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Monday, March 16, 2015
View of Pacific Ocean through Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu.
(Click to enlarge)
"Famous Or Faithful?
Note: We have been visiting California for several days so these messages have not been posted daily due to our activities and a very sluggish travel computer we rarely use! We will resume regular posting upon our return home this week.
Note: Due to travel the podcast is not prepared for this message. The computer is way too slow!
"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).
One more note! This message is longer than most. Biblical exposition and challenge begins at the *
Over the past week we have been visiting Southern California where we have experienced such pleasant temperatures. In fact we have gotten a bit spoiled, though reality check will soon take place as we return to our cooler climate tomorrow. We have been all over, including a bus tour of LA and Hollywood. We got off the bus and walked from Beverly Hills to Hollywood, a five mile distance, which gave us a much closer view of the distinctions of the area. The trees, shrubs and flowers that grow in this dessert-like climate are eye appealing everywhere we've been. The mountainous landscapes are grand, stunning, in fact. And, as would be expected, the shoreline views are downright inspiring. The Californians we've visited are very friendly and helpful to the many who are visiting the area.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood is about as strange a place that we've ever visited, although others might say, "strangeness is in the eyes of the beholder"! Whenever we walked down Hollywood Boulevard people were dressed in costumes mimicking movie characters along with their money purse collecting payment for their services, if you requested a photo with them. There were many hawking a tour in small open air conversion vans to see the stars and others insisting you take their music CD for a donation of any amount.
There were many, many homeless people in various states of alcohol, drug or mental impairment. Numerous times we walked along and would suddenly come upon a foot sticking out of a shrubbery landscaped area in front of a business. Upon further investigation we'd find a body lying there sleeping, usually with a bottle along side his stiff body. (We saw far more men than women in this condition.) It's heartbreaking! Throughout the day many of these homeless would be talking to themselves or pretending to talk to someone else. Taking a walk in this area is a stark contrast to the walks we often write about in our quiet rural area.
Hollywood has an interesting tourist attraction called the "Walk of Fame" comprised of more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks. We walked through that area and saw many people searching for a particular star. In fact Ester gave us a list of those she'd like to see. There's a lot of talk about seeing celebrities and that is what many aspire to when first arriving in Hollywood. I suppose every generation has had famous people but not until the age of mass media have we seen celebrities, both good and bad, like we do today.
When we took a bus tour the guide regularly announced places tourists would likely see celebrities. This was of little interest to us as we really don't keep up with the celebrities of today, though admittedly I (Brooksyne) enjoy the stars from Hollywood's Golden Age. However we did encounter one celebrity in a rather unusual way as we departed a bus tour and walked the five miles beginning with the walkway (in lead photo) from Beverly Hills to Hollywood.
From a distance I (Brooksyne) spotted a small dog that suddenly swelled into to a huge dog, with a lady blocking the full view. Weird, you say, but then we've seen a lot of weird sights so it has a way of diluting your typical way of looking at things. Of course, I moved in closer to clarify my view and then visited with the lady sitting by the dog(s). I told her my first impression and then she welcomed me to take a photo (to the left, though my initial sighting showed only the small dog's head not the body as seen in the photo). We both had a good laugh as we texted the photo to her as a reminder of the strange visitor in town. The dog trainer warmly welcomed us to her "neck of the woods".
Turns out the English Mastiff is a celebrity dog featured on a number of TV shows and in various commercials including Petco. His name is Giovani and he weighs 165#. So, there's our claim to spotting a celebrity in Hollywood! I was unsuccessful in getting Giovani to smile for the camera. I guess he prefers the silly kind of Facebook photo young people often post with his tongue sticking out. After all, he's only three years old.
Years ago we passed a country church in Lancaster County with a thought-provoking message on their sign that simply stated, "Better to be faithful than famous". Although there are some famous people that are also faithful many recognized as "famous" are certainly not faithful. Merely consider famous names in entertainment, sports and politics and of course even religion.
* British Bible teacher A.W. Pink stated "Faithful people have always been in a marked minority."
But as true followers of Christ we have not been called to be famous, we have been called to be faithful. We've all been given a trust. The apostle Paul wrote, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2). We are stewards of God's truth and it is required that we be faithful. This is fundamentally expressed spiritually but in reality spiritual faithfulness is expressed in practical ways as well. Let us ask ourselves: Do we act in an irresponsible way when we think no one is looking? Are we faithful to our spouse and family? Are we faithful to our church and ministry responsibilities? What about our work related duties and financial commitments?
Each of us has been given a trust and it is required by God that we prove ourselves faithful with that trust. The lies, deceit, and broken promises that characterize unfaithfulness has darkened our society, fragmented the family unit, and destabilized the world. Countless lives have been crushed due to those who have been unfaithful to the trust given them.
Business owners, political figures, spiritual leaders, teachers, parents, on and on the list goes for each of us who are given a trust and must prove ourselves faithful. We start out by being faithful in the small things. Then we are entrusted with greater responsibility, recognizing that we seek God's approval, above anyone else, for He is the Overseer of everything we do: "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
May the Lord help us to faithfully keep the commitments we make. In fact the greatest approbation we will ever receive is when we hear the words from our Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). Indeed it's definitely far better to be faithful than famous!
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we have been given a trust and desire to prove ourselves faithful in all areas of our lives as evidenced in our responsibilities carried out here on earth. Being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us involves sacrifice, humbleness, repentance, and obedience which does not come easily, but is nevertheless required. As we walk steadily with You and prayerfully apply Scriptural principles we will be found faithful. We look to You in prayer coming to You through Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
Watchman Nee wrote, "Long-lasting victory can never be separated from a long-lasting stand on the foundation of the cross."
Some scenes from our visit in Southern California
Sunset from Santa Monica along the Pacific Coastal Highway.
(Click to enlarge)
A pleasant walkway along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. We also walked down residential streets, each lined with only one species of tree. It was quite beautiful to see only one kind of tree lining the streets. The next street would have an altogether different look with a different kind of tree.
We weren't sure who this Hollywood character represented, surely a clown of sorts. One among so many "weird" sights we viewed as we walked several miles each day in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. Many of the homeless (perhaps the majority) carry bedrolls or blankets, others push shopping carts with six or eight stuffed trash bags hanging on the sides of their carts. A good number sleep with their faces flush against the sidewalk or rough ground. We felt helpless as onlookers and could only whisper a prayer that they would find their way home, and even more importantly, discover there is hope in this life through Christ Jesus.
OK, how's this for being silly. Brooksyne had some fun with this shot and sent it to Ester who is intrigued with the stars of Hollywood.
The end of Route 66!
Brooksyne grew up and attended school within a block or two of Route 66. The route also goes right through Springfield, Missouri where we met in college. Imagine our delightful surprise when we saw "Route 66 End of the Trail" as we walked the pier in Santa Monica, CA. It is indeed the western terminus of old Route 66.
We toured the Ronald Reagan Library. This is a section of the Berlin Wall.
It was an amazing tour and quite an experience to board Air Force One.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Find Us Faithful" Video Steve Green
"We'll Be Faithful" Video Hosanna Music
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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 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."
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