Something to Brighten Your Day

Written by Various Authors
on September 12, 2018 in Devotionals

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life.’” John 8:12

In C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Magician’s Nephew,” there is a line that caught my eye: “Things always look better when the light is behind you.” Reading that, this is what came to my mind: When we are following Jesus, he lights up our path. When light is in front of us, we are at least partially blinded from seeing the full beauty around us. When light is behind us, we are able to see not only how beautiful things are but how they radiate in the light. Think of when the sunset is behind where you’re looking. I think heaven is going to be like that moment when the light shifts from in front of us to behind us. We will be able to fully see the beauty of everything around us, and the darkness will be overtaken by light. We will then see the beauty of people, nature, heaven, and, mostly, God.

We look forward to Heaven when everything will be illuminated. Take time to remember and consider how much can change when we look at difficult situations in life from a different angle as well. Perspective matters.

I think of photography when I think about the angle of the light. When I am taking a photo and the light is behind the subject, it turns the subject into a silhouette. Silhouette shots are really cool but they expose few details. On the other hand, when the light is behind me, the shot shows the subject clearly. It’s a good analogy of the way we are able to see God on this side of heaven. We can only see an outline and only get an idea of what is really there until when the light is shifted and we can see God face to face in radiant glory. Only then are we able to experience His fullness and true beauty.

While wakeboarding, I was trying to get some shots of my friend, Doug. The pictures were washed out because of where we were in relation to the sun. Once the boat was turned around, everything was illuminated and the photos were great! All the frustration of trying to get something great was gone as soon as we changed our angle and perspective. I look forward to when I get to heaven and shift my view like they did that day to show the radiance and beauty of Christ and shine light on all the dark parts of the path I traveled to get there.

Challenge

  • What dark areas in your life do you want to see light break into?
  • How can you change your perspective now to better see the opportunities all around you?

 

By Ben Palsha| Twinsburg, OH

Posted in Devotionals

The Origin of Evil

Written by Various Authors
on September 5, 2018 in Devotionals

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31 (ESV)

We are surrounded by evil on a daily basis: murders, terrorist attacks. It’s why we have a court system and why I taco’d that rail. Well… maybe not that last one, but it sure felt evil. You need to only peep your local news source for a minute to see the evil in this world. Being so prevalent, where did it come from? We read in Genesis 1:31 that God created all things and that it was good. This verse has two main points. God made everything and that everything He created was good. How could God have created evil and seen it as good?

Evil, like darkness, is only present when God, like the light from our science lesson, is removed.

Let’s take a quick side trail science lesson. We all know and have seen light. It’s how we see. We have natural light from the sun, or we can create it (i.e a flashlight). It can be measured, proven, and created. Then there’s opposite of light: dark. We have seen darkness, but can we create darkness? Do we have a machine that we can turn on and out comes darkness? Darkness does not actually exist. There is no particle or wave called dark. Darkness is only the absence of light. Once all the light has been removed, dark cannot be made darker.

1 John 4:8 tells us that, “Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.” If God created all things and they were good, and if the reason that those that don’t show love is because they don’t know God, then what evil really is, is the absence of God.

Challenge

  • This week as you hear the news, try to look at the evil acts being committed, not as inherently evil but as someone that needs Jesus! Where do you see evil around you in your everyday life?
  • How can you be the light of Jesus in that darkness?
  • Use it as motivation to be bold for Christ! The more we shine the love of Jesus into the darkness, the less evil in the world there can be. YOU can literally make the world a better place!

 

By Cory Holton| Dillon, CO

Posted in Devotionals

Rich and Satisfying

Written by Various Authors
on August 29, 2018 in Devotionals

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

I came to the realization a few years ago I will most likely never be the best at anything. I love being on my snowboard and cranking up hills on my bike, but I also know I will never ride in the Tour de France or compete in the Olympics. John 10:10 always reminds me who God is and what he wants for my life. The times I get bummed about not landing a new trick or getting dropped on a group ride I feel satan (intentionally lowercase; that guy doesn’t deserve any capital letters!) trying to steal my joy. Stealing, killing, and destroying are his goals. That’s not a guy with whom I’d want to spend my time. I need to remember my failures don’t matter to God. God wants to give me a “rich and satisfying life,” which sounds way better than the other option!    

Jesus is the good guy; satan is the bad guy. Jesus offers life while satan tries everything to take it away. Jesus always leads to a “rich and satisfying life!”

There is nothing wrong to strive to become better at what we do. Bigger tricks, promotions at work, and other times we “win” at life are all good things. However, we can’t let them be the source of our joy and satisfaction. Those can only come from Jesus. I know too many “successful” people who have had life stolen from them or destroyed. Choose Jesus. Success fueled by anything besides Jesus leaves us unsatisfied. Jesus is the only way we will ever experience a “rich and satisfying life.”    

Challenge

  • What in life are you pursuing greatness AND how is it impacting the way you see God?
  • Are you willing to trust God to give you a “rich and satisfying life” even if it looks differently than what YOU want?
  • Are you using your God-given gifts as a tool to share Jesus’ love with others? How can you use it to impact more people or impact people more powerfully?

 

By Ben Palsha | Twinsburg, OH

Posted in Devotionals

RACE TO THE FINISH LINE

Written by Various Authors
on August 22, 2018 in Devotionals

“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Prepping for the big contest or race on the mountain, you don’t want to show up the day of without prior training and just wing it. For the best results, you most likely have been training for years. Days leading up to the comp, you get to know the course the best you can, have your board/ski freshly waxed and packed, and have a healthy and hearty meal and a decent night’s rest. I love the pressure to perform but equally have to fight my nerves. Mentally preparing is half the battle. It sure pays off to have the endurance to train and prepare every day with the end goal in mind. If we don’t do as well as we wanted, we then learn and grow and get back to our feet and try again.

Several times in the Bible, our everyday life in Christ is described as a race. Our Christian race isn’t much different; we can’t run very well if we’re bound up in sin. At the beginning of the race, Jesus may seem far away in the distance, but we know Him through the gospel. Life works best when we follow God’s Word and obey His commands. He didn’t give us commands to trap us, but to free us to run our race with endurance. When we do so, our true goal comes into view. As we run and keep our eyes on Jesus, God works on us and makes us more like His Son. Life with Christ is an everyday journey with many blessings, battles, and hardships which our Lord helps give us the strength to get through.

I’ve been saved for six years now and I haven’t looked back. I have been involved doing SFC ministry since I started following Jesus and need Jesus everyday. When I get off track, I come back to Jesus and trust He always gets me back on the right path. I know it will be a lifetime journey where I will need the endurance from the Lord to help me through the trials. Ultimately, He will bring us to our long-awaited reward: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

God knows we need help! Sometimes it is not easy or fun to develop it, but it has a guaranteed reward. In our spiritual race, we have to count the costs and commit to God’s training program. This training takes self-discipline. It takes moderation. Prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting, and fellowship are spiritual disciplines that help us grow. We must not draw back or quit! We must endure and finish the race and receive the incredible gift of salvation! Run the race that is set before you, but run it with the hope that God wants you to have in Christ. Fellow shredders, let’s train and prepare well to endure to the end. And let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the author of our race and our faith. Then when we cross the finish line, we can hear these wonderful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21).

Challenge

  • How can you apply what you learned today to an everyday routine training and prepare for the endurance to finish the race set before you?
  • Would you be willing to open up to share with your closest friends what struggles or battles you may be going through right now?
  • What areas in your life could use more training or encouragement from others for?

 

By Taylor Brant| Evergreen, CO

Posted in Devotionals

FIVE reasons to get “L.I.T.” 🔥 with us

Written by Ryan Leeds
on in News

We recently posted four reasons to apply to SFC’s new Leadership Development Program. In this post, we want to briefly expound upon those reasons – and give you one more! Here are FIVE reasons to apply for the Leadership Development Program (which we’re fondly referring to as the Leaders Intensive Training “L.I.T.”):

To get plugged into an intentional Christ-centered community:
We believe that it’s impossible to realize the fullest measures/riches of the Christian life apart from Christian community. This is because we simply cannot give ourselves everything that we need for the Christian life. We NEED other believers in our life – brothers/sisters who will walk alongside us, who will speak truth into our life, and who will challenge us to be more like Christ. In this program, you’ll be given several opportunities to plug in and experience Christian community – because nothing promotes growth quite like community.

To know God and His Word better:
God wrote a book. The most important book in the world. In it, God reveals to us who He is, who we are, and how we come into relation with Him. If we’re honest, though, the Bible is a book that many of us have difficulty navigating. We know that it’s important and that it deserves our attention, but we’re not completely sure how to read it and/or how to apply it. In this program, we will dedicate several months to an in-depth study of God’s Word and will explore topics such as: discipleship, evangelism, leadership/mentorship, apologetics, intercultural communication, and inductive Bible study. As we devote time to studying God’s Word, we will get to know God – and ourselves – better. Knowing God better will enhance our ministry and our impact to the world around us.

To get hands-on ministry experience:
It is not enough to know God better – we have been called to make Him known! If we have experienced the goodness of God’s grace in our lives, then we need to step up and live like it by reaching out. In this program, you will be given several opportunities to get plugged into the work that God is doing here in Colorado, and to put into practice the things that God has taught you in the “classroom.”

To experience what God is doing through ski/snowboard ministry:
God is doing an amazing work in the shred community, and for 20+ years, SFC has been blessed to be apart it. In this program, you’ll have an opportunity to hear from veteran SFC leaders, and to experience (firsthand) the way that they are building relationships and impacting people on the hill.

To grow in your understanding and practice of leadership:
True leadership is about sacrifice. It’s about dying to self (selfish interests/motives), so that others can flourish. Like Jesus, Christian leaders are men/women who lead by serving, not by being served. As we grow in our understanding of what it means to be a disciple (through our studies), we will quickly see that (spiritual) leadership is simply the outpouring of a heart/life surrendered to God and His mission. Our aim, through this program, is to help people become gospel-driven leaders by helping them realize their true leadership potential.

As SFC, we share this vision “to be the LIGHT of Jesus” in our dark culture, it’s fitting (and a little humorous) to say that we design this “Leadership Intensive Training” to get new SFC leaders “L.I.T.” together. We are praying that YOU would come and see how God can use your gifts to build up His body and light up your community!

 

Posted in News

HUMBLE SUBMISSION

Written by Various Authors
on August 15, 2018 in Devotionals

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” – Pro. 11:2 ESV

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 ESV

I just broke my third bone in a year, all from snowboarding, all causing me to have to take a couple of months out. After the second injury I thought, “Okay. Maybe I’m getting a bit cocky and God is telling me to take it down a notch.” After the third, I felt my conscious strongly telling me that it’s time to stop riding for me and my glory.

Funnily enough, before the most recent episode a few weeks ago, I drove up the hill and prayed that God would help me be humble and selfless and use that day as a time to spend time with old and maybe new friends. He gave me exactly that opportunity.  I met a random guy on the lift who asked me how to do a certain trick and suggested we cut some laps together. We did one, then got separated in the lift line. Spying some mates up ahead that I had planned to meet and wanting to catch up with them through the run, I didn’t wait up for my new buddy. By the bottom of that lap, I felt pretty guilty about ditching him. A few runs later, and- bam- I was sledding out with ski patrol and had lost my opportunity to reconnect with this dude.

I think I’m finally starting to learn from these accidents. I get too caught up in the hype of snowboarding. A lot of the time I ride for me instead of hanging back and helping someone learn a new trick or taking time out to visit an injured friend. It’s time to use the passion for snowboarding I’ve been gifted with to channel something else – a love for helping others and shining Jesus’ love around in the lift line, the chair, the slopes, and beyond. Jesus is the perfect example of a humble life; he never let the weed of pride take over. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve.  I don’t want my identity to be found in snowboarding but in our humble king.

Challenge

  • Do you think you may have weeds of pride in your life? Do you compare yourself with others? Feel superior by putting others down? Do you ever do something humble and then feel proud about that?
  • Skiing and snowboarding is mostly an each-for-their-own culture. What are some ways this culture glorifies self-importance and exaltation?
  • What extra things can you do when you’re riding or out and about in the shred community to serve, put others first, and set an example so others are inspired to do the same?

 

By Naomi Macfarlane | Wanaka, New Zealand

Posted in Devotionals

Sign up now for the NEW SFC Leadership Development Program

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 14, 2018 in News

Over the past several years, the SFC movement has seen a tremendous amount of growth. With chapters popping up all around the world (e.g., Chile, Aspen, Burlington), God has been actively demonstrating His heart for the shred industry. SFC has been blessed to be a part of this incredible movement and this growing network of folks that God has burdened with the task of “being a light” on the hill. But, as God has continued to extend His reach into the ski/snowboard culture, we have realized that there is an increasing need to train leaders across the globe. While there are many who resonate with – and firmly believe in – the mission of SFC, there are also many who do not feel equipped to carry it out. The Leadership Development Program (LDP), launching this October, is our latest attempt to help meet this need – to equip and encourage current (and future) leaders to BE THE BRIDGE that connects the snowriding culture to Jesus.

The heart of the program (our WHY) is rooted in our conviction that EVERY believer (every SFCer) should be equipped to carry out the work that God has called them to. We are saddened when we see people, who feel a burden for this culture, resolve to sit on the sidelines because they do not believe that they could ever make an impact. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, Christ has given us ALL gifts that can be used for the building up of His body (the Church). It is our hope/prayer that this program will be one of the ways that God confirms this in the life of every SFCer.

Why should you apply for SFC’s new Leadership Development Program?

  1. 1. To get plugged into an intentional Christ-centered community
  2. 2. To know God and His Word better
  3. 3. To get hands-on ministry experience
  4. 4. To experience what God is doing through ski/snowboard ministry

 
We still have a couple of spots available, so we’ve decided to extend the registration deadline through August 31st. Would you consider putting in an application? We would be stoked to have you!

If you have any questions, please shoot me an email at ryan@sfcusa.org.

Posted in News

Growing Them Up

Written by Various Authors
on August 8, 2018 in Devotionals

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

As my journey as a Christian began, there was one question I seemed to ask more than any other: “So how exactly does Jesus dying on the cross for my sins apply to my life now?” Through coming to faith in Christ, I was given some clarity as to what the Gospel actually was and how it would save me at that moment and for my eternity in heaven. Beyond that, I was pretty clueless as to what that would do for me while living here on this earth. I knew I was saved and I would be saved, but was I being saved? I didn’t see how the Gospel applied to every aspect of my life and, now four years later, still does.

Jesus is the solution and the answer to every problem. Don’t give yourself or others a substitute for Him because only He can grow people up into Himself.

In this passage, it states that the way in which we grow into Christ (discipleship or being saved) is by “speaking the truth in love” to one another. Later in the passage, we find that the truth is found in Jesus. If the Gospel is the good news of Jesus, then this passage is saying that we speak the Gospel to one another to grow up into Christ.

We often think the Gospel is for non-believers, but it’s for us too! We don’t grow up in our faith unless we can speak the Gospel to ourselves and to others (both believers and non-believers) into all the areas of our and their lives. You can’t grow into Christ unless you totally give yourself to Christ! He’s the one who grows people up: not you, not spiritual practices, not laws, not obedience, not outreach events, not even Bible studies. It’s Jesus who does the work! Those are all good things, but unless you seek Jesus through those things,  you’re not actually growing. If Jesus isn’t the solution and the answer, then what substitute are we giving ourselves and others?

Challenge

    • How often are you able to show Jesus through your actions?
    • How often are you able to share Jesus with others to explain your actions?
    • What solutions do you give people that don’t involve Jesus?
    • Do you believe that Jesus solves everything?
    • If not, why not?
    • Do you believe He fully solved your problem of separation with God?

 

By Nathan Jenkins | Lincoln, NH

Posted in Devotionals

SFC Australia: The light continues to shine

Written by Nick Sackman
on July 30, 2018 in News

In the snow riding culture, we often hear that it’s always snowing somewhere. When you hear Australia, you may think of surfing, the Outback, and kangaroos. It can be hard to imagine heaps of snow. Over the past decade, the Australian skiing and snowboarding population has grown massively, and their influence is becoming evident. Perisher Australia offers the best snowboard/ski terrain park in the southern hemisphere, which attracts people from all over the world to the Australian snowy mountains. The population in the country town of Jindabyne jumps from a few small thousand to over twenty thousand during peak winter months. The Aussie snowriding culture finds a mass amount of people trying escape reality for a few months in the party scene. Major hardships thrive there such as drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, loss of identity, depression, suicide, STDs, etc. Many let loose and lose their identity in skiing/snowboarding, partying, and/or relationships. There is a huge need for SFC and the Christian community to connect Christians and non-believers to experience the love, hope, and purpose found in Jesus.

Over the last ten years, SFC leaders have been investing into reaching this community with bible studies, soup kitchens, and other community outreach. SFC staff member, Taylor Brant from Colorado, has spent the last three years abroad in Australia and New Zealand rebuilding SFC’s relationship with the local church, planting seeds, casting vision, discipling new believers, sharing the gospel, and laying the foundation of what’s possible for future SFC Aussie/Kiwi leaders leaders to continue to be a light on the hill. Taylor (aka Swifty) eturned home to Colorado this July and passed on the baton to local Aussie leaders. The SFC movement is capturing the hearts of new leaders to be light on the hill not only in Jindabyne but also the other Australia snowy mountains in Victoria at Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, and Bright. God is evolving and shaping SFC Australia organically; it’s a team and community effort to reach the lost in the shred culture. The new crew is meeting regularly for bible studies, life groups, and serving in the communities. Please partner alongside SFC in prayer as God continues to raise up new leaders throughout Australia and New Zealand so that the fire and passion for Jesus to reach the good news to the lost.

Pray for SFC Australia

Unity – That leadership will work together and for more leaders to be called to serve.

Community – That the community will be able to help provide protection and support to vulnerable people.

Development – That Christian skiers and snowboarders will connect in Victoria mountains to gather and form an SFC ministry team.

Events – For God’s work, finances, and organization as SFC serves the community through outreach events such as Love-A-Lifty fudge, PBJs in the park, and Sausage Sizzles

Growth – That Australian leaders will rise up and mature in their calling, confidence, and knowledge of the Lord.

Connect with SFC Australia

    

Posted in News

New Partnerships for SFC in Canada

Written by Various Authors
on April 21, 2018 in News

Chapters all across the country have been busy throughout this winter season praying, sharing community with each other and with those they meet on the ski hills as well as praying into the future of SFC Canada as a whole. We are ever thankful for the prayers and support you give our chapters all across this nation!!!!

As Canada continues to have a few huge snowfalls here and there but many people are longing for spring, we’d like to share a missions story from our friend Chris Harder who is currently in Vancouver with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) who recently had great new opportunity!!! The YWAM school in Vancouver is aiming to start a new Snowboard Discipleship School (DTS) next winter (2019) where folk can go and learn the heart of God for themselves, and God’s heart towards others for a few months on the school; then go on a mission trip to share the skills and heart of God with others.

We at SFC Canada are so happy to have partner ministries such as YWAM that raise up Godly leaders and help us with Chapter recruits thereafter, we hope to do more of this in the future across Canada, go, learn, experience, then send people back to our Nation as missionaries to their local ski hills.

Here is a little of Chris’ story from the recent trip to Japan as a scouting mission to see where the school in Vancouver can send their students for outreach opportunities:

Exploring the Land of the Rising Sun

For most of my life I have heard stories about this faraway land. My mom was a short term missionary in Japan in 1977 and I have been trying to visit, snowboard and see what Jesus wants to do there since 2010.

In December last year I joined the team at YWAM Vancouver to help pioneer a brand new Snowboarders’ & Skiers DTS with the intent to take a team to Japan on outreach when the school starts next year. So after eight years of trying, I finally made it to Japan to scout out the land to see what God wants to do there when we bring a team there next year.

What did our team of two do while we were there? We made connections with YWAM Tokyo, taught snowboarding and served at Northstar and encouraged long-term missionaries in Myoko-kogen. More than that, we declared the goodness of the Lord and interceded for Japan from the highest ski resort in the country and worshipped with joy of the Lord at the oldest ski resort in Japan. Going into the trip I didn’t have too many concrete plans but was ready for any adventures that Jesus had for us. He did not disappoint!

At this point, less than 1% of Japan is Christian but we couldn’t help but feeling that the balloon that has been filling with prayers from around the world is getting ready to burst spilling the Presence of God over the nation.

It was an honor to serve alongside the missionaries that are currently in Japan, a pleasure to ride the fabled Japanese Alps and a joy to finally visit this amazing country I’ve heard so much about for so long!

Our new Snowboarders & Skiers DTS will be launching January 3, 2019 and if you’d like some more info head to www.ywamvancouver.org/sdts/

SFC Canada would like to ask you to join us in prayer towards this partnership that YWAM Vancouver is making with a long-term SFC partner Northstar in Japan as well as YWAM Japan. Please pray for continued connection, for students for the new school and for the leaders who are trying to get the school up and running.

Also please continue to pray for the current Chapter leaders across Canada who are wrapping up their winter seasons and living it for Jesus on the ski hills. We are so proud of all they have done and can’t wait to share more stories with you in the months to come of what they have been up to as well as where SFC Canada is headed.

We love you guys, thanks for reading.

(Mission Story by Chris Harder. Photos by Chris Harder and Phil Yarborough. All copyrights are theirs and theirs alone).

Posted in News