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Thursday, April 16, 2015
Mural at Teen Haven youth center in Lancaster, PA
"Christ Is Still Changing Lives!"
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"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I believe that the Christ Who was slain on the cross,
Has the power to change lives today.
For He changed me completely, a new life is mine.
That is why by the cross I will stay.
We had a great day yesterday. We joined one of our companies in a community service day. JK Mechanical, an HVAC company we serve as chaplains, has about 100 employees and each year they take a day to serve the community. Yesterday they worked at the Water Street Mission, Teen Haven and at Thaddeus Stevens, a local trade school. Many of the employees were able to use specific skills in installing and repairing HVAC but others were involved in projects like painting and cleaning. Brooksyne and I sought to walk through the project areas, help out some, and visit with the various employees as they worked. At one point for me this involved climbing up a narrow hatch to a roof where several were working!
A goal in our ministry is sharing some truth and light in whatever situation we are in with whomever we may encounter. Yesterday it may not have been our "official" ministry but we also enjoyed engaging with the various people who work at the Mission.
Teen Haven is an inner city ministry working with children and youth that uses a facility several blocks from the Water Street Mission. I walked over and visited with the JK employees who were working over there. My eye was immediately drawn to the mural painted on a concrete wall that serves as our lead photo today. It reminds me of a similar mural that is at our local youth center. I removed a projector screen that was partially blocking the mural to take a photo and asked for assistance in placing it back up. A young man smiled and, due to his lesser height, he grabbed a small ladder to assist me. He introduced himself as Jose Jimenez, the director of the Teen Haven.
I enjoy hearing people's stories and he shared his with me. He had moved down to Lancaster from Massachusetts with his family when he was eight and a short time later his father was incarcerated. He began attending Teen Haven activities and recalled specific people who shared Christ's love with him. However he, like so many, did not make a full commitment to Christ through much of the next ten years.
But upon turning eighteen years old he made a full surrender to Christ and his life was dramatically changed. He went back to the youth center to inform and thank them for their influence. To his surprise they offered him a summer job and he's been there ever since.
I told him I would like to share his story and we walked outside for a photo posing him beside the "Changing Lives" sign. He looked up and said "Jesus Christ changes lives!" Amen to that!
We are glad we serve a God who is in the life-changing business! He's still changing lives today and Jose is one of them. Now he in turn, like those who reached out to him as a child, is reaching out to provide a haven of mercy, love and forgiveness to inner city youth. In spite of all the spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits that come from serving the Lord it can be very hard ministry with many setbacks and disappointments.
I rejoice in the work of God seen in the immediate transformation at the time of belief and the slow progressive transformation over a lifetime of following Christ. I rejoice at change demonstrated by longterm faithfulness. Jose goes to a church where one of the pastors is Sonny Oliver (right), a friend from Bible College who has a wonderful testimony we wrote about many years ago. (See below for link to this message.)
The Apostle Paul wrote describing this wonderful change, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul experienced that change in his life and he rejoiced in the changed lives he had ministered to. John Newton, the former slave trader best known for writing "Amazing Grace", said before he died, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior."
I believe in a hill called Mount Calv'ry,
I'll believe whatever the cost.
And when time has surrendered and earth is no more,
I'll still cling to that old rugged cross. *
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is no sin too great that Your mercy is not greater. We were born with a sin problem, but You provided the solution for our sin sick souls through the wondrous sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We could never be good enough, rich enough, famous enough, or smart enough nothing we offer is enough. Anything we offer is sin-based because of our human condition and all that Christ offers is sin-less because He is the divine Lamb without spot or blemish. Only Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, is enough to pay for our sins and begin the wonderful work of transforming us into Your likeness. Thank You for Your gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
* "I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary" Video GVB Next week we are looking forward to joining with a group of friends at the Gaither &Friends Homecoming Concert in Hershey! This has long been one of my favorite songs.
"I Believe" Video Dailey and Vincent
"Since Jesus Came Into My Heart" Video Homecoming Singers Anyone else recall singing this old gospel song!
Sonny Oliver's testimony
Water Street Our Purpose: To advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ and do missionary, relief & rescue work of all kinds. Video
Teen Haven Teen Haven is a ministry of Water Street Mission, allowing our vision of changing lives to reach the next generation. This is where Jose works.
I, Brooksyne, was deeply touched as I saw this historic plaque next to the photo of the founders of Water Street Mission, Dr. & Mrs. Sieber, along with their first convert, Sarah Kuhns. (Unfortunately the dated photo did not take well.) I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of people have been converted over the past century at missions all over the world - those who are located in the heart of the cities reaching out to the many homeless who are without the basic elements for living and the basic reason for existence, that is, hope!
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
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Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
How to become a child of God
Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International* The phrase "terrestrial ball" is found in the great hymn ...
"All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name" Video Paul Baloche Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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