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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stony Valley rail trail stream 4/11/17
Brooksyne is filming a video of a stream along the Stoney Valley Rail Trail.
(Click on photo for larger view)
Note: stream video has some noise not of the original!)

"We Would See Jesus"

Message summary:
Today, as we go forth in fulfillment of Christ's command, may our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. We must always be mindful that the world supremely needs to see Jesus.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"Now among those who went were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, 'Sir, we wish to see Jesus'.
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself" (John 12:20,21,32).

For many years during the time I served as a pastor I had a small placard attached to the pulpit facing me as I preached with these words, "Sir, we would see Jesus." It was visible as I stood in front of God's people and preached every Sunday and it served as a reminder that it was not me that the people came to see, but it was Jesus whom I solemnly represented. This is an extremely important truth for all ministers of the Gospel to keep in mind as they break forth the Word of Life.

This thought comes from our daily text that took place during Holy Week (the week beginning with the Triumphal entry and ending with a crucified and yet unrisen Christ).

Some Greeks had come
up to worship at the feast. John does not provide any background information about these Greeks. They may have been Greek converts to Judaism. They may have been Greek God-fearers, those who had great respect for Judaism but hadn't converted and become circumcised. Or they may have simply been Greek travelers, known for their curiosity.

"These Greeks had heard of Jesus, perhaps of His reputation as a teacher and worker of miracles. What they did know of Jesus made them want to know more about Him, so they came to Philip (the one disciple with a Greek name) asking to see Jesus." (David Guzik)

Ray Pritchard observes, "No doubt they were fully aware of the ruckus Jesus created when he cleansed the temple. We know the whole city was talking about him. If Twitter had existed back then, #WhoisJesus would have been a trending hashtag. Who was this man who could walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead?"

Rudolf Stier makes this interesting contrast, "These men from the West at the end of the Life of Jesus, set forth the same as the Magi from the East at its beginning: — but they come to the Cross of the King, as those to His cradle.”

The text doesn't tell us whether these Greeks actually saw Jesus or if they were able to speak to Him. In fact they are not mentioned again in this passage. However I have wondered if one of these Greeks might have been Stephen who later had a leadership role in the early church and became the first Christian martyr recorded in Scripture.

Today, as we go forth in fulfillment of Christ's command, may our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. We must always be mindful that the world supremely needs to see Jesus.

Jesus Himself said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Jesus, when You were lifted up on the cross, You broke the power of death, when You cast out Satan as a destroyer. Because of Your humble and complete obedience You satisfied God's injured honor and led those who walk in darkness to Him by the demonstration and doctrine of the cross. Those who were at distance from God are brought to love, trust and believe in Him because You laid down Your life for all and draw us unto Yourself. We ask repentance and seek You with our whole heart, embracing the gospel of grace through faith and responding in loving service to You, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Chaplaincy 4/11/17
While making chaplain visits yesterday I caught this photo of Brooksyne talking and listening to Dave. You might notice her smiling as I did, so I approached them to join in their seeming pleasant conversation. Turns out our prayer was answered that we had been praying for over the past year or two. Dave's son, who had served time in prison, distanced himself from his dad the entire time and it was a heartache, as any of you know who has experienced this. His son was released from prison several months ago and is now reconciled with his dad and they are doing many things together. Dave is so pleased that his son has taken responsibility for past actions and is now doing extremely well as assistant manager in a popular restaurant. We asked his permission to share the photo and tell the story. Perhaps you are waiting for the day of reconciliation with your child. Be encouraged and hold steady through prayer and patience.

Lebanon County orchards 4/11/17
We pass large orchards north of Lebanon, PA and this morning our friend Phil Huber sent us some photos of this quickly passing scene.

Stony Valley rail trail 4/11/17

Yesterday between our chaplain visits in Lebanon and Palmyra we unloaded our bikes out of the back of our van and rode 14 miles on the Stony Valley rail trail.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Stony Valley rail trail forsythia 4/11/17
Amidst many piles of rocks at the beginning of the Stony Valley Rail Trail up sprung this forsythia splash of color.

Appalachian trail hiker 4/11/17
On the trail we met Willie Alvarado from Ohio, just a few years younger than us, who is walking the entire Appalachian Trail alongside his wife, Judi (notice the tent and supplies on his back including their supper). He was meeting up with her at a certain point when we stopped to converse with him along the trail and heard their story. We greatly admire his courageous wife, Judi, who is a colon cancer survivor and hit the trails only days after her last chemo treatment. She suffers from neuropathy since her cancer diagnosis and yet she walks right alongside Willie day after day, month after month. They began their journey on Labor Day and took a break for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their longest walk in one day's time was 18 miles. Willie's having a fun tease as he holds onto Stephen's bike as though he were actually biking the trail instead of walking. The nice benefit he is enjoying is losing weight without eating less, 30 pounds so far.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Let Them See You"  Video   JJ Weeks Band  Great song for preachers and musicians

(We will leave the following materials up throughout the week.)

"It's Still The Cross!"

(A selection of Scripture verses focusing on the Cross for personal, family or congregational reading.)

Pastor: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18

Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23

Pastor:  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

Pastor: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  Ephesians 2:15-17

Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.  Philippians 2:7-9  

Pastor: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20 

Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14

All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

Major Events of the Passion Week

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30
  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

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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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