Dangerous Prayer… Lead Me

Peter grew up fishing.  Not the go to the lake and throw a line in the water.  Like fish all night in the cold with a net, this is my job not this is my hobby fishing. His dad fished, his grandpa fished, and his great grandpa… you guessed it… he fished. He was set up to do what everyone expected him to until one day something changed.  After a full night of fishing and catching nothing, a rabbi shows up and says something that seems so demeaning. “Throw your nets on the other side of the boat.”  Can you imagine?  You have come from a line of fishermen and know how to fish these banks and maybe what is wrong is you are fishing on the wrong side of the boat.  However, since this is a man with authority he does it, probably just to humor this rabbi who clearly knows nothing about fishing.  Then it happens.  He has no idea following this simple suggestion is about to change the course of his life.  The net gets overwhelmed with fish to where the nets start to break.  Peter goes to meet this rabbi.  The rabbi gives an invitation.

Matthew 4:19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

This was a call to leave the family business, walk away from his family, and leave everything he has ever known.  He has no idea what he is about to sign up for.

vs 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

I think for many of us, we had no idea what we were signing up for when we decided to follow Jesus.  We prayed asking God a dangerous prayer… LEAD ME.  We signed up to follow Jesus to let Jesus lead us and our life changes.

Not all prayers are created equal.  There are safe prayers. Bless me, protect me, give me traveling mercies.  Then there are prayers that are not safe they are dangerous.  When you pray these prayers your life changes… Lead me.  He will lead you.  The place he leads you to is not where we expect.  He leads us out of slavery to our sin.  The hardest part of that is not getting us out of slavery it is actually getting slavery out of us.  Slavery to the way of this world and getting the world out of us when it is all we ever know.  Then He leads us to purpose.  He has a specific plan for each of us.  I think many people do not ever get to know their purpose because they struggle to get the slavery out of them.

Are you ready to pray a dangerous prayer?  “Lead me out of slavery and into purpose.”  Where is the slavery still in you?  Have you given it to the  Lord?  Have you sought Him to find your purpose?  He is for you and paid a high price for you to pray this dangerous prayer.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

In Need of a Light

I’m going to man up and admit that, fifteen years ago this month, I totally botched my proposal to my wife. It was working at Inspiration Hills, a Christian camp in northwest Iowa, and I had been planning “the perfect proposal” for quite some time. When Andrea came for the weekend I took her on a hike, leading her to a large hill outside of camp. From this hill you could see Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota, and at pinnacle was a large cross. When we got to the cross I knelt on one knee, said something romantic, and reached for the ring… which I could not find in the dark! No problem I thought, I’ll just grab my flashlight and find it…except I couldn’t find my flashlight either! So here I am, at what should be the most romantic moment of my life, flaying around on my hands and knees trying to find the flashlight, while apologizing profusely for ruining the proposal. Andrea kindly joined me in the search and soon {although it felt like an eternity} we were able to find the flashlight. Within seconds of turning on the flashlight we were able to spot the ring and I could finish the proposal. Thankfully {and gracefully} she still said yes, and fifteen years later we remain happily married.

It’s hard to find anything in the dark, let alone something tiny like a ring. Likewise, it’s difficult to correctly find our way in the world without someone to guide us. Its certainly not because the world doesn’t try to direct us. It seems like, more then ever, the world is trying to lead us down all sorts of negative and dark pathways. Yet, there is really only one who can correctly show us how to navigate life, and that is Jesus Christ. John 1:4-5 explains it like this:

In him {Jesus} was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Just as I would have likely never found that ring without a flashlight we are unlikely to correctly navigate life without following the light of Christ. See, Jesus not only came to earth to save us, but to lay out a blueprint for how to live life. His earthly life, perfectly preserved in scripture, serves as a flashlight illuminating the correct path for us. It is a path that is not always easy, but is the right path for us and those around us. It is a path that includes: showing grace and forgiveness, caring for the poor, living sacrificially, loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, following scripture, and standing for God against the sinful ways of the world. May we always be turning to scripture and letting the light of Christ serve as our guide in our dark world.

Love – Time – Death

1 Corinthians 13:13New International Version (NIV)

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love, Time, and Death; these three things connect every person who ever lived and who still lives and who is yet to live. We all long for love. We all wish we had more time. And we fear death. In the deepest part of every person lies these three component parts. They connect us.

This past weekend we visited the grave site of my mother. My dad was there with family, siblings, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We stood and revisited a life that once lived and continues to touch each one of us in her legacy.

I realize how much she loved each one of us, how she spent time teaching us, and how she raised us. Her sudden death still impacts us all yet today.

As we were talking about her time on earth, my son read to us from 1 Corinthians 13. That chapter speaks to our hearts of what love really is. Love is not simply saying it. It is living it through the time you live life.

I was so thankful to have a mom who loved me in my own life. This moment challenged me in my own life in how I love. What will I do with the time I am given, so it will prepare me in my death. I want my life to glorify Jesus.

How is your love with your wife, family, and the everyday people? Do they see it? What about time? 

King Solomon says life is simply a vapor. Death, we do not like that word, but it is inevitable unless Christ returns in our life time. Are you preparing for the life to come? 

Love, Time, Death, but the greatest of all is Love. It brings all of life full circle.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Men’s Breakfast – June 10, 2017

Hy-Vee in Newton, Iowa

7:00-8:00 am

$7.00 will get you all you can eat

Bring: Dads, Sons, Friends, Men

Hope to see you there!!

Naturally

On Memorial Day, my wife, my brother and I watched “Patriot Day”.  For anyone who has not seen it, or doesn’t know the story line, it centers around the Boston marathon bombings.  These bombings were a senseless tragic attack spawned by hatred.  The soul intent was terror and anguish. 

As I watched this movie, I was shocked (all over again), saddened, pained but mostly angered.  My blood pressure jumped up a few notches, to say the least.  As events ran their course, and they were closing in on the perpetrators, my anger was shifting to vengeance, retribution.  I wanted to see equivalent amounts of pain and terror inflicted on these men, an eye for an eye.  For one of them that’s what he got.  I almost jumped out of my chair and cheered.

It took a couple days, but I began to evaluate my response to what I saw, to those men and the evil that they unleashed.  I was disturbed and convicted by my desire to see pain inflicted on those men.  Vengeance, that’s what I wanted… blood.  That’s wrong.  Period.  That is not what justice looks like.  What those men did was wicked and horrific.  They became the manifestation of evil, in the plainest sense of the word.  However, to wish vengeance, retribution and retaliation on them, blood and carnage, is wrong.   Some would say, “turn about is fair play.”  I would say, “naturally!”  Jesus would say, “you are no longer a natural man.”  

Romans 12:21 (NKJV) Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

God would see us pity those men for the evil that enveloped them, be saddened for them, pray and bless them.  He would have us pour out love and compassion for the victims of their actions, the bombing, as well as the ancillary physical and emotional casualties inflicted.

This is not a call to simply lie down and allow evil to have its way, free from consequence or defense.  There will be times when corrective action, the laying on of “hands”, if you please, is necessary.  There will be times when one must rise up and beat back evil manifested in another to protect oneself or others.  Justifiably so, however, guard your heart.  “Do not be overcome.”  The motivation, the condition of your heart in such cases, is what scripture directs our focus to.  There will most assuredly be times when justice is required for evils perpetrated.  Be careful, for bloodlust and retaliation is born from the very same evil.  Vengeance and justice are not interchangable.  People will wrong you, be sure of that.  I pray that none of you ever experience the level of tragedy wrought upon the people of Boston that day.  Regardless of the level wrought, respond from the unnatural position that God has called you to.  It will be easier said than done, but Love first. Have a blessed weekend.    

Romans 12:17-19  (NKJV)  Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

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