Have Grits

My wife and I have been working on instilling a core value into our kids. Of all our values, this is the hardest one to explain.  The value is “Have Grit.”  My seven year old daughter heard this was a family values she heard… “have grits”  She tells me that she does not like grits but would like our value to be “have pancakes.”  So my family values according to my seven year old would be…

Follow Jesus
Take Courage
Choose Joy
Have Pancakes

I agree pancakes are good but not quite family value level.  So then I started working on how do you explain grit to a child.  I want my kids to grow up to be adults with grit.  I wrote down ideas of how to explain this.  I came up with “Sereg’s don’t quit” or “We like a challenge”  Then it hit me… “we do hard things and we finish them.”

I have been on a one year Bible reading plan, and God has really highlighted the men and women who had grit.  They were put in impossible situation where normal men and women would crumble or quit.  These heros of our faith are not heros or worthy of writing about without these great challenges.  The fact that it was hard and that they finished strong, causes us to tell our children their stories.  David kills the giant. Benaiah chases the lion. Esther challenges the law. Joseph forgives his brothers. Abram leaves everything he knows. Peter preaches Jesus after the crucifixion of Jesus. 

So then I thought, when did they find the courage to do this really hard thing?  Was it the courage in the moment, they found an internal strength they didn’t know they had?  Was it God’s grace that they obeyed to the point of risking their life?  I do think this was a defining moment and I certainly believe apart from grace they would not have done this… However I believe something more.  I think they decided ahead of time that they would hard things and finish them.  They developed grit before these epic moments.  Why did every person in the Bible face tragedy?  Is it because God is cruel and makes this life hard?  Is it the devil?  Or is it a loving father who knows when the struggle, meets His grace, meets “have grit” that the world will marvel by how great God is and that God’s greatness lives in men. 

In my life, marriage is hard, parenting is hard, ministry is hard, and love is hard.  I decided along time ago that I do hard things and I finish them.  It is the struggle that builds strength.  It is the perseverance that builds character.  It is the epic moment in our stories that reveal our grit.  We all want to be victorious and be known as an overcomer, but do we want to finish hard things.

So what is hard in your life?  How are you responding?  Are you trying get out of the hard thing?  Are you blaming someone for the problem?  Or do you “have grit” and finish hard things?  

Do hard things and finish them… Have Grit

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Getting Rid of Jesus

I had a surreal experience this week. I spent roughly 15 minutes getting rid of Jesus. Yep, you read that write. We recently purchased a truck that had a giant sticker of a crucified Jesus on the back window. While I’m not a sticker guy, and I was not the biggest fan of the looks of this particular sticker, I felt awkward getting rid of Jesus. When a friend told us some of the signals that having such a sticker sent I knew it was time to remove it (some cultural issues related to our Nicaraguan context). So, there I was, spending 15-minutes literally ripping Jesus off my truck. As I did this I had a few thoughts:

  1. Rejecting Jesus is easier then removing a sticker from your car. We reject Jesus so often, and we don’t even give it a second thought. We don’t follow scripture as we should, we don’t always love our neighbor, and we too often follow the world over Christ. Every time we sin we are rejecting the ways of Jesus.
  2. Receiving Jesus is easier then putting a sticker on your car. This was quite a large and intricate sticker, not simply a one-piece bumper sticker. It would have taken some time, effort, planning, and hard-work to put it on correctly. Yet, receiving eternal life in a perfect Heaven is perhaps even easier. I John 1:9 sums up the process perfectly: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. See, all the time, effort, planning, suffering, and “heavy lifting” for our salvation has already been done by Christ. The thing we most need, eternal life, we don’t have to earn, but are given as a gift because of Jesus’ love and grace. Its so amazing to me that something so great and eternal has been given to us at such a huge cost to Jesus.
  3. You can never truly get rid of Jesus. This is the best news! Regardless of our sinfulness Jesus can never be fully removed from our lives.                         I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:35-37                                                When we fall He is there to catch us. When we struggle He is there to support us. When we are lost He is there to guide us. Most importantly, He has already permanently paid the price for our sin. Sin and death have been conquered on the Cross for all those who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Searching for Hope

Matthew 2:1New International Version (NIV)

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod,Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

Advent Season of Christmas has come once again. It is a time of reflection of how the Christ Child was born as a baby. We celebrate the season with anticipation of Christmas Day with family and friends.

I also think the holiday season brings a time that we look for hope. Where is the hope? The Wise Men were looking for the same thing. They had hopes in traveling from miles away to look upon the One Who was born King of the Jews.

The Wise Men hoped to find Jesus. Real hope is a reality and not a feeling. Biblical hope carries no doubt. It is a sure foundation upon which we base our lives, and in which we believe that God always keeps his promises.

One of my favorite verses on hope is found in Hebrews 11:1, ‘Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.’

I believe that is what the Wise Men held onto as they hoped to see Jesus as the traveled for miles as the followed the star in their hope.

What are you hoping for this Advent Season? What are you believing that God has promised you? For my hope lies in the promises that my children will know Jesus in a real and personal way, and that Jesus is their hope for the future, and that Jesus has a plan for each one of them.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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Be Still

Psalms 5:3 (NASB) In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

There are few activities more settling to me than sitting in a tree stand on a frosty November morning, awaiting the sunrise to break and illuminate the world about me.  I am still, but alert.  I attempt to come into tune with my surroundings and the wildlife inhabiting it.  The distractions and cares of my day to day worries are rendered from my heart.  I am there for a purpose, a purpose rooted in peace and calm, stillness.  In this stillness, I know my purpose and because of the stillness I can be expectant.  I “eagerly watch”, listen and let it all unfold.

God wants us to be happy.  He wants us to have joy, peace and goodness in our lives.  But God generally enters into our awareness softly, as a whisper.  To hear Him, we must be still.  This stillness must be in body, mind and heart.  

If I were to climb into my stand and turn constant circles, flail my arms about while whistling the Star Spangled Banner, I couldn’t very well expect to see much in the form of deer movement.  The same, I believe, can be said quite often in regards to hearing from the Lord, experiencing His presence.  

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” ― Ram Dass   So simply put… simply true.

Being still requires discipline and patience, perseverance, and above all faith that He is working and you will know when His timing dictates. 

“When Christ delays to help His saints now, you think this is a great mystery, you cannot explain it; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. Be still, and know that Christ is God.”  – Robert Murray McCheyne

We get caught up in the rush of the chaotic world that envelopes our life.  We grasp and clutch for control that never comes, because it can’t. It’s an illusion.  The chaos serves to only pull our focus from that which really matters.

Luke 10:41,42 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” 

So many of us allow our hearts and minds to be swept up in the noise and demands of life, when often times what we need to do is be still.  How often to you make room for specific moments spent in stillness, eagerly watching?  Throughout the day, how often do you pause when the weight of life begins to pull you down, and patiently, quietly wait on the Lord?  How much of of that which distracts, burdens and worries you have you surrendered to the Lord?On all accounts, not enough, is my answer.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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