Out to Lunch?

What do you like to do when you go out to lunch, or dinner, or even breakfast?  Do you like to be waited on and given what you like, do you just like to get your food quickly and then out the door when done, or do you like the social aspect of dining out as much as the food itself?  My wife and I get an opportunity to go out to eat together about once a month, usually when we are sans kids, and we really enjoy it.  We have come to the conclusion that it is ten times easier to eat at home, or snack till we can, than to do so at a restaurant when young children are involved.  We eat well with a lot of variety at home and enjoy it, as we can engage in conversations and clean up messes much more easily than on the road.  Do you relax and enjoy your food more in some places or with some people than others?  What is your most memorable meal?

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Deuteronomy 8:3

I had the opportunity, on a couple of different occasions to attend a traditional Jewish Seder meal during Passover.  While this traditional celebration with storytelling was likely developed after Jesus’ time, it does give symbolism to the food items served at the meal.  It also gives a good illustration of the significance of the Passover celebration in the Jewish culture at the time.  While it may not be the best tasting meal of your life, you do get a better understanding of the spiritual significance and role of food in our lives.  It is also hard to miss the similarities between Jesus and the sacrificial Passover lamb, which were both killed to save the people from God’s wrath.  How often do we overlook or take His sacrifice for granted today? 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.  Revelation 3:20

The Last Supper, as described in scripture, has been the subject of countless conversations and been depicted in a variety of ways through history.  The thing that often strikes me, is even though Jesus made many allusions to what was to come for him and his disciples, they often didn’t seem to get it.  Why were the disciples ‘out to lunch’ at times even when they had the greatest access and even dined with the one who would be taken from them?  Maybe they weren’t always listening to Him.  Have you ever had a dinner conversation with a friend, or spouse, and realized you had not heard, misheard or forgotten something they said earlier in the conversation?  If we knew it was the last time we would dine with them, we may have been more attentive. 

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”   Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.  Mark 14:22-24

This Holy Week, as you hear and even participate in activities that bring to life a greater understanding of events that happened nearly 2000 years ago, may you grow in your faith and love for the One around which these events centered.  Each time you participate in communion, it can be as if you are dining with Jesus and having a conversation with him.  Each time you say Grace and give thanks at your dinner table, you can be inviting Jesus to sit down and dine with you.  May each meal with Him be as if you were there at the Last Supper, learning a little more each time you listen to him.  May it also be a glimpse of the feast with Him that is yet to come. 

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”  The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.  Revelation 5:13-14

Yours in Christ,
Clark

How to Change the World… Part 2

What you do with “NO” sets the trajectory of your life. 

I am parenting a 18 month old strong willed little girl.  I am teaching her the meaning of NO.  Most of the time she is climbing on something or getting into something.  If she does not obey, it usually ends up in a short fall or a little mess.  I need her to respond to NO correctly.  There will be a day we are playing near a street or she is climbing towards the hot stove.  If she does not obey NO then, she could get really hurt or worse.  Every year 400 kids die by getting hit by a car.  

As she gets older, no impacts what she sees on TV when I am not watching.  As a teenager, it is how she drives and relates to boys.  When she is a young adult it impacts her ability to keep a great job or she treats alcohol.  No will impact her friendships and her relationship with God.

“NO” is one of the most important words she will ever respond to.  What she does with “NO” sets the trajectory of her life.

Joshua was a young leader under Moses leadership.  He was by far not a perfect leader.  He did not enter the promised land because he did not respond to “No” given by the Lord. Before Joshua led the Israelites into that land, he had a no.  Moses was a prophet, and one day the Spirit of the Lord fell on the elders of Israel and they started to prophecy.  By the way, what is prophecy?  Prophecy is hearing what God says and saying what you hear.  Joshua hears these men doing what Moses does and he wants to stop it.  These men are trying to remove Moses from leadership.  Moses in this instance gets it right.

Numbers 11:26 Two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed behind in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but they had not gone out to the Tabernacle. Yet the Spirit rested upon them as well, so 

they prophesied there in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since his youth, protested, “Moses, my master, make them stop!”

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!”30 Then Moses returned to the camp with the elders of Israel.

Joshua has a choice.  Push the issue or submit to authority.  Here is the 2nd way to change the world. 

Willing to submit to Godly authority

I am a follower of Jesus, husband, dad, pastor, and friend. In every one of those areas, I am only as strong as the men (because I am a man) who can tell me “No” and I will submit.  I choose to submit to their Godly leadership and council. 

So who can tell you “No” and when you disagree you will submit.  You are only as strong as that list.  Ask God who needs to be on that list.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

 

What About MY Life?

As we head towards the death of Jesus this week, and his subsequent Resurrection, I can’t help but think of the things that led to Jesus’ death. Yes, Jesus’ death was not only part of God’s divine plan, with the details painstakingly revealed in Scripture for centuries. What I want us to reflect on today is how God chose Jesus’ death to occur. It did not occur in a vacuum, but happened in a very specific way we can learn a lot from. Jesus was killed because he upset the teachings, positions, and preferences of the religious leaders of his day. He teaches were firmly rooted in scripture, but many scriptures had not been lived out by the religious leadership. Specifically, Jesus called out the fact that what they preached was often true, but how they lived their lives was far from God’s plan. Check out his rebuke to them, as well as his instructions: 

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:2-12

There is a lot to touch on here, but lets look at two key points. 

  1. Read, speak, and do God’s Word: Jesus is making the point that we have to read God’s Word, teach and share it, and live it out. If I’m honest with myself, I often struggle to live out this “trifecta.” There are times where I’m good at reading and speaking, but my daily life does not exactly exalt God. Other times I’m an ok servant, but I don’t really engage in God’s Word. Its not enough to just be doing one or two of these. We need to strive to strive to live out all three. 
  2. Humility matters: There is not a better example of humility then Jesus. God CHOOSES to take on our flesh (whose various frailties and ailments we incessantly complain about) to not only be with us, but to DIE FOR US. As God humbled himself to serve us we are called to humbly serve others. Honestly, this is a pretty uncomplicated teaching when you really think about it. We not called to tackle a list of 4,596 things for God. We are simply asked to serve others in the way God modeled humility and service to us. Is that hard? Absolutely! But was it hard to give up heaven for death on a cross? We need to all start approaching all of life with an attitude of humility and a heart for service, just as Jesus so powerfully did for us. 

Vital Ministries News

Be in prayer this week as it is Holy Week. Be mindful of what our Lord and Savior did on the cross. Our Salvation and Grace comes from the Blood of Jesus. Dedicate the week to prayer to the sacrifice that Jesus made.

Strength and Courage

Michael

Train and Be Trained

Proverbs 22:6 (NASB) Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I was listening to a sermon the other day, and the pastor was talking about this verse.  It’s a proverb none to most christian parents, but how often do we really render it out?  I never truly have.

On the surface, it appears to be a guarantee that if you raise a child correctly, he/she will grow and live a correct and positive life.  The fact is, I’ve known a great many people who have done the very best they knew how, educated their child in the knowledge of the Lord, only to have the child stray from the narrow path into a life of sin, hardship and disappointment.  In turn, I’ve known people who have looked unfavorably on those parents of wayward youth, as if to say, “well obviously, you didn’t do what you should.  If you had, as Proverbs 22:6 clearly assures, they wouldn’t have followed that path.”  That’s shameful.

I see it as more of a warning to parents of the probable results of bad, permissive parenting.  As if to say, “allow a child to do what he/she wants and they’ll continue on that path.”  This proverb, like most of them, is an illustration of choice, something to be mindful of and possible outcomes.  

The next thing I want to address here is the choice of the word ‘train’ in the English translations.  This is an important word choice, as ‘teach’ could have just as easily been selected.  The Hebrew word used in this passage was chanokh.  The use of this particular verb refers to vital spiritual education that brings a child into definite, real, spiritual experience.  For that, it is not enough to teach it to them, they must be trained in it, dedicated to a life’s pursuit of God.  

As an archery coach, I can teach proper mechanics.  I can instruct someone in equipment setup and maintenance, but if do not continue to drill it, aid them in their pursuit of it, honing and refining these skills, all I did was teach them.  Teaching is not training.  Training infers a dedication to a specific course and discipline.  The reason for the Hebrew use of ‘chanokh’ and subsequently the English choice ‘train’ is vital.  This infers deliberate, life long devotion, drilling and internalizing God’s word and ways.  That means it doesn’t stop, ever, for all of our temporal life.  It also means that there is a starting point.  Proverbs 22:6 is directed at parents and the raising of their children, in particular adolescent/teens (the Hebrew word na’ar was replaced by child but more commonly referred to unwed teenage men), but can be applied to each and every one of us at any age.  Which means, it’s not too late to start.  After all, when one comes to know Jesus, profess Him Lord and Savior, are we not made new, a born again child of God.  That means our training is just beginning.  It means the mature saints have an obligation to aid in the training of others, as well.

Who would have thought that so much could be said in so few words.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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