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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lampeter Cafe 9/14/18 (Click to enlarge)
The Lampeter Cafe
Click on photo to enlarge

"Operational Freedom"

Message summary: The life long mission of each true disciple of Christ is to influence and impact others in regard to their eternal destiny.

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"I then, as Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:9).

George and Mary Duff 9/16/18About 15 years ago I worked with George Duff who was the general manager of a hotel where I supervised a chaplain team. He "retired" a short time after I met him but has continued in the Lord's work. Retirement from his secular job freed him up for a greater degree of service in the Lord's work. In our service Sunday George and his wife Mary were honored for their work for the Lord and the church.

Many in our generation benefitted from the sound financial advice of Larry Burkett. I suppose he is similar to what Dave Ramsey is now although Burkett, who is now with the Lord, was far less flashy.

I recall when he had a guest on his radio program and they were discussing preparations for retirement. That was about 15 years ago when the retirement years seemed a long way off for me. Not so much now as I will turn 64 next month and yesterday received information about Medicare.

Larry BurkettThe guest made a very interesting point sharing that he preferred to use the phrase "operational freedom" to describe the retirement years. Essentially he was describing the greater flexibility available.

That got me thinking then and more so now at this phase of my life. Although I don't expect to begin to retire for several more years I don't expect to ever fully retire! Periodically I express in this devotional perspective my personal mission statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory.  Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I 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."

I believe we all should have a similar personal mission statement. The lifelong mission of each true disciple of Christ is to influence and impact others in regard to their eternal destiny. Although we surely do so in different ways, we all have this call, whether we're in "professional" ministry or not. God has a plan for each one of us in the accomplishment of His purpose.

Paul's conversion on the Damascus road began a long life of service for Christ. Many years later he writes to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave, and identifies himself as an "old man" (the KJV reads "the aged"). Another version renders the passage, "Philemon, before I tell you what I need from you, remember that Iím an old man, and a prisoner at that."

Paul did not let external conditions hinder his ministry. While in prison and thus very limited and unable to go about establishing churches he did what he could; he wrote letters, several which are a part of our New Testament instead of wallowing in self-pity and a "why me" attitude".

When he was old he didn't retire but continued to serve in appropriate ways as God enabled him. In fact it seems he wrote right up to near his time of death. In 2 Timothy he expresses the awareness that "the time has come for my departure" (4:6).

I know that many readers of these daily encouragement messages are older as well. In fact many are "retired". But I encourage you instead to consider yourselves "operationally free"!  There are many ways you can serve. I consider the thousands that are involved in RV mission projects including those who plan to help families devastated by the effects of Hurricane Florence. Veda, my previous church secretary, had been retired from secular work for many years and was such a blessing to me and our church family. Many others come to mind. You are operationally free to use these years for God's glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. God's not finished using you!


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're grateful for the many Christian believers who volunteer their service for the kingdom of God. It is often difficult to get enough hours in a day to fulfill our tasks and still have time for Christian service but we know there is reward in doing so and lives are blessed because of it. For those who are near retirement or those no longer vocationally employed we pray that You would lead them into Christian service that will build up the body of Christ while also fulfilling their calling to "work till Jesus comes when we'll be gathered home". Amen.



Lampeter Cafe 9/14/18 (Click to enlarge)
The Lampeter Cafe is housed in a beautifully restored colonial home built in 1760. It has been home to a livery, tavern, wainwright and blacksmith. It was recently refurbished and repurposed as a cafe. We had breakfast there last week following an early morning chaplaincy visit. Good food, reasonable prices and a neat atmosphere!



Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Finish well"  Video  Karen Peck and New River

"We'll Work Till Jesus Comes"  Video  Master's Praise Vocal Group

"He Won't Leave You There"  Video  Jason Crabb Tonight Brooksyne and Ester will be volunteering at a local Jason Crabb concert.

"Four Essentials to Finishing Well" Message by Jerry Bridges Video
  For many years I have been blessed by the ministry of Jerry Bridges (who is now with the Lord). I met him many years ago at Gordon-Conwell.

A well done service honoring George and Mary Duff  Video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, 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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