Vital Ministries News

Vital Biker Trip

May 31-June 2

Kickstands up at 7:00 am/Meet at Vital Ministries Building in Oskaloosa

Ride the Mississippi River

“No Time To Kill”

Ephesians 5:15-19 (NASB) ‘Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 

I was reading Ephesians and this particular passage struck me.  This might sound like a strange comparison, but it reminded me of the Clint Black song, “No Time To Kill”.  “How on earth do you draw a comparison like that, Scott?!”  It’s the reference to time and it’s finite nature (in this life at least).  In this passage, Paul is expressing the importance of walking in wisdom and effectively managing our time.  These are evil days, and there is no time to be slacking off.  The only way to truly be effective in that is to know what God’s will for your life is.  The only way to know what God’s will is, is to know His heart.  The only way to know His heart is to read His word and commune with Him daily.  You have to be constantly pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Another element to what Paul says here  is to “not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation”.  What is dissipation?  It means to waste.  What he is saying here is simply, make the most of every moment.  Getting drunk, as well  as a plethera of substitutes, is nothing more than a waste.  If it isn’t edifying, it it doesn’t serve to glorify God, or to bolster a brother. it’s a waste of time.  This is a simple litmus test that can be applied to, literally, every single thing we do, day in and day out.  

So, regardless of what you are engaged in, no matter when, apply the simple litmus test… “Is this glorifying God?”  If it does, continue.  If it doesn’t, discontinue.  If you are unsure, spend more time with Him and get sure!  Remember… there’s “no time to kill”!  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Fearfully Made

So, this past evening, I get a call from my sister-in -law asking if I would come check out a noise in the crawl space of her house.  My wife just got home with the older kids, so I tell her I am going exploring at her old house.  I suspected some sort of animal, so I brought a trap, a baseball bat, and leather gloves, just in case.  When I get there, the crawl space window is pushed open, and the lights that have worked in the past do not.  So, flashlight it is!  I peek through the opening and don’t see much of anything.  I climb down into the window well and poke my head in to see better, and eventually I see two beady eyes looking back at me at the other end of the house.  Once I could identify at least one of the animals there was in fact a possum, any fears I may have had subsided significantly from my worst case scenario of a rabid badger.  Catching him was another challenge, but it eventually ended with me making him mad trying to grab its tail, and then watching him run to the other side of the house, up and out the window opening.  In hindsight, there were worse fears I faced this day.  How do you deal with the fears you face in life? 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

When I was a young child, I remember a few instances of being scared of the dark, or of certain situations where I found myself.  It wasn’t so much the dark I was afraid of, but what ‘might be’ in the dark that I couldn’t see.  In one’s mind, it could be anything you would fear could take your life, or hurt you.  In reality, it is usually nothing.  At times, these fears can be fueled by what other things we allow into our minds as well.  Back in elementary and middle school, I was into reading about paranormal things like ghosts, UFOs, Cryptozoology and the like and I vaguely recall considering encounters with these types of things as things I may be afraid of.  It wasn’t always even based in what was likely, but the 0.001 percent chance of what might happen.  What truths have displaced the myths from your mind? 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19

As I have grown and matured as a Christian, I have come to a point where I don’t fear death, or anything that may bring it about.  I put my trust in my Creator of when my time will come to an end and look forward to meeting Him.  This doesn’t mean I want to die now, but I don’t fear it either.  The same can be said of any other fears, of disease, of loss of things, or a job, or reputation, or loved ones, or anything else.  Being close to God, and experiencing a few close calls, has also given me better judgement, and I try not to put myself into as many situations where I could get hurt or die.  When the truth of God’s Kingdom is evident in our lives, the little things that used to make me pause or stumble now may even motivate me.  I like the challenge of facing some of the fears that once haunted me.  With God as my foundation, I can withstand any obstacle, weather any storm, overcome any challenge, even death, and so can you!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Yours in Christ,
Clark 

 

Chase the Lion Part 1

Not too long ago, a bat invaded our house.  My grandma woke up to it flying in her room.  I went in the room and could not find it.  Part of me thought she didn’t have her glasses on and she was disoriented.  Later that morning it shows up again.  My 10 year old son decided he was up to the challenge.  He went and got his Red Ryder BB gun.  It was perched in a corner of our vaulted ceiling in a little ball.  Nervously he aims at the bat knowing it could get spooked and start flying again.  He takes aim and shoots the bat.  He nails it and the bat swoops to the floor at all the girls in my house start screaming.  My wife covers the bat with a towel and takes it outside dead.  Levi my son is now a sharp shooting warrior.  He has officially gotten his first man card at 10!

One of my favorite stories in scripture is about a man who steps up in a crazy way.  The act of heroism, by this many named Benaiah, along with a few others led him to eventually become the captain of the guard under King David and commander in chief under King Solomon.  Little did he know these acts of heroism would set up such a dream responsibility.  

Here is the account:

2 Samuel 23:20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[i] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[j] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it.22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors.

On a Snowy day-

Isn’t that just how God works.  If you live in Israel snow comes around about as often as it does in Alabama.  They are not used to this kind of cold.  On a miserable day comes a defining moment.  I don’t know about you but most of my defining moments were on a bad day or a hard day.  Benaiah has to face a lion one on one on a miserable day.  

I think in our lives we find ourselves here on our worst days.  The day you didn’t get enough sleep, had a rough morning, spilled something on yourself, lost an opportunity is the day you notice that person who is having a rough day, you have the opportunity to cheat or lie, or feel compelled by the Lord to be overly generous.

These are the days God tests our character and He find whether we can be trusted.  So this week I want to challenge you to ask God to give you an opportunity to show faith in a way that costs you like it would on a snowy day.  Then ask God to give you the strength and courage to do it.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Making Prayer Real

In Jesus’ day prayer had become very much misunderstood and missed used. Jesus relates how it was common in synagogues to see supposedly pious men praying long, elaborate, and very visible prayers. The problem with their prayers was not that they were public, but rather that they were incredibly self-serving. It would not have been unheard of to hear a prayer along the following line:
“Oh most high and glorious God, thank you for creating me. Thank you for my great intelligence, my extreme piety, my heroic leadership, and my astonishing appearance. Thank you that I am not like Frank, Harry, Sally and Bob, who do not follow you with nearly the passion I do.”
While that may seem like a far-out example, it’s pretty spot on to what was happening. Jesus shares a very similar example in Luke 18:9-14. Jesus also shared that many people had made prayer a highly complex affair. The felt that a good prayer necessitated big words, great length, and showed how deeply educated the person praying was. Jesus rejected this notion as well.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:5-8


The big point Jesus was making is that prayer is really a relational conversation between us and Him, the one who created us, sustains us, and saves us. Prayer is a time when we come before our Holy Father and share whatever is on our mind. In doing this we not only connect to God, but we give Him great honor. Pastor Rick Warren once shared that “The greatest gift we can give somebody is our attention, because to give attention is to give of your life, and you can’t take that back.” Unlike giving money or possessions we can in no way ever get our time back. Giving our time to someone is a permanent gift, and thus places it among the leading ways we can show honor to someone. My question to all of us is: are we truly connecting with God in prayer and showing Him the honor He deserves? Or, are we making prayer a self-serving practice like many in Jesus’s day? Let us give God the honor he deserves by taking time daily to connect with Him in prayer, sharing our joys, our thanks, our sins, and our needs with Him.

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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