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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eastland Alpaca Farm autumn display 11/15/15
Decorations at Eastland Alpaca Farm

"The Touch of the Master's Hand"

to this message on your audio player.

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

Sunday afternoon we visited the open house at the Eastland Alpaca Farm north of Mount Joy, not too far from our church. Yesterday we shared some photos of the Alpaca that look like small llamas or long necked camels with no humps. Not only are the alpaca interesting mammals to observe, but the farm was decorated nicely as seen in our photos today.

Eastland Alpaca Farm decrepit wagon 11/15/15
Decrepit wagon at Eastland Alpaca Farm

We saw an old wagon in an almost completely decrepit condition, really not much more than just a pile of rotten wood. The man who assisted us in parking pointed it out and quipped, "We plan to get around to fixing that wagon up next year." Now I'm pretty sure, based on the condition of the wagon, he was just kidding! Look at the picture above; what do you think?

Well, that got me thinking. Surely there's a spiritual lesson here.
Aren't you glad God can fix up what appears to be a lost cause or a hopeless mess in those He redeems?

Cardone Industries is a large company in Philadelphia that produces remanufactured auto parts. Their first corporate objective is to "Honor God In All We Do".* Among interesting corporate features is a very extensive chaplain program for their employees, including chapel services. A key impetus in the founding of the company was the founder's Christian convictions and specifically the redeeming nature of God. This led Michael Cardone, Sr. to establish his business in taking discarded auto parts and "redeeming" them! That story really blessed me! It's a lesson of how God indeed takes broken lives and redeems, restores and "remanufactures".

Old violinIn preparing for this message I was reminded of an old song by Wayne Watson that was popular when we were just young Christians in the seventies. It tells the story of a old, decrepit violin that looked worthless at an auction and nobody showed interest until an old man walked to the front and began to play it. At the touch of the master's hand the old violin's value increased remarkably. (Link to video below)

We know many people who have tremendous stories of overcoming life's hardships and sin's devastation, experiencing the wonderful truth expressed in the daily verse. Now they are serving the Lord and experiencing the process of transformation. I am always delighted to hear testimonies of how God, in His mercy, is bringing restoration to broken lives.

In ministry we cooperate with the Lord in His work in the remanufacturing process. He ultimately does the remanufacturing but we have a cooperative part in teaching the Scriptures, encouraging, being an example and serving in a host of ministries.

2 Corinthians 5:17 The Apostle Paul describes this wonderful change, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Paul experienced that change in his own life and he rejoiced in the transforming power of God in the people he ministered to. Slave-trader John Newton experienced the change and went on to write "Amazing Grace." Chuck Colson experienced the change and went on to found Prison Fellowship. 

The list of changed, "remanufactured" lives goes on and on and is being added to every day. What miracles result from the touch of the Master's Hand. Are you one of them? 

You know there's many a man with his life out of tune,
Battered and scarred with sin and he's auctioned cheap,
To a thankless world, much like that old violin.

Oh, but then the Master comes,

And that old foolish crowd they never understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought,
Just by one touch of the Master's hand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, the question in the old hymn asks, "What can wash away my sins?" The correct reply is "Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Only You can take a heart that is bent toward sin and completely turn it toward godliness. Thank You for Your redemptive love, seen in the death and resurrection of Your Son, that forgives my heart of sin. You take away the sinful way of thinking that leads to sinful living and replace it with a spiritual way of thinking that leads to life through Your Spirit. Master, the touch of Your hand empowers me to be transformed into newness of life, for which I will be eternally grateful. Amen.

More photos from our visit to the Eastland Alpaca Farm this last Sunday afternoon

Eastland Alpaca Farm wagon autumn display 11/15/15

Eastland Alpaca Farm autumn display 11/15/15

Eastland Alpaca Farm autumn display 11/15/15

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Touch of the Master's Hand"   Video   Wayne Watson  This song is based on this poem by Myra 'Brooks' Welch

The Touch of the Masters Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understnad what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand was written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch who lived in La Verne, California. Her family had always been filled with a love of music, which, as a young woman, instilled in Myra a passion for playing the organ. Myra also loved poetry. So much so that her friends called her “The poet with the singing soul.” One evening while attending a lecture to a group of students, Myra became captivated by the speaker’s message and, as she put it, “became filled with light.” The words were so powerful that she wrote a poem that took just 30 minutes to compose. Believing it was a gift from God, Myra anonymously sent the poem to her church hoping it would be printed in the bulletin the following Sunday. Not only was Myra’s poetry printed, as if by magic during a day when social media and the internet did not exits, its popularity spread throughout the country. Years later, when the poem had been forgotten, it was read at an international religious convention followed by the words, “author unknown.” Suddenly from the audience a young man rose to his feet and shouted, “I know the author, and it’s time the world did too. It was written by my mother, Myra Welch.” From that moment on, Myra’s poems became known throughout the world as a celebration of God’s love.

"Mercy Saw Me"  Video  Calvin Hunt  We dedicate this song to Jeff and Linda, who were a part of the church we served in New England back in the nineties. They both have a testimony of changed lives and Linda did an outstanding job singing this song several times to our congregation.

"Grace Will Always be Greater Than Sin"  Video  The Hoppers

"Mercy Walked In"  Video  Gordon Mote

* Cardone Industries Core Philosophy

Special Thanksgiving Resources

We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will leave them up through Thanksgiving.

We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not hear this season.

"Be Magnified"  Video   Kim Hill

"In Everything Give Him Thanks"
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"In Everything Give Thanks"  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Best Loved Hymns

"Come Ye Thankful People Come"  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

"Thanksgiving Medley" (We Gather Togather, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

"Give Thanks"  Video  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord"  Video  Community choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

"Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul"  Video  Holland Davis

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable web page).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (web page) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

 Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

"I Want To Thank You"
 Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

"Come We Thankful People Come"  Video  
Traditional version  Here's a bit more contemporary version with same lyrics.

"I'm Forever Grateful"  Video  Willow Creek

"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"  Video  Don Moen

"When I Thank Him For What He Has Done"  Video  The Cathedrals

"Worthy Is The Lamb Crown Him .. Crown Him With Many Crowns"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Thank You, Lord"  Video  Dennis Jernigan

"Thank You For Loving Me"  Video  Tommy Walker

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"  Video  Matt Redman

"For These Reasons"  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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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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