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Monday, June 29, 2020

Pastor Keefer hugging Connie
Connie getting her pastor's hug from John Keefer at the end of a service.

"Tribute To A Faithful Man"

Message summary: In a greeting all who follow Christ hope to one day hear are these words from the Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"A faithful man who can find? The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:6,7).
"Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23). “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Yesterday we attended a farewell service for John Keefer, our pastor friend, who is retiring. He began his formal ministry training in his mid-thirties after working in a secular field. It was a blessing to see him end this course of his ministry well, although like most "retired" pastors he will likely find other venues of service for the Lord. His wife, Faithe, has faithfully served alongside him over the years as a church secretary and in many other areas of church service.

John's ministry is characterized by faithfulness; to the Lord, his call to ministry, his wife and family, and the church he served. A complimentary letter was read from a deacon in the church John had previously served that was rather indicative of John's steady faithfulness, "I don't remember any earth-shaking event when he was among us but that's not a bad thing".

About 25 years ago I heard a personally challenging message spoken
to students at a Bible College chapel service which has had a lasting impact on my life. The speaker candidly shared with them to the effect, "You likely will not be a pastor of a mega church, known as a dynamic preacher, a famous musician, a highly sought after conference speaker, a renowned writer, or other characteristics normally associated with being 'successful' in ministry."

Then he lowered his voice and said with great conviction, "But one thing you can be known for is that of being faithful." I sure hope my peers took that message to heart as I did. It’s a good word and a vital challenge for young people preparing for Christ’s service. But it’s a good challenge for all of us, whatever age we are or wherever we are in life.

Faithfulness tends to be under-rated today and is often overlooked, though it should never be taken for granted. Few of us would have any trouble recalling examples of unfaithfulness. Many thousands of dedicated pastors, like John Keefer and laypeople serve God week after week with little acclaim but they are faithful.

In his final book the Apostle Paul gave instructions to Timothy about preparing the next generation who would bear witness for Christ to the world. Although there are certainly many characteristics that are important he emphasizes just one; “faithful”. 
"Commit these to faithful men." Other versions use the word, "reliable".

Down through the ages of the church each generation has had devoted servants of Christ who have faithfully plugged along in service for the Lord. Is your pastor faithful?  Does he faithfully preach God’s Word week after week? Does he “earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints?” Can he be counted upon? If so you are blessed. Let him know you appreciate his faithfulness.

Whether you are a minister or a lay person, are you faithful? Faithfulness makes a big difference to those whom you influence, whether intentional or not, and it matters a great deal to God. After all, everyone who follows Christ hopes to one day hear these words from the Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we who have received Your grace, place our faith in You and choose to walk uprightly with integrity and conviction. We want our words and actions to declare the pure, unadulterated counsel of Your Holy Word to other faithful workers in Your kingdom, trusting them to pass on that which has been entrusted to us. In doing so we are faithful stewards of that which You commanded of us through the great commission: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every nation...”. We do this through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

We are always pleased to read feedback from our readers but this was especially meaningful: My husband and I are very privileged to have stumbled into accessing your very rich online resources. We are pastors in the war ravaged South Sudan. We remain forever grateful. (names removed for their security). We pray God will bless and protect this couple as they minister for Him in a very hard place and that our messages my be indeed cross-cultural.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful Men"  Video  Ron Hamilton

"Find Us Faithful"  Video

John and Faithe Keefer 6/28/20
Following the church service John and his wife, Faithe, were driven to a reception at the Gathering Place in a Bonnie and Clyde getaway car!

Praying for Shenks at Mount Pleasant
Yesterday was the first service we attended as a family since the quarantine. People were spaced about and gatherings were cautioned against. This photo was taken several years ago when the church gathered to pray for a missionary couple. When will we see scenes like this again!

Senior ministry couples at Mount Pleasant
This photo was taken about 8 years ago when we were blessed to have three retired ministry couples in our church. Left to right: Jerel (now with the Lord) and Fran Book; Jim (now with the Lord) and Eva Ketner; Jesse (now with the Lord) and Wilma Dourte. Pastor John Keefer and his wife Faithe on the right, who as of yesterday, joined the ranks of the officially retired pastors.

Wheat at sunset
A wheat field near our home at sunset
Click to enlarge

Wheat harvest at sunset
Time for the harvest!
Click to enlarge

Finally today:

Sadie in the wheat field
Sadie is going to miss playing in the wheat fields.

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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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