Vital Ministries News

Vital Men Breakfast

July 1

Hy Vee in Newton, Iowa

7:00 A.M.

Cost: $7.00 All You Can Eat

All Men – Any Age

 

Stand Guard

Proverbs 1:24-33 (NKJV)

Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
 
I was enjoying a few abundantly spirit filled weeks.  I felt that I was hearing from God, His desires for me, His closeness, His direction and I was following.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Proud, purposed, untouchable.
 
This week, I feel further from Him than I have for quite sometime.  I have allowed myself to give in to selfishness, wrath, bitterness, self service, rudeness, envy, spite, blind ignorance, pride and a host of other un-Christlike behaviors.  As a result, I have hurt my wife, the woman I professed to love and promised to cherish, the woman Paul tells me in Ephesians that I am to love as myself.  My behavior demonstrated anything but.  Consequently, I drew a curtain between Jesus’ heart and mine. I couldn’t hear Him.  I couldn’t feel Him, at least not how I should.  I know He was there, pulling, pleading, rebuking, but my hardened heart and stiff neck put up the hand and said, “nope, not going to hear it!  I’m rightly justified in my feelings on this matter!”  
 
How does one go from feeling like God’s hand is on them, His light guiding him, and he is being profitably used for His kingdom, to being that jerk?! Simple… satan.  
 
Satan is constantly on the prowl and when we feel at our best, our strongest, our pride and vanity erodes our guard and, with precision, he aims and fires.  
 
When we get to thinking too highly of ourselves, our view of the Lord begins to blur.  We think, “I got this!”  It becomes about me, my and I, instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  My friend and men’s group confidant, Mike Wilson, frequently says, “it’s not about you!”  That, my friends, is pure TRUTH!  It is not about me.  I have done nothing and nor could I do anything.  When my focus wanders from Jesus, even for a moment, when I give too high regard to myself, my “accomplishments” and my feelings, I have pulled the sentries from the watch tower and opened the door for the enemy to waltz right in.  The enemy is a roaring lion, stalking about, cunning far beyond our imagination, coming to kill, steal and destroy.  Alone, under our own imagined greatness, we don’t equate to a fleck of dander flicked from his shoulder.  
 
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul instructs us in the need for vigilance, to put on the whole armor of God.  That is our only defense.  When our guard is allowed to drop, we hurt those around us.  I have hurt, deeply, my wife, for no other reason but to satisfy my own self-righteous arrogance.  We damage our witness to those near us and see us as representatives of Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, we fracture our relationship with Jesus.  It is a terrible thing, to be in Christ and then find yourself utterly cut off from His presence.  
 
  Isaiah 21:6-8  Fortunately, though we certainly aren’t worthy of it, He is right there, with love unimaginable, His grace never ending, with His full on never waning desire to pull us back into His fold.  The truth of this then compels us to be the same.  We must be right there, pouring out the love that He sent through His Holy Spirit, with an unwavering desire to pull those we’ve hurt or have hurt us back in.  We must plead with Him for wisdom, understanding, grace and compassion, restore the sentries to their post so that He can drive the enemy from us.   Only then can we hope to be restored to the peace, love and hope that only He can provide. Have a blessed weekend.
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

 

Good News!

I was listening to the radio earlier this week and my wife commented that it was fairly depressing as they reported 3-5 unrelated deaths in about 90 seconds.  If it bleeds it leads, right?  We don’t normally make the news when we have a good day at work, love our spouses, encourage the kids, or help someone in need.  If we had a Good Newspaper it would eventually turn into a bunch of self-promotion with everyone trying to one-up each other on how good they are…wait that’s Facebook.  You get the idea, people doing the right thing isn’t gossip or newsworthy for the most part.  Most people like to point out how bad others are so that they can feel better about themselves.  At least I’m not like so and so.  It may not always be an overt thing for Christians, but we see and hear it more than we should.  What kind of news do I most often share? 

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Luke 8:17

I am probably as guilty as anyone who focuses on what is wrong with my day/week/life than on the good things I take for granted.  If I am not sick, how seldom do appreciate my health and say, ‘Man, I feel great today!’  When my car runs without any issues, I am not very thankful, but just expect it to work all the time.  After I am saved by the blood of Christ, how long does it take for my enthusiasm to wear off and just list it as one more thing that happened in my life?  The best thing that ever happened to me, and is available to others, should be the first thing I share with them.  That will surely get me the label of ‘Jesus Freak’, but honestly, there are much worse labels to have.  The Gospel is good news that often goes unreported.  Maybe we are afraid to share more because we are not perfect and won’t always say the right things.  Yet the God who forgave so many imperfect people continues to do so, every time they turn back to Him.  Isn’t that good news?  Isn’t that worth sharing? 

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.  Mark 5:18-20

How often have you shared your testimony over the past year?  Not enough, right?  Same here.  I was a guest on a local radio show (called Oops! I missed church) this past week and the host started off by asking me about my story.  I basically summed up my life and testimony in about 3-4 minutes, which is all it takes to get the job done.   I could easily expand on any aspect of my experiences and what I have learned as a Christian and talk for hours on most any part of it, but will let the person I am sharing with dictate where that goes, as the last thing most of us want is to hear stories we don’t really care about.  I once had a conversation with a guy I just met while waiting for a library to open, and in those 10 minutes, we had a deeper conversation about faith, God, and our lives than I have had with most people I know or see every day.  So, the issue is not about interaction, but more about intent and opportunity.  If we just wait for the ‘right’ moment to come along, it will never likely arrive.  We need to find and create opportunities when we can by asking tough questions and being willing to share from our hearts about what matters most.  Allow God to lead you and bless you in the conversations you have today and each day of your life as you boldly share Good News!

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Matthew 13:44

Courage in Christ,
Clark

Fatherhood Entails Teaching

Proverbs 22:6New International Version (NIV)

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

It is essential for fathers to teach their children principles of honesty, integrity, and respect for other people. These principles are seemingly eroding away in our culture. In my mind, we are not only failing to teach the importance of these characteristics, but living them out within our own lives.

I often get hit for being direct in teaching, preaching, and even in my writing, but that is how I was taught. My dad expected me, as a young man, to do what is right and to live it. That was the teaching my dad instructed me with.

Men, we only live to be 60-80 years old at best. Time flies, and it goes quicker as I get older. So, I see teaching and writing as being direct way to communicate important issues.

I like to hang around men who do not beat around the bush. They are not asking to be coddled, but to be raised. That is what raising kids is about. It is important to show your children love, direction, and  to raise them. Step into that arena and know that fatherhood teaching is important. You will impact the generations to come.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

What Really Matters?

As many of you know, my family is in the process of moving to the mission field in Nicaragua. This means that a disproportionally large part of our life is currently spent cleaning and packing our house. Now, we’ve moved several times in our lives, but this move is different. Instead of getting a moving truck to lug all of our possessions to our new home we get a whopping eight suitcases (friends in Nicaragua saying the success rate on shipping packages is about 33%). While we will have a storage unit in the US anything we put into storage will not likely be used in four years, making the test for storing something “will we actually want this in four years?” The sum of all this is that A LOT of stuff is making its way to Mount Mahaska (for the uninitiated, that’s the local landfill). As I load things into garbage bags I think of the money some of these items originally cost. In the case of old TVs and computers we are talking about things that once cost hundreds of dollars simply being discarded. Things that at one point in life where a “must have” will soon find their home in a garbage heap. This experience has really forced me to reflect on the question: what really matters in the long run?

That question really begs another question: what is it that should really matter in our lives? Paul addresses this very question in his letter to the Philippians.
For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:10-11

As I’ve reflected on that question I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve spent way too much time, money, and energy in life on things that really do not matter. I’ve spent way more money on stuff then I needed too, and significantly less on blessing others. I’ve spent way too much time trying to impress others or make myself feel good, instead of spending time glorifying God and investing in others. What Paul is telling us is what REALLY matters in life is understanding that we are saved by God’s grace and living our lives in light of that salvation. That means we should be seeking to make an impact on the world around us for God, speaking his gospel, love, and service to those around us.

While you may not be moving this week, I’d really encourage you to take stock of yourself. Are you spending too much time, money, and energy on things that are truly not important? Do you need to invest more for God and his glory?

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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