Different: A Different Calling

We throw the term “calling” around quite a bit in the church, but do we really understand what it means? Pastor Craig Groeschel points out that God calls us in three distinct ways. First, God calls us to salvation. He calls us to repent, and then by His grace forgives us. Second, God call us to temporary assignments. This is the type of call most of us have in mind when we think of calling. He may call you to go on a mission trip, teach a Sunday School class, or even make ministry your vocation. While this calling may last a long time (I’ve known people to teach Sunday School for 40 plus years), it has a defined start and a defined end. It may be long-term, but its still to a certain place/ministry/people for a certain amount of time. There is a third calling that Peter talks about throughout his letter. This calling is every bit as important as the other two, but its one we are quick to overlook. This is the calling to live a different lifestyle. In fact, this is a calling EVERY CHRISTIAN has. 

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

Let’s break down the things Peter says we are called to be in this passage: 

    God’s Own Possession: God paid for our sins by His blood so that we may enter His Kingdom. He suffered           and sacrificed all so that we may live. 

     A Chosen People: Called to be a city on a hill: a shinning example of God’s love to all people at all times. 

     A Royal Priesthood: We are called to lead people in our lives (friends, relatives, neighbors, etc.) to know,             believe, and worship God. 

     A Holy Nation: We are called to not only worship Jesus, but to act and live like Him.

Do you notice the common thread in all of these callings? It’s that we are called to live our daily lives in a manner that honors God and blesses others. Put another way, we are ALWAYS on call for God. We are called to live in a way that attracts people to God (chosen people). We are called to live in such a way that we can lead others to a relationship with God (Royal Priesthood). We are called to live our lives in the same manner Jesus did. We are called to do all of these things because we are God’s possession, called into His Kingdom by Jesus’ death on the Cross. I urge all of us to take a few minutes today to ask ourselves: Am I living out God’s calling on a daily basis? Am I living out the calling to a different lifestyle that God has given me, His own possession? 

Fan or Flame

2 Timothy 1:6 New International Version (NIV)

Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Are we willing to fan for the Gospel? Paul was encouraging young Timothy to be bold in his faith and not allow any distractions to get in the way, especially due to his young age. Paul was an encourager to young Timothy, and he saw something in Timothy.

We all need encouragement and other men in our lives to encourage us to fan the flame for the Gospel Message. How in your flame for the Gospel Message? This is not like a match flame or a campfire flame. This is a big brush fire flame.

A flame needs oxygen as it burns or it will eventually go out. For young Timothy, that oxygen came from the words of his mentor, Paul. The words were like oxygen to flame his boldness, power, and self-discipline. Pauls words were like oxygen to Timothy’s faith.

I have found that the greatest source of oxygen to my flame is in the Holy Spirit. When I hear his voice, read my Bible, have prayer time, and when I get an encouraging word from the Lord, this fans my flame.

My hope today is that you find ways to fan your flame of faith. My hope is that even the devotionals that your receive from Vital Men and the 5 spirit filled writers help you. Keep your flame burning like a big brush fire.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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Vital Biker Couple’s Ride

June 29, 30, and July 1

Red Wing, Minnesota

A Great Couples Weekend

 

Fear is a Good Thing

Proverbs 9:10 (NASB) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

You want wisdom, God’s word is pretty clear in this proverb.  It begins with fear.  I think most people misunderstand what is meant in scripture when it references the “fear” of the Lord.  I believe most think, “why would I be afraid of God?  He loves me, He wouldn’t wish me harm.”  I think most people imagine being frightened, running or hiding yourself from the awful.  That couldn’t be farther from what scripture is talking about.

Fear of the Lord is an understanding that God is everything.  He is beyond comprehension.  All things exist because of Him and His will.  He’s the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, He always was and He always will be.  Our finite minds cannot even comprehend to a bagillioneth of a fraction of an iota Who God is.  Think about that.  

So, the “fear” that scripture talks about is a complete and utter realization that there is nothing, no one, that can even remotely compare.  The “fear” is a total unwavering reverence to the infinite awesomeness of God. 

That’s it.  That’s the “fear”.  He is everything, nothing compares.  The “fear” is complete and utter humility and acceptance of that.  The “fear” is knowing that we should be testing everything against His standard, because He is and nothing escapes His knowing.  He’s everything, everywhere, all the time.  

So, that’s where wisdom begins.  It begins with the “fear” of knowing that He is everything and anything we are to accomplish or become begins with the “fear”.  To know the Lord is to fear the Lord.  With that fear wisdom takes root because through that understanding we see more clearly and understand more deeply.  

Fear is a good thing.  Hope that helps someone.  Have a blessed weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Have you ever had a perfect day?  Maybe some days things seem to go your way and you don’t run into any major difficulties, but maybe no day is perfect.  Every day is usually a mixed bag of things that go smoothly, some things that don’t go so well, and some surprises that knock you out for a while.  Have you ever been around someone who complains, no matter what happens?  You may know others who never seem to get upset or flustered, despite their circumstances.  Why the difference…are they born that way, have different expectations, or just have different outlooks on life?  What about you?  Does what happens to you from one minute to the next change your attitude or even your view of God’s love for you? 

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.  James 1:2-3

There is a common karmic misconception that when we are ‘good’, then our lives will be good, and if we are ‘bad’, then we will get what we deserve, from whoever determines these things.  To some degree this is true in that if you keep speeding, stealing, or breaking other laws of the land, you will eventually get a ticket or will reside in jail.  If you are rude to everyone you encounter, you will most likely get back similar treatment from others, and if you are kind toward everyone, others will be kind in return, and some will take advantage of you.  The longer you live, the more you realize that bad things do happen to generally ‘good’ people, and people who do bad things, sometimes get away with it, for now.  I’ve known children that have had difficult lives and died early, not because of anything they did.  So, there seem to be no concrete rules to dictate whether we will have a good, bad or ugly life, because anything is possible in a fallen world.  Some Christians even teach that if your faith is strong enough, then only good things will come your way, which is essentially a works based faith.  What do you believe? 

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:44-45

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

Opposite to what many movies and myths would have you believe, there are no inherently evil places.  As long as there are evil people, evil things will be done in every corner of the earth, regardless of the outward appearance.  Yet, as long as there is hope in Christ, redemption and good are possible in any situation also.  He has redeemed us back to himself, and is redeeming this world back to Him as well.  What that will ultimately look like, we don’t fully know, though he gives us some glimpses in Revelation.  So, let us not grow weary in doing what is right with each opportunity through the day, for by doing so, we expand a small part of God’s Kingdom here in this world.  Be generous in love and forgiveness toward others, just as God has been with you.  Regardless of whether each moment is good, bad, or ugly, we live knowing that in the end, good triumphs over evil!  

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

Yours in Christ,
Clark

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