Vital Ministries News

“Whoever want to be great among you must be our servant,” said Jesus, the greatest of servants. How are you expressing Christ’s love through service?

Honor the Sacrifice

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB) ‘how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? ‘ 

Imagine you find yourself in a situation, a bad situation, one that your choices brought you to, with some really “bad” people, who were about to shoot you dead, full of holes for something you did to betray them.  Can you see the scene in your imagination?  As you prepare yourself to be shot down dead, your father, mother, brother or best friend, someone near and dear to you comes rushing in, throws him/herself into the line of fire, shielding you from the volley, grabs you up, and rushes you to safety.  Once there, this loved one, who came to your rescue, collapses, and with pure joy, elation and love on their face at your safety, slumps over and dies.  They sacrificed their life to see that you would live.  That was their joy, their love.  

How would you feel as you lay there beside them?  What would your life look like from that day forward?  Would it be a life spent riddled in survivors guilt?  Or, would it be a life spent in pursuit of making the most of the time gifted, so that their sacrifice would not be in vain?  

That is exactly, precisely, what Jesus Christ did for each and every one of us.  He took the punishment that we deserved and He did not.  He suffered a horribly torturous death, so that we would live on for eternity in glory with our Father.  

So, knowing that He did that, He sacrificed His perfect self for the imperfect us, what are you doing with it?  How do you view Him, His sacrifice?  Does it break your heart knowing that what was done to Him was the result of our doing?  It should.  Do you take time each and every day honoring His sacrifice?  Do you take time each and every day pursuing Him, desiring to know Him better, to know His heart?  Do you spend time each and everyday searching His word?  Do you spend time each and every day praising Him for all that He did, suffered and is still doing for you today?  Are you mindfully, prayerfully seeking His guidance and direction in your life?  Are seizing on the opportunities that He places in front of you each and every day, to be used as His tool for the advancement of His kingdom and the shepherding and guiding others to the Truth?  Most of you would try to do your best to honor the memory of your loved one for such a sacrifice.  How much more is the Son of God worthy of your honoring?  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

The Ride of Your Life

Whether or not you ride a bicycle, if you live in Iowa, you have likely experienced RAGBRAI at some point.  When 10-15,000 bikes roll through a town, or along the countryside, it’s hard not to notice the largest bike tour in the world.  It’s not a race, though some cyclists take off at the crack of dawn and finish the 50-70 mile ride before many have started.  When you get this many riders participating in the same event, you get a mix of reasons people ride.  Some do it, just to prove that they can complete the physical challenge of a 7 day bike ride, some do it to eat, some do it to drink, some do it to spend time with or away from friends and family, and some do it for other reasons.   But the short term goals are usually the same, get from this town to that town each day.  I grew up in Iowa, but each time I ride through a small town, even one that I have been in 100 times before, you see it in a new way.  Another motivation for me is the social aspect of a short conversation with another rider, or a local resident or food vendor along the way.  It is amazing how much you can share of find out about someone in a few minutes, especially if you may never likely see them again.  What would you ask someone if you only had a couple minutes with them?

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

The first day of the first year I did the week-long ride (2004), there were a couple of accidents that happened in the same county where I was born.  One was a participant in the group I was riding with who suffered a severe head injury, while another unrelated rider, with a name similar to mine, was killed.  It was a bit of a wake-up call to many of us and made you think – ‘that could easily have happened to me.’  So this week long bike ride started to show many metaphors for life, and death.  Even just trying to get up a long, steep hill, makes you realize the limits of what you can do, and realize there is not always shame in getting off to push your bike, when you have to.  There are times on the ride where you need to accept help from others if you are broke down in the middle of nowhere.  Do you know your limits well?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.   James 1:12

Not everyone is a biker, but there are all kinds of people who ride bikes, with all kinds of abilities.  I grew up on the farm learning to ride a bike down the lane, and eventually all around the farm and countryside.  I was mountain biking before I knew what that was.  So, the idea of riding 10, 50 or 100 miles was a little out there when the longest ride I did as a kid was probably 2-4 miles at one time.  Each year on one day of Ragbrai, they offer an extra loop to get your daily total over 100 miles.  The first year I did this, I was a little skeptical of my abilities, as 70 miles could be a rough day.  But I had been riding with a German fellow for a while and we both pushed through it, somewhat to my surprise, but the company and encouragement probably made it easier.  What challenges in life have seemed impossible for you, with some that you may have accomplished, and some that may still seem out of reach? 

If God puts an idea in your mind, or you feel He is asking you to do something that you can’t see a direct path on how to get there, what do you do?  You can hesitate and wait till the opportunity becomes more clear, you can ask others for advice and/or prayer for helping you understand, or take a step of blind faith even though you don’t know where your foot will land.  None of these is right or wrong for everyone, as we all will make mistakes along the way, but there is something to be learned from each encounter and each trial.  It is our own motivation to do things within our comfort zone, but God often challenges us to extend way beyond this area of comfort to things that seem difficult or impossible.  It is in doing this that our faith grows, regardless of the result.  May you continue to be challenged and blessed as you put your trust in the Lord more and more each day, in the ride of your life.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7

Yours in Christ,
Clarks

 

What if God…

8 years ago, God gave me a dream.  It is one of those dreams that is bigger than you and requires God to move or it will completely never take flight.  God spoke to me to plant a church, but not yet.  I don’t know if you have ever had to sit on a dream before, but it is rough!  I spend the next 4 years letting God birth a church in my heart.  Then something I did not understand happened. God asked me to let the dream die and tell my senior pastor I was letting it die.  That was one of the most painful things I have ever done.  Letting the dream God gave me die…

Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Two years later, I met with a mentor of mine who gave me a prophetic word.  “God is calling you to plant a church.”  I left that meeting not sure what happened and went to Walmart to get some things and when I got out of my truck, I threw up. 

19 months later, after many incredible events and interactions that only God could set up, we are about to move to a suburb of Miami.  We are going to an area that is 97% unchurched.  So we are going to a place that is not looking for a church, needing money we don’t have, with a team we don’t have, and no guaranteed income when we get there.  Oh and I just had my 4th child. But what if God…

What if people joined us and prayed for God to move? What if God stirred people to give?  What if people moved to help us plant this church? What if people showed up?  What if marriages are restored?  What if dads begin following Jesus?  What if kids watch God change their dads life?  What if the public school sees a church serve them?  What if single mom’s find help in a church? What if people get healed?  What if addicts get freedom?  What if God changes a city?  What if God moves takes a family asking them to sell everything and leave familiar? What if we obey?  What if God…

When I turn 60, I will look back over my life.  I don’t want to play it safe.  I don’t want to do what is expected.  I want to live my life believing… What if God…  I don’t want to get to 60 and look back and wander… What if I obey?  What would God have done?

Now you… What if God did _______ in your life?  What if you obeyed?  What if you forgave? What if you forgave the debt?  What if you talked to them?  What if you gave until it hurts?  What if you started that business?  What if you sought God for a purpose in your life?  What if you obeyed?

Go to the Dream Giver and let Him give you a dream birthed in conviction!

If you want to hear more about my upcoming journey go to thevibrant.church

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

When Pig’s Fly: Changes in Others

I REALLY wish my wife was not such a pack rat! She has the amazing ability to fill every closet, drawer, shelf, and minuscule corner in our house with stuff. Sometimes its ok, and sometimes its absolutely head scratching (such as her notes from 7th GRADE science class!). She once found an ATM from our first date about 12 years after it happened, not because she was sentimental, but because she simply had a pile of 12 year old receipts. After 14 years of marriage I’ve come to the conclusion that her pack rat habits will end about the time pigs fly. Which I’m ok with. There are MUCH worse habits she could have!

There are always going to be things about other people in our lives that we don’t like, and would love to see change. It can be habits, preferences, political views, etc. There are also plenty of things we desperately want changed: an illness/disability, an addiction, an especially strained relationship, etc. When we desire change in others we have two options. First, we can come to the conclusion I have with my wife’s hoarding. I’ve simply decided its really not a big deal, and its not worth the fight. But, sometimes there are things that people in our lives really do need to change (i.e. an addiction, needing Jesus, etc.). In those cases we can’t have an attitude of “well, they’ll change when pigs fly.” Instead, we need to partner with God in helping make change happen. We see this in the follow scripture: 

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5

These four men looked at the situation of their paralyzed friend and decided that something needed to change. So, they did the hard work of carrying him to town, digging through a roof, and lowering him down to Jesus. They did the hard work of getting him to Jesus, and they trusted Jesus with the result (which he provided). To often, I feel, we don’t do that. We are far too quickly believe people cannot be changed. We need to be more like the friends in this scripture. When people in our lives need to change, WE need to help them. We need to pray for them, show them love, take action to help them, and show patience towards them. Because, the thing is, God wants to change them for the better! Not only that, God has the power to change them. We need to do the work we can to make them better, and then trust God with the result. Let’s do the hard work of getting people in our lives to Jesus, and watch Him do make changes in their lives. 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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