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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Anchor in Ocean City MD
Anchor at Lifesaving Station Museum in Ocean City, Maryland

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"In Times Like These
We Have An Anchor"

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

When we travel to the Midwest we often visit Branson, Missouri. As children we visited the Branson area when it was very undeveloped but my sister and I fondly recall our visits to the Silver Dollar City Theme Park. Brooksyne and I honeymooned at a resort on Table Rock Lake near Branson in 1976. In the eighties Branson began its transformation into a major tourist destination with many live shows and other vacation attractions, always very family friendly. Surely many of our readers have visited this area.

Branson BelleIn the nineties we took a "cruise" on the Branson Belle, a large paddle boat that features a nice dinner and live show while cruising on Table Rock Lake. We had a great time and especially recall the wonderful music, humorous acts and delicious meal ending with Baked Alaska for dessert which we had for the first and only time!

But several years ago passengers on the Branson Belle had another experience. On a dinner cruise Saturday, December 11, 2010, due to high winds that had come up suddenly, the Showboat Branson Belle lost power, drifted across the lake and ran aground, providing a different type of memorable experience for those aboard! Most were stranded overnight.

Chaplain Michael Reighard made this observation: "It was a windy day when the Branson Belle set out on the choppy waters. The 195-foot recreational riverboat was manned with 76 crew members who intended on creating fun-filled memories for the 567 passengers on board. However, engine and drive train difficulties changed those intentions and left them with hopes of just providing safety to their patrons and putting their feet back on solid ground.

When a crew member was asked if the captain had dropped the anchor, he responded, “It doesn’t have any. We don’t have any anchors, no anchors.

The Coast Guard and local residents came to the rescue, and the passengers were brought to safety by construction equipment and a floating dock provided by a marina owner."

As I read Chaplain Reigard's story I considered the absurdity of a boat without an anchor. Even when I go out in a small recreational boat an anchor is standard equipment. The word "anchor" is used in Scripture several times in a literal sense, including the time Paul was shipwrecked in the later chapters of Acts. (Acts 27:17)

The Bible also uses anchor in a figurative sense in our daily Scripture text describing the anchor of hope we have in Jesus Christ.  We can indeed declare, "We Have An Anchor!"

This is the only place in the entire Bible that "anchor" is used in a figurative sense. Yet I studied a song database which includes 17 songs that refer to the spiritual anchor. Apparently believers throughout the ages have really identified with this Scriptural simile,
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

The anchor refers to the hope generated by faith in Christ as our Solid Rock which enables the believer to stand firm in face of temptations, calamities and storms. There are two qualities to this anchor of hope that may seem similar, but indeed express two complimentary truths. It's a firm and secure hope. It's as if the Holy Spirit wants to make it absolutely clear to us just how dependable this anchor is! 

How thankful we should be for this anchor of hope.  Are you going through some tumult? Is your faith being shaken by circumstances beyond your control?  Today we encourage you that we do have an anchor and this anchor will always hold. It will weather the worst storm. Truly, the anchor of hope we have in Jesus Christ is firm and secure!

In times like these, you need a Saviour.
In times like these, you need an anchor.
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as an anchor is standard safety equipment for a boat to remain afloat against powerful tides of water, Jesus is the anchor for our soul, keeping us steadfast and hopeful when the strong tides of doubt, disappointment and fear seek to overtake us.  So many drift aimlessly day in and day out uncertain of their present and future standing while we, as believers, anchor fast to the Rock which cannot move, because it's grounded firm and deep in our Savior's love whose daily provision protects, encourages, and leads us to the heavenly shore where storms will one day be all past forevermore. Amen.

Prayer inspired by the hymn, "We Have An Anchor"

Here's a quote I periodically share that has blessed me many times. It was written about 350 years ago by Jeremy Taylor. It fully embraces the timetable of the Gospel journey and is a great focus for the believer:

"Faith is the Christian's foundation,
Hope is his anchor,
Death is his harbor,
Christ is his pilot,
And heaven is his country."

Further thoughts for spiritual leaders: In his article on the Branson Belle, Chaplain Michael Reighard makes this application: "Mechanical problems changed a simple, fun-filled two-hour trip on the lake, to a dangerous and fearful situation. All but nine people were trapped on that boat for the night as 45 mph winds pounded the drifting vessel, while many covered themselves with table cloths for warmth. The powerless vessel drifted its way across the lake and grounded on Poverty Point (a well-known point on Table Rock Lake).

Apparently, the Branson Belle anchor system was overlooked in the construction phase (an essential time to consider mandatory equipment). Evidently, it was overlooked by engineers, inspectors, and even operators (all the people who knew best about what a water vessel required). The lack of planning placed the “prosperous” vessel on “poverty” point.

This is a great example for those of us who serve as chaplains (or in any form of ministry). We work diligently in assuring that our ministry brings glory to Christ, and His mission is completed. We preach about being anchored on the Solid Rock. He alone is our success. When we have Him as our anchor, winds can blow and hardships can come, but we will not waiver or be pushed by any forces to land on “Poverty Point.” We will be able to stand the test of time, offering our parishioners and supervisors exactly what they signed on to receive. Thank God for His stability!

The trouble comes when we forget who we are. Many times chaplains find themselves so busy in ministry that they forget they even have an Anchor. In the middle of life’s storms, the elements surrounding them consume their vision, and they cannot see the Lord working in their midst. Routine or mechanical ministry soon begins to be business as usual. Resting on personality traits, role-based ministry, and our own strength replaces the calling that God has planted deep within. In these cases, chaplains depend on themselves and soon fail to spend time in communion with God, relying on their own ability to stay afloat.

This type of ministry is similar to the Branson Belle. Sure, each of us can stay afloat and drift along in our ministry (some longer than others), but eventually this type of ministry will ground us on Poverty Point. However, when we anchor down with Jesus through the storms of life, we will overcome. We will fulfill our mission and bring our parishioners, who have trusted in us, to the secure place they expected us to take them.

Jesus is the only true Anchor of our life. It is essential to begin our ministry with the Lord as our anchor and know how and when to call Him for stabilization. If we have an anchor, it is also important that we know how to operate it and maintain it. This is the same with Jesus as our anchor; it is important that we know everything about the anchor’s operation and operate it regularly. This can only be done by staying familiar with the Anchor, Jesus, – spending time with Him, giving Him the glory for all He does, and recognizing He is always with us and working for us, even in the storms of life.

Take time now to let Him know that you trust Him to be the anchor in your life, stabilizing you and your ministry even in the worst of storms."

(From a chaplaincy newsletter)

Faith in Christ will keep us steady
in the stormy sea of change.

Vertical plants
My brother, Mike, knowing of my interest in vertical gardening, sent me this photo from a
Conservatory in California.

Ken WishKen Wish is a longtime reader of Daily Encouragement and a hospice/hospital chaplain in Maine who stopped overnight on his way to a church conference in Indiana. As we were visiting this morning he told us of an experience he recently had with a dying patient in the hospital that powerfully illustrates this concept of "hope as an anchor". Ken had visited her several times and at this point she was unresponsive. Three or four family members had gathered at her bedside and after some brief conversation he led in prayer and then felt led to lead out in the 23rd Psalm. He and the family members were deeply touched when the patient began to mouth the brief phrases of this beloved Psalm along with Ken. We thank God for the anchor we have in the Word, especially classic portions such as the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Love Chapter and on and on the list grows.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"We Have An Anchor"  Video  Robin Marks  I am so very blessed by this grand old hymn.

"In Times Like These"
Video  Andrew Weber

"What the World Needs to Hear"  Video  The Booth Brothers

"Save My Family"  Video 
Tribute Quartet

"I See Grace"  Video 
The Booth Brothers

Branson Belle info  Apparently it got fixed, hopefully they installed some anchors!

News article about the Branson Belle
incident on December 11, 2010

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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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