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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sunset 8/31/15
Final sunset of August 2015. Last week the farmer harvested the corn in the field across from our house and now we have a bare field. Next will be a brown field that will emit an aroma quite unlike the pleasant M&M Mars & Wilbur Chocolate that frequently fills the country air. But of course chocolate aroma does not give increase to the vegetation that will be planted after the field is saturated with the brown stuff.

"Share His Love"
(Part 2)

to this message on your audio player.

"He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine" (Luke 10:34).

All those who have trusted in God's only Son,
And hold this precious treasure in their hearts,
Seek ways to make it known to all who need to know
That God so loved the world His only Son He gave.

Dr. John and Esther Spurrier 8/30/15
Missionaries Dr. John and Esther Spurrier

Dr. John Spurrier This last Sunday we had mission guests in our church. Dr. John Spurrier and his wife Esther have served together in medical missions in Zambia Africa since the mid-seventies. Here in America a medical doctor is one of the most prestigious professions and generally includes a large salary. I don't resent this when I consider the knowledge and advanced training physicians have. However the Spurriers have lived a life of sacrifice "Living Simply. Giving Generously"

Some of us "older folks" will recall an effective ad from the late 70's that had the line, "When E.F Hutton talks, people listen." (E.F Hutton was a financial firm and the ad tried to convey how valuable the firm's advice was.)

Periodically we hear speakers like that. Doctor Spurrier and his wife shared of their mission together. The presentation was interesting although not necessarily dynamic as many have come to understand that word. They weren't flashy or humorous. They were authentic without having to inform us so. Forty years spent in a mission hospital in the heart of Africa, at the forefront of treating AIDS you have a lot of gravitas. Listening to them speak you realize these folks are the real deal.

Although, as medical missionaries their focus in on the physical body, their deepest desire is to reach the hearts and souls of these very needy people. In their mission work they seek ways to make it (the treasure of Christ) known to all. For everyone needs to know that God so loved the world His only Son He gave.

Dr. JoAnn Butrin We have a longtime friend who has had a similar ministry. In fact,
like Dr. Spurrier, serving over 40 years. Dr. Joann Butrin was a missionary nurse when we first met her in the late seventies. Her medical missions work has included service for our Lord to over 90 countries working amongst some of the most tragic of human need, such as the refugees during the Rwandan Civil war, Haitian earthquake, or Indonesian tsunami.

Today's text comes from the well-known
parable, "The Good Samaritan" (Luke 10:25-37).  An expert in the law knew he should love his neighbor but preferred a very narrow definition of neighbor. So Jesus told a parable! A man had been robbed and beaten on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Three passed by. The religious priest and Levite ignored a man in need although the text makes it clear they both saw him. It was the Samaritan who stopped and provided medical care and met other needs for the man. "He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine."

The Samaritans were despised at the time of our Lord. This sure didn't fit the narrative! Jesus asked the expert in the law, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" (v. 36).

Even the expert in the law had to admit, begrudgingly I believe, that "The one who had mercy on him" (v. 37a). It seems in his deep prejudice he was unable to even state, "The Samaritan"!

In using this example Jesus taught that the scope of neighborliness is our encounter with human need regardless of who it is, where it is, or whatever way it comes to our attention. (Our neighbor is not merely the person next door whom we like!)

David WilkersonJust consider Teen Challenge, a Christian ministry to drug addicts, alcoholics, gang members, prostitutes and others with life-controlling habits. In 1958 Dave Wilkerson, who was pastor to a small church in the small community of Phillipsburg, PA, had read in the newspaper about a gang killing in New York City. Because the Holy Spirit dealt so heavily with him about these lost souls he traveled to NYC to try to reach those gang members. God led David, a country preacher, to a major city he'd never been to before to reach a people that were the polar opposite of everything he believed and stood for.

Many people thought David Wilkerson was crazy to try taking the gospel to drug-addicted teens in New York City. Today, few of those critics are willing to question the overwhelming success of the Teen Challenge ministry. Today many of those graduates serve as ministers and missionaries throughout the world reaching their "neighbors" with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, in defining the responsibility of neighborliness, ended the discourse with these words. "Go and do likewise" (v.37b).

All over the world today
Christians, often unheralded, are doing likewise and sharing God's love in a wide variety of ways including spiritual and medical care. The simple text in the refrain of the song, "Share His Love" expresses the heart of evangelism:

Share His love by telling
what the Lord has done for you,
Share His love by sharing of your faith,
and show the world that Jesus Christ
is real to you ev'ry moment, ev'ry day.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, in our responsibility of neighborliness, You call us to reach not just our family or those with whom we share space in our neighborhood. But You call us to connect with the unlovely, the lonely, the outcast, and those who besmirch Your name. We often shirk our responsibility by reasoning that we don't have the giftings, tools, training or resources to reach outside our own neighborhood. But if You have brought people to our attention You will provide us with all that is needed to show Your love, for we do it by telling what You have done for us. We share Your love by sharing of our faith so that the world knows that Jesus Christ is real to us ev'ry moment, ev'ry day. We pray for the desire and the will to be vessels suited for Your purpose in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

JoAnn Butrin with Heber 1987
Here's a photo of JoAnn Butrin over 25 years ago when she was visiting our church in northern Pennsylvania. She's holding Heber, one of the children we hosted from Guatemala, who lived with us a couple of years while he had three heart operations. Through "Healing the Children" he came to us in 1988, one year before Ester arrived for her surgeries in 1989. Heber became very attached to Brooksyne after each of his three arrivals and was anxiously awaiting his return to her arms when we snapped this photo. We hosted four children with severe medical needs from Guatemala and what a rewarding experience it was to help these children and bless their families. We also hosted children from Russia, Ecuador and Afghanistan.

Tomatoes with Basil and Feta
It is always with some reluctance that we envision summer's all too soon ending for a number of reasons. When we were children it meant
summer vacation was over and back to school. Now it's because the fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables so plentiful in our area start diminishing, although we presently see plenty of produce stands and will do so through early fall. Right now we have an abundance of our own home-grown tomatoes and sure enjoy this simple tasty serving of tomatoes, basil and crumbled Feta cheese.

Morning coffee on deck
The other thing we thoroughly enjoy is dining outside. For the second summer we've had few flies (a real blessing considering this is Lancaster County and we're surrounded by a pig farms and chicken houses). This morning we ate our omelet outside as the beautiful sunshine smiled upon us. The birds serenaded us from way up high on their branches in the neighboring pine trees.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Share His Love"  Video  Instrumental, we are unable to find a suitable vocal version.

"Compassion Hymn"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

"Grace"  Video  Laura Story

"Living Simply. Giving Generously"  Video  A brief message from Dr. John Spurrier demonstrating his heart of compassion.

JoAnn Butrin website

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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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