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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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Wednesday
Apr262017

May 2017

As the book of Revelation unfolds, it is filled with imagery and promises of many things yet to come.  There are the frightening passages as bowls are poured out, as trumpets are sounded, and as seals are broken.  While there are many things that frighten us, we understand that as time moves toward her end, these things must be.  Exactly what these things will look like, how they will touch us I do not know.  But, what I do know is that this book is teaching us that no matter what happens or how they happen, the good guys win! 

It is this victory that God brings to us through His Son that the closing chapters of this book emphasizes.  There are powerful and wonderful descriptions of what heaven will physically be like.  Although the things described are things that exist beyond our natural world, there is no doubt that heaven is a wonderful place.  Also, there are even more beautiful descriptions of how we will relate to God.  He will be our God and we will be His people!  He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more sorrow or pain.  There will be no separation between us and God, us and Jesus, us and the Spirit, and us and each other.  It is these relationships, lived in perfect harmony, that are the true distinctive of heaven. Yes, streets of gold, gates of pearl, a crystal river, the tree of life, and so much more are incredible, but the purity and completeness of our relationships that will be the true joy of heaven.  Also, I think that we need to understand that once these things are established they really won’t seem all that exceptional to us.  No, I think we will wonder how unexceptional the things of our previous life were.

Then as Revelation closes, there is an invitation and an appeal.

The invitation comes from the Spirit and the bride (the church).  Revelation 22:17 says: “Both the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And anyone who hears should say, ‘Come!’  And the one who is thirsty should come.  Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.”  This is a summary of the Christian invitation.  Jesus, alone, is the living water that brings life.  The Spirit convicts people of their spiritual need.  The Church is compelled to extend this invitation to all people. (The Great Commission)  Everyone who has taken advantage of this Living Water must share the Good News.  Then all who are thirsty should come.  Those who do will be given new life.  Those who do not will continue on in their suffering, despite the availability of this Living Water springing up around them.

Then there is the appeal.  This appeal comes from us.  When we come to understand as John did as these spiritual truths were revealed to him, we will join him is his appeal to Jesus. Revelation 22: 20 says: “He who testifies about these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”  John could not wait for Jesus to return and fulfill all he had just seen.  Likewise, when we begin to get a glimpse of what Jesus has in store for us, we will join him in his appeal and pray to God, “Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”

When all of this is accomplished in our lives, then the benediction of the book will have its real power and meaning flow over us.  Revelation 22: 21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.  Amen.”

We find the truth of God’s love for us in Christ alone.  His grace and peace will indeed be with us for He has transformed us from sinner to saint.  And His grace will be upon us.  Amen!

 

Tuesday
Apr042017

April 2017

In our called Business Meeting on March 8, our Church approved the recommendation from our Building Committee to move forward with the construction of the multi-purpose building that we have been planning for a long time.  I was strongly encouraged by the meeting.  It was well attended.  There were many good questions and much discussion.  The meeting ran about an hour and twenty minutes and I would characterize it as thorough, but positive.  At the end of the time, those who gathered voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.

A part of the recommendation was to approve the sale of notes for the capital funds for the construction.  These are to be sold in phases as the need for these funds comes about. (The first set of these notes are now available to be purchased at the Church Office.)  There will be many developments as the construction unfolds, and I will do my best to keep everyone updated.

The purpose for this article is not to make announcements or to encourage you to buy a note. Although both of those things are important.  No, I want to dedicate the rest of this space to what we must do as a congregation to complete the daunting task that stands before us.

Very simply put, the only way that this task can be accomplished is for each of us to do our part!  In the book of Nehemiah, we have the record of a great and difficult building project.  Israel had been allowed to return to Jerusalem and to live there again.  What Nehemiah found was a mess.  While people had moved in, they were in a very difficult circumstance.  The walls of Jerusalem remained in ruins and efforts to rebuild them had all been thwarted by forces from both inside and out.  Nehemiah, under God’s direction, organized the folks calling on each family and clan to simply do their part.  And in Nehemiah 6: 15, we read, “The wall was completed in 52 days.”  An accomplishment that no one expected, but God provided.

So what will we, Boyd Avenue, have to do to accomplish this thing that we have agreed together to do?  The answer is simple.  Each of us will have to put our shoulder to the wheel.  Each of us has something we can and must do.  This is not something that I as pastor can accomplish alone.  The Deacons can’t do this, or the Building Committee can’t do this alone.  This is something that will require all of us doing what we can do.  In Nehemiah, each family was called upon to build a certain section of the wall.  Each family rose to the challenge and the walls were built, providing the security they needed to flourish.

So, what is your part?  That, I cannot answer.  But, God can!  He may lead you to help in any number of ways.  Some can help financially.  Some can give much, others less.  We need people to keep giving to the Building Fund.  We need people to make loans through our note sale.  Some can’t give financially, but they will be able to give labor.  There will be phases of this project when we will need volunteers to come out to work on certain parts of the project.  We will need people to clean up after them.  And we will need people to provide a meal or two so workers can have a quick lunch on days they volunteer.  There will be other things that will arise that will demand someone to step forward and say, “I will do that.”  God will lead some of us to help in multiple ways.  But, there is also something else that each and every one of us can and must do.  This is the most important part of the project.  We need Building Project Prayer Warriors!  This whole thing must be bathed in prayer from beginning to end, or it will not be accomplished.  Will we see the project completed in 52 days?  Probably not.  But, if we all prayerfully and collectively put our shoulders to the wheel, I am certain that we will be amazed at what God accomplishes through us!

 

Tuesday
Feb282017

March 2017

How do we know that God loves us?  What is the criteria by which we measure God’s love for us?  Now I’m not talking about His love for humanity.  Obviously, humanity is made up of billions and billions of souls, from all over the world, through all ages of history, past, present, and future.  We can understand an abundance of love spread over so great a multitude.  But, I’m talking about the love that God has for me, or for you as an individual.  We understand that the Bible teaches us that God loves us all the same.  That His love is unconditional.  That His love is unfathomable.  That His love is inseparable.  We have been taught and teach others that God loves you and me individually as completely as He loves all of humanity.  Intellectually, we can come to a point that we see that God loves you as much as He loves me and vise-versa.  We understand that in God and by God, we are loved completely.  In other words we just cannot be loved any more deeply or purely than when God loves us.

Now all this is great!  To know that we are loved by the God of the universe to a degree that is beyond our comprehension is wonderful.  But, what about those times when are not feeling that love, at least not in the way that we would like to feel that love?  We know that life is not always easy.  Things don’t always pan out just the way that we had hoped that they would.  When health issues, or money issues, or family issues, or a dozen different issues arise that were not anticipated, do we judge God’s love for us according to those things?  And perhaps, not so much by those things themselves, for we know we live in a fallen world that is not often fair.  But, we often judge God’s level of love toward us on how we feel about those things.  Or another way of putting it, is the level of unhappiness that this situation may bring to us. So we may say, “If God loved me, things wouldn’t be like this.”

You see, if we come to that point, then we are using our emotional comfort level to measure God’s love.  It would be like a very young child, when he/she is being disciplined or denied, saying to their parent, “You just don’t love me.”  Or, even worse, “I don’t love you anymore.” One of the big differences here, of course is that this is an example of an angry child trying to manipulate the situation to get their way. And while our struggle with God’s love may or may not be an attempt at manipulation. But, it may be our attempt of dealing with emotional pain.  So, the question remains, how do we measure God’s love for us, when we aren’t feeling all that loved?

Let us go back to those earlier qualifiers of His love.  First, of all God’s love for us is unconditional.  This is an extremely hard concept for us to grasp, for there are few things in this world that come without condition.  Perhaps the closest thing that we can find within us to this is our love for our children.  We love them, no matter what.  Now, we like them better when their behavior is what we want it to be, but we love them none the less.  It is very difficult for us to comprehend the fact that we do not have to, nor can we earn God’s love.  Often, neglected children blame themselves for the neglect of a lousy parent.  They blame themselves even when it is not the child’s fault at all.  But, I have seen children go to great lengths to win their parent’s approval, all the while never comprehending that this love cannot be earned.  It either exists, or it does not.  Fortunately, for us the unconditional love of God exists.

God’s love is unfathomable.  By this, I mean love that doesn’t make sense.  Why does God love us?  Why did God love the nation of Israel?  Over and over again, they turned away from Him in the Old Testament, but He has loved them and continues to be faithful to them.  He has restored them to their land time and time again, against all odds.  They worshipped Baal, they turned away from God Himself, they rejected His Son as Messiah and murdered Him.  But still God loves them.  Let us be careful not to throw too many stones here.  God’s love for you and me is just as unfathomable as is His love for Israel.  We have sinned against Him over and over.  We doubt His existence from time to time.  We doubt His love for us.  We doubt His faithfulness to us.  We sometimes even try to judge Him by our standards, so that we can justify ourselves.  Why does He love us?  I have no idea.  He just does and that is what makes His love for us beyond our understanding.

His love is inseparable.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Romans 8: 31-39 tells us this truth in great detail.  Verses 38-39 says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, or things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Do you see that?  Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  It is inseparable in our lives!  So, what does this do for us?  Verse 37 says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  More than conquerors, so that in God’s love and in His love alone, we can conquer all things.  We can overcome the enemy.  We can overcome all created things.  In Christ’s love alone we can even conquer those things that would make us emotionally doubt the love of God.

So God does love us.  He loves you and he loves me.  I have no instrument that is able to measure His love.  My emotions are fickle.  They will from time to time be inaccurate in their assessment of God’s love.  But, you see in all things, His love is not dependent on any measurement of mine.  No, His love is dependent solely on Him.  And in Him I can fully trust!

Pastor Quin

 

Tuesday
Jan312017

February 2017

What a crazy winter we have been having to this point.  It seemed to me that winter was a little late in coming this year, not unleashing its fury to any great extent until after Thanksgiving.  Sure there were a few cool snaps, and a little snow, but overall, until early December, winter had pretty well kept its head down.  But, when it rolled in, it really rolled in!  Big snow storms accompanied by sub-zero temperatures.  And not just any sub-zero either.  Lows in the -30 range, days when the high temps were still sub-zero made it really cold, even for Wyoming.  Add to that some ferocious winds for several days in a row and in my opinion, we’ve had a pretty harsh winter, at least so far.  I have seen each of these conditions in the past, but I really don’t remember this much bad weather packed together for this many weeks back to back.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m really not complaining as much as I am simply pointing out that we have had about 1 ½ months of tough weather almost non-stop. 

Today, on the other hand, is about the fourth or fifth day in a row that the weather has been really nice here in Casper.  The temperatures are above freezing, there is almost no wind, the snow drifts are declining and the ice on the streets is slowly melting away.  Today is truly a beautiful Wyoming winter day.  If we had more days like this, there would be a lot more folks moving here from other states, so I guess the wind and storms do have their advantages.

I am not writing these things just to talk about the weather.  As I was considering the weather that we have had this winter, it occurred to me how much like life this winter had been.  In late fall, it seemed that winter may never come.  The days were relatively warm and the winds were low, it was a long and beautiful fall.  There are seasons in our lives when everything just goes along better than we expect.  Health is good, our jobs are going fine, the family is happy, and so forth.  Yes, we know that there are potential problems out there, but to date they are not here, and who knows, maybe those storms just won’t come. 

But, just like this winter in Wyoming, winter does come.  This year, winter came in powerfully with a series of storms that were harsh even by our standards.  So it is with life, sooner or later, storms are going to come.  They may be mild and easily endured, but they may come in waves.  Those storms of life may come from any direction and each of them is hard by itself.  But, when they stack up on one another, it makes it that much more difficult.  When we are in the middle of one of these seasons of storm after storm, it may feel to us as though these storms will never end.  But, as surely as the seasons of the year turn, so do the seasons of our lives.  No matter how bitter the storm today, soon there will be some relief.  A day is coming when you will look around and feel the warmth of the sun shining on your face.  There will be a time when nice days have strung together and the snow banks of struggle are declining and the ice of    uncertainty is melting away.  There is always the promise of the new day in which you will once again enjoy the basic walk down the street or another simple pleasure that emotionally you have not felt in a while.

God created us to live in this wonderful creation of His.  He fully intends for us to live in the fullness of joy that life offers.  And while there will inevitably be storms that interrupt our bliss, we can be assured that close on the heels of the storm there will be another time of joy and warmth into which the vitality of a joyful life with Christ is experienced once again.

Yes, I hope this letter brings a little hope that soon another harsh Wyoming winter will be behind us.  But more than that I want to assure you that if there are storms, big or small, raging in your life, that in Christ and with His eternal presence, the sun still shines and the days of warmth and joy are not far away.

 

Wednesday
Jan042017

January 2017

Another year is upon us.  We have turned the calendar once again.  We understand that we cannot go back in time and try to redo the things that are behind us.  We cannot correct past errors, we can only try to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly.  Nor can we reenact the good things of this past year.  We may imitate them.  We may attempt to set up the same scenarios that worked well before, hoping that they will work well again.  But, we all understand that time cannot be repeated.  If you had a rough 2016, then you will want to leave it behind.  If you had a wonderful 2016, you may try to repeat it in 2017, but that is impossible.  Hopefully, you will have a good year, but 2016 is gone forever.

This brings to mind that passage quoted in Colossians 4: 5:  “Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.”  The New King James Versions calls it:  “redeeming the time.”  Indeed, this should be a goal for each of us as we move from one year into the next.  As you know, the idea of “redeeming” something carries the concept of making it valuable.  We have had only one 2016.  Only you can determine if you redeemed the time of that year.  Likewise, we will only have one 2017 and, again, only you can determine whether you will make this upcoming year valuable.

So how can we view time in such a way as to make it valuable?

First, we need to understand that time is valuable itself.  An old saying in business is, “time is money.”  While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, in reality, time is unspeakably valuable.  They aren’t making any more of it.  There are still just 24 hours in a day, and each of us has one fewer day than we had yesterday.  We must understand that when God gives us a day, He expects us to value it and use it wisely.

Second, time is irreplaceable.  If I break something around my house, it may be frustrating, but most of those things can be replaced.  Through the years, I have worn out several Bibles.  When one breaks down to the point that I cannot keep the pages in place any longer, all I have to do is to shop around and find another one.  But, when time has passed, it has passed.  We cannot reclaim time.  It simply is gone.  We may recall times gone by, or we may be able to duplicate some circumstances so that one time may seem much like a previous time.  But time cannot be repeated. What we have is simply two times that have some similarities.

Third, time is unique.  There are nothing else like time.  Wealth, success, popularity are all good things that most of us enjoy to one degree or another.  But none of them can replace time.  No matter what we may achieve in our pursuits, they do not replace time.  There is nothing else like it and nothing can be substituted for it.

If we can come to an understanding of the precious gift that is time, then we can understand why God instructed us to “redeem the time.”  So while we may understand that time is rare and should be treasured, we also must determine a plan for how to make our time of greatest value.  It seems to me that if we turn to the commands that Jesus gave us, then we will inevitably find that our time will be redeemed to its greatest potential.  Jesus basically gave us three commands.  He told us to love God.  He told us to love the world (Christian and non-Christian).  Then within the household of faith, He told us to love each other.  I think if you go through all the teachings of our Lord that you will find that everything will fall under these three commands.

So if you want to make a commitment to make the most of 2017, then simply do what Jesus has told you to do.  For if we can love as Jesus loved, we will have a great year.  It may and probably will have its struggles, but God’s love in us and lived by us can make all time valuable.

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!!!