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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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Thursday
Nov012012

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.

 

Tuesday
Oct022012

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.

 

Tuesday
Sep112012

September 2012

When our daughter Angie was a little girl, in response to something outstanding that had happened, she exclaimed, “Well, that just amazingable!”  This is not a typo, in her excitement, and in the innocence of a young child, she coined a new word that entered our family’s lexicon.  So for all these years, when we want to express complete excitement over something we say,  “Well that’s just amazingable!”  It should also be noted that I have no recollection whatsoever of the event that birthed this new term, but I remember the expression very clearly.

As our summer is coming to a close, I keep finding myself using this term, in my head, to refer to what God is doing.  It seems that every time I turn around, there He is doing something else that is just “amazingable”.  Every time I look into the face of one of these many new babies that have born into our church this year, I think, “WOW!  That’s amazingable!”  When I see our summer attendance in our worship services (averaging well over 200).  I use this term.  As I have watched the progress of the new chapel being built at Mountain Top, the new people who show up at church, the growth of individuals in their service to the Lord, and so many other things, I just keep saying, “amazingable, amazingable, amazingable.”

Now do not get me wrong, I am not advocating that this become a wide-spread term.  After all, musically, it just wouldn’t work,  “Amazingable Grace, How Sweet the Sound?”  I don’t think so.  But, I do want us to consider how great God is.  Not just how great He is, but also how great are those things that He does around us.  The many, many things we see Him do all the time are indescribable.  For the Christian who says they have never seen a miracle, I would say, “Pay attention!”  God is busy.  He is active.  Any time we see His activity, that’s a miracle.  He does miracles around us all the time.  We just are not too good at paying attention. 

Why would the God of the universe bother with us?  Do we deserve it?  Absolutely not!  Quite frankly, we do not want what we deserve.  We want His grace.   His grace is first and foremost exemplified for us through the Gospel message.  Jesus came to earth, lived, taught, died upon a cross, then rose from the grave and is alive today.  Upon accepting that message, we live in His bounty.  His bounty for us is both spiritual and physical.  It is the source of our joy and peace.  It is the source of our security and direction.  It is the source of our satisfaction.  It is amazingable!

Also, I do not want to be misunderstood.   I do not think that we have seen that last or the greatest of God’s “amazingableness.”  (Since we are adding to the English language here, why stop with just one form of the new word?)  But, I think we are just scratching the surface of what God is about and what He is doing in and around our lives.  I am confident that to the degree that we remain faithful to Him, and to the degree that we pay attention to what He is up to, we will be regularly astounded at the many things He will be doing around us every day.  There are many times coming that we will stand there and say, “WOW!! That’s amazingable!”

 

Monday
Jul022012

August 2012

 

One of the terms that we hear today, that is relatively new, is “distracted driving”.  Now we all know that being distracted while driving is nothing new.  Most commonly, currently, we refer to a driver being distracted when they are using some sort of modern technology while driving.  Texting is probably the most vilified form of being distracted while driving.  But there are many things that can get out attention. But, before the cell phone we were distracted by any number of other things while driving.  Scenery, wildlife, kids, food, sudden and unexpected noises, and many other things can get our attention off the road and somewhere it does not belong.  Most of the time, being slightly distracted is no big deal. Most of us have gotten away with dividing our concentration.  We have adjusted the radio, talked on the phone, put on make-up (ladies), or any number of other things that we shouldn’t be doing while driving at high rates of speed.  No one thinks much of this until something goes wrong.  Hopefully, what goes wrong is just a close call.  But, many serious automobile accidents happen every year because a driver is doing something else while driving.  All of us know the problems that potentially come with distracted driving, but most of us still accept certain levels of distractions because these things don’t happen to us, they always happen to the “other guy”.

Often, as Christians, we become distracted.  Normally, we do not intentionally take our eye of the road, but we are easily distracted nonetheless.  We must remember that the road down which Jesus leads us is a narrow and sometimes difficult road.  What we think is just a minor distraction can become a major spiritual problem.  Or, what we think will be a very temporary distraction can quickly lead us to a long-term separation from God’s path.  Of course, the distractions that tempts us as Christians are not phones, or texts, or hamburgers, or lip stick.  Rather, these distractions are SIN.  There is no other way to put it.  The tricky part of this is that in other settings, these same things, activities, or attitudes may not be distractions.  But if they end up leading us to a place, not on the path down which Jesus is leading, then they are a problem.  If these things are truly distractions to our spiritual lives, then as sin tends to do, it takes us to a place we never expected to go and keeps us there much longer than we ever could have imagined.

So, how do we avoid distracted Christianity?  Well, I think it is probably pretty simple, although it may not be easy.  If something (just about anything) draws our intense interest, then we should take a careful inventory.  If the honest inventory tells us that the thing, activity, or attitude takes our attention away from our walk with Jesus, no matter how slight, then we need to get our eyes back on the narrow road.  If that honest inventory reveals that the thing, activity, or attitude does not interfere with our walk with Christ, then it is not a distraction and should be gratefully enjoyed.

Above all else, we must be very aware that we could fall victim to distracted Christianity.  If we remain diligent, disciplined, and humble we will be less likely to become distracted and remain on that road down which Jesus is leading.  Now that is living!

In Christ,

Pastor Quin

 

 

Tuesday
Jun052012

June 2012

Recently, I read the first Psalm. While David wrote this song of worship some 3000 years ago, I find it striking how modern the message continues to be. The Psalm opens with the familiar line, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.”

It strikes me as to just how willing the ungodly are to
offer counsel. I am amazed at how people who seem to
struggle with every aspect of life are more than happy to give instruction to others. Once in a while (when absolutely alone), I will sit down at a piano and plink around on it for a little while. It is terrible. The poor timing of my key striking is only surpassed by the discords that would bring tears to your eyes. I have no illusions concerning my talent or knowledge with the piano. It should not be a surprise that Lisa Coleman, Lorna Duncan, or Karen Michel (our church pianists) refuse to ask me for pointers on the piano. (Smart girls!) So just how dumb would you consider me if I were to go forward and give counsel to our talented musicians in an area in which I am a big failure? (That’s a rhetorical question. Please, do not answer it out loud.)

Yet, people who do not have a clue about successful living, how to find peace and happiness, or how to deal with life’s difficulties inundate us at every turn. They know what is best for us. They not only offer advice, but they seem highly offended when we question their ideas and directions. Ungodly people have no place giving life pointers to those of us who seek Christ. We may be unable to avoid such advice from time to time, but it is strictly up to us as to how we will respond. Actually, wisdom comes to us when we seek godly counsel. One of the purposes of the Church is to offer a place where Believers, young and old, can go to seek godly wisdom.

One of the areas in which our Church is powerfully blessed, is in our corporate wisdom. If you do not find wisdom on a subject from staff (and you may not), there will be someone sitting around you in church every Sunday who would WOW you with what God has taught them. It has been my experience that we have many wise men and women, who, when given the chance, are willing and able to share what God has taught them. We can learn much from each other. So, here is a source of godly wisdom available to us all.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that God has taught and is teaching you a few things about godly living that He expects you to share with others. You would be amazed at our many people are struggling in an area where you have already been. You have seen God do what only He can do in a given situation. So, if given the opportunity, you now have become a resource of godly wisdom. How often do you think of yourself that way? Hopefully, not very often, for this would speak of pride and arrogance. These are traits that the ungodly show, not the godly. You see, when God reveals Himself to us in a given situation, we understand that it is His wisdom that we have acquired. This makes us a humble resource for God to reveal Himself to others through our life experiences.

So, when you come to a time in life when you feel the need to seek counsel, remember, seek godly counsel. This is simply wise. Also, praise God that He uses each of His children to provide wise counsel to those who are in need. This is what the Church does.