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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Menheim PA rural scene (Lamar Dourte)
We have not had much snow this season but we do have some forecast this weekend. Lamar Dourte captured this scene near Manheim, PA last week.

"This Sacred Place"

Message summary:
We hope all of you who follow Jesus are a part of a Bible-preaching, Christ-honoring church!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

We just watched a powerful video of a song we had never heard before by the Gaither Vocal Band titled "This Is The Place". It has outstanding photography and depicts the wide variety of church types, sizes and styles. It's about the blessing of the local church and caused us both to look back and reflect on how the local church has been a blessing to us all throughout our lives.

This is the place where we pray
This is the place where we cry
This is the place where we start
"'Til death do us part"
Where we say "goodbye"
Here we leave all our pain
Find forgiveness and grace
Here we walk down the aisle
Dedicate every child
Here in this sacred place

We were both raised in church-going families although our background as children was very different. I was raised in a formal, rather inexpressive mainline denominational type church in the Kansas City area. On the other hand Brooksyne attended more informal, expressive type churches in rural Oklahoma.

We met in Bible College in the mid-seventies and have gone to church together ever since beginning our dating years while students. We served together for some 25 years as I was the pastor primarily in two churches in northern, PA and in New England. But we've also had about five years in short-term interim type roles.

For many years we attended a small country church here in our area and for the last several have attended a much larger one.

But in each church we have experienced a refuge, a place of growth and caring. Sure, there are some hurts or as some like to say "sheep bites" in local churches and we've experienced that. As we get older we may not always appreciate all the changes, but the big picture is that we have been so blessed by the local church.

We continue to have associations from each church we've attended or served as pastor. Next week we will travel to New England to visit Veda Shibilo, our former church secretary, who is in nursing care and said in a recent phone call, "I know my time is near". She and her late husband Bill were tremendous blessings during our years in Massachusetts.

We continue to firmly believe that God has ordained in this church age that each Lord's Day His people gather together in thousands of local units all over the world to pray, sing, hear His Word, and most certainly to "fellowship". Apart from family the church is the most important institution in life.

Ever since Resurrection Day believers have gathered  to worship the risen Lord Jesus. Some in small groups, others in very large. Songs of praise are sung, prayers are offered and God's truth is proclaimed. Fulfilling God's call to "not give up meeting together" remains an essential component of growth and stability in our Christian life.  We hope all of you who follow Jesus are an active part of a Bible-preaching, Christ-honoring church!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, times of refreshing and gladness of heart are present when we share with each other; whether it's food, warm conversation, working together or sharing one another's burdens. When we are in unity we become one in purpose and accomplish great things for Your kingdom. We want to be obedient to the teachings of the apostles, enjoy regular fellowship with one another and also faithfully pray for each other so that we are the kind of church that pleases You and is effective in our community.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This Is The Place"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band Watch this video and see which scenes and words you can identify with.

"One Day"  Video  Matt Redman  This Sunday Calvary Church will be remembering all who passed away during 2019 in the church and the choir will sing this song. Typically there are many tears. Consider this verse.

One day You'll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear

At the end Matt moves into an extemporaneous expression which is very moving.

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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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