Close Call

I love to watch a ball game that comes down the last play of the game!  The interest and excitement level is so much better when a game can go either way and it comes down to one play instead of a boring blowout.  If you are ever bored, you can also find lots of videos of accidents and near misses from the road or fails in the backyard.  Accidents are never good, but if they remind us to be a bit more cautious and value life more, then they can help.  After having a child born 2 weeks ago, I have already found that I take a few less risks while driving by myself and especially with family members along for the ride.  The line between life and death can be fairly thin at times.  Sometimes things that frighten us into realizing what could have been is a good thing, if it moves us to action, or to make positive changes.  What was the last close call you had, and did it cause you to change anything in your life? 

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.  Proverbs 3:1-2

We probably come close to big and small disasters each day, but may not even realize it.  Just yesterday, after plugging my phone in overnight, it was dead in the morning and would not charge after trying 5 times through the day.  I gave it up for gone, but tried a couple more times and eventually, to my relief, got it charging – small disaster averted, but eventually my phone will be done.  A week ago I was about 2 seconds from having my fingers broken from being caught and twisted in an electric auger.  I recall my mom telling me a story where she nearly wrecked in a car and sat and trembled for 30 minutes from the adrenaline (all before I was born).  I’ve had a few close calls over the years as well.  It does not always turn out so well, as the accident or medical report can easily be bad news.  My 16 year old brother was killed by a drunk driver when he was a passenger in a car just 2 blocks from our house.  All these things make us look at our own mortality, and maybe even help us re-prioritize how we are spending our lives, right now.  What type of wake-up call would it take for you to change what you are doing?

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Romans 13:11

Maybe the older we get, we better realize that our lives are moving pretty fast.  I remember going back to where I grew up and sitting with my dad in the barber shop as he asked about people he had not seen for decades, and hearing that many of them had passed away.  We take it for granted that friends and family will be with us indefinitely, but as we find out, this is not the case.  Opportunities come and go and those we know and love pass away as well.  Eventually, those we leave behind will be reading about us.  How do you want to be remembered?  One eye opening exercise is to sit down and write your own obituary.  Try it!  You can share it or tear it up if you like, but what verse or songs would you want others to sing after you pass from this world? 

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  James 4:14

How about when it comes to your faith, is that a close call?  Can you imagine saying, wow, I just made it to Heaven by the skin of my teeth!  If your perception of what it takes is a works-based, pop-culture, earn your way to heaven where one ‘good deed’ puts you over the top kind of deal, then maybe it would be a close call.  If you are trusting in the forgiveness and shed blood of what Christ has already done for you, then it shouldn’t even be a question, no instant replay needed!  Questioning your salvation should hopefully lead you to a closer examination of your life and your faith and eventually lead you to the truth.  It is that truth, found in Christ, that makes us free. 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Yours in Christ,
Clark

City on a Hill

I was talking to a guy the other day and told me three times in the conversation how great of a leader he was.  I have learned over time that when you a good at something you do not have to remind people that you are good. Michael Jordan did not have to start a basketball game on the microphone and tell the views that he was good.  You gave the man a ball and watched in awe.

For all the Lebron fans out there, mad I did not talk about him… Michael is better and he will show his 6 rings to prove why…

Tiger Woods swings a club and you know he is good.  You do not need to him to tell you how good he is.

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Working in a church puts me around Christians all the time.  Some people believe that because they did not cuss or tell dirty jokes that was showing the world they followed Jesus.  Others think because they mention Jesus on social media and wear christian t-shirts, that the world will know.  Yet Jesus said the world would know we are in Him by the love we have for each other.  

Lost people loved Jesus.  Religious people killed him. Today, lost people think we are full of judgement and act like we are better than people who don’t share our values and religious people love us because of our voting status and behavior.

So would people who don’t follow Jesus, say you follow Jesus? Why? Is it because of the way you love them?  Or is it because of your social media status? Would the way you treat those who make life hard for you say you love them?  Would those who have opposite political beliefs say you love them?  Would people who do not share you values say you love them?

Today, how will you be a city on a hill and a lamp on a stand by the way you show love to the people in your world?  Ask Holy Spirit for 3 opportunities today to show His kind of love and acceptance.

I would love for you to reply back and share how He leads you!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Different: A Different Faith

I want to continue looking at the 1 Peter today by examining one of the things that makes Christians different from the rest of the world: faith. Everyone in the world has to have some level of faith, even in things they don’t fully understand. I have faith when I get on an airplane that it will take me where I’m going, even though I have only basically no understanding of how airplanes work. Its really easy to have faith in something when things are going your way, but when things are difficult our faith tends to waver. If you’ve had a bad experience on an airplane you’re much less likely to want to fly again. In fact, there are a couple of airlines I won’t fly because I’ve had bad experiences with them. When things get difficult our faith can waver. This is where Christians are called to be different. Even when life is extremely difficult we are called to faithfully trust God. We don’t switch religions like we would switch airlines, but we remain faithful amidst adversity. Why? Why do we keep trusting God even when things seem to be decidedly not going our way? 

You, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.   1 Peter 1:5-7

First things first: remember that sin, suffering, death, and the multitude of problems in this world are the result of human sin. God didn’t create this world to be a place of suffering, He created it to be amazing. We’ve messed that all royally up. Yet, despite our mess-up, God came to our rescue. He chose to come to earth as Jesus, suffering and dying as a sacrifice for all our sins. See, God is always focused on the big picture of our lives. God may not take away every difficult you face, but He has already assured that your ETERNITY is perfect. The good news is not that God saves us from all of our trials, but that he saves us from all of our sins. We get up everyday, even in times of extreme difficult, and take joy in the fact that God has already done it all for us. We can never truly fail, we can never truly be rejected, we can never truly die, because we have been given eternal life. Men, get up every morning and rejoice! Rejoice that no matter what difficulties may lay ahead that day the ultimate difficult, death, has already been taken care of for you. That’s a different sort of faith, and it leads to a different and much more joyful life. 

The Next Big Thing

Malachi 3:6 New International Version (NIV)

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

One thing we know for certain and that is God is unchanging. He stays consistent and does not allow anything to detour his promises. That is what the prophet, Malachi, was saying. From the time of Jacob to the present time, God was watching over his people.

Unlike us, we can get focussed on the next big thing. We may look for change. We may look to the next big promotion, the next new vehicle, or the next big sporting or hunting event. We may always be looking for change. Now, bear in mind, this is not all bed. I believe God gives us those abilities to make those kinds of changes.

One change that I wrestle with within my life is my iPhone. I, at times, look at it too much. It actually hurts productivity. According to statistics, a person is 28% more likely to make an error on a work project after receiving a phone call and 23% more likely after receiving a text.

I have found that my iPhone breaks my focus, and the things that I need to be aware of around me get forgotten. My attention needs to change on what is important. Missing small details can be a big cost. 

Legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, put it this way, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make a big things happen.”

What is your next big thing in  your life? Do you want to recapture your focus? When you recapture your focus, the next big thing in your life will thrive. Let’s power off the phone and gain focus.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Time is running short. Do not miss our Vital Biker’s Trip this June 1, 2, and 3. We will need to make hotel reservations to get rooms ready for us. It is a great time to ride and have fellowship with other men.

Let’s Ride!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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