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Wednesday Evening: 6:30 p.m.

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Scott - First Things First

Boyd Avenue Baptist Church
1930 Boyd Avenue, Casper, WY

(307) 261-9896

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Tuesday
Oct312017

November 2017

Many years ago, as a college student, I was reading the book of Joshua and God’s charge to him became      implanted in my life. As  Joshua takes over for Moses, God tells him “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). This verse has been a guide in my life for over 20 years. It guided me to Wyoming as a summer missionary, a decision that changed my life.  When   Rebecca and I married it  became our life verse. We were excited to see where God would lead us in life and willing to follow him  wherever he would lead us. Each step of my life, each decision I make would be done in the confidence of God’s call.

This confidence fueled us as we made a decision twenty years ago that changed the direction of our lives and came with concern from those around us. In November of 1997 Rebecca and I loaded up everything we owned into a yellow Ryder truck and began a cross country trek that would take us 1100 miles from our family to begin a new ministry in Wyoming. Many in our families thought we were crazy. Some thought it would be a passing phase for a couple of young kids. We were advised to not get too attached and to keep a safety net in Indiana for when we returned. God’s words to Joshua rang in my head as we accepted a call to do youth and college ministry in    Wyoming. We went with the confidence of God’s call and the knowledge that He was with us. Twenty years later we are still doing the same ministry. No safety net was put in place or ever needed. Gone are the thoughts from family that we may return. Wyoming has become our home.

This charge to Joshua has carried us through difficult times during our ministry. The first year in Wyoming was hard. We did miss family. A knee injury to Rebecca and then a miscarriage added stress to a new ministry, but we knew God had called us. With the birth of our oldest daughter, pressure came again for us to move back to Indiana. “Do not be terrified or discouraged” were words that we took as a promise from God. If he had called us we must be obedient to that call. Each trial was met with that confidence.

God’s charge to Joshua has also carried us through many great times in our ministry. I am so thankful for the many students that we have had the opportunity to minister to and with over the years. It amazes me to see many of my former and current students loving and serving God. I could have never imagined the blessing of a  career in student ministry. God has been faithful as students and adults have traveled the world with us on mission trips, sharing the love of Jesus. God has allowed us to build many close relationships and a second family in Wyoming.

Thank you to all for allowing us to serve at Boyd Avenue for twenty years. Hopefully there will be many, many more to come. Whatever God may have for our future I can still hold on to those words, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

 

Tuesday
Sep262017

October 2017

Our youth and college students are studying the book of Joshua this fall, focusing on some of the big events in the book.  We have called it “life lessons from Joshua.”  Joshua contains the story of the Israelites crossing into and conquering the Promised Land and the story of God’s faithfulness to His people in the process. 

God leads His people into the Promised Land in a way that no one can take credit for the victories except for Him.  From the parting of the Jordan River to the walls of Jericho falling down, there is no question who is responsible for the success of His people.

In the very beginning of the book, God lays out the method for success: Trust Him, don’t fear, and live by God’s Word. Our obedience and faith in Him will result in victory. Often times we have the wrong view of what it means to be victorious. Joshua’s life shows a tremendous example of living a victorious life in relationship with God.

We also see in this book the consequences of not obeying God.  Defeat, disappointment, and judgment come when we choose our own way instead of His.  God deals with sin, disciplines His children and brings judgment on those who choose to be His enemies.

This is such a great picture of how life is lived. When God is the center of our lives, we benefit from the closeness we have with him. Our life is content, fulfilled and joyful, even in difficult times. When we choose to walk our own paths, we suffer the consequences.  The idea is that we have choices to make.  God has a great plan and His plan leads to victory.  We often deter from that plan and suffer the results.  Joshua led the Israelites through both victories and defeats. 

At the end of His life, he makes one last plea to the people.  “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:14)  Every day we have to make the choice who we will serve.  In the beginning of Joshua’s leadership he was challenged by God with the method of success and at the end he challenged the people to continue in following God. Joshua began and ended well. Hopefully our choice each day is “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (24:15)

 

Tuesday
Sep122017

September 2017

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

These words were spoken to Joshua as he assumed leadership from Moses and was preparing to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He had a tremendous responsibility and huge task that he could not do on his own. He needed to rely on God. This charge from God to Joshua is very relevant to us today.

God places us where we are for a reason. God had a plan for Joshua’s life and He has a plan for ours. Our students are in school to learn and to be a missionary to their campuses. We are placed in our workplace to not only make a living, but to be an example of Christ to those around us. We were created for purpose.

God will equip us for what He has for us. God didn’t place Joshua in a position of leadership among Israel without equipping him. God will give us what we need. Often times we have no idea what God could do through us because we never put ourselves in a position to know. We have to trust in Him. Fear and discouragement are not from God. Look at our situations as opportunities to proclaim Jesus.

God is with us. Wherever we go, we are not alone. These words that God spoke to Joshua bring great comfort. As students prepare for new schools, God is with them. As we go to work, God is with us. Just as God promised Joshua, He will be with us wherever we go.

I am so thankful for a faithful God. Let us go with confidence into our world each day looking for the opportunity to be used by Him.

 

Tuesday
Aug012017

August 2017

After spending the past couple of weeks at camp, my heart is heavy over the needs of the students that have attended. They come from many different family situations, many from homes with very difficult situations. On the second night of Summit, the worship team sang “Good, Good Father.” The words of the chorus have been stuck in my heart and mind.

You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I am loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
You’re a good, good father

I am so thankful that our God is a good, good Father. He is a father that cares deeply for our needs, is always there for us and who truly wants what is best for us no matter what is happening in life. This is His nature and nothing can change that. Ephesians tells us that we are adopted into His family as His children. It is an amazing concept to be brought under the great love of God.

Unfortunately, there are many who do not understand this love. For some, it is hard to comprehend because they have not experienced this kind of fatherly love. My heart breaks for the children who do not know the security of a Father who loves them. They have a hard time relating to God’s love because they don’t experience it in an earthly father.

As I sat in worship on the mountain, I began to weep with this realization. First, I looked around at my children. Each of them have made a profession of faith and are following Jesus. Each have experienced the love of God, our good Father. As I was processing this, I was challenged in my own heart with the importance of exemplifying that Godly love to my children. I so desperately want to be a good Father. A father who shows the love of God in all that I do. My children deserve this. Then I began to look around at those who don’t have this kind of relationship at all. Those without fathers need godly men to be an example of this love. If I am loved by Him, then I need to love like He loves.

What a great responsibility. Again, thinking back to Ephesians, God is constantly perusing this relationship with us. He is actively showing His love, drawing us closer to Him. Following God in caring for those in need of fatherly love requires us to be active in the lives of others. These relationships must be perused and developed.

As I share these thoughts, let me invite you to think how you can be involved in the lives of students. This is different for each of us. I write from a Father’s perspective, but know of many students who have the same needs from a mother. I wish I could come up with some program to fix this, but in reality it is about relationship.   It takes time, energy, tears,   and heartache. But it is worth the effort to point people to a   loving God.

You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I am loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
You’re a good, good father

 

Tuesday
Aug012017

July 2017

How much do I really care? On several different topics in many different situations we tend to have an opinion. Sometimes that opinion is voiced loudly with authority and sometimes with just a passing thought. Over the past several months while being involved in conversations and seeing Facebook posts and discussions, I wonder how much people really care about the things they comment on or argue about. Often I believe our level of caring is reduced to offering an opinion or making a complaint. Do I care enough to do something?

  For me, this means to truly search my heart. In a spiritual sense, how much I care begins with my relationship with God. How can I care about the things happening around me if I care little about my relationship with Him? I often pray that I can see the world through the eyes of God. In order to do this I must seek Him and know Him. So I had to ask myself the question, do I care about my sin? In my Bible reading time, I just finished reading I and II Kings. As the kings are introduced, the author either states “They did right in the sight of the Lord,” or “They did evil in the sight of the Lord.” These were heart issues. Sin comes from the desire of my heart. We must be more passionate about our relationship with God than about anything else in our lives.

As I think on all the hot issues of our world and as I ponder my relationship with God I have to wonder what role I play. The political climate, abortion, racism, poverty, sexual orientation, and violence in the world are just some of these issues. One of the quotes that we stressed while in Haiti was, “You can’t fix Haiti, but you can make a difference in the life of a Haitian.” This is true in all of these situations. We can’t change the things of the world, but we can make a difference in someone’s life.  If I truly care about these issues, then I must see the people involved through the eyes of God and be willing to invest myself in them. Do I care enough to offer more than an opinion or argument? Do I care enough to offer my time, money, and/or energy to personally be part of an answer?

     Each of us has to decide for ourselves what our role is in whatever area that God leads us to be involved. To be totally transparent, God has been revealing to me the needs of youth who are in crisis. Teen suicide is a real issue. Our juvenile detention center is full. I need to do more than just voice that I care, but I need to put feet to that caring. How much I care is not shown in what I say, but in what I do. My doing nothing shows that I care little.

Here is my prayer:  God, help me to care about the things you care about. Give me your passion, your eyes, and your heart for the people around me. Direct me to those that I can personally invest in. My desire is to be your hands and feet. I don’t want to be empty chatter, but a willing vessel for you. Help me to seek you. I desire to be broken for my sin and the sins of my community. Help me to be an answer to this prayer.