Vital Ministries News

I am encouraging every man to purchase the book, The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus. It encourages the reader to save nothing for the next life.

Welcome In


What was the best you were ever treated?  Maybe you get special treatment by your family once a year when it is your birthday, or perhaps you stayed at a nice resort where it is everyone’s job to make sure you are well fed and happy.  Have you ever been treated well by a stranger, who wasn’t paid to do so?  Maybe someone paid for your meal, let you go ahead of them in line, or just had a kind word for you, and what was your response?  Experiences that are even more appreciated may be when someone welcomes you or treats you well, and you did nothing to deserve it.  What is our response when we are treated well…is it gratitude, to think we deserved it, or do we try to repay the kindness, or pay it forward to others? 

Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Luke 6:31

How often do you open up your home to friends and relatives, or even strangers?  Just yesterday, I was talking to an Amish man who had hosted a wedding earlier in the week.  He put up a temporary shelter and had hundreds of people, from several states visiting, and many staying on his farm.  I don’t know about you or your family, but when I have someone visiting, or even staying, I feel obligated to get the place more cleaned up and in order, which takes a bit of work.  Why is it that we don’t host more people in our homes?  I am challenged by that as well. 

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Isaiah 58:7

One of the most interesting concepts I have come across this past decade is a website called couchsurfing.  It is basically a site to connect people who may be traveling through an area with someone willing to host them, or in the least provide a bed or sofa, without charge.  My first experience 6 years ago, was when I was staying with friends in San Diego and was looking to visit the central coast, where my dad once lived.  A host accepted my request and I traveled 5 hours to stay at a place I had never been with someone I had never met.  The next day, after providing me a couch to crash on, they fed me, and took me around to visit several local places, and basically treated me like family, without asking for a dime.  They were not Christians, but I kept thinking, isn’t this how we as Christians should treat everyone else?  I’ve probably hosted around 15-20 different people at my own house since then, even though rural Southern Iowa is not a hotbed of tourism.  It often provides me an opportunity to share my faith with most who have stayed with me as well. 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.   Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.   Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  1 Peter 4:8-10

Who was the most welcoming toward Jesus?  Those with a questionable reputation… those who were extremely grateful toward him… those who really couldn’t afford to treat Him well?  Those with the means or space to do so often are the least welcoming toward strangers, or even family.  Do you feel Jesus has been hospitable toward you in welcoming you into His Kingdom?  When we are treated well, or better than we deserve, shouldn’t that be our same attitude toward others?  Or do we become self-serving and entitled into believing everyone needs to treat us well.  They are polar opposites, but I’ve seen both results in others, and myself.  The more gratitude we have in our own hearts for the things that we have in life, often the more willing we are to share those things with others as well, even if they are undeserved.  May you come to experience this more and more in your life as you show hospitality toward others!

Yours in Christ,

I love the “C”hurch!

In late Sept of this year, I went to visit a church plant (Sozo Church) in San Francisco.  It was incredible!  The church is about one year old.  Before they gathered at 6 am to transform a middle school into a gathering of the church, they prayed.  When I say they prayed, I don’t mean they said religious words before a church activity because they should.  They asked God to move powerfully in their service.  Many were in tears as they mentioned people by name who needed freedom from addiction or healing from wounds.  They wanted the Holy Spirit to fall not so they had an emotional response but that His Glory would change their city.

I walked the streets for hours and met people.  Some were homeless and some were wealthy.  What they had in common was they were so lost. This city is not just unchurched but it is also anti church. They are about to take the church branding off their trailers to make it safer to store them.  They pay “private” security to guard the trailers at night.  They get hate mail, they get protested, they get blackballed for renting spaces.  Why?  They are a church. 

In their city, if you are a family of 4 and make less that $114,000 a year, you are considered poverty level.  My friend (the church planter) pays $6,000 month for rent for 1,600 sq ft house that will built 80 years ago. Everything costs more!

You might be asking why I say this… 

Matthew 16:15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 

Matthew 28:18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus started the “C”hurch.  It was His idea. It is not a building! It is not a religion!  It is a gathering of believers who are called to preach the good news which is Jesus is messiah.  Jesus died not to make bad people good people but dead people alive people.  I love the “C”hurch because this is our calling! This is our message that transforms lives and families!  This is why people move to anti church expensive cities!  This is why we give to local churches.  Our King, our Savior, our Friend entrusted us with the greatest story ever told! 

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg


Ability or Availability?

Judges 4:6 New International Version (NIV)

She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.

We find in this portion of the Bible, Deborah is leading the nation as a judge into battle. She was also a prophet and was given a Word from the Lord to attack the Canaanites. She was promised victory in verse 7, saying, “Jabin’s army and his 900 chariots would be given into Israel’s hands.”

Judge Deborah had a field general by the name of Barak. He was given the order to lead the attack. But, something interesting happens in verse 8. Barak will not lead unless Deborah goes with him.

In my mind, I see two things in General Barak’s life that is lacking. Where is his faith? Where is his honor? As the story unfolds, Judge Deborah simply makes herself available although her ability in war is probably limited.

All too often we see ourselves lacking ability in some situation in our lives, so we pull away from our availability. If I have learned anything, God makes me stronger.

Paul hits the nail on the head in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For I am weak, this I am strong.” Paul gives us clarity.

Men, God is far moe concerned about your availability than he is with your ability. We are always stronger when we admit and give him our weaknesses.

Strength and Courage



Vital Ministries News

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