The Man

John 1:14 (NKJV)  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

It was very easy for those who knew Jesus, while he walked upon this earth,  to know Him as a man.  They came to marvel at His divinity, but understood the fullness of His humanity.

I think, in large part, this is lost on today’s church.  Actually, let’s back up.  I believe it was quickly lost on the church within a few generations.  

I’ve been thinking about this in depth this week.  In Jesus, there is a truly unique and incomprehensible peculiarity. He is equally man and God.  In order to be the mediator between man and God, Jesus has to be both.  He has God’s heart, mind, understanding and ability, but also possesses a man’s heart, mind, understanding and limitations.  

It is remarkable to me that I have never thought about this in depth before.  I’ve always viewed Jesus as, I’m sure most of you have, God.  Plain and simple, He is God, worthy of our awe and reverence, which He is, but He’s man, also.  When was the last time you thought about the man, Jesus Christ?  

Stay with me.  This epiphany blows me away and makes what God did through Jesus that much more exquisite.  You see as God, Jesus could do anything and everything.  As man, Jesus is limited by His humanity.  As a man He has a human body, heart, mind and will.  He feels as a man.  He walked, talked, hungered, thirst, lived, bled, died, was resurrected and lives today in a human body, as a man.  John Calvin stated, “Christ has put on our feelings, along with our flesh.”  

He became man, proceeded perfectly, though limited by fleshly boundaries, so that He could save us perfectly and completely.  As a man, this is an astounding endeavor.  But He’s God?  Yes, but He did this as a man!  His will, His choice, as a man, was to see that His Father’s will was executed perfectly for us.  How astoundingly incomprehensible is He, our Savior!

John 6:38 (NKJV) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  

 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

More

What are you pursuing right now?  What drives you to move, to work, to accumulate, to investigate, to engage at an increased rate?  Maybe you are passionate about a hobby, watching or playing sports, exploring food, or in caring for your land and home.  Do you fully engage at work and give your best effort there, or maybe you are distracted by something else and wish you could be there while at work.  These things are not bad in and of themselves, depending on the role they have in our lives, but there is usually a reason we become excited to chase after something that holds our interest.  We were made to desire more…of what?

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  Ecclesiastes 1:14

You can always learn more about an area of life through reading and learning about it and also through experience.  A veterinarian learns about principles of anatomy, physiology, and medicine while in school, then applies this knowledge in treating a variety of animals.  They can specialize in certain areas like cats, dogs and other small animals, or treat mostly race horses if that need exists.  You can expend huge amounts of time into learning about hands on skills like welding, auto repair, etc, or you can even become proficient in fantasy through the world off video games, movies, Narnia, Harry Potter, and the like.  At some point, through your work or leisure, you may have accumulated enough knowledge and experience in a certain area that some would call you an expert in what you do.  Do you know a ‘master gardener’?  In what area would someone come to you for advice? 

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.   Proverbs 19:20-21

We can do the same in our faith.  We can learn a lot about certain things like prayer, the history of the bible, the doctrine of the church, etc, but unless we put these things into practice, we will never fully understand them.  Every expert, at some point, had to take a first step, see their first client, say their first prayer, sing their first song.  Even if you never become an expert in any one area, you can know and experience enough to be effective in what you do.  Most churches and communities have a variety of areas and opportunities where you can serve.  Maybe you have spread yourself fairly thin and feel that you know a little about many different things.  In what one or two areas do you feel God is calling you to grow? 

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.  How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  Psalm 36:5-7

How much more about God would you like to know?  Simply asking a few questions may lead you to want to investigate further.  Why did God want me to be born into the family and place where I am?  How can God use my limited gifts and abilities to further His Kingdom?  How has God revealed his glory through all creation?  How does God see me?  There are endless questions we can ask of Him for selfish or selfless reasons.  Do you believe He cares about you in such a personal way as to have your questions answered?  If you seek the truth, do you think He would hide it from you?  A pastor could study the Word and shepherd people his whole life and only learn a drop in the ocean of what there is to know about God.  But He could easily reveal himself in just that drop. 

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?”    “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”  For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.  Romans 11:33-36

One day, when in Heaven, we will have the opportunity to explore the world in the way it was intended to be seen, in the light of our Lord Jesus.  We will see things as he does and with the right motive, devoid of the taint of sin.  The knowledge of God’s power and glory as well as his love for us will allow us to pursue things with the right motive.  All things should be observed through the lens of the Gospel.  When you ask, God will give you discernment to help direct your steps in what to avoid and where to move forward.  The path may not always be clear, but trust that your guide can see better than you. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Through faith in Christ,
Clark

Being OK With Imperfection

I recently read a biography on Alexander Hamilton, who you’ll find on every $10 bill. Hamilton was not only one of the Founding Fathers of our country, but his life-achievements seemingly make him the poster child for well rounded perfection. Just look at the massive spectrum of his achievements: ivy league scholar, spokesman for the revolution, Revolutionary War hero, primary writer of the Federalist Papers, leading attorney of the early United States, founder of the first bank in New York, founder of the Coast Guard, Army Chief of Staff, first Treasury Secretary, accomplished and published poet, fluent in numerous languages, and much more. That is an amazing breadth of accomplishments that has seemingly never been duplicated in the annuals of our nation. Yet, one certainly could not say Alexander Hamilton was good at everything. He was a known womanizer, had multiple affairs, was notoriously difficult to get along with, used 1,000 words when ten would have sufficed, and his massive ego and short-fuse led to his death in a duel at an early age. Yes, even the man regarded to have perhaps the most well rounded skill set in American history could not do everything well.

I think we would all have considerably more enjoyable lives if we lived with the daily understanding that neither us, nor ANYONE else on this planet, can do everything well. The well known verse in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” should serve as a reminder that all of us have short comings. The key is learning to be ok with that. Instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, especially those things you cannot change, we need to focus on those things God has gifted us to do. I know so many people who feel like useless pieces of God’s Kingdom because they are not gifted speakers, teachers, or singers. While those may be some of highly visible gifts, they are far less effective without the support of other gifts. Even the most gifted preacher is only marginally effective unless supported by those who have gifts such as hospitality, evangelism, mercy, and more.

Just like you cannot do everything, neither can ANYONE else. Your spouse, best friend, boss, neighbor, parents, and yes, even your pastor, cannot do everything well. And that’s ok! They all have strengths and shortcomings. Instead of holding others to impossible standards, start thinking about how you can partner with them. Paul compares the Church to the human body in writing in Ephesians 4:16: “the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Instead of feeling like failures everyday, and being frustrated by the shortcomings of those around us, let’s remember that we all have failings. Instead of feeling inadequate and judging others lets look for ways to work together daily for the glory of God.

Full Throttle

Colossians 1:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

I enjoy living life at full throttle. In my faith, driving, and riding motorcycles, I like to go at speeds that can put the hair standing up on your arms. For those of us who ride motorcycles know exactly what I mean with this description.

Living life on the edge is for some, a way of life. I have a good friend who leads the way on our Vital Biker outings. This man lives for full throttle. He makes our events fun and also gives us that sense of exhilaration in our souls.

It is also exciting to live life full throttle in my faith. Living a life to the best of my ability to always honor and please my Lord. My day always starts with getting into the Word, and then seeking the Lord in my day.

My hope in living full throttle is that my life produces fruit, every kind of good fruit. This past Saturday, I experienced that with meeting up with 3 men during my day. First, my dad and I had father, son time over breakfast. I then met with a young man who is a missionary in Brazil and had a time of mentoring. Finally, I had lunch with a single dad who is raising 3 kids, and encouraged him to stay the course.

In all three men and the time that was given, we experienced growing and learning God better. Living full throttle is what Jesus has called me to do. I am called to live in the fast lane to pursue the Lord and make disciples.

Let’s Ride!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Isaiah 43:19New Living Translation (NLT)

19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Happy New Year! It is the beginning of 2017. What will it hold for our nation? What will it hold for our church? Most important, what will it hold for you? 

All of us at one time or another made or will make a New Year Resolution. Most start off good for the first week, but in 30 days or less, we fall off the wagon.

Today, I am concerned about what 2017 has for us as Vital Men. What is our direction spiritually, both as a group of men and individually. I would like for you to consider one of the following options and make it a commitment between you and the Lord. By doing so, 2017 will be enriched in the Holy Spirit’s direction for our lives.

  1. Read the Bible and commit to reading the One Year Bible.
  2. Read Proverbs. There are 31 chapters. Read one per day.
  3. Read the Vital Men Devotionals each day and offer this to other men to benefit from it.
  4. Journal and write down what the Holy Spirit is whispering to you each day.
  5. Share your faith to someone who does not know Jesus.

Step into one of these options, men. It will help make 2017 a year seeking the Lord for direction and wisdom.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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