Posts

:01 Second Chance

You’ve seen the scene—tens of thousands of screaming college students and parents—bundled up, huddled up, and always somewhere in the crowd is a wildly crazy group of shirtless guys painted in school colors, jumping up and down in the frigid cold and cheering. It’s Saturday afternoon college football, and few sporting events rise to its drama. In November we witnessed the dramatic end to the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the #4-ranked Auburn Tigers. The game clock expired with the teams in a dead tie—28 to 28. But the runner stepped out of bounds with one second to go, and that second was put back on the clock. Alabama attempted an unbelievably long 57-yard field goal that would clinch the game. The kick fell short, and Auburn player Chris Davis caught the ball in his own end zone and returned it 109 yards to victory. Game over! Undefeated Alabama had been knocked out of a national championship game.

The fans, the coaches, and the players stood in stunned silence, hand over mouth, looking at the scoreboard—one side in disbelief that they lost and the other equally shocked that they won. Then the clamor of cheers and cries erupted. The thrill of victory matched by the agony of defeat was seen in the faces of all. In the end, for most of us it was only entertainment; we had no skin in the game.

But life is a game that we do have skin in, and at its end there is a score. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11–12).

God sent His Son into this world for our benefit. The apostle Peter wrote of this fact: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). God is just; we are not. We sin; Christ paid for our sin. This was accomplished to weight the score decidedly in our favor. God’s Word says, “For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin [Christ]; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When life is over there is no replay, there is no second chance. However, God gives you the chance now to accept his free gift of salvation.

We must trust that Christ died in our place on the cross to make full payment for our sin. We need this atonement for when the final score is tallied at the end of life. At that time of accounting, it would be infinitely better for us to stand before God having accepted Christ as our personal Savior and thus enjoy the thrill of victory than to stand before Him in stunned silence and feel the agony of defeat. There is a heaven, and Christ is the way.

Article by Sam Aylestock

Singles and Student Ministries, Valley Forge Baptist

Tips for Teens

Ah, the teenage years. I feel like it was just yesterday that I embarked on those never-forget years of being a teenager. There were many memories made during my teen years: high school, heading off to college, first time to Disney World (I know, I was robbed in my childhood), and sports. There is one landmark event that occurs at sweet sixteen that just about all of us can relate to – driving!

I remember when I first got my driver’s license. It was a sunny morning and I carefully backed out of my driveway. As I was heading down the road, I glanced down to find my watch in the center console, then BAM! The car slammed into the side of the curb, jumping over the sidewalk, causing a popped tire on a brand-new Nissan Altima. I learned a very valuable lesson that day: “No matter how skilled (or in my case, unskilled) you are at driving, never take your eyes off the road!”

The teen years are tough, but they can be some of the most fun years of life! Much like driving, life has its surprises. Just as we pulled out that manual to study for our driver’s test, we can consult a manual for life – the Bible. Below are three basic tips you can find in both the driver’s manual and the manual for life.

Tip #1 – Check Your Surroundings

Adjust those rear-view mirrors, put your seatbelt on, look both ways – these are just a few necessities to make sure are in place before taking the car out of park. If we are not careful, we can get careless with checking our surroundings and end up in a trap. We can become unaware of our surroundings in everyday life and cause some deep heartache. Take a close look at your friends, your hobbies, and other things that you like to do in your free time and think to yourself, would this be something that is a true representation of me? Do I want to be like that? If we are not careful, our surroundings can become obstacles, and they can destroy us just like the curb destroyed my tire.

Tip #2 – Obey the Traffic Signs

Much like speed limit signs and traffic signals that help us maintain safety on the road, authority figures such as parents, coaches, teachers, counselors, and pastors are there to help guide us through life. Tip number two is to obey those authority figures. Like traffic signs, these various authorities have been placed in our lives by God to help us grow and mature properly. Believe it or not, these authorities do know what they are talking about.

Tip #3 – Always be Alert!

The third and final tip in driving down the road of life is ALWAYS be alert! Don’t be like me and get so comfortable with driving that you neglect to do the most basic thing – keep your eyes on the road! The Bible talks about the devil as being like a roaring lion looking for the next unsuspecting person to devour. Keep your eyes focused on the road. Don’t get sidetracked by the “lures of the world” and end up hurting yourself or someone else. Surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you, but most important, look to God to be your ultimate guide in life.

We hope to see you at a youth activity sometime! Check us out at youthablaze.us where you will find a list of our meetings, activities, photos, and an explanation of what we are all about.

Article by Brandon Joyner
Youth Director at Valley Forge Baptist