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June 11, 2018

Mini horse and cart along Rt 322, Lancaster County, PA 6/7/18
never know what we'll see in our travels throughout Lancaster County! We passed this miniature horse and cart on very busy Rt. 322 east of Ephrata, PA. Can anyone tell us what kind of equipment he is hauling in the back beside the boy with the straw hat?

"Marketplace Ministry"

Message summary: Paul's example from his ministry in very secular Athens applies to our ministry in very secular modern America (and virtually everywhere else on this planet!)

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"So he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there" (Acts 17:17).

This past Saturday afternoon we attended a gathering at our friends, Ron and Bonnie Hoover's home. They both have a mentoring ministry seeking to impact others for Christ, in which they are very effective. Our association began in 2007 when we made a presentation regarding our chaplaincy ministry to a group Ron leads called "Convene". This is a forum for business leaders who seek to honor God in their business and family. We now serve several of the Convene-related companies in our chaplaincy ministry and have made friends with many others in the group.

Aaron and Barbie Fisher, Ron and Bonnie Hoover, Convene gathering 6/9/18
Aaron and Barbie Fisher, Ron and Bonnie Hoover at Convene gathering

At the gathering we visited with Aaron Fisher and his wife Barbie who are newer Convene members with an interesting business/ministry. He operates a food distribution service called "Blessings Of Hope" arranging with food suppliers to receive large quantities of donated food and then distributes them to 117 ministries from New York City to North Carolina. Their "customers" include local food banks, missions like the Bowery Mission in New York City and ministries like Teen Challenge.

On the same day as our gathering the local newspaper had an article about "Blessings of Hope" (link below). The article begins, "Growing up in Kirkwood (a small town in Lancaster County), Aaron Fisher knew what it was like to be hungry. 'My dad was in a wheelchair,' he said. 'We were pretty poor. Somebody would bring us food once in a while and I thought this was amazing. It was almost like Christmas. So I determined at that point I would do something with my life to help people'.”

Aaron joined Convene to better equip himself for the business aspects of his ministry, which has an annual budget of $700,000.

Our daily text is frequently used by those who have a broader vision of ministry and speaks of an essential element of the Apostle Paul's ministry. The example from ministry in very secular Athens applies to ministry in very secular modern America.

Paul saw the city from a spiritual perspective and, grounded in his solid knowledge of the Law of God, he was "greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols" (v. 16). These idols are among the tourist attractions of Athens today but to Paul they were a stark reminder of man's ignorance and rebellion toward God. Rather than being impressed Paul was distressed. As we walk with a spiritual perspective this should be our reaction as well, even to the many wonders of our modern day "Athens".

But Paul was not
intimidated nor did he remain silent.

1) "So he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks." In our age this would be analogous to ministry within the church, among those likely already receptive. However he was preaching the Gospel of Christ which was a new message to those familiar only with the old way. "Reasoned" translates the Greek "dialegomai" from whence we get dialogue. The word conveys "to say thoroughly, to discuss (in argument or exhortation)".  Yesterday on the Lord's Day many of us gathered in our churches with many others where we heard the Gospel and teachings of the Bible as well as prayer and worship to God.

2) "As well as in the marketplace." This is ministry outside the church. This teaches that genuine ministry is not limited to a specific place. Marketplace translates the Greek word Agora which was the central public space in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was the center of the athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city.

3) "Day by day" This suggests ministry is not limited to a specific time. It conveys the ongoing, non-compartmentalized view of ministry practiced by the early church. Many have compartmentalized their faith and ministry to a place (church) and a specific time (Sunday).  Surely God's call is that we serve and live for Him every day, wherever we are and in every way possible! Peter wrote “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

4) "with those who happened to be there" God providentially places us in the way of those who need a witness and support. This applies to everyone reading this. Isn't it a wonderful description of what I call providential evangelism and ministry?  Ultimately in God's providence He has placed you in your place of work or wherever you are today. "Those who happen to be there" are likely your fellow employees and God has appointed you to be His representative to them. As Brooksyne and I and make our rounds as corporate chaplains, we often pray that God will bring us into contact with those whom He would have us share a message of hope, encouragement or even a message of salvation with any who are seeking.  Many are already believers and yet some are resistant or even hostile to the Christian message, as was the case in Athens.

Today we are all called to serve and witness. The need is all around us wherever we are, whatever we do. Look around and see who just "happens" to be in your circle of influence today? In what way can you express God's redemptive message as you interact with them? We must realize that in God's providential leading He has placed each of us where we are and His will is that we walk circumspectly and speak out as His witnesses. Many will mock and others might say, "We want to hear you again on this subject" as they did in Athens (v. 32). And some might begin to believe (v. 34). No matter the response let's keep living and proclaiming the gospel message of salvation!

Ev'ryday they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes;
Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where.
On they go through private pain, living fear to fear;
Laughter hides the silent cries, only Jesus hears.

We are called to take His light, to a world where wrong seems right.
What could be too great a cost, for sharing life with one who's lost.
Through His love our hearts can feel, all the grief they bear.
They must hear the words of life only we can share.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize people need the Lord. *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have called each of us, as believers, to take Your light to a lost and dying world where wrong seems right; where right is derided, mocked and considered old-fashioned. It's challenging and often times awkward to go against the grain of our culture that calls evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. We can convey the message of truth and salvation, but only You can change the hearts of those who walk in darkness. Only You can replace darkness with light, evil for good, and sweet for bitter. We share the message and leave the results to You as the Holy Spirit convicts and changes the hearts of those who seek truth through salvation. Amen.

See Isaiah 5:20

Ron and Bonnie Hoover cookout
Ron and Bonnie Hoover have a great place for indoor and outdoor gatherings
Book Recommendation:  "God's Guest List" Welcoming Those Who Influence Our Lives by bestselling Debbie Macomber. As we wrote about Ron and Bonnie Hoover early in our message and the tremendous influence they have on business leaders and many others, Brooksyne thought of an excellent book that speaks to this subject. Macomber's book is filled with true stories and rich insight that will change how we regard various people, from all kinds of backgrounds, in our lives. She challenges us to anticipate lives that we can touch, to seize every opportunity to be a positive and faithful influence on others; to live with the doors of our lives wide open to greet each new person God brings across our thresholds.

Randy and Trisha Christian 6/9/18
Chaplains Randy and Trisha Christian and son Micah
The Christians were in the area for a conference near Harrisburg. They serve as chaplains at a Val-Co facility in Ohio. Both have tremendous testimonies of redemption.
While we were visiting at the Convene event on Saturday Ester visited with the Lapps at the Old Windmill Farm. The Christians met us there at the farm while visiting in Lancaster County over the weekend.

Old Windmill Farm tour 6/9/18
We are so pleased that the Old Windmill Farm is busy with farm tours. The brief time we were over on Saturday we visited with Daily Encouragement readers who were on a tour along with a German foreign exchange student they had hosted nearly 20 years ago. (Unfortunately we didn't think to take a photograph of them which is not like us.) We also met some guests from Israel.

Old Windmill Farm tour scooters 6/9/18
These colorful scooters, which look like a lot of fun to drive, were part of a tour group that visited the Old Windmill farm on Saturday.

Old Windmill Farm tour scooters 6/9/18
And away they go!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Blessings of Hope newspaper article in Lancaster newspaper

Blessings of Hope website

Convene is a national organization. Our relationship with Convene is through Ron Hoover who chairs several of the Lancaster groups.

"People Need The Lord"  Video  Steve Green

"Broken World"  Video   Last night the Talleys were in Lebanon at an outdoor concert.

"The Broken Ones"  Video  Talleys

"I Want To Be That Man"
  Video  Brian Free & Assurance  Later this week we will share a message about Father's day but today we challenge our men to consider this song!

Finally today:

"Banjo Jimmy & his Rose Ramblers at the Kitchen Kettle Village
Farewell Banjo Jimmy
In the course of our chaplain visits throughout eastern Lancaster County we often stop by to walk through "The Kitchen Kettle Village" in Intercourse, PA. This is a busy tourist destination in the heart of Amish country. We always enjoyed listening to "Banjo Jimmy & his Rose Ramblers" who have played at Kitchen Kettle Village for the past 30 years. Last time we noticed a new musician (see photo). Sadly, we read yesterday that Banjo Jimmy passed away. (Obit)

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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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