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Pastor Ed

Scott - First Things First

Boyd Avenue Baptist Church
1930 Boyd Avenue, Casper, WY

(307) 261-9896

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Tuesday
Jan022018

January 2018

For those of you who know me well this might come as a surprise.  I like to win.  I am a very competitive person.  My philosophy is “If you aren’t playing to win, why keep score.  If you’re not keeping score, why play?”  When I was younger, losing would bother me a lot.  After losing a baseball or basketball game, it would take hours to get over the loss. If this sounds dumb, it probably was.  That was just the way I was.  As I get older and a little more “mature,” I handle losing a little better.  I no longer have to win at everything, although that is still my goal.   I still don’t like losing, but I get over it a whole lot faster.

Seriously, I believe that it is important to strive to do and be the best we can.  Excellence should be our goal.  This should be our goal in life, but even more so as Christians.  Paul said in Philippians that “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14).  Paul was working toward the prize, not just going through the motions.  He wanted to be the best follower of Jesus that He could be.

In sports, winning means that you are better than the team or person you’re competing against.  The final score is what matters.  As Christians, winning is obedience to God.  Winning is not measured by what happens at the end, but by the decisions we make as we live our life.  Success means nothing without a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior.  Accumulating stuff doesn’t mean we win.  We can finish on the top of the corporate ladder, and still not win.  Education doesn’t make us winners.  God has given us the goal in life.  Serve Him. 

The call of God on our lives is to serve Him with all that we are.  As Paul said, He is to be our focus.  Jesus wins the final victory.  We have the opportunity to be a part of what He is doing in this world. 

I never thought that just playing the game was enough.  Still don’t.  As Christians, we are to play the game of life the right way, serving our God and loving others. This is what we are called to do.   

 

Tuesday
Nov282017

December 2017

The story of Christmas never ceases to amaze me.  I love to read about how the angels spoke to Mary and Joseph on different occasions and how they reacted to the shocking news.  Mary leaves to spend time away with her cousin, Elizabeth, who is also pregnant with John the Baptist. Then the couple is made to travel to Bethlehem, in order to fulfill prophecy, where Jesus is born in a humble, lowly manger.  Others, such as the shepherds, Wise Men, and King Herod receive the news of the Messiah’s birth and react in different ways.  The shepherds and Wise Men look to worship the new born king while Herod is deeply troubled by the news.   

In Matthew 1:6 we read these words:  “’Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’, which translated means, ‘God with us.” Jesus, fully God, came to earth to live as man.  As God, Jesus was creator and yet chose to come live among His creation.  Jesus was the author of salvation in heaven and then humbled Himself to be born in a manger so that He could become the perfect sacrifice on that cross at Calvary.  I understand that this is God’s plan to offer salvation for the world.  I know that God’s goodness, mercy and grace makes our salvation possible.  Yet each Christmas I am reminded again that God could love us this much.  

We read the Christmas story, sing the songs, and celebrate the birth of Jesus.  But do we really take the time to think about what this really means.  God stepped down from heaven, was born in a manger, lived and taught on the earth, suffered death on a cross, rose again, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father.  He did all this for us!

As we celebrate another Christmas, let us remember that we are not just celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.  We are celebrating the birth of a Savior who came to take away the sins of the world.  We are celebrating God’s plan to give us eternal life.  We celebrate an amazing God who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Not only did He die on a cross, but He left heaven to live with us.

Remember, as Christians we have reason to celebrate Christmas.  Let us do so with joy and excitement and also with reflection and reverence.  God is worthy of our worship.

 

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.