While skiing in Quebec, Canada during the winter of 1992, my ski partner commented several times throughout the day, “I wish that they would get those silly toys off this ski slope!” He was referring, of course, to the snowboards that were just starting to become a familiar sight on the Canadian slopes.
However, being a former surfer, I personally thought that snowboarding looked like a really cool idea, but what I didn’t know back then was just how popular snowboarding would one day become!
Today, snowboarding is a mainstream winter sport and is one of the most popular winter sports in the world! In 1998, snowboarding made its grand entrance into the world of the Olympics at Nagano, Japan. Few other innovations have caught on so fast and have become a full-fledged Olympic sport so quickly! In fact, in my short lifetime, I have seen snowboarding go from its humble grassroots beginnings to its spectacular superstar status that it enjoys today.
Pioneers of the Snowboard
As a Surfer-turned-snowboarder, I marvel at the genius of this amazing invention that gives the rider such deft control of the “great white wave”. So, who do we thank for such a beautiful idea? Who is the Genius behind this break-through innovation that has revolutionized the world of winter sports? Will the true “Lord of the Board” please stand up?
To answer these questions, let’s pick up the story on Christmas Day of 1965, when Sherman Poppen invented what he called the “Snurfer” as a toy for his daughter, Wendy. Poppen’s wife coined the word “Snurfer” by combining the words “snow” and “surfer”. Poppen fabricated the Snurfer in his garage by nailing a platform on two 36 inch skis that he attached together, and then fastening a rope to its nose so that the rider could hold it for stability. Soon, many of Wendy’s neighborhood friends asked Sherman to make a Snurfer for them as well!
As the demand grew, Poppen licensed his new invention and sold over half a million Snurfers in 1966 alone! However, even with this excellent marketing success, the Snurfer was still only perceived as a simplistic toy fit only for kids.
Then in 1972, Dimitrije Milovich started a company in Utah called Winterstick, and he made some progress in developing and promoting his design ideas which he called the “Snowsurfer” until he left the industry in 1980.
However, in 1979, a very important snowboard pioneer stepped-up-to-bat. His name was Jake Burton Carpenter (better known as Burton). Burton was an extremely energetic snowboard innovator and visionary who showed up one day at one of Poppen’s “Snurfer Competitions” in Muskegon, Michigan. At this competition, Burton unveiled his own design of what we now know as the Snowboard. The massive difference in his design was the addition of the revolutionary concept of bindings.
Burton ended up completely blowing the other competitors away that day. This drew a considerable amount of attention to Burton’s idea of snowboards with bindings. Burton had already begun marketing his innovative design of the snowboard back as early as 1977. And the list of important snowboard pioneers goes on, including men such as Tom Sims, Chuck Barfoot, Bob Webber, Mike Olson and others.
Ancient Roots of Snowboarding
So then…which one of these snowboard inventors, therefore, deserves the title of: “The Lord of the Board”?
Although we can be grateful for the part that each of these men played in inventing the snowboard, ultimately none of them qualifies to be called, “The Lord of the Board”. The reason for this is because the history of the snowboard began long before any of these men were even born. To understand the ancient roots of snowboarding, we have to go back in time…way back, to the beginning of all things…to creation!
The Bible records for us how God miraculously created the entire world in six literal days. And on the sixth day, God created mankind: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27, 28)
Being created in God’s image, leads mankind directly to his privilege and duty to subdue the earth and to have dominion over it. In other words, man’s purpose in life is to be busy understanding, shaping, designing and using God’s creation in a way that calls attention to God’s worth and that awakens worship for God within us.
God made man in His own image so that He would be seen, enjoyed and honored through what man does. So, the unveiling of the snowboard to our generation gives us one more good reason to enjoy God and to honor Him for allowing man to unlock this break-through innovation.
In the invention of the snowboard, it is God who gave man the wisdom to apply the laws of gravity, physics, geometry, and chemistry to the dynamics of a surface covered with snow. And it is God alone who is the only One who could ever qualify to be called: “The Lord of the Board”.
Storehouses Filled with Snow
Not only is God “The Lord of the Board”, but He is also “The Lord of the Snow”! It is God Himself who dreamed up the idea of snow in the first place. Did you know that the Bible tells us that God literally speaks to the snow and commands it to fall to the earth? Listen to this interesting verse of Scripture: “For to the snow He (God) says, ‘Fall on the earth’.” (Job 37:6)
It is mind-boggling to realize that God is the Mover-and-Shaker behind every snowflake that falls to the earth! And furthermore, did you know that God once asked a man named Job the following question about snow?: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?” (Job 38:22). God’s purpose for asking Job this rhetorical question was to impress on us the grandeur and mystery of His sovereign power over snow as well as all created things!
Unlike us, the Lord needs no machinery to make snow. Instead, God fills His secret storehouses with snow, and then at His command, He tells the snow to fall. What power and authority God has! No wonder we call Him, “LORD”!
Myth of the Cosmic-Killjoy
The snowboard is indeed a gift of God to mankind. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” (James 1:17) The snowboard is a practical and fun means of mobility that can be efficiently controlled, directed, and stopped at will. This makes it useful, and pleasurable and thus, good for mankind.
God takes great pleasure in giving good gifts to mankind. However, it is sad to realize that far too many people view God as a “Cosmic-Killjoy” who is sitting up in heaven with His arms crossed searching for someone having fun on the earth and then saying, “Hey look, there’s someone having fun down there! Quick, stop him!”
However, nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the Bible reveals that God Himself is the Inventor of all human pleasure! God invented good food, warm days, sex, sunsets and every other “good thing” you can think of. For it is, “God who richly provides us with all things to enjoy,” (I Timothy 6:17) and it is God who gives the gift of pleasure to mankind, “You (God) make known to me the path of life; in Your presence, there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) Goodbye to any concept of God being some sort of “Cosmic-Killjoy”! He is the Giver of true and lasting joy!
Costly Snowboard Swap
Everyone loves swapping winter gear at their local “Ski & Snowboard Swap” events because trading gear is mutually beneficial to all. However, there is one thing that we dare not trade away: TRUTH for a LIE!
The Word of God teaches us about man’s propensity is to trade the worship of God for the worship of His creation: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Romans 1:25)
This Scripture reveals to us that it is possible to enjoy God’s good gifts, such as the snowboard, and yet fall short of worshiping the Creator of the snowboard. This is a sad and costly swap!
Sticking a 180
However, the Bible explains the reason that why people make this illogical exchange of worship. It is because the entire human race is infected with a deadly spiritual disease called sin, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and it also says, “For the wages of sin is death” (death = spiritual separation from God) (Romans 6:23) We are all sinners separated from God, but God sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to pay the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross in our place as a God-pleasing sacrifice. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
To receive forgiveness of sin, we must agree that we are Sinners, and that we are separated from a Holy God. We must repent of our sin which means to do a complete 180 degree turn away from our sinful ways, and then call upon the Lord to deliver us, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Strapping into Freedom
Perhaps at this moment, you are thinking something like this: “No, thanks. I don’t want to give up my freedom, and the control that I have over my own life and destiny.” Well, to receive Christ, (and all the benefits of the forgiveness of sin, and the promise of heaven), we must obey God and allow Him to “strap” us into the “bindings” of Christ, and therefore, give up on our own futile efforts of trying to successfully “ride down the mountain of life” without God.
Life without Christ is like trying to ride a snowboard down the mountain without attaching the bindings to your feet!
Can you imagine a person trying to ride a snowboard down the slope without being strapped into the bindings? This person may stay upright on his board for a few deceptive moments, but his “freedom” from the bindings will soon result in a complete loss-of-control and great shall be his fall!
In the same way, life without Christ is a dismal exercise in futility. True freedom is only found in the paradox of becoming permanently bound to Jesus Christ.
Just as a Snowboarder can only enjoy the freedom of the ride while attached to his snowboard, so too we can only enjoy true freedom in our lives when we are properly connected to Jesus Christ.
Enter by the Narrow Gate
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Only Christ can save us. All other religious affiliations or spiritual activities are completely empty and utterly vain if we are not “strapped into salvation” through Christ.
It is also important to remember that it is impossible to earn salvation through our religious activities or our own good deeds as the Bible says, ”For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Good works naturally flow out of the life of a true believer, but according to the Bible, good works are never the basis of our salvation. Salvation is a free and unmerited gift from God.
Finding the Backcountry Trail
When Christ is the Lord of your life, you will be surprised to find true freedom and joy as Christ lifts you up to the mountain tops of salvation and victory! Your life will be filled with joy and peace as you “ride” under his perfect protection and care. Life with Christ is also a life of pain and suffering because he will surely direct you down some difficult and lonely “backcountry” trails for His glory and for His purposes. However, even loneliness, pain and suffering are sweet as you fellowship forever with the One who loves you supremely, and the One who will never abandon you during your hardships and trials! Listen to what the Lord promises to His people, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when youwalk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Not for the Faint-of-Heart
Now, listen to these difficult words of Christ, “If anyone comes after Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
When a true Christian compares his love for Christ to his love for his family members, He discovers that his love for Christ far exceeds his love for even his own beloved family members.
This means that Christ is calling you today to choose Him above every human relationship and above every personal ambition. Christ defines a true Christian as one who chooses to please Him and to honor His word above every other pursuit or relationship.
Get on Board!
Jesus Christ, “The Lord of the Board”, is inviting you to come to Him today and to “strap into His bindings” by putting your faith in His finished work of salvation.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus Christ is more than able to give you the free gift of eternal life as it is written, “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Today is the day salvation! The moment is now! Step out in faith and allow Christ to strap you into His “perfect fitting bindings” in order to receive the gift of eternal life.
Reach out to Christ today, for He is reaching out to you. Simply ask Him to save you. His Lordship over you will be a perfect fit.
Today could be the greatest day of your life!
by Rob Brannon
Copyright © 2006-2017 Rob Brannon