“Serving Dangerously”

April 24, 2017

Robin eggs 4/23/17
Yesterday I was under our barn overhang and startled a robin. I looked up and saw a nest under the eaves and lifted my phone camera to snap this photo.

“Serving Dangerously”

Message summary: Today consider the sacrificial service of those who serve God on the front lines in dangerous territory such as “closed” countries, terrorism, and disease-ridden areas, where there are hostile, false religious systems, etc. They deserve our highest respect and need our fervent prayers. We thank God for their highly dedicated service!

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“I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers” (2 Corinthians 11:26).

Last fall we visited with a missionary family who serve in a closed country. The other day I received an email concerning their ministry that immediately caught my attention. You will understand as you read it why I have removed any identifying information.

URGENT MISSIONS REQUEST

__________ has run into some difficulties in ______. ____ has asked that ALL internet postings regarding the _________ and their work in _____ be taken down ASAP. Their status should be considered SENSITIVE until further notice. If your church has online news feeds, missions information, services, etc. with the ________ – please contact the appropriate person(s) to have it taken down.

Please also keep _______ in prayer as he is presently navigating this matter in _______.

I checked my site to see that I had not posted any information about them.

Generally speaking we have lived and served the Lord in relatively safe places. In the small town we lived in northern Pennsylvania there was very little crime at the time and we recall that ruffians turning some garbage cans over made news on the police blotter in the small town newspaper!

My most dangerous memory was when I went on a weekend mission trip with a group of college students to inner city Saint Louis. Late at night we visited a mental hospital and decided to walk the ten blocks back to the rescue mission where we were staying. We received a stern chewing out from the director stating we should never have been out in those dangerous streets at night.

But there are those like the family mentioned above who regularly work in dangerous areas and many have given their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Chet Bitterman tributeChet Bitterman was a Lancaster Countian who was one year older than me. Like Brooksyne and me he prepared for ministry in a Bible College (Columbia Bible College in South Carolina). He was called to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and moved with his wife and two children to Columbia in 1979. In early 1981 he was kidnapped and later murdered by M-19 guerrillas.

We sang a song during those spiritually formative years called “Jesus Use Me” which has a line, “I’ll follow Thee though death should come my way”. Since it was a popular song during our Bible School days Chet probably sang it as well. Before leaving for Columbia he wrote, “I find the recurring thought that perhaps God will call me to be martyred for Him in His service in Columbia. I am willing.”

Today let us examine a specific verse of another follower of Christ willing to face danger and die for the sake of the Gospel. The apostle Paul chronicles his experience in serving God in 2 Corinthians 11. The daily verse recounts a sampling of the various dangers that Paul faced. In some cases we can look back in the narrative of the book of Acts and see these dangers, in other cases he is drawing from experiences he had that are not in the Scripture record.

“I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers” (2 Corinthians 11:26).

“I have been:

  • “constantly on the move” This is easy to observe in the Acts account. The longest he appeared to stay anywhere was in Corinth of 18 months until the very end of the book where we read, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him” (Acts 28:30).
  • “in danger from rivers” We take for granted crossing rivers when we travel, as we cross many bridges. We regularly cross long bridges over the Susquehanna River, but river crossings were very dangerous in the ancient world.
  • “in danger from bandits” One of the worst dangers of travel in the ancient world were muggers ready to rob isolated travelers in the middle of nowhere. Large groups of robbers often controlled the open areas between towns. They often attacked and killed people. Jesus’ description of such an attack* would have been very familiar to everyone as Jesus illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.
  • “in danger from my own countrymen” This seems to mean the opposition Paul faced from those who had a Jewish background such as in Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13.
  • “in danger from Gentiles” The opposition Paul faced from those who had a non-Jewish background such as at Philippi in Acts 16.
  • “in danger in the city” Paul experienced many hostile mobs in several cities where he preached such as in Acts 14:19 when Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra. “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.”
  • “in danger in the country” In his travels, Paul spent many dangerous days and nights in the country
  • “in danger at sea” This famous and dramatic account was recorded in Acts 27.
  • “and in danger from false brothers” Paul had the danger of those who said they were brothers and his friends, but were false brethren instead such as in 2 Timothy 4:14.

Today consider the sacrificial service of those who serve God on the front lines in dangerous territory such as “closed” countries, terrorism, and disease-ridden areas, where there are hostile, false religious systems, etc. They deserve our highest respect and need our fervent prayers. We thank God for their highly dedicated service!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we pray, “Jesus use me” we’re excited about being a builder of Your kingdom right here on earth. But we rarely consider the dangers, discomforts and sacrifices we may be called to endure as we embark upon Your kingdom service. We thank You for those who hear Your call, follow Your leading, and fully surrender everything to obey You as they lead others to Christ and disciple them in the ways of Christianity. As John Newton wrote about the “many dangers, toils and snares” common to the believer we’re reminded to pray for those on the front lines who experience dangers daily. Increase their faith by bringing to their memories Scriptures that will spur them on even as the enemy tries to halt them. May their example of steadfastness in the midst of injustice and suffering draw others to the living Christ. Deliver them from danger and increase their faith along with that of their family members as You provide for all their needs emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Piercing Word ministry presentation
Yesterday afternoon we attended a “Passion: The Musical” presentation by “Piercing Word”. It was spiritually moving to hear the Word of God quoted word for word or put to music for about 45 minutes as it was dramatically played out by various dedicated actors. Some of these actors have memorized several books of the Bible, word perfect.

Randy Williams
I also visited with Randy Williams, a friend I met many years ago at CBMC, while Brooksyne became acquainted with his wife, Margaret. Randy is a Physician’s Assistant who served for many years in medical missions work in Haiti.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Jesus Use Me”  Video  The Cathedrals

Finally today:

First harvest 2017
Late Saturday afternoon the large harvesters came by for the first harvest of the season.

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