In the Meantime…

Mark 6:45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

53 When they had crossed over

Growing up my grandparents took me on road trips.  Now I take my kids on road trips.  There is this cursed question that came out of my mouth and now my kids mouth on the road trip.  It is the most irritating question that begins about an hour into a 15 hour trip. The question is asked repeatedly. I asked it after counting the cows, playing slug bug, playing my spy with my little eye, and taking a 5 minute nap. I thought there should be more coordination than that.  I knew we were not there yet but thought we should have by then.  I was bored. So I would pull out my sony walkman and listen to some Amy Grant, Gospel Gangsters, and DC Talk. 

I think most of our life is like the road trip. We know we are not where we used to be and we know we are not where we think we should, we are not where we want to be, we are not where God said we could be.  We are in the meantime….

It feels embarrassing to be in the meantime. We have tried to get to the other side.  We have done all we know how to do, all our mentor knows how to do, all they know how to do and we are not there yet. We think we should be there by now.  No one tells us when we leave shore in the boat how long it will take to get to the otherside. No one said it could take years or even decades.  So often because the timeline does not match our internal one, we manufacture it.  People ask us how we are doing and we act like we have already arrived “there” instead of telling the truth about being in the meantime.  The disciples only made it halfway across sea with their best effort.  Sound familiar?  Here is the key:

The first step to getting to the otherside is admitting you are not there

and here is the second:

It is only by the grace of God we get to the other side. 

When I was a kid on a road trip with my family, I would often fall asleep.  The next morning I would wake up with the strangest feeling.  How did I get here?  You see when I fell asleep my dad picked me up and took me where I needed to be.  

You see there is one who never sleeps.  He will be the faithful one.  He is the reason you get to the otherside. It will be by His grace alone.  

I do not know where your “there” is.  It might be your marriage, job, your kid, or a promise of God.  Whatever it is God loves you and is for you.  And when you have done all you know to do… Stay in the boat! Though the waves are mounting and wind is building, it is better to be in the storm with Jesus than alone on the beach . Take rest by knowing who is in your boat!

Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

 

Difficult Verses: Mark 6:7-13

Last week we started looking scriptures that are so challenging that we are often tempted to ignore them. I want to continue this journey by looking at how Jesus directly challenges our typical view of leadership. Leadership has become a huge deal in North American culture. Research has shown that American organizations (businesses, churches, schools, etc.) spend over 24.5 BILLION dollars a year on leadership development. Yet, despite spending all this money, a lack of Christian leaders continues to be one of the chief laments I hear from pastors and churches. Today I want us to examine a challenging verse that lays out part of Jesus’ view of leadership. 

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. Mark 6:7-13

Notice a major thing Jesus did in this passage. He EMPOWERED his disciples. He trained them, gave them authority, and then empowered them to go out and serve others. Is this a model that we are using in our own lives and in our churches? 

I love a metaphor Pastor Scott Wilson uses in his book Ready, Set, Grow. Imagine being tasked with teaching everyone in your life to dunk a basketball. The reality is that the vast majority of them will simply lack the physical abilities to do so, which leaves you with two options. First, you can lower the hoop. While this may prove fun for a while, it really does not help matters. It simply lowers the bar/goal. This is what we do far too often. We lower our expectations for ourselves, our church, and others, setting incredibly low goals simply because they are easier to accomplish. 

The second option is you can build stairs towards the hoop, making it easier for others to reach it. Wilson uses this illustration to make that point that all of us need to be building stairs to help others succeed as leaders and servants. We do this when, like Jesus, we take the time to instruct, encourage, and empower others. We build stairs when we sit down and teach our children Scripture, invite them to serve with us, and empower them with certain tasks. We do the same in the Church when instead of simply doing everything ourselves we take the time to invest in training and empowering others. 

Who do you need to be empowering in your life? Who needs some stairs built in order for them to become a powerful leader and servant of Christ Jesus? 

True Manhood Part 4

Titus 2:2 New International Version (NIV)

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

This is the last segment on the writings of True Manhood. So let’s be real with each other. Men, being a provider is only part of our true manhood. Being the spiritual leader in our homes, being a man who guides, governing well, and guarding the family is what true manhood is all about. This is who we are in Christ.

We are in a day of emergency to true manhood. Men are losing sight of true manhood. We are falling in the ranks of complacency and allowing the enemy to take the day. Brothers, it is time to rise up.

In Titus 2:6 it says for us to encourage young men to live wise. How do we do that? Older men need to mentor them to live wise in the Lord, talk about marriage, and talk about raising a family.

Titus 2:7 says that you yourself must be an example. Do other men see you doing good works? Do they see you being kind? Do they see you walking in integrity? Do they see you being serious about reading your Bible and living it out?

Finally, in Titus 2:8 it says to teach truth so that your teaching cannot be criticized. This truth comes from God’s Word. It is not your truth. We live by God’s truth, and we live a life that reflects truth no one can criticize.

True manhood reflects Christ. It is a journey for every man. It raises men who live in self control and worthy of respect.

Live in true manhood and be the man of God you are!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Be Still

Psalms 37:7 (NASB) ‘ Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. ‘

I have been struggling in a few areas of my life.  I keep seeking direction, trying various things to try to remedy things, failing, seeking direction, not receiving anything, trying again, failing and over and over again.

Now, I know God is not being silent, but I’m not hearing any direction from Him.  That’s my fault.  I’m not being still like I should be.  It’s very hard to hear the still small voice when we allow all the noise and distraction to run unchecked.  If I want to hear Him, I must learn to be still, and patiently wait.  Easier said than done, but I will continue to try until I receive the revelation I need.  So, whatever area, in your life, that you’re waiting to hear from God on, be still.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Comfort Zone

What do you strive for each day?  Is it to work as hard as you can, as long as you can?  Most of us like to put in a good day’s work, but eventually, we want to take a break and maybe enjoy a good meal, or some time with family.  Usually after a long work day, or a good workout, most of us want to relax and take a break in a comfortable place.  I often feel the need to try to get some work done later in the evening, but find my productivity is much lower than in the morning, so it often gets put off till later.  After I stop moving, and I rest in a comfortable position, my body thinks it is time to fall asleep.  Unless I am engaged in something active, that is often what happens.  There is usually something that motivates us to get through each day, besides a paycheck.  What do you look forward to most?

I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people:  to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work on earth during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward.  Ecclesiastes 5:18

What makes you comfortable?  For many, it is a nice, home-cooked meal that brings you back to a favorite memory, like a favorite desert that mom used to make.  Comfortable things are often tied to our emotions and things that make us happy.  There are certain sights and smells that bring me back to great memories all through my life.  These thing help us enjoy and appreciate life a little more at times, but are not places where we should seek to be all the time.  There is a myth that many people strive for in thinking that if I get a great job, or win the lottery, or some other financial windfall, then my life will be set.  I won’t have to work, or worry about anything anymore, and can buy whatever I want to make me happy.  This is basically a lie, as you can read stories about people who win the lottery, or get paid millions and are broke again not long after.  If you can’t live within your means before you are rich, you can’t do it with money either.  The true good life isn’t found in wealth or things.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.  Proverbs 6:9-11

It is good to enjoy life, otherwise, we walk around grumpy with a sourpuss face all day, grumbling as we go.  Life is not all sunshine and roses either, as it takes work to get through things on any given day.  But our goal in life should not be the path of least resistance either.  Have you ever sat in your easy chair at night getting your mind numbed by whatever is on the screen in front of you and thought, ‘there has to be more to life than this’.  We fall into a routine and a rut at times and just do what seems most natural and easiest, only to find that we become bored, soft, and complacent in our comfort zone.  What will make us get up our of our chairs and do something? 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8

I’ve always found that I grow most in life when I am challenged and through success and failure, eventually overcome that challenge before me.  Whether that is getting a job done, embarking on a new adventure, or taking a step of faith to go where I haven’t been before, each new challenge presents a new opportunity.  Granted, when we go too far or too hard without rest and balance in our lives, exhaustion and frustration can come quickly, but without something to get us our of our comfort zones from time to time, we get lulled into selfish contentment.  What will it take to question where we are in life and take on the tasks that will matter most to us, to others, and in God’s kingdom?  Who will join you in your adventure?  May you rest well after a good day’s work, question what will make you a better person, and then get out of that chair to take on the new challenges of today.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:58

Yours in Christ,

Clark

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

LISTEN NOW

Sign me up!

  • Yes, I would like to receive the the Vital Men Daily Devotion email. Sign me up!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.