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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Flicker photo by Marion Barber 2/11/16 (Click to enlarge)
Northern Flicker
Photo by Marion Barber
(Click on photo for larger image)

"Finding A Faithful Man"

Message Summary:
Character qualities like faithfulness, steadfastness, and consistency sound boring to many people today. But they still matter to God. "A faithful man shall abound with blessings", and he does, both in this life and the life to come. And I am confident that my dad, who followed Jesus as His Lord and Savior, has heard those wonderful words from the supremely faithful One, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). "A faithful man who can find?" (Proverbs 20:6b). "A faithful man will abound with blessings" (Proverbs 28:20).

He was the kind of man that good men talk about
The way he showed his faith was how he lived it out
His hands were rough and calloused
and his shoes were old and torn
And the lines that framed his smile
were lines so well and deep and worn
So what will be remembered of what he left behind?
What will stand the test of time?

Art LinkletterArt Linkletter had a feature on his show many years ago called "Kids Say The Darndest Things" (even though we didn't say that as kids since "darned" was forbidden in both Brooksyne's and my house. Our parents knew it was a "knock off" of a similar swear word much like "freakin" is for a profanity we hear way too often these days). The television feature had brief clips of kids saying funny things, often due to a misunderstanding of adult terms or concepts. Well, kids continue to say some pretty interesting things don't they? We just found that out again.

Nolan and Zane The other day Ester was babysitting two very colorful little boys; Zane, who is in kindergarten, along with his younger brother, Nolan. We were all in the kitchen together with the boys sitting at the breakfast bar when Brooksyne began to prepare lunch. I was walking toward the sink when Zane happened to notice my generous stomach. He let me know this unhappy truth by blurting out, "You have a big belly!" The little guy, Nolan, who was also observing my profile shook his head in agreement with his wise older brother.

Perhaps Zane thought he was doing me a favor by letting me know something I had never noticed before. Brooksyne, taking a little pity on me, tried to soften the blow by informing Zane, "Did you know that Stephen's daddy had a big belly too?" Zane was quiet for a moment and tilted his head as though in deep contemplation. Then with a knowing smile he almost clicked his lips and said ever so thoughtfully, "I know....you want to be just like your daddy, don't you!" Nolan shook his head once again in total agreement.

Faithful man tombstone

Well, as a matter of fact in many ways I do want to be like my Dad, Eugene Clark Weber, though the big belly has not been at the top of my list. He passed away in 1998 and would have had his 97th birthday today so he is on my heart as I remember this special day. I hope as I share this memory and tribute you will also reminisce about those who've loved you but are now with the Lord. 

My Mom was outgoing and gregarious. My Dad was quiet and I suppose would never have been described as a "people person". My Mom carried that distinction for both of them!

E.C. Weber in 1966I consider my dad's life in light of the many standard ways society determines success and fame:
  • He wasn't a famous athlete although for many years he did hold the Kansas State track and field record for hurdles in high school. He wanted to play football but had to go to work during the depression to help with the family. As I recall he didn't finish high school and certainly never went to college.
  • He wasn't a war hero but he did serve his country honorably as a pilot during WW2.
  • He wasn't a well-known politician but he did serve on the school board in Belton, Missouri, our small community and his name is still on the plaque in one of the buildings built during his tenure of service.
  • He wasn't a famous businessman but for a number of years he did run a small heating and air conditioning business. However he mostly worked for others and he worked hard and diligently. Any employer then and now would be pleased to have him.
  • He wasn't a wealthy benefactor but he served in the churches he attended by voluntarily installing and maintaining the HVAC equipment. In fact he installed the system in the church we served in northern PA.

Mom and Dad wedding photo, October 17, 1944He and Mom met in August of 1944, married in October and had their first child in July 1945. In fact my oldest brother Mike is not considered a boomer baby like his siblings because he was born shortly before the end of WW2!

Dad had a deep love for his wife and children and we all knew it. I was talking to my brother the other day and we shared how we both missed him and his homespun wisdom.

Ester with her PaPa Gene (Stephen's dad) He also loved his grandkids and they all have such great memories of him. Due to living a long distance away and Ester's relatively young age her memories are few. But she recalls falling asleep on his rather substantial belly when he would hold her in his big easy chair. It could be that the photos we have of this grandpa/granddaughter "time together" prompts and reinforces her distant memories.

My dad taught me faithfulness not so much by his words but by his example. He and Mom were married for 53 years. He was faithful in his marriage vows, faithful in providing for his family and was a man of integrity in his business dealings.

The truth of the daily Scripture is often most evident in the later years of life. I know quite a number of believers who are just coming out of a life of sin and are still dealing with the consequences of their past.  That includes a number of you reading this message, as you've shared stories via email with us.

I remind you that faithfulness has its rewards, both in this life and the one to come. Even though you are actually abounding in blessings now, salvation being the greatest one, you can become discouraged with present trials. God's Word is ever true. Perhaps you need to consider someone you know that has served God faithfully for many years and observe how they abound with blessings.

Proverbs 28:20 I bet you know some people like my Dad don't you? I've met several in my life but not as many as I would like. And they're getting harder and harder to come by. Character qualities like faithfulness, steadfastness, and consistency sound boring to many people today. But they still matter to God. "A faithful man shall abound with blessings", and he does, both in this life and the life to come. And I am confident that my dad, who followed Jesus as His Lord and Savior, has heard those wonderful words from the supremely faithful One, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank you for our parents and honor them, both those living and the memory of those who are now departed from this life. We thank you for the blessing they were to us. May our own lives be marked by faithfulness and integrity. These character traits are not developed over a short period of time but over a lifetime. Obedience does bring blessing and eternal reward. Help us not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time You have ordained, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Amen.

Ester with her PaPa Brooklyn (Brooksyne's dad) Note from Brooksyne: Interestingly, this day 2/17 is marked by two major events with our fathers. Stephen's dad celebrated his birthday on this day and my father went to be with the Lord on this day 16 years ago. So, it holds great sentiment for both of us. God did a supernatural work in Dad's life the last six weeks he lived.  He was a believer but certainly had a rough exterior. Though he experienced a great deal of pain and discomfort the Holy Spirit filled him with a kind, gentle and extremely loving nature the last six weeks of his cancer ordeal. In some ways Dad's Christian testimony was much greater and more effective as he was dying than the years when he was living cancer free. God taught me a great deal through his suffering as well as his response to suffering.

Another memory from Stephen:Daddy modelled responsible living. He sensed the duty to take care of his wife and family. It wasn't someone else's job. Even during lean times he never whined or expressed resentment about when others had more. His business struggled but he didn't have an entitlement attitude. He may not have always had the work he wanted but did what he had to do. In his fifties doors opened up for him when he worked for some international companies as a project manager and I think he really found his niche. In fact he was one of the first Americans to go into China in the mid-seventies when he oversaw construction of a power plant. He was the first westerner many of the Chinese had ever seen. His large belly was an especially unusual sight for the Chinese. He told us that children would walk right up to him in the city and poke him in his belly, I suppose to see if it was real. By the way neither my Dad nor I are drinkers. We just both like to eat.

Like most couples Mom and Dad had some spats when I grew up. It occurs to me that, based on what we see so many children going through today, it is a blessing that the extent of my childhood domestic trauma was the few times my Dad slept on the couch! They always made up and one of my tenderest memories is when we were at a family reunion and they slept in twin beds. I saw them reach over between the beds to hold hands.

Follow-up perspective to yesterday's message on "near misses" from Nigel, who attended the church we served in New England:

Pastor Weber,

In reading your message today, I was reminded of a recent incident in our church that was the opposite of a "near miss": a member of our church was killed when a wheel came off of a truck, flew over the median, and crashed into his windshield as he was driving the opposite direction.

Both near misses and tragedies like this should cause us to take stock of our lives and ask whether we are ready to meet God if our lives should end today.


(Nigel has a doctorate
in electrical engineering from Princeton, and, as is often the case with engineers, is quite analytical. He points out it was the way he died that made it so unbelievable. He was only 26, which only added to the tragedy. I estimate that at 100 mph combined speed, 65 mph for him, 35 mph for the tire, he might have survived if the timing had been different by one-tenth of a second. We don't know why God allowed it, but God clearly allowed it.)

You can read a news report of the accident here.

Today we will share some photos of birds in our neighborhood

Flicker photo by Marion Barber 2/11/16 (Click to enlarge)
Photo by Marion Barber
(Click on photo for larger image)

Goldfinches in snow (click for larger view)
Brooksyne took this photo of the goldfinches.  Here are two hanging out at our birdfeeder with one of them coming in for the landing.
(Click on photo for larger image)

Goldfinches in snow
The goldfinches lose their vibrant colors in the winter, but we were able to capture some of their yellow color amidst the white background.

Downy woodpecker 2/15/16
The Downy woodpecker gives us some colorful variety out our office window
with all the sparrows and finches we normally see.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Legacy Of Love"  Video  David Phelps

"A Man You Would Write About"  Video  4HIM

"Faithful Man"  Video   Johnny Minick  (A tribute to Howard Goodman, a gospel singer, now with the Lord)

"Kids Say the Darndest Things"  Video  A compilation from Art Linkletter's show probably in the 1950's.

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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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