How to Hug a Vampire

I hate halloween.  My kids are little and they always have bad dreams in October.  They are forced to choose between bad dreams and cheap sugar gathering night (AKA Trick or Treat).  They always choose the sugar.  If that neighbor comes out of his yard to scare my kids this year, I will blow my top.  

A photo by Sašo Tušar. unsplash.com/photos/yP19KADwhEIHow to hug a vampire: How do you love people who suck the life out of you?  I am sure as you read this you are thinking of people who have been doing this to you for years.  People have lied to you, cheated you, talked about you, made empty promises to you, and annoyed you.  They have sucked the life right out of you.  Good days made miserable, potentially good moments ruined, and smiles turned tears.

As I thought about who has done this the most to me, I found this person has lied to my more than anyone else, made the most empty promises, put me in bad situations, and cheated me short of my potential.  This person is ME. How many times have I said I will only have one bite, I’ll start tomorrow, spent time with people who drag me down, and been in the wrong place at the wrong time and knew it was a bad idea all along.  I sure have messed me up.  I stayed in relationships longer than I should have and pushed good people away too early.  I think you relate to my problem.  You are just like me. You suck the life out of you too!

Psalm 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

How do you start living a suck proof life?

  1. Spend time with God daily
  2. Spend the most time with people who make deposits vs. withdraws
  3. Take a full day to sabbath
  4. Be in great small group
  5. Be generous in our finances
  6. Control the negative thoughts about you in your head
  7. Write a personal declaration to read daily about who Jesus says you are

Remember God does not want something from you, but has something for you.  He does not want to be part of your life, He wants to lead your life!  These are seven things that you can do to lead a life of being full instead of being sucked dry.  God has SO much for more for you than you can imagine.  When you do life His way you get to live the life He designed for you.

So which of these 7 things do you need to start doing?  Go do it!  Tackle one of these at a time and let God transform your life!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Who are You?

fingerprint-1427210Remember the classic song Who are You? by The Who? Its a question many of us stare down on a regular basis. We struggle with how we see ourselves, how others see us, and even with how God sees us. Our world is of absolutely no help in this matter. Basically everything we do seems to have a massive effect on our identity. Successful at work? Then you are a success. Get fired or have a bad season? Then you are written off as a failure. The way we dress, every action we take, and even the actions of those around us (employees, family, co-workers, friends, etc.) seem to move the pendulum of our identity.

I don’t know about you, but every movement of that identity pendulum really stresses me out. I’ve spent so much of my life worried about how others see me, as well as plenty of time struggling with how I view myself. Its a stressful way to live. And here’s the thing: its not how we were created to live. Checkout these two verses:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Psalm 139:13-14

He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:11-13

Our identity is not something that is up to us or the world around us, it was decided upon by God when we were purposefully formed. You may not always like everything about yourself, wishing for less belly and more hair and a brain that functions at a significantly higher level (well, those are my wants at least!). Yet, you are who God made you to be. And that’s a wonderful thing, for you’ve been made to be a child of God. Think about that: YOU have been created and saved to be part of God’s family forever. God’s pendulum doesn’t change with your every action, but his love for you is steadfast. 


Stop trying to earn a certain identity in this world, and instead fully embrace the amazing and irrevocable identity you have in Christ: Child of the Most High God. 

A Call To Rise

Isaiah 26:3New Living Translation (NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

There is no peace in this world except that which comes before God. Jesus told his men, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

The disciples doubted their worthiness and their capabilities to do the work Jesus asked them to do. Go out to all the nations to bring the Good News of the Gospel. After the Holy Spirit’s arrival, they went into the streets with a force.

As men, we to doubt that Jesus could ever use us. We may think we have made too many mistakes, made too many failures, and may have addictions. How could he ever us me? In 1 Peter 2:21 it says, “For to this you have been called because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

A powerful verse to rise into, men. The enemy has got us running and being afraid of our past, our present, and our future. We are afraid to lead our wives and children. We are afraid to speak to fellow workers about Jesus. We are afraid to pray in public places.

If we do not rise, men, the enemy takes ground. I say, “Enough!” We are called to rise and to prepare for battle. We are called to suffer for what others might say, to be criticized, to be ostracized, and to be considered lunatics because of our faith.

The enemy will not stop taking ground from you until you rise to the man he has called you to be. This will put you on your knees in prayer, rending, and journaling from God’s Word. Then we will become doers of the Word.

Let’s rise and be sons of the Living God!

Strength and Courage

Michael.

 

Vital Ministries News

Philippians 4:9New Living Translation (NLT)

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Education begins with the reality of God’s existence and the fact he has communicated to us through creation, his Word, and his Son.

That is why reading his Word, going to church, and being involved in Vital Men are all parts of our education. This will give us a deeper walk with Christ. It is important to be informed and learn about culture, today’s challenges, and persevering in life.

Let’s continue in our Conquer Series, The Battle Plan for Purity. Only two more weeks left as we are challenged and informed on how to live a life of purity and to remain free men in a life of sexual purity.

The week of October 24, we will start a new series, ‘Good or God?’ by John Bevere. These days the terms good and God seem synonymous. We believe what is generally accepted as good must be in line with God’s will. Generosity, humility, justice are good. Selfishness, arrogance, cruelty are evil. The distinction seems pretty straight forward.

But is that all there is to it? If good is so obvious, why does the Bible say that we need discernment to recognize it? What a great study! Do not miss this great teaching opportunity!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

“You Are an Unusual Man”

I had coffee the other day with a good friend of mine.  Joining us, was a gentleman I’d not had the pleasure of meeting prior.  We spoke for approximately an hour, about our lives, the church, Jesus and the designs God has for each of us.  When it was time for the gentleman to depart, he thanked me for the conversation and said, “it was a pleasure”.  To which I replied, “likewise”.  He responded again with, “this was enjoyable, Scott.  You are an usual man”.  I thanked him for the splendid compliment.

“Unusual?” I thought as I headed on about my day.  I received it as a compliment, which I truly believe it was intended.  Not long ago I would not have known how to receive it.  “That doesn’t matter really,” I pondered.  “This is the first time someone has ever really described me that way, with that intent.”

What was it about this encounter that made me appear unusual? The only conclusion I can come to is, Jesus.  Jesus has been working on my heart.  He’s been shaping me and molding me into the man that He would see me be, a man He can use.  

When your friends, family or strangers in the community interact with you, do your words and actions seem peculiar to them?  They should.  If you are pursuing Jesus, allowing Him to work on your heart, others should see that and those of the world should find it peculiar.  

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

We live in this world, presently.  We are surrounded by the temporal.  We desire the things of this world, as do those around us.  Jesus instructs us to pay no attention to those things, that our focus should be firmly on the eternal.  When we can do this, it will appear strange to those around us.  

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
 
This peculiarity will repel some.  You will lose some that are near to your heart.  You may even be assaulted by some.  It will be painful and difficult to bear… at times.  However, it will be equally fruitful. For all those who draw back and are repulsed by it, that many more will be drawn in to the light that you allow God to shine bright through you.  In addition, you have the assurance of your place in God’s heavenly kingdom.  “Enter by the narrow gate.”  Stay the course, follow the Way and be weird My Friends!  Have a blessed weekend.
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace
 
 

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