How to change the world… Part 3

As a teenager, I learned something… My parents did not have a clue!  They said the world worked a certain way, and my friends showed me different. I got in trouble for rolling my eyes all the time.  Even if I didn’t roll my eyes talking to them, my attitude was the same.  They told me my girlfriend of 2 weeks didn’t love me. They told me the friends I choose were trouble.  They told me popularity was fleeting and a total waste of pursuit. 

They helped me buy a car and gave me an allowance.  So if I did not obey them, they would pull my keys, ground me from friends, and not let me go to places that would grow my popularity.  They were killing my image.  However, I wanted to drive and have cash so I obeyed.

I had a vision for my life.  It was full of popularity, pretty girls, and fame.  My parents had a different vision. It was full of loving God, a future of education, and a marriage to a christian girl.  So I gave in and submitted to their vision, because the consequence of not was too great.

15 years later, my vision was a waste of time.  My parent vision was so much better.  I am soglad I submitted to their vision.

Here is the 3rd way to change the world…

Serve someone else’s vision

Exodus 17:10 So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold themup. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

Joshua changed the world.  Before he led Israel, he served Moses vision.  Moses had these kind of plans all the time.  As long as Moses hands stay above his head, then Joshua would win.  If you are Joshua, your training and size of your army didn’t matter.  Your fate was litterately in the hands of an old man. This just sounds ridiculous.  

Joshua would have never been put in charge had he not first served Moses vision.  Submitting to a person is hard.  They are imperfect and do things different than we think they should.  Kind of like my parents in high school.  We think as we get older we are above this but we are not.  

I know this rubs wrong because we want to think we are smarter and above this.  It is not true.  Who’s vision do you need to submit to?  Did you know division means two visions?  Not one bad or one good, just two different vision.  Rebelion is trying to build a vision different than the person in charge.  

Who are you submitted to that if they tell you no you will do as they say?  If you don’t have an answer you are in a dangerous place. 

If you have that person, today thank them for what they do for you.  If you do not, ask God who He wants to play that role.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

I went through this awesome stage of life where my body periodically decided breathing was an optional biological function. My lungs would jet off to Hawaii for the weekend, and I’d get to have a nice little party at the local hospital. During one of these lovely episodes (also known as asthma) I found myself hooked up to some truly fantastic O2 in the hospital watching the Major League All-Star game. In the olden days hospitals didn’t exactly have great TV packages, so I felt fortunate to have something as good as the All-Star game to watch. In a pretty solid game the AL came back from a 4-0 deficit, and the game was knotted at 7 after nine innings. In the middle of the 11th inning, with the game still tied, the two managers and league commission held their own summit meeting along the first base-line. They decided that if the inning ended tied the game would simply end, finishing in an unprecedented tie. Despite a near riot from the fans that’s exactly what happened. I was furious, first because there are three major no’s in baseball: no crying, no PEDs, and no ties! Second, there was absolutely nothing else on TV, which seemed like a pretty major problem at the time. 

In many ways Jesus’ death on the cross is the run that ties the game between life and death, light and darkness, and good and evil. His death pays the debt for all us sinners, a debt payable only by death. The debt is paid on the cross, but the power of death is not yet defeated. In Jesus’ day resurrection was such an out there idea that even the most zealously religious people believed that not even God could resurrect the dead. One could perhaps earn a tie with death (like Elijah, who simply rode into Heaven), but there was no coming back and defeating death. That’s why Easter is such a big deal. Not only did Jesus die to pay our debt, He came back on the third day. He hit a walk-off grand slam that forever beat back the power of death. Because Jesus both died for our sins and was resurrected death is no longer something that can defeat us, nor is it something we should fear. Here’s how Paul’s puts it in Romans 6:5-8:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  

We celebrate Easter because God is so loving as to die on the cross for our sins, AND so powerful as to defeat death and rise again. By his love and power there will be no loss or tie for those who confess and believe, but only a perfect eternity in Heaven. 

They Came Running

John 20:2 New International Version (NIV)

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved,and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb that Sunday morning, but found the stone rolled away. At this moment, Mary had not seen Jesus. In her mind, the body had been stolen. So, like anyone else she pulls up her garments and runs back to find Peter and John.

We then see Peter and John go running to the tomb. It is a foot race, and of course, the younger disciple, John, gets there first. Now, here is an important piece that you do not want to miss. John stops at the opening of the tomb, he looks in, and assesses what has happened. Why did he hesitate?

Then, there is Peter. It says in Scripture that he went straight in. I love that. He had no hesitation. He wants to see for himself. But here is another important part. John saw and believed. Peter did not. Again, I have to ask why did John believe and Peter did not?

It was not until Jesus appeared to them later behind locked doors that Peter did believe.

I try to put myself into those moments. What if I was John or Peter? Would I have believed? Would I have come running? 

Men, my heart, my soul, and my spirit wants to run to Jesus and lift Him up for what He did on the cross for me and for you. Jesus later tells his men this: John 20:29b Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

That is us!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Today we are in celebration at Easter Sunday. Let’s invite other men and their families to join us this day as we bring praise and honor to the King of Kings, Jesus!

Strength and Courage

Michael

Forgive Them

Genesis 50:20,21 (NASB) As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

For the past few weeks, there has been a consistently repeating theme being brought to my attention.  I’ve listened to a number of sermons, from various pastors, read a number of articles and devotions, and had a good many conversations all centered around forgiveness.  This past Sunday, Pastor Jon Duey sermonized on the subject in a way that virtually mirrored a sermon I’d heard on the radio 4 days earlier.  I might be a bit obtuse sometimes, so God had to make it abundantly, stubbornly clear that I need to give some serious attention to this matter.

The thing about forgiveness is, everyone wants to be forgiven the things we do wrong to others, in some instances almost demand it as a right.  However, most are not so generous in extending forgiveness for wrongs committed us.  We justify its withholding with thoughts of, “well, I’ve never done anything like that.  It’s too much.  I didn’t deserve that, so they certainly don’t deserve my forgiveness.  If they would just apologize, then maybe I might see my way clear to extend them some grace.  Until then…”  To forgive or not to forgive, that is the question.

As I have thought about forgiveness, the desire to receive it and the need to extend it, I couldn’t help but think about the story of Joseph.  In Genesis 50:20,21 we are witness to the reunion of Joseph and his brothers.  Joseph was cast into a well, by his brothers, after they had contemplated killing him.  They then decided to sell him into slavery instead.  Joseph went on to work his way up the chain of command within the Egyptian kingdom, until he attained the position of pharoah’s second in command.  It was because of his position and authority he was able to protect and save the lives of thousands through a time of disasterous drought and famine.  When Joseph was finally reunited with his brothers, they expected the worse.  They expected condemnation, vengance and death at the hands of Joseph.  Instead they were met with joy, grace, immeasurable love and, yes, forgiveness.  Joseph forgave and loved on his brothers, the very ones who had desired his death and sold him into bondage.  Most people would say that Joseph would have been justified in wrath and retribution, but he had only forgiveness and love in his heart.  

It’s hard to say, exactly, why bad things happen and are done to people.  It’s difficult to let go of it when it comes yur way.  But, to forgive is a choice we will all have to decide upon for all of our life.  To forgive is as much for our benefit as it is to the benefit of the recipient.  It grants freedom to the giver as much or more as the recipient. 

Jesus hung from the cross in order to lift the burden of our sin, with love and forgiveness.  While hanging there, to the bittersweet end, forgiveness filled His heart and fell from His lips.  “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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