Have you ever been promised something from someone you looked up to only to have them forget or go back on what they said?  Did your parents ever promise you ice cream if you behaved well only to later say you do not have time? Have you ever had a boss promise to talk about a raise or say they will give one only to never bring it up again?  All of these are so frustrating.

When David kills Goliath he is promised the King’s daughter as a bride.  After the battle, David is made commander in chief running the whole Israelite army.  He wins every battle he is in and is more successful than any of the generals.  Israel makes a song… Saul kills by the thousands and David by the tens of thousands.  If you were king how would you feel about David… One word… Jealous!!! Saul gets jealous of David and marries his daughter (promised to David) to another man.  Not only that decides he wants David dead so he throws a spear at David to kill him but misses.  Saul demotes David from leading the whole army to just a 1,000 men.  Israel loves him even more.  Saul now hates David even more so he devises a plan to kill David.  Tell David he can marry the younger daughter Michal and for a brideprice to kill 100 Philistines and cut off their foreskins.  David has already killed Goliath and led Israel to victory but to ask David to go into enemy territory and kill 100 men. Not to mention David could easily say this is unfair, I already risked my life as a brideprice.  David answers different.

1 Samuel 18:26 David was delighted to accept the offer. Before the time limit expired, 27 he and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. Then David fulfilled the king’s requirement by presenting all their foreskins to him.

I am not sure delighted would be the word use to describe our feelings in David’s situation.  Maybe you are more redeemed than me, but I would feel cheated and taken advantage of.  David responded different than reason would tell us, and because David was different he was able to make a difference.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life.

30 Every time the commanders of the Philistines attacked, David was more successful against them than all the rest of Saul’s officers. So David’s name became very famous.

We all like the words like the Lord was with David, successful, famous but do we like delighting in unfair treatment and being a kings enemy for the rest of his life?  In order to make a difference we have to be different.  How do you respond to unfair treatment or unmet promises?  How do you need to respond different in order to make a difference?

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Stop Fighting!

If you look at the Cleveland Caviler’s roster this season it seems clear that they are built to absolutely dominate the competition. They have LeBron James, who is in the argument for being the greatest player of all time. Add to that all-star players Kyrie Irving (4x’s), Kevin Love (4x’s), Deron Williams (3x’s), and Kyle Korver (1x), and they should be winning virtually every game. Yet, they rank only 5th in the NBA. Now, thats obviously still a solid season, but certainly less then expected out of a team with so much talent. There has been substantial in-fighting within the team, leading one expert to assert that a “volatile, dangerous situation” exists in the locker-room. Indeed, the Cavalier’s biggest obstacle to an NBA Championship this season may not be another team, but rather themselves.

Unfortunately, I see a parallel here with God’s family, the church. God has built us to be successful. He has gifted us with the gifts and talents needed to reach the nations, train disciples, and improve our world. He has given us scripture as a guide, and the Holy Spirit to make it come alive. He has given us a direct line to Him (prayer), and the Spirit to inspire and lead us. Most importantly, He even suffered and died to save us forever. Yet, with all those amazing advantages and resources, the church struggles. The percent of our country that is professing Christian is at an all-time low, as is church attendance. One recent study even found that 80% of churches are experiencing decline. All of these amazing resources are at our disposal, an yet the church struggles.

I would argue that a MAJOR reason the church struggles is that, like the Cavaliers, is that we spend so much time fighting ourselves. I can hardly log onto social media without seeing a post arguing against some aspect of the church (often worship and politics). We fight over seemingly everything: theology, baptism, music, furniture, leadership styles, the list could go on for pages. Instead of fully harnessing the amazing resources God has given us, we spend a disproportionate percentage fighting ourselves. This is certainly not a new problem. The Apostle Paul addressed this in his letter to a church in Corinth:

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

Here’s the key phrase to etch into our minds: that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. Friends, we will NEVER agree on everything. We many not even agree on most things. But we should ALWAYS agree that Jesus is Lord and that the whole world needs to hear that news. Let’s stop wasting all God has given us fighting against one another, and begin working together for God’s glory on Earth and in Heaven. 

Who Do You Say I Am

Mark 10:47New International Version (NIV)

47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Two man are recorded in the book of Mark and Luke crying out for help. Both men cried out, “Have mercy on me.” Yet, only one of the two men has his name recorded, Bartimaeas. He was the vocal one.

These two men were on the streets of Jericho. I can remember just a few weeks ago as I was on a pilgrimage in Israel and passing through the town of Jericho. It is literally an oasis in a desert land. Palm trees with dates are all over this small little town. It was a place that had water.

I can just picture these men along the road that leads to the city of Jerusalem. They heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming through. They knew of the miracles he had done, so they cried out, “Have mercy on me.”

Jesus, full of compassion, tells them to come here. So, they get up and walk towards the Messiah. It says in scripture that they jumped up. They were totally blind and had to listen for his voice to know which way to go.

We see Jesus here asking, “What is it that you want?” The men replied, “I want to see!” Jesus does not touch them here. He speaks with authority, “Go, your faith has healed you.” It says in that moment, they could see.

From that moment on the blind, Bartimaeas, who could now see, follows Jesus down the road to Jerusalem. He knew that Jesus was the Son of God. The Messiah had passed through.

Today, what do you need? Who is Jesus to you? Are you willing to follow him? He is still listening and willing to heal. All you have to say, “Have mercy on me.” He will give it.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

This coming Sunday, April 9, I have the opportunity to speak at The Way in Newton. I know that a lot of you have busy schedules, but I am asking you to join me at our 9:00 or 10:30 service.

I will be speaking from the Palm Sunday Text from John 12:12-19. Who do you say I am?

Often Palm Sunday has a misconception of why Jesus came to Jerusalem. Many in that day thought is was to rescue them politically and free them nationally.

Jesus came to free them and all mankind spiritually through a horrific death on a cross at the place called, The Skull. Today, I believe many are still looking for the Messiah to free them or give them what they want, as to wanting to know who he is.

Who do you say Jesus is?

Come join me on Palm Sunday at The Way, 2306 S 3rd Ave. East, Newton, Iowa.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

Be Three

Proverbs 1:2-7 (NKJV)  To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion— 5  A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.


On the radio the other day, I heard a man state, “as disciples we should each have a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in our life.” As I thought about that, I agreed. I’d take it a step further in saying, in doing so, we liken ourselves to a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy, as well.

In most avenues of my life I realize the greatest rate of growth if I both assume and surround myself with the personification of the roles of those three purposes.

Applying it to my progression as a hunter and archer, it indeed becomes very evident. Since my beginnings, I’ve had a Paul, that mentor type to guide, encourage and, when needed, correct and rebuke. They are persons of experience, wisdom, patience and leadership. They are people I trust to lean on, to teach and guide my growth. I still have and rely on my Pauls.

Having a Paul, I am therefore a Timothy, the student. I become the embodiment of a vessel in need of fulfillment. The day we stop seeking to learn is the beginning of the end of our development.

By embodying the purpose of a Paul, Timothys come within my sphere of influence. I can help to instruct and develop future hunters and archers. I provide wisdom, guidance and, when needed, correction and rebuke. Passing on the torch to the next generation of woodsmen is critical for the perpetuation of our hunting heritage. In being a Paul for other’s I gain additional insights and refinement, as well. One of the greatest of teachers, is to teach. When guiding others, I learn just as much about the subject and myself, as by any other means.

Lastly, whether chasing game in the mountains or here at home, I have my Barnabas. This person is my confidant, my partner. Be it my wife or a good friend, we share a similar attitude and mission directive. We cooperate and communicate in order to accomplish these things. We are each other’s support system, second set of eyes, hands, ears and feet. We depend on each other and our success is the result of cohesive collaboration. In having a Barnabas, I become a Barnabas for another as well.

As I walk the path of discipleship, it is important for me to be mindful of the relationships I cultivate. Being sure to incorporate a Paul, for wisdom, instruction and rebuke, a Timothy, for passing on the perpetuation of our faith, and a Barnabas to walk along side me through the journey.  By doing so, I assure myself a greater refining of the person God would see me become. My walk and witness is deeper and more fruitful. The exclusion of any one of these personas, or failure to embody them in oneself, serves only to steepen the curve. Have a blessed weekend.

I Peter 2:9,10 (NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.  

 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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