The Hunt

 

 

We spend much of our lives chasing after things.  When we are young, we are in pursuit of the woman we want to become our wife.  Then, we go after things we hope will bring us status and recognition, from our degree, to our job, our house, our family, our church, to everything else we think we can possess.  We spend our spare time in pursuit of greater thrills, a faster car, the best food or drink, seeing our team win, obtaining the ultimate collection, or any other hobby to distract us from the boredom of life.  We are constantly hunting down the next biggest thing that gets in our sights, or that seems to elude us.  To what end?  At what point do we say, ‘that is enough, I have my trophy and my crown.’  Or are we constantly chasing down the next best thing till the day we die?

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 2:11

Recently, I heard about a treasure that was hidden in the Rockies by a rich, old man who then gave some clues to its whereabouts.  He now watches with glee as people from all around try to track it down and regularly ask him for more clues to help them narrow down the search.  There is something in the heart of man that is sparked when we have the chance to find something of great value with just a little work on our end.  The ability to ‘get rich quick’ is what motivates many to leave their home in search of greener pastures, to head to California or Alaska with gold fever, to buy the next lottery ticket, or to send in money to the telemarketer in hopes of finding the secret to great wealth.  The promise or hope of what might be is often greater than the reality that awaits when the pursuit has ended. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Matthew 13:44

Where do you invest most of your resources?  When you look at where you have spent most of your time, energy, and money over the past 5-10 years, what fruit has come from it?  For most of us, it is a mixed bag.  We can probably find things that were a good return on our investment, whether financially, or in time spent with others where we both grew.  There are probably other things we invested in which left us feeling empty or with more regret than anything when we look back on how it turned out.  Maybe there is as much to be learned from our bad investments as there is from our good ones.  As much as we keep trying, do we ever fully get it? 

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  Revelation 3:17

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  Matthew 16:26

Little do many realize that we have stumbled on the greatest treasure we can find in this life, when we come to know Christ and what he has done for us on the cross.  When you find the truth wrapped up in this mystery, the more you investigate and discover, the more rewarding it is.  Even greater than the reward we can obtain for ourselves, is the fact that even greater returns are found when we share this treasure with others.  It is like a chest filled with gold and each time someone goes back and takes more from it, there is always more to be found.  What is more valuable than that? 

 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:8

Celebrating the Wealth found in Christ,
Clark

One Tough Vine

My Dad always said that it took five minutes to get anywhere in my hometown of Sioux City. Now, he did not make this statement to insinuate that Sioux City was small or to be truthful. He said it as a way of letting me know I was never supposed to be more then five minutes away from home. If my parents ever called and I tried to say “it will take me half an hour to get home,” I was quickly met by the statement “everywhere in Sioux City takes five minutes!” I’ve come to hold a similar view of yard projects. To me, every yard project should take five minutes. So when someone asked me to remove the ivy growing alongside their house I immediately thought: that will take five minutes. Two and a half hours, and six bloody hands later (I had to call two friends to help), I realized that removing ivy from the side of a house is a little bit more then a five-minute project!

You see, I vastly underestimated the strength of ivy. The leaves and the branches came off with a simple tug. The vines, however, are a different story. Ivy vines are tough and thick. Most required garden clippers to cut through, and some even necessitated the use of chainsaw. The are also tightly woven together. It was difficult enough to cut through one vine, but in places where two or three were woven together it was nearly impossible. Trust me, ivy removal will not be a project I sign-up for again anytime in the near future.

As I un-wove vine after vine I was reminded of Jesus’ teaching about the vines and the branches:                                                                                                                          “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and                              burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”                John 15:5-8

When we regularly connect ourselves to God by reading scripture, praying, serving, and following God’s ways we are able to tap into the strength of that vine. Someone or some thing may well try to tear up our lives as I tried to tear up that ivy, but the job will be impossible because we have so woven ourselves into God’s grace and power. It becomes our true source of strength, peace, and hope. Not only does it become difficult for someone to permanently damage our life and faith, but we receive strength from God to make a significant impact in this world. It might take more then five minutes to get across Sioux City or to tear ivy from a wall, but regular five-minute connections with God through scripture reading, prayer, service, and worship can make a massive impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Take the time, even if it is only five minutes at a time, to connect with God daily in a meaningful way, and tap into the strength of the true vine.

Fellowship Of Men

Psalm 55:14New International Version (NIV)

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers.

The word ‘fellowship’ means to hold something in common. It can also mean that having fellowship is a relationship among believers that expresses itself in unity.

What does fellowship among men look like? This past week I had the opportunity to spend a week with 31 men in fellowship pursuing the Father. These men took a week from family, work, and technology. They took this week to chase after the Father.

I witnessed the transformation of 19 men who took up the journey. They fought hard to be changed men. They acknowledged their weaknesses, their past, and their failures. They put their failures out there before other men. They confessed their sins before other men.

You might be saying, “I could not do that.” That is the enemy talking inside you. I like what it says in James 5:16, ‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed’.

These 19 men were healed. We obviously still have sin, and like an onion, we continue to allow the Holy Spirit to peel back those layers. That is the journey and the fellowship that we do together as men.

My prayer for our region is that men will rise, lead, and to be leaders of their wives and families. For the men who are single, they are to make ready for that journey. I pray that we will become a mighty force in our region as we fellowship together as men. Our focus is Jesus and becoming true disciples of his. That is the fellowship of men.

I would encourage you all to go to the Fellowship of the Sword’s website and begin to pray and ask the Holy Spirit if you should go on Quest. Next to my salvation, men, this has been a game changer in my life.

The fellowship of men is a destiny to being men leading in fellowship and chasing the Father. King David loved the Father like no other man. Let’s rise, men, and stay in fellowship with Him!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

 

Vital Ministries News

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Book of the Month: Dude’s Guide to Marriage by Darrin and Amie Patrick

This is a great read, and it has great insights on marriage.

 

 

 

 

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NO Vital Men March 21-25

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From Tragedy, Glory

During Wednesday night’s men’s group, our discussion revolved around tragedy.  This  discussion was intense and very enlightening.  Obviously we live in a tragic world, no surprise.  It has been tragic since sin entered it through Adam and Eve’s disobedience.  There is illness, injury, death, ruination, depredation, starvation, corruption, murder, assault and evil.  People are attacked by hardship.  For some it happens more often than others and more severely than others.  These hardships and trials are never enjoyable, seldom fair and most likely leave us asking, “why me, Lord?!”  

II Corinthians 12:7-10  (NKJV)  7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 
As we discussed the topic of ‘why tragedy’, things began to take on a new complexion.  I, myself have been relatively untouched by significant tragedy.  I’ve suffered some health issues, the loss of love ones, financial struggles and the like, but little in comparison to others I know.  However, I am the product of a family racked with tragedy.  Had it not been for the tragic events of the generation before me, I, Scott Pace would not exist.  My mother’s life would not have followed the course it did and I would not be here today.  That is a sobering realization… because people suffered, their lives followed a course that would have been so very different than it could have been and consequently everything that followed would be completely different.  Think about that for a moment.  
 
If you believe, as I believe,that God has a design and course for your life and the lives of those you touch, then that changes the complexion, doesn’t it?  Difficulty, hardship and tragedy shape who we are, how we think, alter our perspectives, lead us down unexpected paths and alternate choices.  How many people have come to the salvation of Jesus Christ through tragedy?
 
My mother and her siblings experienced an immeasurably horrific, tragic youth.  One of the many affects resulting from this suffering was my uncle being sent to prison when he was very young.  He found Christ in prison.  After his release, he earned his GED and then went to seminary.  He became a missionary, doing God’s work, saving lives.  I don’t doubt that God used my uncle and his tragedy to save hundreds if not thousands.  My uncle suffered, others suffered, it was tragic.  However, without that tragedy, he wouldn’t have become the man God used to reach so many.  Had he not gone to prison, he may not have come to Christ.  Tragedy is awful, but sometimes we don’t realize the good, even the great God may pull from it.  
 
I am not trying to diminish people’s suffering.  I long for the day when suffering is a thing of the past.  I am not trying to marginalize evil deeds or excuse those who do them.  I am simply trying to illustrate the fact that not one of us can see the whole picture, know the grand design.  God is at work in ways we cannot not even remotely comprehend, for reasons we can scarcely imagine.  There is a ripple effect from the lives of each and every man, woman and child that carries for eternity.  The overwhelming majority of which we will never actually be aware of.  We must have faith, especially in times of trial, despair and tragedy that it is in God’s hands.  We don’t necessarily have to know why, simply trust, whether we are witness to it or not, that He can and will draw from tragedy, Glory.  Thank you and God Bless You
 
John 16:33 (NKJV)  33 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.”
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace
  
 
 
 

 

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