Turbulence

A number of years ago I found myself traveling from the Midwest to New Jersey. I arrived in Milwaukee to catch my connecting flight to Newark, only to discover that a major winter storm had paralyzed the eastern seaboard. As I gazed as the flight board I saw the dreaded CANCELLED on every flight to the east coast save one: mine! I was, of course, quite excited that I would still get home on time. My excitement disappeared, however, when our flight encountered the storm head on. We hit so much turbulence that the overhead compartments opened and luggage flew everywhere. The majority of the passengers ended up using the “courtesy bags {aka barf bags} because things were so shaky. As we came in for our landing I watched the plane’s wings move haphazardly up and down, and I started wondering if we would make it. We seemingly hit the tarmac ok, and then suddenly began to slide. The plane actually slid out of control, doing a 180 before finally coming to a rest. Once I realized I was not going to die I became very curious as to what kind of pilot a} thought it was a good idea to take off b} thought it was a good idea to continue through the storm and c} thought it was wise to land on a sheet of ice. The cockpit opened to reveal a fresh-faced young buck of a captain whose jacket was about 3 sizes to big. He grinned a “I can’t wait to tell the fellas” grin, and we all thankfully exited the plane. 

Lots of times are lives resemble that airplane ride as we feel constantly tossed and turned about, worried that we are going to crash and burn at any moment. Often times in those moments we are quick to blame God for our predicament, or to even doubt his existence. Here’s what I want us to all ask ourselves today: who is really at the controls of our lives? Are we letting God pilot our life, or have we locked the cockpit door and are trying to pilot our life through storms we are ill prepared for? Checkout these challenging, yet hopeful, words from Psalm 143:
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
Psalm 143:9-11

We are going to fly through turbulence in life. What we need to decide is whether we are going to attempt piloting through it ourselves, or instead turn the cockpit over to God. Here’s the reality friends: when we turn the controls of our life over to God he will guide us, deliver us, teach us, and love us through whatever it is we are going through. Surrender the controls, and let our loving God lead you through the storms of life.

This Is The Day

Psalm 118:24New International Version (NIV) 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. This day I choose to rejoice. Obviously choosing is a choice on our own part. We have often heard this verse quoted, sang, and lifted up, but do we live it? I am walking with the expectancy for what the Lord is going to do in our men’s event tonight at Vermeer Pavilion. Yes, I am hopeful that men will come, but this is what I hold onto today. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:9, ‘We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps’. We have been making plans in the last few months for our event. We have put it on the radio, facebook, posters, and church bulletins. But now I submit it back to the Lord. He will determine our steps. My hope and prayer have been for 300 men to come to our event. We have two great speakers in Andrew and Marty Schmidt, along with the band Now Serving 7. I believe for those who choose to come will be impacted. I realize all the conflicts that occur with ball games, family outings, and whatever life puts in our path. It is all good stuff and much of it important. A good friend and pastor once said this to me, “Mike, rejoice in those that come and leave the rest to the Lord.” Very good and sound advice. To those who have a night that allows them to come, I rejoice in that. To those who have other callings that pull them from tonight, blessings on your night. I choose this day to be glad in it! Strength and Courage – Michael

Vital Ministries News

1 Samuel 22:1-2New International Version (NIV)

David at Adullam and Mizpah

22 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

When I read these Scriptures, it sounds like the men of today having the same struggles. There are men in distress, in debt, and having a bitter soul. Yet, David was in hiding too. When they all came together it says David was with 400 men. These men were farmers, shepherds, and men who made tools and weapons from iron.

We have an opportunity to come to the ‘cave’ at Vermeer Pavilion on May 2nd. We will open the doors at 5:30 for food and fellowship. We will be able to hear two powerful speakers, Andrew and Marty Schmidt. We will also be lead in a time of worship with Now Serving 7.

In the ‘cave’, we will learn what it means to engage. We will learn how to submit to the Creator for purpose in life. We will learn about how honor is valuable in life. And we will assess life and die to ourselves in order to lead those closest to us. Take all of these principles and be men who engage in life.

We need you there! Will you take the time? 

It will be a night of men who meet at the Cave of Adullam.

Let’s band together for a night of being men of Strength and Courage. It is an important night!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

 

What’s the Plan?

I’m a planner.  I like to have an idea of what I’m doing, where, why and how.  I like procedure, black and white, right and wrong.  Now, I don’t presume to always know the best way or to know the only way something can or should be done.  All the same, I like to have a path that I believe will lead to the right direction and yield the results I desire.  

I apply this to virtually all facets of my life, work, home, relationships, hunting etc.  The past few weeks I have been working through this falls hunting trip.  I went through my research and developed an application process.  I am now scouring over maps, looking at potential access points, and likely locations for finding elk.  Using google earth and topographical maps I have plotted and measured routes and looked for viable camping spots.  I have a plan.  Like I said, I’m a planner.  

It’s important to have a plan, a procedure in place.  It gives you focus and leads you down a path.  It pre-prepares you for possible obstacles and how you may need to react and respond.  

It’s good to have contingencies in place, just in case.  I’ve learned that even the best laid plans can have wrinkles or just down right fail.  It’s good to have back up, right.

Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. 

I read this verse yesterday and had a truly a-hah moment.  How often in my life have a laid forth plans only to have them take an unexpected turn?  Sometimes these twists have lead to something far better than I had sights set on.  Other times they lead to something dire, difficult or down right painful.  My “a-hah” was, it’s good to have a plan, but just because we plan our path, doesn’t mean that God is going to direct us down it.  He may have something totally different in mind, but He will direct our steps.  

The question I’m asking myself is, am I consistently seeking His direction and glorifying Him no matter what steps He leads me to?  Am I prayerfully asking Him for discernment that I may recognize the steps He’d direct me to take?  Am I asking Him through the preparation and planning process, what He’d have me do?  Am I thanking Him for His attention and direction, regardless of the outcome?  The answer, shamefully, is most often NO.  I need to be.  

Every plan I lay out, direction I pursue and action I take, should be done with Him ever factoring into that process.  What would You have me do Lord?  I’ll plan it how You would have me plan it, execute it how You’d have me execute it.  He is our ultimate contingency plan!  That doesn’t mean we are to be mere spectators.  He expects us to plan and execute.  Question is, are we planning and executing according to His direction?  God Bless you all and have a great weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Investing 101

 

The first thing most people think of after hearing the word investing is likely what you can do with money you have earned by putting it in a savings account, IRA, 401k, stock market, etc in an attempt to earn interest or allow your money to make more money.  While interest rates on savings accounts have been lackluster lately (I think I earned $1.50 on one account this past year), most people have several options as to where to invest their money.  Some consider short term investing in the stock market as a form of gambling, as you may just as easily lose stock value as you could make gains.  Some may consider investing in something more tangible, such as your own house or a rental property, by making improvements and seeking to gain value and increased return with time.  There are many ‘things’ we can purchase, hoping they will increase in value, but in the end, what is the purpose of these things or a big pile of money in a bank account? 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10

Here is a short list of some good investments I have made, or maybe they are just things that turned out to be good ‘values’.    I bought a shop vac for $5 at a garage sale over 10 years ago, and though it has lost its wheels, which sucks, I have removed hundreds of gallons of fluid and filth with this thing, and it is still going strong.  I also purchased an 86 Ford F150 about 12 years ago at an auction for $450 and though not a parade-worthy truck, this has proven helpful more than once over the years.  We all probably have made some solid investments and gotten some good values over the years, but are we just as willing to talk about our bad investments, or endeavors which cost us more than we bargained for?  When I was in High School, I scrapped together several hundred dollars for some company to put together a folder with a drawing and rudimentary summary of an invention idea that I had.  The next step was several thousand dollars, which I decided not to pursue at the time.  There have been several other places where money was spent that I later regretted.  We all could probably come up with lists for each.  These experiences probably teach us as much about where to invest our resources as what not to do. 

Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.  The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.  Proverbs 22:8-9

Besides money, what other resources do you have that you could invest into a variety of places or things?  We can invest in educating ourselves or others, spend time in ministry to children or adults from all walks of life, or volunteer and serve others through a variety of organizations or causes.  Where you spend your time, your talents and abilities, and your money all give an indication as to the condition of your heart and what you value most in life.  When we choose to sit in front of the TV instead of catching up with our family or friends, what we value most at that time is evident to everyone.  When we spend hundreds of dollars on our hobby and complain about giving ten dollars to someone in need, our priorities may be out of balance.  When our words are harsh and critical, we are just expressing the inward condition of our hearts, which may be more difficult for us to see than for others.  What you value most is expressed in your words and actions throughout the day, not just at church or where you work. 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

Sometime this week, take an inventory of some good and bad investments you have made over the years.  Has that changed your view of the value you place on things, or your time?  What kind of returns would you like to see when you invest your resources?  Where do you feel God is calling you to change in where you give your resources?  Sometimes simply asking God to show you where your heart is in what you are doing is a good practice to check your motives and re-direct your path when necessary.  Don’t be afraid to also ask others who know you well what they think about how you spend your talents and resources, and what most motivates you to action.  Next week we will dig a little deeper as we look at where God calls us to invest our resources. 

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

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