Last week Brooksyne passed this Lancaster County farmhouse with two features she really likes; a white picket fence and lots of flowers! She turned the car around, went back and took several photos. It’s amazing what a white fence and summer flowers can do to dress up the house and property.
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“Making Known The Unknown God”
Message summary: Today we appeal to a world where to so many Jesus is an unknown God. God created within our inmost being the need to follow after One greater than ourselves. Of course He desires that we worship Him not in ignorance, but in Spirit and in Truth. And the way we follow the only true God is to open His Word to our hearts making it a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
“Then Paul stood up on Mars’ Hill and said, ‘Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you'” (Acts 17:22,23).
Traveling across the West last week we crossed several mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada in California/Nevada, the Wasatch Range in Utah and finally the tallest, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, with peaks over 14,000 feet above sea level. Here in Pennsylvania we have mountains but not nearly the elevation as out West. Pennsylvania’s highest point is Mount Davis which is a mere 3,213 feet.
Today let us consider preaching points in the Bible which are called hills or mountains. Elijah preached on Mount Carmel* (1 Kings 18); Jesus preached the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) and in today’s text “Paul stood up on Mars’ Hill”. The gotquestions.org site describes this Mars’ Hill,
Rising some 377 feet above the land below and not far from the Acropolis and Agora (marketplace), it was an important meeting place where philosophy, religion, and law were discussed.
It was here that Paul proclaimed to his hearers a message about the “unknown god“.
“Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way.” The Athenians were the intellectually elite of that age. An interesting parenthetical description in verse 21 states, “Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.” (SCW commentary: It seems to me that’s what a lot of “intellectual elites” do to this day!)
“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god.” Being carefully observant Paul sought to connect by appealing to an altar he had seen with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Apparently the Athenians just wanted to make sure they had all their bases covered so they erected a generic altar for a god they didn’t know, just in case they missed one!
“Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” Paul used his observation to his advantage and proclaimed this “unknown” God to them in the verses that followed:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-28).
Today we appeal to a world where to so many Jesus is an unknown God. God created within our inmost being the need to follow after One greater than ourselves. Of course He desires that we worship Him not in ignorance, but in Spirit and in Truth. And the way we follow the True God is to open His Word to our hearts making it a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You for those who go to the uttermost parts of the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, making known the “unknown God” to the people of that land. From the very beginning You created a hunger within our hearts to serve you, but far too many misfeed that hunger and instead “worship gold, silver or stone, images from the art and thoughts of man”. Instead we choose to feed that hunger by loving You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are grateful for the wooing of Your Holy Spirit that convicts us our sin and reveals Your great love to us. Thank You for making Yourself known to us in Your Word, in nature, in our spirit, and in the experiences of everyday life. Amen.
* Mount Carmel as a “high place,” was long a center of idol worship, and its outstanding reference in the Bible is as the scene of Elijah’s confrontation with the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18).
Way up into Maine, far farther than most people ever venture, is sprawling Aroostook County. Along US 1 there is a small town called Mars Hill named for Hezekiah Mars, who camped for three years at the base of what is now Mars Hill Mountain. About twenty-five years ago a friend let us stay there in his vacation home for several days. It’s a rather remote area with not a lot to do. Interestingly, it’s an agricultural area with lots of potatoes and kind of a Bible Belt area, unusual for New England at this point in history.
There is college and town in North Carolina with the name Mars Hill which was named after the Biblical Mars Hill.
Missionaries Mike and Lori Cassel shared about a church in Mexico with an interesting name. The Spanish name is “Al Dios No Conocido” which means “The Unknown God” Church. The earnest Mexican pastor named it after our daily text and Mike shared that he had some reservations about the name but didn’t want to interfere with the nationals. It occurred to me a name like this can create a compelling witness opportunity!
Brooksyne holding a wiggly, squealing piglet last Friday morning on the Old Windmill Farm.
A view of Lake Tahoe in the distance from the Sierra Nevada range on US Route 50.
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Lake Tahoe Inspiration Point over Emerald Bay with a view of the lake’s only island. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 122,160,280 acre ft, trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States. Its depth is 1,645 ft, making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon (1,949 ft). It does not empty into the ocean but rather flows into the Great Basin to Pyramid Lake in Nevada where the water evaporates.
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The office at the Kregel Windmill factory in Nebraska City, NE. The owner, Arthur Kregel, son of the founder, worked here into his nineties. He left one day in 1991 for lunch, had a stroke and never returned. The museum has left the shop and office exactly as he left it reminding me of Mascot Roller Mills and Ressler Family Home here in Lancaster County. See here for a Daily Encouragement message we wrote titled “Decumulation”.
Traveling through our area we often see creative mailboxes and posts. This photo was taken in a rural part of Solano County California between San Francisco and Sacramento.
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Unknown God” Video David Andrews
“Yours” Video Calvary Church worship team from yesterday’s service
Calvary Church Hoang Commissioning Interview Video Peter and Sarah are a Vietnamese couple who arrived in the country as as young children refugees in the seventies having escaped Vietnam among the boat people. They are now returning to serve as missionaries seeking to make known the unknown God. Yesterday a quote was used from this interview that is very stunning to us. Peter’s mother couldn’t understand why he would go back when they had left for a better life. He shared this:
Stump Planter at the Oregon Dairy
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Note: This morning I (Stephen) am headed to California to meet my older brother Michael. I left for the Baltimore airport at 3:30AM. He will pick me up at the San Francisco airport at 1:00 PM (Pacific time) and we will immediately begin a road trip east to a family reunion in eastern Nebraska, stopping numerous times along the way on the some 1,800 mile journey.
Mike recently turned 74 and wanted to drive to the reunion and then visit his daughter and family in Saint Louis, MO. I felt he might need/enjoy the company and extra driver for the long trip.
I hope to post a few brief daily encouragements during the journey using the Constant Contact app on our iPad and possibly update to WordPress site since there’s an app for that as well. However I am not taking the laptop so the website will not be updated during this time nor will we prepare a podcast. There’s probably an app for doing that but I haven’t found it, especially since I need a very simple WYSIWYG editor. However all that takes a lot more time.
We’ll head out early each morning and most days have 300-400 miles of travel. I will fly back from Omaha next week.
Brooksyne and Ester will be staying back in PA to manage the home front.
“A Perspective On Forever”
Message summary: He is forever God! Forever past, forever future. From everlasting to everlasting He is God.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
“Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
Years ago we visited family and friends in North Carolina and then stayed several days at a resort near Gatlinburg, Tennessee right on the border of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We were blessed by the immense beauty of the mountains.
A condition to our reduced cost resort lodging was that we had to endure a rather brutal 2 hour long time share sales pitch. The saleswoman had many years of experience and was quite persuasive throughout her presentation. (However we didn’t buy.)
Following our tour of the property she took us out on the balcony and pointed toward the breath-taking view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She enthusiastically exclaimed, “Just look at this view. It will be here for your children and grandchildren forever.” (She was correctly pointing out that the undisturbed beauty of the preserved national park will remain that way, unlike the non-preserved hills all around Gatlinburg that are dotted with all kinds of development.)
However when she confidently used the word “forever” that struck me. I considered the true nature and definition of “forever” which is a whole lot longer than our kids and grandkids will be around on this tired earth! My thinking immediately took me to a more important locale than an attractive resort and even the grandeur of a beautiful mountain region created by God. How beautiful heaven must be!
How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be.
Another song declares in the chorus, “My God He was, my God He is, my God He’s always gonna be.” As we, through faith, ride out the tumultuous waves of life’s ups and downs awaiting our time of transition we need to regularly recall this absolute truth, “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Even before the mountains were born or God brought forth the earth and world, He was God. Psalm 90 was written by Moses and in this phrase he looks back to eternity past. He considers the creation account in Genesis 1 and the majestic phrase, “In the beginning”.
“From everlasting to everlasting You are God.” This truth is taught abundantly in the Scriptures. It expresses one of God’s attributes or characteristics known as His “eternality”. Theologically the eternality of God refers to His timeless nature. God has no beginning, and will have no end. This is one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity. Our God surpasses time as we define it here on earth.
The eternal, almighty God has revealed Himself to us and sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for our redemption as fallen sinners. He alone is from everlasting to everlasting. Let’s praise Him today and rest in His steadfast care, no matter the turbulence of life we face on this day or what lies ahead in future days! He is forever God!
My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior’s always there for me
My God He was, my God He is
My God He’s always gonna be
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Almighty God, all the universe declares Your glory who creates, sustains, and watches over Your creation. Though the earth will someday be destroyed You created us with a soul that will exist for all eternity. While the foundations are being destroyed here on earth we, the redeemed, find great comfort and immense hope in Your eternal foundation. It is from eternity past and will exist in eternity future, with no beginning and no end! Only a loving God like You would choose to include us in Your vast plan and find delight in us, in all our humanness. You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and praise in this life and for all eternity. Amen.
A.W. Pink, a Bible teacher from the last century, wrote on this subject of eternality, which is very difficult to comprehend. Warning: this is very heavy material, but I believe it will bless you if you mentally trudge through it!
“In the beginning, God” (Genesis 1:1). There was a time, if ‘time’ it could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. ‘In the beginning, God.’ There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to sing His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but ‘from everlasting.’ During eternity past, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they would also have been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did added nothing to God essentially. ‘He changes not’ (Malachi 3:6), therefore His essential glory can be neither augmented nor diminished. God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure; for He ‘worketh all things after the counsel of His own will’ (Ephesians 1:11). That He did create was simply for His manifestative glory. God is no gainer even from our worship. He was in no need of that external glory of His grace that arises from His redeemed, for He is glorious enough in Himself without that. What was it that moved Him? It was, as Ephesians 1:5 tells us, ‘according to the good pleasure of His will’.”
John Keefer, a pastor friend, replied to Friday’s message concerning the first moon landing with this memory: “I remember well 50 years ago when I was 18 when my grandmother lived with us. I was upstairs with her when we heard the news of men walking on the moon. I was excited but Grandma flatly stated, “I don’t believe it. If God wanted us on the moon He’d have put us there.” Nothing said would change her mind.
Luis is a man we see in the course of our chaplaincy visits who works at White Oak Display and Design, a company that designs flooring displays. He installed our new laminate floor and also assisted me with several other home projects the last several weeks. He is a follower of Christ.
This room had been a single stall garage when we moved into our home in 2002. Later that year we converted it into a room for Stephen’s mom which she used till she died in 2005. (That’s why it has the fridge and sink.) Since 2006 we have used it as our home office.
Here’s a photo of our office with our new floor. The large glass area is where the garage door had been. As you can see we have a very nice view outside, although with the heat and bright sun we are keeping the blinds closed!
In rural Lancaster County you never know what type of traffic you will come upon. Last Thursday we saw this Amish farmer moving his elevator north of New Holland, PA.
We have an Amish one room schoolhouse being built here on Kraybill Church Road. The Amish men are gathering to build the school and that explains why we have seen an increase in wagon traffic the last several weeks.
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“How Beautiful Heaven Must Be” Video Mitchel Jon
“My Savior, My God “ Video Aaron Shust
Choir selection from our service yesterday Video
Yesterday’s message was from a Mark Farnham, a professor at Lancaster Bible College, and we believe will especially minister to any of our readers going through a painful season. Video should start here
Brooksyne with baby goats on the Old Windmill Farm
“You can take the girl out of the country,
but you can’t take the country out of the girl! (The young girl next to Brooksyne is Michaela Charest, daughter of missionaries Joel and Adrienne Charest.)
Actually we will share a few more recent photos since we will not be posting daily the next two weeks.
Ester took this photo from inside the Hunsecker’s Mill covered bridge early yesterday morning. We had dropped Brooksyne off for choir sound check and took a short jaunt through the country.
We came upon this buggy with the Amish children looking at the traffic.
(Photo by Ester)