Go Tell it on the Mountain: Jindabyne

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

SERVING THE COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA

The second video in our series showcases ski and snowboard ministry in Australia. Jindabyne is a huge destination for shred in the Australian winter and a lot of Northern Hemisphere skiers and snowboarders make the journey down there as well. The season is going off right now and we ask you to take a minute to pray for safety on the hill, the loving proclamation of God’s truth and the genuine support of Christ-centered community for all of those involved.

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Go Tell it on the Mountain: Loon

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

WORKING WITH THE CHURCH AT LOON

I am grateful for yet another winter season and how the Lord worked through our SFC Chapter and our local church. Every week, our youth group met at the local rope tow and rode together after the Bible lesson. It wasn’t long before two kids, who I didn’t know that well at the beginning of the winter, wanted to ride with me each week. It led to us challenging each other to try new tricks, but more importantly, it led to opportunities to have spiritual conversations with them. It was rad talking with them about how the Spirit God gives us is not one of fear, but of power and love and self discipline. It was extremely practical truth to remember as we tried new tricks, jumps, and rails. In addition, ski breaks on the hill led to some awesome conversations and I saw a TON of growth in them, and other kids too, in their understanding of the Gospel and spiritual concepts.

Secondly, camp was rad. We could not have done it without the help of the local church. To me, this served as a good example of why SFC’s values include being connected with the local church. We aren’t called to be on mission alone, but as a family. Jesus never sent His disciples alone, but rather He sent them in at least pairs. It is so essential that we share our mission with our church family and get them involved. The chairlift and on hill chats are always super encouraging as well at camp. But, there was one thing that encouraged me the most. Our camp theme this year was “Identity.” One parent shared with me the last day how when her kids came home from camp the previous night, she had expected them to come home and talk about the trails they went on or tricks they learned. Instead, she shared with me, they talked about that night’s lesson, discussing with each other about what it means to put their identity in Christ. That makes all the work of planning a camp worth it for me, to know that kids are walking away challenged in their relationship with Christ. God is faithful.

Eunice Bartlett – SFC Loon – Lincoln, NH

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Leadership Development Program was LIT 🔥 in the First Year

Written by Ryan Leeds
on July 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

Ryan with Jon and Daniel. The 2018-19 LDP graduates.
Ryan with Jon and Daniel. The 2018-19 LDP graduates.

Well, it’s over. The first year of SFC’s Leadership Development Program has officially come to an end. It almost doesn’t seem real. A year ago, Lauren and I were still living in VA, and there was a ton of work that needed to be done. It almost seemed like an impossible task (move across the country, write 6-months worth of curriculum, get students to apply, organize monthly service opportunities, launch a brand new program, etc.). But it happened. God has been so incredibly faithful. In fact, this entire year has been a testament to his grace/provision. He made it work. He provided the students, the lessons, the service opportunities, and everything else we needed. I couldn’t be more thankful.

It was such a blessing to be able to work with Jon and Daniel this year. Both of these guys came into the program eager to learn/grow – and they definitely put in a ton of work. They grew so much during the program, and it has been such a blessing to watch them apply what they have learned (since the end of the program). God has some big things in store for these guys!

Testimonies from Jon and Daniel about the program.

Register now for the 19-20 season!

Why apply?

  • To get plugged into an awesome Christ-centered community with people who carry similar passions
  • To know God and His Word better
  • To get hands-on ministry experience
  • To experience what God is doing in ski/snowboard ministry
  • You’ll get to live and ride in Summit County, CO for an entire winter season!

Know someone that might be interested? Click below to share!

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Go Tell it on the Mountain: Snowflex

Written by Various Authors
on July 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Taking Our Storytelling to New Heights

The SFC Support Office (the SFC Mothership) spends all of its resources (time, energy, finances, etc.) on supporting the groups and individual snowboarders and skiers around the world who are striving to BE THE LIGHT OF JESUS in the ski/snowboard culture. Our staff’s goal is to: Encourage, Equip and Exemplify Christ-centered ministry throughout the global SFC network.

And our latest initiative of encouragement within our network is TO BE BETTER STORYTELLERS TOGETHER. We have been working harder than ever on specifically 1. Collecting and 2. Sharing stories of what God has been doing in and through individuals and chapters across the SFC network.

Our prayer for YOU, personally, is that God Himself would be encouraging, challenging and inspiring you to BE THE LIGHT OF JESUS as you see these stories coming across your desk on a regular basis. May His Kingdom come!

This first story highlights the Next Level Camp at the Snowflex facility in Lynchburg, Virginia. The summer camp is happening as we speak, and we ask you to take a minute to pray for safety on the hill, the loving proclamation of God’s truth and the genuine support of Christ-centered community for all of those involved over the course of the two weeks of camp.

Watch how God is using fake snow to further His Kingdom

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Secret Spot Team Challenge

Written by Nick Sackman
on March 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Secret Spot Team Challenge Raises Over $20k for Mental Health Programs

Copper Mountain, Colo – On February 23, 2019 over 20 teams took to the slopes at Copper Mountain Resort for the Secret Spot Team Challenge to raise awareness and funds for two mental health non-profits, Building Hope Summit County and My Quiet Cave. Each participant raised at least $100 individually, and each team consisted of two to six people. The Challenge raised a total of ​$24,273 ​that will go directly to the non-profits to serve the needs of mental health awareness and suicide prevention in Colorado.

Teams were given seven clues and a Copper Mountain Trail Map. Using the clues, teams determined where to find the “Secret Spots.” At each Spot, participants worked through a challenge to learn more about mental health and to receive tools to help others. The challenges all involved teamwork and encouraged communication on some of the more stigmatized topics surrounding mental health and suicide.

“My favorite part of the day was the community and the challenge to be more communicative with each other and the patience that goes along with that,” said participant Daniel Bernlohr. “And then the reward of finding a spot, and everyone gets stoked.”

One of the main themes of the event was “shredding the stigma” about mental health problems. “One day we should be able to talk about our mental health the way we talk about a knee replacement,” said Betsy Casey, Program Manager of Building Hope in her opening statements.

“With such a transient community it’s hard to find people to talk to,” commented Megan Lovely after the Challenge. “This is such a great opportunity to plug people into the right veins where they can express what’s going on.”

Through generous sponsors, teams were also able to win prizes, like a Never Summer Snowboard and Vans shoes and backpacks. Prizes were for the first team to complete the challenge, plus top fundraising teams and individuals.

Event organizer Nick Sackman said, “We are tremendously excited with how this event went in its inaugural year. With the overwhelming support from the community and awesome turnout we are looking forward to next year.” To learn more about the event visit ​www.secretspotchallenge.com​. Follow the event on Instagram (@secretspotchallenge) or sign up the mailing list (​http://eepurl.com/dM5XCA​) for updates on the event in 2020.

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Seasons Part 2

Written by Nick Sackman
on November 14, 2018 in Devotionals

Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Let’s talk about seasons once more.

There is something comforting about routine. C.S. Lewis says that the rhythms of life are God’s little way of giving us consistent change. Different enough day-by-day to keep us engaged, yet never straying too far from the safety of stability. There is a warm beauty in the rhythm of everyday life, but when we go too fast, we miss it.

Seasons are a good example of this–God promises us an annual stability of the weather. (If you live in MI you know this is a very loose stability, but we take it nonetheless). As long as the earth endures, spring, summer, fall, and winter will never cease (Genesis 8:22). There are things we come to expect in winter: snow, snowsports, numb fingers and toes, warm hearts and company, Christmas, Holiday cheer, and hot cocoa. (I guess chestnuts roasting over an open fire is a thing for some people too). You catch my drift.

But, if you read Seasons pt 1, you know how easy it is to get annoyed with seasons that outstay their welcome. Out with the old, and in with the new–right? Society today is very future focused. Have you noticed that the professional skiers/snowboarders these days ride the latest and greatest 2019 gear when we are still in 2018? What’s with that?

Sometimes, we get sick of the seasons we are in because we convince ourselves there is something better around the corner. We spend our time just waiting for the future instead of enjoying the present. We neglect to stop and enjoy the season we are in, because we are certain tomorrow holds something better. But, since when do we know what is good for us?

God is very intentional with His children. He calls us to lean into the situations that He places us in, the people He places us with, and the projects He puts us before. We fill our lives to the brim with “what-ifs” for the next second, day, month, or year, instead of entering a place of gratitude for the moments we are given today. Finding joy in the ‘Same Old Thing’ is something that the world looks down upon. (Get with the times!) But, Philippians tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Not what is next, tomorrow, bigger, or better.

Enjoying something we are desensitized to is difficult. How do you find a new beauty in something you have long since considered outdated? A marriage, an education, a career, a friendship, a relationship, a project, a faith…

Ground yourself in God’s truth and purpose for the present.

Challenge

    • Is there something in your life that you’re just really sick of?
    • How might God be calling you to recommit yourself to this season of life you are in now?
    • Are your plans for your future based on God’s truth or your current dissatisfaction with the now?

 

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals

Seasons Part 1

Written by Nick Sackman
on November 7, 2018 in Devotionals

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Many people enjoy fall: the pumpkin flavored everything, beautiful colors in the trees, cozy sweaters and flannels, warm drinks, etc. Skiers and snowboarders often have a more difficult time enjoying this pleasant and mild season because they know what is around the corner.

Snow.

I live in a magical place called Michigan, where we get a taste of all 4 seasons. Whether we like it or not, it’s a small taste of spring, a little helping of summer, a dash of fall, and a WHOPPING DOLLOP of winter. However, come liquid-ice-pouring-out-of-the-sky in March, both skiers and snow-haters alike eagerly await Spring.

Seasons aren’t always fun.

Maybe you’re struggling through something in your life that seems to drag on and on: a project, a broken relationship, an addiction, boredom, unemployment, or even an unknown. Whether we like it or not, God uses our sucky seasons for His glory. The church calls this Redemption. I like to call it ‘being joyful when trouble comes your way because you know that when your faith is tested you are given a chance to foster resilience and strength for the next time trouble comes around’ (aka James 1:2-4).

Hillsong’s lyrics alway manage to hit me where it counts. If you have a second, I encourage you to sit and listen to the words of their song, Seasons. If not, I’ll give you this taste:

You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting

God has you where you are for a reason. You might be sick of the season, you might be sick of waiting, but it comes down to trusting that God knows where you need to be–better than you do.

Challenge

  • Are you stuck in a sucky season?
  • How have you seen God use “trouble that comes your way” for His good?
  • What season of your life do you need to surrender to God and say, “you know what I need better than I do”

 

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals

Be Content

Written by Various Authors
on October 24, 2018 in Devotionals

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 NIV

“Be content.” I have heard too many times; I was/am supposed to be content. After 3 years of being a missionary, I had a moment of contentment one summer. I was driving with the wind on my face, little money in my pocket, and the clothes on my back and remembered the words of Paul: “I am content whatever the circumstances.” For the first time I felt it for real. I thought I was content before but not like at that moment. And it made me wonder.

Is it because I once lived with a good salary and a comfortable house, but spent a night under a bridge, cold and hungry? Is it because I once had a title and a position but became a servant for the sake of God’s calling?

Stepping into this life of dependance on God has brought many challenges but not always satisfaction.

What brought my heart to a state of contentment now after walking with God for 10 years? My trust in God! After learning about and from God and spending time with Him, I am starting to understand a little of His character. He is trustworthy and faithful. If I listen and obey, I shall be content. I had a revelation: Trust God and you will be content!

I will think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Thank you for being my God. I trust you.

I then took the time to read all the letters from Paul. He talks about longing for Christ, living like citizens of heaven, working together, thinking about others has better than ourselves, and living a life of offering to God. He tells us to rejoice in the Lord to become one with Christ, stay true to the Lord, settle disagreement, and to pray about everything. He shares, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). What if this was a prerequisite to the contentment he brought after talking about needs?

Challenge

  • Am I content? Why?
  • What are your current concerns? Bring them to God.
  • How am I thinking about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy?  

 

By Betty Ann Cyr | YWAM Vancouver, Canada

Posted in Devotionals

BRIDGE – R=Relationship

Written by Various Authors
on October 17, 2018 in Devotionals

In this brief winter word, I would love to have a closer look at one specific letter of SFC’s core values (BRIDGE) : R = Relationships.

As SFC Switzerland, we put a big emphasis on living lasting, healthy friendships as we believe that friendships are crucial in sharpening character and bringing transformation to both our personal lives and transformation in a whole culture/ scene.

Verse : Proverbs 27.17 “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens the other” (NIV).

Im sure I wouldn’t be where I am at today, if it wasn’t for the people who ran with me, who challenged me, who loved me, but also who questioned me.

I believe that our main aim in life is to realize who we are in Christ and through that become more like Him. Not only do we have to seek God’s face in order to reflect him, but also do we strongly need each other. I believe that with whom you surround yourself will ultimately influence this process. Community and friendships play an important role in our journey of transformation, of becoming more like Jesus.

Community and people around us is so important to our journey for many reasons:

  • You need people to remind you who you really are and what was spoken into your life, so you can become the person who God intended when he created you.
  • Friends will help you in times of temptation. You need people you trust and know have your best in mind. If you’re tempted, called out, and still act it out, it’s just being stupid.
  • Being among people for longer will help you to grow in our giftings (i.e patience will only grow if I have to wait for someone again and again).
  • Unity/community is in the character of God. God was triune since the very beginning: “Let US make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26, KJV).
  • Friends inspire. They show what you can be. It’s not about copying, but becoming the best version of you through ideas and inspiration. We can then grow to inspire others.
  • In relationships and community, we can see love. It may look like an ear that listens, feet that go the extra mile, a hand that comforts, a shoulder that remains, or a mouth that speaks value, hope, and life.
  • Friends enable us to learn to see people the way God sees them. Know people by spirit and not by flesh.

How can we live in and adapt community in our lives as snowboarders and skiers for Christ?

For a community:

  • Where and how do we create an atmosphere where people can live real friendships, get to know people, feel known and accepted, and are allowed to make mistakes and grow. How can we create family and a feeling of belonging?
  • What kind of activities do we do where people can naturally get to know others, bond, and make memories?

Personally:

  • Ask yourself and the Holy Spirit the following questions. Take the time to journal your thoughts.
  • Who is investing in and challenging me?
  • Who is a friend with whom I want to run through life? Who do I allow to speak into my life? Who can I shapen in exchange?
  • In whom am I investing?
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you two people to intentionally invest in. How can you pray for, spend time with, and intentionally live in community with this person.

Besides these intentional relationships, friendship is something that will naturally happen out of an overflow of your love for Jesus. Jesus showed how to live in friendship. He intentionally chose people to be with, even though he knew one would betray him and others would deny him. These people weren’t a project; they were the target of his love. Let us love and be loved the way Jesus did. In all of this, let our love be anchored in God, knowing that He first loved us.

Sarah Nicolaisen | Thun, Switzerland

Posted in Devotionals

Freshies

Written by Various Authors
on October 11, 2018 in Devotionals

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12 NIV

To many of us the mountains are home even when we are on unfamiliar peaks. Nature reminds us of an almighty and majestic God who is vast, yet knows us by name. We explore the mountains with unbridled curiosity, expecting to be amazed.

In chapter 55 of Isaiah, the prophet writes about spiritual riches that are available to us on our journey with Jesus. We can expect to experience purpose, joy, peace, and a desire to rejoice in the Lord. Later in Galatians 5:22-23 Paul writes out a full list of things we can expect when we choose to follow Jesus.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law.

Sometimes our lives don’t seem to resemble what Isaiah describes with the mountains singing and the trees clapping their hands as we walk. We struggle to see Holy Spirit fruit. The prophet tells us how to get to this point of joy. He calls us to repent of old familiar sinful ways and seek the Lord.

Find freshies in God’s word and experience more joy!

It reminds me of days on the mountain when powder is hard to find. You have to leave familiar, comfortable runs, go through rocks, trees, and unexplored terrain to seek out the sweet goodness of freshies. We are called to do the same in the Bible, God’s word. Just as we thirst for powder and hunt for it, we need to thirst for God’s word to be in our lives.

The picture of mountains singing and trees clapping before us is describing what happens when the word of God enters our lives and waters our thirsty souls so that the Holy Spirit fruit can grow. God’s word will accomplish its purpose in our lives when we seek it out, whether we are on a mountain peak or in a valley low. This can be our daily lives when we drop in and make first tracks into the Bible.

Challenge

  • What is one verse or passage you cling to when life gets hard?
  • How often do you dive into God’s word or let it be present in your life?
  • What are some fruits of the Spirit you would like to see more of in your life?

 

By Elena Petzold | Jindabyne Australia

Posted in Devotionals