Monday, December 28, 2015

From Practice To Game Time

            One of the hardest things about being a coach is watching the game. This is especially true if the game isn’t going the way that you had hoped it would go. During practice there are plenty of opportunities to stop everything, start over, and plan for a better outcome. But during the game itself those opportunities are limited, you don’t get to start over, and you have to change your plans as you go. One sentence that is often spoken from the coach to the player is, “I can only tell you what to do, you have to do it, I can’t do it for you.” The coach coaches, but the players are the ones who are out there playing the game. Therefore it is up to the players to learn from the coaching, to run the plays, and to play the game as they have been taught to do.
            The same scenario of a game can be seen in the church as well. Pastors and church leaders spend a lot of time preparing and coaching. These people design plays based upon God’s handbook (The Bible), they study them, look for areas to emphasize as well as spots to be careful with, and encourage the people to study them as well. The Pastors and leaders spend countless hours getting ready to teach and train the people (the players) how to run the plays, how to live their lives, in such a way that they have the best possible chance to defeat their opponent and at the same time grow more confident. This process is called discipleship.
            Now there’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in church circles, and unfortunately it is a word that is often feared, ignored, or all together avoided. Maybe we avoid this word because it consists of the word discipline and we know all too well that discipline isn’t very much fun. Discipline is what we lack when we are trying to lose weight or when we are trying to start exercising. Discipline is what we do to our children when they have done something bad or undesirable. Discipline is only eating one piece of chocolate, one bite of pie, or one serving of cheesy potatoes. And discipline is especially difficult when the people around you don’t seem to have any discipline for themselves.
            Yet Jesus was followed by a group of people called disciples. What are disciples? What are the qualities of a disciple? Well, I am glad that you asked! We know that the disciples were students of Jesus. Matthew 11 records Jesus calling people to him in order to rest and to learn from him. Disciples are a lot like an apprentice, one who is learning to be just like their trainer/teacher. John 15 tells us that disciples are friends of Jesus and agents of love. John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” And John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” Matthew 20 tells us that being like the Teacher means we must become servants; Matthew 20:26-28, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Finally, a disciple of Jesus is a follower, a life-time of commitment, none too easy, fully dedicated follower. Being a follower of Jesus comes with requirements, stipulations, backlash, and persecution. It means being willing to stand out from the crowd, suffer for injustice, and endure people’s ridicule and judgment. Jesus related being his follower to being a builder of a tower. The builder of the tower will first estimate the cost to see if they even have the funds to build. Also to a king headed out to war. Does he have enough men for success or not? Then Jesus says these words found in Luke 14:33, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
            My prayer for this New Year is that we will all find the cost of discipleship to be a worth-while cost. That we will dedicate all of ourselves (family, hobbies, occupations, and lives) to God and live in ways that reflect that dedication. May we be willing to suffer the cost of being a follower of Jesus! The coach can’t play the game for the players; they have to do it for themselves. But the coach can do all that he can do to help them succeed. So friends, Jesus is telling us what we need to do, how we need to do it, and even when it needs to be done if we will only listen and obey. The play has been called, the players are on the court, now run the play and just see how great things are about to happen.


Pastor Scott

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Take A Hike

“Take a hike” has been an old saying that expresses one’s irritation towards another person. Basically telling someone to “take a hike” is the same as “get lost”, “go away”, or “leave me alone”. This past Monday Kirk Taylor, the pastor from the Plains Church, and I took a hike together at Elk City Lake by Independence, Kansas. Together we hiked roughly nine miles up and down a rocky and wooded trail where we experienced God’s creation through birds singing, squirrels scampering, snakes shedding their skin, a breeze rustling the leaves, and the warmth of an abnormally warm September day.
There is a need in today’s day and age for people to take more hikes. There is a need to get away from everything that is deemed normal and submit ourselves to the quiet of God’s creation. It is in moments like these that we can reconnect with God, not that we literally were disconnected, but that we are at times unaware of God’s presence. So we take a hike, we get away, and by getting away we find ourselves.
Jesus did this often as he would find places where he could be by himself and pray. Luke tells us:
 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 (NIV)
At other times Jesus invited people to get away with him.
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NIV)
There are times in our lives that we get so busy, so wrapped up in our everyday events that we forget to get away with God. We forget about the importance of taking time off to rest. That is part of the reason God created the Sabbath, that we would not only take time to be with Jesus, but that we would take time to rest, to recharge our batteries, and to reconnect with the Giver of life.
            So my friends, take a hike, get away and draw near to the Lord. It is in him that we find the rest for our souls, a rest we are all way over due to receive.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)


Pastor Scott Morin

Friday, August 28, 2015

Counting The Cost

So this past month our family found a spectacular deal on some tickets to the Seattle Seahawks verses the Kansas City Chiefs preseason football game. These tickets were only $13.00 each and we knew that this was a deal to good to pass up. Well as luck would have it the Chiefs did beat the Hawks by one point and we had a pretty good time together. Then on the way home from the game we hit a deer on Highway 50 resulting in a really long weekend and our van needing $4,000.00 in repairs. So much for cheap football tickets.

As I think about this adventure I am reminded of Jesus explaining to the crowd the need to count the cost before considering themselves followers.

Luke 14:25-35New Living Translation
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

Being a follower of Jesus often costs us so much more than we ever thought possible. For some of us it means leaving your home country and being a missionary in a foreign land. For others is may mean moving to a new town or even state in order to follow Jesus’ calling. And for others it may mean being a missionary right where you are. But in every case being a follower of Jesus means doing something. We can’t be followers of Jesus without following Jesus. That means living in obedience to him first, his interests, his rules, his directions, his desires and to ours last. It means sacrificing our own wishes in order to fulfill God’s.

                Going to that Seahawk football game cost us more than I thought was possible. Who knew that there were still deer running across the road in Kansas? I mean you would think after all these years of deer vs. vehicle accidents that one of us would have learned to watch out for each other. But that time in Kansas City was still worth the cost, accident and all. Now we have memories that will last a lifetime. Memories that we wouldn’t have had sitting at home doing nothing.

                So friends, it’s time to do something for the Lord. But remember, being a follower of Jesus comes with a price that you must be willing to pay. If you aren’t willing then you may not be following who you thought you were.


Pastor Scott

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Remember to Laugh

One of the things that I love to do is laugh. The late American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said, “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”
While at this year’s Ministry Conference God blessed me with a lot of opportunities to laugh. Some of that laughter was at myself while at other times I was able to laugh alongside others. Reconnecting with old friends and laughing as well as connecting with new friends and laughing, both brought with it wonderful memories and needed opportunities to laugh.
For some reason life is easier to deal with when we are willing to laugh. Proverbs 15:15 says, “All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Unfortunately we are all often too serious. We forget to smile, to rejoice, and to laugh. I think of Jesus walking on the water while the Disciples are scared and freaking out thinking he is a ghost. I don’t know about you but I imagine that Jesus and the Disciples had a good laugh about that later on. Maybe as Jesus described the look on their faces and they laughed.
Somehow laughter brings healing to the soul. It reminds us that even though we may be going through a fire now there is still hope.  According to www.helpguide.orgHumor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.”
So Friends, laugh a little; no laugh a lot. Just as misery loves company so does laughter. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take a break from reality. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend. And remember to laugh. Remember these words from the great theologian Mark Twain, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”
Blessings my Friends,

Pastor Scott

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Supreme Court and Gay Marriage

Greetings Friends,

Recently the Supreme Court made another controversial decision that has the potential to negatively affect the church for ever forward. This decision to make homosexual marriage legal in all states will lead to a law that all churches and pastors must perform gay marriages or be fined/jailed if they don’t. So the question is how do we respond? What do we do? What can we do?

The answer to such questions is that we turn to God and we trust in Him. We stand our ground and we continue to uphold the truths of God and His written word. And we continue to serve God and love his children. Let us not forget that last part…love his children.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself…” Mark 12:30-31

Personally I have relatives that are rejoicing at this decision, as I am sure we all know someone who is. As a Christ follower I have to continue to live my life in and through Christ while at the same time love and respect my fellow man, even when I don’t agree with them. I have to leave the door open for meaningful discussion in hopes that the Holy Spirit will work through me into the lives of those who are walking outside of the grace of God. We have to remember that many of these people are walking in darkness, not out of their personal choice to, but out of confusion and trickery of Satan. So our role is to love them to the Lord. To inject the light of Jesus into their lives in any way we can. This must be done with God’s grace, in an attitude of love, and with the goal of restoration. Gay marriage is sin, I am not going to sugar coat that, but so is gossip, over-eating, drunkenness, lies, cheating, premarital sex, drug abuse, and so on. Let us not forget that we are all sinners where none deserve the life saving grace of Jesus’ sacrifice. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The Supreme Court has made this decision that obviously goes against our beliefs, but we serve the God and Creator of the universe who has power over the Supreme Court and it is God whom we shall serve before man. So as you serve God remember to continue to be in prayer for our country, our churches, our fellow Christ Followers, and even those who don’t agree with us. It is through God and not the law that we are truly saved and what Satan has intended for evil God can use for good.

Blessings my Friends,

Pastor Scott

Sunday, May 31, 2015

One Year by Kimberly Morin

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” Heb.12:1-2a  

One year ago on May 21st I decided to change my life and began to exercise. It took seven months before I was able to run a full 5k without stopping. Throughout that journey God taught me a lot, healed me from things in my past, and opened my eyes to a new future that he had waiting for me. I felt better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I grew closer to God and my husband. But then in one week I allowed wounds to open up that set me back almost to the beginning. For the past five months I have allowed that wound to tear down what God had built up. 

When I hit my year mark I heard God ask me if I was going to continue to let that situation bring me down or was I ready to move forward. There is that old adage “One step forward, two steps back” praise God that when you are working with him it is the opposite. God works at moving us from where we are and teaches us how to work through and overcome. At times we will fall, after all we are human. The Bible even shows us how the disciples fell from time to time.When we are teamed up with God it is no longer one forward two back, with Him it is two forward, and sometimes one back.  

My journey towards balanced health is not over, I took that one step back. As of today I am working on taking those many steps forward. I know here in a few months I will encounter that same situation again. This time though I have already begun praying and will be mentally, emotionally, andspiritually prepared. God is good, through Him I can do ALL things because he is my strength. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Waiting Upon The Lord ~ by Kim Morin

Exodus 24:12-16 “The Lord said to Moses ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.’ Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.’ When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sianai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud” (NIV).  

How many times have you gone before God and asked him for something or to seek his will? We go to our Father for so many different things, after all he is our Lord, our Savior, our guide our provider, our strength and the list can go on. We are told in the Bible to bring our thoughts to him, to cast our cares upon him. We are told to seek and we will find, to ask and it will be given. It is said that he will make our paths straight. But what about the times when we hear nothing? We go before God, sometimes on our knees, sometimes we fast, we come together in corporate prayer believing he will then hear us and show us what to do.  

God called Moses up the mountain verse 16 says that he waited on the mountain covered in clouds for six days without hearing a word. Did Moses hear God right? Did he call him up the mountain? Did Moses hear God at all? These questions would have been going through my mind, Lord did I really hear you? Can you hear me? Why are you being so silent? Does silence mean I am to go ahead or maybe not move ahead and stay put. The biggest lesson we can learn from Moses is to wait. God will show himself and the way. 

Six days on a mountain. For those who have never been on a mountain they are cold. The higher you climb the colder it gets. God did not tell Moses, hey I am going to have you camp on the side of a mountain for six days so bring blankets, a pillow, and some food and water. God called them all up to a certain point, fed them and then he called Moses up. Moses waited on God for everything, but most importantly what he promised. God had told Moses he was giving him the instructions and commandments for the Israelites. Moses was not leaving until he had them.  

Six days he waited, how long do you wait? Be sure to wait on him. Sometimes it will be an instant answer but more times than not we will wait. That wait may be six days or sixty years. Rest assured if you truly wait upon the Lord, he will answer.  But be careful not to miss ministry opportunities while you wait. God places things in our paths to help grow us and stretch us so that we will be ready for what he is calling us to do. Waiting is not passive, but active. Do the will of God while you wait. And remember the answers we are seeking should be that of God’s will not ours. For he always has our best interest, his perfect will in mind for us. 

Father, we pray today that you will help us wait on you. Teach us how to be still before you and active for you at the same time. Help us align our will our desires with your perfect will for us. For when we accept your will for us then we will find strength and peace.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

With All That We Have

Everywhere we go we often hear about the successes of the big church. As a pastor I hear about their multi-staff leadership teams, their almost professional worship teams, and their to dream for children’s ministries. If you go to the local Christian book stores you can find countless books authored by famous preachers and mega-church leaders and we are often left with the feeling as  a small church that we should maybe just give up and join something bigger, more successful, and current.

This past Sunday in worship I got totally lost in one of the songs that I was playing and ended up throwing the entire worship team off. I lost my place due to getting distracted with singing the song and forgot that I was also playing the song. At times I know that my voice was off key or a wrong note was played and I wondered…What does God think of this?

I came to the conclusion that we small churches honor God just as much as those big churches with all of their budgets, staff, and teams. God is honored by our efforts when we give God the best of our abilities no matter how it may sound to us.

Scripture tells us...
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)

So our worship may not always look the most polished, it may not always be on key, our bulletins may not be in color or have a professional appearance, and people may not be rushing to the book store to buy any of this pastor’s books (by the way I have yet to write one), but I can tell you that God is honored by our efforts.

So whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Blessings my Friends,

Pastor Scott

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Let's Be Friends

The other night Kim and I were able to hang out with some good friends for the first time in a long time. This was a time of dinner, bowling, and of course ice cream; nothing extra special, nothing extravagant, just friends having fun together.

For some of us, friends are something longed for but seldom found. Now I don’t mean that acquaintance at work or the lady at the grocery store who we like to talk to. I am talking about those people that you can be yourself with and not worry what they are thinking. These are the people that we are able to let our guards down and simply be together.

But being a friend can be a risky venture. Friendship requires vulnerability on both parts. It requires authenticity in good and bad times. Friendship also includes dependability as you partner together through thick and thin. When I think of some of the greatest friends in all of Scripture I come to the friendship of David and Jonathan. Our Scriptures tell us…

1 Samuel 18:1-4 (VOICE)
1 By the time David had finished speaking to Saul, Saul’s son Jonathan was bound to David in friendship, and Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. 2 Saul took David into his service on that day and would not let him return to his father’s home. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 He took off the robe he wore and gave it to David, and also his armor, sword, bow, and belt, symbolically transferring to David his right to ascend the throne.

Then we add to this the words of Jesus to his disciples…
John 15:14-17 (VOICE)
14 You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. 15 I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. 16 You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. 17 This is My command to you: love one another.

So I encourage you to be purposeful in developing your friendships. Be vulnerable with each other and get to know one another without judgement, without preconceived opinions, just people coming together to form one body called friends. And in everything may God get the glory!

Blessings my Friends,

Pastor Scott