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Friday, November 18, 2011

Eartha globe at the DeLorme Map Company
"Eartha" globe at the Delorme Map Company headquarters in Yarmouth, Maine.

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"Turning The World Right-side Up"

"These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (Acts 17:6).

Upside down globe
I have long wondered about something and have yet to find the answer. Globes and maps depict the northern hemisphere as "up" and the southern hemisphere as "down," and of course that is the orientation we consider right-side up. But is there an objective reason this is so? I wonder from the perspective of outer space if there is an "up and down"?

I do know, because of our customary view, that it looks strange to see a globe upside down which brings to mind the daily Scripture text. I preached from this text last Sunday and brought in a globe that our church in New England
had given me (knowing my interest in globes). I turned it upside down on its stand to illustrate my point. The congregation quickly observed that it was upside down and wondered what I was up to!

DeLorme Map Company "Eartha" globe inside view
As you're driving up Route 1 in Maine north of Portland you can't miss the headquarters of the DeLorme Map Company in Yarmouth. In the glass-windowed lobby there is a huge globe completely made up of satellite images of the entire earth. They call the globe "Eartha", which sort of sounds like the name of a goddess to me!

Eartha is the largest rotating and revolving globe in the world, measuring 42 feet in diameter and comprised of 140 gigabytes of information. Whenever we are up that way we always stop by to see it. Many years ago Ester and I walked around the globe and quoted from John 3:16, which is the clearest verse in the Bible stating God's love for the entire world.

The daily text states,
"These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (Acts 17:6).  It is a powerful expression of the world's perspective on the mighty and far-reaching impact of the early church.  It is specifically referring to the ministry of the Apostle Paul and those who traveled with him as they proclaimed the message of Christ in Thessalonica. Apparently their reputation had preceded them. Their message was so absolutely transforming that it was said to "have turned the world upside down."

The key Greek word here is "anastatwsantev" (listen) which means to "upset or unsettle". When Christians confront a world headed contrary to God's ways it surely is upsetting and unsettling.

Indeed, wherever the true message of Jesus Christ goes, it has a transforming impact. This impact will be seen in individuals, families, churches, communities, countries and entire cultures.  It's important to realize that the transformation is upside down from the world's perspective but right side up according to God's created design!

I recall a special moment in my personal discipleship when a fellow believer shared with me a spiritual concept based on Romans 12:2. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." That was nearly 40 years ago. The transforming process of breaking conformity to the world and conforming ourselves to Christ and His teaching continues in my life through the renewing of my mind. There have been many setbacks along the way but God continues the process and I am assured that He will carry it on to completion until the day He appears (Philippians 1:6).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, as we live in daily communion with You, our presence will make a difference in a classroom, in a workplace, in a neighborhood, in a community and most especially in our families. With Your sanctifying seal upon our lives we no longer live according to the lust of the flesh, but the life of the Son who resides in us.  May we see our world turned upside down as people walk away from evil while being transformed by Christ's redemptive power.  It is in His name that we pray, Amen.

Today we would like to share several photos we took yesterday from our always interesting routes through eastern Lancaster County during the course of our business chaplain work!

Amish wedding parking in Lancaster County, PA
November is the month for Amish weddings. We passed a large one yesterday and saw lots of buggies and snapped this photo along Rt. 340 east of Bird in Hand, PA.  It was a very cloudy day so our photos aren't as vibrant as we prefer.

Horse for sale in Lancaster County, PA
This homemade sign caught our attention. We checked with Elvin, an old order Mennonite friend. He told us this would be a horse suitable for a buggy.  "Anybody can drive" meant it would handle well!

Garden bench in Lancaster County, PA
Just up the road we saw apples for sale. We drove in and purchased a bushel so Brooksyne can can apple sauce and pie filling. In observing the farm I thought this was a resourceful way to use an old van bench! This brought another memory as well. Brooksyne was raised on a farm in Oklahoma and her colorful dad had a knack for collecting stuff, reasoning he would always find some way to use it. Her brother worked for American Airlines and had given him some discarded airline seats that he set up for relaxing outside, kind of like this bench!  (Brooksyne's Note:  Dad's collecting of odd stuff was often the source of some pretty serious arguments between him and mom.  Mom wanted it to be cleaned up, and Dad was charmed by it, including old broken down automobiles - it saved him a trip to the salvage yard when he was tinkering with our cars, trucks or tractors.)

Old order pump in Lancaster County, PA
I was intrigued by the pulley on this pump and assume they use the PTO on the tractor if needed for large watering jobs. (This "old-order" branch of Mennonites do not use electricity).

Pam with Amish buggy in Indiana
Early yesterday morning we visited with Lee Smucker, a new friend of ours, who shared this photo of his wife Pam beside an Amish buggy in Indiana. He observed how much larger and more comfortable the buggies were in this area than the ones we commonly see here in Lancaster County.  The side door lifts up like a garage door which would make it easier for families to get in comfortably.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Change My Heart O God"  Video  

"Since Jesus Came Into My Heart"  Video  The Todd Allen Family

Here's more info on the Eartha globe from the DeLorme website.

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We want to offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 24).

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable webpage).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf). We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (printable webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

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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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