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Monday, May 9, 2022

Puppies on the Old Windmill Farm
Collie puppies nestled together on the Old Windmill Farm.
Can you count them?
Click on photo to enlarge

"When It Rains On Your Picnic"

Message summary: The mysteries or questions we have regarding God's goodness are due to our finite understanding and limited knowledge, never a deficiency in His attribute of goodness.

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The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made" (Psalm 145:9). "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45).

Kraybill Church School picnic
Kraybill School picnic in the rain

We had a very rainy, sopping wet and chilly weekend beginning early Friday morning and all through Saturday evening. We especially considered the dreary weather's impact upon an annual fundraising event for Kraybill Mennonite school right up the road from our house. One of the many preparations that went into the fundraiser included putting up the large circus style tents for the Chicken BBQ dinners.

We have attended this school fundraising event many years along with our neighbors and community friends. It's the one day of the year when our road is filled with cars coming and going to this annual event, but on Friday evening and Saturday we saw very little traffic. It's certainly not the weather you would have ordered or prayed for, and our hearts were heavy for the students, administration and those who worked hard for the big day only to have a very disappointing turnout!

But being in a farming area we know the vital necessity of adequate rains even though they don't always come when you want. As we prayed over our meal Saturday evening we thanked God for the blessing of the rain as we considered so many who live in drought-like conditions. Certainly better to have rain on your picnic than drought! But truth be told most would secretly wish it was somebody else's picnic! (We are hosting a family reunion in late July here in Lancaster County and we sure hope it doesn't rain on our outside activities!)

The sunny weather returned Sunday afternoon and it is a vibrant green in our area, so much so, that you can practically see the grass and plants grow before your eyes. I'll need to mow this afternoon.

Our first daily verse makes a statement that I believe is often taken for granted even by devout believers. “The Lord is good to all”. Consider the multitude of ways that His attribute of goodness is extended to everyone, including the unbeliever and vilest sinner. Even the most blatant blasphemer and hater of God is abundantly showered with His goodness.

God’s goodness is revealed to all in what theologians call “general revelation”. General revelation refers to the general truths that can be known about God through nature. Special revelation refers to the more specific truths that can be known about God through the supernatural. God's goodness is also an expression of what theologians call "common grace" which is God's mercy extended to all.

Today's second text is found in the Sermon on the Mount. The sun and rain are a blessing to all. Jesus said, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Each of us benefit from a wide host of blessings ranging from the percentage of oxygen in the air to this remarkable machine we call the body.

However the goodness of God has often been a stumbling block for the unbeliever and a source of confusion to the believer. This happens in individual lives during trying times when “bad” things happen. When His ways just don't make sense to us.

Theologian J.I. Packer has observed:

“Though God’s ways of expressing His goodness are sometimes unexpected and bewildering, looking indeed to the casual observer and in the short term more like bad [than good], the final testimony of those who walk with God through life’s ups and downs is that ‘every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed’ (Joshua 23:14-15).”

Can you say “Amen” to that?  You see, the mysteries or questions we have regarding God's goodness are due to our finite understanding and limited knowledge, never a deficiency in His attribute of goodness.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, we thrive on Your gracious and compassionate ways, your slowness to anger and Your abounding love. You satisfy our desires with good things and do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Knowing and experiencing Your goodness in our daily lives helps us to trust in You during those mysterious happenings in our lives when it would seem You've forgotten us. But we are reminded in Scripture that all things work together for good to those who love You, for You use the good and the bad, for Your glory and for our good. We give thanks to You, our Father, for You are good and Your love endures forever. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Christ be Magnified"  Video  I AM THEY

A Mother's Day Tribute from our church service yesterday. Video cued to this point in the service. Our pastor invited his wife up to the platform and they share from their heart. We can really see our pastor's heart each Mother's day in his very thoughtful words to the various ways people are experiencing Mother's Day.

Joe Herr
Friday evening we had a young man over for dinner who also assisted me with our website. Joe is a copywriter and SEO specialist at Kleen-Rite. He looked over our website as well as the website for the Old Windmill Farm to give suggestions and explain what the analytics mean.

In each of our companies we are blessed to see young people like Joe working hard and living responsibly.

Yesterday (May 8) was an extra special day for us. Not only Mother's Day but on May 8th we celebrate our wedding anniversary (1976) and my ordination to ministry (1979), so we really had three celebrative events on one day, a trifecta! A trifecta is normally associated with horse racing but it also means “a run of three grand events”.

Our engagement photo
Our engagement photo was taken among the stately oaks at Central Bible College where we met our Freshmen year of college in 1973. Our first date was on Brooksyne's 18th birthday on October 21, 1973 when I invited her to church on a Sunday evening. At that time local churches sent buses to the campus to pick up students and, as we waited on the bus, her old boyfriend and his mom showed up from Tulsa, (180 miles from campus)! Brooksyne was extremely surprised and embarrassed, but felt she must meet with them and jumped off the bus leaving me to go to church by myself on our very first date! We started dating again three months later. Brooksyne's note - I had broken off with my old boyfriend before I left for college, but I guess his mother thought a surprise visit on my birthday would patch things up, but fortunately (for me) it didn't. Stephen and I started going steady in the Spring of 1974 and got engaged in the fall of 1975, married in the spring of '76.

Our wedding photo
Here we are walking 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 led Children's Church over the summer months when she wasn't attending CBC.
Click on photo to enlarge

Harding at wedding
This photo means a lot to me. I am introducing Brooksyne to Joe and Pauline Harding who had driven down from the Kansas City area to attend our wedding. Joe was my Sunday School teacher in my early teens when I was smart-mouthed, disrespectful and uninterested. I surely gave him lots of heartache. I have written about his impact on my life here.

David Simpson at our wedding
Last night I got a text from David Simpson who was the best man in our wedding (shaking my hand). We have been friends since 1st grade and still maintain that friendship for over 60 years. Dave is a businessman in Springfield, MO. We saw him and his wife Sandy this last summer. My brother, Pat, in the background, conducted our wedding ceremony.

Back in our day it wasn't the custom to rent a limo but rather "decorate" the newly married couples car with shaving cream, cans tied to the back, etc. Well, instead of decorating our car they decorated Dave's mistakenly!

It was also not the custom to have a full meal reception after the wedding. Dave wanted to take us out so on our way out of town we drove over to the Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant in Tulsa. Dave was all by himself in his decorated car. I'm sure people were wondering where is the groom going without his bride!

Phillip Bongiorno

I was ordained in 1979 at a service in York PA. That was long before the proliferation of having photos of everything. I have long looked for a photo of me with Phillip Bongiorno, my district superintendent at that time but have never been able to find it. I was just 24 so I probably didn't look that much different than my wedding photo!

Pastor Bongiorno, who is still living, is a short Italian man who, prior to his conversion to Christ, had some mafia associations. He would often begin any message he preached with a brief testimony and inevitably wept as he shared it.

Standing in a long line with other ordinands, as I held my Bible and faced the congregation in 1979, the solemn ceremony and the solemn vows I took as a minister of the gospel has become a lasting memorable experience. Pastor Bongiorno didn't rush through the Scripture reading but carefully enunciated each phrase and sometimes a single word, pausing at times to let the thoughts sink in.

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Above is a photo with Brother Bongiorno from a minister's picnic about 5 years ago. He is now in his late-eighties and is still doing well.

46th anniversary photo 2022
Forty-six years later we are still enjoying our marital union and serving the Lord together.
We enjoyed team ministry even before our marriage when we served together in missions and children's ministries at Central Bible college. Ester took this photo on Thursday morning at The Gathering Place venue following the National Day of Prayer event. We didn't have "venues" when we got married! (Note: We wonder if there is something about the lighting that makes us look so much older or is it the fact that WE ARE MUCH OLDER!

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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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