What REALLY matters?

My grandfather was just placed in hospice this week, after 12 years of fighting cancer, open heart surgery, and diabetes he does not have much time left.  To say it has been hard would be a huge understatement.  He is going to leave behind a wife of 58 years, three kids, eight grandkids, and seven great grandkids to date.  He loves Jesus and served Jesus, the Church, and people well.  He was not a perfect man and didn’t always get it right.  He did not have new cars, fancy toys, or a large retirement.  Depending on what you value, some may say he had it all and others very little.  He went to most of my games as a kids, taught me to hunt and fish, and taught me to work on cars.  I think he had what matters most. 

I asked him after 80 years of life, what really matters.  He said that is easy.  

1. Jesus
2. Marriage
3. Family

He told me if I am successful in those areas, that is what matters most.  Family for him is a lot more people than blood relations. I was overwhelmed at the number of people who came to visit that told me he is family.  

At one point, Jesus was asked about priorities and what really matters.

Matthew 22:35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’e 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Verse 40 sticks out to me.  Jewish laws and customs had over 600 regulations that children spent years learning and old men spent years debating. Jesus wraps up the entire point of the Old Testament in three sentences.  Can you imagine the response?

So I have a question for you: What do you really value?  Not what do you say you value… what does your time, talent, and treasure say you value?  It is what your words say?  If you say you value your church but do not give and serve, your time, talent and treasure trump your words.  If you say you value family, but spend all your free time in front of a TV, hunting, and side projects, your time, talent, and treasure say different.  I am not trying to make anyone feel shame, but I want to challenge you to make your time, talent, and treasure line up with what you say you value.

If you are unsure, ask the people who know you best what you really value and just listen don’t defend. Create a plan for your time, talent, and treasure to match your values.  Value the right things!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Live One Life

Allan Mullay took a job nobody wanted: CEO of Ford Motor Comoany at the peak of the US financial crisis. Ford flew him from Seattle to Detroit to be introduced as its new CEO. He was surprised when the car that picked him up was not a Ford, but one of its competitors. He chuckled, thinking someone made a silly mistake when selecting a car service. When the car pulled into the parking lot at Ford headquarters he was down right flaburgasted: there was hardly a Ford in the entire lot. He looked up and down the rows of vehicles of the people who designed, sold, and led Ford, and was dismayed that hardly any of them chose to purchase and use the very product they spent their days working on. This signaled to Mullay that there was a major cultural problem within Ford. Think about it for a second: if you knew someone who worked at Ford, but chose to drive another vehicle, would you be inspired to buy a Ford? Most likely not. I know it would make me severely question the quality of their vehicles if their own employees were unwilling to drive them. 

Are we like these Ford employees when it comes to living out our faith? Do we act one way within the hallowed halls of the church, a quite another way in our daily lives? From what I have seen in the lives of many, as well as experienced in my own life, the answer is YES. When we are inside the church we are enthusiastic followers of Christ, but when we enter the world we far too often become enthusiastic followers of the world’s ways. Like a Ford employee driving the competition’s vehicle, think about what our actions signal to those around us. They see us going to church on Sunday, but then they witness us living and acting contrary to Scripture day in and day out. Do you think that inspires them to follow God? Not in the least. At best it teaches that God’s commands are optional, and at worst its evidence of Christian hypocrisy. 

This is not at all a new problem. The Apostle Paul famously wrote about it in Romans: 

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

I often get asked “how do I share the gospel with others?” My answer comes straight out of this illustration and this scripture: you simply live every minute for Jesus. Your actions will always be substantially more impactful then any evangelistic technique or speech. If you want to spread Jesus’s light in our dark world then don’t give into the temptation to play Church on Sunday and live a worldly life the rest of the week. Live one life: a life for Christ. 

Love My Church

Ephesians 1:15-16New International Version (NIV)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

We often see at this time of year, “Love My Church”. I think the local church has great opportunities for us as men to get plugged in and be involved. There are opportunities for relationship, commitment, and banding together as brothers.

My thoughts for us today are, “What can I do in being engaged in church?”

First, what is your commitment? I believe men who love their church get their families there. We help our wives with the kids. By doing this we are showing love for her and telling our children that church is important.

Second, invite over men to church. This is important, guys. Shoulder tapping with the ask brings men. By doing so, it tells that man you care for his life. You want the best for him and for what God has for his life.

Third, be involved. Nothing shows a man’s heart when he shows us he is involved. You can get involved in a church event by setting up tables and chairs. You can barbecue at a picnic event. Invest in friendship whiles getting involved.

Fourth and finally, love Jesus. When you love Jesus, you want to know more about him. You will be attentive in church. You will listen to what the Pastor says, and it will bring transformation to your life. It will encourage others.

Men, I do love my church because Jesus is coming after her some day. We need to be a church that waits with expectancy of Christ’s return. There lies the power of the church. The church is his bride.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Calling all men!!  Vital Men in all locations!!

We will be studying the book Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson.

We are looking forward to studying what it means to chase after that lion in your life. We have listed 6 communities to which you can get plugged into being with other men.

Tuesday:

Knoxville meets at the Marion County Fair Grounds 6:30-8:00

Oskaloosa meets at the Vital Ministries Building 6:30-8:00

Ottumwa meets at Country Kitchen 6:30-8:00

 

Wednesday:

Pella meets at The Well 6:30-8:00

 

Thursday:

Newton meets at Bridgehouse 6:30-8:00

New Sharon meets at First Christian Church 6:30-8:00

Sojourn

Hebrews 1:10-12 (NKJV) 

And:

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

11 They will perish, but You remain;

And they will all grow old like a garment;

12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,

And they will be changed.

But You are the same,

And Your years will not fail.”

I just returned from my annual sojourn in the vast Rocky Mountains.  Sojourn… what a great word.  It means a temporary stay.  Nearly every fall since 2003 I have been blessed with the opportunity to sojourn in the Rocky Mountains and pursue game.  I stay, temporarily, then return to my home and my day to day life.  

This year marked the fifth year that I have hunted the same area in Utah.  It has been interesting for me to witness the changes in this area over that time… trees that have toppled, paths that have faded, new ones that have appeared, change in stream flow and course, variations in vegetation, the difference in four legged inhabitants and how they use their domain.  Seeing this landscape but once a year, aides in my ability to easily discern the differences marked by time.

As stated in chapter 1 of Hebrews, this is God’s creation, His workmanship, and yet it ages, perishes.  It’s temporary, as are we, but God is eternal, never fading, aging or perishing.  

Throughout scripture, we see the term sojourn, or its equivalent, repeated over and over again.  We see it as a mark of time, residency for people to a specific locale.  It always implies a temporary place for them, a place for now, but not a place of permanence.  I love going to the Rockies.  I love back packing in, spike camping, the peace, solitude, immersion in nature and His immense creation, communion with God.  However, as much as I enjoy it, I know I am but a sojourner there.  My place is at home, raising and loving on my family.  My place is at the work God prepares for me, in stewardship over the ministry He has placed in my charge.  So, I sojourn, am grateful for the respite, then return home and resume my place in the order that is my life.  

Though ever so small in scale, this image paints a vivid representation of our temporal life on earth.  We are but sojourners on this earth, in this life.  Though we love it here, are grateful for the gift, we know, at least I see more and more all the time, this is not where we belong.  It is a temporary stay.  Our home is with our Father.  Though I love the mountains and the adventurous solitude, there’s always something to be said for coming home.  So, like my annual sojourn in the great Rocky Mountains, I will endeavor to make the most of this temporary stay, but look forward with eager anticipation to the day my Father calls me home to sojourn no more.  Have a blessed weekend.

John 14:1-4 (NKJV) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace   

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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