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November 7, 2013

Happy Barn in Lancaster County, PA
This Happy Barn is in Lancaster County

"All Things New"

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"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Don't you enjoy spontaneous humorous moments that take place in a church service? I've chronicled unexpected church moments through the years and yesterday I made this list into a blog post and published it to "A Little Foolishness", our humor blog. *

Pastor John Keefer This last Sunday our pastor made a point in his sermon that if we want change in our life we must remove the excuses we make for not changing. Among the oft-repeated excuses is the expression, "I'm trying". We can excuse any sort of non-performance by saying, "I'm trying" which can be a cop-out when more often we really aren't.

In this context he alluded to his need to shed a few pounds and said, "I'm through trying" and emphatically stated, "I'm just going to have to work at it", which of course is essentially the same thing as "I'm trying". Almost instantly he caught himself or perhaps, if his wife Faithe is like Brooksyne, he caught her "raised eyebrows" expression! (We preachers often get reality checks from our wives when we blurt something that doesn't quite add up.) He laughed when he realized what he had just said and acknowledged, "I reckon that's the same thing, isn't it!". (Pastor John gave me permission to share this story).

We periodically enjoy drawing from past memories to illustrate a spiritual truth and some of them are somewhat humorous. In the church we served in New England we had a musical family visiting from Canada. Early in the service the guest musician
led us in the hymn, “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart” a song that speaks of how God changes lives. Before launching into the song he instructed the pianist to pause between verses and invite the people to share in a single word the things God had delivered them from.

Throughout the congregation one by one folks spoke out with responses such as "alcohol", "self-centeredness", "fear", "pride", etc.  In many cases as pastor I knew their testimony and was blessed to hear them express it before others.

KyleFour year old Kyle, who had already developed a sense of humor, peeked above the pew and raised his small hand. The song leader called on him and asked, “Young man, what has God delivered you from?”  Without hesitation Kyle blurted out, “Drugs!” Silence, then an outburst of laughter followed young Kyle's confession. His mother’s face turned beet red as she realized what had just came out of her young son’s mouth. (It was a Kodak moment, but people didn't have camera phones then as they do today!)

Well, of course Kyle didn't have a drug problem at the young age of four, but he had probably heard of drugs as something people were delivered from. Our church was located in a city and we had our share of troubled people including those who had been delivered from drugs.

But Kyle had the right idea for God's delivering power and there are many thousands who can testify to deliverance from drugs and many other sinful, destructive lifestyles.  I have a friend on my heart today as I prepare this message who really needs deliverance. He has a crippling addiction that is impacting every area of his life.

2 Corinthians 5:17In the daily text the Apostle Paul describes the wonderful transformation that Christ brings, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  When a person genuinely turns to Christ a wonderful transformation takes place. In one sense it's instantaneous, but in another sense it's a life-long process.

Romans 12:2 instructs: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read about the process of "being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory."

John Newton Paul himself experienced this same life-transforming conversion on the road to Damascus and went on to become the greatest missionary in the history of the church. Slave trader John Newton experienced dramatic conversion to Christ and went on to write "Amazing Grace".  Nixon's hatchet man, Chuck Colson, experienced this change and went on to found "Prison Fellowship" and had a fruitful ministry for Christ till he passed away last year.

And the list of changed lives goes on and on and is being added to every day. Are you on this list? Today consider your life. Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life by asking Him to be your Lord and Savior?  Have you sought Him for forgiveness of your sins?  If so, then you are a child of God!

Christ continues to change lives today and He is either changing yours or waiting for you to call on His Name so your life can be changed.  Please do so today!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as Your new creation we have crucified our sinful selves and found new life through Your indwelling Holy Spirit. We have given up our old selfish desires and sin no longer masters our thoughts and actions. We deny our sinful nature so that Your will may be accomplished in our lives as we reflect Your glory day by day. Your deliverance power gives us the strength we need to deal with ongoing temptation to yield to our old sinful nature. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. It is through Christ that we resist the enemy and yield to the Spirit. Amen.

Happy children in church
It's not only things that happen in church but sights you see. It's always fun to watch kids in church especially as you get older. These boys were having a fun time "hiding out" after church on Sunday!

Rainbow 11/7/13
Early this morning at sunrise it seemed I was looking through rose-colored glasses. I stepped out to a light rain and a rainbow barely visible in the middle of the photo.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

* A Collection Of Funny Church Moments (blog article) The first part are our own stories, the second are stories we have collected from friends and readers through the years. If you have a funny church story please share it using the “Leave a Comment” link on the blog.

"New Man"  Video  All Things New

"Since Jesus Came Into My Heart"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"All Things New"  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

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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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