fact that there was no pipe between the ground and the pump. I tried to warn him, but he was too fast. After the third time he pumped the handle, a swarm of bees emerged from the spigot, causing us both to run faster than anyone should be forced to run on a hot day!
We will share some photos from our journey yesterday.
Since I enjoy history I like this display from the conference room in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. They have collected artifacts such as an adding machine (not a calculator!), vintage cast iron notary seal embossing stamp machine, leather bound ledgers and calibration equipment from a company that makes metal parts that has been around nearly 100 years.
We saw our friends D.J. & Anna Mary Paglia as we walked through a Costco warehouse sampling the free food and making a few purchases as well. Both in their 80's they are still involved in ministry and convey such a vibrancy. They had just been to Conestoga View, a large nursing home here in Lancaster County, where they serve as chaplains. The floral display makes a colorful background!
Last night we attended a Christmas meal at Longwood Manor, an assisted living center, and enjoyed visiting with Ed Bolton who provided the entertainment. At 79 years of age he still has a clear, strong tenor vibrato. We appreciated his frequent acknowledgment of the reason for the season being the birth of Christ and the songs that reflected that marvelous truth. He has an interesting distinction of being on the Johnny Carson show in 1970 with his singing dog!
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.)
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(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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