Pastor Scott Swix

A Message for You

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

Prayer is a Relationship by PASTOR SCOTT SWIX Hope Community Church “Oh, God, please HELP with ____.” (Fill in the blank here—job, wife, husband, health, school, kids, mortgage, loved one, fear of flying, etc.) That’s a very popular prayer indeed, and has been for thousands of years. It’s often combined with “if you do, I will ____.” (Fill in this blank too, such as “never do it again,” “start going to church again,” “become a monk/pastor/priest,” etc.) Yeah, that’s a common prayer combination. Hey, we are human, and usually a bit self-absorbed, and tend to turn to God when are in a spot of trouble. And that’s not all bad. While making “deals” with God is discouraged, God encourages us to ask for help. There are lots of great examples of that in the Bible. Then again, is that the only time we talk to God? If it is, or if the rest of our prayer life is just a short nightly Lord’s Prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” a Hail Mary, or something similar, then we really should ask ourselves, “How does God feel about that?” How would we feel if someone claimed to be our friend, our really, really good friend, and the only time they called was when they needed something? Or, maybe they occasionally call really quickly, like a Facebook status post, and simply say, “I did this today” and then hang up. That’s a pretty one-sided and disappointing relationship. But it is an easy habit to fall into. Most of us tend to want God to be there when we need God, and want God to listen and answer our prayers, and then… well, then we’d really like to get back to our own life until we hit the divine 911 again. Listening to God takes time, and there’s always the risk God might actually say something that I don’t want to hear. It doesn’t take much to admit that God probably doesn’t find that a very fulfilling relationship. The really sad part, perhaps, isn’t that God is disappointed; it is that we are short-changing ourselves. Our own bad habit keeps us from God’s blessings. God wants to be part of our lives, wants to hear about our […]

A Message for You

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Loving Words by PASTOR SCOTT SWIX Hope Community Church A couple of years ago there was a wonderful animated movie called “Up” in which a house is carried away by thousands of helium balloons to take the old man and the young scout on an adventure. No one balloon could do it, but put enough together… and you could fly. The idea of each of those balloons helping lift the house is a bit similar to how the words we choose and use help lift our relationships with others and help them fly—or drag them back down to the ground. Think of each caring, loving, encouraging word as one of the balloons. It provides lift. Each negative word, each insult, each put-down, each word of anger drags the relationship back into the mud again. What’s worse, studies have shown that negative words weigh more than loving words lift up. Seems that we remember those mean words longer. It takes 10 words of encouragement to balance one harsh one; sometimes even more than that, depending on what was said. It’s hard to believe and trust the nice things someone says if we keep hearing nasty ones as well. Well, there’s lots of wisdom in keeping our tongues in check and our words to ourselves. The Bible’s book of Proverbs is full of great advice and reminders of the damage that harsh words cause and the benefits of loving ones, such as 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing,” and 16:23, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,” which are just two of many. Jesus reminds us that what comes out of our mouths really defines us. But in this electronic age it isn’t just the spoken word. One on one, live, we can have enough trouble. Texting and instant messaging appear to make us choose worse words—the person isn’t right there with us, and folks say things that they wouldn’t say in person. Verbal bullying in online social media is another example, where blogging and website “comment” sections take it even further. Reviews of these remote and often anonymous electronic forums show them often full of extremely judgmental, disrespectful and insulting responses—all to people we don’t really even […]

A Message for You

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

The End is Near! Or Isn’t! by PASTOR SCOTT SWIX Hope Community Church, Rockford The year 2012 is here! The world did not end in 2011 as some predicted. Though others are convinced the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus, Biblical prophecy and other signs assure us that this year is the last year. Well, perhaps. But I’d not bet on it. That’d be a silly bet anyway, wouldn’t it? If you’re right, and you win, you can’t collect. So how do we live in this new year of slowly improving economy, a world of great change? With European crisis, Arab Spring, global warming, Lions winning, China ascending, presidential elections, Washington gridlock (oops, sorry, that’s not new) and on and on, what are we to do? Be faithful. Live as though Christ shall return tomorrow. And as though he won’t. Live faithfully. A faithful Christ-like life is lived the same way, either way. Love God and others, care, forgive, share the good news of the Gospel, give generously. Change a life for the better—our own, and others’. Live in the joy of the holy present moment while prudently considering the future that may come. But do not worry about it, or ignore it. Remember the past, but do not dwell upon it either. We cannot change it, nor can we recapture it. Be faithful. That’s mostly an internal thing. Focus on becoming what God is calling us to be, and less on making others into what we think God expects them to be. Concentrate on our blessings, and less on all the things we want or think we need, and we’ll find more joy and contentment and less anxious depression. Be faithful. Martin Luther said, “Even if I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant an apple tree today.” Take care of what we have, and use it wisely, for one day or for many, for we may need it for a very long time. It is a new year. Live it!

A Message for You

June 16, 2011 // 0 Comments

God of New Things by PASTOR SCOTT SWIX Hope Community Church, Rockford It’s spring going into summer, a season of beautiful colors and green growing things! Take a look around the Rockford area at all the new things springing up—trees and plants, fields of crops, new businesses downtown, and new graduates starting to think about college in the fall. New things. Exciting things. Our God is a God of creation as well, not just once long ago, but a God who is constantly creating anew—the spark of life that keeps it all going. The cells in our miraculous bodies are constantly being made anew. Our creative ideas, from music to inventions, are aspects of this God that creates anew. The gift of imagination, of what could be, is such a great and wondrous thing. Some philosophers say this is what really separates us from other creatures: the ability to imagine something then work to make it real. New things can be a bit scary, since we don’t always know what to expect and whether we’ll like it. And new means a bit of change, which we don’t always like. To be sure, there’s comfort in the tried and true, old faithful stuff. But without the “new” in our lives, we would be dead, either physically, emotionally or intellectually. The Holy Spirit lives in us and draws in new ways—to see ourselves and others in new and different light. We are never called to simply “sit where we are,” but are called to listen to that Spirit calling us toward a new and different place in which our walk with God is deeper and stronger, and our love for others is more honest, more generous, more caring and a better mirror of God’s love for us. And because of this, God is constantly reaching out to us in new ways, and always has. “New” life is a common theme in the Bible and our faith. Sometimes it’s through new people in our lives and new opportunities and challenges. So, in this season of “new,” where is God calling you? What new thing is God calling you to in your life? A new and different way to serve others and help this world? A renewed and healed […]

Dog Daze fundraiser coming to Hope Community Church

August 6, 2009 // 0 Comments

Bless your pet—literally. A Blessings of the Pets will be part of a day’s fundraising and fun at Hope Community Church to raise money for a new parking lot. On Saturday, September 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. stop by with your pet (leashed, socialble, up to date on shots and accompanied by an adult). Along with the Blessing of the Pets will be ear cleaning and nail trimming done by Sam Hyer of Hyer Love Kennel and Lilly Flannigan of Plainfield Animal Hospital. A person and pet bake sale, coat brushing, a pet look-a-like contest and pet costume contest will also be available. Drawings for free pet-related items will take place every half hour. Prizes include leaches, toys, treats and a grand prize of a one year supply of pet food from Chow Hound. Pastor Scott Swix will kick off all activities with the Blessing. The church is located at 7000 Myers Lake Road. For more information or to donate items, visit or call the church at (616) 874-4673.