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Monday, August 24, 2015

Butterfly on flower (Photo by Ester Weber)
Ester took this untouched photo in our zinnia garden but doesn't know how she got the black background effect!
(Click on photo for larger view)

"All Over The World"

Note: Today's message is a bit longer than many with both a personal memory and missions story. The main point is that the Gospel of the kingdom continues to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. We must remember this. Early this morning I read an update from Mission Network News, "ISIS sets date for open warfare; pastors push on". Pastors are asking, "How can we be light in such a dark place?"

to this message on your audio player.

"And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). "All over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6).

I have been interested in aviation practically all my life. I grew up near an Air Force base south of Kansas City (Richards-Gebaur) and our school had many base kids. I have an odd interest of chronicling every airport I have flown in and out of which now totals 44. About twenty-five years ago I was a Civil Air Patrol Chaplain and recall some flying lessons as I sat in the back seat listening in when a junior pilot was being trained in instrument rating. I got an interesting spiritual lesson from that experience I share here.

My most memorable flight took place in a P-51 Mustang, a WW2 era fighter plane. Bob Walker, my cousin's husband, was an avid pilot and as a high schooler I was visiting my cousins in Tulsa (a year before I met Brooksyne) when he offered to take me for a ride in his P-51 (photo to right). I excitedly agreed. The P-51 was the last of the prop fighters prior to the jet age and is a very powerful plane.

Bob Walker
Bob (photo to left) handed me a helmet and a barf bag, sternly informing me if I messed up I cleaned up. (I didn't need the bag!) What an experience it was including sharp turns and a low roll over Tulsa. I peered down and spotted my family waving up to me, and most thrilling was a high speed pass over the airfield in which he piloted the plane at full throttle buzzing the airfield just over the runway before shooting practically straight up. I experienced the most G's ever in my life to this day. Afterwards he told me he could have done more such as flying upside down but didn't want to scare me.

For many years aviation has been a great aid to missions. Of course we are now able to get mission workers to the field much faster. Also consider how many have been on short-term mission trips, a concept virtually impossible when it took several weeks to travel to and from distant mission fields. But small planes are also used to reach the most remote parts of the world using jungle landing strips with organizations such as Mission Aviation Fellowship, JAARS and others. Each August we have a special weekend here in Lancaster County featuring mission aviation. Many years ago I attended this and had a ride in a plane that could take off and land on very short runways.

But today we want to share a story about a unique way an airplane was used in preaching the Gospel!

Myrna Wilkins has served as an overseas missionary for 50 years. I first met her when I went with a group of men to Colombia on a mission trip in the early 90's. She met us at the Bogota airport and took us to the small town of Fusagasuga about 50 miles south of Bogota where we assisted a local congregation in erecting their church building and I had the opportunity to preach. At that time there was guerrilla activity in the area and it was a bit disconcerting to get off the plane and learn that we would take an alternate route since the bridge normally used for our destination had just been blown up!

Myrna tells a story that I believe will encourage readers today and remind us that indeed, in our own lifetime, the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached all over the world. Of course some of the most remarkable stories come from the mission field and this story tells the amazing way the Cuna tribe first heard the gospel message. These people live in the San Blas Islands (Google map location) off the coast of Panama in the Caribbean.

Morris, a young boy from the Cuna tribe, moved to Costa Rica and was evangelized as he lived along the Caribbean coast. As an adult he felt called to take the Gospel to his own tribe, the Cuna people, and he used a rather creative means.

Missionary airplaneHe met missionary pilot Mike Hines, who had a slow flying Helio Courrier airplane fitted with a 7,600 watt loud speaker system capable of being heard from the air as the plane circled above. The plane flew out over the islands and, as it did so, Morris preached the Gospel in his native tongue to the tribes people below. There was a cloud cover so the natives could not see the plane, but
only heard his voice. Afterwards the clouds lifted and Morris directed the people below, "If you would like to believe in Jesus Christ wave a white cloth or flash a mirror to indicate your faith." As the plane flew over, scores of the natives waved cloths in the air and flashed mirrors upwards! It would be some time later that Morris learned that the people of his native land had a long standing legend that one day they would hear a message and it would be delivered to them from a voice in the sky!

He later went to the islands and developed churches among the people. Myrna met him in 1980 at a Bible School in Colombia and she heard the story first hand from him.

Indeed this Gospel is being preached and has been since our Lord Jesus Christ gave the great commission just prior to His ascension to heaven. He said,
"And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians some 30 years later, "All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6). Today may this Gospel also bear fruit and grow in each of our lives. May we also see it reproduced and growing in those to whom we minister and through missionaries all over the world!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we are grateful for the various means and the variety of people to whom You choose to deliver the life-changing Gospel message that gives us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As we have been tremendously blessed in receiving this gift of eternal life, stir us to action in reaching others with the same message of salvation so that they are snatched from the fire, bearing fruit and growing as we journey together here below. Bless our missionaries who use unconventional means to present the Gospel and protect them from enemy warfare. We do pray for our many brothers and sisters who are jailed, persecuted, and separated from family because they stand for Christ. Keep us strong in our spiritual walk as we experience growing ridicule and the passage of laws that mock our faith and strip us of our Christian freedoms. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Ladies breakfast for Fran 8/22/15
Saturday morning we hosted a ladies breakfast. We also honored and prayed for Fran Book, centered 3rd from the left front row. Recently diagnosed with cancer which has spread we wanted to bless and remind her of our love and prayer support. She had family from out of town surprise her and it was a precious morning showering love on her.

Ladies breakfast for Fran 8/22/15
Hymn Sing: The first song the ladies selected was, "The Longer I Serve Him the Sweeter He Grows." You might notice a number of seniors among us and this song could not have been more appropriate:

"Since I started for the kingdom,
since my life He controls,
since I gave my heart to Jesus,
the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows. Chorus:

The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
The more that I love Him more love He bestows.
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows.
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows
(Bill Gaither). "

Do you find that to be true as you look back over your life in Christ?
"The Longer I Serve Him"  Video  Doug Oldham

Amish family coming home from church 8/23/15
Yesterday afternoon we conducted the service at Longwood Manor and on the way home passed our Amish neighbors returning from their church service.

Butterfly on flower (Photo by Ester Weber)
Another butterfly photo by Ester.

Conewago Creek 8/23/15
Conewago Creek
Last night we rode our bikes along the Conewago recreational trail just before sunset. The scented fields were full of fresh mown hay that I wish I could bottle up like a fragrant candle and take it home with us. It was heavenly!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Freely, Freely”  Video  Maranatha Country Praise

“Go Ye Therefore” Video Shower Power, one of Zimbabwe’s most resilient, original and versatile male acappella vocal Gospel groups. We have been so blessed having a Zimbabwean family in our rural neighborhood since early this year and we especially appreciate their commitment to Christ.

“So Send I You”  Video

In one of the ironies of divine providence Mike Hines, the missionary pilot referred to in today’s message, died in a plane crash in Honduras about 12 years ago. See here. He was flying a Helio Courrier, the same type of plane I rode in here in Lancaster at a demo.  Here's a video of STOL.

Photos of P-51 and Bob Walker courtesy of his son, Scott Walker

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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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