We can’t do life alone…

Imagine you meet someone that has not tried chocolate.  It has such a distinct flavor unlike any other.  You really cannot compare it so another flavor.  You know when this person tastes it their life is about to change.  But before they taste it they have no idea what they are missing, and they think you are over valuing it… Until they try it.

This it how I fell about groups! I meet Christians who attend Church but do not have a Spiritual family.  A family that we know and trust knows the four parts of us…

photo-1461948573049-a5ab4efb6150.jpegArena- I know and you know

I need people who know the real me.  We all have our public face.  It is not a fake us, but it is not the full us.  We show the world the parts of us we want to reveal

Romans 12:5 There are many people who belong to Christ. And yet, we are one body which is Christ’s. We are all different but we depend on each other.

Mask- I know, but you don’t know

When it comes to secretes, I am not safe if no one knows.  Fear is one thing that keeps us from sharing the real us.  If people knew my secretes, would they look at me different or would they tell other people. It doesn’t matter whether you follow sports, politics, or church leaders we all have seen what happens to people who keep secretes in the dark. 

James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

So who knows the real you?  Or do you keep people in the area version of you?  Do you keep people at arms length trying to protect yourself or your ego?  I want to encourage you today, it is like the chocolate you haven’t tasted.  When you get past the area and you let people in, you will find a level of life you never have before.  Unfortunately I have to be clear on something, the person you go to this level with is NOT a person of the opposite sex (unless you are married to them).  Engaged, promised, dating is not married!  Pick someone who can help you get where you are trying to go. 

Take off the mask.  Get the secrete out of the dark and let them loose their power.  Let confession bring healing.  I pray today you take courage and get the right people in your life and you let them into the real you!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Leaving it All on the Field

trackSo, I’ve been trying to turn my wife into a runner. For four years. And it’s still not working! Sometimes I feel I’m getting close, then she slowly gets out of the habit. She likes going to the gym, she likes spending the extra time with family (we try to make workouts a family activity as much as possible), she’s naturally athletic, and she really likes to purchase clothes and shoes for running (especially if they are pink and/or purple). Lately she’s been open about the problem: she has ZERO desire to feel exhausted. She’s fine doing a short jog with the kids, or a leisurely run, but she has NO desire to get to the point exhaustion. Now, before you judge me for being a demanding and pushy husband, let me assure you that I always back off. She certainly never has to be a runner for me to love her. She has MANY other things that are amazing and wonderful around her, and running does not need to be one.

What has struck me is that her desire to avoid exhaustion in running is similar to the desire of many of us to avoid fulling serving God. I’ll wager a guess that most of you routinely exhaust yourselves in your work, in your hobbies, and in your family life. You’ve put in the 60-hour work weeks while still getting to two football games, six t-ball games, four ballet classes, two piano recitals, and ensuring everyone in the family actually ate (even if “eating” often meaning McDonald’s or Ramen!). But, what about pushing yourself to the limit for God? What about giving your best for Him, leaving it all on the field for His glory? Many of us are willing to do some things for God in life: we’ll teach Sunday school, do a service project, and fill a shoebox for needy kids, but what about when serving becomes difficult? What about when it forces us to sacrifice our time, our energy, and our finances in a big way?  Now, should we be exhausting ourselves on a daily basis? No! We all need a balance in our lives. But, we need to be willing and ready to serve God sacrificially for the glory of His Kingdom. Are you willing to be exhausted for God, to sometimes make sacrifices in your life so that God can use you to make an impact?

Let’s close today with these words from the Apostle Paul: let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

A Life That Mattered

2 Timothy 1:9New Living Translation (NLT)

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

Have you ever stepped back and looked at your life? Have you looked where you came from? Are you looking at where you are going? I believe all men ponder this question. Did my life really matter?

My mind reflects to the movie, Saving Private Ryan. In this movie a band of men go off on a dangerous mission to save one man. They risk their own lives to accomplish this mission. In the movie, all but two men live through the struggles of attaining the goal of saving Private Ryan, the last living brother in his family.

Now fast forward this man’s life. He is now an older man. He has had a wife, children, and has witnessed grand children being born. He visits the grave of the Captain who gave his life to save his. This Captain told him before he died, “Make this day count.”

The man, Ryan, is at a humbling and sobering moment as he is visiting the grave of this Captain. He has memories flooding back as he stands at the grave. As he is pondering his life, his wife comes along side him. He speaks to her and says, “Tell me I was a good man.” 

His wife assures him he is a good man and that his life did matter. Men, we all want to know the answer to that question. I have a quote for us today that I believe will make us all know our lives mattered, and that we are risen in Christ.

“Never regret a day in your life. Good days give happiness. Bad days give experience. Worst days give lessons. The best days give memories.”

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18New Living Translation (NLT)

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

This coming week is Thanksgiving week. It is a time set aside with family and friends to enjoy the holiday feasts of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. That sounds good.

This week I believe holds two thoughts of what Thanksgiving is all about. The first thought is that this holiday is the beginning of the Christmas season of going to the malls at midnight, the rush to fill wish lists, and the stress of the holiday season.

The second thought is that we just take in the Thanksgiving day by possibly going to church the night before or on the morning to Thanksgiving, enjoying the fellowship of family, and enjoying great food with family and friends.

All of this is great stuff, but I am reminded of what the passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 really says to rejoice always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all things. I believe, men, this is the true measure that the Pilgrims had as they enjoyed the thankfulness of God’s gracious provision.

We will not be meeting as Vital Men the week of Thanksgiving. This will allow you time to spend with family and to allow Thanksgiving to be a true day of thankfulness to our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Blessings

II Corinthians 4:8,9 (NKJV) We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…

This is becoming a common theme, for me, of late.  If it is getting repetitive, I apologize, but God has really burdened me with this.  I’m feeling His lead to call those around me back to the Hope that we all have in Christ Jesus.  

We are all, in varying degrees, buffeted daily by strife and struggle.  I see so many every day, people close to me, as well as strangers, hurting, rejected, disappointed, struggling just to survive, and losing hope.  

In my Wednesday night men’s group, my good friend Rob Ricketts shared a story of personal struggle he was combating and, through faith in God, found victory.  With his permission, I share it with you.

Rob is a hardworking guy.  He works in construction, managing numerous men to the completion of numerous jobs.  Most of the jobs he is responsible for, are bound by time constraints that can easily be challenged by ambients beyond his control.  

It’s a difficult and stressful occupation that can and does take a heavy toll on Rob.  This time of year is crunch time.  Deadlines are closing in with the inevitable approach of winter.  Rob is stressed.  This past week or so found him overwhelmed, distressed, and anxious.  He found himself giving in to melancholy, and despair.  As he put it, “I was doing the pity party, woe-is-me routine.”  

Thankfully, Rob recognized the path he was headed down, and intentionally took action. He chose to turn to the one and only source that could pull him out.  He prayed to God.  His prayer was that God would soften his heart, restore his Hope, give him a fresh perspective and rekindle his faith.  Rob’s prayer was answered.  While stopping to grab a bite to eat with his brotherMarc, they ran into Marc’s pastor and a new member of their church.  The man with the pastor had just been given a job and the two were having a celebratory lunch.  Afterward, they were going to get the man a new pair of shoes that he desperately needed.  

As Rob and Marc left, Marc filled in the rest of the picture.  He told Rob that the man had recently given his heart to the Lord.  He told him that the man was living in a small trailer, with nothing more than a dorm fridge, microwave and sleeping bag for furnishings.  This new job was a tremendous blessing and victory for the man.  Rob’s heart broke.  This was God’s answer to his prayer.  Rob had been so wrapped up in his world, the struggles and demands of his job, he’d forgotten how incredibly blessed he is.  He has a job, for one.  He has a beautiful family and friends that love him.  He has a home, furnishings, transportation and most importantly, a relationship with his loving Father in heaven.  

Rob memorized and shared, with our group, I Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We all are prone to this.  Things aren’t always easy.  We don’t always get our way.  We will experience set backs, heartache, stress and loss.  However, we are each blessed every single day.  The blessings can even, at times, be the result of our heartaches or set backs.  The question we must ask ourselves is, will we choose to recognize it?  

Blessings abound, even when they seem few and far between.  Just the fact that God chose to place you here in the United States of America is an inexhaustible blessing!   

However, most importantly, we must remember the greatest blessings we all receive if we so choose. That is the justification given to us by the blood of Jesus Christ and the sanctification we receive through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  

Have a blessed weekend!

II Timothy 4:7,8 (NKJV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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