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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Witness car
Car with a bold witness in a Harrisburg area parking lot. May their driving habits also be a witness to fellow drivers as they treat others with courtesy and obey the laws of the road.

"Fellowship Of The Unashamed"

Message summary: Today's message is extremely convicting and aspirational for me, convicting in the sense I have a long way to go and aspirational in the sense it is what I aspire to! May we all aspire to be in the "Fellowship Of The Unashamed".

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

Ester saw the car in our lead photo last week in a parking lot in the Harrisburg area. It is covered on all four sides with stickers of Bible verses as the car owner attempts to be a witness. Although this is not a type of witness I would choose to use I certainly commend the car owner for boldness and not being ashamed of the Gospel!

Bumper stickers became a popular way to express your faith when we became Christians in the seventies. Two were popular then that you rarely see anymore; “Honk If You Love Jesus” (a little dangerous in this age due to road rage) or the encryptic “Warning: In Case Of Rapture Driver Will Disappear” (I wonder what this meant to so many who had no knowledge of end-time phraseology!).

Apple t-shirtHow we express our faith is a personal matter. Some are "louder" and bolder than others. But we are all called to be His witnesses (the Great Commission). We do well to examine our lives and ask ourselves, "How am I being a witness?"

Yesterday I was at BB's, an Amish-run grocery store in Schaefferstown, where many of the employees sing hymns as they work. I've seen t-shirts that have a subtle witness such as one worn by a man in California that read, "3 apples that changed the world: Adam's, Isaac's and Steve's". He was probably not wearing the shirt as a Christian witness but rather expressing his loyalty to Apple products. But to me it was a reminder of the apple that made the biggest difference by far to the human condition. We wrote about this last fall in a message titled "Three Apples That Changed The World". *

Another t-shirt simply has a long quote from, "Fellowship Of The Unashamed".

Fellowship of the Unashamed

It was written by a Rwandan man in 1980 who was forced by his tribe to either renounce Christ or face certain death. He refused to renounce Christ, and was killed on the spot. The night before he had written the commitment, "The Fellowship of the Unashamed" found later in his room. *

Fellowship of the unashamed t-shirtI am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I've preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear, for "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.." (Romans 1:16).

This is extremely convicting and aspirational for me. Convicting in the sense I have a long way to go and aspirational in the sense it is what I aspire to! May we all aspire to be in the "Fellowship Of The Unashamed".

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, if ever there was evidence of how Your Holy Spirit can change a person's heart it is seen in the life of Saul, feared by believers as a persecutor as he sought to shame, torture and martyr believers, going "from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison." But after his conversion he fearlessly asserts, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes...".  He is now respected and loved among fellow believers and writes, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world." Now known as Paul, he is no longer trying to silence the gospel message by dragging believers from their houses to imprison them. Instead he commends them for sharing the Good News and gives thanks that their witness is is being talked about by people all over the world. What a tremendous contrast to see Paul emboldened for Christ instead of evil. Paul's example shows that it is not only the gospel message we share but also our redeemed lives that makes a difference in our troubled, sin-filled world. Help us to be fearless, faith-filled, and faithful in our witness to the world in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Ester's Health Update: Ester is continuing to recover nicely though quite sore and dealing with some expected pain. The family pets enjoy having her around. We will give another update after her follow-up with the doctor in a couple weeks. She is very aware and grateful for the prayers of friends, family, and readers which has been very uplifting for her.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  Video   Lauren Talley 

* The Fellowship of the Unashamed  As is true of many sayings found on the internet TFOTU has many different attributions. But the message is clear: Being a faithful and fruitful servant of Jesus Christ requires our total commitment, absolute devotion, and full allegiance.

Rye harvest
The harvest is plentiful! (see Luke 10:2) Yesterday following a chaplain visit and breakfast with a friend in Myerstown I drove home through northern Lancaster County and saw the farmers were harvesting the rye. It was a beautiful, expansive landscape reminding me of the promise in Genesis 8:22, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
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Rye harvest
And sure enough yesterday afternoon they cut the rye in the field across from our home. What a pleasant aroma but after it's completed we will likely get an application of organic, natural fertilizer which is not a pleasant aroma!
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Rye harvest
Ester was watching out her bedroom window and took this photo of a tractor after they had raked the rye. It's a very nice view for one in recovery!
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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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