Book ’em

Book ‘em

I have a problem.  I like books.  Over the years, I have taken in more than I have given up and the net gain is more than I should have.  I often say, at the pace I am reading, I will not be able to read all of them in the remainder of my lifetime, not even counting what I borrow from the library.  Therefore, I should start to narrow down this collection to a manageable selection and get rid of the rest.  If you would like a good read, or know of a good place to donate (almost all non-fiction) books, please let me know.  Do you judge a book by its cover, or how do you decide what to read and what to ignore, if even a book? 

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105

I think it is a great feeling when you can get to the end of a good book and you feel fairly satisfied in knowing a little more than when you started.  Whether fiction or not, it may leave you wanting to find out more about the people, about which you just read, or it may give you an insight into what makes us all tick.  Regardless, a good story has a way of drawing us in, whether you read it or hear it.   What books or stories you have heard that stand out the most in your mind…why?  Do you share them with others?

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  Matthew 7:24

What is it about God’s story that is most interesting to you?  The stories between Genesis and Revelation are just part of the story God is writing, but those are the ones which we are most familiar.  Are you still in the Word and learning from these stories?  I never cease to be amazed when I find out something new I have never known before, even if I have heard the verse.  God’s word contains many treasures waiting to be found.  Do you still seek them?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

So, do you still share these stories?  Not only the stories found in the Bible, but also the new stories God is writing in your life?  As you relate a bible story, do you also share with your family, friends, or anyone who will listen how God is at work in your own life?  It not only takes a little examination, but also a little faith to share this reality of how God is living and active in your story.  Even if you just type out a few pages, take some time to write down these stories you want to share with those you care about.  They will be glad that you did.  We all have a story to share!

Yours in Christ,
Clark

 

I am not going to be father of the year…

My daughter, Eliana, is 9 months old and is climbing up on EVERYTHING. There is a small step stool my older daughter, Eden, uses.  Eliana will climb it and reach for cabinet knobs.  I knew watching her, this could and probably will end in tears.  Then I got caught in conversation.  About a minute later, my ears are throbbing and it sounds like an ambulances decided to loose it’s mind in my kitchen.  How something that small can make a sound that BIG is a small miracle.  I know I will not be getting the father or the year award, because she has done it before didn’t learn and I know she will do it again. 

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Both the prudent and the simpleton foresee danger, it is what they do with it, that determines the outcome.  I foresaw Eliana hurting herself and could have easily taken precaution, but I got distracted and went on blindly and suffered the consequences and so did my daughter.  I think in all of our lives we do things knowing they could end very badly and probably should end badly.  We through caution to the wind and go on blindly and then blame God for the consequences we face.

I believe there are a number of reasons why we do not take precaution.  One is we do not take time to stop, process what we are about to do and foresee the potential outcomes.  Our culture trains us to pursue happiness and what we want now.  The culture of the Kingdom will sacrifice what we want now for what we want most.  Take Eliana… What I want most is for my daughter to feel safe and protected in my home.  What I wanted in the moment was to stay engaged in the conversation.  I made a poor decision.  How many stories do all of us have where we chose something in the moment that violated a greater value we wanted most.  I could write a book.  So what decision are you facing today between what you want now and what you want most?  Stop, process the outcomes, and decide…

I think how we continue to make those decisions will dictate our options in the future.  If you invest wisely starting in your 20’s, you won’t be dependant on a bankrupt government for social insecurity.  If you love and pray over your spouse or future spouse you will have a greater chance of staying married.  If you choose wise friends, you will like the quality of life you experience later.  So I ask it one last time…

What decision am I facing now? What do I want now? What do I want most? 

Stop, process the outcomes, and decide knowing the prudent foresee danger and make precautions, and the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Pressing Stop

I read an article once about the downfall of Target in Canada. In 2013 Target decided to enter the Canadian market, opening 133 stores in its first year. Moving into Canada seemed like a brilliant move. Many Canadians were already familiar with Target, and made stopping at Target a major part of any trip to the US. All indicators were that Target’s expansion into Canada would be a run away success. Yet, from the beginning, the Canadian expansion was a disaster. All of Target’s ordering, sales, and re-stocking are managed by computer software that has served them well in the United States. Canada, however, differs from the US in its use of the Canadian dollar, French and English, and the metric system. Those responsible for Target’s data entry often forgot about these differences, leading to errors in 70% of their initial product orders (mostly related to entering sizes in inches rather then centimeters). This led to major mistakes in the ordering of products, and most Target’s opened with half-empty shelves. To make things worse, store shelves never seemed to get re-stocked. Target soon discovered that its ordering clerks, who needed to keep the shelves 97% full to receive positive evaluations, had turned off the software function that reported empty shelves. While this assured them of a 100% success rate, it also meant that Target HQ was never informed that stores were out of products. Less then two years from opening Target Canada went out of business, closing 133 stores, laying off 17,600 employees, and losing over $2 billion. This has even forced Target to close stores in the US and make other serious changes.

As I read this story I was amazed that no one in leadership ever just said “stop!” Instead of opening stores with a known problem in their supply chain Target should have postponed openings to ensure all their data problems were fixed. When things do not go as we like in life we tend to simply trudge on like Target, no matter how bad things may be. We soon become so stressed and overwhelmed that we have no idea what to do next. When you start feeling overwhelmed in life take Jesus’ advice in 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.

All of us need to take time to stop whatever we are doing in life to simply spend time with God. We need to take time to speak with Him, listen to Him, and let his love flow over us. Even if this is for only 10 minutes during your crazy day take the time to let God re-charge you. Don’t try to do everything on your own, especially when things start going wrong. Press stop and let God’s love and grace help push you through the trials of your life.

Moments

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 The Message

After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live. Take care of yourself, have good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.

When I read these verses from The Message, I think of moments. Moments of good health come to mind. Moments of enjoying come to my mind. And moments of enjoying what I do for a living enter my mind. In that we give back to God all of our moments in life to glorify him.

Moments of good health have a price. Some we control and some we do not. In these moments, I have made a choice to work on getting into shape and watch more of what I eat. I hope my days are lengthened if its God’s will to run this race we call life.

In my moment of family, my wife and I have made choices to make family a priority. We want to be available for our kids and grandkids. They grow up fast, so we treasure the moments we have with them.

As for the moments of my job, I feel blessed in doing what I do. the door to doing the Lord’s ministry is open for me. I am able to do Vital Men, be an associate pastor in my home community, and to continue ministry in construction. I have been greatly blessed with moments.

As the writer says, “It’s a gift!” God deals out the joy in the present, the now. I pray that my moments bring fame to Jesus. He is the source of my joy and the giver of my moments.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

Trust His Light

Matthew 6:22,23 (NKJV) “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

I was riding home on the bike the other evening, right at dusk.  As I rode along, I marveled at how difficult it was to see.  This is not a new observation, but the ponderance it led to is.  

In my opinion, this time of day is the most dangerous to be riding your bike.  For one, the deer are moving.  They are transitioning from their bedding to feeding areas.  There is just enough ambient light to drawn out your headlight and render it virtually useless.  However, there is not enough to enable you to see.  The colors blur together, contrast is lost and it is very hard to quickly discern things.  It’s this little bit of light that intrigued me, though.  You see for most, it’s just enough to lure them out, lead them into a false sense of security, make them believe they can see when they really cannot.  Therefore, off they go to “beat the dark.”

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard, “sun’s setting, we better get going before it gets dark.” These people are fooled into believing that weak glow that melts everything together, makes it so incredibly difficult to discern, is safer than a dark path illuminated by the headlight.  Guess what… it’s not.

So it is in our faith walk.  I believe so many are tempted to travel down the sunset lit path of life, lured by the illusion of blurred, dimly lit sight. When, they should have waited until darkness set in, and allow God to turn on the headlights at a time that we can realize how much better our sight can be.  So many get lured into easy believe-ism, or the notion, “well I’m not that bad… it’s only… I can always…”  So, they set off down the highway at dusk, full of false securities, hazarding their way to possible catastrophe.  

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

To know your path fully and confidently, you need clear vision, a good light.  The light of dusk is a trap, an illusion.  Sometimes one must faithfully wait for the darkest hours and trust in His light to pierce through to spectacular clarity.  Have a blessed weekend 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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