“Urbanus, A Fellow Worker”

July 25, 2017

Buttermilk Falls in Lehigh Gorge 7/22/17
Buttermilk Falls is the tallest waterfall seen along the Lehigh Gorge trail.

“Urbanus, A Fellow Worker”

Note 1: Today following an early morning chaplain visit in Lebanon County, we will be taking our Amish “grandchildren” to Knoebels Park.

Note 2:This week we are sharing a series of messages based on five of the names in Romans 16. See introductory note to yesterday’s message for more info.

Message summary: Today consider genuine Christians you have known who have walked the road less traveled. Their heart’s desire was to devote their lives to Jesus and make a difference for Him in the lives of those around them. Thank God for the many people they touched, including your own!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ” (Romans 16:9).

Paul, whom we rightly recognize had a very close walk with the Lord, also had many people in his life.  Many years ago I did a study of proper names associated with Paul beginning at his conversion in Acts and referenced in each of his epistles. Over 100 separate names are listed from the familiar, like Timothy, to the obscure like Urbanus. Actually the majority are obscure and we know virtually nothing about them except they were faithful believers who had impacted Paul’s life. Several of his epistles, like Romans, end with greetings to these friends. Staying connected was important to Paul and their inclusion in the text, as part of Holy Scriptures, reminds us of the value that God places on long-term relationships.

It seems all too frequent that some nationally or internationally prominent Christian personality is exposed for being a fraud. In most cases when this happens I had serious reservations about their ministry all along and the reports were not surprising to me. But I consider the damage this leaves behind for people whom we seek to influence, especially those who are inclined to believe this represents genuine Christians. It’s great ammunition for those who claim “All Christians are hypocrites”.

But then I consider the ordinary people in each church I have served or attended and those I have worked with in various ministries.  Most of you would not know of them since they serve in relative obscurity, as have the vast majority of genuine Christians all through this two thousand year church age.

It’s unlikely that Bible readers have paid much attention to today’s text even though it’s in one of the most familiar books of the Bible. I will admit that I never preached on it. I knew a man named Urban Ginther from northern Pennsylvania but I don’t know whether he was named after Urbanus. I doubt that Urbanus is listed in the book of popular names for babies! Perhaps it would be a good name for a baby born in an urban city, kind of like the name Oceanus given to a baby boy born on board the Mayflower as it was sailing toward the new world in 1620.

Urbanus is mentioned only once in the entire Scriptures. He wasn’t one of the “major players” like Paul and other famous Bible characters. Most readers, even those who faithfully read the Bible, have probably never paused to consider his role at all. But Paul calls him a “fellow worker”, which is the sum total of biographical data we have on him.

Today consider genuine Christians you have known who have walked the road less traveled. Their heart’s desire was to devote their lives to Jesus and make a difference for Him in the lives of those around them. Thank God for the many people they touched, including your own!

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how grateful we are for those who roll up their sleeves and get involved in Kingdom work.  They help carry the burdens of those who are weighed down. They pray people through to salvation.  They visit the sick and imprisoned. They give generously of their resources. They take a stand for righteousness sake. They endure trial after trial providing an example for those who need to see what it is to remain faithful during times of testing. These fellow workers make the journey a little sweeter and a lot more enjoyable as we travel through to the other side. We give thanks for our fellow believers who come alongside us. And we give thanks for those whose kinship we feel through these daily encouragement messages. Bless our fellow workers in Your name, Lord Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note:  An old chorus comes to mind that I’ve sung many times around an altar with fellow believers who desired to be used of God in reaching others for the sake of the Gospel.  If you know this chorus why don’t you sing these words of consecration: “O to be His hand extended, reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus, so that others may know and be blessed.” If you don’t know the tune, make it your heartfelt prayer today: “Father, I want to be Your hand extended reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch You, let me touch You Jesus, so that others may know and be blessed.”

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus


Lehigh Gorge Bike Ride

Today we will share some photos of our favorite rail to trail bike ride, the Lehigh Gorge. For local readers this is a great day trip if you are within several hundred miles of Jim Thorpe.

Train going up Lehigh Gorge 7/22/17
The train going up the Lehigh Gorge from Jim Thorpe. This is the regular (non-bike) train I passed after I parked my bike in Glenn Onoko State Park (Brooksyne was unable to be with me so this was a solo adventure on Saturday.)

Train going up Lehigh Gorge 7/22/17
The bike train travels up the Gorge along the Lehigh River 25 miles from Jim Thorpe to White Haven. Here’s a photo from inside the train going around a bend. The two front cars are loaded with bikes. At White Haven they unload the bikes. Then you ride your bike down a gentle abandoned rail grade through beautiful scenery along the Lehigh River for 25 miles! This has probably become our favorite bike ride and we will probably run it again later this summer.

Rafts in Lehigh River 7/22/17
It was a hot summer day and there were lots of rafting and kayaking. A pleasant sound is the happy voices of rafters amplified up from the River, especially through the rapids.

Rhododendron blossom in Lehigh Gorge 7/22/17
The mountainsides along the Gorge are covered with Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel. Although the blooming season is well past prime I still managed to see some nice blossoms.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“O to Be His Hand Extended”  Video  From a Salvation Army chapel service

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