We had lots of traffic on the roads yesterday as the Amish and old-order Mennonites traveled to their Ascension Day services.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
“He is the One we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28,29).
Energy drinks are popular consumer products that supposedly give you an energy boost. These products must sell well since you see them practically everywhere. One of the most popular seems to be one called “5 hour Energy” which apparently gives a 5 hour energy boost. I tried one of these and all it did was give me the heebie jeebies.
Actually products like this have been around for quite a while, just different incarnations. When we were children a popular product marketed to the older people was “Geritol” which supposedly helped with “iron poor blood”. At that point in life we had lots of energy and just couldn’t imagine what in the world these ads were talking about. Now we are beginning to experience it!
Wednesday evening we went to an ordination service in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was great to see a variety of ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds committing their vocational service to Christ. It was also a blessing to visit with many long-time ministry associates who have been contending for the Gospel for many years.
A feature of the service I really have come to appreciate is when they honor the Jubilarians, a term used for those celebrating 50 years of ordination. This year there were three men who were asked to step up to the platform for this honor. Especially touching was one minister whose very frail wife slowly made her way to the platform so she could stand beside her husband. People who exhibit steadiness and faithfulness are virtues I have always appreciated but increasingly so as the world just gets crazier and crazier.
Throughout life our physical energy will wane but today’s Bible text speaks of the spiritual energy from the Lord that Paul is speaking of as he strenuously contends for the truth of Christ. Two times this text (v.29) translates the Greek word energeia from which we get the English word energy (see here for interlinear). The New American Commentary notes that in this verse energeia stresses the inner strength supplied by the Lord. The Greek text actually reads with a double emphasis: “struggling according to his energy which energizes me in power.” Two different words for power are used, and the interpretation above attempts to capture the spirit of the Greek expression.”
Where does the energy come from? This amazing apostle whose heart was consecrated to God, with his indefatigable journeying night and day, through shipwreck and hardship of every kind, working with his hands, traveling up and down the length and breadth of the entire Roman empire, is ceaseless in his evangelistic endeavors…but he is ever conscious that it was only as he was empowered by the Lord that he was able to serve Him at all.
Today we thank God that His energy is indeed eternal and never is lacking when we look to Him for spiritual zeal.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, in view of Your mercy we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You which is our spiritual act of worship. Over the years our physical strength declines but our spirit is renewed day by day, since we are not to be lacking in zeal, but keeping our spiritual fervor, as we serve You. As living sacrifices we are not given to slothfulness, complacency or indifference, for we must remain faithful in our service for Christ, reaching the lost with the gospel message, using our gifts according the grace given us, while we choose not to be overcome by evil but we overcome evil with good. Amen.
Wednesday evening we went to an ordination service in Reading, PA at the invitation of John Uhler who is a “Living History” chaplain. See here. I had the blessing of standing behind John as a sponsor at the service as he was ordained.
Joe Cullen was a young teenager in the church we served in Massachusetts during the nineties. He is now married, in ministry and staying faithful. He was pleased to introduce me to his daughter although she was sleeping! (This photo taken by Ester, who was also very pleased to see Joey, as we called him back then! She still refers to him as her older “brother”.)
Alex Valezquez has a powerful testimony demonstrating God’s amazing grace. In the late eighties Manny Cordero, a friend from college and now my chaplain supervisor, worked as a prison chaplain at a federal penitentiary in upstate Pennsylvania and met Alex who was imprisoned as a kingpin drug dealer. Alex turned to the Lord and Chaplain Cordero discipled and assisted him in the restoration of his marriage. Alex went on to receive pastoral training and is now pastor of the Oasis Tabernacle in inner city Philadelphia. Interestingly, Chaplain Cordero attended this church! Manny said that it took a while for him to get used to having a former prisoner that he shepherded now become his shepherd. The motto of Oasis Tabernacle is “A place of refuge for hurting people.”
I visited briefly with David Selleck who was my Presbyter (supervisor) when I served a church in northern PA beginning in the late 70’s. He is now 91 and still drove down by himself from his home in Clarion, PA about 3½ hours away. (His wife died about ten years ago.) I recognized he was in the service in the large auditorium when I heard his very distinctive “Amen” during the sermon! After the service was over I sought him out.
A nice feature in these services is not only the ordination but the recognition of those who have been ordained for fifty years whom they call “Jubilarians”. One of the three Jubilarians recognized this year was Al Pundt, whom I’ve had an association with some thirty years when we served on a committee together and more recently with Teen Challenge. He is pictured here with his wife Darlene.
“He Giveth More Grace” Video Larry Ford
Eternal Energy website (Just to prove I am not really making this up!)