Labels Part 3

So far in our journey, Jacob has manipulated his brother for the birth right, deceived his dad into getting the blessing, and it hits him.  His brother is going to kill him.  So he runs away.  He runs to his uncles territory, where he meets Rachel his cousin.  He kisses her and makes an agreement to marry her.  Clearly he is from Arkansas. The agreement is he works 7 years to pay a bride price to which he agrees. 7 years later it comes time for the wedding and he celebrates… a little too much.  He starts talking cursive and he accidentally marries Rachel’s older sister Leah.  However he does not recognize it until the next morning.  Rachel’s dad deceives Jacob.  Then makes a new agreement, if Jacob works another 7 years he can marry Rachel too.  He agrees.

Then the sisters start competing through having kids.  To increase their chances they marry their maid servants to Jacob. Now Jacob is married to four different women and over time has 12 sons, not including daughters.  Could you imagine the family tension.  Jacob’s father in law feels like he has been deceived by some strange business deals and Jacob decides it is time to go. He leaves only to find out his brother is on the way with an army.  Jacob has no where to go and his past has finally caught up with him.

I am sure all of us have had the moment where our past seems to label us and determine our future.  They change the way we see ourselves in the mirror.  So what do we do with the labels of our past?  Jacob has a defining moment in his most desperate hour.

Genesis 32:24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

He replied, “Jacob.”

28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

Jacob wrestled with God in his labels.  He was covered in labels from other people, labels he pursued that did not work out, and labels of his past that seem to follow him around.  So God shows up and rewrites the labels.  That is what he wants to do with you, to take the labels that follow you and rewrite them. 

So go to Him now and let Jesus rewrite the labels.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Fighting the Wrong Opponent

Every 3.6 seconds someone in our world dies of starvation. Over 8 million children die annually due to extreme poverty. Over 3,000 people groups exist where there is no organized Christian presence. Over 70% of our world does not have a saving relationship with Christ. 1/3 of Americans under 30 identify as being non-religious, the highest in history. I don’t know about you, but each of those problems tugs at my heart, and there are MANY more I could have listed. The reality is that every problem listed above should be addressed in a meaningful manner sooner, rather then later, by us as Christians. Christians are better resourced then at anytime in history to address the spiritual, economic, and social problems of our world, yet we are slow to do so.

As Christians we’ve slipped into a bad habit of wasting much of our energy bickering among ourselves instead of addressing the problems of our communities and world with Christ’s love. Nearly every day someone on my Facebook feed links to an article taking a fierce stance either for or against contemporary worship. Nearly every time I visit my local coffee shop I overhear conversations at other tables complaining about some aspect of their church. And, I must admit, I’m often not much better. I whine in my head, under my breadth, and even sometimes quite audibly about the ideas, behaviors, and practices of other Christians I personally do not like (and my reasons are often not very Biblical).

This misallocation of our time and energy towards infighting instead of serving is far from new. Paul addressed this issue beautifully in writing to the church in Ephesus:
We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:14-16


This thing we call Church works best when we put aside our preferences and personal desires and chose to work together to be the hands and feet of Christ in this broken and weary world. Here’s what I want to propose to us today. What of instead of whining and complaining we as Christians re-directed that time and energy towards being the hands and feet of Christ in our world? Instead of looking up articles trying to prove our position we allocated more time to serving others? Instead of complaining to other Christians we met together to encourage one another or, even better yet, went out and served together?There is so much work that needs to be done, so lets stop fighting one another and start fighting together for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

Live Small or Live Big

Job 36:15New International Version (NIV)

15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
    he speaks to them in their affliction.

Here is a question for us today. Can my pain be transformed into something big, like a greater ability to love, to protect, and to utilize a righteous kind of power?

Most men have a wounded heart of some kind and for most, it is usually a father wound. For me, I am a son of a beginning baby book generation. I was born at the end of that generation that is a driven, hardworking, and isolated generation.

My own father was born after WWII having a father who fought as a gun man of a tanker ship. My grandfather was a hard man. He did not talk much, except when he was drinking. I must truly say that I resented him, and I was also afraid of him.

I will never forget walking into the funeral home when my grandfather had passed. My dad did not see me, but I watched him hold my grandfather’s had while weeping bitterly. I could hear my dad telling him that he loved him.

My dad was also a very strong man. He was a builder and carpenter, as well as, a tradesman. My father also had to overcome his demons of the past. You see, men, drinking had my father, but Jesus changed him. My dad gave his life to Christ and everything changed.

Today, my father is a mountain of a man. He loves Jesus, and he loves to tell his family that. Dad had a choice to live small or live big. He crept out of the mire, gave his life to Christ, and started living big. Pain transforms to something big and greater. 

What is your choice today? Do you choose to live small or to live big?

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Discover the passion in you. You might be asking how you can do this. You can do this by going on a Quest. Our next date is October 1-6, 2017.

Quest is the act or instance of seeking and pursuing something. It is a search or an expedition undertaken to the adventure of chasing the Father.

There will be 5 days of God seeking, self searching, and spiritual training to unlock the hearts of men. You will seek the heart of God and know that he has a heart for you.

Come away to the wilderness with other men for 5 days. Come to the adventure.

Go to Fellowship of the Sword for more information.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Entangled

Matthew 13:7  (NKJV)  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.  

When you surrender your life, mind, heart, spirit and body to Jesus Christ, accept the truth that He went to the cross to bear the sins of the world, your sin, and believe in your heart that God raised Him to life three days later, you are saved.  Through His sacrifice, you are justified, your slate wiped clean, you are made righteous. That cannot be reversed.  John 10:28-30 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”   Satan lost that battle.  There is nothing that he can do to pull you from Jesus’ embrace.  That’s the good, no great news!  

Now, the meat of today’s commentary.  In Matthew 13:7 we see a secondary tactic employed by the evil one.  He no longer has opportunity to claim you as a trophy.  You belong to God and cannot be snatched away.  So, his next option is to render you inconsequential.  This is, I believe, one of the greatest dangers facing the American church.      Luke 8:14  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  We live in satan’s domain and he will utilize any and all tools at his disposal to render you ineffectual.  As a follower of Christ, one of your primary obligations is to go into the world and make disciples.  Fortunately for satan and unfortunately for us, our culture provides satan with a plethora of options to call into service to sideline us from the work God would use us for.  The evil one cannot rip us away but he can maneuver and position us in such a manner that he may be able to get to those we were meant to touch.  

The only way to counter this is diligence.  We have to arm ourselves against the never ending onslaught.  If we are to resist the barrage of distractions he casts in our way, we most be focused, intentionally.  We must pray, seek God’s heart, desire to know Him, through His word, His communion, His gifts and His Spirit.  Do not allow the things of this world to entangle you and impede your mission.  Another’s eternity could, very well, be at stake.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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