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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sherks Church, Lebanon County 1/30/18
Sherks Church in rural northern Lebanon County

"In the end, the state of the Union comes down to the character of the people. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there. In the fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there. In her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits, aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." (Often attributed to French writer Alexis de Tocqueville but others consider an old adage. Regardless, it's a true observation!)  

"He Must Become Greater"

Message summary: We need to live with this attitude; "He must become greater; I must become less." It really is all about Christ!

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"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

A local bank in our area used an advertising slogan for their business that states, "It Really Is All About You!" It was intended as a nice expression of how the bank was caring and attentive to customers, but this phrase also expresses the "me-ism" that dominates the human race and certainly modern man. The natural, fleshly inclination is to live life as if it is all about me.

Many of you will recall a song from the late nineties (ancient by contemporary music standards!) titled "Heart of Worship" which deals with this attitude in regard to worship. It has a repetitive line directed to the Lord that says, "It's all about You, Jesus."

David Schrader writes, "The song was born from a period of apathy within Matt’s home church, Soul Survivor, in Watford, England. Despite the country’s overall contribution to the current worship revival, Redman’s congregation was struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring at the time.

There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing, he recalls. He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.

Reminding his church family to be producers in worship, not just consumers, the pastor, Mike Pilavachi, asked, 'When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?'" (See link below for complete story)

We heard a teaching recently that made this point well. When you seek to be big and keep God small you will have a life with minimal spiritual significance, especially in light of eternity. But when you seek to humble yourself and exalt the bigness (greatness) of God your life will have greater significance, especially from an eternal perspective. Humbling yourself is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less often. As we perfect this virtue of humility, we will think less about ourselves and more about our great God.

John the Baptist is one of the great Bible characters. His brief God-ordained role was to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus. One of the simplest, yet profoundest, statements indicating his primary role is found in the daily text, "He (Jesus Christ) must become greater; I must become less."

That's not only an appropriate statement for John but is a godly mindset and heart attitude for all of us! It should be an ongoing commitment that needs refreshing and renewal on a regular basis. Essentially we need to live with this attitude; "He must become greater; I must become less." It really is all about Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, anything good or praiseworthy in me is simply a reflection of the abiding presence of Your Holy Spirit. I want to grow in Your grace and knowledge, and will do so if You are preeminent in my life. That means You will reign supreme and be of first importance to me, having greater influence than any other person or cause. I want to walk in humility today as I pray, "Jesus must become greater in my life, I must become less." I ask You to be at the center of my thoughts, my attitudes, and my actions so that Your preeminence is seen in all I think, do, and say. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Lebanon County barn 1/30/18
Near a town named Ono we passed this interesting barn. According to tradition, the name Ono was selected after all other ideas were rejected by a town elder with "O! No."

Lebanon County barn 1/30/18
Along with the color scheme and five over-sized entries in the front we have some old farm implements. Perhaps we'll drive past it in the warmer months and see it in action to find out how the owner uses the barn, whether it's large equipment or horses or whatever! The windows and doors along with the stone foundation really sets it apart.

Lebanon County mansion 1/30/18
It was snowing as we passed this old mansion way out in the country.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Heart Of Worship"  Video  Matt Redman

"The Story Behind The Heart Of Worship" (Portion quoted in today's message)

"Greater Still"  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

"Greater Still"  Video  Jason Crabb & Christy Sutherland  We heard this for the first time on the radio yesterday. It describes how God is greater than any addiction or bondage we face.

Finally today:
Pumpkin prep 1/30/18
On our way home from our chaplain visits we picked up Jesse (94) and Wilma Dourte (93) and brought them home with us. They insist on helping us slice, peel, and chop up neck pumpkins and butternut squash we purchased at roadside stands this last fall. You might think we're expecting alot from these dear elderly friends, but they look forward to it every winter and ask us about it until we finally make a date. We enjoyed a light soup dinner and some good fellowship after their hard work.

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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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