Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Daily Encouragement (08/27/13) "Look, Grandma! Jesus Is Playing The Piano!"

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
Colorful Flower Box Ferris Wheel  morphed by the big ferris wheel
in the background at Knoebels Park near Elysburg, Pennsylvania

"Look, Grandma!
Jesus Is Playing The Piano!"

ListenListen to this message on your audio player

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Here in Lancaster County we are blessed to have Sight & Sound Theatre, sometimes touted as the "Christian Broadway", which has been dramatizing adventuresome Bible Epics for over 35 years, complete with story, song, and spectacular staging. Currently a revision of Noah is playing at our Sight and Sound Theater.

We have enjoyed several of these outstanding presentations through the years and each one ends with a clear presentation of the Gospel. Of course, the actors are actually local "real" people known throughout our
community and in area churches they attend.

A number of years ago Juanita, my mother's longtime friend, shared the following story with us during a visit in her home located in the Branson, MO area. She and her late husband, Warren, had many contacts in the Branson area and were able to get us some free or discounted tickets to several shows and attractions. In fact in three days we attended five!

The attraction that stood out most was the presentation of a drama called "The Promise" which powerfully presented the message of the Gospel.  Randy Brooks, the actor who portrayed Jesus, did an outstanding job and is himself a devout believer. In a remarkable way he really fit the stereotypical art image we have of Christ.

Juanita told me they had taken their grandchildren to see the play one Saturday evening and the next day Randy attended their church and was playing the piano. Their grandson in wide-eyed amazement proclaimed, "Look, Grandma! Jesus is playing the piano!"

Most of us do not fit the art image of Christ, but as believers we are
all called to reflect His glory in our thinking, in our conversation, and in our actions.

Today, if you are a believer, you will be reflecting His glory. People will be observing your life. Do they see the character of Jesus in you? The verse goes on to declare that we "are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit".

When people see us today they're unlikely to see a physical resemblance to Jesus as the little boy did when pointing out the actor at the piano.  But can they see the resemblance in our way of life?  Several verses earlier Paul had written to these Corinthian believers: "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:2,3).

What would the life you are living today look like if it were written down on paper tomorrow for others to read?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, we want to resemble You in our attitudes and our actions, as we are being transformed into Your likeness with ever-increasing glory. How grateful we are that the people we are today will improve with time as we stay the course and invite the work of the Holy Spirit to continue its sharpening chisel making less of us and more of You. May all our thought and words and doings honor You and reflect Your Holy Spirit. Be magnified in our lives, whether in our suffering affliction and loss, or achieving a life-long goal. In all we do we seek to honor You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Another memory regarding an actor who played Jesus:

A number of years ago our family had an experience on our vacation. We attended the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was an inspiring experience and the site actually has several interesting attractions including a model of the Holy Land, an extensive Bible museum and at the time the original art of Ron DiCianni, one of our favorite artists.  It also has a huge statue of "Christ of the Ozarks" which can be viewed from miles away.

Just prior to the Passion Play there is a short dramatic presentation called "Parables of the Potter."  A man dressed in authentic-looking Bible costume dramatically explains the symbolism of the potter illustrations from the Old Testament while he forms a vessel at the potter's wheel. What touched me especially was that he gave a very impassioned testimony of his own personal faith in Christ.
After we left the hotel early the next morning Ester and I noticed that the man cleaning the hotel sure looked like the Potter but we didn't say anything. However Brooksyne, who was following us out, made the same observation and, with no hesitation, asked him directly. Sure enough, he was! She noted his voice sounded similar to the voice of Jesus in the Passion drama and asked him if he also played the part of Jesus. Yes, indeed he played the role of Jesus. And there he was early the next morning cleaning the small hotel, which it turns out was owned by his in-laws! He indicated that he and his wife try to help his in-laws manage the hotel over the weekends. You learn alot by asking!

Brooksyne's troubling remembrance of actors in real life playing godly characters: When I was a young teen (some 25 years earlier than the memory shared above) my family had also gone to Eureka Springs to see the Passion Play. It was outstanding and truly moved us as we viewed Christ's life, His death on the cross and His resurrection.

A short time later we went to a restaurant where these actors had gathered for a meal. Their salty language was that of a sailor's and it left a very bad impression on us. It took away from the worshipful feeling we carried from the message they had just presented a couple hours earlier. Some Christian drama presentations use actors with acting skills, first and foremost.  I'm very thankful for those who use actors who are Christian in belief and in behavior, who also have acting skills. Additional thought: Similar to the above story, there are many who claim to be Christians whose behavior reflects that of the world. It certainly leaves a bad witness to those who see or hear it, and sadly it adds truth to the oft quoted cliche, "The church is full of hypocrites."

This thought isn't necessarily related to today's message but I saw it on a blog post last night and it really is food for thought:
Offense quote

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
Our first ride was up the mountain ski lift to see an overview of the park.

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
We didn't get sick on this ride but we sure were high above the ground at some points along the way!

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
The park is replete with fresh flowers and even in late August they are vibrant.

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
Thiis blacksmith demonstration reminded me of Silver Dollar City.

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
A carousel museum with old wood carved menagerie animals.
I learned why most carousels have only horses. Do you know? (see below)

Knoebels Park Elysburg, PA 8/26/13
Way up high on the Ferris Wheel with Ester. She also had a friend along
 and they rode some of the thrill rides.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"JUST AS I AM - I Come Broken to Be Mended.."  Video  Travis Cotrell This song goes to the core of what it is to come to Christ empty-handed and be filled with newness of life fully equipped to do His bidding. A beautiful arrangement that will remind you of the great mercy of our God!

"In My Life"  Video  Maranatha Singers

Sight And Sound

Knoebels is located here (Bing map)

Carousels often had lions, zebras, elephants, and other wild animals through the early 1900's, but children tended to ride just the horses because they were afraid of the less familiar animals, so craftsmen began to design only horses. Merry-Go-Rounds still feature various animals.

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Stephen, Brooksyne and Ester Weber 04/21/13
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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