Circumstantial

Does your love wax and wane depending on your circumstances?  Do you love your wife one day and hate her the next, or are those just your feelings that change?  We are a fairly fickle lot, and for most of us, our emotions and feelings can change at the drop of a hat, or a hammer, or when someone else drops the ball, or with the weather…you get the idea.  In our culture, we use the word love fairly loosely and recklessly, so that it loses the impact of its true meaning.  Kids can love a movie, you may love spaghetti, or you may love your child, or your wife, but all those loves should have different meanings.  Is our love for God and his love for us the same thing?  Not really. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  I John 4:10

We may sing of our love for God and really feel that we mean it at times.  We may read a verse of scripture that really rings true in our hearts and feel that we love God, but then circumstances change and these feelings change from one moment to the next.  The same with our thankfulness.  We may feel truly grateful one day and selfish and indignant the next, but does genuine love truly depend on our feelings and emotions? 

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Luke 6:35

Does God’s love for you depend on your behavior?  Often, we may feel we deserve his love when we are doing good things, and may feel unworthy of it at other times when our actions don’t warrant love from anyone.  But the truth is, no matter what we do, we don’t deserve his love, but he shows it to us anyway.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Why would he show us his love when we didn’t deserve it? 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

Honestly, I cannot fathom the depth of God’s love, because mine often seems to be more conditional than unconditional.  When strangers show me kindness, I am more apt to show the same in return, and when they are selfish, my gut reaction is to act the same in return (especially on the road).  But when I am filled with gratitude for God’s love, when his Spirit overflows from me, I am more apt to filter my words and actions and be loving toward others, regardless of the circumstances.  The fruit of love is displayed in our actions.  When we feel love and compassion toward another person, we are often moved to do loving things for them.  When we don’t feel kind or loving toward others, we may still choose to show them love. 

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

So, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in today, remember to show your love to others who don’t deserve it.  Just as God showed his love to us when we didn’t deserve it, to be like Christ is to do the same.  Easier said than done, but maybe putting this on my ‘to do’ list is more important than some of the other things I have on there.  May God’s love continue to grow in your heart each day, regardless of the circumstances!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14

With the Love of Christ,
Clark

God in Boxing Gloves

What would it take for you to believe your brother was God? He would have to come back from the dead.  James who wrote the book of James was Jesus brother.  I can only imagine the conversation when he was in trouble…

Mary: “James, what do you be more like Jesus.”
James: “Mom, why don’t you be more like Jesus”

James did not believe Jesus was anything more than a rule following brother until after the resurrection. But after, he was a great church leader for the church of Jerusalem.  

James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Of any word to describe your relationship with God, many of us would hope enemy would not be in the word description.   Here we see that when we want to be a friend of the world we MAKE OURSELVES an enemy of God. Wow! What strong language!  This led me to the question what does it mean to be a friend of the world?

I have learned through reading Proverbs everyday for years, that being a friend of the world has to do with adopting the way the world thinks, acts, and sees the world.  It is when we look for permission to sin or totally disregard God’s ways that we make ourselves a friend of the world.  Being a student pastor I see it every day. We are who our friends are.  We wear their clothes, share their values, and led similar lives.  We can’t be the exception to the rule, we simply are the rule. 

James 4:7 “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

So today I ask you where are you living as friends of this world walking in pride like you got this, or on your face before your God asking for his blessing, favor, and direction in your life with full intention of walking in obedience to God’s plan for your life?  It is your choice everyday.  How do you want your relationship with Jesus to look?

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Avoiding the Trash Heap

It’s spring cleanup week in my community, meaning that if you can drag it to the curb someone will haul it away free of charge. Our family took this very seriously this year, using it as an opportunity to pitch three TV’s, a hot tub, two mattresses, a couch, and more. As I looked at the rather large pile on my lawn I thought about how much money I had spent on stuff I was now happy someone would take to the dump for free {my rough estimate is well over $5,000 sat on my lawn}. I remember taking a deep breathe when we bought the one flat screen TV, buying it rather impulsively without really processing if we could afford it. I can remember saving up months to buy that hot tub, then investing considerable money and resources into it {not to mention the time when my negligence led to it flooding our basement, but that’s another story…}. I also remember being so proud of those things, inviting friends over to watch the Super Bowl on my brand new flatscreen, and seeing the jealous looks on faces when I spoke about our hot tub. Yet, not that many years later, here they all lay on a scrapheap.

You probably all know where I’m going with this story, yet it seems to be a lesson we struggle to truly live out. We spend so much of our time, energy, and talents pursuing things that are extremely temporary, especially when we look at the whole of history. Jesus puts it this way:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

 The term treasures in heaven refers to things done in this life that are of good and eternal significance. Here’s the big question: what are you doing in your life that is actually of eternal permanence? These are actions such as sharing the gospel, supporting mission work, confessing your sins, and building up others to be disciples. All of these have the potential to have an everlasting effect. The person you share the gospel with comes to have eternal life by God’s grace. The missionary you support leads an entire un-reached people group to Christ, saving generations. The young adult you disciple not only turns their life around, but over the course of their life leads others to Christ and builds up additional disciples. Friends, those are the things we need to really be investing our time, energy, finances, and talents in, because they will truly last forever. Stop spinning your wheels to acquire things that will end up on the scrap heap, but instead take proactive action to make an eternal impact on the world around you.

Making A Man Takes Honor

Isaiah 43:20New International Version (NIV)

20 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,

Define the meaning of HONOR?

A man’s sense of honor affects his life and his legacy. We like the word, HONOR. It shows strength and respect. We all like to receive it, but I hope we all like to give it. We are going to look at three ways to show HONOR in what the Bible says.

  1. Honor Your Parents: The Bible says in Exodus 20:12, ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you’. We often find that we do at times the opposite. Disrespect amongst teenagers, and even adults can happen. Trashing parents on Facebook, texting, and even on snap chat is a poor choice. What is the purpose in it, and it sure does not show the honor that God asks us to do as men or young men. My dad always reminds me that honor is a choice, and God commands us to honor parents regardless of the circumstances.
  2. Honor Those In Authority: The Bible says in Romans 13:7, ‘Give to everyone what you owe them. If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, pay revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor’. I am going to use our highest authority in our land as an example. I did not vote for President Obama. He is the elected official of our nation and holds the highest authority. What will my choice be: honor or disrespect? We do not always agree in the decisions that are being made by our president, but his position creates honor and respect. The Bible commands us to do so. How is your honor? I will be honorable toward our leaders.
  3. Honor Church Leaders: The Bible tells us to honor church leaders. In 1 Timothy 5:17 it says, ‘The elders who direct the affairs of the church are worthy of double honor, especially those who work in preaching and teaching. When you decide to honor those who lead you spiritually, I guarantee you that they will take very seriously the role that God had placed before them. How do I do that? I go out of my way to honor them. I honor them in my words and my actions. Give the honor freely. Treat honor like it is the most valuable resource in your possession.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

 

Vital Ministries News

Up Coming Vital Events and News

New Series:  Making Men

We will be studying what it takes to have HONOR.

 

Vital Men Event May 2 – Quarterly Men’s Event

Vermeer Pavilion

Doors Open at 5:30

Guest Speakers: The Schmidt Brothers

Music By: Now Serving 7

Food Served By: Country Catering

Fun Feature: Men’s Obstacle Course

 

Fellowship of the Sword Midwest Quest Coming in September

Be in prayer about going.

Go to Fellowship of the Sword’s website for more information.

 

Coming! New Logo Design with T-shirts, Hats, and Polo Shirts

 

In Need of Revival

Revelation 1:10-11

10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

Ever feel like you need a spiritual awakening from the state of dormancy or stagnation? Revival is the place in your heart that encompasses the love of God. In essence, it is the passion that is within our souls.

I hunger for that place of revival in my heart. In the need of revival in my own self and among men. We have been battling against the enemy and his legion, but I believe a great awakening is coming!

The out pouring of the Holy Spirit is the evidence of revival which creates changed lives. How do we get that revival out pouring? Great movement toward righteousness requires spending time in prayer, reading, and obeying God’s Word. By doing so will have confession of sin and ask for repentance.

Let’s be in prayer together as we make ready for our Vital Men night on May 2. It will be a night of ‘guys’ growing up to be MEN. Bring your sons, bring your fathers, and invite a friend. Trust the Holy Spirit for His outpouring as we come with expectancy of revival.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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