While You Are Going

GoingHave you ever wished that your day was just a little bit longer in order to fit everything in? We have so many things taking up valuable time in our relatively short lives. 25-30 years of our life will be entirely taken up by work. Another 26.5 years is spent sleeping. That’s roughly 2/3 of our lifetime between those two! You can add in 6 years for eating, 5 years waiting (lines, doctors office, traffic lights, etc.), 4 years for housework, 2 years at the movies, and just over a year sitting on the toilet. Now, if you were to spend 2 hours a week in church for 60 years, you would end up spending a mere 280 days at church. Yes, its quite possible you will spend more time on the toilet then at church!

Now, my point today is not to chide anyone for a lack of church involvement. If you are taking time to read a daily devotional my guess is spending time in a Christian setting (worship, Vital, Sunday school, small group, etc.) is not exactly your problem. What I want us to think about is: how are you walking with God as we do all of those other things? Because, friends, the reality is we are never going to spend the majority of our time in church. We are going to spend it in the world, interacting with people of all types of different persuasions. The question for us today: how much of that daily life are we spending living for God?

The Great Commission has long been among my favorite verses. In this famous speech the resurrected Christ proclaims that we all need to: go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

While I’ve loved this passage for years I’ve recently discovered something very interesting about it. The word go in the original Greek is in what is called the present participle tense. That means that perhaps a better translation would be: as you are going. Jesus is not simply telling us to go on a mission trip to share the Good News, nor to only give an offering to the cause. Instead, He is commanding all of us to be living for Him and the gospel as we are going through our daily life. We need to start looking at EVERY moment of our lives as a chance to be living for God. As we go through our work day how are we living for God? How about in our family? When we are at the store? How are we using all of that going time in our lives for the benefit of Christ and His Kingdom? Lets start living for God as we go and live out our daily lives. 

The End Of Me

Galatians 2:20New Living Translation (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We get asked and challenged by a sermon and from the Bible to live with the thought of ‘The End of Me’. What does that mean? Does that mean my person, my beliefs, who I am? What is Paul challenging me to do?

When you dig into this text, Paul is confronting Peter. Peter is wavering back and forth about the law, which is Old Testament, as to the freedom Christ gave us in him, to the liberty to stand in our faith, and to the freedom from the bondage of sin.

We get to enjoy this freedom in Christ. We have the freedom to do and the freedom not to do. We obey Christ out of love as opposed to obeying Christ because of law.

Jesus broke the law of the Old Testament with his death, burial, and his resurrection. This is the way Jesus laid out for us to be identified with him.

Let’s keep this simple. When I do to myself, my flesh, my sin, it is covered by the grace of Jesus. That sin is now buried so that my new life is now resurrected, made new in him. Hopefully this makes sense.

By coming to the of self, I am now identified in Christ as one of his followers. I am a new creation. Now my true identity is not in what I do for a living, my past sins, or what the world tries to say about me. I am the son of the Living God, Jesus. I was a sinner saved by grace, and I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. 

Men, this is freeing. Do you hear me on this? The end of you is freedom! Will you allow Jesus to help you stand in these truths?

We get to stand together as free men.

Come to the Vital Men Kick Off Event on September 14. It is free. We get to stand together as free men!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

Vital Ministries News

Ezekiel 11:18-19New Living Translation (NLT)

18 “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. 19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart,

The spiritual renewal is already happening. When men come together in one spirit and repent of their sins brings Jesus Christ to the forefront of their lives. Are you ready to trust the King?

This will be my last Vital News Post for our upcoming event September 14 at Pella Christian High School. We open the doors at 5:30 and start at 6:30. We will have the worship band from The Bridge in Ottumwa bringing us to praise to start things off.

Next, it is Chuck Holton, Airborne Ranger, Helicopter Pilot, War Correspondent, Author, and Speaker leading the charge at our Vital Men’s Kick Off Event.

IT is a time to bring your sons, friends, co-workers, and any man to this event. I promise you, men, you will not go away disappointed. As the Army says, “We need you!” Do not miss this!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

“Do you WANT to be Made Well?”

John 5:5-9 (NKJV) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

On our way back from Utah, we were listening to a sermon on this passage from.  The pastor was talking about the healing power of Jesus.  He spoke of the many times He healed someone physically, and spiritually.  He spoke about how He used methods unique to each individual situation.

There’s no way to be certain of Jesus’ tone or inflection in His question to the man, but I’m going to insert one.  As I read this, I hear Jesus asking, “do you WANT to be made well?”  Jesus isn’t asking the man why he hasn’t been successful in his attempts to be healed.  He wants to know if the man wants it.  This aroused a deep intrigue in me.  

How often are we afflicted by something, physical, emotional and/or spiritual and wonder why we cannot be made well, or at least get past it?  Allow Jesus to ask,”do you WANT to be made well?”  Well, do you?  Really?  Do you?

I think in a great many instances, people cling to hurt, physical limitation or illness, emotional trauma, spiritual deficit, anguish and even sin, because they identify with it.  People identify them with it.  It can even be an escape from responsibility or reality.  

Now, before the hate emails begin to fly, let me finish.  I’m painting with a broad brush.  I in no way mean to imply that every pain or illness suffered is controlled solely by oneself, nor am I implying that simply wishing it to be gone will make it so.  What I am stating, as I believe Jesus is stating in His question, is do you really WANT to be well.  This question applies to all the above mentioned conditions and a host of so many more.  If you do not WANT to be made well, I don’t think you will be.  If you don’t WANT Jesus to intervene in your life, on your behalf, I don’t believe He will.  

 Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Wanting something is not enough, but wanting is the place to begin.  Jesus wants us to be made well, physically, emotionally, spiritually, but we must WANT it.  We must come to Him.  The man by the pool had suffered for 38 years.  He had reasons why He suffered.  Jesus simply asked, “do you WANT to be made well”?  He commanded the man to rise and after 38 years, he obeyed Jesus’ voice, chose to be made well and walked away.  

We all have something that afflicts us, illness, pain, emotional scars, sin.  What are you afflicted by?  Do you WANT to be made well?  Answer Jesus’ question, then obey His voice.  That’s the place to start.  May God bless each and everyone of you and have a safe and glorious weekend.  

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

 

 

Complaint Department

“Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.”
― Lou Holtz

You know what they say about complaining?  It doesn’t do us any good, so why bother.  Yet, through the course of a normal day, we hear it all the time.  From our co-workers, clients, kids, people at the store, and from ourselves.  We don’t always realize our own complaining, especially when we try to hide them in other statements.  But they are there.  One guy even developed a system to try to eliminate outward complaining for days at a time, but struggled with success in this challenge.  So, why do we complain to others or to God?  If things are out of our control, who do we want to take charge?

Do everything without grumbling or arguing.  Philippians 2:14

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

We hear ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’.   If we complain enough, do we get what we want?  Maybe.  The reason children whimper and whine is because it works.  It irritates and annoys those in charge to bring attention to their current wants or needs.  It works.  Does it always work for us?  What about the persistent widow who kept pleading her case to the judge, and eventually he dealt with her requests for justice.  Do we have a right to complain when we have been wronged, versus when we just want more than we need, so we can better than someone else?  I think God knows the difference. 

I loathe my very life;  therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.  Job 10:1

If anyone had a right to complain, it was Job.  Nearly everything he had was taken from him, and all those around him were as far from encouragement as you could get.  Even his wife encouraged him to curse God and die.  Yet, in the end Job acknowledged that God is sovereign no matter how miserable we may feel in our current circumstances.  Do we act the same way in similar scenarios?  When we feel things are not going our way, we complain to God and others if they will listen.  We feel things are not right and someone needs to listen.  Though our circumstances are not always a result of our actions, we are often quick to blame others instead of looking at our role and the choices we made in our current situation. 

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

While we should share our struggles and frustrations with God and with those close to us, we need to look beyond our selfish gripes to how we can still be effective in the world around us.  The opposite of complaining is gratitude and thankfulness.  The more thankful we are for what we have been blessed with in life, the less likely we are to complain about our current situation or what we don’t have in life.  After all, we have already been given the best gift of all through our faith in Christ.  That alone should bring us gratitude and joy, no matter any other external circumstances.  Let us share with others the source of that joy that they may have peace as well. 

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  I Timothy 6:6-10

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

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