Pastor's Pen

by Pastor Jeff Smalley

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, no, I’m not losing my mind.  Christmas is still a few months away.  I just, really, really like this time of the year, and I can feel it!  It’s welling up inside me, just begging to be released. 

O…H…!  I just have to let it go!  

I… O…!  Oh boy, does that feel good.

As a proud graduate of THE® Ohio State University, it is in my DNA.  Ever since my dad took me to my first Ohio State football game in 1969, I have been a big fan of the Buckeyes.  Kathy would tell you a huge fan and, at one point in my life, an obsessed fan.

 Kathy knows of the time in my early 20’s that I would wait in line at 3am at St. John’s Arena for a shot at a couple of tickets.  She also knew that when Ohio State lost, she should just leave me alone, because I would be in an absolute funk.  While I never did, there were times during the 9-3 years of Earle Bruce’s tenure that I wanted to kick in the front of the television. Ohio State football became my all in all, my god.

 Praise God! Jesus came into my heart! When my faith increased in my early thirties, I realized that I had put Ohio State football above my relationship with God.  I also read in the Bible that God was a jealous God and that the very 1st commandment was that God wanted no other god to be before him.  God wants first priority in your and my life.

Can I ask you to be truly honest with yourself?  Is there something that consumes you, something that is so important that you would never consider missing it.  Is there a hobby, a passion that you have, that takes first place to everything else in your life?  Take a close look.  Where do you spend your time?  How do you spend your money? Is there something that you could not give up even if God needed you to visit a friend or serve in the community?  Have you allowed something else to be your god?

 I thank God that I was shown the sin of letting OSU football consume me, of letting it be my god.  Oh, I still like my Buckeyes, but God is my heart and soul.  I pray that you will always give Jesus first place in your heart because Jesus gave you first place in his.  My friend………..Jesus died for you.  Now that is worth cheering about. 



In Christ’s love,


Pastor Jeff


Karen Horn