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Wednesday, June 27
, 201

Hanging flower basket on the Longenecker farm in Lancaster County PA
 A country porch scene at the
Longenecker Farm
in Lancaster County.

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"A Roofing Ministry"

"Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven'" (Mark 2:3-5).

Painting barn roof
This week we are having our metal barn roof painted. A previous owner made the barn made from materials salvaged from a larger barn that had been demolished about 20 years ago. The roof had a galvanized type finish with splotches of green from a previous paint job. I have a workshop downstairs and a large storage area on the second level where I sometimes go when it's raining since I like the sound of rain on a metal roof!

The brief account recorded in our daily Scripture reading describes a roofing job and a colorful description of caring friends; the kind of friends we would like and indeed we do have. For the sake of our opening illustration we'll say they had a "roofing ministry".  Let's examine several characteristics of their roofing ministry:

1) They had a friend with a need – These men were determined to do something about it. He was a paralytic and, although the degree of his paralysis is not specified, he was immobile so he had to be carried from place to place. Consider today those you know who may be in need due to their immobility or otherwise. How can you help them?

2) They had a plan - They wanted to get their friend to Jesus. Word was spreading concerning Jesus' ability to heal the sick. These men had a plan to get their friend to Jesus where they believed he would receive healing. That should be our goal as well, to get people to Jesus.

3) They had obstacles – The healing service was likely in the daytime since they didn't travel in vehicles and nighttime would be very difficult, They likely sacrificed some pay for taking off time from their day job. After carrying their friend to the healing service they met up with a big crowd and a house with limited access. In one way or another it seems there are always obstacles of some sort in any type of ministry. Genuine, lasting ministry is characterized by overcoming obstacles, one by one.

Paralyzed man lowered through hole in roof4) They had innovative determination – In spite of the obstacles they made a way. I can just see these daring men each presumably holding a corner of the mat. Surely they were throwing out wild ideas as to how they could get their friend through the mass so that he could be within the touch of the Master's hand. Perhaps one threw out the idea just for a joke, "Let's just cut a hole through the roof!"  Of course we don't know the circumstance but we do know that's just what they did. They lowered their friend down in the middle of the crowd right smack in front of Jesus (see Luke's account in Luke 5:18-20). I wonder what the other people thought who had arrived earlier and been waiting a long while to see Jesus. Did they feel like we do when a person crowds in front of us in a grocery line?

5) They had roofing skills - Now I presume it was some type of thatch roof. They had to know where to make the opening so as not
to impact the structural integrity of the entire roof. I also assume, although it's not specified, that they repaired the roof afterwards!

6) They had faith - But onto a more important and essential detail here: "When Jesus saw their faith." Note the plural pronoun, "their faith". These men had faith that their friend would receive help from Jesus and he did! We are so thankful for those people of faith who have instructed and encouraged us in our journey.

7) They had a caring Savior - Jesus did not let them down. A wonderful verse states, "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). What a powerful assurance that we always have a caring Savior in Jesus!

Now your roofing ministry may not be as literal as this but most of these points will apply to any type of ministry endeavor.

We hope you have lots of friends like these. There are times when we simply do not have enough faith that God will intervene in a matter. We are so grateful that we can enlist others to pray for us when we're in the midst of the "blues" of a difficult circumstance. Their faith is a source of encouragement to us and it strengthens us when we are weak, whether emotionally, physically or spiritually or sometimes all of the above!

Note from ClarenceIn the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" I'm always touched at the end when George Bailey receives a note from the angel Clarence reminding him, "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." Clarence's message is also a reminder to each one of us. Friends are of tremendous blessing, especially when we are enduring hardships of any kind. 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are grateful that Jesus is the High Priest who hears our prayers, knows of our troubles and intercedes on our behalf.  But there are times when we are in need of the compassion of a caring friend; one who will pray, listen, lend support, and interject thoughts, experiences or suggestions that help us to bear our troublesome burdens.  Instead of casting judgment they speak to our need, whether it's emotional, spiritual, financial or physical.  Thank you for caring friends who bear with us, lift us up out of despair, and help us discover solutions that we, by ourselves, cannot find.  Help me to be that kind of friend, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The rest of today's story: "But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 'Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?' Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, 'Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.' And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this'" (Mark 2:6-12).

Personal note: As our internet ministry has grown through the years the vast majority of our readers of this encouragement series are not personally known to us. Most have signed up on the web page or perhaps after reading a forwarded message they received. Others know about us due to our 1 minute radio broadcasts or after reading about our web ministry in a news article. However there are so many of you that we have personally met and know. You are part of churches we served, business associates, relatives, chaplaincy contacts, fellow pastors and missionaries. You're all our friends and we are grateful for such a blessing. It's amazing how many people you meet through life's journey and each one has something to offer. If you think about it, it's the same for you!

Painting our barn roof 6/25/12
Mike Fisher, a man we met in one of the companies we serve as chaplains, is doing the painting on our barn roof. Mike is a roofer who has an Amish background and is comfortable with heights (he used to build silos). In the photo you can see the new red finish at the top and the previous look on the lower overhang.

Mike Fisher with slate
Mike works for Sam S. Smucker & Sons, Inc.
using a special skill set in a very specific type of roofing. Mike is a specialist in installing and repairing slate roofs, which are found on many of the old stone farm houses and barns in our area. Slate is a premium roofing material and has a lifetime way beyond ours! Mike told me he worked on a farmhouse here in Lancaster County built in 1768 with the original slate roof. The slate was still in good shape but the original nails had worn out!

Slate and roofing toolsr
Here is a piece of roof slate and the some of the tools of the trade.
Slate is a natural quarried material.

Sunflowers 6/26/12
Last night as the sun was setting we noticed how beautiful the sunflowers were with the sunlight filtering through them. We gave our garden a break this year, but the birds were not content and decided to plant sunflowers for us. They did a great job! As you can see Mike has completed painting the roof on the overhang area on this side of our barn.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource

"Jesus Saves"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Old Friends"
 Video  Bill Gaither and his many friends (more than a few who are now with the Lord!)

"The Cares Chorus"  Video  Kelly Willard  A great song reminding us of God's care for us.

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Not identified  This song always blesses me and I suppose I recalled the line, "He is a kind, compassionate Friend."

"Friends"  Video  Michael W. Smith  
Each church we served had this song sung during our farewell (in 1993 when we moved on from northern PA and again in 2001 when we left New England to move to Lancaster County). Thankfully we have many friends from each of these churches to this day and have collected many more along the way!

"Old Friends"  Video  
Growing up in the sixties in the Kansas City area, I enjoyed listening to Roger Miller songs along with my dad when we were in his work truck. He had a 65 Blue Chevy truck with "E.C. Weber and Sons" on each side even though my two older brothers had left home by then and I wasn't old enough to drive! This is not a spiritual song but has an interesting sentiment. I can still recall the old men sitting out on the benches visiting with one another in front of city hall in Belton Missouri, the little town I grew up in.

Call to fall

We want to encourage readers wherever they may live to participate in a special prayer time this coming Lord's day in falling to our knees and praying for our nation and world. For more information see this website.

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Ministry Update  (Revised 5/12)

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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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