Photo by Flickr User: dcsplicer

Throw A Snowball

In the winter months, living in the north can be difficult. Though snow makes for beautiful scenery, it cripples transportation, skyrockets energy bills, & just gets plain annoying. As you may or may not have heard, it’s snowing in many states. In Michigan, snow has quickly piled up higher than expected, and it’s even worse in upstate New York. The Buffalo area has been hit the hardest, where they’ve already received 6ft. and are expecting another 3ft. more!

It’s easy to get lost in it’s beauty, or even lost in the blizzard like conditions during your morning commute. However you get lost, it’s important that we don’t overlook one simple fact: Snow is like Jesus. Here’s why:

 

Just recently, everything started to look like death.

Leaves fell off the trees, grassy lawns were no longer lush green, & life was being put on hold to prepare for winter. This magnificent act of nature is comparable to the sinful lives we live. Let’s face it, we’ve all screwed up. Long ago, God gave Moses & the Israelites thousands of rules to follow. Guess what? Everybody broke them. These laws were put in place as a standard by God for us to follow. But nobody did, nobody is, and nobody ever will be able to follow the law. In other words, nobody’s perfect. That is until Jesus came along.

 

Snowfall cleanses & brings new life.

Whether you’re a fan of the snow or not, let’s face it: a snow ridden landscape is always beautiful. It’s an amazing thing really. Overnight, a dreary, gross, dead-looking field can be turned into a winter wonderland overnight. Those laws that God gave to Moses made all of us look like a dirty field. We couldn’t live up to God’s standards. That’s why God put on flesh & lived with us. Jesus lived that sinless life that we couldn’t. He was pure & holy, and he gave himself up as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Comparable to our messy lives, Jesus was pure. He was as white as snow. On the cross, he died for us, and covered our sins just like that winter wonderland!

 

Enjoy it. Throw a snowball!

We were once as worthless as that nasty field, or that leaf-less tree, but now we are covered by Christ’s sacrifice. His payment upon the cross ‘blanketed’ us, and covered our sins. We’re like that winter wonderland! That’s some serious good news. We were doomed to death & judgement, but now we’re headed for an eternal life with Christ. Don’t hide this awesome news. Enjoy it. Celebrate. Spread the word! In other words, get out there and throw a snowball!

 

Share your take on winter in the comments below!

 

 

**Subscribe for occasional updates to Scott’s ministry. (Photo By Flickr User: dcsplicer)

Photo by Flickr user: vox_efx

Here’s Who I Voted For…

Today is election day. Millions will take to the polls to cast their vote for the person they feel best qualified to hold public office. Many millions more will not. According to several studies done in recent years, voting turnout for a non-presidential election is usually in the 40% range. Over half of the eligible voting population will not cast a ballot today. Most of the time the reason goes something like this: ‘I don’t know who to vote for!’

Personally, I’m unlike people my age. I have a heart for this country, and a passion to vote at whatever chance I can get. Unlike millions of Americans over the age of 18, I take my voting rights seriously. People around me know this too. This explains why every election day, I’m bombarded with calls & messages asking for my wisdom before they hit the polls. Instead of answering each one individually, I figured this would be much easier. Here’s who I voted for this election day:

 

1. The person I voted for is not perfect.

The person I voted for is far from perfect. They have their flaws & imperfections. No matter what their public image attempts to portray, I assure you they don’t have their life together. This person has fears, struggles, & temptations just like you and me. This person has messed up & will continue to mess up just like you & me. The person I voted for is just a person.

 

2. The person I voted for doesn’t have all the answers.

America needs help. The general consensus is that our country has been on a downward spiral for some time now. Our system is corrupt, broken, & bankrupt. We need help & we need it yesterday. Unfortunately, the person I voted for doesn’t have all the answers. They aren’t the solution to the problem in America. Sure, they might play a small part in fixing this mess, but I assure you they cannot do it alone.

 

3. Win or lose, the person I voted for should be confident in the outcome.

No matter the final outcome, the person I voted for should feel confident. The person I voted for should have faith that God has placed the right person, in the right position, at the right time, for the right reasons. We should trust in Him, and know that His plan is much greater than ours. Ultimately, it’s up to Him to decide who shall hold the public office.

 

4. The person I voted for should be surrounded by prayer.

Most importantly, the person I voted for should be surrounded by prayer. As Christ followers, we should think about, encourage, and pray for those that lead this nation. We shouldn’t sit back and encourage disunity. We need to remember to pray. Jesus commanded us to pray not only for our friends, but also for those that persecute us. The person I voted for today, should feel surrounded by prayer.

 

At the time of creation, God granted us many freedoms and responsibilities that we took for granted. Because we screwed up and didn’t take Him seriously, God had to send His son, Jesus, to die for our sins. As American citizens, we’ve been granted the privilege & the right to vote. It’s a freedom that many men and women have been forced to give their lives for. Don’t take this for granted. Voting is you’re responsibility. Find your polling place and cast your ballot today!

 

 

**Subscribe for occasional updates to Scott’s ministry. (Photo by Flickr user: vox_efx)

If Jesus Had A Reality Show...

If Jesus Had A Reality Show…

Where else can you find a wide range of entertainment options that will kill an enormous amount of brain cells? Two words: reality television. What are you into? Naked survivalists, crazy families, religious cults, or maybe football teams? There’s a show for that. Maybe you’re more into celebrities, musicians, puppet makers, or even court rooms? Don’t worry, there’s a show for that too!

Reality television is everywhere. But what if Jesus had his own reality show? What would that look like? It would never happen, but it’s fun to speculate. Here’s some highlights of what I believe a Jesus reality show would look like…

 

1. The show would be controversial. 

Some of Jesus’ earthly ministry was a little bit controversial. His coming threatened some authorities of the day. I’m sure that if He had a show today, it would be the same way. On top of that, some of the issues Christ chose to teach on were highly debated. The Pharisees would attempt to trap Jesus with tricky questions, but He’d always have a wise response that pushed people to truly explore the truth’s of God’s word. During His  time on earth, Jesus was different. He didn’t live the same way everyone else did. He was different, and people noticed. I’m certain that if Jesus had a reality show today, it would be a bit controversial.

 

2. It would push people to ask questions. 

During His time on earth, Christ’s ministry pushed people to ask questions.His ministry was very similar, but also very different from various prophets of the day. He caught peoples attention, and forced them to tackle some difficult questions. Often, while He was giving an answer to a particular question, people would respond with another question. People would ask, because they knew Jesus had some sort of answer. They could tell he was on to something.Even after it was all over, people were still searching for answers. If Jesus had a reality television show, people would have some questions that needed to be answered.

 

3. His show would draw a following, but not one we would expect.

During His time on earth, Jesus drew a following. People followed Him, they listened to His teaching, and they were even fed by Him. But this following was nothing compared to the following He would acquire after His death & resurrection. In Acts 1:15, we see that the church numbered about 120 after Christ left earth. A few days later, after Peter preached a sermon at Pentecost (in Acts 2:41), the church grew to around 3,120. Compared to this growth of followers, Jesus really didn’t have a very large following while he was on earth. If Jesus had a reality show today, people would watch it, but not as many people as you think.

 

4. The Finale would be … life-changing!

Every show should have a good finale. But if Jesus had a reality show, the finale would be the best of the best! Christ shed His perfect blood on the cross. He paid our price. Jesus was dead: about as dead as one can get. His body was prepared, dressed, and placed in a secure tomb. Ever left raw meat sitting out in the summer heat for a few days? I’m certain it would stink. After rotting away for roughly 3 days, Jesus did something that nobody saw coming: He conquered death. He rose again. He was alive. He talked to, visited with, and ate with several people for a period of 40 days. Then He ascended to heaven. If Jesus had a reality show today, it would end with a shocking twist. He would die for you & me, and then He would prove that we can have life in Him by being raised from the dead. I couldn’t think of a better ending!

 

Sure, Jesus lived nearly 2,000 years ago. He died a death on the cross only you & I deserve. He paid our price. Ultimately, He gave us a choice to either follow Him or not. If Jesus had a reality show, would you watch it, or change the channel?

 

 

 

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The Walking Dead on AMC

4 Things We Can Learn From “The Walking Dead”

Maybe you’ve heard of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead. Or maybe not, but that would be a real surprise. In the very rare case that you haven’t come into contact with the show, let me give you a brief explanation: it’s a zombie show that highlights the lives of a group of survivors. Pretty simple.

Early this month, the season 5 premier received a record breaking 17.3 million viewers even while competing with Sunday Night Football. The AMC network has already ordered a sixth season of the show as well as a spin-off show which follows a new set of characters through the same zombie-filled world. Surprisingly, this popular zombie television series isn’t just a great form of entertainment: it’s also filled with practical lessons for our Christian walk.  Here’s 4 things we can learn from The Walking Dead:

 

1. Always keep your guard up.

Just like the zombies in the show, Satan is always looking to rip us apart. His mission, as outlined in John 10:10, is pretty simple. The devil’s mission is to steal, kill, & destroy. That’s it.

He will stop at nothing to tear us down. We must always be on guard. If possible, Satan will try to destroy us from the inside out. He’s sneaky, just like a zombie. That’s why we need to pay close attention and always keep our guards up.

 

2. Be ready to attack.

The Christian walk isn’t all peace and defense. We’re at war, and with any war comes times of attack. In the show, zombies are scattered all over the earth. If they aren’t dealt with, they’ll just continue to follow you until you make a mistake. Then they’ll make their move. In the same sense, if things aren’t correctly dealt with in our Christian walk, it’ll keep following us until it gets a chance to become our undoing.

The characters on The Walking Dead have weapons at all times.. Have your weapons ready and at hand: God’s word and prayer! Remember, the best defense is a good offense. Be ready to attack!

 

3. Join a team you can trust.

The Christian walk, like surviving a zombie apocalypse, cannot be done alone. No matter how long you plan, or how hard you try, following Christ shouldn’t be done as a solo journey. A good team is needed. The church is God’s ordained vessel of ministry to the world. It would be extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to be a genuine Christian without a church connection. Christians are called to meet together as a church.

In the zombie world, a solo survivor is hard to come by. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule, but in general, a good team is needed in order to survive. Want to survive a zombie infestation? Interested in being a genuine follower of Jesus? Find a team you can trust and join them today!

 

4. There’s always hope.

In the zombie ridden world of The Walking Dead, things are bad. Flesh craving monsters are hiding around every corner, selfish survivors are searching for people to take advantage of, and life sustaining resources are hard to come by. No matter how bad it seems, there’s always hope.

Same thing is true in this world. Sure, things can get pretty ugly. Hardships, trials, temptations, and sufferings are a very real part of our lives. Bad times are as much a part of this world as are good times. Fortunately, there’s always hope. Our debt has been paid with Christ’s death on the cross, and our lives have been restored through His resurrection. He died for us and was raised from the dead so that we can live. Sure, life gets tough. But remember this: no matter how hard life may seem, there’s always hope.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Flickr user ToGa Wanderings

Lessons from a Funeral

Death is as much a part of this world as bugs are a part of summer. It’ll never go away. (That is until Christ comes again!) Even in my small amount of time I’ve been in the pastorate, I have been given several opportunities to do funeral services. For the families, funerals are a time to say goodbye and reflect on the time they were blessed to spend with their loved one. On the other hand, for the young pastor, funerals are very valuable learning opportunities: especially when the funeral is for a non-believer.

After doing some funerals and giving it a little bit of thought, here are a couple valuable lesson’s/burdens I’ve learned from those experiences.

1. There’s going to be a lot of “good” people in Hell. A lot of “good” people, that live, act, and love just like our own family members are going to end up spending eternity in Hell. Some of these people have even been defined by their self-sacrificial lives that they’ve lived for their families and friends. Maybe they were moral pillars in their neighborhood. However they lived, their only shortfall was this: they never trusted in Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. No matter how “good” they lived, it’s safe to assume that they weren’t as good as they should have been. A lot of “good” people will be spending an eternity in Hell, separated from God.

2. The church isn’t doing our job. After thinking about how many people didn’t make it into Heaven, I’m then appalled at the lack of passion the church has with presenting the gospel. We don’t go out of our way to present the gospel. We don’t do it passionately and boldly like we should. Christians live alongside those that don’t care for the message of Christ. They live alongside non-believers, and without a blink they take no action to push these people towards Jesus. With no second thought, were comfortable just the way we are. We’re not even trying.

Losing a loved one is always sad. This is even worse! A lot of “good” people will be spending a long time in Hell, and the church isn’t doing anything about it.

 

(Photo Credit: Flickr user ToGa Wanderings)

Photo credit: Flickr user arriba

Don’t Hurt Me Bro!

I don’t know how we got on the subject but I was talking with a few friends of mine recently regarding our most embarrassing moment in our youth. As the conversation took many turns (like most of ours often do), one thing led to another and eventually we began to vent to one another about how we’ve been hurt in the past by fellow Christians.

This isn’t a rare scenario either. Unfortunately, this situation isn’t just a local thing, but rather an epidemic. With more than 2 billion sinning-Christ-followers worldwide it’s no wonder fellow Christians will dish out some hurt every now and then.[1]

Let’s not kid ourselves though; we’ve all dished out some hurt at some point in our life. We’ve all been that person that has turned someone off from the church, the gospel, or even Christ himself. Honestly, it is a hard truth to swallow. The bottom line is this: we all must work harder to honor God.

Honoring God is not always going to be black and white. It’s not always going to be a cakewalk. Living as a genuine Christ follower can mean putting others needs before yourself. Every day is a battle. Just remember, that every fight is one worth fighting if it’s fought for Christ.

 

(Photo credit: Flickr user arriba)



[1] 2011 Study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life

Light Background

Bold as a Lion

I’ll admit it. Even I feel the pressure from the world to keep quiet about my relationship with Christ. Everyone does. This world we live in does not tolerate followers of Jesus to be too open about their faith. If Christ followers started talking more openly about their faith the world would go nuts.

Image Credit: flickr member gchampeau

Image Credit: flickr member gchampeau

Just think what would happen if Christians were bold for Christ! There would be push back. Lot’s of it. But I assure you the kingdom would move forward through it all.

That’s exactly how Christ followers are called to live in scripture. Proverbs 28:1 says this:

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

As believers we are given the righteousness of Christ through the redeeming blood He shed on the cross. Jesus died and rose again so that we can live. This good news (gospel) should push us to be bold. Think about it this way: We’ve all sinned, but God gifted us a life that we don’t deserve through His son. Let’s use this gift of a life for the one who did the gifting. Live your life for the one that gives life Be bold as a lion for Christ!

Maybe you’re like me and ask yourself, “who am I to be bold about anything?” Before any sermon, lesson, or meeting, that question always pops into my head but I always remind myself of the following verses:

“But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you”…” -Exodus 3:11-12a

We can be bold not only because God has granted us new life through Christ, but also because He’ll be with us through the whole thing. We aren’t called to be bold on our own. He’s going to be right there through the thick and thing when the going gets tough.

Now is not the time to put a bold life on hold, or wait until life slows down a bit. Now’s the time to get going Get in God’s word and live boldly as a follower of Christ.