Vital Ministries News

Are you considering our trip to Israel, March 8-18, 2019? 

This is a chance to walk the roads that Jesus walked, eat fish from the Sea of Galilee, see the Jordan River, and lay hands on the Remnant Wall in which King Herod built. There is over 4000 years of history built into 10 days in Israel.

Do not miss this adventure!!

Go to vitalministries.org – Israel Trip and sign up today!!

Thankful

2 Corinthians 4:15,16 (NASB) For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.  16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

The other day, Pastor Jeff asked me if I would be willing to come in on an upcoming Sunday and speak about thankfulness.  I agreed and therefore have begun a study through scripture on what it looks like to exhibit genuine thankfulness.  I must confess, as I delve into this subject through scripture, it’s a bit more complicated than I preconceived.  

As I contemplate what thankfulness “looks” like, my mind goes to situation and circumstance.  My initial thought is that it is easy to be thankful when things are going well, as we plan and hope for, but much harder when things turn upside down on us.  

However, it’s been my experience personally, in my own life and heart, as well as what I’ve witnessed from a great many others, often times the opposite is true.  So many times when things seem to be going just as I’d have them, my thoughts of God diminish and my gratitude wanes.  Why?  I don’t know that I realize it at the time, but thinking about it now, I know that I am most assuredly guilty of doing it.  Conversely, when things are difficult I often find pleasure, gratitude and appreciation in some of the simplest and easily overlooked things.  I’m certainly not perfect and can give over to despair, the same as anyone, when difficult times find me.  As I grow deeper and more fully in my faith, as my relationship with the Lord grows stronger, as He works in me a new heart, thankfulness is easier to express in all circumstances. I believe that often times, the downturns may simply be necessary for our realignment.  When things are going along great it seems to be easy to lose sight of our ultimate dependence on God.  When things aren’t going well, seemingly out of our control, where else are we left to turn besides despair?  Perspective shifts and focus is more easily directed where it should be, on Him and all that He is, has done and is, doing for us.  Have a blessed weekend.

Colossians 3:15-17 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Hold On

I enjoy history.  Whether it is the genealogy of my family, the development of the Americas, or the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, I think there is something to be learned from most good and bad aspects of history in this world.  The older people get, the more they tend to long for things of the past.  I appreciate nostalgia and reminiscing about the ‘good old days’, whether they be 5, 15, or 30 years ago.  I even enjoy listening to stories of things that happened decades or centuries before I was born.  I also realize that the good old days were not always so good.  There were challenges with using horses for transportation, just as using cars can be a challenge today.  There have been people who did evil things to others since the beginning of time as well.  When we tend to glamorize what was, over what is, we may be trying to alter reality and not just criticizing the current state of things.  The times and technology are always changing, but it can still be fun to play an LP or an 8 track from time to time.  What things from the past do you hold on to, or most miss? 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, 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 other thing that people tend to hold on to is a variety of things.  We become enthralled and distracted by shiny things in life, and it can take most any form.  Whether it is just simply money, or the worth we attach to things such as houses, cars, clothes, electronics, toys, food and drink, or family heirlooms, it can be anything that we feel has some value in our lives.  It is not all bad, as we need some things to get the job done and do the work of living we need to do.  Everything can be helpful when used properly.  But when that thing turns from just a vehicle to get the job done to an item of pride, or dare I say, worship in our lives, then it has crossed the line.  The accumulation of money and things tends to allow room for greed in one’s life and limits the ability to give and bless others.  Again, it can happen with anything, but the challenge is to realize when you are crossing that line and to put things back in their proper place.  We need to repent and turn our attention to what matters more than stuff, namely people. 

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 3:8

The one thing that we should hold on to most is the hope of our faith and commitment to Christ.  When everything else is worn out or broken down, the one thing that endures is our relationship to God and to others in this life, and the influence that has.  Maybe your cell phone will be in a museum someday, but most things in this world do not last too long anymore.  The time, energy and money we invest in others will give a better return than the latest gadget.  Living a minimalist life, like a hermit, may not be the best solution, but putting things in the proper perspective is for everyone’s benefit, now and in the future. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

Yours in Christ,

Clark

Grateful

I recently met with a friend who was really frustrated with their place of work.  They shared how discouraged they were in the expectations put on them and how the overall culture is overworked and those that work the longest are the most celebrated. Seeing the negative impact on himself and several that had decided not to work there, he decided he wasn’t sure he wanted to work there.

This Sunday, at his church they preached on writing a list of things they are grateful for. He was led by the Lord to write things about his work.  It was not hard for him to make the list.  He read the list outloud and it softened his heart toward his work.  He went from ready to consider quitting to grateful for his opportunity.

I think all of us can relate with his frustration.  It might not be a job, but a person or a group of people.  So I want you to do something.  I want you to write down one person or thing in your life that really frustrates you. Really stop reading and write it down. 

I know I can struggle here.  I remember asking God to work at a certain place and then about 6 month later I am complaining to God about working there.  I ask God for a child and when they are screaming I question why I prayed that.  I am grateful for a vehicle and the moment I have an issue, I complain.  What if I just stayed grateful and chose to look at the blessing and not the challenges.  What I focus is on is up to me and I want to live a grateful life.  Not to mention we like spending time with grateful people. 

What do you complain about today that is actually a blessing from God?  Where do you need to change your focus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Next I want you to write down 7 things about that person or thing that you are thankful for about them or it. Don’t say, “I have nothing.”  There is something.  Take the time to let it be deeply personal.  Now read it outloud.  Read it again before you see that person or go to that job and notice how different your attitude is.  

Why?  It is hard to keep a grateful spirit down.  Grateful people are noticed for their genuine smile. They are noticed in how they treat people different.  They are noticed for how the see more than normal people do.  If you were a boss interviewing two equally qualified people, one was grateful and had a smile, the other just didn’t. Who would you hire?  The grateful one… Why we like being around grateful people is because they are fun and light up a room.  They emanate hope. 

So today choose to be grateful. Choose to emanate hope!

Helping people live a better story

Brandon Sereg

Let there be Law, Love, and Light!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

These are some of the most familiar, beloved, and memorized words in all of Scripture. Yet, as familiar as they are, we often don’t know the context in which Jesus uttered them. Jesus spoke these words to the assembled crowd right after he told a group of religious leaders that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone {v. 7}. Do you remember that encounter?

Jesus was at the Temple in Jerusalem early one morning, when a crowd sought him out to hear his teaching. Soon, a group of religious leaders came to him, dragging in their wake a woman who had recently been caught adultery. Adultery was considered one of the two most serious sins at the time, and was thereby punishable by death by stoning (although it was seldom enforced). These religious leaders thought they could use this woman’s case as the perfect trap for Jesus. If Jesus {who was known to preach love and forgiveness} forgave her then the leaders would be able to show that he did not fully follow the law. If he did follow the letter of the law, allowing the woman to be executed, then the leaders would be able to show Jesus’ followers that he was not really all that loving and forgiving after all. All in all, it seemed as if they had laid the perfect trap.

Jesus’ response, however, proved to completely turn the world of the leaders on its head. He turned to them and proclaimed “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” {v. 7}, to which the leaders all the leaders turned away, letting the woman go. Jesus managed to show that he was both perfectly loving and perfectly followed the law. This encounter speaks to three major teaching about Jesus.

  1. Law Reveals Our Guilt: The commandments and teachings of the Bible are meant both to give us a road map to life and to shine guilt on our sins. God’s commands are not there to simply point out the flaws of others, but to reveal our own sins. This guilt should lead us to confess our sins and, like Jesus told the woman that day, to “go, and from now on sin no more” {v.11}.
  2. Love Reveals God’s Grace: Jesus’ love reveals the grace God has for all of us. This incident shows us that Jesus’ love is so great as to gracefully forgive all of our sins so that we may all avoid the punishment we deserve.
  3. Light Reveals Our Hope: The summary of this whole story, as laid out so beautifully in verse 12, is that Jesus offers his love and forgiveness to all. Jesus shines a bright light into our world, giving us all the hope of a PERFECT eternity with HIM in Heaven.

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