Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Life To Remember

The following is the article that I wrote for this Friday's Church Page article for the Concordia Blade-Empire:

A Life To Remember

          Wednesday evening, I was going through my Twitter feed, to find items to share on Facebook via HootSuite (sounds like an exciting night, huh?) and I came across this great line:

“Commencement: Just as my speech will not be remembered, so your life will not be. Stop striving for significance and love God. He remembers.” ~ John Mark N Reynolds

          Reynolds quote is rather timely with graduations taking place all over the area during the month of May and Concordia’s big event is on Sunday. Special speakers will share from the platform along with deserving students about all of the past accomplishments and future great achievements.

          Silly String may get sprayed. Cake will be consumed in mass quantities. Hugs will be exchanged. Gifts will be opened. Cash will be pocketed. All of this along with promises that people will be “Friends Forever!”

          Then “life” kicks in. For some of the graduates, “life” will be postponed until they graduate from college. Others will enter “life” on Monday. Some have already been experiencing “life” now. All will wonder if “life” is really worth it.

          The Book of James tells us that “life” is a vapor that disappears quickly. That basically means it can end before we really begin living “life”.

          So how do we prepare to outlast the “vapor”? Romans 10:9-10 tells us, "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; {10} for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (NASB)  In other words, take up God on His love for you and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. This works for today’s graduates and even for those already living “life”.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 30th, 2012 Newsletter

Lisa took this picture right before the Gospel was shared at the April TFC Dodgeball Tournament in Concordia.

April 30th, 2012
Dear Friends,
          Four months of 2012 are now history and our heads our spinning. Are we the only ones who live life in the fast lane or do you notice time flying by as well? Anyhow, we hope this finds you doing well in the Lord as we are on the eve of the month of May.
          I (Kent) told a friend the other day that it was time for newsletters. She nodded and said that was nice. I then told her that this would be newsletter number 333 (I guessed a little lower, but I just did the math) and her eyes got big. There is a small handful reading this letter who have received all 333. Others have gone on home to be with the Lord. A few others have lost interest. Some of you are rather new when it comes down to learning the behind the scene details it takes to run a small, rural youth ministry.
          Over the years, the newsletter or prayer letter (the two titles intermingle at times) has contained a thoughtful little story or look into our lives, a stated overall need that we may have, and a thank you for support and prayers. You may have noticed a routine there. The style of the letters have evolved over the years with a desire to deliver a clean, crisp letter into your hands so you can know what we are up to and this month is rather the same.
          As I was thinking about what to write, I was looking at the copy of the Teens For Christ Update that has been included in this letter. What caught my eye were the 42 students mentioned in the Birthday List. That is a pretty average number when you get down to it, but a closer look will show that those 42 students are from 20 different towns in north central Kansas and south central Nebraska. After taking a closer look, that breakdown translates to 512 teenagers in 69 different communities. Which if we were to rest on our laurels is not too bad for a “Mom & Pop” operation, but there is room for improvement as we desire to point more young people to Jesus Christ.
          For a teenager to be on the mailing list of Teens For Christ, they have attended a TFC Bible Club, TFC Rally, or any of our other special events like our TFC Dodgeball Tournaments. If they have attended one of these programs, they have heard the Gospel explained as clear as possible. It would be great if all 512 have confessed Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Saviour, but that is not always the case. All we can do is brag on what Jesus has done for them and pray that they will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit moving in their lives.
          Basically, what Lisa and I get to do through Teens For Christ, with the help of some wonderful volunteers and like minded adults, is to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and live out Acts 1:8: ". . . but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (NASB) We may never go to anywhere that would qualify as “remote” but we may have some fingerprints on those who will.
          With all of that in mind, thank you for helping us impact teenagers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We appreciate your during the month of April very much! Take care and we hope you have a very blessed May!
Yours For Youth!
Kent & Lisa Otott
Micah 6:8