Getting Through Difficulty Correctly

andyOne of my hobbies is doing triathlons. I have typically trained quite intensely for these races, but this year I had a little more laissez faire attitude towards practicing. Not only did I not put enough effort into training, but my nutritional discipline was a little more lax (I’m blaming you Jaarsma Bakery!). So it was that I found myself experiencing the dreaded fringale, a fancy French term meaning hitting the wall and having said wall crush you into oblivion. Fortunately, my brain was still functioning well enough to think through the situation. I stopped for about 30 seconds, sucked down an energy gel, took a few breathes, collected my thoughts, and went on my way. Amazingly, within a few minutes I was back to normal, and actually finished with nearly the same time as the year before. Here’s a few ways I saw this experience paralleling life.

  1. When we’re not prepared, we pay the price. When we choose to live disconnected from God, living according to the world and not the Word, we tend to hit the wall. This is not necessarily because God is punishing us, but a byproduct of choosing to live life incorrectly. Like a triathlon, life is difficult and challenging, and we can’t expect to just wake-up each day and have everything go smoothly. We need to prepare by studying the Word, engaging in prayer, surrounded ourselves with mentors, and constantly following God’s lead.
  2. When things are not going right we have to hit pause. I think many of the biggest mistakes we make occur because we try to quickly fix our problems. We lie to cover up mistakes, use drugs and alcohol to drown out difficulties, and relegate God to the sidelines. Instead of recklessly “soldiering on” we need to hit pause, taking our strength and direction from God. I love how the Message version translates Matthew 11:28-29: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Remember back to my triathlon story. I may have stopped for a minute to recharge, but had I not I probably could not have finished. Sometimes we simply need to stop and be recharged by God. We pause to pray, read God’s Word, and seek advice from Christian friends. That 5-10 minute break with God will likely end up vastly improving your week.
  3. We grow in our faith so we are ready when things don’t go right. I survived that race because I had prepared for a bad situation. I firmly believe one of the most important things we can do to be prepared for difficulty is to memorize scripture. We memorize scripture not to impress others or to fulfill some duty, but so that when we hit the wall we can bring God’s Word out of our memory banks. There have been so many difficult times in ministry where I’ve had to take a breathe and remember Philippians 4:13: I can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives me strength.

The Art of Battle

2 Corinthians 10:5New Living Translation (NLT)

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

This week we begin, what I believe, is our most strategic teaching this far in Vital Men. It is the Conquer Series – The Battle Plan for Purity.

The Conquer Series is for any man who has ever struggled or is tempted to sin sexually, not only physically, but in the mind. The difference between prevailing and failing comes down to having a battle plan in place.

In the context of this series, we will be touching on a broad spectrum of sexual sins with men. In order to be truthful, I think it is best just to say we will be talking about masturbation, sexual fantasies, viewing pornography, and engaging in sexual activities outside the marriage.

As men, we are bombarded every day with visual imagery, to listening on the radio, to the enemy whispering into our ears. Too many casualties happen and too many men lose to sexual desires. This is a calamity that can take our minds if we do not have a battle plan to fight this and conquer this.

We are going to join together as we take the beach head of sexual sin. We are a band of brothers. We will help each other in this great battle. We will come under attack, but with the Power of Jesus and the work of the Cross, WE WILL OVERCOME in Jesus’ Name!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Men Groups – Join Us!

VITAL MEN

Tuesday Nights 6:30-8:00

Knoxville – Marion Co. Fairgrounds – Leader Kendall Brown 641-799-0906

Oskaloosa – Vital Ministries Building – Leader Tony Howard 641-295-5666

Ottumwa – Country Kitchen – Leader Rod Bruner 641-660-8596

 

Wednesday Nights 6:30-8:00

Pella – The Well Resource Center – Leader Buck Kraft 641-780-1295

Thursday Nights 6:30-8:00

Newton – Bridgehouse Coffee Co. – Leader Jeremy Masterson 641-521-4031

New Sharon – First Christian Church – Leader Charlie McMillian 641-891-1206

Vital Ministries News

Ecclesiastes 3:2New Living Translation (NLT)

A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.

Harvest season is here. There will be combines rolling. The corn and the beans are ready to be harvested. The leaves on the trees are changing. Fall is here! This time of year is my most favorite. The air is crisp in the morning. The temperatures are moderating. It does not get any better in our state of Iowa.

With the fall comes our Vital Men’s start up season. We are back this coming week in 6 different locations. We are starting a new series called, Conquer – The Battle Plan For Purity. I am more excited and challenged by this series that in years past. It all starts next week. I have listed the nights, times, and locations so you can get plugged in.

Do not hesitate or be passive. Join us!

VITAL MEN

Tuesday Nights 6:30-8:00

Knoxville – Marion Co. Fairgrounds – Leader Kendall Brown 641-799-0906

Oskaloosa – Vital Ministries Building – Leader Tony Howard 641-295-5666

Ottumwa – Country Kitchen – Leader Rod Bruner 641-660-8596

 

Wednesday Nights 6:30-8:00

Pella – The Well Resource Center – Leader Buck Kraft 641-780-1295

 

Thursday Nights 6:30-8:00

Newton – Bridgehouse Coffee Co. – Leader Jeremy Masterson 641-521-4031

New Sharon – First Christian Church – Leader Charlie McMillian 641-891-1206

 

Strength and Courage 

Michael

 

The Mission

Luke 17:33 (NKJV) Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
 
On Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of hearing former Army Ranger and author, Chuck Holden speak at the Vital Men Fall Kick off.
His message was enjoyable, but more importantly, inspired thought that had better lead to action.
After processing all he had to share, it brought to mind something that I wrote back in September of last year. Call it a mission statement. I would like to share it with you.
 
Today is the day. It’s been weighing heavily on me for the past several months. I’ve allowed my focus to drift from the Lord and my fire to temper. God decided, last night, that it was time to really start pulling on me. I found my little notebook. The notebook I write notes from scripture, sermon and prayers in, then realized I hadn’t noticed it was misplaced. I’ve been deeply reading scripture, devotions and Billy Graham literature with a renewed vigor. The book that Ben lent me gave me a new look at Graham’s life and ministry. It further illuminated his great strength and gifts, his incredible journey through life proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I’ve glimpsed a great many of his failings, shortcomings and wrong turns. Throughout it all, the Lord was always there to catch him, to pull him back on course and Billy, sometimes slow, always heard his call. His life and fire for God is unbelievable. Now I know I’ll never be Billy Graham, but I want what he has. I want that life, peace, love and courage. I want to be the Scott Pace that the good Lord designed and expects. I want people to look on me and know that I’m different from others that they know, to see the work of Jesus Christ through my words and actions. I want people to say, “I want to know the life and love that he knows.” When God calls me home, when he punches my ticket, I want those I know and love to sing in joyous celebration. I want them to say, “Scott Pace was a man of God. He loved the Lord and the Lord loved him. He will be missed, but so many will see him again, because of God’s work through him”.
 
As, Chuck spoke, I couldn’t help but think about this mission statement I drafted nearly 1 year ago. God was using Chuck to direct me back to this pledge, this mission. He was a calling me to love, humility and obedience to God. This mission is one requiring death to self (Luke 17:33) and surrender to Jesus and the needs of others. It is a call for endurance and long suffering in anticipation for the mission reward (1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ). And… it’s a call to embrace it and count it all joy (James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials).
 
Chuck challenged us to think about what we would do with our remaining time on earth, to think about how we might be remembered. I’ve thought about it. I wrote about it 1 year ago. Now I will act upon it. Have a blessed weekend.fb_img_1474007384924
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

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