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Monday, September 18, 2017

Star Barn Gazebo 9/16/17 (Click to enlarge)
The Star Barn Gazebo
Elizabethtown, PA
(Click on photo for larger image)

"Acting Redemptively"

Note: Today's message is based on a real event. Although we have received permission to share the story we have purposely changed the names.

Message summary: God calls us to receive His grace and in turn express grace to others.

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"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" (Colossians 4:5,6).

Recently I was visiting with Curtis who happens to be a Christian and owner of a company.  He told me about a disciplinary matter he had to deal with concerning an employee whose persistent negative attitude was affecting other members on his team. Curtis called the employee into his office and when he walked in he had a look on his face like, "Uh-oh, I think I'm about to be fired."

However Curtis had Rob sit down and kindly asked him about his upbringing and background and heard quite a story of pain. While still in his teens Rob's mother died of an aneurism as he held her in his arms. He has a distant relationship with his father who  provided essentially no counsel, encouragement, correction or discipline as he grew up. And there were other factors that contributed to his pessimistic outlook on life.

Curtis compassionately listened to Rob describe his difficult upbringing but went on to explain to him the importance of living life with a purpose. He shared with him how we affect others with our attitude. Thankfully, he was very receptive. By coincidence I know Rob, had seen him recently, and he had already told me about the conversation before his boss shared it with me. With moist eyes Rob expressed to me that Curtis had treated him like the father he needed but never had. He actually missed the discipline and correction a loving father administers. (See Hebrews 12:9).

Our text today reminds us that believers have many opportunities to share the wisdom that God has granted us through the Scriptures, "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity." Our conversation should primarily be marked by Christian grace filled with compassion, but secondarily, it should be seasoned with salt so that it benefits those who listen by building them up according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29).  

In our illustrative story the company owner was filled with compassion as he listened to his employee's story, but the salient and redemptive moment came when he brought seasoning into their conversation by giving wise counsel that benefitted the employee. Of course, for the story to have a positive ending, it required the employee to be receptive and responsive to his boss, which he was.

Loving grace is offered to all of us by our heavenly Father. Many of our readers have accepted His grace and experienced the wonder of redemption; forgiveness of sins and a new life.

Today we will have many opportunities to act redemptively. Allow a guiding principle to be an awareness of the mighty grace you have received, so that you will naturally extend grace to others!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how grateful we are for those who have made the most of their opportunities to share their wisdom; wisdom that comes from Your Word as well as those along the way who've been our role models and loving caregivers. We pray that our conversation would be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we might speak words that not only build others up but also benefits them according to their needs. At the time it might feel like salt being poured into their wound but You use salt for healing, and if the hearer is receptive and willing to make needed changes You guide them in doing so. May we help others even as You brought people in our lives who helped us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Saturday morning we attended a special function called the "Walk of Love" at Ironstone Ranch, a beautiful function center near us. Two of the companies we serve as chaplains were sponsors of the event for Brittany's Hope, a non-profit organization, dedicated to aiding abandoned children around the world through adoption grants, child sponsorship and orphan care.

Clark and girlfriend 9/16/17
Clark is a young man who began working at White Oak Display while still in high school on a work release program. He is a diligent worker. White Oak Display was one of the sponsors of the event with about 30 employees and family members participating.

Frank with children 9/16/17
Frank Castro also works at White Oak. It's a blessing that God equips us with shoulders and two hands. Frank used them to hold onto both of his young children who accompanied him. Families traveled in from other states and we met some of them who had adopted several children from other nations, with matching grants from Brittany's Hope.

Sheldon Miller family 9/16/17
The Sheldon Miller family.
Sheldon is the grandson of the founder of Smucker and Sons, another event sponsor. Both Sheldon and his older son ran in the 5 K race. The Millers have adopted two children from Vietnam and benefitted from the services of Brittany's Hope for Lynn, their latest adoption, being held by Jenna. She is adorably cute, very smart and busy!

Eric Martin family 9/16/17
We also visited a few minutes with the Eric Martin family
Eric, who ran the 5K, grew up in a church we attended for many years
and owns his own construction company, Legacy Builders. We are long-time friends with his parents, Galen and Nancy Martin.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Grace Greater Than All Our Sin"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Never Too Broken To Belong"  Video  Amy Lambert

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  The Vocal Band does a great job with this song!

"Redeemed"  Video  Big Daddy Weave

"He Won't Leave You There"
  Video  Jason Crabb

"Brittany's Hope" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to aiding abandoned children around the world.

Finally Today:
Calvary Church choir and orchestra 9/17/17
For nearly 25 years Brooksyne has been a choir director in various churches we have served or attended. Yesterday she sang for the first time in the Calvary Church Choir. If you are curious click on the photo for a larger view to see if you can find Elmo (I mean Brooksyne!)
Ester recorded a video of the main song
"It Is Well"  Video  
(While commending Ester for her recording the sound is not quite as clear as we would like. Here's a video with very clear vocals as well as the lyrics.)
Following this song the entire congregation sang the classic hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" that brings such incredible assurance. Video  Homecoming Singers

Order of the Towel presentation 9/17/17
Yesterday Pastor Beau presented the "Order of the Towel" to Linda, a dedicated servant, who has faithfully served in the church nursery for over 40 years, in addition to many other areas of service! "Order of the Towel" is a reference to the Upper Room foot washing where Jesus washed the disciples' feet and instructed them, "Do as I have done for you" (John 13:15). For many years Calvary Church has awarded an individual or couple the symbolic "towel" with their name monogrammed on it as an example of outstanding service for the kingdom of God through their local church.

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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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