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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Strasburg Pike barn 5/2/19 (Click to enlarge)
This old stone barn always catches our attention along Strasburg Pike. Back in the day when it was a wagon path they didn't worry how close to the road it was!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Lessons From Coach"
"The Hurdles"

Message summary: We are sure some of you today are dealing with hurdles and wonder how the particular matter that troubles your heart is going to work out. Like the Apostle Paul, we seek to provide teaching to Christ's followers in our own generation by encouraging you to remain true to the faith as, "we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"They preached the good news in that city (Derbe) and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,' they said" (Acts 14:21,22).

The hurdles
This week we are studying lessons we can learn from "running the race" since in several instances the Bible describes the Christian life as running a race. We have input from our very experienced 81 year old friend, Coach Bill, who coached track and field for over 50 years. Today let us consider the hurdles.

My dad, Eugene Weber, who went to be with the Lord 20 years ago would now be 100 years of age! He was a superb athlete in his youth. For a number of years he held the high school state track record in Kansas for running the hurdles.

The hurdles add a dimension to a regular race of obstacles that must be overcome. Of course we will have many hurdles in our Christian life as well. However the difference with track hurdles is that they are predictable since the obstacles can be seen from the start of the race. They're spaced at a standard distance and each at the same height. In real life the hurdles we encounter may blindside us and are anything but predictable! As I often share with those going through a trial, "You don't pick your problems and you don't schedule them."

Coach Bill Preston 4/29/19Coach Bill states,

"You can't just run the hurdles, you must attack them. The object is to get over the hurdle, get your foot down as quickly as possible so you carry your momentum to the next hurdle. Hesitation over the hurdle will upset the rhythm and the next hurdle will not fit the pattern of three steps between the barriers for which we train. There will be hurdles in our Christian life, but the key is to get back into the aggressive mode once you clear the hurdle."

In today's Bible text Paul, along with Barnabas, are on their first missionary journey and are returning to some of the cities where they had earlier established churches. Their basic purpose in returning to these young churches is summed up in this phrase: "strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith" (Acts 14:22a).

But Luke sums up the essence of their verbal message in a single phrase, "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22b). This portion bears careful attention in an age when the call to follow Christ is often presented to unbelievers as "simple" or "easy". Most all of us would be hesitant to share the above verse with those we are seeking to lead to Christ!

Notice the part, "you must go through". This hard reality seems to be an acknowledgement that in life this is no race free of hurdles. Testings of all kinds are present from our childhood to the final breath we draw in this life. Thankfully, during our times of hardship, we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

We are sure some of you today are dealing with hurdles and wonder how the particular matter that troubles your heart is going to work out. We must remember the timeless message to the early believers in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. Like the Apostle Paul, we seek to provide teaching to Christ's followers in our own generation by encouraging you to remain true to the faith as, "we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God".

I choose Christ when everything around me says give up
I choose faith, I choose to trust
to believe He is good,
He'll come through like He said He would
every time, oh I choose Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer:  Father, the spiritual race may have its twists and turns, its potholes and inclines that obscure the finish line, but by faith I will stay the course because You give me power when I feel faint and uplift me with strength when I am weak. Everlasting Father, Creator of the ends of the earth You do not grow weary or faint; Your understanding is vast beyond measure and Your might gives me strength when I grow weary and hope when I become discouraged helping me to rise as though I have wings as eagles. Help me to soar above the hurdles along life's congested highway and give flight to those worries that would otherwise weigh me down. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Christian race is characterized by endurance and overcoming inevitable trials. Many readers are undergoing trials as they read this and any of us who have been in the race for awhile can sing,

"Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come.
T'was grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home."

Here's a verse in Galatians we do well to consider: "You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Galatians 5:7).

This week our series will be on lessons from life's race:
Monday: "Running The Race Set Before Us"
Tuesday: "The Start"
Today: "The Hurdles"
Thursday: "The Relay"
Friday: "The Finish"

Yesterday Randy, a young man we see in the course of our chaplaincy visits shared about his participation, along with his wife Crystal, in the "Live From New York" event this last Saturday on New York City.

Crowd, Alive From New York 5/4/19
The crowd lining Broadway from the stage in Times Square.

Stage, Alive From New York 5/4/19
The event included music, testimonies, and the projection of a live 4d ultrasound along with the sound of the heartbeat. Randy said the event began with a loud counter protest from the forces of darkness (Planned Parenthood) who shouted and banged drums to disrupt the gathering, but as the worship commenced they quieted down.

Randy and Crystal, parents of three, taking a public stand for life.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Choose Christ"  Video  Karen Peck & New River

"Takin' the Easy Way"  Video  The Second Chapter of Acts, includes these thoughtful lyrics based on Matthew 7:13,14: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it."

Takin' the narrow road isn't an easy way (repeated)
Takin' the easy way isn't an easy way

Finally today:

Our wedding photo
Today is our 43rd wedding anniversary!
Here we are coming down the church aisle as a newly married couple on May 8, 1976 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The wedding was held in the church where Brooksyne was in charge of Children's Church over the summer months when she wasn't attending Central Bible College in Springfield, MO where we first met.

43rd anniversary photo 5/8/19
43 years later Brooksyne is still at my side and we enjoyed team ministry even before our marriage when we served together in missions and children's ministries at Central Bible College in Springfield, MO where we met in 1973.

Pat and Laverne 5/8/19
My brother Pat and his wife Laverne have been staying with us the last several days as they attend a church conference in the Harrisburg area. Pat officiated at our wedding and can be seen in the background of our wedding photo with hair and mustache.

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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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