Fully Alive:
Becoming The Man God Intended

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Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time, they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.  Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.   Matt 27:15-20

Could it be that the story of Barabbas holds some powerful illustrations that can shed some light on what is going on in our world today?  I think so.  Let’s examine five different people here.  Pilate represents our political leaders today.  Barabbas represents the criminals who live among us, and Jesus represents truth and justice, that which all of us need and seek.  The chief priests and elders represent the elites of that day, and they are still among us today.  Finally, the crowd gathered in this scene represent the multitudes, you and me. 

Now let’s draw some similarities from what is motivating these people and their counter parts today beginning with Pilate.  Placed in this position of authority by Rome, his main concern was keeping the peace at any cost.  If he failed, he would have been replaced.  The people he governed were not important to him—just maintaining his position.  Think of any similarities today—who would Pilate represent? 

Barabbas represents our modern-day criminal.  This could be an illegal alien, someone who robs, steals, or kills and just wants to get off.  Jesus represents everything good—He is the same for us now as He was back then and ever will be—ultimate Truth.  That brings us to the elites.  These are who possess their own “truth” and are against any idea of absolute truth.  They are people who want to control and will do anything to enslave us. 

Finally, we have the crowd, you and me.  Normal people whom God loves, in search of true meaning and purpose.  Now let’s look at what is happening in this scene.  What preceded the crucifixion of the Truth was nothing less than mass manipulation.  You can visualize it, the elites, spreading themselves throughout the crowd whispering, and then yelling, crucify Him.  Let’s go into the Capitol!  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

My friends, this has been going on since the temptation of Eve, and it is alive and well today.  The only difference is the availability of communications tools that have made it possible for the elites of our day to turn this type of deceitful manipulation into an art form.  What saddens me is how many of us have fallen prey.

So, you might ask, why am I sharing this? I am largely persuaded that many of us may be pawns, unaware that we have been nurtured and developed by small minorities with motives we often do not perceive. As we go into what might be the most important election year in our nation's history, I want to give you some things to think and pray about. I also want to say that deception is not associated with any political party or group—it is practiced by all.

If I were an elite with evil intentions to destroy our nation, I would:

  • Sexualize and indoctrinate upcoming generations of young people with information designed to create a negative attitude toward our nation, established moral authority, and the rule of law
  • Control the basic necessities of life: water, food and natural resources, through a series of far-reaching regulations, and convince people it is in order to save the planet
  • Bring about anarchy by exaggerating and making up stories designed to polarize around race, gender, class and lifestyle issues in order to exercise more control (possibly martial law)
  • Reduce the ability to protect ourselves through compromising our national defense systems and disarming our citizens
  • Create a large poor and homeless population and convince them it is the system around them that is at fault (national slavery)
  • Integrate as many immigrants into the culture as possible, especially those with different and oftentimes conflicting ideologies, and whose birthrate far exceeds the majority
  • De-emphasize all threats from outside enemies while covertly supporting them
  • Create wars as a means of distracting people from what they are really doing
  • Lower the bar for incarceration
  • Give money freely to everyone to incentivize dependency
  • Use fear to de-sensitize the population regarding basic freedoms and accept more government protection and control

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as FEAR  
-Edmund Burke

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  
2 Timothy 1:7

Some questions to consider in this critical election year:

  1. Are you giving in to deliberate and often deceptive attempts to get you to evaluate candidates based upon their character flaws, rather than examining the ideologies they stand for and the direction they will pursue?
  2. Do you buy into a reality defined by Fox news or CNN simply because they are your preferred source of what is truth?
  3. To what extent are the conclusions you are arriving at supported by your ethnicity, the color of your skin, how you were raised and what you have been taught, rather than prayerfully considered facts?
  4. Have you prayed and considered, in light of God’s Word, what is truth and what is deception?

Finally, pray God protects us from the evil intentions of our real enemy and for Him to help our leaders who may be influenced by him to see the alternative, His Son.

IF THIS ARTICLE HAS BLESSED YOU, PLEASE LET US KNOW.  YOU CAN COMMENT BELOW OR EMAIL VINCE AT VINCE@OTM.CO 

The video interview below may be the best investment of an hour of your time that you will make this year.  A comprehensive explanation of what is going on in our country today and how we got here.

https://click.updates.tuckercarlson.com/?qs=eb288081e994069029d5f6dd123ab967bdce786326f396ae4613637402bc0894d900fcf7eaf81de698e1686ef7058b601fee96ee4cebc144

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

January was another wonderful month of ministry here at On Target.  I am making progress on our new The Man God Intended Devotional/Journey project, continuing to minister to our special group of young men and gearing up for our new TargetPoint Podcasts.

The month also finished up with a trip to Boise, Idaho where I spoke four times for Ten Mile Community Church’smen’s retreat.  Though I have had the privilege of ministering at hundreds of these over the years, each one is so very special and often produce indelible memories.  At the closing of my Saturday morning session dealing with how to establish an intimate relationship with God, I extended a call to any men who wanted to give their heart to Jesus for the first time.

The first of several men to look up at me in agreement was a young man in the front row named Dustin.  I acknowledged those who responded and prayed for them in closing out the morning.  That evening we had an extended time of the men getting up to share some of their stories.  The last man to share was Dustin, a 25-year-old Police Officer.  He stood there silent for what seemed an eternity.

As he began sobbing, a couple of men stood up to comfort him—when he spoke this is the story he told:

I worked for the York County Sheriff’s office located in South Carolina as a Patrol Deputy from 2020 to the end of 2023.

In January of 2023 I was working the night shift from 6pm to 6am. I was in our main office finishing reports from the day’s shift. While sitting in the office I observed a call being generated by dispatch of a burglary in progress. Once I saw that call get generated, I began walking out of the office to have a faster response. After getting into my patrol vehicle, dispatch called me to respond to that burglary. They advised me that there was a male outside of a residence banging on the door. Dispatch also stated that the man was also talking to another person, but that person was not responding.

I arrived at the incident with lights and sirens. When I approached the residence, I observed a male walking toward me. At first glance it appeared that he had a jacket in his hand and tossed it over his shoulder. I exited my vehicle and was about to give the command to get on the ground, but before doing so, I notice that instead of a jacket, he had a small child on his shoulder. Both he and the child were covered in blood. 

At that time, he began pleading with me to save his kid and proceeded to lay his four-year-old child in front of me. I jumped into action and began checking for a pulse. I thought that I had one, so my Sargent and I began doing CPR. After a few minutes we were made aware that EMS was too far out, and the child needed to get to a hospital now.  We picked him up and placed him into the back of my patrol car with two other deputies. After arriving at the hospital, they pronounced him dead. I later learned that the child was only a few days away from his birthday.

This incident has been stuck with me ever since. I sometimes get mental pictures of that night but mostly I can still hear the sounds that were coming from the child while giving CPR.

I can only imagine the incredible emotional hurt and trauma brought about by such an experience on a rookie officer.  Later that evening some of his friends gathered around him and were able to guide him in a time of prayer to totally surrender his life to the Lord.  Just today I had a chance to speak with Dustin and was able to encourage him to go deeper with the Lord and not let this experience fade.

Like so many young men today Dustin came from a broken home.  He never knew his dad and was raised by his mom and had a special relationship with his Grandma who would often take him to church. He met his wife in 2016 and married her in 2020.  Dustin remembers always wanting to be a Christian but not knowing how.  He says he flailed around for a couple of years kind of kicking the tires but never really made a commitment.

I asked him, why now?  He said after listening to the messages and being around a bunch of guys that would just love and encourage him, he felt tremendous peace that allowed him to become more vulnerable and emotionally open.  I ended our call by letting him know how proud I was of him and encouraged him to now take the challenge of becoming the spiritual head of his home.  He said he would.

I am so thankful for our Lord, who through His Holy Spirit, leads people to repentance.  I can only imagine the joy in Heaven around the throne of God for each one who comes.  Dear friends, please know that I am also so grateful for all of you who pray and support our ministry.  Dustin is just one incredible story out of thousands that have been impacted over the years.

I hope his story both blessed and challenged you—these are serious times and we need all hands on deck that we may help usher many more into His glorious Kingdom.

NOTE: A hidden message from our Lord awaits you below

When you observe the world through the lens of your soul you will often experience confusion and despair…when you view the world through the lens of your spirit, you will have discernment and hope.

Jesus makes it very clear that we must be born again.  He tells us that when we are, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and will ultimately bring us the proper perspective on life.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  John 16:13

As believers we are called and expected to see life through a lens unfamiliar to us before we received His Spirit.  We see everything through the lens of our soul (our mind, emotions and will).  It is only as we allow the Holy Spirit the rightful position in our life that we are able to see a whole new perspective…His.

Consider the example of looking at something through a microscope.  When you turn the dial to move the lens, you are changing the focal point of your view.  As you do that everything in you see changes—things that were in focus begin to blur and something you have never seen emerges, often with great wonder.

That is the way it is supposed to be in the life of the believer.  We are to adjust our focal point from our soulish view to a spiritual one.  But this begs the BIG question on the minds and hearts of most of us, how can I do that?  I want to help us answer this important question but before I do let’s take a brief look at where we are.

As we enter this new year it might be good to look back over the last several years and examine what we have experienced.  For me, over the past 3-4 years, I do not believe I have ever encountered so much doubt and confusion.  It seems like any semblance of normalcy, if there ever was, is gone.  There is not enough room in this article to talk about all the distortion and lies that have been perpetrated upon us as a people.

Many have lost all confidence in the media, government, politicians, big business, the medical industry and especially our educational systems.  The general level of trust for all of these is at an all-time low, and for good reason.  We have been in a matrix of smoke and mirrors that is controlled by forces that are not out for our best interest. 

I want to suggest that our frustration level here is directly related to how we are viewing what is happening.  What is your focal point?  For too many of us we are looking at all of this through our soul.  When this happens, we are left with a view that simply reflects the condition of our soul.  My friend the battle lines are drawn.  The forces arrayed against us seem overwhelming, but they are nothing in the sight of our God.  The question for you and me is this, do you want to be a casualty in the battles yet to come—or a mighty victorious warrior in God’s army?   

The answer is not complicated.  It lies in our willingness to step up our game going into this new year.  It means drawing ever nearer to Him (James 4:8) and being in His word every day (Rom. 12:2).  It also means praying specifically for His Holy Spirit to give you the proper spiritual view and an understanding of how He wants to use you in His unfolding plan.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2

Some tips entering this new year:

  • Pray your problems in life last as long as your new-year’s resolutions do—in other words, don’t make resolutions—make commitments.
  • List all the changes you need to make to get closer to God and sense His Holy Spirit in you.
  • Pick up a one-year Bible and determine to read every day,
  • Prepare a place in your home that is your personal go-to every morning to start your day reading the word, praying, and worshipping Him.

The below image has a message for you from Jesus Himself.  To see it you need to focus in a very particular way.  Whether you see it or not, the fact of the matter is, it is there.  This is also true of God’s vision for your life.  God is calling us to focus with our spiritual eyes to discover it.  If you end up seeing His message, please let us know.  You can also help others by sharing how you adjusted your focal point.  Please leave your comments below.


Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Col. 4:2 

Col. 4:2 is a powerful and profound verse for us men today.  Please note the order presented in its command—pray, bewatchful and then thankful

It should go without saying that prayer needs to be the priority in every believer’s life—no matter the times or conditions we find ourselves in.  That said, we are then called to be watchmen

God wants us to be like the men from the tribe of Issachar.  From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders.... All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.   I Chronicles 12:32 (NLT). These men made great efforts to understand the signs of the times in which they lived to best guide their people. 

Dear friend, it should not be difficult for us to discern the collapse of all things godly in our world today.  There has never been such a stark contrast between good and evil.  As a watchman my job is to translate all of that for those God has called me to lead in a way that encourages and enables them to live in a way that glorifies God.  I must also remember the clear warning laid out in Ezekiel for the watchman.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 Once again a message came to me from the LORD: “Son of man, give your people this message: When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he blows the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action—well, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the warning but wouldn't listen, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn't sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their deaths. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman accountable.  “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to warn them about changing their ways, then they will die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don't repent, they will die in their sins, but you will not be held responsible.

Perhaps the most important part of this responsibility is to help people understand how we should live.  This is best laid out in 2 Peter 3:11-14, Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.

We must encourage people to live spotless and blameless lives, staying close to and at peace with Him.

As I close let’s not overlook the importance of our last command—being thankful.  Is this difficult when in the midst of great danger and confusion—yes!  I can think of no one better than Nehemiah to guide us here.

After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives, and your homes.  Nehemiah 4:14

As men, called to be prayerful watchmen and the spiritual head of our families, we are also to be like Nehemiah who, in the face of great danger, brought strength and comfort to everyone he encountered.  Our final component, being thankful is best wrapped up in the words Nehemiah shares, Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.  In other words, no matter how bleak things may seem, we are to be encouraged and thankful that our heavenly Father has our back—just like the watchman on the wall.

It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.  Therefore, keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back --whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.   What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!  Mark 13:34-37

During this special season let’s read and pray these powerful verses:

1 Thess. 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Col. 3:15 Let the peace (Hope) of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

A clarion call from our Lord: 

Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.  For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool.  But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.  Awake, awake, arm of the LORD, clothe yourself with strength!  Isa 51:7-9a 

Enjoy this special message from Vince on The Four Pillars Of Leadership. 

https://vimeo.com/528115663

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:12

The above verse uses a geographical construct to describe a difference so vast it cannot be measured.  It is also a powerful spiritual reminder of just how incredible our God really is.  More on this as we close.

In what might be considered an unusual attempt to shed some light on what is happening in our world today, I want to take a moment and unpack the phrase, as far as the east is from the west, in another context.  To do so we need to go back to the story of Isaac and Ishmael to study how God dealt with these two men and how it has metastasized into what we are seeing today in the Middle East and will be experiencing until Jesus’ return.

Of course, we know that Ishmael, the son of Hagar, represents a plan born by Abraham and Sarah (the plan of man) to get a child they were unable to conceive—it was a plan born out of their flesh.  Isaac, on the other hand, was the miracle brought about by God allowing Sarah to conceive, even in old age, and is considered of the Spirit (plan of God). 

The son of Hagar (Gen 16), and the son of Sarah (Gen 17), today’s Arabs and Jews respectively, and their subsequent offspring, God tells us, will be and have been in conflict until the end.  Since Mohammed came on the scene in 622 and declared that all Jews were the enemies of Allah, there has been tremendous conflict (Gen 25:18).  I am persuaded that what we are seeing today is unprecedented in all recorded history and needs to be understood by every Bible believing Christian.

 The Crescent vs Cross

While most of the Jewish world does not believe Jesus is their intended Messiah, they do believe in the same God we Christians honor.  The Arab/Islamic world believe in an entirely different god—a god born out of the fleshly origins of Ishmael.  So, this is where the battle is—Allah and Jesus. 

Interestingly, in a geopolitical sense, this conflict is being talked about as between the east and the west.  In this sense, it is true that our differences cannot be measured—they are that far apart.  There is no middle ground and no compromise between the two.  Muslims seem to understand this clearly.  They will strap on bombs as a sign of dedication.   

I want to say at this point that I am both excited and concerned.  As a Bible believing follower of Christ, it is easy to see that the Bible has predicted this conflict.  Just look at how all the countries in the east are lining up against Israel currently.  We are seeing the signs of God winnowing—the separation of the wheat from the chaff, darkness being invaded by His light.  I am excited because Jesus could come back very soon, like today. 

I am concerned that many Christians, particularly here in the west, are not prepared to take the current circumstances seriously enough.  I fear we are not focused on the BIG picture and are wallowing around in our search for getting back to normal—whatever that is.  The more traditional and “Orthodox” forms of Christianity, in many ways, seem more deeply committed than us in the west.  Some of them are dying for their faith. 

In the west it seems like our approach to faith is not very strong or robust.  We follow more of an attraction model, and we see people as consumers instead of potential worshipers of the true God of Abraham. The result is superficial and uncommitted people who are unwilling to live out God’s plan. 

Men, it is time.  Time to discover who God created you to be and seek your destiny. 

Here are some ideas, takeaways, for you to consider:

  • Discover what is going on around the world and do not just take in one or two sources—spread it out. If you only watch American news, you will be brainwashed.  In other words, do your homework.
  • Prepare your family and close friends for what is coming. Ask God to show you your role.
  • Double down on your time with God. Hear His voice.  Sense His presence—you will not be successful without it.
  • Pray against the antisemitic spirit that is rising up in our colleges and government.
  • Focus on your true purpose before God…bringing people to Jesus.
  • Watch my message from a PK New Zealand men’s conference on how to be Jesus in a dying world. Click Here

Most importantly, remember our opening verse—your sins are separated from you as far as the east is from the west.  You ARE forgiven and freed in Christ! Live like you believe it.

Finally, if you want to know what is going on today, I highly recommend reading America Alone, The End Of The World As We Know It, by Mark Steyn.  See the excerpt below from Wikipedia.

(Click here to find this book on Amazon)

Mark Steyn attributes the forecast fall of the Western world to three factors, demographic decline, unsustainability of the advanced Western social-democratic state, and exhaustion of civilization. Steyn based his argument of population decline on his own observation that European nations have low birth rates while Muslim nations have higher birth rates. Steyn wrote that in the 2000s, the population of the developed world declined from about 30% of world population to around 20%, while the population of Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20% (Excerpted from Wikipedia)