Doom and Gloom

In my world, the past few weeks seem to have mostly been filled with clouds and rain with a better than average chance of maple tree helicopter seeds.  If we did get a day without rain, everyone and their brother was slogging it out in the yard to try to keep the grass in check, or clearing water from their basements.  The week ahead looks wet as well.  Coupled with other daily challenges, it may be enough to get you down.  It might not be as bad as everyone complains about, but when you get stuck in a rut of disappointing things, whether weather, illness, difficulties at work, trouble with relationships, or other life events, it can be easy to become discouraged.  What is your response when the storms come and life gets you down? 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

Sometimes when things seem bad, out of control, or heading in the wrong direction, I play the worst-case scenario game.  You come up with a way in which the situation could be worse, because it always can, and it makes the current mess seem less tragic.  I’m not trying to belittle the current situation, but more so, trying to be thankful for the things that are going well, or counting my blessings, so to speak.  I’m sure you know people in your life, where everything is a drama, whether minor or major issues.  There are those that seem to roll with the punches better than others as well.  Not to downplay discouragement, but there are also those who also struggle with significant depression, which can threaten livelihoods and lives.   Be aware of this in those around you. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What is your first response in an unexpected emergency, whether work related changes, or something more significant?  Do you come up with the best solution right away, or consult others on what options you have?  How often do you give it to God, or at least ask for guidance in your next steps?  It may not always be your first response, but when we pray, it takes some of the pressure out of the situation.  Often when I ask for guidance, help, or answers from God, it helps put the situation I perspective, as often it is not the worst thing that I could be dealing with.  Often, the urgency of the situation can also be tempered with hope and a direction to start walking. 

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.  Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.  Isaiah 53:3

Lastly, you have a friend who can identify with you in your pain and suffering.  We fist think of the poin and suffering Christ went through surrounding the crucifixion, but that was just part of it.  He was rejected by many during his lifetime, whether the religious elite, or the folks from his hometown.  He was betrayed by one of his disciples, and rejected by people he met each day.  But he was not only seeking fame and the praise of other men, but only of his Father in Heaven.  Yet, by doing this, he is the most famous person to have walked the earth.  Let him be our example whether it is raining or the son is shining in our lives today!

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Live a Better Story- Part 4

I meet so many men that want to know their purpose.  They get to a time in their life where they have done what they know, what have always done, and what paid the bills but look back to a time where they dreamed of something different life.  No kids dreams about being miserable in a 9-5.  Now before you think it is money that makes the difference let me clarify. I know men who have money and lack purpose.  I live in South Florida.  The weather is a paradise, the median income is 3x the national average, 25 minutes from the beach, and every kind of ethnic food within 20 of your house.  Theyhave beautiful homes, incredible cars, and lack purpose.  It is really simple.  Many people live life thinking success is around the corner. Then they get around the corner and find another corner of in the distance. 

Do you want to know God’s will for your life?  There is something wrong with you if you would answer yes. 

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We all want the 2nd part of the verse and forget about that the word “then” creates a condition.  The condition to knowing God’s will for your life starts with 2 things… Don’t pursue purpose where the world looks for purpose and admit you don’t think right and let God change the way you think. 

3 Enemies of Purpose

  1. Confusion– We don’t know where to look, or we think we do and find it is empty
  2. Comparison– You want their money, their house, their wife, their hair, their body, their influence, their life
  3. Counterfeit– You sought a career and not a calling. You looked for it in a person, did find it and got a new person and same story

How God Reveals Our Purpose

  1. The Call from Birth

Jeremiah 1:4-8 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah responds with how he is too young to God.  Funny thing is I hear this all the time from men.  I am too old, too poor, too many kids (this might be mine with 4), or I am too far from the starting line.  Funny thing is Joshua was 80 when he took the promised land, David was about 13 when he faced Goliath, and the writer of most of the New Testament was a terrorist before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Dave Thomas started KFC with his social security checks. Michelangelo was in his 80s when he began to paint the Sistine Chapel.  God has never been limited by the things we limit ourselves.

      2. Growing Awareness

Joseph had a dream of his family bowing to him.  He shared the dream and got sold as a slave.  That led to and accusation, prison, and being forgotten about for years. It was only after all of the hardship that God made a way for the purpose to be shown. 

      3. Walking Through Open Doors

Esther was an adopted misfit that had unusual beauty that led to a change to save her people by risking her life before a cruel king. 

Esther 4:14-16 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”… I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Here is what I know… You were created on purpose and for a purpose.  Even if you do not see it right now, you are not too far from that purpose.  You are not too old, too young, too poor, or have sinned too much.  God is God and before you were born He had a purpose to fulfill and then He created you to fill it. If you are not dead, He is not done! Start the business, plant the church, quit the 9-5, or go to your job with purpose to make a difference in the lives of the people around you!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

The Other Side of the Street

Last year my leg was badly maimed by a dog while I was running. Desiring to avoid this fate in the future, I decided to always run on the opposite side of the highway from this dog’s house. The other day, however, the traffic was so backed up that it was going to be several minutes before I could safely cross the road. Since its been a year, I decided I’d take a risk and run on the dog’s side of the road, which I did without incident. I’ve been running down that same exact highway every day for a year, yet running on the OPPOSITE side of the road was a totally different experience. I noticed things I’ve never noticed before, and got so caught up in my “new environment” that I was shocked when I came to the corner I turn at.

Isn’t it interesting that the other side of the road can be so different than the side we’re used? I share this story because it helps me think about people who live on “the other side of the road.” The people that struggle with all sorts of problems, pitfalls, and pains that are simply hard for us to imagine. Because they are on “the other side of the road” we may be quick to judge them, because we just don’t understand their situation. I used to think this way about many “types” of people. I saw them as sinners who made their own mistakes, and thusly paid the various prices for their problems. Yet, the more I spent time with them, the more God enlarged my heart for them. I gained a better understanding of their situation, as well as a desire to be part of God’s solution for improving their lives and eternities. This is the example Christ set for us. He chose to spend time with those on the “other side of the road,” and time after time transformation happened. Zacchaeus was a prime example. Everyone thought Jesus was out of his mind eating at Zacchaeus house, because Zacchaeus was a notorious cheat. Yet, look at what happened because Jesus crossed the street and spent time loving and sharing with Zacchaeus.

And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:8-10

Look, I see it like this. We can either stay on our side of the metaphorical street, glancing at the broken people on the other side with disinterest or a sense of judgment. Or, following Jesus’ example, we can cross that street and share God’s love with those experiencing all types of trials, and watch as God does amazing and transformative work.

Helping Others

Proverbs 3:27 New International Version (NIV)

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.

It was one of those unique Sundays. Ever had one of those unique moments, and you were called to stand in it? That is what happened.

In today’s verse, we are challenged not to withhold from doing good in order to help someone. My wife and I had just finished the morning where I had done Pulpit Supply at a church in Albia. We were driving home and talking about where to eat. We made our choice.

We drove up a little before 12:00 thinking we had beaten the crowd. Wrong. To our surprise, there was a group of 12 young girls and their teacher, a couple, and a widowed women whom we had met before. We visited while waiting. This elderly woman needed to sit while she waited, but she was a regular, and she was getting her sandwich after attending church.

After around 25 minutes, we were finally moving forward in the line. We started to notice that the woman in front of us was having difficulty. My wife grabbed a tall chair for her to sit on as she went through the line ordering her sandwich and toppings. The place of business was a bit stuffy with little air movement. Then, this woman stated to my wife that she did not feel well. My wife helped her to a lower chair. Then another lady came over. She was a nurse. She helped by asking this woman some questions, and my wife got her some lemonade as instructed by this nurse. The woman began to feel a little better, but we were unsure about her driving herself home.

My wife told me to purchase the woman’s sandwich and get ours done. Then, after some discussion with the nurse, another man who had come to help, and my wife; we decided that I would drive this woman home. My wife would follow. So, we drove her home, and made sure she was safe. We also made sure she had someone to check on her, and she did. It was encouraging to see that after getting out of the restaurant and getting some fresh air, this woman began to feel better. Before we left, my wife gave her a hug. We had met this woman before when we visited the church she attends. We had also visited with her before when we had been at this restaurant to get a sandwich. It was an honor and a blessing to be where we were at the time of her need.

This was an ordained moment to serve. Helping others fills our heart. It is doing good that we are an extension of Christ.

Men, do not withhold good when it is in your power to help others. 

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Quest

Midwest Quest

June 23-28

Jabez Retreat Center

Mooresville, Missouri

You’re invited to 5.5 days of God-seeking, soul-searching,
and spiritual equipping as we seek after the heart of God.
QUEST serves the church by facilitating a catalytic
encounter that imparts biblical principles to equip you in
living life free by Uncovering Truth, Unlocking Identity,
and Unleashing Passion. Come away and unplug — no
phones, no deadlines, no distractions – Just you and Him.

Contact: thequest.com or 817-595-9387

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

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