Life Under Construction

vital-logo-overlay I write this today while I sit in exile. Well, ok, maybe “exile” is a tad bit extreme. I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop {sipping some real great blueberry crumble coffee I might add} because one can hardly hear themselves think at our church right now as we are in the middle of a construction project. As our church continues to grow our facility needs to grow, which has led to this building expansion project. The crew is currently in the demolition phase, tearing out concrete, removing old carpets, and tearing off dated “wood” paneling. After the old is stripped away crews will begin constructing a fabulous new narthex, including an elevator, new restrooms, and plenty of fellowship space. It’s an exciting time in the life of our church as we grow and expand!

As I’ve heard the extremely annoying sound of jackhammers I’ve thought about the fact that we are all perpetually under construction. We are always learning, growing, and being shaped into better disciples of Christ. However, I fear many of us {myself included} get to a point where we begin thinking we have everything figured out. We’ve attended thousands of worship service, read shelves worth of Christian living books, attended countless Bible studies, and read thousands of daily devotionals. Not only that, but we’ve even been leaders and teachers in the church. Certainly we’ve reached the point where God has finished construction in our lives, and we have it all perfectly together, right? When you really think about it, the only moment in life when construction is complete is the moment we die and enter into God’s perfect heaven. Until that moment we are all in need of improvement, growth, and change. The problem is we seldom think that way.

Paul sums up the reality that we need to always be growing in our faith and practice in the book of Ephesians. He writes: until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:13-15

What are you doing right now to be growing? Do you have a mentor? Are you truly digging into scripture? Are you actively learning from others? Are you open to listening to new ideas and perspectives? Are you getting better at serving others? Until the day God calls us home we are tasked to constantly be growing as followers and disciples. What will you do to grow this week?

Being Commissioned

1 Kings 2:2-3New International Version (NIV)

“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man,and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go

This portion of Scripture speaks to the heart of every man. We see King David knowing his life on earth is almost complete. His life was far from perfect, but he pursued God in all his life. His heart chased after the Father.

He wanted the same for his son, Solomon. He first tells him to be a man of courage. There is no place for a weak man, and his courage needed to come from above and not within.

Many times as men, we look for courage from within ourselves. We have a self inflicted mind set where we say, “I can do this.” Too often we use this mind set to fight our addictions, anger, or personal struggles within the heart. We rely on the self inflicted mind set.

King David knew this from doing life. His greatest failure in life was within himself. He lusted after another man’s wife and seized the moment. The price of the moment killed an innocent man, a newborn child, and his kingdom here on earth was ripped in half because of that one moment.

Yet, in his failure with Bathsheba came King Solomon and eventually the greatest King many years later, King Jesus. In his brokenness, King David looked to his courage which came from above.

How about your courage today? Are you looking to Jesus who gives the courage or are you doing life your own way? We can learn a lot from the life of King David and his words as he commissioned his son Solomon. Let’s all look to the courage that comes from above.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

1 Chronicles 28:20New International Version (NIV)

20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.

We see King David commissioning his son Solomon to build the Temple of the Lord where God will reign. The Temple will have specific sizing, gold, silver, and wood. The materials were distributed to young Solomon in building the massive structure.
God continues to give men instructions on building temples which now reside within each man. We no longer need to build a Temple so God can reside inside. He sent the Holy Spirit, so the Temple of the Lord is inside you.
What are you doing with that Temple? Are you being strong and courageous in your walk with the Lord? We all have a choice in that decision. I pray we choose wisely each day of our lives because we are His Temple.

May 15th – Gun and Run Event!
Meet at the Newton Church of The Way
Leaving at 12:00 noon
Traveling to Ames and Eating at Hickory Park
Then off to Johnston to Cross Roads Shooting Sports
Please Sign Up Ahead of Time

Strength and Courage
Michael

Tough Story

Up to this point in my life, I have had the opportunity to know a great many christians. I came to the realization that a great many of the really energetic, sold out, fired up, fully devoted Christ followers I have had the privilege to meet, have a really tough story. Have you ever noticed that?

I myself, do not have a tough story. I grew up with both parents on a rural Iowa farm. I was raised on mid-western values, baseball and apple pie. I always had a roof over my head, food in my belly and parents who loved and supported me. I’ve had some difficulty, who hasn’t, but I have never been down and out, rock bottom. I’ve never had real tragedy strike, lost everything, battlde addiction, been in serious trouble or anything else I could associate with a “tough story”. I’ve been blessed. In fact, most of the people I know, believers and non-believers alike, probably reside predominantly in the same category as I. After all, we live in the United States of America.

As I think about how I’ve been blessed to live where and how I have, why did it take me so long to come to know Jesus Christ? I’ve been blessed, live a good life, never really had or caused major problems. I’ve tried to live “right”, school, work, taxes, friends, don’t cheat, steal or kill. The step off the cliff into Jesus’ loving embrace should have been the simple, logical choice, right? But it wasn’t, why?

I finally heard His call, chose to follow Him, love Him and trust my life to Him. I’ve been blessed throughout this life, and now into the eternal life and what’s more, I know it! So, being an energetic, sold out, fired up, fully devoted champion for His glory is the simple, logical next step, right? So why is it so hard? Better yet, why is it seemingly so easy for those with the “tough story”, those who have seen the bottom, to blaze like the 4th of July?

Luke 7:47 (NKJV) Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

The conclusion I have come to is simply, ‘comfort’. I’ve had it really good and there is no sense in disrupting that. My comfort has led to a life of complacency. Those who have had it tough, have a greater understanding of what it is exactly that He has done for them. They may have thought very little of their own life, where as I have thought rather highly of mine. They understand that despite their thoughts on the matter, Jesus cherished them above all else, loved them right where they were and despite everything continued to call them into His loving embrace. Perhaps… when no one else would. Therefore, they will champion, sing, praise, witness and testify in their utmost capacity, the power, grace, love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! They get it! All the way and they’re all in! Do you? Are you? God Bless you and have a great weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

Investing 202

Where does God want us to invest our resources? Let us first consider who owns all these things we so often think of as our own. This is the biggest perspective changer for me. When I quit thinking of everything as ‘mine’ and cease trying to get all that I can for myself, it changes my motives as well. When each penny is not really mine, but is something God is just entrusting me to use for a limited amount of time, I become someone God is trusting with his investment. My talents, knowledge, abilities, influence, etc. all become things God can use to further his kingdom in the few short years I may have here. Just like in the parable of the talents, God prefers to invest in that which will produce the greatest returns. How is that return going with us?

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1

Each Spring, we see hope all around us when the farmers and gardeners sow seeds in hopes of good growth and a harvest in the fall. Every year I waste food that could come from my garden. Either from plants that do not come to maturity, because I do not plant them well, nurture them, or when fruit is produced, I do not harvest it, consume it, or distribute it to others in time before it rots. This is sad, as much time, work and effort went into getting the crop to begin, grow and produce, but in the end it is wasted. Much the same can be said of our lives. We can have all the world has to offer in a way of riches, influence, and opportunity, but if it was just to benefit us and our already inflated ego, in the end it was all wasted. When we use all that we have been given to lead others to the knowledge of Christ, and to further his kingdom, it is for fruit that will last. Just like in the parable of the sower, all our efforts do not always determine whether the fruit will last or not, only do the work God has called us to do and he will do the rest.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

In my experience, some of the best investments you can make into someone’s life is to check in periodically with them over a long period of time…decades even. Take opportunities to share your faith and live out what it means to follow God to unbelieving friends and people you have regular contact with. Share and encourage fellow believers in their walks as well, as there is always something to help us grow as we share how God is working in our lives. If you have any contact with a younger person, take opportunities to speak the truth found in the gospel into their lives, share with them what you have learned and what knowing Christ means to you. As they grow into adulthood, they will remember even small things you may have done or said to encourage them in their faith. There is no act of service or kindness that God cannot use in some way.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44

Brothers, let us see the value in see the value of investing our time, talents, and resources into kingdom work. May you have the discernment to know where and when to plant, and which endeavors will produce the most fruit. May you have the patience and perseverance to trust Him with all that we have been given. Lord, may your kingdom come, and further expand in my life and in the lives of those around me as we seek to sow seeds that will last beyond this lifetime. May the fruit of our labors bring glory to your name, now and always!

In His Name,
Clark

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