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Friday, June 19, 2015

Conewago rail trail 6/18/15
Last evening I rode my bike about twenty miles along the Conewago Recreation Trail in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. It's a beautiful trail that runs along Conewago Creek on a former railroad grade.

"As A Father Deals
With His Own Children"

Please note: Due to ealy morning chaplain work and a projected long day a podcast was not prepared for this message.

"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
This Sunday is Father's Day. This week in my face to face ministry I have been encouraging people to honor their fathers and I've been urging fathers to be good husbands and dads.

Seventeen years ago my dad went to be with the Lord. He was a big man of relatively few words, yet as I note the characteristics of fathers to which Paul was appealing in the above text I recall seeing them in my own dad. I sure miss him and look forward to seeing him in the ultimate reunion when I'm called home.
Paul never mentions his own father in any of his writings recorded in the New Testament and actually gives very little explicit teaching on fatherhood. Yet in the daily verse he presumes that his readers have an experience and knowledge of fathers.
"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children."

He lists three characteristics of fathers as an example of his own ministry among them. As we consider the descriptive role of a godly father, let us ponder these three desirable character traits, "encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God."
"Encouraging" - I had an accident at Bible College in which I injured my knee.  This resulted in an operation and several days in the hospital followed by a slow recovery.  I was very, very discouraged. Actually I was wallowing in self-pity. I spoke to my dad on the phone and received some meaningful words of encouragement, along with a subtle rebuke as he shared with me a mature perspective on life's trials.
"Comforting" – Of course both parents have these duties and in many ways we may associate receiving loving words of comfort more with our mothers.  It's harder for me to recall reassuring words or comforting gestures from my dad, but a related memory comes to mind indicating my dad's love for his wife and family. In 1967 Mom took my sister and me on a train to California to see my oldest brother Mike and his family. Dad stayed home to work and missed us a lot. He was there to meet us at the train station upon our return and it was the first time I ever saw him cry. That was a side of him I had never seen and it has remained with me to this day. Perhaps his tears were a demonstration of love that was of special reassurance to me at the time.
"Urging you to live lives worthy of God" – My dad was skillful in various HVAC and related trades and was knowledgeable in many other areas. I recall going to work with him in the hot Kansas City summers when I was in high school. He came to faith later in life so I really can’t recall many verbal lessons of a spiritual nature. But he sure demonstrated faithfulness, responsibility, and hard work in caring and providing for his family. Biblically this is certainly a component in living a life worthy of God.
Do you see these characteristics in your own father? Though there are now many who cannot identify with this kind of father figure, there are others who've experienced a similar relationship. If possible, personally honor your father by recalling some instances when this happened and share it with him in person, by telephone, through a written letter or a personal tribute.
Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households.  Amen.

Tony Evans"God Is Looking For Kingdom Men"  Video  Tony Evans is a Dallas pastor who has a series for men that is really hard-hitting. We hear him on WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations.

Brooksyne's Note: Brooklyn, my dad, worked long hours and played very little as I was growing up. When he retired, now as a grandfather, he made up for his lack of play with the grandchildren who smothered him with love. 
Every year when we celebrate Father's Day I give thanks to God for my godly heritage. While living in the badlands of New Mexico my great grandfather led my grandfather to faith. Farming on the mountains of Arkansas my grandfather led my father to salvation. While growing up on the plains of Oklahoma my father taught us to live for Christ. And now for the past 26 years Stephen and I have had the greatest privilege of raising Ester in the ways of the Lord as we've ministered in the Northeastern region for nearly 40 years.  Five generations, spread all over the U.S. have declared, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" There is no greater blessing! On Sunday I will carry my grandfather's Bible to church, as I always do on Fathers Day, in remembrance of my Christian heritage.  Daddy left the treasured Bible to me upon his death in 2000.

Brooksyne's family February 1960
Brooksyne's family in February 1960 (two older siblings missing from photo).
Her father is holding her.

Stephen's family January 1966
This photo has us four children along with our maternal grandparents taken in January 1966. Dad, whom we were unable to locate in many photos, is off to the side beside our old Chevy truck. I suppose my Mom is taking the photo. Stephen in on the lower left wearing a stocking cap, snarling at his mom, "Ah, Mom, not another picture!"

Father's Day 1999
Rummaging through old photos Ester found this Father's Day photo from about 1998 when she was nine years old and we lived in New England. I am wearing my Boston Red Sox cap and Ester had given me a Veggie tale tie. 

Father's Day 2013
Many years later we decided to show a real life age progression. However it is a fresh cake! Ester still insists that I wear the veggie tale tie on Father's Day, which draws quite a few comments, especially by children!
I still have that Red Sox cap as well!

Ester Update:  Thanks to those who have prayed and continue to pray for Ester and all the heart issues she deals with. I took her for a follow-up with her cardiologist on Thursday who also did a neuro testing to make sure there was no neurological damage due to the seizure she suffered after she was cardioverted. Thank the Lord there was not. They interrogated her pacer and made adjustments as needed. What I found interesting is something the doctor brought to light.

For those on coumadin or those familiar with it, Ester's acceptable INR is between 2.0-3.0. After her blood work was done in the ER last Friday her INR was only 1.2. The cardiologist told me that she should never have been cardioverted with such a low number. I was under the impression that we were working with a cardiologist in the ER but turns out we were not. I learned that Ester could easily have suffered a stroke with such a low INR while being cardioverted. It made me think about our message yesterday "When God Doesn't Make Sense" and we struggle with understanding why trials come. I considered the opposite after talking wit the doctor. I give thanks to God that what very well could have happened to Ester did not and I considered that we experience that kind of blessing far more than the kind that leaves the impression, "God doesn't make sense in this matter."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rise up O Men of God"
 Video  Maranatha  Hymn Background told by the songwriter: This song was written specifically for men by William P. Merrill in 1911. "Nolan R. Best, then editor of The Continent, happened to say to me that there was urgent need of a brotherhood hymn. The suggestion lingered in my mind, and just about that time I came upon an article by Gerald Stanley Lee, entitled 'The Church of the Strong Men.' I was on one of the Lake Michigan steamers going back to Chicago for a Sunday at my own church, when suddenly this hymn came up, almost without conscious thought or effort."

"Faithful Men"  Video  Twila Paris

"Do You Even Know Me Anymore"  Video  Mark Schultz, who is a master storyteller in song.

"He's My Son"  Video  Mark Schultz

"Through The Eyes Of My Father" A Father's Day Song  Video  Brianna Haynes

"The Perfect Father Daughter Song"  Video  Caleb's Crossing

"Thank you for being my Dad (Song for Dad)"  Video  Jon Barker

"Daddy's Don't Leave"  Video  

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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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