Movie Credits – BORING!

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Who sits through the movie credits at the end of the movie?  I mean, when it says, “The End,” isn’t it THE END! Who cares to watch a bunch of names scrolling down the screen, or up, that you don’t know.  The only motivation to watch is if you happen to know someone whose name will appear.  But, otherwise we switch off the movie when the names appear.

It’s kinda like that with Paul’s Epistles.  At the end of most of his letters he begins either a short or long list of people he wants to mention.  Because these names are, 1) hard to pronounce, 2) unknown to us, and 3) after the end, we have a tendency to just skip over these names.  Why?  Because they’re like movie credits just rolling on the screen.

As we conclude our study of Ephesians we will be ending with the final four verses of the letter.  Paul takes it easy on us in Ephesians and names only one person, his secretary.  Tychicus is the one who wrote what Paul had dictated to him.  But, we will actually take some time to look at some of Paul’s other lists that are much longer.  Just as with movie credits naming the people who were NEEDED to complete the movie we watched, so also are the names at the end of his letters. Without these people the church could not have progressed and grown.

You know, maybe we are a bit like the people in these lists, over-looked, under appreciated and forgotten.  But, without YOU the work of God can’t grow and progress.  Each person in the body of Christ is necessary for the function of the body.  Sunday we will look at some of these people to see how important each on of us are.

The next time you watch a movie, stop to look at some of the names scrolling in front of you and silently thank them for a job well done!  And, the next time you’re in church, look around at the “forgotten” people and verbally thank them.

Ebenezer – WHAT?

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In approximately 1758 a young 23 year old pastor penned the words to a hymn that is a favorite of many.  He grew up from age eight without a dad because he passed away.  His mother couldn’t control his rebellion and so sent him off to live in England.  During this time he came to attend an evangelistic meeting being led by the famous evangelist George Whitfield.  He went, by his own testimony, to disrupt the service and mock the preacher.  But, the Lord had other plans.  It would be another two yeas later, but he came to trust Christ as his Saviour and was called into the ministry.

As he prepared for his weekly message he composed the lyrics to the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  One word in that hymn always perplexed me.  We would all sing, “Here I raise mine ebenezer…”  Each time I sang it I wondered, “What am I raising?”  So, I looked it up and found it is a word that means a “sign of victory.”  And, as I studied I found that it comes directly from 1 Samuel 7:12.  After a great victory over their arch rivals, the Philistines, Samuel led the people in a celebration.  During this celebration Samuel set up a stone as that sign of victory and called it Ebenezer.

Now, for generations to come, each and every time someone passed that stone it was to be a mute reminder of the victory God had given.  It was to be a place parents and grandparents could repeat a wonderful account of God’s protection.  This stone was one of many “piles of rocks” scattered throughout the land of Israel for the same purpose.  If used properly no generation could live that wouldn’t be reminded of the the Lord’s great power.

But, like so many of us, not 20 years later, the people had apparently forgotten that it was God who granted victories.  They had failed to remember that it was their confidence in El Shaddai that brought defeat to their enemies.  For, in due time, the people rejected Samuel’s leadership, and God’s kingship, by asking for a human king.  In their words, they just wanted to be like everyone else.  Though they likely passed by this pile of rocks often, the significance had faded away.

What about you?  What about me?  What about us?  Where are our ebenezers?  Are they forgotten?  Have they been relegated to a back seat, never to be remembered?  Or, do we look upon them as we should, as a reminder to us of God’s great power and our dependence upon him.

The next time you sing, “Here I raise my ebenezer,” remember what it means.  And, look to your own signs of victories and rejoice in what God has done.

 

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It’s Friday!

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I think I know a group of over 40 workers who are probably saying, “TGIF!” It is a group of people who were up early each day and worked hard each day.  It was a HOT week, and all of the classes didn’t have air conditioning.  The craft people only had some fans blowing.  But, they came each day to have a ministry to all those who came.  Of course, the workers I’m referring to are our VBS workers.  YEAH!

Now that the work is over, Friday has come, I’m sure each one will get a good night of rest.  They can reflect on the week and see how much the Lord blessed their efforts.  Without them we could have never had such a great week.

Our totals are amazing; high of 122 students on Monday, low of 118 on Tuesday.  We had students who prayed to trust the Lord as their Saviour.  We averaged 11 adults in a class designed for them.  Our music was great and the drama was tremendous.  And, we were raising funds for believers to receive their first Bible and we exceeded our goal.  

Yet, even though Friday is here, as the popular statement goes, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” My question to you is, are you getting ready for Sunday?  Since it is the first Sunday of the month we will have our communion service.  Be preparing your heart for this special time of directed worship.

Remember, Friday is NOT the most important day on the week, rather, it’s Sunday.