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Pastor Quin

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

Well, here we are turning the calendar from one year to the next.  The year 2017 sits fully in our rear view mirror, and 2018 sits entirely before us.  As we each look back across the year we have just completed, we will see victories and defeats.  We will remember laughter and tears.  We will recall things we regret and fully intend to avoid such things in the future.  At the same time we will remember things that were wonderful, hoping that the joy of those events will be repeated.

Indeed, life is full of these contrasts.  Rarely does life unfold evenly.  There seems to always be unforeseeable obstacles that get in the way.  But, there also are times when things go better than expected.  Or there is an unanticipated blessing that pops in on us.  This is the unpredictability of life.  I guess you could say that this is what makes life interesting.  As we reflect on the past year, hopefully there were more ups than downs, more wisdom than foolishness was lived out.  If we have learned from our mistakes then even our foolishness has some value.  But, no matter how we view it, the past is the past.  We can only learn from it, we cannot relive it.  We can neither go back and undo our errors, nor can we perfectly relive our victories with any guarantee of repeating them.

Interestingly, while we reflect on the year that has gone into history, at the same time, we look forward to the year that is about to unfold before us.  If you are an optimistic person (and I am) then you are looking toward this new year with great anticipation and excitement.  If you are a pessimistic person then there is a certain level of dread in your heart.  I think that 2018 is going to be a wonderful year!  The pessimist is sure that dreadful things are lining up right now to descend upon them.  At this point, neither one of us has a clue which of us is right and which is wrong.  Sometimes there is a certain level of self-fulfilling prophecies that come with our attitudes.  But, overall, we really do not know what the future will hold.  Yes, I have plans for 2018.  Much of my calendar is already filled, but I cannot plan for the unforeseeable.  Now, the question is, do I worry about that which I cannot anticipate?  Or do I look forward to it?  My answer is:  neither.  I just don’t think about it too much.  This is true because I can’t do anything about it and worrying about it just doesn’t accomplish anything at all. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to put aside worry (Matthew 6: 25-32).  He follows that up by teaching us that wisdom is found by seeking above all else the Kingdom of God.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6: 33

Here we see the key to having a Happy New Year and living in a more optimistic manner.  If we make it our highest priority to seek the Kingdom of God in our lives and His righteousness day-in, day-out, then we will have a good year.  Bad things may happen to us that are completely out of our control.  But, if we are seeking Him, even the difficult things will be more tolerable.  They won’t be any fun, but we will be able to not only endure them, but to grow through them.  At the same time, if good things happen to us (and I think they will) then the joy that we know will be even greater because we have sought the right things and have chosen to live in the right way.

May you and yours have a truly blessed and happy New Year!!

 

Tuesday
Nov282017

December 2017

WOW!!  It seems as though it was just the other day that I was writing an article welcoming in 2017.  But, here we are saying farewell to this year and preparing to welcome in another.  But, looking back, I see that it has been a busy year.  We have seen construction begin on our new building.  We sent mission teams to Haiti and Canada.  We attended Kid’s Camp and Summit Youth Camp.  Ed and I helped organize and lead a second week of Summit. (This was the first year that we had two weeks of Summit Camp and we had over 300 in attendance between the two weeks.)  We celebrated Ed’s 20th anniversary with us here at Boyd.  We enjoyed an epic Sportsman’s Day.  The ladies, put together a mid-summer retreat they called “Nourish”.  Add to that our usual activities, Vacation Bible School, the fall women’s retreat, S.W.A.T., and a few more events, then throw in an eclipse for good measure and I suppose we can see where the time went.  And now that I think about it, I wonder how in the world did we get all that into just one year?

Reflecting back on all this I would have to say that it has been a really good year.  God has blessed us in so many ways.  That is the point that I’m trying to make.  This year hasn’t been a good year because it was busy.  No, it was a good year because God poured out His blessings upon us, time and again.  And there is no reason to believe that He will not continue to do the same as this year ends and next year unfolds.  I am excited to see what God is going to do next year.  I am confident that it will be busy.  I’m sure there will be times of high stress and uncertainty on my part.  But, I am equally confident that when the chips are down, God will show up as He always does, then next year at this time, I can stand amazed how time as flown by and how God has blessed.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Pastor Quin

Tuesday
Oct312017

November 2017

It’s hard to believe, but here we sit on the edge of another holiday season.  As I have often said, the holiday season, coming up to Thanksgiving and going through Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of my favorite times of year.  (It doesn’t quite measure up to the opening day of hunting season, but it is close.)  This year, Beth and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in Wyoming.  I’m not sure of all of the details for this year.  Beth keeps me on a “need to know” basis about such things.  But, no matter where we are, we are going to have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  As you know, Thanksgiving is a harvest feast, intended to lead us to give thanks to the source of our bounty.  When the Pilgrims had a good harvest, facing their second winter in the New World, they knew that they had the means to survive the upcoming winter in much better fashion than they had faced a year earlier.  So, they had a feast of “thanksgiving” to God who was their Provider. 

While my family and I are not dependent on our farming abilities, we have so much for which we must give thanks.  God indeed is our Provider.  He has made physical provision for us.  We are healthy.  We live in a nice house.  We have everything we need and enjoy many wants that God provides.  All of this comes from the Hand of God. 

As if that were not enough, God is our spiritual Provider.  Jesus won for us a victory over sin and death.  He gave Himself as a sacrifice, so that our sins could be covered.  He has redeemed us and made us His children.  As a bonus, He has called us (Beth and I) into His ministry.  From that He has provided us with a wonderful Church family.

♦♦♦♦♦

This month marks the completion of 20 years of ministry by Ed Tharp at Boyd Avenue. In November of 1997 Ed and Rebecca moved from Indiana to Casper accepting two part-time positions, Youth Minister at Boyd Avenue and   Director of the Baptist     Collegiate Ministries at    Casper College, through the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention.  Through the years, his work has evolved.  His role at Boyd grew to become full-time and he remains Casper College’s BCM Director, still part-time.  He does that ministry in addition to his ministry here at Boyd.  Currently, his title with us is Student Pastor.  But, no   matter what you call him  (and he’s been called a lot of things over the years), he has served our congregation and our community well. 

Personally, I am very proud and pleased to have worked alongside Ed all of these years.  He and I share a very similar ministry philosophy, which is one of the reasons that our partnership has worked so well for so long.  Through the years, Ed and I have laughed a lot, cried a little, been frustrated with the Church and each other rarely (a time or two, I think).  We have encouraged one another, celebrated the victories that we have seen Christ win, and helped each other over the rocks and ridges as they have arisen.  What I am trying to say is that while in the hierarchy of Boyd, I am his boss, in the reality of life, Ed and I are bothers-in-Christ above all else.  In addition to that, I am honored to call him my friend.

Note the announcement in this Newsletter about November 12, the day we have set aside to recognize and honor Ed, Rebecca, and their kids.  There will be no 8:00 service that day, Sunday School will be at 9:15.  We are asking the teachers to shorten their   lessons, so that we can have a cookie and cake reception for the Tharps between Sunday School and Worship at 10:30.  Please come to join in this special day of celebration.

 

Tuesday
Sep262017

October 2017

Over the course of this school semester, I (along with Ed Tharp) am teaching a seminary class in Baptist History.  I have taught this class before, so I’m getting pretty well versed in the traceable origins of Baptist denominations, their seasons of growth and seasons of decline.  In all of these things, there is one glaring constant.  This is that the Scripture is central in our history and vital to our successes.

The very roots of the Protestant Reformation are found in a rediscovery of the Bible.  Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic priest, and therefore quite well educated.  He was a bit of a rough character, but his devotion to God was absolute.  Because he could read the Bible (something rather rare at the time) he found that there were common practices of the Church that were not biblical.  He further determined that these practices were inappropriate, causing him to rise up in an attempt to reform the Church.  Failing that, he ultimately broke from the Roman Catholic Church spurring forth the Protestant Reformation.

In England, Henry VIII, rebelled against the Roman Church for his own reasons (no Bible involved) and established the Church of England with himself as the head of the Church.  Ecclesiastical practices did not change very much, but the head of the Church was no longer in Rome.  Now it was found in the British monarchy.

In short order, the common people in Europe and Brittan became more and more literate.  When the printing press was invented and brought into common practice the availability of Scripture was dramatically increased.  As people read the Bible, they found that the Bible often taught one thing and the Church (Roman, Anglican, and Protestant) often practiced something else.  So what ensued was a series of attempts to reform, then eventual separations.  Out of this (English Separatism) came a group who became known as Baptist.  First called this by their detractors, because they refused to baptize infants and insisted that true baptism can only be administered to a person expressing his/her faith. 

Now do not think these separations came easily or without cost.  Persecutions of the most extreme fell upon Baptists, Anabaptists, Quakers, and other nonconforming groups.  People were burned, hanged, imprisoned, banished, flogged, and more because they sought to worship God in a more biblical manner.  Understand, these were Christians (Catholic, Anglican, Congregational, and others) who were persecuting the dissenters.  This took place in Europe, England, and the American colonies.

So, why would someone go through all of this?  The answer is simple.  These people believed the Bible.  It is no more complex than this.  As they came to understand what the Bible taught about God and how to relate to Him, they would rather suffer and die than to live in a less than authentic relationship.  This is the power of the Scripture.

Church and denomination growth and decline can be traced along the very same lines.  Baptist numbers increased exponentially when churches and their leaders embraced the truths of the Bible and lived according to its instruction.  But decline and decay quickly fell upon those churches and groups that embraced a lesser truth.  They would interpret the Scripture according to their own logic and reason, rather than having the Scripture lead them in how they should think and live.

Since the pattern of rise and fall is directly linked to how believers view and apply biblical truth, it is incumbent upon us to learn from history.  The power of the Bible is as strong today as it has ever been.  If we love the Bible, learn the Bible, and live according to its teachings, then our lives will grow and our church will grow as well.  We may or may not be popular, but we will be living according to how God has told us to live.  This is the recipe for success in life.  So let us remain committed to not only knowing the Word of God, but also following the path it lays out for us.  If history teaches us nothing else, let us find this truth, it will make all the difference.

 

Tuesday
Sep122017

September 2017

We made it!  The eclipse is over and we are still here.  The town is rapidly returning to normal.  The world did not end.  As near as I can tell, no stable of demons were unleashed on the earth, the sun did not stay darkened.  None of the tales of superstition that have accompanied this event have taken place.  And quite frankly, we would have been more shocked had they transpired, than if they had not.  Which they did not.

In all honesty, coming up to the eclipse, I thought the whole thing was much ado about very little.  I had seen eclipses before, albeit not total, but eclipses nonetheless.  But, I must admit, that a total eclipse of the sun is a far more spectacular natural phenomena than I had expected.  As the totality neared, things simply changed.  Things slowly got darker, the air chilled a bit, the dogs in the neighborhood were barking wildly, everything just seemed a little strange.  Then, when totality happened, the eclipse glasses no longer worked, and the naked eye could be used to safely look at the eclipse.  I viewed the moon as I had never viewed it before.  I viewed the sun as I had never viewed it before.  The wind laid down completely, the chill increased, the neighborhood dogs went silent, all traffic stopped, there was a hush unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was spectacular!  Then as the 2+ minutes of totality passed, the first direct rays of the sun, shot past the edge of the moon and the eclipse glasses came back into play.  Within a few minutes, the darkness waned, full light was restored, the dogs started up again, the air began to warm, traffic resumed and before you knew it, for all practical purposes, it was over.

Now what do we take from this?  There is much the scientist have learned, although most of that is way over my head.  There was much socialization, as families, and neighbors, and even strangers shared in this event.  But, there is much spiritual application in all this as well.  Not the spiritual application that people who worship the sun or nature may develop.  But, for those of us who worship the Creator of nature, there are some things we should note. 

First of all, we should note the power of light.  According to Genesis 1:3 the first thing that God created was light.  Later in the creation process, He bottled the light up in the sun, the moon and the stars, but light came first of all created things.  Therefore, it is easy to conclude that light is the most basic of needed elements for the rest of creation, including the creation of mankind (that would be us).  Also, John opens his gospel by referring to Jesus as the “Light of men”, John 1: 4.  And in that Light there is Llfe.  Not biological life, but rather spiritual life.  It was built into us from the very act of creation, then reinstituted as Christ came to Bethlehem, went to Calvary, then rose from the grave.  This is God’s ultimate exercise of grace, opening up the door of restoration that we could return to Him through the Light He provides, which is His Son.

The other illustration I saw play out in the eclipse is the power and effect of totality.  As I said earlier, I have seen partial eclipses before.  And while I find them interesting, I viewed them as less than spectacular.  But, when the moon held the sun in total eclipse and we were in as deep a shadow as possible, the totality was amazing.  This illustrates to me the power of the totality of Christ.  Often we try to keep Jesus touching our lives in limited ways.  We refuse to give over everything to Him.  We will not trust Him with certain things and we do our best to maintain a certain amount of control.  When a Christian lives in this way, it leads us to a less than spectacular life.  But when we allow Christ to totally eclipse our sinful nature, and trust Him to overshadow every part of our lives, the result we see is beyond anything that we have ever imagined.  The difference is that the total eclipse of the sun could not last long.  Whereas, Christ’s overshadowing of our lives can become permanent, and it is to our great benefit for that to be the case.

So, the solar eclipse has come and gone.  Who knows when or if any of us may see another?  But, whatever the future may hold, let us remember that the Light of Christ shining in our lives is essential for us now and forever.  At the same time, we must seek to have Jesus overshadow our lives if we want to get all that God has for us here and now.

Pastor Quin