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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flowering dogwood 5/6/18
Flowering dogwoods are blooming in our neighborhood including this pink one.

"A Glorious Day"

Message summary: Ascension Day is one of the great days of the early church. Today let's be reminded and rejoice at what happened on that glorious day.

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"After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

MaMa & PaPa
Stephen's grandparents, whom we called PaPa & MaMa

We enjoy a song simply titled "Grandpa". It begins with this line, "Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good ol' days".* Do you have memories of your grandma and grandpa and stories they would share. I had a very colorful grandpa who travelled the country on rails in his younger years and who climbed up Pike's Peak at night. That would have been around the turn of the last century (1900). I only knew him as an old man (70+ years when I was born.) He was physically aging but his mind remained sharp to the end and he had a habit of riding a bike every birthday into his early eighties.

Have you ever considered the stories the disciples shared with their grandchildren? Picture Peter lifting his grandchildren to his lap as he told them, "Let me tell you about the time when Jesus left this world to go back to heaven".

Ascension Day artwork Today is Ascension Day; the great event that took place 40 days after Christ's resurrection when He left earth and ascended back into heaven! Today the Amish and Mennonite communities in our area close their schools and businesses, have services in the morning, and then make an afternoon of games and visitation. We think that's a great custom. In fact since our chaplain work will take us through a part of Lancaster County with lots of Amish and Mennonites we will see a lot of horse and buggie traffic in the morning and the large gatherings in the afternoon. If the weather is nice we will most certainly see volleyball games!

How many of you recall that today is Ascension Day prior to reading this message? In most of Christendom this day doesn't have nearly the emphasis as other notable events in our Lord's earthly life such as His birth (Christmas), death (Good Friday), and resurrection (Easter). But this day is one of the great days of the early church.

Today's text is Mark's simple straightforward account of the Ascension: "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God".

Acts 1:9-11 gives us the most complete record of the event. Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission, and then He was taken up to heaven before their very eyes. This was important for the disciples to witness and is an essential part of the Biblical record. It completes the story. It reinforces that Jesus Christ is God and that He returned to His home in heaven. An ancient creedal statement of the early church is found in 1 Timothy 3:16, "He was taken up in glory."

When Jesus was taken up the disciples gazed intently into the sky as He departed. Two men dressed in white (angels) suddenly appeared and gave a promise, "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."

That promise is reinforced and expanded upon throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope". One day, perhaps soon, perhaps today, there will be another universal WOW day. Let us faithfully serve the Lord, who now sits at the right hand of the Father, until that great day!

Ascension Day is one of the holy days of the early church. Let's be reminded and rejoice at what happened that glorious day.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, Your physical life on earth is so important for all to see and comprehend God in the flesh. We have a picture of the Father through the life of the Son. You also came to bring salvation to Your creation, willingly leaving the splendor of Your home in heaven to change the course of history and to redeem the fallen sinful race. Your ascension into heaven serves as a reminder that You completed Your mission on earth and are now at the right hand of the Father ever interceding for us, Your children. One day we will see You come in the same way You left, but on that day You will take us with You to spend eternity in the home that You have prepared for us to take up eternal residency. Help us to be faithful and eager for the blessed hope of Your second coming. In Your name, Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Flowering tree 5/6/18
Another one of the many flowering trees we see in our neighborhood.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Glorious Day"  Video  Casting Crowns

This song has a verse that states,

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

"The Ascension"  Video  Phil Wickham

* "Grandpa"  Video  The Judds

Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good ol' days.
Sometimes it feels like this world's gone crazy.
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday,
Where the line between right and wrong
Didn't seem so hazy.

"What A Savior"  Video  Laura Story

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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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