A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
We passed this church early yesterday in northern Lebanon County on a very frosty morning. Since it's about a 50 minute drive Brooksyne sometimes "rests her eyes" and she did so yesterday morning only to open them as I started to pass this beautiful site. Following her "orders", I turned the car around and she caught this picturesque view.
(Click on photo for larger view)
"The Incarnate Word"
This week our messages will all be on "The Incarnate Word". These messages may tend to be a bit more theological in nature than many of our messages!
Message summary: "This we proclaim concerning the Word of life". Let us believe and receive and do our part in proclaiming the incarnate Word of life.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life" (1 John 1:1).
Living nativity scenes are popular and take a lot of effort. These scenes seek to recreate our customary view of the stable where Christ was born using live people and animals. Depending on the temperature and other weather conditions these scenes can be a real labor of love for the participants, especially if a real baby is used for the infant Jesus!
Our church has a life-sized nativity scene in the foyer but it's not "live". Rather it has large stuffed animals including chickens. They welcome the children to walk in and touch the animals. The other night we took four of our Amish "grandchildren"* to a service and the girls loved petting the stuffed animals which was special to them. After all, they have plenty of opportunity to be with real animals on the Old Windmill Farm!
The first two messages in this week's series were expressions of the incarnate Word in the prologue to John's Gospel. The same John begins his first epistle with a similar epic expression, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life".
This was written at the end of the first century and assuming John was similar in age to Jesus he would now be in his eighties or even nineties. He muses concerning his own personal experience with Jesus some 60 years earlier.
Heard, seen, looked at, handled; these verbs speak of the incarnate Word. He would have had to be true "flesh and blood" (and not an apparition as some heretically taught) for all of these verbs to actually be experienced by John and the other apostles in their encounters with Jesus.
Kenneth Wuest conveys the idea of the perfect tense in his paraphrase. "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard with the present result that it is ringing in our ears, that which we have discerningly seen with our eyes with the present result that it is in our mind’s eye, that which we gazed upon as a spectacle, and our hands handled with a view to investigation, that which is concerning the Word of the life."
"This we proclaim concerning the Word of life". Let us believe and receive and do our part in proclaiming the incarnate Word of life.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
* Our Amish grandchildren - These are the children of our long-time friends Jesse and Anna Ruth whom we met as our neighbors right after their marriage in 2002. We've helped them welcome all seven of their children and affectionately call them our grandchildren and they likewise affectionately refer to us as grandparents and Ester as Auntie. The Old Windmill Farm is now a tourist attraction in Lancaster County and they are meeting people from all over the world.
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Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
Our first visit early yesterday morning was to Audrey's, a wholesale distributor of home decor items located in rural Lebanon County (near where our lead photo was taken). Brooksyne saw this Scripture verse and told me it brought to mind a needy soul we have met over the past year. She has a major skin disorder since childhood that is very unsightly and very uncomfortable and yet on her personal mission card she uses this scripture to honor God. Perhaps someday we'll be able to write about her amazing story!
Our second company visit yesterday was to White Oak Display and Design. Here's the neat gift they are giving to their customers! Using their laser machine they had an intricate design in the display holding their custom made mug, Keurig pod, coffee and snowflake ornament.
Yesterday afternoon following our chaplain visits we went to a Children's Christmas program in an Amish one room schoolhouse. The little schoolhouse above was packed full with parents and grandparents and many others. The kids do a fantastic job (about 18 attend). Many of our readers would enjoy seeing some photos and video but we respect their wishes and refrain. It really is a special experience.
After being in the program about 15 minutes I realized I hadn't checked my phone to make sure it was on vibrate and whispered to Brooksyne to make sure hers was off as well. It was. A few minutes later Siri blurted right out, loud enough to fill the whole school room and said, "Turn right on Cherry Hill Road". It startled the room including the children on the platform since the voice came from my phone GPS which I had used to get directions to the school and didn't realize was still on. I fumbled around to get it off. We all had a good chuckle and later Sadie Ruth told Brooksyne it happened at a perfect time because the little boy reciting at the time was struggling with his recitation - it gave him a moment to recall his line and he pulled it off perfectly! So perhaps the Lord was in my absent-mindedness after all.
(Click on photo for larger view)
The horse and buggies were all parked on the other side of the school. Note that one has brought over the teacher's gift from the parents, a deluxe rocking chair! Two dads carried it in afterwards, one carrying the rocker and the other carrying the back and seat cushions
Yesterday I had my lawn tractor serviced at a shop about a mile from our home and rather than pay $25.00 to have it hauled back Brooksyne dropped me off and I drove it home!
It was a pleasant day and a pleasant drive home!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"We Are The Reason" Video David Phelps
"Make Room" Video Casting Crowns featuring Matt Redman
"He Is Here" Video Gaither Vocal Band
"I Serve A Savior" Video Josh Turner
"Christmas in Heaven" Video Scotty McCreery Probably a bit syrupy for some but a source of comfort for those who have lost a loved one this past year. I heard this song on Saturday on the Gospel greats with Paul Heil. Note: This was one of the songs sang by the Amish children in their school program yesterday which really surprised us. Usually their selections are well-seasoned or as we like to call it, "songs from the past".
Some resource material from today's message is from the online Precept Austin commentary, an excellent resource for any who want to dig deeper.
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas Day)
Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.
"In Remembrance of Me" pdf This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. For many years Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services. We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling. It is suitable for a church or family gathering
"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.
Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18 pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" pdf
My First Christmas In Heaven This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year. This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.
Christmas Knowledge Test
"Christmas in Heaven" Video Scotty McCreery Probably a bit syrupy for some but a source of comfort for those who have lost a loved one this past year. I heard this song on Saturday on the Gospel greats with Paul Heil.
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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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