“What We Follow After”

Flowers in central PA 6/21/14
Flowers in central Pennsylvania.
Taken by Brooksyne at a wedding she attended this last Saturday.

“What We Follow After

Due to travel a podcast is not available today.

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

Yesterday in the chaplain conference I am attending here in Springfield Missouri we heard a presentation from Dr. Byron Klaus on cultural trends and the ways they impact the work of spreading the Gospel. He reminded us that foundationally ministry is relationship based. However one of the great marks of our age is the depersonalization in relationships. Due to technology we have the means of being connected like never before yet it has actually resulted in isolation and shallowness.

Today Brooksyne is going to take a young Amish mother and her three daughters out for the day along with Ester and her sister, Elaine. They’ll enjoy a time of fellowship which will, of course, include some… shopping. (In America it seems about everyone likes to shop!) The little girls are especially excited about this like many kids would be going to Disney World. I am planning on taking the father and sons to a ball game in several weeks and the boys are already pestering me about when, having trouble with the concept home and away games. I suppose they think they play in same park every night.

We often state our admiration of many elements of Amish life. Now certainly that culture has problems like any other and, in our association with a number of Amish friends, they readily admit that. But we enjoy engaging with an Amish family and seeing the kids, undistracted by modern technology, gathering around, listening and being a part of the conversation. They may not have any Facebook friends but the Amish we know have lots of real friends and community. *

Yesterday our message dealt with the wisdom and courage of fleeing. Today let us consider what we are to embrace and follow.

The Biblical pattern for the transmission of the faith is for one generation to faithfully pass on the faith and truth to the next. This is relationship-based. Of course in the family this would be parents to children and grandchildren from generation to generation. It also applies to ministry. Moses passed faith and truth to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha and of course Paul to Timothy and others. It remains the pattern through the church age. Paul elaborated on this in 2 Timothy 2:2. These are based on knowable relationships.

In our daily text Paul commands the man of God to follow after these six virtues: “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness”. Certainly there are many other virtues mentioned in Scripture for the follower of Christ, including the nine fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22,23 and the ladder of virtues listed in II Peter 1:5.

Being a model Christian would be so easy if we simply said a prayer and told God that we want these virtues to be demonstrated in our lives. But that’s not how it usually works out in the lives of believers. In addition to prayer we develop these virtues through relationships, everyday experiences, the trials of life, even the human weaknesses that prevail in settings where we least want to display them.

It isn’t always the perfection of these virtues flowing from our lives that speaks to others. At times it is our imperfection made right by the Spirit of God that speaks in a greater measure to others than if we were by nature “Super Christians.” Let us be sensitive to the Spirit so that the character of Jesus may be made manifest in what we say, what we do, and who we are.

As you nurture real relationships with others in your life the Lord will use these to develop your character. Invite God to perfect that which is imperfect so that He is glorified as we daily live for Him. Today we encourage you to “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” as well as other virtues listed in Scripture. 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, we don’t pray for a life of ease since we know that virtues listed in Scripture are often refined in our lives through the challenges, the overcomings, the mistakes and the hours we spend in prayer seeking You above all else. May the nature of Christ be much more visible than our human nature so that we are truly a reflection of Your image that is stamped deep in our hearts. We desire to “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness” so that we are truly fruitful in our pursuit of holiness. Amen.

* Due to access to smart phones the old order cultures are not unaffected by technology like this!

Even though I am in Springfield this week and Brooksyne is home in Mount Joy we continue to share in writing these message by using the cloud (Dropbox)

Brooksyne’s Note:  We wrote “It isn’t always the perfection of these virtues flowing from our lives that speaks to others. At times it is our imperfection made right by the Spirit of God that speaks in a greater measure to others than if we were by nature Super Christians.” I wrote that paragraph based upon a time when God did a supernatural work in my attitude. I had been wronged by a fellow believer numerous times as she challenged my role as her new pastor’s wife. She had been lying to others about our ministry and causing division in the body. And yet there came a blustery winter day when I had no one nearby to call upon except her during a heavy snowstorm. Stephen was out of town with our only car and Ester who was only five years old needed to be picked up from school. I had planned to walk but the surprise snow storm prevented that. I was humbled as I called the woman who was causing us trouble and embarrassed as she initially turned me down. A few minutes later she called back and agreed to help me in my dilemma. The following Sunday evening during testimony service the Spirit of God strongly prompted me to share with the congregation the kindness extended to us from this individual. (To be honest I fought with God on this as other images of her behavior kept flashing in my memory bank but I chose to obey.) Following the service another sister approached me and said, “I really appreciated what you did tonight. You wouldn’t know this but I’m aware of how _______ has been treating you yet you chose to speak kindly of her. Your actions really spoke to my heart in the way I should deal with those who oppose me.” When we obey God we not only grow in godliness but we impact others for the kingdom as well.

More photos from the Chaplaincy training conference:

(Note: Some of the photos are not orienting properly on some devices and due to working from an old laptop while on the trip I am unable to pinpoint why.)

Chaplain Al Worthley 6/24/14
Al Worthley leads the chaplaincy ministry and has been my chaplain supervisor for many years. He has been very supportive and encouraging. Interestingly when I write an email to him the spell check wants to correct his last name to “worthless” but that’s sure not the case! He worked for many years in the federal prison system.

Chaplain support staff 6/24/14
The chaplain support team provides support to over 600 chaplains worldwide in our organization. As an endorsed chaplain I regularly send them reports and other communication. We shared a testimony about Valla (far left) on Daily Encouragement last September. We went to college with Barb in the yellow vest.

Chaplains serve in many different ways. The three largest categories are military/VA, correctional and healthcare. However some lesser known types of chaplaincy include rodeo, human trafficking, critical incidents, dog sled and many others. I am recognized as both an Internet and corporate chaplain.

Motorcycle chaplains with Richard Hammer 6/24/14
Here are three motorcycle chaplains, along with Richard Hammer, who slipped into the photo on the right. He is one of the preeminent church attorneys in the country and gave us a legal update regarding issues that impact chaplains.

Sam Rust 6/24/14
Sam Rust has served as a chaplain to the trucking industry for 40 years driving a big rig hauling a mobile chapel. He brought the chapel to our church in northern Pennsylvania about 30 years ago and has quite a story about that trip.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Follow Me”  Video  Kelly Willard

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