Half Blood Disciple

Acts 1:14New International Version (NIV)

14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

James is the ‘Half Blood Disciple’, who came to believe in Jesus after the crucifixion and the Lord’s resurrection. Not much is said about James in the Gospel, other than he misunderstood Jesus and was not a believer.

Jesus is the older sibling of Joseph and Mary. You have to realize to them Jesus was simply another brother. He grew up with them. They played together, ate meals, slept, and probably had their times of mischief. We forget at times that Jesus was also fully human along with being fully God.

It says in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus was seen by more than 500 of his followers. In verse 7 it says, ‘Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles’. Jesus met with his brother. You have to cut James a break here. Even he needed proof that his half blood brother was the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

After he receives the Holy Spirit, we find this man full of humility and being one of the eye witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. He would even write one of the books in the Bible that gives us a healthy dose of straight talk about practical Christian living.

I love his opening comment in James 1:1,

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

Nowhere do you see himself giving accolades of being a brother of Jesus. He is a slave to both God and Jesus. He owes his life to God and Jesus both.

This writing of the Book of James is just another source of proof that Jesus is the Son of God. He was crucified and raised from the dead 3 days later. Let us live a life like James. He lived a life that was lived in humble servanthood to our Savior Jesus the Christ.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Vital Men Bike Ride to Duluth, Minnesota

June 2-4

Three Days

Get signed up early to get hotel reservations made.

Give buck Kraft a call at 641-780-1295

This is a great opportunity to invite friends for this ride and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.

See you on the road!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Be Passionate, But…

“I love how passionate you are about this subject. I only wish you were as right as you are passionate.” I listened to these words the other day, when a guest on a broadcast was countering the host’s point. I believed the gentleman was being perfectly sincere in his response and it was not intended as a barb against the host. Recognizing the truth and applicability in that statement, my wheels could not help but twist and turn in analysis.

I could apply that to so many instances in my life. Specifically, instances I allowed my passion to override my ability to receive a counterpoint thus eliminating any opportunity to dissect and discern any possible truth that might exist. We do that, don’t we? We become so emotionally invested at times that we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Our field of view narrows and we can no longer shift to varying perspectives in order to remotely grasp the big picture. Our passionate blindness renders impossible our ability to negotiate the point in which truth and feeling blur.

This passionate handicapping can greatly damage or render our witness ineffective. When we allow the depth of our emotional commitment to blind us to only one possible perspective (our own) we hobble ourselves to one spot and, consequently, miss the potential opportunity for further enlightenment and growth.
Passion is a good thing, a human necessity, meant to be embraced and cherished. Our salvation, witness and relationship with Christ are gloriously emotional, passionate endeavors. However, passion alone can prevent you from being able to uncover and recognize something that God very much needs you to understand. Passions can be used by satan to so engulf you and drown out all else that he has you right where he wants you, in the muck, bogged down, unable to receive or proceed.

II Timothy 3:16,17 (NKJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I’m not suggesting compromise of what you know to be truth. I’m not suggesting that it is necessary to “go along to get along”. Disagreement of sorts is natural and inevitable. What I am suggesting is to not allow one’s passion to so cloud their judgment that necessary light is not permitted to enter. Allow yourself to be open enough to thoughtfully analyze various perspectives and trust the power of the holy spirit to enable you to discern the truths from the lies. Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

Greener

Who’s yard is nicer, your’s or your neighbors?  Who has a better mower, car, house, family, etc?  It doesn’t take long, whether you are 2 or 20 years old to find something to be envious of when we start to look around at others.  It is mowing season again and just yesterday, along with 2 of my neighbors,  I was out riding around in that futile pursuit of trying to keep the entire yard looking the same again.  It is only temporary, as it will be calling me out again within the week.  It doesn’t take much for us to conform to the demands of our communities, whether motivated to have a nicer yard than our neighbor, or just to avoid the city fine for having a jungle environment.  What drives you to be competitive in life to try to one up the guy next to you?  Does winning in these little pursuits bring you satisfaction or drive you to be even more competitive? 

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.  Proverbs 14:30

In an age of pervasive social media, it is easy to put forth an image of ourselves that is contrived and not the full story of what is going on.  We can pose for great images of ourselves, our travels, our perfect smiling kids, and even the dinner from last night and have the words to build it up even more.  It’s not much different from what we do and say in public compared to what happens behind closed doors.  If they saw the reality beyond the image, what would they really think?  If we knew the time, effort, and cost involved with those things we tend to be envious of in our neighbor, we may have second thoughts ourselves.  Instead of letting our desires for something bigger and better drive us toward more, let us take those desires to God and ask Him to reveal to us the condition of our hearts. 

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

One good test of our spiritual maturity is whether or not we can rejoice in our brother’s success.  If we can be genuinely glad (not fake happy) when they prosper, it helps keep jealousy and envy at bay.  In fact, the antidote for envy in our lives is love.  When we genuinely care for others and go out of our way to speak kind words and encourage them in good work, it puts any quiet resentment we may have in check.  It may try to return again in other forms, but genuine love is still the cure. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  1 Corinthians 13:4-5

So, if you are tempted to be jealous or bitter toward a rival at work, in your community, or even in your own family, pray for them.  Also, pray that God would give you the awareness when you are headed down that path again and to keep your heart from residing there.  May your love for others always overcome any envy in your life!

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Romans 12:15-16

 

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Burn the Boats

In 1519, Hernando Cortez convinced 500 soldiers and 100 sailers to go fight for the largest treasure in the world.  This treasure had been fought over for 600 years and no one was able to overcome the natives.  Hernando talked to the men about their lives after they would have the treasure, but he knew that would not be enough.  The natives were great fighters fighting for their homes and lifestyles and his men were fighting for money.  He knew he needed to motivate his men.  So when they arrive on the shores of the Yucatan Penin­sula, he says something crazy… “Burn the boats.”  They arrived on 11 boats that were not burning off the shore.  “If we go home, it will be on their boats.”  Talk about a new motivation for success.

That is what in must have felt for Elisha when Elijah the famous outlawed prophet show up to Elisha’s every day scene of oxen butts.  He was a farmer plowing a yoke of oxen and he was 12th in line.  Dust, dung and oxen buts was a daily scene.  However it is safe and predictable.  One day he might work his way up to the lead plower.  Elijah shows up and throws his mantle on Elisha’s shoulders and just walks away.  This is Elisha’s invitation to something more than oxen butts and into the adventure he was made for.  Elisha has an option safe, comfortable, predictable oxen butts or join the outlaw prophet.  That is where the story gets crazy…

1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

Elisha killed the tools of his old life so there was nothing to come home to.  The finality of this statement is why we know his name today. I believe many of us are stuck in the mundane of everyday life and God gives us an opportunity we get that same choice… safe, comfortable, and predictable or take the risk and believe God at His word.  I think it is easy to find our lives living in regret of what could have been.  I never hear people regret trusting God and living by faith, I often meet people who look back and knew there was something more.  

What about you?  What plow do you need to burn?  What is that step of faith do you need to take?  Where are you playing it safe?  What if today is your moment?  What if you give until it hurts?  What if you start the business?  What if you kill the back up plan?  What if God showed up in your obedience?  Burn the ships, burn the boat, and don’t go back.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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