despair-1436325-639x426In my last ministry position I had leadership of a post-high ministry haphazardly tacked onto my job description. We had around six young adults that met regularly in my basement for a time of conversation, food, and Bible study. They ate the food provided, ate food out of my kitchen that WAS NOT provided, and even broke my couch. That summer we even did a post-high trip, renting a houseboat and traveling up the Mississippi. It was a fun trip everyone enjoyed, but I was not really sure anything deeply spiritual happened. To make matter worse, when we returned the boat we had broken the prop and had to pay $600 for it. After a year of ministry I really felt all we had accomplished was breaking a couch and a boat! Talk about discouragement!

 

If you serve God for any amount of time you are going to encounter discouragement. You work hard on a lesson, only to hear complaints. You get up the courage to share the gospel, only to get rejected. You spend your few free hours painting, only to be told that “so and so” does a better job. Serving God can certainly be an incredibly discouraging undertaking.

 

There is a great illustration of this in Nehemiah chapter four. Nehemiah has traveled over 1,000 miles to help rebuild Jerusalem, only to encounter all sorts of discouragement. Enemy armies want to attack the workers, the workers complain of being overworked, and the local citizens complain about the whole thing ten times in a row. For most of us all that discouragement would have been enough to toss in the towel, but not so for Nehemiah. Instead, he takes these four steps to defeat discouragement.

 

  1. He prays: as soon as he faces difficulty Nehemiah turns to God in prayer. In the face of difficulty do we do the same, or do we instead begin complaining or even giving up?
  2. He thinks it through: Nehemiah asks the question: why are we building this wall? The answer? For God’s glory and for the safety of His people. When you are discouraged serving God take a moment to remember why you are doing what you are doing.
  3. He takes action: In the face of danger Nehemiah forms security details to protect the city. He just doesn’t think and complain, as we are prone to, but takes the action that is necessary.
  4. He has faith: After praying, thinking, and acting Nehemiah trusts God with the result. Back to that post-high ministry. I prayed, I thought, and I acted, but I didn’t trust God, and that led to discouragement. Yet, just two weeks ago, I got an unsolicited email from someone telling me that being involved in that ministry had changed his life. He talked about how much he grew each week, and even how important that House Boat trip was. Where I had been discouraged God was act work doing something big. May we all keep serving through the discouraging times, trusting God with the results.

 

Peter – Leader Of Men

Luke 5:5New International Version (NIV)

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

In the early stages in Peter’s life we see two men in conflict within one body. Simon was the earlier man, the one who was putting his foot in his mouth most of the time. He was making action without thinking.

Then we also see the other side of him who is Peter. This was the disciple Jesus called out in him. Whenever Jesus called him Peter, rather than Simon, it would bring him to an about face in his mind.

As men, we can have an inner battle as well. It can be one that calls out to our insecurities or to our boyish nature. Reacting rather than responding to most situations is one, and wanting to play the boy rather than the man is another. 

Jesus saw something inside of Peter that Peter could not see himself. If you read further in Luke 5, you see that Peter obeyed Jesus and caught a great deal of fish that day. They caught so many fish that the boat begins to sink. It was a awesome catch!

I like what is says in verse 8, ‘Peter falls to his knees before the Lord and asks him to please leave me, I am too much of a sinner to be around you.’ That is the truth. Every man on the planet is a sinner, but because of the love of Christ, he extends us grace.

Peter later became the ‘Rock’ in which Christ said that he would extend his church. True men of God see their sins. They fall on their knees asking for forgiveness and stand being real men who love Jesus. Are you ready to be a leader for Christ?

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Come On Men, With An Uncommon Calling

I Corinthians 1:27 God chose things the world considered foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

Jesus personally selected 12 men to represent him. They were 12 perfectly ordinary men and unexceptional men. Yet, our Lord took the twelve and invested in them to advance his Kingdom.

The Lord continues to use common men just like us to advance his Kingdom. There was not anything special about them except they all had one thing in common. They were fully obedient to him.

The majority of men do not take time for Kingdom thinking. They are too quick to advance their own kingdom or their own calling in life. This brings me back to the uncommon calling. What is your calling? I believe Jesus is still looking to common men who will step into an uncommon calling.

Vital Biker June Ride for MEN

Do not miss this ride for men on June 3, 4, and 5. The men will ride to Spirit Lake, and then ride off to Loess Hills. It will be an adventure to ride together, hang out, and discuss what is real manhood. This is a great event to bring another man who is looking for something more in his life. We meet downtown Pella on the north side of the square. We will arrive there by 7:00 am. Kickstands will be kicked up by 7:30 am. Do Not Miss This Adventure, MEN!!!

 

Listen

Most have heard this many times, I’m sure, but it’s been on my mind so I’m sharing it. “God gave you two ears and one mouth so that you’d listen twice as much as you talk”. I’m as guilty as most and more than some of this. I think most people have a tendency to half listen and then respond quickly. It’s as if our desire to be heard trumps the need of the other to have us listen. Really listen. Any of you who know me, know I’m a talker, so this will be a hard, slow concept for me to get a handle on. facebook_1463115892554 How can you hear and understand what another is saying, if your focus is on what you will say next? When engaged in conversation, where another is expressing a concern or unloading a burden, I’ve caught myself, as well as witnessed numerous times others interjecting their opinion or taking over the conversation with a story or grievance of our own. Consequently, overshadowing the need of the other and stifling, perhaps what God could have accomplished through you. Empathizing with someone through sharing a similar experience can, most assuredly, be a helpful exchange. However, how often do we allow ourselves and our story to override the need and assume control of the conversation? As broken people, we tend to lean toward self absorption and self-centeredness. This is unfortunate, because through our exchanges, we have a priceless opportunity to be shown the heart and minds of others. When others are sharing parts of their story, we tend to think about our own instead. Because of this, we tune them out and consequently miss an opportunity to know those around us, to learn something and possibly help someone. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. Proverbs 17:28 (NKJV) Here in Proverbs, the bible is showing us an example of just that. Close your lips and listen. You just might learn something. The bible tells us, A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. Proverbs 18:2 (NKJV) I’m not saying that expressing your thoughts and feelings is wrong, just that perhaps we should be more intentional about it. After all, how often do you learn something new from yourself? You already knew it, didn’t you? Pause for a moment and hear what the others have to say. Of course there will be times when you are the one who needs someone to listen to you. Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as one who is a great listener, quick to lend an ear and understand the needs of others? When you set yourself as that example, become that trusted confidant, doesn’t it stand to reason that those you’ve listened to would be more likely to do the same? Engage with others as often as is possible, but be intentional about it. Put self aside and really listen to them. Focus on what is being shared. Choose your responses carefully, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. If the conversation is about them, let it be about them. God Bless you and your daily interactions with others. May God bring those who need your ears and heart, that you may be an answer to their prayers. Amen So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; James 1:19 (NKJV) In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy, Scott Pace

Why?

Sometimes we use the phrase ‘when it rains, it pours’ when it relates to dealing with challenges and difficulties in life.  We may feel like life beats us up sometimes.  We may feel like we really can’t deal with what has happened to us and those around us.  It may be several minor or moderate setbacks, or it can be much more significant.  When we face losing our job, our friends and family, or even our own life, it is normal to deal with frustration and anger or to ask ‘why is this happening to me?’  At various points we may feel abandoned by God or by others.  We may blame others, ourselves, or God, or we may turn to them for help.  How do you cope?  Where do you turn when life doesn’t seem fair? 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.  Job 13:15

 We tell kids ‘Life isn’t fair.’  We don’t always get what we think we deserve.  We can find injustice around us every day if we open our eyes and listen to what is going on around us.  There have always been and will always be people who take advantage of others.  Bad things will happen to ‘good’ people and those who harm others don’t always get what they deserve, even if that is forgiveness.  What is your response to this?  We can say ‘it is what it is’ and try to ignore it, or we can try to intervene in little ways or make a bigger difference, when we are able.  Whether that is settling an argument between children, or saving someone’s life by walking with them through a difficult time.  We can be the hands and feet of God by showing love each day when we have an opportunity to do so. 

A new command I give you:  Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:34-35

When you are dealing with difficulties beyond your control, turn to God.  Ask Him to direct you.  Ask Him to give you strength.  Ask Him to simply walk with you through what you are facing.  We don’t always know how things will turn out, but when we give it to God, and trust Him, we can persevere.   It often does not turn out how we would like, but when does life follow our script?  As many believers have done before, God gives us the ability to endure up to, or even past the point of death.  Ultimately, Christ was our example through his obedience to God, through his life and his death.  Though joy may not be our initial reaction when we encounter life’s difficulties, let us find the joy in serving our Lord, and walking with him through all the trials in life.  Be encouraged today no matter what you are facing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

LISTEN NOW

Sign me up!

  • Yes, I would like to receive the the Vital Men Daily Devotion email. Sign me up!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.