Weird Relationships

This week I met with my Life Group.  It is a group of guys who love Jesus, love the church, and love me.  We talked about issues men deal with, what we are learning in the scripture, the challenges we are facing, and the dreams God has put in our hearts.  We ask hard questions of God’s ways, we pray over each other, and encourage each other to keep the faith.  I am so grateful for these men of God!

eae0a1daHebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

The veil is torn and access to relationship with Jesus has been purchased by Jesus, so let us not swerve from the HOPE we have.  When this was written there was a nation in moral decline, the foundations of the nation were crumbling, and leaders were walking in compromise.  Sound familiar?  It is easy to loose hope.  That is why we need each other!  We can’t do life alone.  

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Spur each other does not sound fun or feel good, yet we need it to keep the hope.  Do not give up meeting together. Again we can not do this alone.   Then it says to encourage each other as we see the Day approaching.  The Day is referring to the return of Jesus.  This is a reminder that this life is not the end and we have a lot of reason for hope!

So who do you need to be in a Life Group with.  If you ever loose Hope, need a spur, or need encouragement, Jesus designed us to find it in each other through Him. So find a group, make room in your busy schedule, and find hope, a spur, and encouragement.  What if you could do the same for them?

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Acting Humbly vs. Living Humbly

Male hand with microphone isolated on blackIf I’ve seen one sports post-game interview I’ve seen them all. It seems as if every victorious athlete gives the same response to the sideline reporter: the other team played great, I could not have done it without my teammates, a huge thanks to my coach, and all the credit to God. All really great responses. But, is that really how the athlete feels? So many times I hear an athlete give those responses, only to read later in the week that they are ridiculing the other team, bashing their teammates, begging management to fire their coach, and taking all the glory for their accomplishments. It seems that most athletes know they are supposed to act humbly in the post-game interview, yet forget to live a life of humility the rest of the week.

My point here is not to pick on athletes because, quite honestly, most of us are no better {and, to be clear, there are some truly humble athletes out there}. We know we are supposed to act humbly, so we try hard to give humble answers and to appear humble in public. But, in our hearts and minds, we often are not very humble. We are prideful, self-focused, view ourselves above others, and have a very me-first attitude. We seem to excel at acting humble, but struggle at actually being humble.

What does it actually mean to be humble? The word humble comes form the Latin word for dirt. Its origin is in Genesis, where God creates humanity from the dirt. To be humble is to acknowledge that we are all dirt. We are all creatures that have been created by God and have fallen into sin. In fact, the giftedness and goodness that we do have is not of our doing, but the Spirit working in and through us. Therefore, we really have no reason to see ourselves any better then anyone else. The best example we have of humility is the life of Christ, as Paul points out in Philippians 2:8: And being found in appearance as a man, he {Jesus} humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Jesus, God in the flesh, was the only one to ever walk this earth that was not dirt. He was not created from the dirt, and was not sinful, but instead was fully God. Yet, despite his divinity, he chose to lower himself for us. He chose to value you and I above himself by suffering and dying on the cross to pay our debts. That is the ultimate example of humility.

I want us to all ask ourselves this question: am I living humbly, or am I simply acting humbly? Am I putting the needs of others equal to/above my own, as Christ did, or am I living for myself? This week lets follow Christ’s lead and truly live a humble life.

 

Description Of A Warrior

Matthew 5:1New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

The warrior is the loyal soldier. He stands up for what is right. The warrior is the guy that gets things done his way. He has no time for childish games, and he does not let his personal life get in the way of his mission. A warrior is often a hero in the making. He is on the verge of doing something great.

This sounds perfect for being a warrior in the eyes of the world. As young boys, we watched movies like Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and Gladiator to name a few, but are they the real warriors in which the Bible describes warriors?

If you continue to read in Matthew 5, you will see a different description of the warriors Jesus is calling for. Those who are poor, mourn, humble, hunger, merciful, pure, and peaceful. That was Jesus’ criteria for the spiritual warriors he is calling.

This steps you back doesn’t it. It does me. Yet, Jesus calls out to the multitudes and shows them if you want to be the children of God this is what a true warrior looks like. As a matter of fact, they will mock you and persecute you. They will lie and say evil things of you just because you call me Lord.

The question that I have today is when was the last time someone persecuted you or mocked you for standing up for Jesus? It is that we have become so much like a world warrior that we have lost being the spiritual warriors who look more like Christ?

My prayer for us today is that we take on the warrior spirit of Matthew 5:3-12. I hope we do not just read these words, but we live them. Jesus promises a great reward in Heaven for being a spiritual warrior.

Strength and Courage

 Michael

 

Be Salty

Matthew 5:12New International Version (NIV)

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What would a good steak be without salt? I do not know about you, but I like a little salt on my steak. It enhances the flavor of the meat and makes your mouth water with every bite.

Jesus also used salt as a description to the believers that we are the salt of the world. What he meant by that is that as Christians, we are his preservatives to the world. He uses us to preserve his good from the evil of the world.

So how do we lose our saltiness? Mark 9:50 says that saltiness can be lost through lack of peace with one another. It is when we choose to compromise or settle for what is comfortable, and we no longer follow the commands and decrees from Christ’s teaching.

Like is says in our opening Scripture – We will be be thrown out and considered worthless. Maybe today you have lost your salty flavor. The good news is that you can get it back. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus to forgive you.

Allowing your life to be salty for Christ will then allow the Holy Spirit to fill your life. Be salty men! Allow your life to reflect the Lord.

Strength and Courage

Michael

Last Vital Bike Trip – August 5-6 Couples Ride to State Park – You will not want to miss this last ride of the year. Go to vitalministries.org and sign up! 

Feels Good? Probably Wrong!

I was speaking with a customer the other day.  He has worked with the public for over 35 years and was speaking about the challenges that presents.  He said something that really struck a chord with me.  Something I struggle with, though not so much in my working relationships, as much as my close personal ones.  He said, “when engaged in a confrontational situation, if you say something that makes you feel good, you probably said the wrong thing.”  

I’ve never heard it put like that, but I found that to be a very true statement.  I often hammer back a reaction, just to do damage.  Why?  Because I can?  Because it makes me feel a win?  Well, its wrong.

James sums it up well in chapter 3. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  James 3:8-10 (NKJV)  

How can one profess the glory and love of God, then blast another with an assault of words?  Answer, you can’t.

Lord, help guard my tongue.  Father, curb my desire to lash out verbally.  Allow me the grace for careful, thoughtful response.  In Jesus’ holy name, Amen

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

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