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”

The Power of Seed Principle

By: Zach Collins

I don’t know much about gardening, but I do understand seed principle. Seed principle is simple. Whatever seed the sower sows, that is the seed that will grow. Right?

In Luke 8, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Sometimes, this parable is referred to as the ‘parable of the soils’. A parable is a story with two meanings. Jesus used this method, throughout the Bible, to get His message across. On the surface, it is like any other story. Yet, the symbols within the stories have deeper meanings. These deeper meanings often apply to our Christianity, or our Faith, in some form or fashion. In this parable, Jesus tells of the various ways that hearts will receive his Word. Starting in verse 5, Jesus begins by saying, “A sower went out to sow.” This sower did not go and sow individual seeds, in perfect little rows, as we do in our gardens. These sowers sowed their seed with a method that was akin to throwing. They would take large amounts of seed and scatter it across the designated area. This method was more productive to the needs of the sower. But, no matter where the seed was, the seed would still attempt to grow within the soil. Seed principle is simple. Whatever seed the sower sows, that is the seed that will grow. Right? Continue reading “The Power of Seed Principle”

The Beauty of the Cross

By: Keith Olbricht

I ran out of time before I could finish my lesson Wednesday night, so I want to put it into writing here and now.

The cross today is one of the most cherished emblems in the world—to those who believe.  But in the 1st Century, it was an object of scorn and shame.  As Jesus began introducing this idea to His disciples, it is no surprise that they were not immediately accepting.  Reading the three times that Jesus tells this to His disciples in Matthew (16:21-23; 17:22-23; and 20:17-19), you will notice some similarities and differences. Continue reading “The Beauty of the Cross”

Are You a Consistent Christian?

By: Zach Collins

One of the things that you will hear every basketball coach preach is, consistency. Consistency is defined as, “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.” Consistency is a key athletic component for any athlete in any sport. As an athlete, you are nothing if you are not consistent. Sure, you can put up 30 points one night and push your team to a win. But, if you falter the next night, and your team loses, what have you accomplished? The answer: Nothing. Consistency is the unteachable component that every great athlete has or will possess. Continue reading “Are You a Consistent Christian?”