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Friday, October 19, 2012
Stately tree on The Green in Litchfield, Connecticut.
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"Redeeming The Time"
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).
Yesterday we attended a meeting at Lancaster Bible College with a group we are associated with called "Convene" which as stated on their website is "a gathering of Christian CEOs and Business Owners helping each other build exceptional businesses, increase leadership success, and have greater Kingdom impact." Although we are not business owners or CEO's, Ron Hoover, the local chair of the group, is an encouraging supporter of our chaplain ministry and periodically invites us to attend the group when he feels we would benefit.
Ron led a devotional in yesterday's meeting titled "Every Life Has A Story" which reminded us how we never know when the opportunity for a witness will come to make an eternal impact on another soul. We must be intentional as we listen to others to discover their greatest need.
The devotional message included a moving video which indicates the underlying story people have that helps us to understand their need. (A link to the video is posted below this message and we encourage you to watch it as it will touch your heart.)
We are strong advocates of Christianity being expressed at the personal level. But ministry of any sort can, at times, be discouraging. One of the benefits of aging is a long-term perspective and getting an increasingly bigger picture of how God is using us and even the way that God is working things out.
All of you reading this who follow Christ are in ministry. We often associate "ministry" in a formal, vocational way such as being the pastor of a local church, but God has called each of His followers to serve and to be a servant which is the root meaning of minister. We are spread all around the world in a wide variety of settings to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we are called to "redeem the time" or as another version states "make the most of every opportunity".
Today's Scripture text is an ongoing call we do well to heed:
"See then that you walk circumspectly" This has the sense of being careful. Another version states, "Be very careful, then, how you live" It seems so many give little thought to how they live, especially in regard to eternity.
"Not as fools but as wise" This is speaking of the whole of living life. Jesus taught that the wise man builds his house on a firm foundation, hearing and practicing His teachings. (see Matthew 7:24-27)
Paul wrote to Timothy a challenge that has meant so much to me especially since my ordination in 1979 when I did a thorough study of verses dealing with ministry. The pastoral epistles were a special focus of my study. Concerning Timothy's ministry Paul wrote, "Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:15,16).
The daily text continues, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil". Today we encourage you to look for the opportunities to serve that God will providentially place before you.
It's not just from the pulpit that people are challenged to live for Christ, but it's often in the everyday grind that ordinary followers of Christ like you who have opportunity to make an eternal difference in one's life and you may not even know you are doing it!
Coming out of the Convene meeting yesterday we were especially cognizant of this need to listen to people and look for opportunities. Let me (Stephen) share two experiences by way of illustration:
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are called to obedience to Your Word which compels us to redeem the time, because the days are evil. As we see evil crouching in at every level, it's all the more reason why we must be vigilant to live pure lives so that the light of Jesus shines through our words and our actions in this darkened world. We want to pay close attention to ourselves and persevere in the truths presented in Scripture so that we will ensure salvation both for ourselves and for those whom we have opportunity to influence. It is through Jesus that we pray. Amen.
* Look for ways to show value, appreciation and commendation to people and express it verbally. This last Sunday I was speaking to some young people after the church service and I asked them what they wanted to do for a living when they grew up. A young boy about 12 years old looked up at me and said "I want to be a garbage collector". Now I could have told him he could do a lot better than that and of course he may change his mind as he gets older. But I told him that being a garbage collector is a very important job and we all depend on good, conscientious garbage collectors.
Yesterday we spoke to a friend who identified with a childhood memory I shared last week about getting my mouth washed out with liquid ivory soap. Lee is my age and recalled using a bad word at school. In attempting to correct her student his teacher instructed him to open his mouth. She then dabbed his tongue with a bar of ivory soap! He said he never told his folks and prayed that they wouldn't find out. Had they known he would have been in double trouble at home. We old-timers lamented how times have changed and it would now be the teacher in trouble. In fact there might even be a lawsuit involved.
Here is a photo of the Convene meeting we attended yesterday held in a brand new state of the art building at Lancaster Bible College.
While at the meeting we enjoyed visiting with Peter Teague, the college president, who explained the significance of the building's design. He is a very enthusiastic proponent of the Bible College and shared that LBC is now the second largest Bible College in the country, second only to Moody Bible College. As Bible College graduates we are very pleased to hear this and also saddened as we are reminded that the Bible College we both graduated from in the seventies is in the process of being consolidated with a more liberal college.
Ron Hoover joined us for dinner last year. Ron has been very encouraging to us in our chaplain ministry as a local chair of a businessmen's group called "Convene". Ron has a mentoring role among younger businessmen and women, encouraging them to use their giftings, education and skills to serve the Lord. This summer Ron and his wife Bonnie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Following our Convene meeting yesterday we went to an open house for Smucker Laser Cutting, one of the companies we serve as chaplains. Dimos, Dan and Stephen, three of the employees stood in front of a table displaying products the company makes. Laser cutting is an amazing process to watch as the laser machine cuts through 1 inch steel with ease.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Every Life Has A Story" Video This is the brief we saw yesterday. It is produced by Chick-fil-A to remind us that everyone we interact with has a story which gives us a chance to create a ministry experience.
"People Need The Lord" Video Steve Green A reminder of the hurting world we live in.
"Use Me" Video Ron Kenoly A reminder that God can use each one of us.
Lancaster Bible College You can also watch a short video by Dr. Teague and hear his heart for the ministry of the college.
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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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