“The Greatest Reunion”

August 2, 2016

Delavan Wisconsin flowers 8/1/16
Bright yellow Coreopsi nestled against the white fence in Delavan, WI

“The Greatest Reunion”

Message Summary: “Therefore encourage each other with these words.” Paul urged the Thessalonians to encourage one another with this truth. He could have said, “Therefore I encourage you…” But he realized the importance of believers encouraging one another. There is a timeless value to this verse as we continue to encourage each other with these words.

Note: Due to family travel we will not be podcasting this week.

“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17,18).

Steincross reunion We are at a family reunion in Wisconsin. Most of our family is from the Midwest and this specific reunion is a gathering of the descendants of George Washington and Nellie Mae Steincross, my grandparents. They lived in Harwood Missouri, a tiny town in the southwest part of the state. They raised six girls and one boy all of who are also now deceased. Now their grandchildren still have an annual reunion although we are all now seniors in the life cycle. I choose to attend each year as long as I am able to honor them, as well my mother, who was one of those six daughters. Family meant a lot to her.

When the reunion started I was just twenty and unmarried, although Brooksyne attended with me as my girlfriend. Prior to that we had several “reunions” each year but didn’t call it that since we all just gathered to visit our grandparents. After they died and their place was sold their children and descendants continued to gather annually beginning in 1975. This year we have 52 in attendance.

It’s a blessing to be a part of a family that has stayed connected but we know that is not the case for many. Brooksyne has heard several heart-breaking stories in the last several weeks in her chaplaincy visits of broken families; people who have never experienced family closeness or the blessing of a reunion. So today let us talk about a future reunion of the Redeemed. Regardless of what kind of family life you have experienced on this side this promise is for all who have placed their faith in Christ and followed His ways.

This heavenly reunion will be unlike any on earth. The teaching from the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 gives us a hint of what to expect. In this passage he is dealing with concerns the Thessalonian believers had regarding those who had died in Christ (believers).  In fact they would be taken up first: “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17,18).

Let’s consider this passage point by point:

“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them (those who have died in Christ) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” This is commonly called the rapture although the word is not used in the passage. It will be a stunning event! Many have attempted to describe this in fictional books like “Left Behind” but we will have to wait and see the splendid reality of such a life changing event.

“And so we (those who have died in Christ and those alive at His coming) will be with the Lord forever.” This is a description of the heavenly reunion. This brief sentence is immensely assuring.

“Therefore encourage each other with these words.” Paul urged the Thessalonians to encourage one another with this truth. He could have said, “Therefore I encourage you…” But he realized the importance of believers encouraging one another. There is a timeless value to this verse as we continue to encourage each other with these words.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, none of the reunions we’ve attended compare with the overwhelming joy we’ll feel at the ultimate reunion in heaven. We’ll rejoice with the saints from all generations telling of the marvelous saving and sustaining power of Christ. We look forward to sharing stories about the times we faced trouble, hardship, persecution or danger and the miraculous way that You sustained us through those difficulties. We’re not there yet, so help us to keep on keeping on, until that glorious day! It is in the matchless name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Precious Memories”  Video  Jim Hill and many Gaither homecoming singers

“Family Reunion”  Video  The Stevens Family

“Blessings”  Video  Laura Story

Sunflowers (photo by Doug Maxwell)

Our neighbor, Doug, took this photo of his sunflowers reaching up toward the night sky.

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