Made Perfect

Hebrews 5:8-10 (NASB) Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God, was born innocent, pure, but not perfect.  What?!  That’s right, He was born innocent, but made perfect.  We celebrate Christmas for the day of Christ’s birth, but that was just the beginning.  What Jesus accomplished in the salvation of man kind was the result of a process, a refining process to create in Him the only perfect being to walk the face of the earth.  

Born of the line of David, from the tribe of Judah, He wasn’t even born of the priestly tribe of Levi.  In Jewish tradition, only those from the tribe of Levi were permitted to enter into the priesthood, allowed to enter into the inner most court of the 3 court Jewish tabernacle.  

David found another way.  David cried out to God.  He desired to know Him, be near Him.  He pursued Him.  He wanted to be in His presence.  He discovered this access through the order of Melchizedek.  Melchizedek was the king of Salem (peace), a priest, but not of the tribe of Levi.  David recognized this and in doing so understood it’s importance and its foreshadowing of the coming Messiah.  By Jewish tradition, much of what David did, prophesying, offering sacrifice, etc was an outright atrocity.  However, he could do so, without reproach, because of his desire and full on pursuit of God.  His heredity didn’t make him eligible, justify and sanctify him.  God made him worthy because of his unwavering desire to know Him.

Jesus, the Son of God, is a priest of this order.  He’s granted access to God the same way that David was, through desired pursuit and obedience to Him.  He wasn’t born perfect, He was made perfect by His pursuit, obedience, suffering, love, victory over sin and unceasing desire to do His Father’s will.  Jesus summed it up from the cross, when He said, “it is finished”.  The process was complete.  He had been made perfect. 

All of us will fall short of the glory of God.  None of us are perfect, but Jesus’ atoning work, through His life’s process and His ultimate sacrifice are our assurance of the perfection that awaits us in glory.  Have a blessed weekend. 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace  

Count the Cost

Whenever you make a purchase, you decide if something is worth the asking price.  You stop at a convenience store and are craving a candy bar or soda and don’t care if they cost 3 times what you would pay elsewhere.  Maybe you are debating whether or not to bail a friend out of trouble and ask yourself if it will really make a difference this time of if he will just end up in the same place again.  A few hours or a few years later, you look back at some of your choices and say, I’ll never do that again, or maybe that was well worth it!  Many of our poor choices in life are fueled by strong emotions like anger, frustration, pride, or greed.  There was an incident a couple weeks ago within 2 miles from my home where emotions between 2 young men escalated to the point where one was stabbed to death.  When we get into trouble, either by saying something we shouldn’t, or by doing something stupid that we later regret, or any number of small or large costly mistakes, we hopefully learn from it with as little negative consequence on us or those around us.  What are your biggest failures or regrets, so far? 

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.  Luke 14:33

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  2 Timothy 3:12

When you make a purchase, like a car or a house, you may often be so excited about the benefits of the item that you overlook some of the flaws or drawbacks.  Maybe you didn’t notice a few things that may cost you more in repairs later on.  At one point in your life, when you said yes to Christ, were you mainly concerned with the cost or the benefit of becoming His disciple?  For many of us, we may have been motivated by the understanding of our depravity and need for a Savior, while at the same time fearing the other option of eternal damnation.  There are even some who chase after a false prosperity gospel message of getting rich by following Christ.  When we become His, the desires of our heart often change from worldly things to eternal things, and we also learn that we are not promised wealth, but more so persecution.  Some of us do not really surrender our whole life to Him, but often try to hold on to many of our selfish desires and maintain control of what we want and not what He wants for us.  How many of us have fully surrendered our lives to Christ saying ‘do with me as you please’?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.   And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:26-27

Following Christ in the West often has little implication on our family and friends.  Your friends may change a bit, but its not usually socially unacceptable to be a Christian, even if your family does not do the same.  If you are living in a primarily Musilm, Buddhist or Hindu country, becoming a Christian can have much more significant implications.  You often may disown your own family, or become shunned by them to make such a decision.  After reading only a few stories of persecuted Christians, you realize that some may even face the threat of imprisonment or even death as a result of their faith.  Have you ever wondered or asked yourself what you would do in a situation like this?  If given the option to hold on to your faith or your life, which would you choose?   We may hope that we never face such a threat, but pray for those who do, and for what you would choose if in their shoes.  Maybe a more pressing question for you today is ‘What do I want’ vs. ‘What does God want’?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Yours in Christ,

Chase the Lion part 3

I was playing Monopoly with my son this week.  He wants to beat me at a strategy game so bad.  About mid game, he is winning.  His roles are unbelievably lucky and I land on his big properties every time.  I get to a place in the game where I am almost out of cash and I finally land on the property I need.  If I buy it, it might win the game in the long term. However in the short term, I will be out of cash and one roll away from losing the whole game.  I have a decision to make, play to possibly win or try not to loose.

I think it is easy to play life not to lose.  Don’t stand out too much.  Do what is expected.  Play it safe.  However in our safe life, we aspire to be the risk taker. We know deep inside doing something significant in obedience to God or to serve or give until it hurts requires tremendous risk.  There are no guarantees or risk free options.  It will require faith at another level.

2 Samuel 23: 20 Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. (emphasis added)

Chase the lion- Defining moments require risk

Benaiah is a man who chased a lion.  He intentionally went after a 500 pound predator. One way or another, either the lion or Benaiah is going to die.  The natural instinct to survive is powerful and both warrior want it.  We would not know about Benaiah had he not chases the lion.  We would not know about him if he had died.  Billions of people will hear about him and be added to the scripture if he kills the lion.  Notice now he did not just go after the lion he chased it.  What causes a lion to tuck tale and need to be chased?

Sometimes God asks us to do something that takes significant risk.  It might be to forgive someone who isn’t sorry or doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. It might be to give what you can’t afford.  I might be to start something that hasn’t been done. It might be to move to a city you don’t know anyone.  What I know for sure is when I get around Jesus followers and listen to their stories, the ones they come alive telling are the ones where they obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense.

A couple years ago, my friend was applying for a job.  The job required transportation and just as he was about to begin his car broke down beyond repair.  Johna and I prayed about it.  I wanted to give like $500.  We didn’t have $500 to give.  Johna said we should give him our jeep.  So we compromised like couples do and we gave him our jeep.  We did not have the money to replace the jeep.  So I rode a bike to work for months.  I kept thinking God will give us a vehicle.  It never did.  We actually refinanced our house to pay for another vehicle.  It still doesn’t make sense.  However, we find so much joy in obeying God and seeing my friends face when I gave him our title for free.

Don’t misunderstand… I am NOT saying go gamble money playing the lottery or climb a mountain without gear.

What risk is God asking you to do?  Go do it in faith! Forgive, give and serve until it hurts, love again, start it.  We serve a big God with dreams! Go chase the Lion

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Who is Imitating You?

We are all born with innate ability to imitate others. From the day of our birth we use our senses to explore our environment and to imitate those around us. We learn to grab and use objects because we see our siblings doing the same. We learn to speak by imitating the sounds and words we hear (which is probably why “no” was one of the first words my children learned). It’s not only as babies that we learn through imitation. Throughout our lives, whether we realize it or not, we are constantly learning new skills and behaviors from those around us. 

The Apostle Paul intimately understood this idea of imitation. Imitation was the primary educational method in Biblical times. A young man wanting to become a carpenter would not attend a trade school, but rather would find a master carpenter and apprentice under him for several years. Similarly, a religious leader like Paul did not attend a seminary, but rather studied under an accomplished Jewish teacher and leader. Paul and his readers therefore understood that learning is not just something done in a classroom, but something that often occurs through imitating the actions and behaviors of others. This led Paul to write the following, which I think is of great importance to all us 2,000 years later: 

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,  so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8

While most of you may never given a sermon or share the gospel with a large audience in an auditorium, every day many people are encountering you, your words, your actions, and your behaviors. My question to all of us is: are you living a life worthy of imitating? In other words, if others starting living, speaking, working, and serving like you would they be living more or less as God desires us to? You may not like it, but as followers of God we are always on stage to the world. While this may sound intimidating, we need to embrace it as an opportunity. Every day, by simply following God’s ways, we have the opportunity to impact the lives and eternities of others. You never know who is going to be watching and learning from you, so let us always live out a life worthy of imitation. 

Vital Ministries News

We are excited to announce that Vital Men now has a conversion in the works from English to Spanish. We are now working to reach our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters with devotionals and other related Vital Ministries News.

Strength and Courage



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