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Pastor Quin

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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 2013

Through the month of January I have been preaching a series of sermons about our culture.  It is my current plan to go through most of the month of February to conclude this series.  In February, we will shift our focus from the culture to the church.  We will talk about our shortcomings, as well as our strengths.    Ultimately, we will take a look at our responsibilities to our culture and the opportunities that lie before us.

The basic premise from which I am working is that our culture is suffering from a spiritual issue.  Many may say that it is an over-simplification to say, “Jesus is the answer.”  But, in truth it is just that simple.  While this truth may be simple, it is by no means easy to grasp or initiate.

Our culture tends to recognize the symptoms of our problem as being the problem.  We fail to recognize the core of our problem.  Our symptoms are many, abortion, substance abuse, violence, greed, dishonesty, morality (or lack thereof), anger, sexuality, hunger, homelessness, and so on.  Suffice it to say, I will not be preaching sermons on each of these issues.  For each of them is simply a symptom of the much deeper spiritual void that plagues our culture.  As a culture, we fall short in dealing with these things because we cannot see past the symptoms.  And in reality, we would rather try to fix a small painful thing than to deal with a deeper need.  It is true that fixing the deeper need will also take care of the symptom that may have our attention.  But, we would rather look into the horror of a young man murdering innocents than to look into the ugliness that a spiritual mirror would reflect.  The reason for this is simple.  To look into the horror of human depravity will cause us to view the problems of other people.  To look into a spiritual mirror reflects our own shortcomings.  And in all honesty we find it much more palatable to identify the problems of other people than to deal with our own needs.  All too often when we look into our own problems, we ultimately see that the problem has been inflicted upon us, rather than being embraced by us.  In other words we suffer from that common American position of, “It is not my fault.”  It is someone else’s fault.  Even if there is no way anyone else had anything to do with the situation.  We will find someone else to blame.

We who are the Church must guard against this great temptation.  It is easy to identify other sources of social sufferings.  It is society’s fault, it is government’s fault, it is my parent’s faulty, and so on we could go.  Now, do not misunderstand me.  While the Church has had some failures that have contributed to our cultural woes, there are many other factors, which have no affiliation with Christianity that have led us to and pushed us into the abyss we find ourselves.  That being stated, the truth of the matter is that we can only affect what we can affect.  We cannot take upon ourselves the burden of the government, or the medical community, or the business world, or the environment.  While we may contribute to all of these forces, we cannot do what they do.  Nor should we.  But, we must understand that they cannot do what only we can do either.  We and we alone (the Bible believing church) have the answer.  And that answer is Jesus.  Culture has just rolled her eyes at this statement, but that does not keep the truth from being the truth.  The only answer to the spiritual emptiness that plagues our culture is for there to be what we would call a Spiritual Awakening, when large numbers of men, women, boys, and girls would recognize the true salvation that comes through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Upon this profession their world-view would change and we would see the symptoms shrink dramatically.  Historically, this has happened before.  Why could it not happen again?

Alas, you may say, the job is too big.  Is it really?  First of all, nothing is too big for our God.  Second of all, the only way to see large numbers of people come to Christ is to begin with one.  The second victory never comes until the first victory has been accomplished.  So if I am faithful, perhaps God will use me to reach one, who will reach one, who will reach one. 

This is the only answer. This is our only hope. 



January 2013

Just for the record, I am writing this article before  December 21, 2012, so if the Mayans were right, or if some equivalent of the rapture does take place on December 21, and if you are still around reading this, let me say, that I am having a good time, wish you were here.  You may as well stop reading the article for it is no longer pertinent.  But if none of that has happened, please continue reading.

I reported in last month’s newsletter that a financial feasibility study group was being formed to continue with the study of our building needs and prospects.  That work group has been formed and will begin its work right after the first of the year.  I would like to take the rest of this article to give you a heads up on what the group will be doing.  If you are a member or local attendee of Boyd      Avenue, you will be hearing from us.  The purpose of this work group is to determine the financial commitments that our folks are able and willing to make to a building project.  We will not be asking anyone to make an absolute commitment in this process, but we will be evaluating what type of commitments our people will be ready to make when that time comes.

This part of the process may be the most difficult part of the entire endeavor.  It is fun and exciting to brainstorm and imagine what new facilities would be like.  We can see ourselves and our families coming to a place that is bright and shiny.  We can see ourselves bringing new people to do new things in a place that is modern and warm.  We can see new ministries starting up to draw more people not only to our church, but more importantly, into the Kingdom.   I can only imagine what it would be like to gather in a church foyer that is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, not the other way around.  Really, what would it be like to sit through heavy rainstorm and not wonder how much water will have to be vacuumed out of the basement.  Dreaming of what we would like in a facility and how it could enhance the work and ministry of the church is indeed fun. 

But, then comes that hard question that no one wants to ask, but must be asked and answered.  Who is going to pay for it?  Well, the answer is really quite simple.  God is going to pay for it.  After all, we are His church, and this facility will be dedicated to Him and His work.  The point we struggle with is that the source that He normally uses for such things is us.  We are His people.  He has blessed us in more ways that we can count.  He often calls upon us to do difficult, even impossible things for Him and His glory.  As we have been learning in our current “Experiencing God” study, He does these things so that we will come to know Him better.  He will ask some of us to make sacrifices.  He will ask some of us to do things that are beyond anything we have ever done before. But, He will be asking all of us to do something.  And when all of God’s people are obedient.  Then we will see God do God-sized things.    We will stand together time and again and say, “That’s amazing!”  And each time,   we will be reminded of this simple truth:  “No, that’s not amazing, that’s God!”

So, if you are local and a part of Boyd Avenue, be expecting to hear from this work group.  (If you are not local, but would still like to be a part of this, let me know.)  Please, respond to the contacts that they will be making with you.  Then, when this work group has completed its job, the information will be overlaid on the facility study that has already been done   and we will see where God is leading.



December 2012

Beth and I have recently returned from Buffalo where we attended the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention.  Now, I am the first to confess that I do not ordinarily look forward to business meetings or sitting through report after report from groups and agencies.  But, once a year, we gather somewhere in Wyoming and have this necessary, but usually not very exciting meeting.  Normally, our conventions are pretty good.  We take care of business, hear reports from around Wyoming, across the United States, and internationally.  The spirit of commitment and the unique fellowship that we have here among Wyoming Southern Baptists puts an enjoyment that should not be, but is quite unusual at such denominational meetings. 

This year, for some reason, our Convention was even better than usual.  Every report from around Wyoming was a testimony of incredible things that God is doing.  We saw pictures of small groups of people meeting in very out-of-the-way places for worship and ministry.  There were baptisms in creeks so small that two people could barely get into the thigh deep water.  Others were baptized in cattle water troughs, and even portable bathtubs.  A new church was started in Hyattville.  (North of Ten Sleep)  Using Ten Sleep as a directional point of reference attests to the out-of –the-way nature of this place.  Then the report of a Bible study starting on the Orchard Ranch, a place I have elk hunted, also thrilled my soul.  But, report after report, testimony after testimony gave evidence of the aggressive activity of God all across the state of Wyoming.  From north to south, from east to west, God is busy.  He is growing His Kingdom in cities, towns, and on the ranches.  God’s Hand is evident in churches, new works, Mountain Top Camp, and mission activity of every type.  Beth commented on how short the sessions were this year.  In reality, they were the same length this year as they were in other years, they just seemed shorter because of the exciting news that was shared in each and every session.

I contrast this experience to the one I had in June when I attended the national Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans.  Do not get me wrong. I enjoyed the national convention.  It was interesting to see how things operate on such a large scale, in such a large organization.  But, as I came away from that meeting, I commented that I saw why that group only meets for two days a year.  While worship and inspiration was sprinkled here and there throughout the program, it was a business meeting with a little worship time added in for good measure.  Agencies and ministries reported on what they were doing, I did not hear too much about what God was doing.  There seemed to me to be an air of uneasiness throughout the Convention that bubbled just below the surface.  I did not like that!

Not so in Buffalo!  What we enjoyed in our recent meeting was indeed a wonderful two days of worship in which we did necessary business.  I could not have come away from a meeting more inspired or excited about what God is doing among a group of people called Wyoming Southern Baptists.  Across our denomination, not many people know much about the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention.  But, I am thrilled to know that our God knows about us.  He is moving in great ways in small places.  We are blessed to be where God is moving.



November 2012

In our Wednesday evening study, we are going through the Henry Blackaby study “Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”  The study has been around for about 20 years and has been used by God to change lives in many ways.  I have found it interesting that about ½ of the class has taken it before.  I have led this study before, but always am challenged by it in new ways.  The essence of the study is that God is active around us all the time, and He invites us to join Him in His activity.  It further leads us to understand that us trying to “do things” for God is pointless, because it is God who does the doing, not us.  This is a simple, but profound truth.

This has led me to consider these principles in relationship to our feasibility study for our building needs.  If you were not aware of it, our church has asked our Properties Committee to do a feasibility study concerning our facilities.  This has been a very interesting and thought provoking study, which is still ongoing. And as you read this I believe we will be well into the financial part of our study to determine what is reasonable for us to build.  We generally have come to some conclusions about what we want in a set of facilities, but now we will see what we think we can afford.  We fully understand that when we determine God’s will in this, then we will know what we can afford.  Because on many levels the only thing that we can afford is that to which God leads us.  We can afford nothing more, nothing less.

One thing I want to be sure that all of us understand is that we must view our buildings as a set of ministry tools.  Our buildings are not the “church”.  I know that we often refer to going to our location as “going to church”.  But, in reality, we go to a particular place to meet with the church.  We do not meet with a building. I run into the church from time to time at Wal-Mart or some other place.  I know you already know this, but we need to remind ourselves that we are the church, and everywhere we go, we go as the church.  We are not the church only on Sunday when we come to Boyd Avenue.  But, we are the church everyday and everywhere we go.  So let us pose a question to ourselves.  Do we see ourselves as the church in that way?  Another question: Do we behave or respond differently when we meet in the church building than we do in other settings?  If we do, then perhaps we have higher expectations for ourselves at the church building than we do for ourselves when we are the church.  I know that this kind of attitude makes no sense, but I fear we often find ourselves in this very situation.  I think this may be why we often struggle in our daily walk with Christ, not because we forget who He is, but we forget who we are.

This line of thinking has been in my mind as I walk through our studies concerning our property and as I study Experiencing God.  I know it may appear to be a little disconnected, but as I have pondered this I think it is deeply connected.  You see, our church is in the midst of a feasibility study concerning our facilities to determine if there is a better way to develop them as improved ministry tools.  In the same manner, each of us needs to be participating in an internal, spiritual feasibility study to see if we can be developed into better ministry tools.  We are the church!  It is us, not our buildings, that takes the message of Christ from our meeting place every Sunday into a world that desperately needs Christ.  We are the church that everyone sees everyday.  Maybe, it is time for us to do some major remodeling, or even reconstruction of our spiritual lives.  This is a true feasibility study.  For the truth is that we can afford nothing other than a life that is fully tuned to the will of God.  That is what it means to be the church.



October 2012

The other day, I had the joy of going up into some high country and archery hunting for elk.  I had spent the night alone in a small tent, snuggled deep in my sleeping bag, gotten up before daylight, spent most of the day hiking in the mountains, glassing mountain meadows, and simply having a great day.  No, I did not harvest an elk, but the weather was perfect and I was in a place of great beauty. 

Early in the afternoon, I had my single close      encounter with the quarry I was seeking.  A cow elk and her calf came walking toward me on the same path on which I was walking.  I ducked quickly, but she detected my presence.  As I nocked an arrow she eased over a rise between us, her calf in tow, on full alert.  She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what.  She stood there looking until she  finally spotted me.  At about 40 yard distance, we watched each other for the better part of a minute.  She wanted to confirm that I was the threat she feared.  I wanted her to relax and give me a chance to draw my bow.  I knew if I moved, all would be over.  But, after a while, she turned to my left, took her calf and eased out of sight.  The encounter was over, I did not see them again. 

Now, you may ask, “Pastor, would you really shoot a   mama?”  Absolutely!!  Not only would I have tried to take her -- given the chance, I would have brought the calf home as well. 

I did not share the above experience with you to reveal my heartlessness.  But, this elk taught me something as I  observed her survival instincts as they outpaced my predatory skills.  She knew something was wrong, but was not quite sure what it was.  So with the greatest of  caution, she peeked over the rise until she located me, then she escaped.  Had she thrown caution to the wind, not listened to that   instinct that told her something was wrong, I would have killed her.

This is exactly Satan’s  desire when he tempts us.  The Bible says, “your   adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5: 8) It is inevitable that we will   encounter him as we go through the natural course of life.  We understand that his intent for us is evil.  His only goal is to destroy us and to make us miserable.  Therefore, we must       approach him with great caution.  As we carefully  examine the landscape, we will come to understand that if we proceed without taking evasive action, very bad things lie in wait for us. This is when we must   respond  appropriately.  We can avoid the pain and destruction that yielding to temptation always brings. 

You see, Satan may not be able to reclaim the soul of a person who has given his or her life to Christ, but he sure can make life miserable.  This is his goal.  He wants to take away the joy of life that Christ brings to His followers.  He wants to destroy our ability to influence others toward Christ.  So, he lies in wait as we walk through life.  We are his prey, and he is a ruthless and heartless predator.

So we need to learn the  lesson that this cow elk taught me a few weeks ago.  She sought her source of danger with great diligence, she avoided a hunter, and she escaped.   I Corinthians 10: 13 says that when we fall into a time of temptation, God “has made a way of escape that we may be able to bear it.”  So let us walk through life with great caution and when we identify our source of danger, we must avail ourselves of the way of escape that is always there.  If not, we will fall prey to Satan and pay a very heavy price.  And I do not know about you but I really do not want to be pierced by one of Satan’s  arrows that he has ready to send my way.