THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

September 18, 2019

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

A few years ago, Jon and I went to Germany. Jon was sent for business, and I was able to travel with him.

Our hotel was across the street from the old town center, which was amazing. The buildings were hundreds of years old, with brick streets. This town was one of the very few that suffered no damage during WWII. There were few cars in the old town center; people mostly either walked or rode bicycles. Weekly there was a farmers market, which was really cool to visit. Each evening, Jon and I would buy a gelato and walk through the quiet streets. The entire trip was incredible.

One of my very favorite things, was the old church that was in the old town center. It was built in the early 1300's, so was over 700 years old. On the days that Jon had to work, I would walk around the town; and would often find my way to the church. It was very touching to sit inside the sanctuary and think about all the generations of people who had worshipped there. Parents and spouses who had sat there during times of war; shedding tears and praying for their loved ones who were on the battlefield. Those who prayed there during WWII when Germany was in such turmoil and fear ran rampant throughout the country. Families who celebrated weddings and the births of their children. Years when there was abundance and blessing. So much history!

Jon and I were able to go up into the church tower one Saturday. The stairs were old, narrow, wooden steps, and a small spiral staircase. You could look over the side and see the workings of the church bells. About halfway up, there was a room with narrow windows where you could look out and see the town. This was once used for watchmen to be able keep guard. Once we reached the top, there was a door that opened to the outside. You could walk around and see the town in all directions.

Twice a day in the morning and evening, a trumpeter would climb to the top of the tower and would play a hymn four times, while facing the north, south, east, then west.

The church was all one building, but it included the sanctuary where they held service and the pastor, musicians, and choir ministered. It included the office where workers oversaw records and duties of the church. It included groundskeepers and those who maintained the building. It included the trumpeter. It included the tower where the watchmen had at one time kept watch over the city. It included the bells and those who maintained them. It included those who sat in the pews week after week who were housewives, laborers, children, and retirees. One church, but it was made up of many parts.

Many fail to understand how the body of Christ is made up. How can there be so many people who are fulfilling so many different positions, people who cover the face of the earth; yet we make up one body? What does it matter if some fail to fulfill their role; there are plenty of others who can fill in and make up for it, right?

Although there are many different church buildings, we are all integrated and part of one Church. The body of Christ is big enough to cover the face of the earth. He is no longer the human man who came to earth 2,000 years ago to die on the cross for our sins; so we can't condense Him down to human form. But His Spirit covers the entire earth. Jesus is the head of the church, the head of the body. And it is all of us believers who then make up His body.

We all have our own specific ministries and callings and purposes; yet we are all the same body, one church.

Referring back to the church in Germany, what if the trumpeter decided, "Oh, I'm not important. Anyone can do my job, so I'm just not going to show up." Then the hymns wouldn't get played over the city. Worship is so important to God! If you don't believe that, read Exodus through Joshua and see how important the roles of the trumpeters and worshippers were. Perhaps having the hymns played north, south, east, and west each day for generations over that Germany city was what brought God's protection during wartime.

What if the maintenance people decided that their roles were of no value? Then the wooden stairs and the wooden deck at the top of the tower would eventually rot and be unsafe, with no one to repair it in order to ensure the safety of the trumpeter and those who climb to the top of the tower.

What if the watchmen decided that their roles weren't important, so they'd not show up; or else they'd sleep on the job? The enemy could sneak into the city and no one would be aware and the people could suffer loss and destruction.

What if the organist decided that they didn't want to show up anymore? That would affect the worship during their services. Or heaven forbid, what if the minister decided that he was tired or would rather do something else that day, so stayed home on Sundays instead of ministering to the people?

Do you understand? In the body of Christ, each of us have a specific role that is unique to us and no one else can fill it. If we decide that we no longer want to show up or are too busy or too tired or too old or unimportant, then those roles will be left undone.

1 Corinthians 12:27 says, "All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it."

God designed the body and each part has a unique purpose. The liver can't fill in and function as the heart; nor can the fingers fulfill the role of being a knee. When a body part is removed, it affects the function of the body. Why? Because God designed each part to have a specific purpose.

Romans 12:4-6a tells us, "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well....."

A few years ago I had my gallbladder removed. Who needs a gallbladder? My body can still function and I'm overall healthy; but there are foods that I can no longer eat without it causing issues. Green peppers (cooked or raw) or raw onions will give me heartburn and indigestion. Certain foods don't digest as well as they used to. I found out that the gallbladder did indeed have a purpose, and the body was affected when it was removed.

Let's all make sure that we are fulfilling our role in the body of Christ. We each have a purpose, and the body is going to feel the loss if you aren't cooperating and functioning in the role that God has for you to do.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

We all know that God is powerful. He is powerful enough to find someone else to fill the role I might neglect, right?

Moses fulfilled prophecies, in his birth and escaping the executions. So, if Moses had skipped out instead of obeying God, God would have had to start over from birth to set up someone to replace him, setting up the prophecies to happen all over again. Pharaoh probably wouldn't have put up with another mystery baby showing up in his family. And it would mean the Israelites would have stayed in captivity for much longer.

So, even though it's true that God can adapt, that doesn't mean things will work out as they should. I suspect that is the real cause behind so much strife in our lives and society. So many people neglect the role they were meant for, even if it seems small to them.

It may seem such a small thing to let someone onto the highway in front of you, but neglecting to do that simple thing can create strife in the other driver, and spread to others quickly. So please be open to big roles, but don't overlook the small ones in the process.

ON THE MENEWE:

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

2 (1-lb.) pork tenderloins, trimmed

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425.

Lightly season pork with salt and pepper. Brown pork on all sides in hot oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

Mix balsamic vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, and mustard; brush over pork.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 145-degrees.

Remove pork to a serving plate.

Boil remaining balsamic mixture on stovetop 2-3 minutes to thicken, then pour over the pork.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Awhile back, my nephew's family was eating dinner. Their 8-year old son asked, "Hey mom, want to see how many grapes I can stuff in my mouth and still say, 'Thank you, Lord?'"

My niece also recently had this conversation with her 10-year old son. He is running cross country this year and in one of the races another boy pushed him in the mud. At bedtime he was talking to his mom about what had happened. Mom: "You know what you can do? Train to be faster, so you can outrun all of them!" Son: "I'm not concerned about my place. I'm more worried I'll have to take a shower after every race if I keep getting pushed into the mud." Mom: "I hate to break it to you, but you'll take a shower even if you're in first place."

Life with boys!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

God gave you a fingerprint that no one else has,

so you can leave an imprint that no one else can. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org