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Spare Change - January 2023

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One thing I have learned is that change is inevitable.  There are some that welcome change and some that revile it, but one constant in life is change.  I have always been one that doesn’t want things to change.  I like the simple things in life, and I am fine if things stay just the way they are.  This has always been a challenge for me because as much as I try, life circumstances, people, the world, etc. are always changing.  Since change is unavoidable, how do I deal with it?  What can I do as a Christian to not only understand change but to leverage it for the glory of God? Here are 3 ways to deal with change:

The first thing we need to understand about change is everything changes, except for our Lord.  The Bible is replete with passages about the unchanging character (i.e. Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 119:89, Psalm 102:27) of God.  This is very comforting in a world that is always changing.  We can always count on the Lord to be the same today as He was a thousand years ago.  This is important because it means we can trust the Lord.  We can also trust the promises that He made in the scriptures.  The unchanging nature of God is a distinct characteristic that should fill us with hope.  We can always count on our Lord, today and every day in the future.

2. Change gives us hope.  As much as I don’t like change, I realize that I am a product of change.  When I became a Christian, I was transformed and I have been on a trajectory of transformation ever since.  Change, or as it is also known - sanctification, is a reality for all believers.  We should relish the fact that we are not the person we used to be.  We should be thankful that the Lord works in our heart to make us more like Him.  In this way, change is good.  Change gives us hope.  We don’t have to remain stuck in our sin and disobedience.  God will help us to move out of it for His glory.  The main driver for this is still the basics of the faith.  The Word of God is the catalyst for change in our lives.  If you really desire to change, you must dive into God’s Word.  Embrace the fact that you are God’s ongoing masterpiece, and He will do an amazing work in your life.

3. Change is coming, so be ready.  You have one advantage in dealing with change: you know it is coming.  If you know something is coming then you can be ready for it.  You can’t ever be completely ready because you don’t know the specific things that will happen, however, there are some general principles that we can apply to be ready for any situation as a believer.  Peter shares this truth in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

How do we prepare for any challenge in life?  Set our focus on Jesus, live for Him instead of ourselves, and pursue holiness.  When we live this passage out in our lives then we can overcome any changes that come our way.

We can’t stop the world from changing, but we can rest in the fact that the unchanging Lord of Creation is sovereign over everything.  We can also look to Him to help us grow and change to be more like Him; in this way we can be prepared for whatever comes our way.  Change is inevitable, but that shouldn’t scare us. Rather, we should embrace it and be ready for the challenge.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - December 2022

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For the Love of the (Game) Savior

Upward season is in full swing!  We are starting the 14th season of the Upward basketball and cheer program at Oakhill.  Every year, boys and girls from kindergarten to 8th grade sign up to play in our league.  This year we have our highest league enrollment with 222 basketball and cheer participants!  We also have 50 coaches signed up to help.  We will have many other volunteers that will help us when games start.  We are thankful to the Lord for the many children in our program and the volunteers that serve. The Upward Sports Ministry is a unique and wonderful ministry.  There are several reasons for this:

1. Emphasis on Spiritual Things
Upward is not just a basketball and cheer league.  We strongly emphasize the spiritual. During each practice, coaches lead the players through a devotional.  This year they are looking at snapshots from characters listed in Hebrews 11.  The devotions build throughout the season emphasizing truth from God’s word and the gospel.  We also have an intentional gospel presentation at one point in the season.  Players can respond and we follow up with them if they want to know how to become a follower of Jesus.  Finally, we do half-time devotions to bring a spiritual element to the games as well.  Upward only works if we emphasize the spiritual along with the physical.

2. Emphasis on Relationships
Another goal of our Upward league is to build relationships with our players and families.  We want the Upward experience to be a positive one.  We have found that if our staff, Upward leaders, coaches, and other volunteers focus on building relationships then we have a stronger league.  We have connected with many great families that have played every year until their child ages out of the program.  Relationships are key to making Upward great.

3. Emphasis on Skills
Upward is a competitive league, however we emphasize the players' growth over competition.  We want this to be a league where kids of all skill levels will feel welcome.  We also want to see them grow in their skills as the season progresses.  It is always so amazing to see how players improve.  When we emphasize skills, all players feel valued and encouraged.

4. Emphasis on Affirmation
Finally, Upward emphasizes an affirming attitude during games.  You might see parents getting hot or coaches yelling at referees in other leagues.  At the Oakhill Upward league, we see almost none of this.  We work hard to create a positive environment where everyone from the players, to the coaches, to the referees, to the parents are affirmed.  We know that people make mistakes, refs will miss calls, players will miss shots; but even through all of that, we want to be encouraging.  Our Upward league has a great reputation, and we hope to continue this tradition each season.

I hope you understand why we think the Upward Sports Ministry is so special.  If you want to volunteer to help during the season, please contact me at   The biggest way you can help is to pray!  Pray for our players to respond to the truth of the gospel.  Pray for our coaches as they work with the players.  Pray for a safe, fun, and positive environment in practices and games.  We can never have enough people praying for us!  Thank you for your support and prayers!

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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