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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
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!!!

 

Tuesday
Nov292016

December 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!  As I note every year at this time, it is hard to believe that another year has come and is almost gone.  If nothing else, I think we can all agree that 2016 has been an eventful year.

While there are many things that could be addressed in this article, I want to take a few moments of your time and update you on our building project and the fund raising that is ongoing.  The numbers that you will see in this article are close estimates of where we are and what we have done to date.  The time lapse between when I write this and you read this will be about 2 weeks, so things will change, but this will give you an idea of what we have done and where we are.

Since we started our capital fund raising about 3 years ago, we have seen consistent and generous giving to this project.  So far, with our building fund offerings, we have purchased the house at 1956 Boyd Avenue for $189,900.  We also purchased the former car lot.  After some designated gifts specifically for this purchase came in, our Church was left with a responsibility of around $45,000.  We have paid for the demolition of the old office building including asbestos testing and abatement, a total cost of about $35,000.  In addition to these expenses, we have spent about $32,500 on soil testing, engineering fees, architecture and drafting, and electrical preparation to service the new building.  This brings the total spent from this account to about $302,400.  Currently we have about $100,000 in the account.  There will be a few more expenses that are upcoming in the near future, but I think the additional monies that flow into the account will outpace these upcoming expenses. 

Before you nod off as you look over these numbers, let me give you my take on all this.  First of all, I find it absolutely breathtaking, that our church has been able to pay out all this money for these purposes related to the building project and we still have $100,000 unspent.  None of this money has come out of our General Fund.  All has come through special donations and gifts to our Building Fund.  There is no doubt that God is in this, because I see no way that we should have been able to accomplish all that has been accomplished to this point.  So with that in mind, we press on toward the mark that our Church feels that God has set before us.

Also, I want us to remember why we are doing all of this.  The answer is short and simple.  We are in the process of building a wonderful ministry tool.  In this new building, we will have a new and modern kitchen facility.  There will be comfortable space for banquet or fellowship gatherings of 300 or more.  Recreational ministries will be available for all age groups.  New offices will be developed.  And there will be some additional educational space.  There is no doubt that this new building will be of great service to our current folks and also open many new doors through which we can touch our community.

Now, this brings us to our current fund raising goal for the Building Project.  Throughout 2016, we have been encouraging people to give toward a project goal of $100,000.  This figure was not just grasped out of thin air.  But rather, this is the number that our research has told us that will be necessary to service and reduce the debt that will be incurred, once we have sold the notes (bonds) that have always been a part of the capital funding plan for this construction. This also takes into account the expanded expenses that will come with a new building (utilities, insurance, etc.).  These expenses will eventually be woven into our budget, but for the first couple of years, we intend to cover them outside the budget.

Currently, we have received right at $90,000 this year.  By the time you read this, we should be somewhere north of that figure.  Let me strongly encourage you to consider giving to the Building Fund, so that we can reach or perhaps exceed our goal.  I am not asking you to do anything that my family and I are not intending to do and have been doing.  But, along with all the wonderful things that we have seen God provide through this Building Project, it is important that we meet or exceed this goal.  We are very close and I am confident that if we all pull together in this, that we will be able to celebrate what our God has once again done for and through Boyd Avenue.

 

Tuesday
Nov012016

November 2016

As November rolls our way, there are a number of things that will get and keep our attention.  The hunting seasons will continue.  The holiday season will get underway.  This year, much to our chagrin, is an election year.  Along with a number of other political offices, on November 8, we will be going to the polls to elect a new president of our country.  While you may or may not be excited about the choices that are before you, all of us have a duty as citizens to vote, so allow me to encourage you to do that.

As each of us considers, from our own perspective, the person for whom we will vote, I am reminded of a challenge that the outgoing leader of Israel made to his people after he had led them on a successful conquest of the land that God had promised to Israel generations before.  In Joshua 24: 14-15 Joshua tells Israel “Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth.  Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh.  But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship:  the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.  As for me and my family we will worship Yahweh”

In essence, Joshua lays out four options from which to choose who or what will be worshiped. 

  1. You can worship Yahweh, the living God of Israel. 
  2. You can worship the ancient gods of Mesopotamia, worshiped by the ancestors of Abram, before he became a Yahweh worshiper and became Abraham.   
  3. You can worship the gods that were worshiped in Egypt that were left behind some 40+ years ago. 
  4. You can worship the gods of the Amorites or other Canaanite peoples whom they had just defeated. 

These were the choices that Joshua laid before his nation, demanding that they must choose who they would worship and serve.   Joshua went so far as to tell the folks what his choice would be:  “As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”

Now, please understand, that there is no comparison or contrast between the choices put forth by Joshua, and the choices that stand before us in this presidential election.  While we should make a choice in our upcoming election, if we opt not to vote, that may have minimal consequence.  But, as in Joshua’s time, we must choose whom we will worship and serve.  We have a series of gods in our world who are running against our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Everyone has to make a choice.  Who will we choose to worship and serve?  There are idols that have sought allegiance from every imaginable source.  Each of them is competing for your vote.  This is an election that cannot be ignored.  Fortunately, for us, there is an option in this choice that is vastly superior to all the others.  Jesus Christ is the living Son of God.  All of the other candidates are gods of the imagination of mankind.  This was true for Joshua and it is true for you and me.  So, choose today whom you will serve, one of the many gods that our world and culture embraces, or the true and living God, who reaches out to us through His resurrected Son. 

I think you will agree that every presidential election is important.  So again, let me encourage you to exercise your right to vote later this month.  But, more vital than that, let me encourage you to fully embrace the Christian faith, through an active daily relationship with our Lord and Savior.  Our president, whoever he or she may be, may make a difference in our lives.  But, there is no doubt that who we choose to worship and serve will have a much greater impact on our lives, here and hereafter.

 

Tuesday
Sep272016

October 2016

Recently, I was honored to oversee the memorial service of a man who died at a young age.  I say I was honored, not because I enjoy such things, but to be invited by a family to walk with them through one of the most difficult times they will ever face is a great privilege.  This is one of those times when I depended absolutely on God to provide the words and actions that will both help the family and  glorify the Father.

While I will not use the life of the man as an example during this article, I want to share with you the principles that God showed me as I  prepared the message.  There are some truths here that have impacted my life over the last several weeks and I hope that you can find them useful as well.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus said this: “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But collect for yourselves treasures in   heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21.

Most of the time when we hear this passage, we are told that we need to collect treasures in heaven by doing good things.  Be benevolent, be generous, be kind, be helpful, be joyful, and so forth thinking that our rewards are being vaulted away for us to collect when we get to heaven.  These are jewels in our crowns, so that everyone in heaven will see just how good I was and how much I loved Jesus.  Certainly, doing good things is good!  But, I’m not so sure that this is what Jesus meant.  Allow me to approach this from a different angle.

Let’s look at our treasures on earth.  Certainly, there are things in this life that are precious to us, and they should be precious to us.  But, we need to consider is:  What do we truly treasure?  Do we treasure our toys, or our   success, or our popularity, or our past times, or our bank account?  These things can be very valuable, but I think we can agree that there are things in this life that are more   worthy to be treasured.  Such as our families, our friends, our human relationships that can add so much joy to our lives.  These are far greater treasures and there is nothing wrong with any of these things in themselves.

So now what I want you to consider is what are the thieves that can take them away?  Are there thieves that can take away our earthly treasures?  Certainly, there are.  Substance abuse can steal everything from us.  What about the professional who is so driven to succeed, that he ignores his family and friends in order to climb the ladder of success?  He ends his days on the top rung of the ladder, but he has no      meaningful relationships and he discovers that being a workaholic has stolen his most precious treasures.  What about the woman who is so driven to have social status that she gives little attention to her family, while she spends her energy getting close to the “right people”?  At the end of it all, she may be on all of the social       registers, but her efforts have driven away everyone who loved her and that her      treasures have been stolen.  You see, any sin can be a thief.  Greed, laziness, blind ambition, pride, arrogance and so on can all be thieves that will steal our treasures away from us.

But, what is the treasure in heaven that cannot be stolen if it is not jewels for the very opulent crown that Jesus has waiting for me?  That treasure is Jesus.  There is no other.  He is the treasure that cannot be taken from us under any circumstance.  He is the one who delivers us into heaven.  He is the only one that makes our treasures on earth of  significant value.  He indeed is our Treasure.

So let me encourage you to ponder this.  Where is your treasure?  What would a  review of your treasure trove reveal about you?  Are you protecting your earthly treasures from the thieves that would try to steal them?  Is Jesus truly the Treasure of your heart?  When you can find peace with your answers to these questions, then you will truly have collected the treasures that can be cherished here and hereafter.

Pastor Quin