When God sends out His followers, is He sending them on a wild-goose chase, or on some rabbit trail just to amuse Himself and make us look like idiots? Consider the passages below…
In Mark 11:1-4 we read the following, “Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.’ 4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.”
Acts 8:26-35 is another fascinating passage. This passage says that “26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’ 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31 And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’ 34 And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.
In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus says to “‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
The previous passages remind us that if we’re faithful and obedient to His command to “GO”, then we WILL find what it is He’s sending us to and or for. They went…and found. He went…and found. Seek…and you WILL find. Those promises come directly from God and His word. What a truly rewarding experience if you’ll GO when He commands you to go. Maybe He’ll have you do something as simple as fetching a “colt” for His purposes, or maybe He’ll have you open your mouth and share the gospel with someone. Either way, what an awesome feeling it is to know that you’ve made yourself available and obedient to His leading and guiding and then to be used by Him for His purpose to be fulfilled. Go and you WILL find. Believe it and live it out.
You might ask, “How will I know what I’m supposed to be looking for?” Sometimes He’ll make it blatantly obvious…find a tied-up colt. And sometimes He’ll lead you right to a searching soul…an “Ethiopian Eunuch.” Just be ready and willing to go.
I can completely relate with this challenge. I know for certain that God is calling me to Marshfield, WI. And I know that He’s not calling me there to fail. He will reveal to me what it is He’ll have me to be doing there and who exactly He wants me to be ministering to. The uncertainties and unknowns are real and do make me somewhat nervous (evidence that I care)…at the same time I am so pumped to see what He has prepared for me. In time He’ll calm my nerves and provide a confidence that can only come from Him. I can’t wait for Him to unleash me in a different community and ministry.
I’m also very fortunate to have a very supportive family. Last night I was watching American Pickers (Season 22…Episode 28). And on this episode Mike Wolf stated that, “If you’re fortunate enough to have a family that encourages you to follow that passion, then you are truly blessed. Susan and Berta were side by side with Bill while he was living his dream. In my opinion, that’s what made him a truly wealthy man.”
I could easily substitute some names out from Mike’s quote and put my own name and my family members names in there. My wife and daughters know that I have a passion for introducing people to the Lord and helping them grow in their relationship with Him. Their support and encouragement throughout this process has made me realize how truly fortunate, blessed, and wealthy I am in the eyes of the Lord. A huge “THANK YOU” to my cheerleaders.
Let me encourage you to listen to the following song and use it as your prayer to Him this morning…I'll Go Anywhere (feat. Lucas McCloud) (Live) - Circuit Rider Music - Bing video
Colton Storla 2-10-23
For the video, visit OX Strong Men's MinistriesSaturday, Feburary 11, 2023 Guest Colton Storla - Bing video
A couple life questions that Colton challenged us with.
1) Do you evaluate who you do life with? 2) Is there value in that relationship? 3) Has your success caused you to take your eyes off of God? Where has that led you to?
A couple of facts about Forgiveness.
1) It provides a huge sigh of relief when you receive it. 2) It provides peace. 3) This needs to be a lifetime practice for everyone. 4) God is sovereign. Proverbs 16:9 states that “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Embrace this truth and it’ll give you peace. 5) Our relationships are fragile. Have you asked the Lord to help you look past your past? The past hurts others have bestowed upon you and the past hurst you’ve bestowed upon others. 6) God is good and forgiving…am I following His example? Am I an example to others? Do they see me as someone who forgives others? 7) Sometimes we have to learn the hard way…but God is always there to make forgiveness available to all involved.
1) You may have good days and bad days, but learn to remain humble through it all. 2) Just remember…others have shown you forgiveness and have shown you support through the good and bad. For Colton it was a coach, other families from his communities, and other loved ones. Choose to extend forgiveness to others. Choose to bring someone under your roof or wing just as others have done for you. 3) Get counseling if forgiving others and or yourself is something you’re struggling with. Internalizing is a common mistake…find godly counsel with whom you can release your pain to. 4) It’s ok to ask “Why?” In doing so it may end up restoring and strengthening your relationship with God and others. 5) Resist peer pressures…seek wisdom at all cost.
1) God is a forgiving God…He sent His Son to suffer in our place and to make forgiveness available to all. 2) We have a big God…And He has a bigger plan. 3) There can be a purpose in our pain. Trust God and His character through it all.
As a Coach and a father, I often feel like I’m repeating the same words to my kids or players. I could choose to view the person or situation as an inconvenience and or as an annoyance…irritating me. Or I could view each situation as a student who needs more learning. My continued repetition reveals my love and concern for each of them. If I didn’t love them, then I’d allow them to continue in doing life the incorrect ways, and in the long run we’d all experience certain levels of regrets.
When you come across the word “again” in the following passages, what do you think that reveals about God’s character? That He’s committed, persistent, faithful, patient, concerned, loving, and is repetitious in His approach of growing others in Himself. Can you think of any other characteristics that come to your mind as you skim over some of the following verses? Now, consider how you are with others… Are you willing to tell them something again, even if you’ve told them a hundred times already? Are you willing to do something again, even if you’ve done it for someone several times before? When you feel like you’ve done enough or said enough, what should you do per His example? Is God “again” and “still” loving you? Forgiving you? Teaching you? Showing grace to you? Etc.
What is God speaking to you about concerning this word and practice of “again”? How can you focus on it and apply it to your life as you continue to grow in your walk with Him and in your relationship with others?
Practicing His Presence,
I did my research in the NKJV and only in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Don’t feel like you have to read every verse…I’m pretty sure it won’t take you long before you get the idea and get to know the heart of the One and Only True God. But feel free to read each verse if time allows. Enjoy!
Song: Never Give Up - Worship Central (Lyric Video) - Bing video
Matthew 4:7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Matthew 5:33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’
Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,
Matthew 13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,
Matthew 18:19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
Matthew 19:24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Matthew 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
Matthew 20:19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Matthew 21:36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.
Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’
Matthew 26:42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Matthew 26:43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
Matthew 26:44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Mark 2:1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
Mark 2:13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.
Mark 3:1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
Mark 4:1 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea.
Mark 5:21 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea.
Mark 7:31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.
Mark 8:13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side.
Mark 8:25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 10:1 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.
Mark 10:10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter.
Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!
Mark 10:32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him:
Mark 10:34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
Mark 11:14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
Mark 11:27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him.
Mark 14:39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words.
Mark 14:40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
Luke 10:35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
Luke 13:20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?
Luke 15:24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Luke 15:32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”
Luke 18:33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
Luke 20:11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
Luke 20:12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
Luke 24:7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 4:3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
John 4:46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.
John 4:54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
John 6:15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
John 8:2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
John 8:8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
John 10:18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
John 10:40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.
John 11:7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
John 11:8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”
John 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
John 11:38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
John 12:28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
John 13:12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 16:16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”
John 16:17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’ ; and, ‘because I go to the Father’ ?”
John 16:19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?
John 16:22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
John 16:28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
John 18:7 Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
John 19:37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
John 20:9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John 21:1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
In Mark 7:1-23 below you’ll come across the word defile. Defile means to make unclean. I want to draw your attention to where defilement/uncleanness comes from and doesn’t come from according to this passage. If there are evidences in your life of a defiled/unclean heart, then pray that God will help you cleanse it. There may be many sinful acts going on all around you…will your heart be drawn to them, or resist them? May this song be your prayer and declaration today…
Song: CLEAN - Hillsong United Lyrics - Bing video
Practicing His Presence,
7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother, ‘and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”  [f] 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Whether you’re serving in a Church or serving those God’s entrusted to you in your home, school, team, workplace, etc.…I would love to remind each of you of three key ingredients that the Apostle Peter lays out for Shepherds/Leaders in First Peter Chapter 5. I’ll underline the three below, but I’d love for each of you to take some time to reflect on these three and see which ones, if any, God would have you to improve on as you continue growing in Him and serving others. What is the reward for serving in such a way? See verse 4 below.
Practicing His Presence,
1 Peter 5:1-5 (NKJV) The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter