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Monday, February 4, 2019
Habecker Road Mill 2/1/19 (Click to enlarge)
An old stone mill on Habecker Road, one of many we see in the course of our travels.
(Click to enlarge)
"A Message To Long Snappers"

Message summary:  This week we are going to glean long snapper character traits from a man named Epaphras who is mentioned in the letter to the Colossians. Before looking him up I wonder if you know anything about him? 

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us" (Romans 12:6).

The big football game, the "Super Bowl" and all the hype that comes with it, is now history. Throughout the season I had hoped the Kansas City Chiefs would have made it to the Super Bowl since I grew up in the the KC area. I was in high school the last time the KC Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

Many of our readers, especially in the USA, could name the teams. Most who follow football  could name the quarterbacks. And many could name several other players last night like Edelman or Gurley. Some could even name the kickers, Gostkowski and Zuerlein.

But there were many key players whose names were not mentioned during the game at all such as Joe Cardona and Jake McQuaide, who played in a position that many give little thought to, unless they're highlighted because they messed up!

Joe Cardona, Patriots longsnapperCardona is the Patriot's long snapper, the player who snaps the football on the special team for PAT's, (point after attempts) field goals and punts. Since, in many games the score is close, their skill in snapping the ball accurately into the hands of the placeholder is critically important. Games have been lost due to long snapper error and won because of his proficiency, although he scarcely gets much credit.

As the article "Why NFL Teams Still Can’t Live Without A Long Snapper" observes, "The biggest thing about long snapping is that most people can’t do it." (link below)

It's that way in the Body of Christ. The Bible says, "We have different gifts". Some have gifts that are prominent like famous preachers, musicians, authors, etc. They're like the quarterbacks of God's Kingdom. We tend to value these gifts and often hold these people in high esteem since they're most prominent in God's Kingdom work. And I am indeed thankful for prominent members of the Body whom God has blessed mightily with certain gifts.

But most of us have gifts that are far less prominent. Only a tiny, tiny percentage of the Church even knows who we are! We're like football's long snappers, whom most people don't pay a lot of attention to. But every one of us has gifts we are called to use to advance God's Kingdom.
Matthew Henry further elaborates on this (long before there was football!):

"In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretense of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing.  I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come."

All believers are part of the greatest team in the ultimate contest and every contribution is important and makes a difference. We'll see how it all fits together far more clearly when we reach the other side. Appreciate what God is doing in you as He develops, grows and uses the gift(s) He has bestowed upon you.

This week we are going to glean long snapper character traits from a man named Epaphras who is mentioned in the letter to the Colossians. Before looking him up I wonder if you know anything about him?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we recognize and thank You that little is much when You are in it. Your grace is measured out to us in the gifts You develop in our lives. Sometimes we bemoan the gift (or seeming lack of gifts) we have in comparison with others who are more prominent or admired by others. Help us not to rate the gifts You bestow, for we want to receive from You that which You have for us, for You are the Giver of all good things. Anything we accomplish in this life is a result of Your empowering and enabling us to carry it out, and we do all for Your glory in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Photo of Mike Stillman
Mike Stillman is a friend of ours who played on the Penn State football team back in the eighties, excelling as a long snapper, on a NCAA national championship team! Although I have followed football since I was a child it was Mike who first informed me about the long snapper position when I met him about 18 years ago. He is a businessman and we have served several of his companies as chaplains for many years.

The temperatures in our area are warming up with a projected high today of 56° so we won't have the snow cover much longer. So today and the next couple days we will try to share a few more of our snow photos.

Habecker Road Mill 2/1/19 (Click to enlarge)
Habecker Road Mill
We passed this mill along Chiques Creek on our way to the Kleen-Rite company in Columbia PA. this past Friday while we still had cold temps and icy roads.
(Click to enlarge)

Sunrise 2/3/19
Yesterday morning we left quite early for our church service due to Brooksyne needing to arrive early for sound check with the choir and orchestra.  Right away we saw this beautiful sunrise as we turned onto Donegal Springs Road, prompting Brooksyne to break into one of her favorite Scripture verses:  "Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul" (Psalm 143:8).

Ice hockey on an Amish farm pond 2/3/19
After church yesterday we stopped in to visit our friends on the Old Windmill Farm. The children were playing ice hockey on the farm pond and invited us to watch them as they played ice hockey. This view was taken from their porch.

Ice hockey on an Amish farm pond 2/3/19
It was probably their last opportunity this winter unless we get another cold period, as the ice was getting quite slushy making it tricky to wear ice skates. But the children had lots of fun and adapted to their less than ideal frozen pond. On the plus side it was no longer frigid outside, so they could enjoy a longer time on the ice.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Little Is Much When God Is In It"  Video  Larry Ford

"If We Are The Body"
 Video   Casting Crowns

"We Are God's People"  Video  David Haas

"GET YOUR HELMET!" Steve Ephraim, one of our Daily Encouragement readers, shared this story with us which also draws a spiritual illustration from his football experience!

Many of us can identify with his experience: He was a bench player and longed to play in the game. It seemed he had his opportunity:

Midway through the third quarter it happened. The moment I had been waiting for. All of those hard practices would finally pay off. Coach G’s voice rang out clear as a bell, “Ephraim! Get your helmet!”. Like a soldier jumping off the landing craft into the shallow water, I came running. It was hard to contain my enthusiasm as Gary Fast (that was his real name) was trotting off to the sideline. He was a starting guard and this was my moment to replace him. I was the “next man in”.

In a flash, I rehearsed the offensive play book in my head. “T24 on 1" when the quarterback says “1”, I’ll bury my left shoulder into my opponent’s side while our halfback runs off my right hip. Plays I had memorized for weeks were suddenly flashing like a slot machine.

As I strapped on my helmet, Coach gestured for me to take it off. He quickly explained the real reason he had called me. “Gary here just broke his helmet and yours looks to be about his size. Give him your helmet.” Obediently and without emotion, I reluctantly handed it to Gary. He sheepishly muttered “thanks” and trotted back onto the field. I watched in awe as my helmet went off to battle. I wouldn’t see it again until after the game.   

Not necessarily related to today's message but very pertinent:

"Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity!" Free Webinar on February 5 at 12:00 noon.

Cynical atheists ask this question to imply that a world without Jesus’ teachings would be a man-made utopia. But could this be true?

In this age when you and I can be attacked for our beliefs, it’s important that you know how believers like you have created a more peaceful, loving and just world – and the important role you have today in promoting Jesus’ world-changing teachings.

Join Jeremiah Johnston and Warren Cole Smith for a free Colson Center webinar designed to equip and encourage believers to share how Jesus' teachings continue to be the most powerful force for good today.

Finally today:
Moses Was A Basketcase (Photo by Ester)
Friday afternoon Ester saw this on the way to work. We know there's a spiritual lesson here!

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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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