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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Steincross Family photo 8/27/33
"The Days Of Old"
This photo will mean little to most readers but this is my mom's fami
ly photo from August 1933. Mom's parents (my grandparents) are in the front middle. She is on the lower left, twelve years old at the time, along with her older brother (top middle) and many sisters. When the youngest daughter, my Aunt Frances, passed away in 2009, it marked the end of this George Washington Steincross generation. Looking it over reminds me of the verse, "Generations come and generations go" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). Do you have a photo like this?

"Considering The Days Of Old"

Message summary:  May the Lord help each of us to see the presence of His hand along our earthly journey till we enter the Promised Land.

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"Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past" (Deuteronomy 32:7).

When we were in the Midwest two weeks ago we drove by some places where we had early experiences in our dating years, marriage and ministry; the Bible College in Springfield, MO where we first met as freshmen, Brooksyne from Tulsa, Oklahoma and me from the Kansas City Missouri area. We drove by the little church, now long closed where we first pastored as newlyweds, along with the tiny parsonage which was our first home as a married couple.

We saw friends and family from both sides and recognized absent family members reminding us of the cycle of life. Our recent experience brings to mind today's verse, "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past." The "days of old" may represent the past in our own lives, something we all do well to remember and at times contemplate.

Moses preached a long sermon (Deuteronomy) just prior to his death and just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land under Joshua's leadership. In fact Bible commentators consider the book of Deuteronomy to be a single message.

In Bible College we were required to read all 34 chapters of the book in one sitting to get the sense of it being a sermon rather than a book divided into chapters. We don't suppose too many preachers would want to preach a message this long in these "tweeter" days. Many, if not most, would walk out way before the sermon ended and a "concerned" committee would plan a meeting to confront the Pastor about his way too long sermons.

In today's short text Moses gives two commands:

"Remember the days of old." Our roots are so important. I believe this verse refers to a recollection of how God has worked in the past as recorded in the Scriptures. In the specific context it likely refers to the history we read of up through that time in the Bible and more recent history for those people such as their long 40 year sojourn in the wilderness.  But it also has an application for our own walk with the Lord and our own "days of old". As we look upon our past it is so important to consider the milestones in which the Lord has brought us along on our earthly pilgrimage. As we look back we have seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow. Each is part of the mosaic that makes us who we are.

"Consider the generations long past." The people of God had a powerful oral history with accounts carefully passed down from generation to generation. Since Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) all we have recorded prior to this was passed down orally or perhaps revealed to him by divine revelation. We now have the benefit of the Holy Bible and thousands of years of inspired written material. We need to consider each one of these generations and learn from their example, both good and bad.

The NASV Bible has this heading for 1 Corinthians 10, "Avoid Israel’s Mistakes." In recounting some of their experiences Paul writes, "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Corinthians 10:11). Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That's true both personally and for a society at large.

Each of us has roots. Some memories that co-exist with these roots are pleasant while others are not. But as we look back we see God's faithfulness in His provision, His direction, and His tender care. This gives us a faith lift for the situations we are currently facing and the various uncertainties that come to us from many different directions. May the Lord help each of us to see the presence of His hand along our earthly journey till we enter the Promised Land.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we consider the days of old we see Your faithful hand guiding us along life's pathway, in our own lives and in the generations that precede us. Your deliverance from our sins, Your provision for our every need and Your guidance for our every step keeps us firmly anchored like a tree planted by streams of water. Keep us faithful and trusting until we cross over to the Promised Land.  In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

We shared several of these photos two weeks ago but will do so again since they relate to our message today and we also share additional information in the captions.

CBC sign 8/1/17
We met at a small Midwestern Bible College in the Fall of 1973, the year we had both graduated from high school. The campus was vibrant with over 1,000 students and bursting at the seams. At that time a Bible College education was considered adequate by many in our denomination and although some went on to seminary for additional study many, like us, embarked into ministry. We actually launched into ministry while still in college, marrying after our Junior year and then pastoring a small country church my senior year. For most now the trend is a general "liberal arts" education followed by seminary for ministerial training before you would ever consider entering ministry. Probably due in part to this trend through the years enrollment in the Bible College decreased to the point the school was closed about 5 years ago and the remaining students were "encouraged" to attend the church-run liberal arts college across town. In fact from what I read we are essentially retroactively graduates of this college! However we are very pleased that we were Bible College trained and were very saddened to see our former campus now closed.

CBC campus 8/1/17
The property is being auctioned off. We recall many memories of the Lord establishing His calling upon our lives as we attended this Bible School - daily chapel services, dormitory prayer groups, weekly mission services, godly instructors, lifelong friends. We  transitioned into adulthood in a Bible Institute setting where we were instructed and encouraged to grow in godliness. The focus was more on spiritual maturation than merely academic achievement.

Sunnyvale 8/1/17
This is Sunnyvale, the little church just outside of Springfield where we pastored the first year of our marriage and ministry in May of 1976. It was here that we met some of the finest Christians who were loving, supportive, and dedicated to God. It has been closed for a number of years now as a church was planted nearby and many of the people have attended there in recent years and some of the most dedicated attendees at Sunnyvale have been with the Lord for many years now.

Sunnyvale parsonage 8/1/17
Our first home as a married couple was this little parsonage right beside the church where we lived from May 1976 till we moved to Pennsylvania in August 1977. We were anxious to plant an Evangelical Church in an area where there were few churches and that's what led us to Saint Marys, PA where we planted a church and resided for nearly 16 years.

Sunnyvale dinner on the grounds 1977
Dinner on the grounds in Fair Grove, Missouri, 1976. Stephen was 21, I was 20 and we were married only a few months. The Sutherlands were in their 90's seen left of the tree. (I am smiling as I type this caption since warm memories return of this special gathering when we brought our picnic type foods together and there's no doubt that someone brought fried chicken to the picnic.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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

"Leave A Legacy"  Video  Aaron Jeoffrey

"Monuments"  Video  Legacy Five

"Heroes Of The Faith"  Video  Legacy Five

Finally Today:

I (Stephen) am geographically inclined and Google Earth (or maps) provides an interesting way to reminisce about our past with either a satellite view or in many cases a street view of virtually anywhere on the earth. As a personal project I chronicled my life and Brooksyne's using this with each link opening to a place of significance to us. I call it "My Personal Geography" Perhaps it's something you might like to do.

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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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