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Monday, September 18, 2023

Sand Siding bridge 9/16/23
Sand Siding Bridge over Swatara Creek.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Weathered Lives"

Message summary:  Instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years that change our outward appearance, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith" (4:18). Outwardly we may have more and more rust but inwardly our spiritual being is renewed day by day as we daily read and apply Scripture and commune with God!

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"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).

On Saturday we took a bike ride through Swatara State Park with some friends from our ABF (Sunday School) class. In the middle of the park there is a bridge to cross the Swatara Creek known as the Sand Siding bridge as seen in our lead photo. Due to it being rusty in appearance most would assume it to be an old bridge in need of painting, but it was designed that way for a purpose using weathering steel.

.During my trip to Pittsburgh last week Moses and I saw the U.S. Steel Tower, the tallest building in Pittsburgh at 64 stories. Unlike many buildings of similar heights, the U.S. Steel Tower does not taper in width from its lower floors to its higher floors like most skyscrapers, thus the tower has the largest flat roof in the world at its height or above, at a size of approximately one acre. That's a lot of flat space 64 stories high!

Over 30 years ago I remember walking by the base of the tower during a visit to Pittsburgh, PA with Mike Matangelo, an engineer friend, whose birthday happens to be today! As I observed the building I just couldn't understand why a world class steel company would have a headquarters building made of what looked like old, rusting steel. Mike explained that it was designed to be this way using a material known as COR-TEN or weathering steel. I wondered why anyone would design anything to look rusty, a sign of decay and aging? But I came to understand that this is actually an engineering marvel.

Today let us consider weathering steel as illustrative of our bodies.

Have you considered aging itself to be healthy? Now I'm not recommending that we don't seek to maintain good health as we age, which is of course a good thing, but rather the process itself is a design feature by our Creator. We are designed to age.

What a blunt assessment the daily text makes about our physical condition, especially as we age, "Outwardly we are wasting away". I believe the "outward" here is speaking not only of our visible appearance but our entire physical being. Most wouldn't like this image in regard to aging but in a sense we are all rusting, although some look a bit more weathered and rustier than others!

Perhaps it's helpful to consider this rust like that on COR-TEN steel; a coating that protects the inner steel structure. Of course the inner structure is far more important than the outer appearance. Likewise, over the years our bodies inevitably lose their fresh, youthful vigor, wrinkle free skin, along with other signs of aging.

But the Holy Spirit is always at work within us so that "inwardly we are being renewed day by day". We will one day shed these aging mortal bodies, but that which is eternal is being renewed daily.

So, instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years that change our outward appearance we do well to "look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (4:18). Outwardly we may have more and more rust but inwardly our spiritual being is renewed day by day as we daily read and apply Scripture and commune with God! That should be encouraging whether you're 9 or 90!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we take comfort in the words of Paul as we journey here below, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." May we not lose sight of the eternal perspective as Your Spirit enables us to fix our hope and cast our vision beyond that which we see with our eyes, to that which the Spirit is doing inwardly within our hearts. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

 Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Yesterday just prior to our worship service our friend Nick sent us this quote by A.W. Tozer, "We should not come to church anticipating entertainment but expecting the high and holy manifestation of God's presence".

Calvary Church Choir
After summer break our choir resumed yesterday and we hope these songs will bless you. Both of us, Brooksyne singing in the choir and I, singing out in the congregation, felt the "high and holy manifestation of God's presence" Watch video on YouTube (Trimmed video thanks to Jim Miller, a fellow choir member.)

Brooksyne's note: We have written about our friend, Lamar Dourte, in the past who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) last year. Though his life has changed tremendously and his ability to continue in the activities that were most meaningful have been greatly altered, his love for the Lord is steadfast and his testimony is that of an overcomer. I was delighted to see him in our worship service yesterday. He is now in a wheel chair and his speech is greatly impaired, nevertheless, he praised the Lord right along with our choir and congregation. We came to know Lamar when he assembled a cast and community choir to re-create the “Old-Fashioned Revival Hour” radio broadcasts hosted by the Rev. Charles Fuller at Calvary Church in 2018 and 2019. We were very close to his aunt and uncle, Wilma and Jesse Dourte, before their deaths several years ago. I would say singing runs in the blood of all the Dourtes - they all have beautiful voices they have dedicated to the Lord's work.  This has been a very hard medical diagnosis for Lamar who has sung in many groups and community theaters and on and on it goes, but his desire is that he will glorify God until his final breath, and that should be the desire of all Christ's followers, no matter what lies before us.

US Steel Tower

What is Cor-ten? COR-TEN® is a trademarked name owned by U.S. Steel. Weathering steel, best-known under the trademark COR-TEN® steel, is a group of steel alloys which were developed to obviate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance if exposed to the weather for several years. Weathering steel has increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion when compared to other steels. COR-TEN® resists the corrosive effects of rain, snow, ice, fog, and other meteorological conditions by forming a coating of dark brown oxidation over the metal, which inhibits deeper penetration and negates the need for painting and costly rust-prevention maintenance over the years. In simple terms the steel is allowed to rust and that rust forms a protective coating that slows the rate of future corrosion.

Crossroads ABF class 9/16/23
Bikers and guests from our ABF group this last Saturday standing in front of Bordner Cabin  that faces the waterfall. The cabin was built with local materials in 1939 by a local high school shop teacher, Armar Bordner, and some of his students. Our group enjoyed touring the vacated cabin, maintained by volunteers, and viewing the falls.

New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
The New River Bridge in West Virginia is made of COR-TEN steel.

Trail bridge, Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA
Another view of the COR-TEN steel trail bridge over Swatara Creek.

Swatara Creek, Lebanon County, PA
Swatara Creek from Waterville Bridge farther downstream from the Sand Siding Bridge. Several in our group walked the entire width of the Appalachian Trail back and forth at this point. Quite a feat!
Swatara State Park is here on Google maps, a park with a very remote feel in spite of I-81 running beside it.

Sunflower field on Colebrook Road (Lamar Dourte)
Our friend Lamar Dourte took this photo on Colebrook Road near Mastersonville, PA.
Click on photo to enlarge

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