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October 29, 2013

Bike with "truck bed" (photo taken in Intercourse, PA 10/25/13)
Last week we saw this interesting bike/cart in front of a store in Intercourse, PA.

"The Next Really Big Thing"

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"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:11-14).

Baseball scorecard We have been enjoying the World Series, America's baseball championship. I can root for both teams this season. Being from Missouri I am pleased a Missouri team is in and I can join many of my relatives in cheering for the Cardinals. My grandpa was an avid Cardinal's fan and I recall him listening carefully from the crackly box radio in their small home in Harwood as he carefully tallied the box score.

Fenway Park, Boston Having lived near Boston for over seven years we have many friends in that area and have experienced the unique excitement of attending baseball games at Fenway Park, which is unlike any other professional stadium I've ever visited.

Winning the World Series is a really big thing for the team and city. The Red Sox are returning to Fenway with a 3-2 series lead and need just one win at home to win the series. The last time they won a world series at home was 1918 when Babe Ruth was on their team! So you can imagine the excitement in Boston! I lean a bit in favor of the Boston team considering the trauma and loss they experienced during the Boston Marathon in April of this year.

Today's message title is inspired by an ad we see during the series promoting a tablet computer, which is touted as "the next big thing". In technology there is always something new and supposedly better. I recall Tony, a hi-tech engineer who attended our church in New England, asserting that once a new tech product is introduced it's no longer state of the art. (That was in the nineties and now you can imagine how short a life span tech products have for being "new".)

We all have some very big things in life, some good and others not so good. Marriage, the birth of a child or grandchild, a new job or promotion are all big things in life. Of course, there are also big setbacks like an accident, disease diagnosis, or a major loss.

Today let us consider the next really big thing all who have accepted and follow Christ can look forward to. In fact it's incomparable to any other big thing we experience in this present life!

Many of you will recall an old children's song. If you can sing it out!

I am a C (spelling out the capital letters)
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
And I have C-H-R-I-S-T
In my H-E-A-R-T
and I will L-I-V-E   E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y!
(Of course you speed it up each time you sing a round!)

The first daily verse states that "He (God) has set eternity in the hearts of men." Frankly I am not sure what all this means but man certainly does have a sense of history past. We also have a sense of eternity future. As believers we sense that this temporal life is but a short moment within the span of our eternal existence. The next really, really, really big thing is when we experience the transition from this present earthbound life to eternal life in heaven.

Starry sky Perhaps my first sense of teaching on eternity was in this children's song when we sang I will LIVE ETERNALLY. I recall as a little boy sitting out under the stars, looking up and considering eternity. Last night I looked up to those same stars on a very clear and cold night sky.

Today all of us have issues that trouble us. I'm one of millions caught up in the health insurance mess since our plan was canceled, effective Dec. 31st! There seems to be so much uncertainty and division in the world. We continue to live under the specter of terror. Consider God's love for you and recognize that we just "cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
" Indeed His blessings are unfathomable and unending!

Let us keep the faith as we await the next really big thing!
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."

When we've been there ten million years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have set eternity in the hearts of Your people though it is impossible for us to comprehend all that You have done from eternity past to eternity future. Your existence spans eternity for You always have been and always will be. As Your children, we await the next really big event of Christ's return and joyfully anticipate His appearing where He invites us to take our first step inside the pearly gates where we will view the home He has prepared for us and the New Jerusalem He has prepared for the saints of all ages. Ten million years later we'll still be singing Your praise and giving thanks that there is no end to our days nor to our unbounding joy. It is through Jesus that we have this unending access to heaven and it is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Amazing Grace"  Video  50 Different Languages (something different and a blessing to realize what a diversity of nationalities will be in heaven, though we will not be separated by language differences there! )

In my lifetime I have been to many thousands of church services and other meetings and heard a similar amount of sermons and teachings. I recall the specificities of only a few of them, but readily acknowledge that all exposure to truth has been extremely beneficial and helped build the foundation of my Christian beliefs. I recall when I was a young Christian in high school visiting the Sycamore Hills Baptist Church in Independence Missouri. While singing "Amazing Grace" the song leader got to the final stanza that says, "When we've been there ten thousand years" and stopped the musicians. He then instructed the church to replace the number "thousand" with "million". So we sang, "When we've been there ten million years." That first experience has stayed with me though I've sung it many times since then with "ten million". It intrigues me that regardless of whatever gargantuan number replaces "thousand" it's still true! That's the nature of eternity.

Yesterday I read an interesting devotional based on "Amazing Grace" written by Joe Stowell who highlights the phrase "saved a wretch like me".

"I Am Bound For The Promised Land"  Video  Jars Of Clay

"I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N"  Video  Kids singing!

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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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