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Friday, April 21, 2023

Amish farmer baling hay
Yesterday afternoon I rode my bike past this hard working Amish farmer baling hay on Colebrook Road near Manheim, PA.
Click to enlarge


Message summary: Although most of us can't be surprised by the Easter story may we never lose the wonder.  "It is true! The Lord has risen".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"It is true! The Lord has risen" (Luke 24:34).

I love to tell the story;
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.

We don’t suppose anyone reading this woke up on Easter morning and cried out "I hear it's Easter Sunday—I wonder what that's all about". We are accustomed to the old, old story. Most of us have heard it since we were children. But imagine being surprised, something you can't be if you already know something!

But in some parts of the world the message of Christ is unknown and when the gospel is presented it discloses many elements of surprise.

Mark and Gloria Zook are from Belleville, PA in a very remote and scenic valley known as "Big Valley". The Zooks attended a small church but were called to missions and went to Papua New Guinea in the early 80's.

The Zooks went to live amongst the Mouk tribe and began to teach them the Bible beginning at Creation. A video (link below) chronicles this story. When they got to the story about Christ's death and resurrection the Mouk people were surprised by the outcome and began expressing their faith by shouting "Ee-Taow, Ee-Taow" which means "It's true, it's true"!

Papua New Guinea still has many unreached tribes. Brooksyne's cousin, David, along with his wife, Amy and family are now serving there in missions.

John Keefer, my former pastor (now retired) served a church in Belleville for many years. I called him last night and he recalls having the Zooks to the church he served for mission services and their earnestness as they presented their ministry to the people of that region of the world.

How good it is to see the joyful expression of the Mouk tribe in the video and it's similar to an account on the first Resurrection day when two disciples who were not among the Twelve had met the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They reported "It is true! The Lord has risen" (Luke 24:34). Many readers are probably more familiar with the KJV rendering, "The Lord is risen indeed" since we often recite this on Easter morning.

Today let us rejoice in the foundation of the Gospel. Paul wrote "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Although most of us can't be surprised by the Easter story may we never lose the wonder.  "It is true! The Lord has risen".

And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may we never find ourselves yawning when the message of the gospel is presented, whether orally or written. It is so full of wondrous truths that sets the captive free from sin and secures for us a home not made by hands, but by Jesus Himself, our resurrected Christ, who is preparing us a place for us where we will forever be with Him. Whether we first learned about Christ dying for our sins when we were but a youngster or a teen, as a young adult or in our latter years - may the old, old story always bring joy and thanksgiving to our hearts and increase our anticipation for His return or our glorious promotion to heaven when we breathe our last here on earth. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Love to Tell the Story"  Click to listen on YouTube  Katherine Hankey

"Ee-Taow: The Mouk Story"  Official Video by Ethnos360, founded in 1942 as New Tribes Mission. (This is the video mentioned in the message)

David Julian and family
Brooksyne's cousin, David, has now had two opportunities to preach in  Papua New Guinea and has done so in the local language of Tok Pisin! He and his wife finished their official language classes right before leaving for Kimbe. They are continuing to work on their language skills so they can be as effective as possible at connecting with the local people and ministering the gospel in. (Photo taken while the Julian family was near our area raising support for their missionary service in early 2022.)

We were all about Lancaster County yesterday; the eastern side in the morning for chaplain visits and then (Stephen) took a bike ride yesterday afternoon near Manheim, PA.

Amish farm
Early yesterday morning we passed this large Amish farm near Intercourse, PA
Click to enlarge

Eshleman's Mill covered bridge
Eshleman's Mill covered bridge near Paradise, PA, one of the many covered bridges in our county

Amish horses
Yesterday afternoon I passed these beautiful horses on an Amish farm off the Lancaster Junction rail trail.
Click to enlarge

Dog grooming tabletop
We both enjoy being resourceful, something we learned from our parents and from our years of planting a church. We had this leftover metal planter as a base so I asked one of our construction company owners yesterday if he had a scrap piece of Azek for a top and he did. Now Brooksyne has a high table to groom the pets which she is just starting to do. Amazingly, the malti-poos act like they're getting a spa treatment during their baths, grooming and nail trims. Sadie, our Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso is the total opposite! She feels she's being punished when being groomed.

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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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