True(ish)

Let’s play a little true/false game. True or False: the Bible is the most shoplifted book in the world? That would actually be true. Second question: you can burn 100 calories by kissing someone? While some of us may wish that to be true, it’s actually quite false. Last one: a good life=a successful life? While most of us quickly answer that as false, the way we live our lives often tells a different story. We spend a ridiculous proportion of our lives striving after worldly success: career success, financial success, success in the eyes of others, athletic success, and on and on. We may know that a good life doesn’t necessitate such success, yet we seem to lust after success nonetheless.

 

Take a moment to checkout the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21. Here is this farmer who experiences such a successful crop that he is able to build all new buildings, and still have such a fortune leftover that he can take an early retirement. This farmer definitely believed that a successful life=a good life, so once he had succeeded he figured he could simply sit back and enjoy his fortune. Unfortunately, he met his death the very next day, with his fortune simply going to waste As I look back on my life, I’m ashamed at how much effort I have expended chasing after success. I chased after popularity so hard in high school that I ended up with a drinking and drugging problem. In college I was so hungry for A’s that I worried only about myself and was a self-conceited jerk. In recently years I’ve even found that my thirst for athletic success (running and triathlon) has at times taken precedence over being a husband and father. And, in the end, what have I really gotten from all that? A yearbook full of signatures and silly sayings I no longer understand, a gold “honors” stamp on my diploma, and a drawer full of medals. All stuff that someday my kids will toss in the dumpster. It makes me wonder: if I would have expended some of that energy on helping other people how big of an impact could I have had?

 

The Parable of the Rich Fool ends with Jesus telling us in verse instead of living for personal success we need to be “rich towards God.” This means that we take all of the riches of our lives: our talents, our finances, our success, the knowledge of our salvation, and share them with others. The impact of our sharing richly has a far longer and lasting impact then any worldly success. When we share the gospel with someone God can take that and save someone for all eternity. When we share our income with a relief organization someone may receive medicine that otherwise would have died prematurely. When we share love and encouragement with our neighbor we may turn them from a destructive addiction to a far better life. I really challenge you this week to focus less on achieving personal success, and more on living richly for God and others.

Distractions

 

1 Corinthians 7:35 New International Version (NIV)

35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

 

This time of the year is NFL playoff season. It is win or go home. Great teams, players, and coaches played the Wild Card weekend. I especially enjoyed the Seahawks and Vikings game. It was a game of ‘old school’ beauty out on the field in the elements.

In the final seconds of the game, the Minnesota Vikings had a chance to take the lead. It was all eyes on the foot of the field goal kicker, Blair Walsh. It was to be an easy chip shot, and the Vikings would win.

The only problem was that there was a distraction. The laces were facing him as he proceeded to kick. In a previous field goal kick, he had the laces come up facing him, but he kicked it clean through the goal posts. This time when the laces were facing him, he was unable to overcome the distraction. With the missed field goal, the Seahawks walked away with the win.

We all face distractions in every day life. We can be distracted from our thoughts, worries, fears, technology, or laces on a football.

I think for me in my life, and I am sure for you, as well, those distractions keep me from a focused life in Christ. The enemy likes nothing more than keeping you distracted from hearing God’s voice through the Holy Spirit.

I am sure Blair Walsh will replay that chip shot for awhile. There are no do overs in the NFL or life.

Distractions will slowly erode your spiritual journey. When we choose to get back on focus, we will realize Christ should always be before us. My prayer is that young Blair Walsh will get back up and realize that you make some and you lose some. That is simply part of life. In the big picture of life, keep Jesus at the focal point, and those distractions will be come less significant because you know what is important.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

 

 

Rewind

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New International Version (NIV)

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

 

The Bible is very clear as to what your purpose in life should be. We see men in both the Old and the New Testament seeking out the purpose of life. Even Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, discovered futility of life in the world. Solomon says that life is all about honoring God with our lives and thoughts by keeping His Commandments.

Yet, we have those moments in life that we wish we could push that rewind button. Have you ever had that moment? I wish I would have handled that situation differently. I wish I could go back and take back those words.

This past week we had a funeral of a man who was 46 years old. He died in a tragic accident, and he left behind a wife and three children. He was a husband, father, brother, son, and to many a friend.

What I noticed as I sat and waited my turn to pay my respects to the family and console the family were the pictures that were being projected on a screen showing the life of this family and this man. It was a rewind button of pictures. They showed the good memories.

This man has now been ushered into the presence of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We will stand before God, and he will account for all we did in this life. We have only one life, and everything we do will be revealed.

Our purpose in life is to glorify God. We do this by fearing and obeying Him. Keep your eyes fixed on the prize of Heaven and knowing Jesus. Be known as a friend of God.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

He’s the Boss!

I just returned from a four day working vacation.  I say vacation, because it was fun work.  I spent four days in Louisville, KY at the annual Archery Trade Association show.  As usual, it was an awesome trip.  I got to spend time with a couple buddies, meet some notable figures in the industry, see all the latest and greatest in the world of archery, learn quite a few new things and make some great connections.  All around, it was a worthwhile adventure.

God was working too. This comes as no surprise to me, as I’m sure it doesn’t for you either.  As I draw deeper in my relationship and am more sensitive to the work that God does around us every single day, my wonderment at the work of His hand continues to amplify.

The first experience I would like to share with you is one of speaking truth.  Speaking for myself, it typically comes with little reservation and the closer to the Lord I get, the more prepared I am to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities He places in my path.  On the night before the show started God gave me such an opportunity.  One of my closest friends on this earth began asking questions about salvation, heaven and hell.  Seems simple, but with this particular friend, conversations like these are generally fairly blunt and fairly heated.  I wanted to avoid the conflict, but after quickly praying God armed me with truth, that try as he may to dispute, God followed up with solid rebuttal after rebuttal.  It took a while but, God’s truth finally began to soak in.  My friend’s wheels are turning with the truth God wanted shared and his heart is softened.  If only a little, still a tremendous victory for the Lord.

The second experience I would like to share is an open profession, in public that I was witness to.  This happened on the 2nd morning of the show.  Let me set the stage.  We are in the middle of an enormous expo center, filled with thousands of people and vendors.  I’m standing at a booth checking out product.  David Blanton, a noted TV personality in the industry, is standing a few feet away engaged in a conversation with another gentlemen.  I wasn’t eaves dropping, I promise, just couldn’t help but over hear.  David was talking about his prayer life and routine.  He was sharing a story about the conversation he had with a perfect stranger at breakfast.  The story was how in just taking the time to engage this other man, the Lord used the opportunity to witness to a perfect stranger.  He shared with him some of his prayers for the day, including confession of areas he falls short in and how he gives them to God to help him work through them.  It reminded me of James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  (NKJV)  Amidst all that was going on around him, David’s priority was on the Lord, prayer and confession and he was confiding in and sharing with others.  Priority number one, God!

My third experience came from reflection during my 10 hr drive back tonight.  I thought about all I got to see and experience.  From a business standpoint, this show is very important for me.  In that regard it was very successful.  God has blessed me with opportunity to work at something I truly enjoy.  I thought about that and how He doesn’t have to, but He does.  He loves me and wants me to be blessed and joyful.  I was humbled by that realization, grateful. These thoughts lead me down a trail of reflection and introspection.  Am I using this blessing to Glorify Him?  As I thought about the work I saw Him doing through others, I wondered if I am doing the work He expects of me?  This brought to mind Colossians 3:23,24  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (NKJV)  Today, ask yourself the question, do I work as if the Lord is my boss?  Is what I’m doing, to the best of my ability?  Am I making the Boss happy?  

Every day we should start and continue in prayer.  Those prayers should include opportunities to speak Truth.  Those prayers should include the strength and desire to glorify God in the work that we do.  The opportunity to speak truth is a blessing!  The work we do, the occupation we have is a blessings!  God is our employer.  How does He want us to perform?  

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy!

Scott Pace     

 

Sacrifice

 

We have it pretty good. We live in a land flowing with milk and honey, as well as drinkable water, coffee, orange juice, soda, wine, beer, candy, meat, nicotine, gasoline, or whatever else we want at the local convenience store that suits our desires. If any of these were to dry up and never be as easy for us to get as they are now, would we feel slighted? That our rights to the availability of these things has somehow been infringed upon? When we give up any of these conveniences in life, such as for Lent, we may feel we are making a considerable sacrifice in our lives. Are we? In our on demand, have it now society, if we don’t get our selfish way all the time, we may cry injustice, without a real sense of what true justice is.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

When I took economics as a freshman in college, besides the supply-demand curve, I recall that most transactions and decisions we make have a cost and a benefit. Even if we decide not to do/buy something, there is a cost to that, an opportunity cost. If we choose not to have insurance, maintain equipment, or have an emergency fund, it may cost us more at a later time. When we choose not to invest time, money, or energy into the growth, development, and education of our children, ourselves, or others, we may only regret those decisions later on down the road. When we keep choosing only what benefits us instead of others in life, the outcome is fairly sad.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

When I read the above verse, I used to think that laying down one’s life meant ‘taking a bullet’ for them. It can mean this, but it can also mean living for the benefit of others instead of just myself. It can mean taking a few minutes to help someone in need even though I am running behind schedule. It can mean tough love toward a child or a friend who has trouble seeing the consequences of their actions. It can mean living a life of integrity over the years in front of those who look up to you, or to others who don’t share your faith. It can look a lot of different ways in each of our lives, but in almost every way, it looks like what Jesus would do.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:7-8

Christ is our perfect example of how to live a life of sacrifice. We may never live up to the example or notoriety of Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer, or others in the impact of our sacrificial living, but to those in our lives, it can make a huge impact. In our own lives, while they were not perfect, we can look to our own mother or father and consider what they gave up for our own benefit. When we look at the cross, we start to learn what true sacrifice really is. The cross serves as a reminder of what Christ did for us, of how we ought to live for others, of how selfish we can become. It reminds us that we can live for something greater than just ourselves and what is in this world. It stands in stark contrast to what the world stands for. It stands for love.  What do we stand for?

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Living for Him,

Clark

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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