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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
Nov292016

December 2016

Merry Christmas!!  For me, it is not Christmas season until after we celebrate Thanksgiving. So here we are. December has arrived and it is time to enjoy the Christmas season. There is so much that I love about this time of year.

I love the fact that God came to earth in the person   of Jesus.  The baby born in a manger provides us the    opportunity of eternal life, providing the only reason for real hope.  Not because of the holiday, but because of the promise.  When the angel appeared to Joseph, he said these words located in Matthew 1:21 “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”  Jesus came as a baby to save us from our  sins!  For this, we celebrate Christmas!

I always need to be reminded of the importance of worship during this season.  In the midst of all the business of the holiday, I need to take time for worship.  We sing some wonderful Christmas songs that may have become so familiar that we forget the importance of the words we are singing. I need to remind myself to not just sing words, but sing with worship of the God who is worthy of worship. The Christmas story is about the most important event in history.  For that, it deserves our attention, reverence and worship.

This season also reminds me of the importance of reaching out to others.  The Lottie Moon Christmas offering is an important part of my Christmas celebration. There are missionaries all over our world sharing the truth of Jesus, born in a manger to be the Savior of the world. We have the opportunity to be a part of their ministry by giving. One hundred percent of this mission offering goes to the mission field.

We also need to realize that, unfortunately, this is not a happy, merry season for many people.  They don’t experience the joy of the holidays.  Christmas is a great opportunity for believers to reach out into our communities and share the love of Jesus.  I don’t need to take up space listing a bunch of ways to help others.  I just want to challenge us to do it!  If we really believe in the true meaning of Christmas, let us show it by what we do.  If we want people to know that Jesus came to forgive their sins, let us show them that by how we love them.  I am constantly challenged to look beyond myself to others, even more so at Christmas.  There is great joy in serving others.

I truly hope this is a great Christmas season for each one of you and that it is a joyful season.  I pray that these words of the Christmas song “Go, Tell it on the Mountain” apply to your life this season: “Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born, and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.  Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!”

 

Tuesday
Nov012016

November 2016

November is a month of celebration.  We celebrate the great holiday of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  Not only do we eat my favorite foods and watch football, but it is a day to remind us of all that we have to be thankful for.  Sometimes I need that reminder.  I get caught up in all the stuff going on and don’t take time to just say thanks to the God who provides for me.  He provides a place to live, a great family, a wonderful church, resources to share, and most of all, eternity with Him.  For all these reasons, I am thankful.  This Thanksgiving, let us celebrate our thankfulness.

One of the things I am very thankful for this year is the opportunity our church has had to partner with Haiti. In the days following Hurricane Matthew, I had many conversations with my Haitian friends. I am amazed at their faith in troubling and difficult times. I am thankful for Haiti Outreach Ministries and the many ways they have reached into their communities with the love of Jesus. I am humbled to be involved in even a small way with what God is doing there. Pray for Haiti. Give to the special fund that will help with hurricane relief. Pray for Rebecca as she leaves in just couple of weeks to spend time doing women’s education and working in the clinic in Haiti.

I am thankful to be a part of the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention. This November, the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention meeting is in Riverton..  People from all over the state come together for the purpose of fellowship, business, worship and celebration.  God is doing amazing things in our state.  There are ministries in small towns and larger cites, on college campuses and in special areas all across our state.  We get to be a part of this work.  We have reason to celebrate God’s work in our state.

I am so very thankful to minister with Boyd Avenue Baptist Church. Our church truly has a heart for people and ministering in our community. It is easy to be excited about what God is doing in and through our church.

What is God doing in your life that deserves celebration?  Take time not only to give thanks, but celebrate God’s work around you.  We have reason to be excited.  We serve the God of the universe and He chooses to include us in His work.  That’s reason to celebrate.

 

Tuesday
Sep272016

October 2016

In our youth and college ministries this semester we will be spending time looking through the gospels at questions that Jesus asked. There are many times where Jesus either encounters a person or is teaching to a group where he asks a question that has profound significance. A google search shows that Jesus asked 307 different questions and only answered 3.  There is a reason Jesus doesn’t answer these questions.  The response must come from the one who hears the questions.  Those to whom Jesus spoke had to choose how to respond and so do we.

Our walk with the Lord is determined by how we answer some of these questions. We started the semester with the question “Who do you say that I am?” in Matthew 16. There were many opinions of Jesus during that time and Jesus asked his disciples what the people were saying about him. After hearing their response, he asked them this question. Our faith is built on this answer. Who is Jesus?  Peter responded that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. If this is our response, then that should have drastic implications on the way we live our lives. Our response to this question really does determine how we can answer the others.

The students will unpack 13 of these questions before the Christmas break. Some of these have to do with our interaction with God. Some will challenge us to look at how we spend our time and resources. Others will make us take a hard look at what our faith really is about, or if we really do have faith in God. Then there are questions about the way we interact with and treat others.

I often tell our students that if you really want to get to know somebody and to see what they are really about, then ask questions and listen to the answers. People’s response to questions can give a great look into what is happening inside of a person. For me, preparing these studies and being forced to answer these questions has been a challenge. My prayer is that my faith and the faith of our students will be strengthened by being honest with our answers.

 

Tuesday
Aug302016

September 2016

One of my favorite things to do is watch people.  There are times that I will be at the mall, waiting for Rebecca and the girls to finish in a store, and I will find a bench and just watch people.  Recently, we were in Santa Fe hanging out in the square and I found a place on a park bench and just observed the people around me.  I guess I learned this from a Nonverbal Communications class I took in college.  You can learn a lot about people from just watching them.

It is interesting to see how people interact.  Watching groups of teenagers, parents with the children, or couples walking together can be very insightful.  As a student pastor, I learn so much about my students from just watching them.  It doesn’t take long pick up on certain aspects of their personalities by observing what they do or how they interact.  People can hide a lot by what they say, but hide very little with their actions.

I thought of this some as I spent time at Uprising music festival and then at the activities fair at the college.  My responsibilities at the Uprising required me to spend much of the day walking around. It was interesting to watch as people responded and interacted with Christian music and testimonies being shared from the stage. Then the following day at Activities fair there were hundreds of students hanging around, excited about a new college year starting and connecting with each other and campus organizations. I took a few moments at both of these events to step aside and take it all in. Then a thought hit me.  If someone were sitting and watching me, what would they think?  And then I took it one step further.  When people look at me, do they see Christ in me?

You can learn a lot about a person’s relationship with Christ by watching them.  The things that we do give a clearer indication of who we are than do the things we say.  Have you ever wondered how people see you? As Christians, we are watched by the world and our actions and reactions are not only noticed, but are sometimes judged by those around us.   People expect Christians to act differently.  Although they may not agree with you, accept your faith or acknowledge your God, they sure expect you to live to a higher standard.  And they are right, we should.  Those who watch our lives should see something different, something better.  We have a relationship with God that should transform our lives and be evident in all we do.  The evidence of our Christian faith should be noticed when people watch us.  They need to see Christ in us.  We need to live in such a way that our words and deeds point to Jesus.

 

Tuesday
Aug022016

August 2016

“In the economy of God, nothing is ever wasted.” I heard this quote once and would give credit to the person who said it if I could remember. As I reflect on what has been an exciting and crazy summer and plan for the next few summer events, the reality of this quote has radiated in my mind.
     The past two months have been a blur of activity. The summer began with Vacation Bible School. Our leaders did an amazing job putting together a program that had great impact on our children. I am thankful for the effort to reach children and share with them the truth of the Gospel in such a fun and exciting way.

After VBS we spent a week in Haiti and then a week in Canada. I am often asked if I think that going someplace for a week is really a benefit. I think back to the quote at the beginning of this article. Without question, I believe that God had ordained things in both Haiti and Canada for us to be there at the time we were there. Haiti was a life-changing experience. In the short space of this newsletter I cannot communicate the impact this trip had on my life and the lives of those who went. God placed us there that week for the beginning of a partnership with the Haiti Outreach Ministries as we minister together in that country. Our trip to Canada was just as impactful. As always, our ministry with Southwinds Church was a blessing. This year we also had the opportunity to work with a Chinese Church doing a basketball camp. God orchestrated things so that we could work with this church at a critical time for them. It was a blessing to come alongside this group of believers and join them in ministry. I am excited to see what God will do through them in the future. In both Haiti and Canada, God used our availability for his purpose.

Our camps on the mountain had a similar impact. Boyd Avenue participated in Children’s Camp and Summit youth camp where we saw God move in the lives of students. Both camps saw students who attended with our church make decisions to follow Jesus. Some made commitments of salvation, beginning a walk with Jesus. Others deepened a walk with Him, dealing with things in their lives and trusting in our Good Father as they navigate life. God does amazing things on top of that mountain. It is a privilege to be able to be a part of that ministry. Lives are forever changed in one simple week of camp.

Summer is not over yet. We have Uprising coming up later this month. This is a community event designed to reach Casper through music. Several bands will be playing at Wells Park in North Casper the weekend of August 19 and 20. Also, throughout the event attenders will be challenged with the life changing message of the Gospel. We have the opportunity to partner with Uprising in using this event to impact our community.

Our summer will conclude with our Back to School Bash on August 31st. I love putting up the inflatables, making some cotton candy and snow cones, serving burgers and dogs, and watching as children have a great time. It takes a lot of effort and volunteers as we promote, set up and clean up, organize the food and man all the areas.

Why do we do all these things and put forth all this effort? Because we have a responsibility to reach into our world with the love of Jesus. God loves the people of Haiti and Canada. God loves the people in United States. God loves the people in Wyoming and God loves the people in our community. We must do what we can to impact these people. Regardless of the time, energy, or expense, I am reminded of that quote, “In the economy of God, nothing is ever wasted.”