Grief to Joy

Written by Various Authors
on August 30, 2017 in Devotionals

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. – John 16:20

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I grew up in a Christian home but didn’t want anything to do with God.

One summer, I broke down. Depression had left me broken; I’d harmed myself too many times attempting to feel anything. I even tried committing suicide. However through SFC, I was able to reconnect with God at a snowboard camp in Lynchburg, VA. my snowboard coach constantly showed me the light of Jesus. Many people I shredded with were there in my grief.

With Jesus, our pain doesn’t last.

I realize that life is hard and, many nights, I don’t see relief. It can feel impossible to see the light when you only see darkness. But through snowboarding, God has sent amazing people to bring me back to Him. They help me find hope and even give me hope in my darkest days.

Without Jesus, we can’t get through those dark day. He is the only light in a world full of darkness; He never leaves us. Jesus wants to take our pain. He hurts when we hurt. However, we have to allow him to take it. Like many injuries in snowboarding and skiing, our deepest hurts don’t last forever. No matter how much pain there is, it doesn’t last when you trust in Jesus.

Challenge

Has there ever been a time when your grief felt like it was never going to end?

How did you deal with that grief?

How has Jesus ever helped you through your pain?

 

By Bethany Waller | Lynchburg, Virgina

Posted in Devotionals

God Speaks through His Creation

Written by Various Authors
on August 23, 2017 in Devotionals

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 ESV

When winter ends and the snow melts, my heart continues to long to play in the mountains, so I go hiking. My summer schedule is hectic, putting in anywhere from 50-70 hours a week to save up for tuition for school. Work hard, play hard: that’s my summer motto.

A few days ago, I was hiking a trail called, “Lonesome Lake,” before work with my dog. Due to the recent heavy rain, the usual trail I take was closed from erosion which resulted in me taking another trail to the lake. It continually amazes me how God’s creation always points me to Him. Romans 1:20 tells us that no one can deny the existence of God because His creation magnifies His glory. The trail I took was washed out and barely recognizable. In uncertainty but trusting of trail markers, I followed it. While on the trail, I realized I forgot my water bottle in the car. However, I remembered the AMC hut at the lake would have water. Often times, I’m unsure of the path God is leading me on, just as I was while following the trail this morning. However, by trusting in God, my uncertainty has always resulted in His provision. Similarly, this morning, the trust in trail markers led me to the hut where water was provided. God’s provision is so crazy awesome; check out Romans 8:32 on that subject.

We have a God who teaches and reminds us of His goodness through His creation and through the adventures we take! How cool is that? When we live life looking for God in everything around us, we see His truths covering over the entirety of it.

Challenge

Spend some time hanging out in God’s creation.

God’s creation magnifies His glory, do you magnify His glory? How can you better do that?

 

By Eunice Bartlett | Lincoln, NH

Posted in Devotionals

Wisdom in Friendships

Written by Various Authors
on August 16, 2017 in Devotionals

“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Pro. 12:26 (NIV)

To accomplish our role as skiers and snowboarders for Christ and bridge the gap between snow shredders and Jesus, we must connect with shredders and build significant relationships with them. However, we must be wary of the fact that if we can have impact on them, they can have impact on us.

Snow shredders live fun lives, but they are often destructive lives too. Satan finds sneaky ways to use this fun-filled lifestyle to sidetrack us from the ultimate goal and try to encourage us down the wrong path. He wants non-Christian friends to create temptations and rub off on us. Remember SFC’s Identity value: “We enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and relate within the culture, yet we remain obedient to God’s word and find our eternal identity in Him.” Although we can have friendships outside our faith, the deepest relationships should be with our fellow Christians to keep reminding us what track to follow and to hold us accountable. Proverbs 13:20 advises we “walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (NIV).

While it is very important for us to shape relationships within our shred community, we must be careful how we interact with people. Consider the activities you do when hanging out with these friends, the things you talk about, and how deeply you get involved with such people. For example, do you hang out with your buddies behind the trees as they smoke a joint, condoning such behaviour? If you do say something, do your friends respect and support your choices and views? Consider the reasons behind each friendship you have and if these friendships glorify Christ and show who you are in Him.

Challenge

Are your non-Christian friends negatively affecting your relationship with God? Are your interactions with these people leading to temptation, perhaps without you noticing it at the time?

On the other hand, do you get angry or upset when Christian friends correct you and share wisdom?

Bring your friends up in prayer before God, asking what he wants for each relationship and how to build up that relationship in the right way to glorify Him.

 

By Naomi Macfarlane | Wanaka, New Zealand

Posted in Devotionals

False Summits

Written by Various Authors
on August 9, 2017 in Devotionals

“In April, my dad, Wayne, was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. We have not known the full extent of the cancer until recently when they went in to remove the bladder and found that it had spread into the soft tissue around the bladder and had entered a lymph node. As of July 28th, he has started his first of four two-week long Chemo treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.” – Shawn Gruenhagen

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8 NIV

A hiking friend recently compared my current situation (being diagnosed with Bladder Cancer in April) to hiking a 14er, a peak that exceeds 14,000 feet, in Colorado. I’ve hiked 13 different peaks with our sons and a couple with our daughters-in-law. Some 14ers have false summits, which means that the actual summit is hidden from view. When you finally reach what you thought was the summit, you realize the actual summit is still some distance ahead. Mt. Democrat is one of those with, I remember, three false summits. False summits can be demoralizing, but there is only one way to summit: keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Faith isn’t something a person gets at some point in their life, but it is a journey and needs to be nourished. False summits will come, but the only way to find the true summit is to keep pushing one foot in front of the other.

Several years ago, I bought our sons a bumper sticker that said, “False summits suck!” Cancer sucks; I’ve had several “false summits” along this journey. I was talking with an army buddy of mine Saturday night, and he asked how a person handles a situation like cancer. My big picture is to survive this. In itself, it is too big. I need to continue to take one step at a time and keep moving forward. The current plan is chemotherapy, which is now necessary because the surgeons found more cancer, yet another false summit. However, each treatment will be another step towards recovery.

I’ve always considered myself as having faith in God even though I may not have always acted that way. About 10 years ago, I realized that faith isn’t something a person gets at some point in their life, but it is a journey and needs to be nourished. These last years have been a joyful journey for me. In addition to the pastors and members of our church, scripture has certainly helped me through my situation. There are many passages in the Bible that one can refer to, but I find myself going to Psalm 103, Isaiah 40:28-31 & 41:10 and Ephesians 2:8.

How will this cancer journey end? Only God knows the summit.

Challenge

Have you had moments in your life that seem like a “False Summit?”

How do you tackle these moments?

What are you doing to nourish your faith journey? How can you help others do the same?

 

By Wayne Gruenhagen

Posted in Devotionals

The Path of Least Resistance

Written by Various Authors
on August 2, 2017 in Devotionals

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5: 3-5 ESV

I once heard a quote from Napoleon Hill, “The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked.” Instantly this stuck with me. As snowboarders and skiers, we have a tendency to not take the easy way out. In many ways, we are in this for the struggle. Whether it’s learning a new trick or dialing a line in the back country, we are a group of people who are willing to fall down a few times to land it, stomp it, or ride away– even when it’s for a single opportunity.

I wish I could say I was as good at pushing or persisting through the hard stuff in my faith walk as I am with my snowboarding or skating. When we are doing it correctly, Christianity is oftentimes the toughest path. We didn’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior because he would make our lives easy. We accepted him as our savior because it’s the truth, and we must live differently because of that. Most of the time, that can be very difficult. It may look like having an awkward conversation on the hill with a non-christian friend or living in a way that other shredders may consider weird or, dare I say, “kooky”.

Peter Beck may have put it better when he said, “Fallen human nature has created a race of beings who are looking for the easy way out.” This cuts me deep because I’m guilty of this daily. I thought I had learned how to live in a way that was sacrificial, then Mandi and I had our first child. I quickly learned that I had some work to do on taking the easy way out in life. I still do! The same goes for my Christian faith. I’m working on reading my Bible, praying, and loving my neighbor better (even when it’s not the neighbor I relate with most). I will say that when I choose to take the harder path and persist through, I feel rewarded in the end. Just like stomping a new trick, it feels great to push through the hard, awkward stuff that is in my way in life.

Remember “SUFFERING produces ENDURANCE, ENDURANCE produces CHARACTER, and CHARACTER produces HOPE!” Whatever it may been that you’re not too stoked on doing right now, I encourage you to push through it. I’m on the same journey and learning everyday. Let’s be a group that will to go through the hard stuff in life so we can get to the easy. I have a feeling God will be looking down on us with a smile knowing that his people are willing to be persistent at living a life that brings him glory.

Challenge

Are you willing to push through the hard not only in your shred skills but in your faith walk?

What are three areas God is working with you when it comes to persistence?

Who can you pray for? This walk isn’t easy; it will often be the hardest. Let’s pray for one another to be people that are willing to be persistent in our walk with God!

 

By Mitchell Bowser | Plymouth, Minnesota

Posted in Devotionals

SFC AUSTRALIA in Thredbo

Written by Taylor Brant
on July 28, 2017 in News

Twenty years ago at Thredbo, many lives were lost in a mudslide disaster. It left the town a dark place spiritually, and they made it very clear since the tragedy that they did not want anything to do with local churches or any type of Christian outreach organizations.  For years, SFC has been praying for this community. We have been praying that doors would open and that SFC could be a light and share God’s love with them.

Each season, the only church activity that happens in Thredbo is the blessing of the snow. As God seems to do frequently, He placed me in the right place at the right time.  At this seasonal event, there were very few in attendance.  I clearly stood out as the only young snowboarder there. Also at this event was the general manager of Thredbo. He approached me at the end of the service to ask, “What do you have to do with all of this?” I explained my reason and purpose for being there as well as ask if we could chat over coffee to explain more about SFC’s mission. Needless to say, I was elated when he accepted my invitation. Being the GM of a popular snow resort, he would normally be busy wining and dining resort guests, so I was very appreciative that he was willing to talk with me. Over this friendly conversation, he opened up to me about his life, background, his beliefs, and his journey to become the GM of Thredbo. He started to ask me more personal questions about why I am a snowboarder for Christ. Through this meeting, I was able to share SFC’s prayers for the community of Thredbo and express our desire to be a light in this secluded, darkened community. Praise be to God for answering our prayers!  I am happy to report that since our coffee meeting, the GM accepted our proposal for SFC to serve at Thredbo.

As for God opening more doors, I had met Torah Bright,  Australian Olympic snowboarder, at the X-Games almost fifteen years ago, and we have been friends since we meet. It was a no brainer to partner alongside her to teach mini shredders.  We helped the grommets learn how to snowboard on boxes and jumps in addition to doing a sausage sizzle for over 200 kids. God truly does create opportunities!  Please keep SFC Australia in your prayers that God will continue to open more opportunities to serve and be a light on the hill in Thredbo.

Posted in News

Jesus Spurs Change

Written by Various Authors
on July 5, 2017 in Devotionals

Luke 19:1-10

There was this kid in town who seriously just ripped. He was the super quiet kid who never cracked a smile; always focused and serious and kind of always looked like he was scowling. But he stomped everything. He rode super hard. He got shots. He intimidated me and everyone else on the hill or in the skatepark.

He rarely talked to anyone, but after being in town for a while, we started to build some cred with him. We weren’t chummy by any stretch of the imagination, but if we saw him on the hill, he’d give us the head nod. Dude was just straight up intimidating. There was no other word for it. Then one day he texts and says, “Let’s go to the backcountry tonight after midnight. I wanna drop this cornice for a night shot,” and I’m like, “This dude is crazy. That cornice is stupid big, even in the daytime.” We went. I didn’t hit it.

Later, he began attending SFC and he would sit and stare at everyone during the entire half hour of worship. People would be singing and have their hands raised and he sat there staring, kind of confused-looking but stoic as always. He was stone cold. It was actually difficult to lead worship because when you would open your eyes, he was sitting there staring and intimidating. We found out that he was coming because he liked one of the girls who volunteered, and when she stopped coming, so did he.

Probably a year after he moved out of town, I ran into him and he had this huge smile on his face and this relaxed peacefulness about him. He was like, “Hey man! How are you? Dude, can we please hang out? It’s so rad to see you!” I had no idea how to respond. I was in shock. Who was this dude?! He was so calm and relaxed that anyone who wasn’t familiar with Jesus would’ve thought maybe he was high or something, but he wasn’t. I knew that this was a Jesus thing immediately. He said, “Me and some of the SFC dudes have been going to this church that just teaches the Bible. I love it. It’s SOOO good.”

I still have no idea at what point he began to follow Jesus and surrendered his life to God, but I am 100% sure he has met Jesus. He is a TOTALLY different person. His entire disposition has changed to one of joy and peace as opposed to intimidation and anger.

SFC Brah-verb #19: Jesus’ job is change; ours is love. Love unconditionally. Love with no agenda other than, “This is how Jesus calls me to live.” True, selfless love speaks volumes about our integrity and the truth of Jesus’ life-changing power in our lives. But we aren’t responsible for changing people. We’re just the messengers.

It’s wild how powerfully Jesus changes people’s lives and how the evidence can be soooo easy to see.

Jesus called Zacheus, a despised and dishonest tax collector to Himself and Zacheus climbed out of the tree, went straight to his house and gave four times the amount back to those he had cheated. True encounters with Jesus change people. It’s just that simple.

Each of us who have encountered the life-changing power of Jesus have a story to tell. There are dudes I shred with maybe once a week who are continuously looking for the next big thing. I’ve developed solid relationships with them. I’ve been praying for them, and I’m praying for more opportunities to talk about what they’re “seeking” in life and share with them about how Jesus came to “seek and save that which was lost” and share what He’s done in me.

Challenge

Are you praying for the people you meet on the hill?

How often do you pray for an opportunity to share your story with these friends of yours?

Would you and your buddies commit to taking a couple minutes to pray for your friends before you get on the hill this week?

Posted in Devotionals

Rebuilding the Shred Scene after the War

Written by Nick Sackman
on June 29, 2017 in News

It is the intention of SFC to build a global culture of our six B.R.I.D.G.E. Values – Believing, Relationships, Identity, Doing, Gospel, Engaging. This story from our interim European Director, Hondo Wynn, epitomizes the Value of Engaging, by meeting all people right where they are.

Sarajevo 84 Olympic Village

Seven years after Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Olympics, Yugoslavia began to break up. Without going into the long and complicated situation, by 1992 Bosnia was at war. The war was ethnically and religiously tied, and there were many casualties of this war that lasted several years. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, was under siege for a couple of years. The city that once hosted the Olympics was being bombed. The slopes that once held the ski races were now the scenes of intense mountain warfare. They continue to find landmines in those areas to this day.

I met some Bosnians when I was in Czech at a conference. After some chatting, I found that they run snowboard camps for Bosnian youth. I asked if there was anything SFC could do to help them with their camps. They said it would help tremendously if we could bring some people to teach snowboarding. I recruited a couple of Swiss SFCers, and we made it happen in January.

When we rolled into Sarajevo late at night, it was -23 celsius and snow was piled everywhere. We jumped right into a camp full of Bosnian teenagers who were stoked to learn to snowboard. We were able to teach them at two of the Olympic resorts. On the last day, we built a mini terrain park with some tubes and shovels. Good times were had by all. We shared stories of how God found us, and we had lots of great conversations riding (scary, old) chairlifts and hiking the mini park. It was a unique experience that blended engaging students in a war-torn country and teaching them to ride and enjoy the big local mountains God put on the outskirts of their capital city.

Help SFC BRIDGE

ONLY ONE DAY LEFT! We’ve shared six amazing stories with you that express each of SFC’s values. This is how God is working in the ski and snowboard culture. We want to ensure that more stories like this keep happening, but we need your help. Right now we only have $30,000 left to raise and ONLY ONE DAY LEFT TO DO IT.

Would you pray about joining us to keep THE LIGHT ON THE HILL?

 

Posted in News

Love and Truth

Written by Various Authors
on June 28, 2017 in Devotionals

1 John 3:18Ephesians 4:151 Corinthians 13:6John 8:32

No doubt you have heard different opinions and arguments on same-sex marriage. Often folks say that as Christians we are to just love people and to be loving, we are to be a people of tolerant acceptance. However, there is a difference between showing a person Gods love and accepting someone’s behaviors and beliefs. In other words, loving others is not the same as tolerating sin.

At a conference a while back, well-known evangelist Louis Palau invited Portland, Oregon’s openly homosexual mayor Tom Potter onto the stage to speak about their partnership in addressing the cities issues of homelessness, trafficking, etc. The Louis Palau Association, a Christian organization, partnered with a progressively secular city government to serve the needs of the disadvantaged in their community.

The Mayor and Palau discussed that although they did not agree on the issue of homosexuality, they were able to work together. In this daring example the Palau Association demonstrated the ability to love others without backing down on their understanding of truth and the results have been astounding!

Being that SFC is a relationally based ministry we constantly talk about loving people in this way. But where does this love come from? Is it truly the love of Christ? If the love we are sharing with others is really from Christ, why are we afraid to stand on the truth that Christ proclaimed? Often I am afraid of rejection. This fear holds me back and excuses me from sharing truth. Far too often we rely on ‘relational evangelism’ to excuse ourselves from boldly sharing the truth of Jesus Christ because we fear rejection. We excel at building ‘relationships’ with people and disregard the ‘evangelism’ aspect. We forsake the gospel for the sake of the relationship. In essence we say that we love people, yet we withhold the very truth that will set them free because we fear our own rejection. My friends, that is a selfish endeavor not rooted in the love of Jesus Christ whatsoever!

Challenge

Christ made it known that we would be rejected because of him. Relational evangelism is not building a relationship with hopes to someday share the truth. Relational evangelism is simultaneously sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ through a relationship from day one. Throughout Jesus life we see him proclaiming the truth boldly and demanding immediate repentance from sin. No less, no more and at the same time Jesus loved people, took care of their needs and made disciples through a relationship over a lifetime. Love and truth cannot be separated. John Piper says, “Love lives by truth and burns by truth and stands on truth.” The two must exist together.

Posted in Devotionals

Effectively Sharing the Gospel in Big Bear

Written by Nick Sackman
on June 23, 2017 in News

At SFC, we’re working to build a global culture of our six B.R.I.D.G.E. Values. This story from our SFC Big Bear leaders in Big Bear, CA, Adam and Julie Stromwall, demonstrates the Value of Gospel.

Effectively Sharing the Gospel in Big Bear

If you’ve ever been to Bear Mountain, you would notice the park is full of filmers, and even more so than other resorts.  A couple of our chapter leaders thought it would be a great idea to put together a video contest to attract park riders to come to our free dinner nights! We worked very hard to put together our contest called “60 Seconds to ShrEDIT.”  The inspiration came from HELP Boardshop in Minnesota. The contest rules were simple: create a [roughly] 60 second video edit filmed at one of our two local mountains, Bear Mountain or Snow Summit.  The video edit was then submitted online, and the contestant needed to be at the video premiere held on March 12th.

Everyone worked hard at handing out business card size flyers on the hill and telling anyone and everyone about the contest.  We received some amazing prizes from local sponsors.  Community Church blessed us with our 1st place cash prize of $500! Never having done this before, we were nervous how many submissions we would receive. We were pumped to receive 13!

The night of the video premiere was amazing. SO many new faces came to Community Church’s Historic Chapel to watch the edits!  We served free dinner and got to meet 75+ new “locals” who we were unable to attract earlier in the season.

Everyone loved the videos. It was a loud, exciting event. Immediately after the video edits played, we had each person vote on paper their favorite edit.  After voting, we played short video with SFC International Director, Josh Stock, and Pro Snowboarder, Andy Finch, where they talked about what in the shred culture is important to them.  Those who were watching were given a brief, yet powerful, message on a relationship with Christ.  Next we had SFC Big Bear leader, Hannah Keller, give a short message on biblical truth.  Her words were well received! We know seeds were planted on that night, and we’re so thankful to be able to minister at such a fun event.

Help SFC BRIDGE

You’ll receive one story about how God is working in the ski and snowboard culture each week for the next three weeks. We’re also going to update you on our financial journey. We want to ensure that more stories like this keep happening, but we need your help. Right now we only have $32,000 left to raise to meet our needs for the year (ending June 30th). Would you pray about joining us to keep THE LIGHT ON THE HILL?

 

Posted in News