Category: Devotionals

Cool Kids Keep It Content

Written by Various Authors
on March 2, 2021 in Devotionals

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12).

Contentment is a crazy concept. I think it’s one of those things everyone is searching for, but very few actually find. Take skiers and snowboarders. We are RARELY content in our riding, the tricks we know, the lines we’ve ridden. No matter how many pow days we’ve had or tricks we’ve stomped, we always want just one more or one better. Just one more trick in our arsenal and then we’ll be happy. Then we’ll be content.

This is a universal struggle for people. We need something to strive for, we feel the need to prove ourselves, and we always want more money, friends, “likes”, popularity, workplace prestige, etc.

When was the last time you sat in silence before the Lord, inhaling and exhaling His peace? 

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” (John 14:27). 

Jesus was a pretty peaceful, peace-filled dude, and He gives us HIS peace to help us chill out in this crazy, hectic world. This is something REAL we can seek. His peace, through His spirit, can be our peace and rest for our souls. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find REST FOR YOUR SOULS” (Matthew 11:28-29, paraphrased). 

True contentment can only be found when we stop looking at ourselves with our own fallen eyes, and we understand how God has come to view us after Jesus redeemed us. We no longer have anything to prove. It doesn’t matter how many tricks we know. Our “cool” becomes less and less important. Jesus is finally enough.

CHALLENGE:

  • What is an area of your life that you don’t feel content with? Devote some time this week to pray about it and ask God to meet you in the struggle. Chances are it’s deeper than the initial discontentment.
  • Do you ever feel the itch to “prove yourself”? Whether it be name-dropping, stomping a trick in front of someone, or finding a way to fit in that “cool thing” about yourself in a conversation? I know I do! Be real with God about this, He understands. Seek out the root of the issue, and learn to laugh at yourself! 
  • Devote (at LEAST) 10 minutes every day this week to sit in SILENCE with the Lord. Clear your mind and just LISTEN. Maybe God will put something on your heart, maybe He will just appreciate the time sitting together in silence. Either way, you win.

By Dylan Kobriger | Vail Valley, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals

Jesus, Our Guardian

Written by Various Authors
on February 22, 2021 in Devotionals

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ESV

PEACE…this word is often thrown around loosely, often mentioned in the midst of conversations with friends. How many of us have said, “Peace out!” as we walk out the door?  

Honestly though, attached to this word is a longing within our souls to find the substance of what peace can look like in our lives. Of course, we all feel peace on our snowboards or skis, floating down epic mountains with a smile on our face. This kind of peace can fill our day with incredible joy! It is so good for our souls!

This verse in Philippians shows us another kind of peace: the kind that will surpass our understanding. The peace of God is not easy to describe, but when we feel it in our hearts and in our minds, we all feel something shift within us; there is substance to this kind of peace. We may be having the worst day; our bank account hit zero and our snowboard bindings broke on the best powder day! Maybe a storm consumed our lives; not the kind that brings the freshies. Instead, we get slammed so hard in the heart that it knocks us off of our feet, launching us into mass amounts of emotional pain and chaos within our minds. Life storms can be like a tornado that sucks us up, spins us out of control, and brings mass wreckage to our hearts; a family member may have died, a job was lost, a relationship fell apart, a home burnt down, etc. It can be suffocating, and peace is nowhere to be seen. Our minds run wild with feelings of despair and defeat as we scramble to find any ounce of comfort. BUT then…we decide to open our Bible, and we read about this indescribable peace, the kind that only comes from God.  

Philippians tells us that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds. Only the peace of God will intervene to bring the calm that we need in the midst of an out of control life storm. This peace that surpasses our understanding is linked to Jesus. He is the only one who searches our hearts and hears every thought in our heads. Jesus is the only one who can bring peace to our painful chaos. He is our ultimate guardian; He wants to protect our hearts and our minds. His peace alone will shift our perspective as He pulls us into the eye of the storm with Him. Everything may be swirling all around us, but we can sit in the peaceful eye with Jesus where it is calm. Jesus will quiet our minds and bring healing to our hearts when we take time in His peaceful presence. Take a deep breath and ask Jesus to pull you into the eye of the storm; let His peace drench your heart and mind. You are safe here.

CHALLENGE:

  • What does peace look like in your life right now?
  • Have you ever felt the peace of God?
  • Do you need Jesus to bring peace to your heart and to your mind? Just ask Him! He’s ready to help.

By Rachel Bowman | Mammoth Lakes, California

Posted in Devotionals

Creating With The Creator

Written by Various Authors
on February 16, 2021 in Devotionals

Genesis 1-11

We are always trying to create when we are shredding. Create new lines, new features, new tricks, new styles. What if we were without gravity? Or mountains? Or snow? Our creativity depends not only on creation, but on the creator, and our likeness to His creative personality. Genesis 1:26, 27 says that we are all made in His image. Style is important. Not because we need to look cool, but because our self (body, soul, mind) is in God’s image. We also need to treat others like that’s true of them as well. The only way we can know these things is through the Old Testament. It’s at the start of the Bible for a reason. Dr. Spina from Seattle Pacific University explains this well in his quotes below.

“The only Scriptures Jesus and his earliest followers recognized and appealed to as God’s authoritative word were those Christians would eventually call the Old Testament.”

“Genesis 1 through Exodus 19 — accents amazing, divine grace; then Exodus 20 and following demonstrates how God’s people are to respond to that grace. Biblically speaking, grace always precedes law.”

“Genesis begins with the foundational story of creation (Genesis 1:2–2:4a). As God subsequently engages the created order (Genesis 2:4b and following), human beings co-operate with God (by tilling and naming) to produce an idyllic garden setting.”

However, disobedience leads to expulsion and a depressing downward trajectory as humanity becomes increasingly wicked (Genesis 3–11). As we might expect, every human failure prompts divine punishment. Disobedience in the garden (Genesis 3) leads to judgment on the woman, the man, and the serpent. The first murderer is condemned to be a perpetual fugitive (Genesis 4). After people become incomparably wicked, worldwide destruction by means of a flood results (Genesis 6–8). Even after this devastation, significant failure persists. It is even found in the family God rescued from ultimate judgment as well as in the people of Shinar who egregiously challenged the divine agenda (Genesis 9:20–27; 11:1–9). The situation remains bleak.

But that is not the end of the matter. Each act of divine judgment has a corresponding act of divine grace. In the garden, God provides appropriate clothing for the human couple. Furthermore, they do not die immediately as was threatened (Genesis 2:17; 3:3). God spares the first murderer from capital punishment. When sin reaches titanic proportions, God provides the means for starting over (Genesis 6:5–8). Even the sin that infects the family of Noah, whom God saved from the great flood, does not prevent its repopulating the earth, which is an implicit act of grace.”  See more at: http://blog.spu.edu/lectio/

Dr. Spina makes the point above that God is not an “angry God” in the Old Testament that goes to anger management seminars, then sends Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus himself conceived of His Father through the framework set by the Old Testament.

When we take seriously what Genesis is saying about humanity, God, and the world, we come to understand how important creativity is, how important having fun (OT parallel to feasts, celebration, Sabbath) is, and how important God’s seeking us out is.

The main point of the Old Testament is to make us realize that God is seeking us. Our lives can be a response to his seeking. Let’s live in gratitude that He has found us.

CHALLENGE: I wonder how we can take more seriously the texts that Jesus took seriously.

Take a look at Genesis 1-11. What do these chapters reveal upon closer reading? 

Are there things that surprise or challenge you? 

What pictures does it paint of God, humanity, and the world or universe?

Remember, when being creative, you are co-creating with God (Genesis 2).

By Stefan Seeling | Dillon, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals

Keeping Christianity Weird

Written by Various Authors
on February 9, 2021 in Devotionals

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

I had the pleasure of sitting in a crowded theatre in Nashville in April 2014 listening to a myriad of Christian speakers presenting in “Ted Talks” format on subjects as far and wide as peach farming, living as a nun, the landscape of the human brain, modern hookup culture and post-civil rights society. One of the talks that affected me most was *Christians as the Prophetic Minority by Russell Moore. 

One of the reasons I liked this guy was that he seemed genuinely happy that Christians were no longer the majority in American culture. That struck me as odd, but he said it was great that, for a long time, we have viewed ourselves (for him as an American Christian) as the silent majority. We’ve assumed that being a good Christian was THE NORMAL thing to do. But he said, that’s not true and that we’re all realizing this is NO LONGER (nor has it ever been) THE CASE. He claimed,

There is no place for nominal, cultural Christianity.

I verbally agreed, “Yieeeeeew!” He clarified that sometimes we as the Church are panicking and wringing our hands at our changing, no-longer-Christian-in-appearance culture with a tone of fear in our voices, as if Christianity is being wiped out in America. But what may actually be more true is that the Church is vibrant and growing stronger and marching onward. He said that we as the church ARE NOT LOSING, but we’re healthy and alive and perfectly on-track with where prophecy says we are headed. 

Another thing he said that I connected with was that,

The SCANDAL of the Gospel has never been a popular, majority opinion. It was always a word that called the status quo to judgment.

He said that things like the virgin birth and the empty tombs and the miracles of Jesus cannot realistically be received by contemporary people. Those things have always been scandalous to contemporary culture. 

When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, his response wasn’t, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” He wanted to put her away quietly. Christianity is speaking a strange and scandalous word into whatever culture it comes into.

Christianity never purposed itself to be the best, socially acceptable, most-comfortable, profitable way to live (like some modern-day prosperity preachers pretend). 

When the Gospel is being preached in the Bible, the response is NOT ‘this sounds like a good way to carry traditional Roman values into the future,’ it’s ‘this sounds insane to us.’ OF COURSE IT DOES.

He says that as our culture moves away from Christian values, we definitely need to articulate better, but we can never remove from Christianity the very things “which are the power unto salvation;” not for the sake of being culturally relevant.

As we move into this new order of the Christian minority, the most dangerous thing the Church could do is normalize the Gospel.

I chuckled out a loud, “YEAAAH!” 

We recognize that what really transforms people is not just a nice set of values embedded in the culture, but what transforms people is the hearing of a Galilean voice, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

The advance of the church is NOT dependant upon a culture of good values or on a particular government but on a promise spoken, “On this rock I build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  

Yes, we know it’s strange, but we believe in even stranger things. We believe a dead man is going to show up in the sky on a horse. Let’s keep Christianity weird.

CHALLENGE:

How does this challenge your every day Christian label?

Are we often too concerned with being nice and being socially accepted than we are with standing for Jesus’s counter-cultural truths?

Is there some sort of balance between loving others and serving others in a socially acceptable way and standing up for and speaking truths that we KNOW will offend others? What does that look like?

By Joshua Stock | Copper Mountain, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals

Flower on the Mountainside

Written by Various Authors
on February 3, 2021 in Devotionals

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. (Genesis 3:7)

What has gone wrong? Adam and Eve have changed their perception of their bodies. Their prior state of nakedness is lost when covered by fig leaves. Prior to their disobedience, Adam and Eve did not need to hide anything about themselves from God or each other. What does it mean that they are seeing and covering? What does this verse imply about the bodily lives of Adam and Eve, the bodily life of Jesus, and our own bodily lives?

In this verse, humans come to see themselves in a new way. This new understanding causes them to begin to feel shame and their nakedness becomes a source of fear in exposure in contrast to a soft, transparent state of relationship with God and each other. Adam and Eve’s perception of their bodies change, and with it changes their relationship to creation, God, and each other. They engage in a mechanical process to order creation in a way contrary to its original purpose. These fig leaves represent an effort to hide aspects of themselves from God and each other. The fig leaves create distance from each other and God, but the relationship is not completely destroyed or obliterated. In Christ, God enters the world completely exposed to others and to God. Christ puts on the fig leaves we have created in order to remove them and restore a right, honest, fully exposed relationship to each other and God. When he is raised on the cross naked, all fig leaves are removed for all of us. Jesus is scandalously exposed during his birth, life, death, and resurrection. This enables us to live into slowly exposing ourselves to each other and God more rightly.

Adam and Eve’s creation of new “technology” (fig leaves as loincloths), can take many forms in our lives today. We hide behind legalism (idolatry of law), materialism (idolatry of security in things ordered by our oppressive will), and narcissism (idolatry of self). These fig leaves separate us from our bodies as we become separated from God and each other. Instead of being vulnerable, we use more and more to cover ourselves up.

Jesus corrects our improper coverings. He enters the world naked. He is God, fully exposed as a baby human to God and to the world. He puts on our loincloths in order to make us able to take them off again. He lived in a culture of legalism, narcissism, and materialism. But He hides nothing from His Father. Jesus is scandalously vulnerable throughout his life.

Jesus is God as human, naked on a cross. His resurrection is the resistance of a vulnerable life achieving victory. Imagine a flourishing beauty and softness of a flower on a harsh mountainside. It is resistance to harsh, life-depriving surroundings. It is not covered by any invented processes contrary to original purpose. It derives life from being fully exposed to the sun (Son). Delicacy is beauty and strength in hard conditions. God is the provider. This exposure is freedom. The harsher the condition, the more profound the power of flourishing beauty. When exposed on a windswept, freezing cliff face, it is tempting to try to cover oneself, but to do so is to cut off oneself from life.

CHALLENGE:
Through Christ, I wonder what it looks like to be rightly vulnerable with God and others. We cannot hide behind how we look, what tricks we can do, or who we know. How can we be more truthful about who we are, who God is, and how to interact with God and the world like Christ?

By Stefan Seeling | Dillon, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals

Fuel for the fire

Written by Various Authors
on January 20, 2021 in Devotionals

Ephesians 2:8-9

Have you ever tried to start a fire with dry leaves? Once they catch, WHOOSH, you see huge, exciting flames, then about 30 seconds later, the fire’s out. Could you imagine trying to sustain a fire with JUST leaves? It would take tons of effort, the excitement would be short-lived, and you still wouldn’t end up with a long-lasting fire to keep everyone warm.

Often times, we can put a lot of effort toward keeping the fire alive in our walk with Jesus by leading bible studies, serving at church, or sharing our faith, but still ultimately find ourselves tired and burnt out. It can be tempting to sustain our faith by DOING the work God called us to, but if we’re doing so without being rooted in what Jesus has already accomplished for us, we’ll continually find ourselves back in that place.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The gift of God for us is his grace, his unmerited favor. We already have it! No works can change that! When we’re fully confident of our secure place with the Father and of the unmerited favor he’s bestowed upon us, our good works come naturally. And they’re sustained by the Spirit, not by our efforts.

If we are to press on in the work God has called us to, let’s do away with the leaves. They’ll be short-lived anyway.

CHALLENGE:

1) Is there anywhere that you’re relying on good works to sustain you in your walk with Jesus?
2) Take some time to sit in the truth about our salvation – it’s been purchased for us! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

By Alie Heenan | Copper Mountain, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals

War

Written by Various Authors
on January 6, 2021 in Devotionals

Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Even those who don’t believe in God often recognize there is a spiritual side to our being. We are reminded time and again in the word of God that there is a spiritual war going on behind the curtains. It is definitely becoming more prevalent as we look around in our daily lives whether through politics, cultural norms, injustices, lawlessness and even in our personal devices. Are we trying to fight this evil with self righteous comments on social media, thinking who we vote for is going to be our answer, or thinking that if we do enough good we can turn the tide?

Maybe we are just distracting ourselves with recreation to the point we don’t have to think about it?

This is not a war we can win through physical action, this is a spiritual battle. The best way to defeat it is being DAILY in the word of God and in communication with Him, because we are daily being lied to by the enemy, and oh how weak we are! God’s word is the double edged sword! His tree of truth might have weeds growing up around it faster than ever, but the Word will cut down those weeds.

Pray more fervently than ever! We must tap into the power of what is really going on other than this facade that appears before us. 

CHALLENGE

Are you taking time every day to spend time in the bible and pray?

By Andy Finch | Truckee, California

Posted in Devotionals

Holding it All Together

Written by Various Authors
on December 29, 2020 in Devotionals

Hebrews 1:3 (NASB) “And He . . . upholds all things by the word of His power.”

Competitions can be difficult at times. There is so much pressure to ride at the peak of your ability. There is so anticipation and nervousness. You do all that you can to get ready for the big day. You practice certain tricks over and over again to get everything as perfect as possible. Yet even after you have done all that you can, there are still certain variables that are out of your control.

I remember one contest I had been practicing months for ended up getting hit by a big storm. In the hours before my run, I stood surrounded by a cloud that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to snow or rain, so it did both . . . for a long time. By the time my run came, I couldn’t even see the first rail from the drop in. Needless to say, that contest didn’t go well.

Truthfully, we never have complete control of any situation, any set of circumstances, or any outcome. There are always a number of variables that can change any moment in any way. The same cannot be said of Savior. The Lord, when left in complete control, orders and keeps everything in perfect and complete harmony. There is not a single thing that can overcome, outwit, or overturn the hand of God.  We can have complete confidence and rest in total assurance knowing that the God who upholds all things by the word of His power is the same God who is at work in our lives. It should be our goal to learn how to trust Him more and more with our lives because He is able. You will never be disappointed when you turn your life over to the only One who needs no assistance in holding the universe together.

CHALLENGE


1) Why is it our natural tendency to seek to order and control our own lives?
2) Why do we, at times, not want to turn our lives over to God and learn to trust Him to order and keep them?
3) What makes it hard for us to trust God with our lives?
4) What can we do to overcome those hardships?

By Chris Willett | Springville, Utah

Posted in Devotionals

Plans for Good (not for disaster)

Written by Various Authors
on December 22, 2020 in Devotionals

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Injury is just a part of the game, especially as a shredder. When I was in Bosnia on a trip, I was skating with locals in a city square. I went to do a trick I had done many times before, so I felt totally safe and invincible. But before I could even realize, my feet were above my head, and I was forming a ‘folded-lawnchair’ pose in the air as my board flew away. Hitting the ground, pain shot up my back and down my leg. Immediately, it became difficult to walk, let alone skate. The following weeks involved frustration with a body that was slow to heal and a fear of the unknown (“What if I can never skate the same again?”)

Life is weird that way. At the most unexpected times, when we feel our safest and most confident, stuff can change quickly.

For me, the whole thought of having “a future and a hope” put me at a great peace. I knew that someone’s got me. As a shredder or skater, injury is a real part of the game we play. At any moment, no matter how talented or gifted, one weird fall can take all plans or dreams away. That fear is a real one, but it’s one God can bring peace if we let Him in. How sweet is that? No matter what happens, God has a plan for our lives, and we can have hope in the future that God has for us. No matter what happens (if you taco a rail, scorpion, or do great), God’s got a plan, and we can look forward to it. We can have hope in it.

CHALLENGE


1) Have you ever had an experience in life where you feel like you’re on a plan for disaster? What about for good?
2) Have you had experiences in life where you’ve had to trust that God has a good plan for you?
3) In what parts of your life could you trust God’s plan even more?

By Zach Creighton | Calgary, Canada

Posted in Devotionals

Be a Straight Shooter with Yourself and Others

Written by Various Authors
on December 15, 2020 in Devotionals

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

When I was growing up riding at a little hill in Minnesota, there was always this guy who would show up at every park contest and try the most ridiculous tricks. He is the guy who continually has to try something over the top, like a one footed boardslide over the rainbow rail. The problem was that he would rarely land the trick. Not so surprisingly, he was always recovering from some snowboarding injury. He desperately needed some basic advice: “Take it back to the basics, take an honest assessment of some smart tricks to learn, and then build on that.” However, he wasn’t willing to listen to advice from anyone else. He couldn’t see it for himself, and his snowboarding struggled as a result.

We are called to be the kind of people that are vulnerable with ourselves and with others about our shortcomings to work on them. Whether it is an addiction to pornography, a propensity to gossip, or a heart-attitude of pride, we need to be willing to examine ourselves, take it back to the basics, and let Christ work in our hearts and in our lives. Our character, relationships, and relationship with God will surely benefit.

CHALLENGE


1) Has there been anyone in your life that has been willing to able to gently point out some areas you need work?
2) What was that like?
3) What are some weak points in your life where you can direct attention?

By Randy Schroeder | Denver, Colorado

Posted in Devotionals