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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Barnstormer game fireworks 5/7/16
Fireworks following the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game 5/7/16


Message Summary:
The process of breaking conformity to the world and transforming into spiritual conformity to Christ continues in my life through the renewing of my mind. There have been many setbacks along the way but God continues the process and I am assured that He will carry on to completion the work He began in me until the day He appears (see Philippians 1:6).

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"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).

Last Saturday night I took
my Amish friend, Jesse Lapp, and three of his children to see the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. I thought the kids would especially enjoy the cowboy monkey rodeo show, which they did, along with the fireworks that followed the game. However they also enjoyed the baseball game itself with the kids watching intently since they play baseball (or softball) during their recess. A neat characteristic about baseball is that the rules are essentially the same for a recess pickup game at an Amish one room schoolhouse in rural Lancaster County as they are for a big league game at Fenway Park.

Prostate cancer awareness
However I had a concern. They have a public awareness campaign for prostate cancer with some wording and photos in the men's restroom at the stadium that are rather graphic, especially if you have no idea how they test for prostate cancer. I wondered what his young sons would think when they saw it and I whispered to Jesse that he may have some explaining to do. He smiled, having already visited the men's room, and with the wisdom of a farmer said, "I reckon they'll probably just think it's something worldly."

"Worldly" is a term you don't hear so much these days like we did when we were younger Christians. That's too bad since the world seems to be getting more and more worldly each day! Who would have imagined just a few years ago that the current front in the culture wars would be who should go into which bathroom!!! To some "worldly" essentially means or meant that many types of worldly entertainment are forbidden. In the church where Brooksyne grew up dress, makeup, external attire, and going to certain public places primarily defined "worldliness" along with how long a man wore his hair. The other day I heard a preacher a few years older than me who recalls when going bowling was worldly and he shared about a time he got into big trouble for sneaking off to the bowling alley. When I told Brooksyne the story she understood personally since bowling alleys were among the forbidden places in her childhood.

While affirming the sincerity of my forefathers, as well as those among us today, who hold these views with a goal in protecting and maintaining what they earnestly believe are standards of holiness, this understanding tends to make worldliness just a matter of certain cultural do's and don'ts.

Having lived in various regions of the country we observe that these types of "holiness" expressions vary by not only generation but region, even within the same denomination. I recall when I first moved to Pennsylvania in the seventies that our district youth camp allowed "mixed bathing" (swimming!!!) with boys and girls sharing the same pool. However in the same denomination the district south of us strictly forbade mixed bathing.

A Bible Dictionary provides this definition of "worldly": "Being ‘worldly’ can be defined as partaking in the values, desires, perceptions, attitudes, and behavior that characterize unredeemed human cultures. The worldly person is one who is squeezed into the mold of the ‘kosmos’ i.e. the world system or the world’s way of thinking, in contrast to one whose whole world view has been transformed by God (Romans 12:2)."

1 John 2:15 (Greek)
Our daily text is a powerful expression of what our attitude to the world should be: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

William MacDonald notes that "We are plainly warned not to love the world or the things that are in the world, for the simple reason that love for the world is not compatible with love for the Father."

Pastor David Guzik writes, "John has told us that if we walk in sin’s darkness and claim to be in fellowship with God, we are lying (1 John 1:6).  John points out a specific area of sin that especially threatens our fellowship with God: worldliness....'Do not love the world' means we are not to love either the world’s system or its way of doing things. There is a secular, anti-God or ignoring-God way of doing things that characterizes human society, and it is easy to love the world in this sense. Notice what the world wants from us: love. This love is expressed in time, attention, and expense. We are encouraged and persuaded to give our time, attention, and money to the things of this world instead of the things of God."

I recall a special moment in my personal discipleship and understanding of worldliness when a fellow believer shared with me a spiritual concept based on Romans 12:2:  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." That was over 40 years ago. The process of breaking conformity to the world and transforming into spiritual conformity to Christ continues in my life through the renewing of my mind, an ongoing process. There have been many setbacks along the way but God continues the process and I am assured that He will carry on to completion the work He began in me until the day He appears (see Philippians 1:6).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, though the world can at times be like a bright shining neon light calling for our attention, allegiance, and allotment of time and money we must conform no longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The transformation of our minds involves so much more than following the do's and don'ts of a particular church denomination. When our minds are renewed our hearts are informed of that which is holy and that which will draw us deeper and higher in the love of Jesus, His teachings and His example. We will seek that which holds eternal value and reject the worldly influences that draw us back to a sinful lifestyle. We choose not to love the world, or the things of the world but instead we choose to love You, our heavenly Father through Christ Jesus our Redeemer and Savior. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Baby robins 5/10/16pm
Here's a photo of our baby robins taken late in the evening 5/10/16
Due to early morning chaplain visitation we prepared this message Tuesday evening and will be unable to post a photo from Wednesday morning.
You can view these photos on each previous message back to when there were just 4 eggs in the nest 4/28/16.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take Time To Be Holy"  Video  Mennonite Hour Men's Quartet

"Create in Me a Clean Heart"  Video  Keith Green

"Worldliness"  Video  Horatius Bonar 1808-1889 a short teaching

What does the Bible say about worldliness? (from gotquestions.org)

Finally today: Keith, a thoughtful friend and committed Christian we visit in the course of our chaplaincy (White Oak Display), shared this thoughtful graphic illustrating the cycles of a civilization. The Tytler Cycle In History  Where would you place America now in this cycle? Here is another one with some thoughtful interpretation. For further study. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CYCLES: ENERGY AND ENTROPY; THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH

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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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