The Disciple of Small Things

John 1:40-42New International Version (NIV)

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The disciple, Andrew, lived in the shadow of brother Peter. It seemed as though he was content in that position. No sibling rivalry between Andrew and Peter was ever talked about in Scripture, so there was an apparent contentment in position of how he lived life with Jesus for 3 1/2 years.

His very name means, manly. No doubt he was because he was a man of the trades. He worked with his hands being a fisherman. He was bold and decisive. Nothing about him was weak. As a matter of fact, Andrew was driven by the truth.

Andrew was originally one of John the Baptists disciples. He was hanging out with a man who was clothed in camel hair with a leather belt around his waist and who ate locusts and wild honey. He was a man of the back woods kind of guy.

The most remarkable characteristic about Andrew was he saw value in individual people. He valued singled souls. He would bring not crowds, but individuals to Jesus. He was the one who brought the boy who had loaves of bread and fish to Christ.

Andrew’s main legacy was that in order to live a life of effective ministry, it was done with relationship one person at a time. We can learn a lot from the discipleship of Andrew.

How many individual lives are you effecting? Are you making an impact on your spouse, children, co-workers, and friends? Andrew made an impact with each relationship.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Detours

Acts 15:39-40New International Version (NIV)

39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.

Life can be full of detours. Paul and Barnabas, both good men, parted company all because of a young man name John Mark. Obviously, Paul did not want a man who might desert them again as they headed back into the mission field.

Paul was focused and had a cause. He was not going to allow any detours to get in the way. So the men parted company.

All of us can account for relationships with detours. We have them in business, ministry, health, and marriage. They can truly be painful and even cause heartbreak in going through them.

Later in Scripture we find Paul softening his heart toward John Mark. I can only reason that maybe his action was too harsh towards a young man of faith.

What are the detours you are encountering in your faith? Are they breaking you? Are you allowing them to move you? Detours can be a challenge for all of us.

Last Call for Vital Men Biker Ride to Northwest Iowa, Spirit Lake, Loess Hills, and even going south to Missouri. We will leave on June 3 and ride on the 4th and 5th. We meet downtown Pella at 7:00 AM. Kickstands are up by 7:30 AM. There is a special T-shirt promotion for this event only. Do not miss the ADVENTURE Men!!!

 

Watch Your Words

James 3:6 (NKJV) And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. facebook_1463723379959God has blessed and gifted me in an array of areas. One of His gifts is my ability to communicate. He gifted me with a quick wit, an ability to deductively reason, evaluate and read people and situations and then effectively communicate ideas across a great many levels. That is a blessing, for sure. Let me assure you, I share this self evaluation in all humility and give God full credit and glory for His graciousness. A blessing, no doubt, that is until it is perverted, manipulated, abused and weaponized. Then it is a curse to befall someone. You see, He gifted me in a way that can be very beneficial to His church, the community, my family and my friends. He can use me, like He’s doing right this moment. Or… I can abuse it. He can use me and this gift to bring about healing of hearts, for teaching, for encouragement, to bring the Gospel to those that need to hear it in just such a way. It’s a powerful gift. It can be fruitful and beautiful. Or… it can bring pain, destruction and misery. God’s conviction is painful, because it is true. I have abused the power He entrusted to me. I have used it against people who love and trust me. I have used it to inflict pain for spite’s sake. I have weaponized my words to hurt people close to me, because I can, and I felt justified. Why? Perhaps a slight? Probably merely perceived. Beat them to it? They were not likely headed there. Well they…fill in the blank. GARBAGE! I do it because I’m human. I’m weak. I’m ill tempered, self centered and insecure. I want to feel power over something or someone, so I attack. Sad! Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:5 (NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Scott, you want power? There’s real power, “meek”. To be meek, to exercise meekness, sounds like an inferior position to most. Society today equates that word with weakness, cast down, wimpy. It’s not. To be meek is to exercise restraint when you could so easily overpower and subdue. Meekness is power controlled, managed, restrained when it would be easier to unleash. Meekness is humility, tenderness, compassion, empathy. Meekness is power. Meekness is Christ acted out. God had the power to do whatever to whomever He chose. Those who spat on Him, cursed Him, hated and reviled Him, in a breath He could have annihilated them, but He didn’t. He chose meekness, power restrained. He chose love. My words should be used for inspiration, teaching and healing. My words should be an illustration of God’s love and grace, not twisted for spite and vengeance. James 3:9,10 (NKJV) With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. To pervert this gift, nullifies my effectiveness. It undoes what God would use me for. Lord, I thank you for bringing this to the forefront for me. Forgive me God for this abuse and perversion of Your gracious gift. I ask that you continue to shape my character, refine me Lord. Help me Lord to proceed in humility and meekness, to use this gift in a way that only honors you Father. Amen In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy, Scott Pace

Excuse Me

You Pointing-Finger

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do?  Its not a good feeling.  In fact, we hear stories fairly frequently of people wrongly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.  Can there be a worse injustice?  When things don’t go our way, when we are late, when we don’t get our work done, etc, our natural response is to look for an excuse and point the finger at someone other than ourselves.  We like to blame others for our own faults.  Just listen to a group of kids at recess an you will get an earful of squabbles and tattle tales assigning blame.  Adults are not much different.  You can also listen to any of the presidential candidate debates and you will hear a lot of blame shifting and name calling from almost everyone.  Why are we so quick to make excuses and pass judgement on anyone other than us? 

He said to another man, “Follow me.”  But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:59-60

I regularly go into people’s homes for work and I often hear parents excusing the messy house because of the children.  This is often true.  Just leave 2 young kids alone in a room for 10 minutes and it will change dramatically!  Why are we so self-conscious about our appearances?  What will they think of me if my kids are not well dressed, my yard does not get mowed this weekend, if there is rust on my car, or my life is not perfect?  What will God/others think of me if I back out of this project, or I choose to be selfish instead of doing what I know I should?  Self- awareness of our sins and failures is the first step toward any type of change.  What excuses do you give for your shortcomings before God or others?

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  Romans 8:1-2

Self- condemnation for things beyond our control is equally as damaging and is another form of blame shifting upon ourselves.  Christian guilt is not always the best motive for action.  It is also easy to blame God for the Christian and non-Christian alike.  If God is all powerful, why doesn’t he do this.  If God really loved me, why doesn’t he give me what I want?  You get the idea.  In reality, God did take our blame when he didn’t have to.  When Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, it was an expression of his love for us.  He allowed the finger to be pointed at himself when he was innocent. 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:12-13

While we do not have to accept the blame for everyone else’s mistakes, let us stand for truth and justice when we have opportunities each day.  Let us also take responsibility for our own actions and not believe the lies that we tell ourselves to shift the blame.  Trying to show love to others in a society that attempts to justify every evil action is not an easy task, but it is one action that God calls us to take!


Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

How to relate with Jesus

Like when I first got married, I knew I was supposed to “leave my parents and cleve to my wife” but I had a really good dad.  What is my relationship with him supposed to look like?  I knew I shouldn’t talk about marriage problems or struggles I had with Johna, but what can I talk about?  Money has a lot to do with marriage, can I talk with him about that? I did not know how to relate with my dad.

Have you ever felt that way with Jesus?  Like you know Jesus loves you, died for you, and wants to know you, but you don’t know how to engage with Him.  One way that has really helped me along the way is to know how Jesus wants to relate to me.  Jesus called himself a shepherd and said I am like his sheep.  

photo-1423766111988-c47a5ff6ed06John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.

So here are 3 things a shepherd does:

  1. Defend the sheep

A good shepherd does not expect the sheep to defend itself. Now a sheep should stay where the shepherd has designated, and sheep do tend to wander away.  If a lion or a bear come for a sheep, a good shepherd defends the flock.  Even when a sheep wanders, the parable of the lost sheep says, the good shepherd leaves the 99 to get the one that went their own way.  So where are you looking to defend yourself instead of letting Jesus defend you?  Where are you straying from Jesus and need to call out to have Him rescue you?

2. Lead the sheep

Psalm 23 says he leads us to green pasture and still water.  He is our source.  Money, sex, success, GPAs, food, and relationships are all good things, but the make terrible sources for our lives.  They make terrible gods.  The Good Shepherd wants to lead you to live giving places, but might lead you through a desert, wilderness, thorn bush to get there.  He alone knows what lies on the smoother path.  A good sheep learns to trust the the good Shepherd has the best plan.  Where are you trying to make your own way?  What are you trusting in to be your source? Where do you need to be a good sheep and trust where the shepherd is leading you?

3. Care for sheep

A good shepherd cares for their sheep.  They are not concern with only what they get from them, but has great intensions for them.  A good shepherd cleans wounds, carries when exhausted, watches late into the night, lays down his life for his sheep.  That is what Jesus wants to do in you. What wounds do you need him to clean?  Where do you need Him to carry you?  

For Jesus to be your shepherd you have to choose to be His sheep!  Let Him protect, lead, and care for you.  

Recklessly, Obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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