The Priorities Within

By: Zach Collins

The human heart is an amazing, awe-inspiring work of God. It is at the center of anatomical relevance within the human body. Without the heart, the human body seizes to exist. Here’s some fun facts. On average, your heart beats at least one-hundred thousand times a day. Through those thousands of beats, your heart pumps two-thousand gallons of blood each day. This all occurs within an organ the size of your fist, literally. But, the human heart is of more than anatomical relevance. Continue reading “The Priorities Within”

The Denial of a Christian

By: Zach Collins

If we turn our bibles to Mark 14, we read of various things. We read of the burial anointment of Jesus by Mary (Mark 14:3-9). We read of the last supper that Jesus shared with His disciples (Mark 14:12-16). We read of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas (Mark 14:43-45). We read of the arrest and trial of Jesus (Mark 14:43-65). This chapter of scriptrue is chalked full of influential accounts within scripture. Accounts which occur in the span of one week. But, we also read of something else; the denial of Peter (Mark 14:66-72). We read of this account by Mark, (Mark 14: 66-72), and also within the account of Matthew (Matt. 26:69-75). We all know the story: Peter, a disciple of Christ, denies Jesus three times before the rooster crowed twice, just as Jesus had prophesied earlier in Mark 14. But, do we overlook the magnitude of that denial? Continue reading “The Denial of a Christian”

Aim High!

By: Keith Olbricht

There is a story that was supposed to be the introduction to this, but I decided to not bore you with it and skip it to get right to the point: we are going through life with our expectations too high. From careers, to cars, to peers, to looks, and to material stuff in general, the bar of expectation has been set so high that we are impossible to satisfy. Part of this is the natural byproduct of really good things. “Aim high,” we are told in school, and certainly we should. We can and should aim higher than we think we can obtain, but if we are aiming for the wrong things, all we amount to is a puff of smoke and a boom echoing around us. Continue reading “Aim High!”

The Cinderella Christian

By: Zach Collins

It’s that time of year again; March Madness! The time of year where we put hours into filling out tournament brackets, researching statistics that we do not even understand, only to have those brackets busted the first game of the first day. The time of year that can bring a grown man to tears with one follow through of a jump shot. The time of year where our favorite team loses to the ‘Cinderella’ team, usually an eleven or twelve seed from a University we didn’t even know existed. The time of year that we can see all the hopes and ambitions for our favorite team altered forever with one shot. But, if you are a sports fan, especially a basketball fan, it is probably your favorite time of year. Why? The presence of the “Cinderella” team in the tournament. Continue reading “The Cinderella Christian”

Cheer Up! (aka, Don’t Be a Sore Loser)

By: Keith Olbricht

Things do not always go as we envision them.  We make plans that end up having to be altered.  We take wrong turns and get to hear those words, “Route recalculating.”  We think we have the solution to a problem, only to discover that someone else has a better solution.  In those cases we may argue passionately, but are brought to the abrupt realization that we were wrong.  And then comes the hard part, when we have to admit that we were wrong. Continue reading “Cheer Up! (aka, Don’t Be a Sore Loser)”

The Existence of Fear

By: Zach Collins

If you were to poll one hundred Christians and ask them the question:

What one factor holds you back spiritually?

How do you believe those Christians would answer? Peer pressure, maybe. Anxiety, possibly. In my mind, I believe that fear would be the most common answer. I’m not talking about the fear of heights, I’m not talking about the fear of clowns, I’m not talking about weird phobias. I’m talking about fears within our spiritual life. We all have them. Just to list a few: Continue reading “The Existence of Fear”

I Don’t Know Much…

By: Zach Collins

I don’t know a lot about a lot of things. I was only given so much knowledge and understanding. I don’t know much about the universe, but I can tell you who created the universe, (Gen. 1:1). I don’t know much about gardening, but I can tell you about the seed of God, (Luke 8). I don’t know much about life, but I can tell you about the One for which I live my life, (Deut. 6:5). I haven’t read extensively, but I can tell you about the one book I have read, (Joshua 1:8). I can’t tell you a lot about love, but I can tell you whose love flows abundantly, (Rom. 5:8). My mind can’t grasp the idea of eternity, but I can tell you about the One who offers eternity, (John 3:16). I don’t know much about saving lives, but I can tell you how to save your soul, (Jam. 1:21). I don’t know much about the future, but I know who holds my future, (Jerm. 29:11). I don’t know much about a lot of things. I was only given so much knowledge and understanding. But, I know one thing that is simple; God’s message is simple. What’s His message? I love you, let me know you, let me save you. He sent His only son to seek and save the loss (Luke 19:10), to die on a wooden cross for OUR sins, so that we could spend eternity with Him. That’s love. That’s simple. You don’t have to be smart to search for His message. You don’t have to be all-knowing to understand His message. You don’t have to be perfect to obey His message. You just have to be willing to accept His message.

Are you willing?

Hey, are you a Christian?

By: Zach Collins

Let’s start with a question, can others identify you as a Christian? This was the main question addressed at CYC 2018, in Pigeon Forge. Each speaker addressed the concept of identity and the effect that identity has on each person’s Christianity. These speakers were not referring to unique identification attributes of each person. We are not talking about fingerprints, big ears, a crooked nose, or green eyes. We are not talking about names, social security numbers, or driver’s licenses. These things are not material and could not be identified by a forensic scientist or detective. We are talking about an identity that we inherit through one simple act, becoming a Christian. But, do others know we are a Christian? It is one thing to complete the act of becoming a Christian, by hearing, believing, repenting, and being reborn through baptism (Rom. 6:4). However, it is something else to live our life as a faithful Christian, and to have that act become our identity.  It is something else for the characteristics of a servant of God to be an identifying factor for a Christian.  Continue reading “Hey, are you a Christian?”

Do the Clothes Make the Christian?

By: Keith Olbricht

This past Sunday coming home from CYC, I wore my customary khakis and a polo.  When we got back here to the building at about 5:00, I realized I was not going to have time to go home and change before our evening worship here.  It would be highly unusual for me to preach without a jacket and tie, but I wasn’t too worried about it on this occasion.  However, one of our young people made a comment to the effect that dressed as I was, I looked more beachy than preachy.  I know she was not criticizing, but based on her comment, I managed to find time to change into a dress shirt and tie before time for worship. Continue reading “Do the Clothes Make the Christian?”

Um, That’s MY Charger

By: Keith Olbricht

As it usually seems to go, I thought of the perfect illustration for a lesson…a few days after I taught it. I had taught from Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten virgins about the need for preparedness, and a couple of days later, the modern equivalent of the oil-in-the-lamps hit me. I was driving the bus to Pigeon Forge to CYC, and at some point along the way we stopped at a rest area. (I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you why. Lots of teenagers drinking lots of soda.) As we got ready to get back on the road (again), I was torn between amusement and annoyance to find that someone had taken the liberty of plugging their phone into my charger. MY charger. That I had plugged into the outlet on the dash. That I had the foresight to bring. “Foolish kids,” I thought to myself, “they should have known they were going to need a charger.” Continue reading “Um, That’s MY Charger”