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Friday, August 30, 2013

Amish children sitting on fence rail (Photo by Ester Weber) 8/29/13
Amish children sitting on fence rail on a warm, sunny afternoon.
Photo by Ester Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"My Mission In Life"

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"So we make it our goal to please Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Amish children playing baseball
Early yesterday morning we visited some Amish friends and then drove their children to school and saw a pleasant sight. As we drove up to the one room schoolhouse a group of children, boys and girls, were playing baseball. That brought back memories for both of us from an increasingly long time ago. I remember playing baseball out behind our elementary school during recess or after school. Brooksyne remembers playing softball (a bigger ball and the pitcher threw underhanded rather than the overhanded baseball.)

Slate board quoitsGenerally speaking, my competitive athletic days are over but I can still have the competitive spirit in certain settings. Last weekend I participated in a quoit tournament. I explained earlier this week that quoits are similar to horseshoes but are round hard rubber disks. The goal is to either get the quoit around the peg (three points) or stay on the slate board (closest gets one point). It's harder than it looks since a ringer is very hard to achieve and the rubber quoits easily bounce off the slate boards.

We set a lot of goals whether or not we verbalize them. The term "goal" is used a lot in sports but we also speak of financial goals, career goals, and so forth. Today we want to consider the ultimate goal we are to have as Christians.

Ravi Zecharias Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias on his broadcast "A Slice of Infinity" has challenged believers to follow the model of many corporations and local churches and develop a personal mission statement. I formulated my own, but the difficulty for me in this matter was staying succinct. There are so many Scripture verses I wanted to incorporate into the statement that I tend to lose the brevity and focus that characterizes a mission statement.

Here's the one I have used for many years: "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 prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

The daily verse is a goal that the Apostle Paul had for both himself and his readers which was initially the Corinthians; notice the first person plural pronoun "we".  I believe as part of the Holy Scriptures this includes us. It is one of the first verses of Scripture I memorized as a young man. "So we make it our goal to please Him."  That's a great single phrase mission statement! Other versions translate the phrase, "Therefore we also have as our ambition to be pleasing to Him" (NASV). "We make it our aim to please Him" (ESV).

The word translated "goal" means "to devote one's self zealously to a cause".  It suggests eager, continuing efforts for something that is good.  I believe the Amplified Bible expresses this sense well: "We are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him."

A lifelong pursuit in life for the redeemed is finding out what pleases the Lord. By God's grace it remains a simple expression of my outlook on life. The quest to find out what pleases the Lord is ongoing. Although God's written revelation in the Bible regarding what pleases Him is unchangeable, new challenges in different contexts are always set before us. Doing the right thing requires discernment and building a solid foundation so that you know that which He prohibits, and that which He finds pleasing. It is
for our own good and for His glory.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:10, "find out what pleases the Lord."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father,  I make it my goal to please You.  So many goals I make reap rewards that last only a season, but when I set goals for righteous living the rewards last not only for this life, but for all of eternity. In setting my goals help me to be willing to lay aside that which hinders and the sin that so easily entangles so that I will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. I want my primary goal to be that which pleases You, and the only way I can learn about that is to read and heed the Scriptures. My overall goal is to persevere to the very end of this life so that when I enter the other side I hear these words of commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Amen.

Photos from an Amish farm

Yesterday while we went about our chaplain work Ester stayed with our Amish friends and took some photos including our lead photo of the children sitting on a fence post.

Holstein bull right in the eyes! (Photo by Ester) 8/29/13
I sure hope a strong fence was separating Ester from this Holstein bull when she snapped this photo! She told us she was thinking of Brooksyne's Uncle Carroll Sherrell from Arkansas who was recently attacked by a bull that broke through a fence. It resulted in his having surgery and will undergo a long recovery from the brutal attack. He's farmed over 50 years and this is the first such attack that we're aware of.

Windmill on an Amish farm 8/29/13
Storage shed and new trampoline in the background.

Harvesting corn silage on an Amish farm 8/29/13
Yesterday afternoon when we went back to the farm to pick up Ester Jesse was harvesting corn silage. He smiled and gestured for us to look up at the top of the silo.

Harvesting corn silage on an Amish farm 8/29/13
Ah, the joys and potential dangers of growing up on a working farm!

Last year we shared a message about "The Cooperative Harvest" along with a series of photos explaining how the Amish harvest corn for silage. See here.

David with dinner bell 8/29/13
Last night we gathered with families in the small group from our church that has met for over seven years. We enjoyed a cookout
on the farm and David rang the dinner bell. Some Ma and Pa Kettle fans will remember Ma calling her's and Pa's dozen or so children to dinner everyday by yelling very loudly,"Come and Get It". She tried to be prim and proper a few times using a gentle voice but not one child would show up. Can you remember how you were called to dinner as a child?

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"This Is My Desire"  Video 

"My Passion"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Wonderful, Merciful Savior" Video  Klaus Kuehn and Kari Jobe

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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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