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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fresh corn "Help Yourself"
Seen in the Church Foyer

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"Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord" (Colossians 4:7).

Old cameraNo one would be impressed by my camera, an old point and shoot with scotch tape holding the battery cover on. I am an old fashioned type and the new cameras of this type lack the viewfinder, which I am accustomed to using. I can take photos with my phone and do so occasionally but have a hard time getting used to turning a phone into a camera!

I almost always have my camera with me ready to snap a photo that might be used on daily encouragement. I walked into church Sunday morning and saw a simple sight which wouldn't necessarily be photogenic. Yet the sight warmed my heart. Several boxes of fresh corn with a simple sign "Help Yourself" brought in by a local farmer. It got me thinking of a series of photos of the actions of ordinary people who follow Christ.

Let us consider Tychicus today.  You've read his name, which is found only five times, as you read through the New Testament, but I really doubt if most have paid much attention. It can be determined from these few references that he had a chronologically long and geographically varied ministry.

Tychicus and Paul had worked together a long time. We first find him referenced in Acts 20:4 when he was traveling with Paul on a missionary journey. We have no record of his background or time of conversion, although he was from the province of Asia. One resource indicated that tradition teaches he died a martyr.

Tychicus is one of the many ministry associates that Paul worked with. Paul wrote "He is a dear (literally "beloved") brother, faithful minister and fellow servant".  These are impressive credentials coming from Paul, who is always sending him out as a faithful messenger (see Ephesians 6:21, 2 Timothy 4:12, Titus 3:12). In the daily passage and in Ephesians 6:21 we note that the express purpose was to take information about Paul's condition and to encourage the recipients of the letters.

I suppose you could say Tychicus was a pretty ordinary person, but I would add that since he did his work heartily as to the Lord, God made him of extraordinary use to the kingdom. A good messenger delivers the message without distorting it. He has no personal agenda that might cloud the message. He doesn't get delayed by his own personal interests, nor does he get into petty distraction or engage in gossip. Would your credentials hold for this duty?

Church at work
Thank God for the millions of ordinary people in the Church like Tychicus, who take their callings seriously and do it heartily as to the Lord! We hope today's message will open your eyes to the blessing you can be to others. Ordinary faithful people who seek to live like Christ. They teach Sunday School, count offerings, swab toilets, mow the lawn, run the sound system, visit prisoners, pick up the elderly for church, and perform a thousand other duties, large and small, to advance the Kingdom of God. 

Virginia MillerYesterday Brooksyne and Ester attended the funeral of Virginia Miller, who at 93 years of age received her glorious promotion. For many years we have visited with Ginnie in the course of our chaplain service at a local personal care center. She had a delightful positive outlook even though she endured much suffering. At the service her pastor spoke of still seeing in his mind's eye the years Ginnie drove up during the week in her blue car. She'd pick up the church bulletins, take them home and return them folded for Sunday's Worship Service!

Are you weary in your walk today? Or do you sometimes think, "What's the use? What can I do with what little I have to offer?"  Listen, watch, and pray. God will show you or He might just speak to you through another Christian leader about a duty that you are able to meet. Be faithful in whatever God lays on your heart, just as Tychicus was.

In Paul's final letter we find his name in a brief but telling verse. Others had abandoned him, but Paul writes "I sent Tychicus to Ephesus" (2 Timothy 4:12). Tychicus had his bag ready. Faithful! That's the kind of people Christ's Kingdom needs today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father God, we thank You for our brothers and sisters who, because of Your redemptive love, share together in the work of furthering the kingdom of God. Thank you for those who see a need and are quick to respond. We also know of those who see the need but feel inadequate for the task. Would You empower and embolden them to take a step of faith by moving in the direction You're leading to the point of commitment. We're mindful of Tychicus' example of faithfulness in his duties and his loving spirit toward Paul and his fellow servants. We also want to be faithful in our thoughts, our conversation, and our duties this day.  We pray to You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Paul sent Tychicus from his prison, writing from a damp cell with his own earthly future very uncertain. Yet he is considering the needs of others before his own.

Mount Gretna PA

Yesterday we shared some photos from the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show. Today we share some photos of the village. Mount Gretna is a  small village about 15 miles from our home that reminds us of the mountains of northern Pennsylvania where we lived for nearly 16 years. It had been a summer camp but now many of the residents live there year round. It lies in a mountainous area at the very southern tip of Lebanon County. See here for map.

Mount Gretna, PA
Most homes have colorful wraparound porches with string lighting.

Mount Gretna, PA
Hard to see this photo but I like the effect. It's from the inside of the still used tabernacle showing the many homes that surround it. A choral concert was planned for the evening.

Mount Gretna, PA
A favorite place on the grounds is the Jigger Shop for ice cream treats!

Mount Gretna, PA
I like the green ivy climbing up many of the trees.

Mount Gretna, PA
Many took photographs of this "green" cottage/home. If you look carefully you might just see a few of the bubbles in the right top middle of the porch that were blowing in the air. They must have had a bubble machine since there were bubbles all afternoon!

Mount Gretna, PA
The front porch railing on this home is made of tree limbs.

Mount Gretna Outdoor Art show, PA
Here's one more photo from the art show! What an ornery little monkey this fella was, but isn't that what we like about monkeys (as long as someone else is taking care of him.) This little guy brings a lot of money to his owner as he gives out wet kisses to those who hand him a dollar bill.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

"Use Me"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Jesus Use Me"
 Video  The Cathedrals

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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