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Monday, February 8, 2016

Hoover Convene gathering table (click on photo to enlarge)
On Friday evening we dined at this long table as we gathered with Christian business owners in Ron and Bonnie Hoover's home. We are privileged to serve as business chaplains in several of the Convene member's companies. The elegant table settings on this long table reminded us of photos that depict "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb". (Click on photo for larger view)

"His Faithful Follower I Would Be"

Message Summary:
In a parable in Matthew Jesus gives us a future glimpse of what we'll hear if we remain faithful in our spiritual race: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23). Indeed, let us stay faithful so that we grow spiritually and serve faithfully.

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"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Every week we drive past the Water Street Mission very early in the morning right through Lancaster City on our way to a chaplain visit south of the city.  At 6:30 people are already milling about, many of them already in line for breakfast. It's a sad spectacle and often moves Brooksyne and me to say a prayer for them and the Water Street Mission staff as we drive by. Through the years we have served in a number of ways at the mission and admire those who are regularly involved in this kind of service. It's hard work and the "success" rate can be disappointing. So many just want a quick fix for their misery but don't take the steps necessary to sustain long-term recovery.

Daniel DeLeon 2/5/16But we are so blessed to meet those who have put their hand to the plow and not looked back, an agricultural term used by Jesus for discipleship. Last Friday evening we had dinner at a friend's house where we met Daniel DeLeon and his wife Alicia.

Daniel lived on the streets of Lancaster as a homeless man in late 2007 and then for two years at the Water Street Mission where he was converted to Christ. Discipleship followed and spiritual fruit began to develop in his life. From Daniel's testimony he writes, "From the outset of this process I knew that God was involved in leading me to this very point, and my new motivation was to live to the fullest for Christ. From the very beginning, a thought was implanted into my heart that I was not at the mission to get my life back; rather, I was there to give it up. Since then, my enduring focus has been on seeking the kingdom and His righteousness first."

God delivered Daniel from a life of violence, drugs, alcohol and prison. He has since graduated from Lancaster Bible College and now has a vision to develop Recovery Houses to provide recovery discipleship to those with a similar background as his. I told him how encouraging his story is and will give us renewed hope when we pass by and pray for the Water Street Mission!

Luke 9:62"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Jesus used this illustration to teach the vital importance of staying focused, persistent and faithful.

Pastor Steven Cole notes, "Professing Christ is easy. Practice over the long haul is the test."

The apostle Paul seems to share this same concept in Philippians 3:13: "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead."

Many of you who know me personally have often heard me say farewell with one of two phrases; "Stay faithful" or "Keep your hand to the plow." I've done this for many, many years and now people often anticipate and reciprocate. One time I was walking through a large printing plant and a man jumped off the catwalk around a huge web press, walked right up to me and asked, "Are you staying faithful?" That was over ten years ago but I still draw strength from it!

In a parable in Matthew Jesus gives us a future glimpse of what we'll hear if we remain faithful in our spiritual race: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23).

Indeed, let us keep our hand to the plow so that we grow spiritually and serve faithfully.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we desire to remain faithful to You all the days of our life.  We join with others of the Christian faith who hold unswervingly to the hope we profess even as we spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Disappointments, unanswered prayers, loved ones who oppose us, spiritual lethargy, temptations and trials pull at our hearts and tempt us to look back just like the Israelites who were freed from slavery. They who greatly rejoiced at their new found freedom found themselves longing to return after the going got tough. Give us strength and firm resolve to plow through the hard soil and bumpy rocks of life all the while fixing our eyes on our eternal dwelling place as we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess in Christ Jesus our Lord. For it is in His name that we pray and give our full allegiance. Amen.

Convene gathering at Hoover home 2/5/16
Ron and Bonnie Hoover are a dynamic senior couple who believe that God has called them to mentor others, and that is evident in this photo of those who gathered Friday night. The Hoovers minister to individuals, couples, and business people. This year they will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary. (They address the cluster of people from their stairway balcony.)

Convene gathering at Hoover home 2/5/16
Due to the size of the gathering tables were set up throughout the large home for the meal. Here's a portion of the group we ate with.

Convene gathering at Hoover home 2/5/16
After the meal we all gathered in a large room for a time of singing sweetheart songs, games, and a devotional. Daniel,
whom we wrote about today, and his wife Alicia are seated in the upper balcony.

Convene gathering at Hoover home 2/5/16
Two of the Hoover daughters assisted in the meal including Ronda, whom we also see in the course of our chaplains visits.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Found It All"   Video   Collingsworth Family

"He Leadeth Me"  Video  The Martins

Water Street Mission

Daniel DeLeon's ministry is at now at love-truth.com which includes his testimony.

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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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