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Monday, January 23, 2017

Pat with baby 1/22/17
A baby gets a hug from Pastor Weber!

"An Asset To God's Kingdom"

Message summary:
"You're an asset to the planet." Well, that got me to thinking in a Biblical sense about people who are an asset to the planet. Of much greater importance, and Biblically speaking, they're an asset to the Kingdom of God.

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"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" (John 6:9).

Yesterday we joined my older brother Pat and his family at a church service in the Lehigh Valley about 100 miles northeast of us. Pat retired from full-time ministry last year but remains active in his church and in the Lord's service.

Following the service he warmly greeted the people as they departed (one of my favorite "duties" from my pastoral years). When this little guy came through the line Pat asked for a hug and he got a good one! It was such a warm, enduring hug from the young child that Brooksyne dug out her phone and captured the moment on camera. (Unintentionally I photo bombed the picture but even I was captured by the affectionate hug offered by the child and my brother.)

Pat committed his life to Christ in the late sixties while serving in the Air Force in Europe. When he returned to the states he entered ministerial training and has served in local churches for over 40 years. He influenced me in my teen years to become a believer and, after doing so, I ended up at the same Bible College where Pat received his training.

Years ago I received an interesting commendation from someone who holds a political, religious, and ideological outlook very different than my own. Nevertheless he expressed genuine appreciation toward the modest contribution I make in my sphere of influence proclaiming. "You're an asset to the planet". Well, that got me to thinking in a Biblical sense about people who are an asset to the planet. Of much greater importance, and Biblically speaking, they're an asset to the Kingdom of God.

Sister Howard Consider those who have made a significant impact in your life. If we were able to do a survey of all who read this message we would probably have some common names, those who are better known who may have a national and even an international ministry. But most would be unknown outside of a relatively tiny sphere of impact such as godly parents and grandparents, pastors, Sunday School teachers and many others, including those who witnessed to you, either in words or in their actions, even when you refused to listen. The photo to the right shows Stephen with "Sister Howard" his first pastor's wife. He paid her a visit following her husband's death.

I recall a challenge from my years of ministry training, "Do something big for God" which is a great aspiration. But doing something big for God is often a series of small, seeming insignificant attempts to be an asset to the Kingdom. Most of us are just not in a place today that we can do something really big for God, but we can all seek ways to let our light shine to a darkened world around us in the small things. And it is the accumulation of all those small things wherein the church makes an impact. Let us, with great intention, listen to God's promptings and obey His voice!

Many years ago when I was young I received this bit of wisdom from an older person: "The older I get, the more I realize that it is in the small moments that we can affect others' lives forever. I am discovering that brightening a single moment in even one person's life in a day is important to Christ."

Little boy's offering The little boy in the daily verse offered what appeared to be insignificant and inconsequential in light of the great need (the feeding of the multitude).  The disciples rightly observed, "but how far will they go among so many?" That's so often the way we humans tend to assess situations with our finite thinking and narrow mindset.  But just as God has the amazing power to take the meager offering of a little boy and make a huge difference He can do the same for us when we offer our all, though we might consider it of little value to others or even to God, but we see over and over in the Bible that's how He works. We see God bring about the miraculous incarnation of Jesus through the humble willingness of a lowly maiden and a simple carpenter. In themselves they had nothing to offer, but in their humble submission and willingness to be used of God, their story will be forever repeated throughout every generation and serves as an example to us.

Consider the Apostle Paul's words to the Corinthians: "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Let us be humble in ourselves, but let us be boastful in the things of the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our little becomes great as You show us how to do good works in Your name. We choose not to be crippled by our limited abilities, wisdom, or lack of creativity. We don't give to others according to that which we don't have, but we give to others from the abundance You pour into our lives. May it overflow into those around us as we seek to be a blessing. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word as You give us opportunity for divine encounters this day as we reach out to others in the name of Christ Jesus, for it is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Little Is Much"  Video  Larry Ford and Homecoming Singers

"When It's All Been Said And Done"  Video  Robin Mark

Ester 9/22/89
Brooksyne's Note: I was reading our Lancaster newspaper online this morning and came across this heart-stirring story about little Cliffy who finally goes home from the Hershey Medical Center after three years - his first time to sleep at home since his birth. In response to our lesson today about the small but significant differences we can make in one's life I consider the medical staff and hospital volunteers that poured themselves, physically, emotionally and intellectually in Cliffy who was born premature with a severe lung problem. Tears welled in my eyes as his story brought back memories from 27 years ago when Ester, at three months of age, was admitted to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA, nearly 4 hours from where we lived at the time. She remained there for almost four months recovering from two open heart surgeries and a heart infection. The nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel as well as the many volunteers at the hospital and Ronald McDonald House was a silver lining in the dark cloud that hunger over us for that very long period. I asked a pastor's family from a local church there in Danville to simply come in and hold her when they could work in the time from their schedule. Four of the family members regularly did so which was such a comfort for me when I was unable to be there. September 22, 1989 was just about the most exciting day of my life when Ester was finally released from the hospital. Pictured with us on this day is Judy Stager, the volunteer who tirelessly labored to bring children from Guatemala and other countries who needed medical care, arranging for their transportation and working with the doctors and hospitals to treat the children. Healing the Children was a tremendous humanitarian program from which we cared for five children. We thank God that one was available for adoption - our precious Ester!

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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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