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Friday, June 10, 2011

Mennonite open cart in Lancaster County PA 6/9/11

Old order Mennonites in open cart
Yesterday our travels took us to an interesting part of Lancaster County called Martindale
where the old-order Mennonite communities are dominant. This area is less traveled by tourists and driving on these roads takes you back at least 50 years!  There are numerous self-serve produce and flower stands that we frequently patronize.

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"Job's Job Description"

"I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal" (Job 27:11).

For twenty-five years beginning in 1976 till 2001 my professional identity was primarily that of a local pastor, with Brooksyne serving right alongside me. For the last ten years our ministry has been multi-vocational; that is, we serve as business chaplains, we write these daily messages, and we've been involved in part-time pastoral work in several churches. We presently serve a small congregation in Mastersonville, Pennsylvania, a quaint village in a rural part of Lancaster County, about ten miles from where we live.

Through the years I've wondered how children perceive my work as a pastor and periodically asked, "What does a pastor do?" Their answers range from "He cleans the church"; "He takes cares of the church"; "He prays for the sick"; and the obvious answer, "He preaches to the people."

But my most memorable description of what I did happened about 25 years ago in a church we served at that time in a small town in upstate Pennsylvania.

Brooksyne and I have had many children living in our home through the years, both short-term and long-term.  Foster children rescued from troubled families lived with us as well as critically ill children from third world countries who were receiving life-saving major medical treatment.

Fresh air child
For many years we also participated in the "Fresh Air Fund", a program that brings needy children from the inner city of New York City  to suburban and rural areas during the summertime. They stay for several weeks to get some fresh air and a taste of life outside the city. 

One summer our designated child was Joseph, who was about eight years old. He arrived on a Wednesday evening so Brooksyne picked him up and brought him directly to the church where I was leading a Bible Study. Other activities were also going on throughout the church for children and youth.

Several other fresh air kids also arrived who were staying with various families in our church.  Since many of them were black it was easy to identify them in our all-white congregation. The following Sunday a church board member tried to strike up a friendly conversation with Joseph and asked, "Who are you staying with?" He pointed up to me and responded rather proudly, "'Da boss of 'da church!" (I don't recall what type of church background if any Joseph had, but in his mind I was the boss!)

But my most heartening job description came from little six-year-old Jeffrey in the church we served in New England.  He knew I was the pastor so I asked him what the pastor does. He replied, "Teach people to believe in God". Now that's a very good, succinct answer that properly describes the greatest responsibility of pastors.

Job is responding to his three "friends" in the daily text. I like to consider it Job's job description and it provides a pretty good job description for all believers.  Today, let us faithfully teach about the power of God and not conceal the ways of the Almighty!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are deeply grateful for the inner work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that is changing us from a sinful self-serving people to a holy, compassionate, and generous people. It is Your almighty power released in us that can accomplish such miraculous change for the betterment of here and now and for the Kingdom of heaven as well. As we relate to others may the working power of the Holy Spirit be evident in our attitudes, actions, and ambitions of life.  We pray this in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Another memorable experience we had with Joseph was during a meal at McDonalds. Like many Christians we offer a brief blessing of thanks for our meals not only at home but also in public restaurants. After ordering our food we sat down at the table, joined hands, and I asked that we bow our heads.  Knowing what was coming next Joseph reluctantly obeyed, but before doing so he carefully scanned with his darting eyes the people eating around us before he nervously exclaimed, "We ain't gonna do that in here are we?"  We did, of course, and I hope that he, as an adult, might be doing the same with his family!

Martindale farm in Lancaster County PA 6/9/11
We passed this tidy farm near Martindale. The crops are late this year due to the very wet Spring but right after we passed this scene we saw the Mennonite farmer working the fields with his mule team.

Amish farm in Lancaster County PA 6/9/11
We passed this farm south of New Holland and observed the slow pace of field work as this Amish farmer worked the soil with his son walking along behind him.

Windrows in Lancaster County PA 6/9/11
We passed these windrows as we moved back toward Lancaster off Horseshoe Road.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Tell Me The Story Of Jesus"  Video  Carman  We first heard Carman about 30 years ago and he has had a very interesting ministry.  He's still around.

"Carry The Light"  Video  An interesting composition of various artists that were "contemporary" 25 years ago. I suppose I must admit that watching this sure reminds me that my age is progressing!  This song has a great message.

The "Fresh Air Fund" is still active.

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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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