Have you ever seen one of those art pieces where when you look at it one way it is an old woman and if you look at the same picture another way it is a young woman? If you have seen both images in the painting, you will always see the one you are looking for.  If you want to see the old woman you will see it, if you want to see the young woman you will see it.

Right now in one of the new ministries I oversee, we are short leaders.  Like really short!  It is really easy for think “I have a huge problem!  Why are so short?” I could get mad at someone who didn’t raise them up.  I could blame the culture.  As long as I am getting mad, blaming the culture, or pointing a finger, I have a problem.  A problem is bad…

Now lets flip it… 

Right now in one of the new ministries I oversee, I get to raise up a new level of leadership from the ground up!  I get to train other people how to develop leaders.   I get to redefine a new culture that will have lasting impact on the people we serve.  I have an opportunity. An opportunity is great…

Notice the circumstances of my challenge have not changed, but my attitude toward them is a choice.  Which perspective has the greatest chance of failure and which has the greatest chance of success?  Not hard to see!

When God created the human race to reflect His nature and they rebel and choose sin instead, God had a choice.  None of us would blame God if he just started over.  He could choose to see this creation as a problem or an opportunity to show the depth of His nature.  Aren’t we all grateful for His perspective.

John 3:16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Where is your challenge?  How is your attitude?  Do you have a problem or an opportunity?  Normal people choose a bad attitude, and normal people stay stuck in their problems.  Yet none of us want to be normal, but as long as we blame our boss, our spouse, our friend, our lack of money, success or any number of different thing… We will stay stuck in our problems, and we will be normal.

If we choose however to see our challenges as opportunities for God to do something great and deep with in us and His great nature shown through us.  Maybe God is not to setting us up for failure but setting us up for a testimony of breakthrough.  Many people want a great testimony but few want to be tested.

So choose today… choose NOW… problem or opportunity?  Can it be that simple? YES!!!!! I am not saying it is easy, but when you act on your opportunity and choose the right Perspective… you WILL experience His grace and power in your life!

Recklessly, Obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Your Own Race

This weekend I ran my first race in Nicaragua. This normally would not be a huge deal, but earlier in the week I fell over a rock (yes, I am a clutz). I landed smack on my kneecap, which has been giving me fits every since. Owing to my German DNA I was way to stubborn to simply drop out of the race, so I ran with a bad knee. On top of that, it decided to rain the entire race (and, if you care, I had a shoelace that decided to end its life at the 4K mark.). So, with all these factors against me, I decided from the outset my goal was simply to have fun and to finish. Just keep a nice even pace and don’t worry about anyone else. That was a hard goal for my overly competitive brain to keep. Every time someone would pass me, or be just slightly in front of me, I wanted to go just a little bit faster to beat them. The whole race I had to resist this temptation to race other peoples races and to race my own. In the end my steady approach brought me to the finish line in a respectable time and, surprisingly, in a minimal amount of pain. 

As I was dealing with the temptation to change my pace based on others during the race it hit me how much this is like life. We are constantly being tempted to run a race that is not ours. We see a celebrity on TV  and desire their lifestyle. A friend makes a purchase, and we want to make a similar (or bigger!) purchase. Perhaps more seriously, we see others making decisions that are not Biblical, and we figure we can do the same. Or, we see others having “fun” and “exciting” ministry experiences, and we want to have those same experience (even if we are not called and equipped for that ministry). In all of these cases we get tempted away from running the race, living the life, that God has uniquely crafted us to live. 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

This has become my life verse because it is such a powerful reminder of who I am. We’ve not been created to chase after others, but to live a very specific life for the glory of God. We all need to remember that God has uniquely crafted us to do good things for His Kingdom. Sometimes we may not like the path He has laid out, and we may think someone else’s path is better. When we doubt it, or are tempted by something else, we need to remember that nothing could ever be better then the plan God has masterful created for us and only us. 

Fighters

1 John 5:4New International Version (NIV)

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

This life is full of battles. Threats to our faith are always in front of us. As men, our fight is against the powers of this world that take us away from our faith in God. The good news is we have every weapon we need to use in the fight. When we put on the armor of God, and remember Jesus is our Lord. He goes before us. We will defeat our enemy and come out victorious.

I teach young men that every Friday night. Before the football team I am apart of takes the field of battle, I reassure them if we fight before the Lord and give Him the Glory, we will alway be victorious no matter the final score. 

This past week our football team took to battle on the field and handled the first half, but then in the second half there was a shift in the young men.

It was very hot that night and fatigue was setting in. The opponent began to score, and fighting started to take place between our young men among themselves. There was a mind game beginning to take hold. Thankfully we had scored far enough ahead that the opponents push did not take away our team’s win when the game was over. It was not a good win, though. They knew it. These young men can learn from this. It is not a lost lesson. 

Men, I saw how that this is how life can be. We have battles that come from the enemy. These battles hit our minds. We may not handle situations the best. The hit tells us we fall short, the low blow tells us we are weak, or the down talk tells us we are failures. These can hit our minds and thinking and pull us into petty fighting or down talking.

In Psalms 18:39 it says, ‘For you have girded me with strength for battle. You have subdued under me those who rose up against me’.

Men, we are fighters. We need to stand against our enemy who comes against us in our minds. Hold the line. Change the mind talk to positive. Be a fighter. God has equipped. Jesus has delivered. The Holy Spirit empowers. Be a fighter.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Joy Fulfilled

John 6:38-40 (NKJV) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

In a world, especially here in the United States of America, where we have been given much, have so much to be thankful for and can do so many wondrous things, you’d think joy would flow abundantly from the hearts, minds and actions of the majority.  Yet, as I allow myself to observe others more and more closely, I find joy to be a rather rare commodity.  We have sooo much, so why?

Jesus Christ had so little in comparison.  The disciples during and since Jesus’ earthly ministry, also had so little.  Yet, as I read the words above, Jesus’ words throughout the gospel, the words from the disciples, there is joy, abundant, fervent, unending joy.  So ask yourself, in a world where we can have and do so very much, why does it seem to be painfully lacking in joy?  

I would contend that true joy is found in the execution of the purpose, our mission, for which we were created.  Jesus’ joy was found in the perfect execution of His purpose.  He knew why He had been sent, His mission and He joyfully fulfilled it.  The disciples, despite the deprivations and persecutions, found joy in knowing their mission, recognizing their particular ministry and fulfilling it.  Their joy, true joy, was not found in doing a thing, but rather found in executing God’s will in their life.  

Each and everyone of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14), purposefully created and tasked for a mission, a ministry.  Upon understanding what our ministries entail, God will equip us.  

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  

There is a saying, “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.”  This phrase is not found in scripture but is certainly an accurate summation of a number of verses.  However, if we are to be equipped, or use that which we have been equipped with, we must know our purpose, God’s will for our life, our ministry He has set for us.  

To know this, you must know God’s heart.  To know God is one thing.  It is quite another to have a deeply committed relationship with Him.  To realize true, unending, unabashed joy, the same joy as the disciples, Jesus’ joy, you have to fully pursue a deep, unwavering, intimate relationship with God.  You must desire to know His heart, partner with Jesus, so that you can uncover His will for your life and aspire to the perfect fulfillment of His purpose.  Your life’s value is found SOLELY in the fulfillment of that ministry.  Your joy.

You have a mission, a ministry.  Do you know what it is?  Are you passionately pursuing a perfect execution of it?  If not, why?  Is the mission you’re pursuing yours or His?  Have you asked?  Have a blessed and JOYOUS weekend!

Romans 20:24 (NKJV) But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace  

A Prayer in the Air

This past week, I was sitting in a window seat as we took off in a flight from the Midwest to the West coast of our vast country.  It is a unique perspective as you quickly rise from a few feet to thousands of feet about the city and countryside and you catch a glimpse of little vehicles and houses along the way.  I have done it a few times before, but I found myself praying for the people in those little cars, houses, and buildings as we flew overhead.  A prayer in the air, way up there, could that even make a difference in some stranger’s life?  What if we all asked ‘what is possible’ for the friends and strangers we encounter each day? 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

Just stopping to wonder what God could do in someone’s life left me caring a little more for the stranger sitting next to me, as well as the one I may never meet.  I took that further to the people I encounter on a daily basis, as I seldom fly above the rest of the world anymore.  I often spend over 100 miles behind the wheel of my car during the work day and thought about the people who pass by me, as well as those who are driving a few miles per hour slower in front of me.  My usual attitude is ‘how fast can I get around this guy,’ instead of ‘I wonder what kind of day this person is having?’  If I am running behind schedule, it is often more about me and my needs instead of caring at all about the people around me.  This should not be.  People should be more than obstacles to be hurdled, right?                 

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.   Matthew 5:44

So, as you go through your day, look for opportunities to consider those around you and how God could touch their lives in a unique way that day.  For those you see and talk to each day, and for those you may never even see at all, but just pass by for a moment, say a quick prayer and blessing, and ask God to touch their heart today.  In doing this, maybe as often happens to me, your heart and attitude will be changed in a better way moving forward as well.  If our prayers and concerns for people around the globe can be effective, how much more for the person crossing the path in front of us through our prayers, actions, and words.  May your day be blessed as you go about life, right here, or way up there!

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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