You’re Not Qualified

“You’re not qualified.”  I’ve heard that said, many times.  In fact, I been hearing it quite a bit recently.  I bet each and every one of you has heard that or some equivalent of equal effect.  “You’re no good.  I know who you were, what you’ve done.  No…what you are!  What give’s you the right to say anything?!”  That’s it, isn’t it?  That’s the narrative that the ruler of this world drafts and delivers to us every day.  It’s the antithesis to the narrative God has drafted for us, I think most of us recognize that and yet, we choose to listen and believe.  

Judges 6:15 (NKJV) So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

The genius in satan’s tactic is not found in the lie, but rather the truth.  The truth is, yes that is who I was.  I did those things.  I continue to muck things up.  I fall short in this area and in that.  I’m not qualified.  Satan wants me to stare at and focus on those truths, blinding me to God’s reality, His narrative drafted specifically for me.  He wants me doubting and riddled with shame.  God has a hard time using a person trapped in guilt and shame.  

Those statements about me are true, but it’s a trap.  It’s a trap in that God has rendered all of that irrelevant.  That may have been who I was, what I’ve done and no, I wasn’t qualified, but Jesus Christ my Lord, my Savior tells me that is not who you are!  That man is dead for He has created in me a new man, born again through His loving sacrifice, His grace.  He qualifies me, He justifies me and His Holy Spirit, gifted to and living in me, sanctifies me! That my friends, is the WHOLE truth!  

Satan wraps up all his garbage, a hook, with the bait of a bit of truth, to get you to bite, then he reels you in.  He wants you to be so caught up in trying to resurrect the corpse of the man that Jesus put to death for you, so that the life of the new man born again in Jesus Christ is ineffectual.  

These lies, these taunts from hell have pulled at everyone at one point in time or another.  Just look at scripture; Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Jonah, David, Solomon, Peter and on and on and on.  Godly men.  Yet, each one of them when tasked and purposed by God, stumbled and believed the lies. “Not me, I can’t speak.”  “My family is nothing and I’m the lowest of them all.”  “God has no use for a man such as me, surely it’s a mistake, Lord.  Please, go and find another.”  These are, in effect, things spoke by the men I mentioned above.  More importantly, though, I’m betting they’re words you’ve said as well.  I know I have.  

The only way to drown out the lies, to cast them upon the ash heap, is to faithfully pursue the truth.  Scripture, God’s holy word is your weapon.  God will go with you.  He went with those men I mentioned.  Once they let go of the lie, cast aside hell’s narrative, they could see and believe God’s narrative, His reality,  VICTORY!!!  Have a blessed weekend.

Judges 6:16 (NKJV) And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Benched

We are right in the middle of Baseball season and it won’t take you long to find a game if you look around for glowing lights on any given night.  From the Pee wees to the Pros, there are also guys sitting on the bench, just waiting for a chance to get in the game and prove themselves.  They may be filled with a variety of thoughts as well, from ‘when am I going to get a chance – I’m better than half the guys out there’ to ‘I hope I don’t mess up when I get a chance to show what I can do.’  All that raw or underdeveloped talent just sitting there wasting away on the bench…what is the coach thinking…what would it take to put those guys in the game?  Have you ever felt underutilized?  That you were made for something more than what you are doing now and maybe you should be given a chance to prove yourself? 

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.  Proverbs 29:23

We have all probably been there at some time or other.  I remember my first year playing baseball, basketball, or my first part time job when I was nervous and excited to show what I could do all at the same time.  What about other areas where you feel you may some underdeveloped talent, yet haven’t had a chance to explore these possibilities, how will you ever know?  If you never take an opportunity to write, to preach, to pray, to serve, to create a unique work, or any other thing, how will you ever know what possibilities lie within you?  Theodore Roosevelt was a man with varied interests and talents who had many successes and failures in life, yet kept going.  Even Emily Dickinson who is considered one of the most important American Poets of the 19th century had fewer than 12 of her 1,800 poems published while she was alive, yet she kept on writing.  At what point would you give up?  What do you think Moses was thinking after about 35 years of living on the run in the wilderness?  He may have thought that was it for the rest of his life, but God had other plans.  What other plans do you think God has for you yet? 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:11-12

If you find yourself sitting on the bench in some area of your life for longer than you think necessary, consider why you feel this way.  If you think your talents are not used to the best they can be, are you at least putting them out there a little, so that you can employ them to a degree, even if not to the full extent possible?  Or are you holding back, as a new, entitled graduate, waiting for the perfect job before accepting anything?  Or maybe the issue is that you are not recognized fully for your talents, to the extent you think you deserve.  Your own pride gets in the way of being fully utilized to the degree possible.  Maybe this current time or place is just not fitting to where you are best able to serve.  There may be a variety of barriers keeping you from using the best of your talents or abilities, or keeping you from producing any fruit in your life at all.  Take those questions to the Lord, and he may not always give you the answer you want, but almost always it will be the answer you need.  Don’t be discouraged, but serve Him and others as best you are able and you will be a blessing to many, even if it does not make the headlines!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Be Bold in Christ,
Clark

Desperate Faith

Last year, I took 4 interns to Colorado to climb Pikes Peak.  It is a 13.1 mile hike where you gain over 7,000 feet in elevation.  At about the 10 mile mark you go past the tree line.  Not much grows here so it is mostly rocks.  In the distance, there looked to be some clouds that might turn into a storm.  My interns look to me and say “you are our leader we trust you.”  It is 10 miles to go down and 3 up.  The hardest 3 at that.  Now if the storm comes above the tree line lightning bounces in the rocks and people die every year on this mountain because of this.  No pressure. Parents are looking to me to bring their kid home.  We get 2 miles up and sure enough it is getting darker and it is starting to snow.  I am desperate to get up the mountain.  We are out of water, food, and one member has a person pulling her with a rope and another pushing their lower back.  

Before we started the last 3 miles we were at a crossroads. As I was praying for you, I sense many of you are at a crossroads. Whole heartedly go after something greater or stay in the comfortable place.  

Elisha is an old testament prophet.  One day a widow shows up.  Her husband is dead and she is in so much debt, the people she owes money to want her sons for slaves.  This woman is desperate and she goes to Elisha for help.  Elisha asks a strange question, “what do you have in the house?”

I think often we believe that to get where need to go we need what we do not have.  What if God wanted to use Moses’ staff, David’s sling, Samson’s jawbone, Elijah’s cloak to accomplish something great? All this woman had was a jar with a little oil.  What if our greatest limitation was God’s greatest opportunity?

2 Kings 4:3 And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors.

Asking for help for many of us is out of the question unless we are desperate.  What if God wants us to be desperate for something more than we are currently experiencing?  Are you desperate?  Are you too proud for desperate?

4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” 5 So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim!“Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.

This woman used what she had, acted desperate, and responded in faith.  What do you have? Is it a gift of playing an instrument, teaching, making people feel special, building, leading?  Are you using it for His Kingdom?  Are you desperate for God to move on your behalf?  Or are you just costing in dead religion?  Are you responding in faith?  What is the last thing God told you to do?  Are you doing it?  Go use what you have, act desperate, and respond in faith!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Why Do Church?

I’ll admit it: I’ve been burned by church. I grew up with my dad serving in a church, and thusly got to see the underbelly of the beast. I heard about the fighting, the politics, and the heartache and started thinking: why do I need this? I love God, have accepted Christ as my Savior, do a number of good things, and read the Bible, so why get up early in the morning to go to church? In fact, I started thinking I would be better off in my faith without the church, because I often saw church as bringing my faith down, rather then building it up. My experience is not overly unique. Many people I meet believe in God, but have been so burned by experiences in the local church that they have nothing to do with it. This is the case in the community I serve: 85% of the population believes in God, but only around 35% are active in a church. This all begs the question: why church?

Acts 2:42-47 lays out in detail how the first church functioned, and when I read that passage it becomes clear to me how important being part of a church community is. Here are four big answers to the “why church?” question from Acts 2:

To learn and grow {v.42}: We participate in a Christian community so that we can learn from the wisdom of others. We grow not only from hearing sermons on Sunday mornings, but from watching the example of others, being mentored, hearing testimonies, and being held accountable.
To make each other better {v.44}: Church needs to be a place where we make one another better. We pray for each other, offer encouragement, are there in difficult times, and help break sinful habits. A church thrives when everyone in it takes this responsibility seriously.
To improve the world around us {v.45}: There is so much need in our community, state, nation, and world. While we can {and should} take actions to address these needs individually, we make the biggest impact when we serve together.
To celebrate God {v.45-47}: So much about church seems to revolve around music. We pick what church we are going to attend because of it, and much of our in fighting stems from it. We need to move beyond music preferences, realizing that what is central to church is God’s people coming together to celebrate God for all He does for us. We need to look at worship as a time we give to God, not as a time for us to be receiving.
Many of us whine because we’ve either neither found these things in a church, or because our church does not seem to do them well. I want to say this to all of us {myself included}: instead of whining about our church, lets start making these things happen ourselves. Start seeing church as a place to grow, make others better, improve your world, and truly celebrate God.Why 

The Price of Disobedience

1 Samuel 13:8New International Version (NIV)

He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.

Why does there have to be that work in life, ‘but’? In the ‘but’ comes the anxiousness of life. It is the crucial moment of success or failure. King Saul paid a great price for the rest of his life because of the, ‘but’ moment.

In the Bible, you read how this tragic moment in the life of Saul plays out. It leads to frustration and trying to seize the moment, knowing it is an act of disobedience. Saul offers a sacrifice to God and disobeyed Samuel’s command.

Now, I think Saul thought in his mind that his troops were fearful. They were slipping out of the ranks ad running. This meant he had to do something. So he does, but what a mistake. Samuel arrives on the scene and asks him, “What have you done?”

This turn of events costs Saul his Kingdom and favor with God. What a moment for Saul. He had it all going for him. He was tall and strong, but weak in faith. Because of his disobedience, God raised up another man, King David. He was a man who chased after God’s heart.

The true tragedy in the story is King Saul’s lack of forgiveness. No where do we see a repentant heart. Saul was a man of moments. He worked out of his own intellect as to looking to God for guidance.

How about you today? Are you paying a price for disobedience and feeling lost that you have lost favor with Jesus? Today is the day of salvation, men! Repent, get on your knees, and cry out to Jesus. He is there, even in our disobedience. He is the King of restored lives. His blood has bought and paid for us, so we might live in obedience and relationship with Jesus our Lord.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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