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Scott - First Things First

Boyd Avenue Baptist Church
1930 Boyd Avenue, Casper, WY

(307) 261-9896

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February 2016

  The time has come to play the Super Bowl.  Two teams have played their entire    seasons and have reached the goal of playing in the big game.  The Broncos and  Panthers will play for the championship.  The players have worked, trained,      practiced and sacrificed to  get to play in this game.     For some, their careers will  be defined by what happens on Super Bowl Sunday.

As a child, my friends and I would go outside and pretend that we were competing in the big game. We would pick our favorite team and would always win, usually with a game winning catch at the end of the fourth quarter.  In our mind, in our imagination, we were the champions. 

Spiritually, the Bible teaches that we should prepare ourselves to reach for the prize.  For us it isn’t a Super Bowl championship, but the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  There are some things that we can do to prepare ourselves for the best God would have for us. Going to church, studying the Bible, prayer, fellowship with other Christians are some of the disciplines that prepare us for His ministry.  Just like these football players have worked hard, we need to work hard to succeed in the work God has called us to.  Living the Christian life requires dedication, hard-work and discipline.

Instead of putting forth the effort required, many Christians act like my friends and I as children.  Just head out, pretend to play the game like we are having success.  There is no real effort, no real motivation, and no real reward.  Just go through some motions, have some fun and celebrate fictitious victories.  This is not the life that God intends for us.

We need to live a life striving for the best.  In our Christian life, we should be striving for the best God has for us instead of just going through the motions of Christianity.  Professional athletes prepare themselves to compete.  Then they put into practice what they have prepared to do. How do we prepare ourselves to live for Christ?  Then do we put that into practice in our lives?



January 2016

     January brings a new year. For many, this is a time to look at the past as a memory and look to the future with renewed excitement. If you look up the word “new” in the dictionary, you see a pretty good picture of this idea.  The best definition of “new” seems to fit the New Year: “beginning again, making another start.”  This is true as our calendar turns from 2015 to 2016. Looking at my 2015 calendar, each square is full of things I did or places that I had to be. Most of it was good, but some I hope is not repeated in the New Year. As I plan my calendar, some things will “begin again” and for others, we will “make another start.”

     This can also be true in our lives.  Many times we wish to begin again or make another start.  I remember playing video games as a child and whenever I would mess up early, I would just hit the restart button.  As I grew into adulthood, I often have wished that life had the same restart button.  I mess up, hit restart.  Life is tough, hit restart.  I’m not happy about the direction things are going, hit restart.  After all, a do over would be nice.

      Many people try to make the New Year a restart time in their lives. Instead of just hoping for changes of activity on a calendar, they hope for changes in their lives.  They think the New Year will be better.  They believe that they will make different decisions, change old habits, or just have a better year.  Unfortunately, the changing of a calendar doesn’t change a life.

     The good news is that there is a way to have a changed life.  II Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  Christ desires to make us new.  When we accept Him as Savior, we become a new creature.  This means that we can live in the freedom of this new life.  We don’t have to live the same way we used to.  Why do so many Christians live an old defeated life when Jesus gives them a new, abundant life?

        God gave us a restart button when he gave His Son.  We are given new life. The old pages of our calendar may be full, but the new are there to be filled. With God, we have the opportunity to fill these pages of our lives with the joy of walking with Him.  As we begin a new year, let’s live like the new creatures we are.



December 2015

December is the month we set aside to recognize and collect an offering for International missions.  Lottie Moon Christmas offering has been a staple in Southern Baptist circles for years.  Lottie Moon was a courageous woman who gave her life to reach the people of China.  Her example should be an inspiration to us, not just a name attached to a yearly offering.

We are challenged by her life to be involved in missions.  This offering goes a long way to helping the gospel spread throughout the world.  Many missionaries are supported by this yearly emphasis, but we should have a bigger vision of missions than just this offering. When we give we are part of what God is doing. This partners us with missionaries all around the world. But our involvement is more than just giving. When Jesus said that we will be His witnesses to all the nations, I believe that is a mandate for us to be actively involved in carrying out the Great Commission.  We are to be the ones who spread the gospel to those around the world.  How do we do this?  What can we do to be involved?

First, look at the needs around us.  To be involved in world missions, we need to be involved in our local community.  There are places and people right here in Casper that need assistance.  Pray for those who live among us.  Get involved in the lives of people.  Look for places to volunteer.  Build relationships with our neighbors.  Love our community the way that God loves our community.

Second, ask ourselves the questions:  What is God doing around our state and nation?  How can I be involved?  America is a nation in need of the gospel of Christ.  As I have traveled on mission trips across our country, I found people open, receptive and hungry for something to place there hope in.  There is no greater hope than Jesus.  There are many opportunities for Christians to go and assist ministries all around our country.  Actively seek places to pray for and maybe go    and serve.

Lastly, we need to have a worldwide view of missions.  In order to do this, we need to know what is going on around our world.  Read about missionaries and pray for them.  Get involved in sending shoeboxes or sponsoring a child.  Or maybe go.  Serving in Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal and Canada has greatly impacted my walk with the Lord and my view of God’s work around our world.  My view of missions had to get bigger.  God is bigger than just what I can see around me.

 Our church has many opportunities to be involved in missions.  There are several groups in our church involved in community ministries.  We have a yearly mission trip to Canada and this year a trip to Haiti. My hope is that our Haiti trip will turn into an ongoing partnership and not just a onetime trip.  We can go, share, and assist God’s work in these places.  This year as we think about Lottie Moon, as we place money in the offering plate or wrap it as a gift for our ingathering service, let us commit ourselves to God’s mission.  Let us be active in spreading the gospel in our Jerusalem, Judea,   Samaria, and the ends of the earth.



November 2015

November is probably my favorite month and very significant in my life.  As I look over the years, there have been some important events that have taken place in November.  For one, I was born in this month, 45 years ago. I often joke with our students about their youth minister being so old, but the truth is that most days I don’t feel like I am this old. November is also the month that our oldest daughter, Elizabeth was born. Now, the fact that she is about to turn 16 does make me feel old.  This is also the month that we moved to Wyoming and began our ministry at Boyd Avenue.  Hard to believe that it has been eighteen years since we left our house in Indiana and made our home in Wyoming.  

As I sit in my office, writing this article, I can’t help but think how grateful I am for God’s goodness in my life.  I am thankful, that as a little boy my parents took me to a church where I had the opportunity to learn about Jesus.  Because of His grace and mercy, I get to know Him as my savior.  I appreciate so much that God kept His hand of protection on me during my teenage years when I lived a life that was disobedient to Him.  God chose to put some great men in my life to help me grow and to be an example of what it meant to live for Christ.  These men have been used to help shape my life into the person I am today.  God has allowed me to serve Him in ministry for nearly 25 years.

November is the month we set aside to give thanks.  We even have that great holiday, Thanksgiving.  Another reason that this is my favorite month. I love the food of Thanksgiving and a day full of football makes for a fun day.  Most importantly, it is important that we take the time to thank God for all He has done for us.  Whether we have lived tremendously easy lives or have struggled, if we take the time we can see God’s goodness.  Often when we get discouraged it is because we are focused on the right now and miss the big picture. 

We serve a big God who holds all things in His hands.  How has he worked in your life?  If you can’t think of ways God has worked, maybe it is time to seek Him with all you are.  Take time to remember how God has worked and thank Him.  Not only for what He has done, but for what He will continue to do.




October 2015

I am often reminded how thankful I am to be a youth and college pastor.  God is doing some amazing things in the lives of students and I get to be a part of it. Every week, as we spend time in worship through song, Bible Study, and just hanging out, I am increasingly impressed at the love our students have for our Savior.  

Students bring an amazing energy and passion in their worship.  Every Tuesday and Wednesday night I get to join with the college students and youth as they lift their voices in praise and worship to God.  Usually I will just sit back and listen. My worship comes in listening to these students praise our God.  He has given these students some amazing talent and ability and I love seeing them use it for His glory.

Students are hungry for God’s Word.  We have had some incredible Bible Study times as we look through the book of James on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and are challenged on Sunday nights to live out our faith in a real way that impacts others.  It is exciting to see students go beyond the superficial to dig deep into the truths of Scripture and seek to apply these to their lives. These Bible study times carry an excitement and passion from our students.  I am encouraged as they are given specific challenges each week and have taken these to heart.  It is humbling  to hear our teenagers and college students share their experiences as they reach out to their fellow students and demonstrate the love of God in real and practical ways.

I am also greatly impressed that these students actually enjoy being at church and love each other.  Long after our meeting times are over, these students continue to hang around and spend time together. I read their posts on-line and there are messages saying how excited they are for BCM, Wednesday night youth, or Sunday night Bible study.  Not only are they excited, but they want their friends to know they are excited.  This is very encouraging to me as their student minister.

Pray for these young men and women.  God is working in their lives.  Some have already talked about a future in ministry.  Most have a desire to serve Him.  All have the potential to make a kingdom difference both now and in the future.