Live a Better Story- Part 1

Would it be fair to say there is a better story for you life than the one you are living? I think God calls it hope.  There is a better future, the best of my story is yet to come, our best days are ahead and not behind. God wants to bless you in abundance and not scarcity, he wants your cup to overrun with oil!  Now I do not think that necessarily means a Mercedes, bigger house, bigger income, or nicer clothes.  How many of us know people that got bigger and better and it ruined their marriage, cost them their kids, and they lost a lot of friends.  

I also do not think blessing is looking at other peoples lives on facebook, instagram, or how they appear to be at church.  I don’t believe Jesus died so you can impress people you don’t know or even like. In fact when I read the Bible I see God wanting us to live a better story because we find life in 4 places. Today I am going to skim the surface but in the next 4 week, I will dig into each of them a little deeper. 

Make a Difference! You were not made to work your life away so you can provide and play on your days off.  You were made so the generation and the world would be different because you walked the earth.  You were made so when people share about who helped them get where they are, your name is mentioned. You were made to make a difference where no one but God knows, where there is no trophy, recognition, or platitude.  If you are still breathing God is not done!  You are not too far gone, sinned too much, too old, too young, too poor, or too wealthy.  God is bigger than all of that!

Discover Your Purpose!  You cannot make the difference God intended unless you discover the purpose for why you are here.  Young men want to know what to study in college or what career to make. Middle aged men want to know if there is something more than 9-5. Older me want to know if what they did can be passed on or if there is anything left in retirement.  There is! Purpose is different and different seasons, and God reveals it in His time.  Purpose is found in His presence when He downloads holy conviction of making a difference. It is different for everyone.

Find Freedom!  You cannot discover purpose when you are bound to your past, your sin, your addiction, and your shame.  You need freedom for that.  God paid a very high price in His Son for you to know more than just forgiveness.  Confess your sin to God and you are forgiven. Confess your sin to men and you will be healed.  If you are sick as a mature believer for prayer, for their prayer is powerful.  God designed us to not be alone on our spiritual journey but to travel together. You will never be the person God made you to be apart from vulnerability with His people.

Know God!  You cannot find freedom until you know God.  “I met the mayor” and “the mayor is my best friend” are very different.  The first says you who who they are about you know about the mayor.  The second one reveals real relationship.  The will of God for your life is not for you to be religious!  The will of God for you is to know Him. You can not clean yourself up and come to God, you come to God because you need him to clean you up. 

This is getting long… Sorry about that!  I look forward to the next 4 weeks as God leads you to live a better story because you Know God more than ever before, found Freedom in places you didn’t know possible, Discovered Purpose in knowing what you were made to do, and Make a Difference in a way that will really matter.

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

Where the Needs Are

Recently the story of Jesus’ healing of Blind Bartimaeus really moved and challenged me. It’s not only because Jesus healed Bartimaeus’ blindness, but the way in which He showed love and mercy to him. Checkout the scripture in Mark 10:46-52:

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Look, I totally get that pretty much none of us have the power to restore sight. But, there is a lot we can learn about serving from this passage. First, look where Jesus met Bartimaeus. Jesus was hanging out just outside the city, a place we often find Jesus in scripture. This is really interesting, because hardly anyone would have chosen to spend time in such a place. That was the place that the lame, poor, and rejected spent their days, largely because they were deemed too spiritually impure to enter the cities. Yet, that is a place we often find Jesus spending his time. How much time do we spend in the places in our cities and towns where people have the largest needs? Even more bluntly, how much time do we actually spend with people who have great needs? 

Second, look at the question Jesus asks Bartimaeus. He point blank asks: what can I do for you? How often do we as individuals, leaders, and churches actually ask our communities, and the people in them with the greatest needs, what we can do for them? How much effort do we put into discovering what the deepest needs are in our community, and discerning how God can use us to meet those needs? 

There are so many people right in our own backyards and communities that, like Bartimaeus, have needs that God can meet through us. Our challenge is to be like Jesus and to meet those people where they are. We can’t spend all of our lives in our areas of comfort, but like Christ need to step into the uncomfortable realities of our world so we can discover needs, and be used by God to meet them. 

Caught Any Fish

John 21:5 New International Version (NIV)

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

This is one of my favorite portions of Scripture in the Bible. The place in which Jesus reinstated Peter is one of my favorite places to see when I go to Israel. We find the disciples acting out like most men when they do not know what to do. We go to a place that we know. We are comfortable there. For Simon Peter and the other disciples, it was fishing.

We see Jesus’ love for Simon Peter here. He tells them to throw the net on the right side of the boat, and they do it. It is said that the net was so full of fish, they could not haul it in. As a matter of fact, there were 153 large fish. Numbers mean something to God.

Peter realized that is was Jesus on the shore. Peter jumps into the water and goes to Jesus. He is dripping wet, and he is standing in front of Jesus. Their eyes are locked. The last time Peter saw Jesus, he had denied knowing Jesus.

It does not say, but I bet Jesus grabbed him arms open wide as a brother. Jesus goes on to reinstate Peter by telling him 3 times to feed his sheep. Peter comes to the end of himself.

Peter never failed in his faith from that time on. He would never go back to fishing for fish. His life would be fishing for men.

Men, what about you? Caught any fish lately?

It is time to go fishing for men.

As Jesus was telling Peter to follow him, you do the same and follow Jesus. You will be fishers of men.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Summer is almost here, and we will be breaking for the summer from Vital Men Small Groups.

We have studied the Book of Judges and the Book of Mark. 

We will be asking the Holy Spirit for direction in our studies for the fall.

Stay plugged in with the Devotionals, Radio Program, and Web Page.

Stay Vital in Your Walk with God!

TODAY

James 4:13-17 (NASB) ‘Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.’ 

This passage has taken on a whole new complexion for me of late.  We all know that our time here is very short in comparison to the timeline of history.  That is no secret.  However, I believe most, I know I did, tend to view this concept rather abstractly.  Well, when “your long time from now”  starts looking like a not so long time from now, you take a different look at things.  

The meat of the matter, the bottom line of this passage is, tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.  It doesn’t matter if you are in the prime of your youth and believe you have decades left, or you’ve just been leveled with a terminal diagnosis, tomorrow will take care of itself.  It is your job to focus on what you will accomplish TODAY.  

As you go through your day, what’s your focus?  Do you go about your day intentionally?  Seriously, ask and answer that question for yourself.  Do you have a plan on how you will approach your day and the events within?  Notice I didn’t say, “do you have a plan for what you will DO throughout your day”.  Think about how you do your day.  Who do you do it for?  To what ends?  Do you go about to satisfy others, yourself, for reward or praise… what is your motivation throughout the day?  Do you do everything ‘heartily unto the Lord’?  I know I don’t.  I look for praise, recognition and reward from man 99.9% of the time.  

The point I’m driving at is, every single day matters, and TODAY is the most important of days.  You may not get another chance to do that eternal something directed by the Lord for the sake of another.  If there isn’t a tomorrow for you, what impression did you leave those you influenced TODAY?  How did God urge you to serve Him TODAY, and did you?  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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