Vital Ministries News

Journey to Jerusalem

March 8-18, 2019

Pray and ask if this is a Journey for you.

Contact Mike Sereg if you are interested in going to Israel in 2019.

“Chance” Encounter

Acts 8:26-31 (NASB) ‘But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road. ) So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. ‘ 

How often in your life, when inconveniences, delays or redirects occur, do you allow yourself to become frustrated or discouraged.  I talk a great deal on here about perspective and attitude.  I believe that it has a great bearing on how we go through this life and how God can use for His purpose. 

One thing I don’t believe I’ve talked about is what I refer to as divine appointments.  There are no coincidences.  God moves us and guides us to the things and places He would have us.  Sometimes His purpose becomes clear to us, why He’d place us where and when He does and what He’d have us do with it.  Other times we don’t get to see it, but can only trust it is for His purpose.  Other times yet, we miss the purpose because we allow frustration with the situation to cloud our vision.  Our misaligned perspective prevents us from being used to accomplish the divine purpose He set the appointment for. 

Think about all the times, something happened to interrupt your plans, but ended up leading to something great and spirit filled.  A “chance” encounter where God used you to exhort, encourage, sympathize,  prophesy or share the gospel Truth of Jesus.  The point is, we do not always know the why, but must always trust that the purpose is His and stay open to the potential appointment and possibility to be used by Him in amazing ways.  This is often times as much for our sake as it is for the sake of another.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Clean Again

This past week felt a lot like Spring around many parts of Iowa.  Saturday was Sunny with highs in the 50s around many parts of the state.  If you have walked through your yard or driven on any gravel roads, you may have also noticed another Springtime phenomenon, Mud!  We got some rain early this week and my car was looking pretty clean afterward.  Later that day, I had an appointment about 5 miles out on gravel and though I tried to avoid any big puddles, regardless, it was covered in a nice dusty brown again.  I even saw someone this morning scraping mud off the highway, near where a lot of vehicles were going in and out of a muddy parking area.  No matter where you encounter mud, you will eventually end up with some of it on, or all over you, and you will get dirty.  How do you avoid getting dirty when everything around you is covered in mud? 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;  wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Psalm 51:7

One early memory I had, when I was probably 2-4 years old was playing with my brother around one of the mud puddles we had on our farm.  It probably started out innocently, but eventually became a mud wrestling challenge.  I don’t recall many of the details, but I do recall my mother’s reaction when she found us, and having to clean up the mess we made of ourselves.  It may have seemed fun at the time, but getting dirty always has consequences.  Someone has to clean up our messes.  I often comment to myself, or my wife, that raising kids is a constant cycle of cleaning up one mess after another, whether mine of someone else’s mess.  How about you, who cleans up after you?  Whether that is around the house, or a work project, or relationships that have been damaged in some way by what you have said or done? 

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”  says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet,  they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18

How often do you go to the Lord and ask Him to clean up your messes?  How often do you ask for forgiveness from the mistakes and sin in your life?  Even if you do not realize all the things you do or say and how this impacts you or others negatively, it is good to ask for forgiveness from these things in your life to be made right, and to feel clean again, for a time.  It is easy to downplay how much sin impacts our lives, when we say, ‘oh, its just a little thing, its not that bad.’  While we may not overtly intend to break the law, at various times, we do so, even if we are unaware of it.  We do start to notice the cumulative effect of sin, selfishness, and dirt in our lives when the person looking back at us in the mirror is barely recognizable.  As a regular, even daily practice, seek forgiveness from those things that tend to mar your face and life.  Know that you can be made whole and clean again each time you go back for the water that cleans not just the outside, but your entire body, life, and soul. 

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:8-9

Yours in Christ,
Clark

 

Why should you pray…

I spent a lot of my childhood in a religious church.  Many people went to church because they should, they acted a certain way because of a list of rules they should follow, and they prayed because it was a requirement to be a “good christian.” This was not true of everyone in that church but it was very common. 

Language changes over time.  If you have ever read a King James Bible, you will see how english has changed over time.  Word mean different things than they used to.  Religion is one of those words. Today religion means following a list of rules to appease an institution we call church.  Jesus grew up in a similar culture.  Religious people who follow a list of rules to appease an institution of the temple.  The leaders of these religious people were called pharisees. Jesus did not get along well with them.  Jesus was teaching people what it mean to follow Him and not get trapped in religion.  He even warns where religion would leave them.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. 

So what is God’s will for you?  That you would know Him.  Not know about Him, or do great things in His name apart from knowing Him.  God is looking for relationship and not religious behavior.  The pharisees prayed, fasted, gave generously, cared for the sick and the poor, led people into repentance through sacrifice.  Then they started getting wealthy doing it.  They sold the animals for sacrifice, charged a temple tax, took up offerings, and then ate the animals they sacrificed.  They often had the ear of the government leaders not just because of their influence but their wealth.  They prayed on street corners, they made it obvious they were fasting, they helped people but did it so many people could see, they boasted in their obeying the law, and oppressed people and elevated themselves in their own minds above others.

Jesus said we should pray, not out of religious piety, but out of relationship.  God loves you!  He wants you to know Him.  He wants you to make prayer more about conversation than a santa wish list or out of duty.  He gave His Son as payment to remove the barriers that limit our knowing Him.  So do not approach Him in prayer as a distant God but as a close Father.  He once dwelt in buildings and wrote His law on stones, now He dwells in people and writes His law on hearts.  

So real quickly lets talk about law.  God set laws to navigate relationship for the good of the people following Him.  Don’t worship idols is about relationship and trust.  Don’t sleep with people you are not married to, is about your soul and theirs not being led to pain and hurt.  It has always been relational and always will be.

So today, pray to a Father who loves you and want to talk to you!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church

 

If You’re Not Ready…

Now that we’re a week into 2019 are we ready to be real about it? Let’s be honest: we usually spend the first week of the year making goals and plans that we end up never following through on. Sometimes that’s because we find the goal we’ve set to be too difficult or time-consuming (often stated reasons for giving up on diets, Bible reading goals, etc). Other times its because life simply gets in the way. As I look back on 2018 I can honestly say that I pretty much accomplished none of my goals or dreams for the year. That’s mostly because life REALLY got in the way, thanks to the socio-political-economic crisis here in Nicaragua. Basically every program and ministry we planned on doing from April 19th on was canceled, our ministry focus is very different, my family lives in the States while I’m here, I’m in a new home, etc. Despite my best planning and praying I totally was not ready for what 2018 would bring. Yet, despite all the uncertainties, I’ve seen God working in many unexpected and powerful ways this past year. Let me share a little something with you. You are not ready for MANY things 2019 will bring! Some of these may be negative things (illness, financial stress, the death of a loved one, etc.) others may be positive (new job, birth in the family, new ministry opportunity, etc.). While we may be far from ready for many of the things coming our way in 2019 that’s ok. Because when we trust God with the unknown He does amazing things. 

I’m fascinated with the call of Gideon, seen in Judges 6:11-16. As much as we celebrate Gideon as a hero, he was far from ready when God called. In fact, he desperately tried to turn down God’s call. I encourage you to read the story of his call, and then check out these two big points. 

  1. Doubt without God leads to fear, but doubt with God leads to faith. Doubt is a perfectly normal human emotion, and one you will undoubtedly have in 2019. But when we combine our doubt with God we get faith, which is more powerful than fear. Gideon doubted God, but had faith that God would use him. Because of this he trusted God’s plan and delivered the Israelites from the Midianites. 
  2. Remember that God is with you. When Gideon reminds the angel that he is not ready the angel twice reminds him that God will be with him. God is with us every moment of our lives. It’s we who need to choose to acknowledge His presence by listening to his Word, connecting in prayer, following His guidance, remembering His love, and trusting His ways. 

So yes, you’re not ready for 2019. Neither is anyone else. This year surrender the entire year to God, letting your doubt lead to faith and knowing God is always with you. You’re not ready, but with God you’re on exactly the right track. Blessings throughout this New Year! 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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