Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

Visions of Glory

by pastortimfowler

The short book of Joel in the Old Testament is a great encouragement to those who may have fallen away from their relationship with God. With only 3 chapters of reading it is full of promised blessings to a nation of people who were far away from where they needed to be in their relationship with God as a people could get. Yet because God desires to love us and bless us, instead of wiping them out, He promises earthly and spiritual blessings for their return to Him.
Most church people know the book of Joel because Peter quoted this verse in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Joel 2:28After this, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. Sadly we don’t read the rest of the three chapters to see what is happening. It is a great promise and exciting to hear that God is gonna pour out His Spirit on us, but somehow, whenever I hear this quoted in the church it is made to sound as if God was doing this because we were doing good things. The promise was made to a people who were in total rebellion and the Spirit of God is given to a bunch of people who still are disobedient and rebellious. We can only do the good things of God with His Spirit and without, we usually get into trouble.
God rejoices in our returning to Him. When we stray, God is grieved. He loves us and desires to have our fellowship. I am not talking about going to church on Sunday fellowship, but rather His desire to have us talk to Him and listen to Him and join Him in the work of making salvation and forgiveness available to anyone who will believe on a daily basis. Sadly though, the church rebels against God as much as Israel did in the Old Testament. But just like His passion to see Israel return to Him, God desires us to return and when we do, He blesses us with awesome love and forgiveness. Then He puts us back to sharing that love with others. That is why He pours out His Spirit on us and allows us to see glimpses of glory through dreams and visions.
What? You are not having those visions of glory? You are not feeling the love? Could it be that you are more concerned with you than with God? Could it be that you want God as your back-up plan in case you fail? I occasionally see a bumper sticker that says, God is my co-pilot. God doesn’t want to be your second in command. He wants to be first. Matthew 6:33 But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. When we put God first, then we can have the blessings. When we put Him anywhere but first, we can only have the warning of correction if we don’t change our ways, but God always shows the promise of how much it is worth the change to seek Him first and all else after that.
I desire visions of glory. How ’bout you?

February 28, 2012

A Cruel God

by pastortimfowler

Revelation 21:4He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be any more death. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”
Is God cruel? After all, the Bible says that he killed many innocent animals and in many cases people, including women and children. That goes against even His own commandment to not kill.
Kill comes from the Hebrew word rāṣaḥ-a primitive root; kill (a human being), especially to murder :- put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er). As you can see it does not have anything to do with animals. It has to do with taking the life of another human without cause.
I want to share a few thoughts in light of the verse from Revelation at the top.
Today, some people think that this life is the one and only. They believe that the only thing that matters is what happens now. Their reasoning of morality is based on feelings, mainly their own. If something makes them feel bad, then it is wrong, if it makes them feel good, then it is right. Here’s the problem with that thinking. Who’s to say my feelings, if different from yours are right or wrong? If I think that it is okay to have sex with little children, who are you to tell me I am wrong. Sure, that is an extreme. So what about if I want to smoke and feel like it is alright? Or what if I want to cheat on my wife and feel it is alright? If humans are the ones who determine what is right or wrong, which humans have the authority to tell me what that is?
As a Christian, I believe that all of mankind is flawed and we have only the morality of God be judged by. The problem with that for most is that God’s morals don’t change with my or your feelings. It does not matter if I feel it is okay to have sex with a child, it is wrong in God’s morality therefore it is wrong in mine. God’s law is the basis for most human laws on earth and have been for as long as we have been here. God is moral and good and loving, not cruel.

Don’t confuse love and good and moral with free from consequences. God has said from the beginning of time that sin brings on death, physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is for those who are not reconciled with God at the time of their physical death. Physical death is the result of sin being confined to the flesh. God’s plan from creation was for us to live with Him eternally. Our sin separates us from Him and God provided a substitute for us in death through Jesus Christ so that sin could die with the flesh and the spirit could be redeemed for eternity. Physical death begins eternal existence.
Now this is a blog, not a theological paper, so I am stating biblical doctrine that I don’t have room to elaborate on in a blog. But the point of this blog is that we focus on this life and that we should remember that there is something that happens after we die.Either eternal life or eternal death.

God does not want anyone to end up in hell. He made salvation easy and accessible to all. I believe the Bible teaches that some go to heaven even if they did not go through the church view of salvation as in the confess and pray for forgiveness. Mainly what I am talking about is children and those who can’t understand right and wrong. Then there are those who have never heard about God from those who believe. Romans 1:20 From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. I believe this says that someone can look at creation and never hear about God, but make a logical assumption that something greater than them made it all and believe, that God is so loving and merciful that He will accept them in Heaven. Gods (gods) are not something that are new. Human societies have always believed in supernatural beings. They just want the ones who let them make the rules instead of a True Living God that makes the rules
So if innocent children and those who have no teaching of God die, like in a worldwide flood or a war, and they go to heaven and heaven is what God say it is, isn’t that good. Is it better to live in this world with death and pain and sickness or live forever where there is none of that? God even promises a new heaven and a new earth where animals will not even kill each other. I don’t know if animals have eternal souls, I have my opinion, but I do know that God has always cared for even a bird that dies. Matthew 10:29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s permission.
A cruel God? I don’t think so.

February 27, 2012

I Think I Believe

by pastortimfowler

You see the weirdest stuff on Facebook. People who air their dirty laundry, complain about people they never met, and are experts on everything. One of my least favorite things to see on Facebook is conversations about Christianity. It is amazing that the experts on Christianity are usually the ones who don’t believe in God. Those who do believe are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible that they sound quite foolish at times and even go as far as admitting that they don’t really believe what they are hoping to be their eternal destiny. I do consider myself an expert on the Bible and believe that it teaches assurance and simplicity for salvation that we can be absolutely sure of.
I know that last statement will get some feathers ruffled, but I do consider myself an expert on the Bible. I have my Masters in theology and am half way to my Doctorate. I have read the Bible completely more times than I can count and make a living teaching what it says. I take this very seriously, because I believe that there is a God just as much as I believe that 1+1=2. No, I can’t prove that God exists, but no one can prove that He doesn’t. I have the ability to understand that order never comes from chaos and that where there is a creation of any type there must be a creator. I know personally that God changed my life and that the Bible has been true every time that I have tested it. Yes there are things that I can’t explain and don’t fully understand, but that is true with about anything in life.
The question was asked of me about how someone who professes to be a Christian can say that they believe the Bible enough for salvation but at the same time believe that God has made other ways that are not in the Bible to receive this salvation. That is a tough one. I personally believe that many people are not truly trusting God for the understanding of salvation but trusting in human understanding. Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Humans do not want to believe that they are not the smartest creature in the universe. As a Christian, the thing that we often miss is that God wants us to begin to trust Him and His word and change are hearts and mind. Romans 12:2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. This is hard when we are challenged by those who don’t believe and make it their point to argue what they believe of a non existing God. (I think it is sad to be threatened so much by something that you don’t even believe in.) But for those who say they believe they are Christians, God is the ultimate expert in who He is and what He wants you to know and believe. If He is who He says He is, and you believe that, then we should always try to seek the Godly way in our beliefs.
From the beginning, as the Bible states it, man has doubted God and wanted what we want. It has always led to failure. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death. Religious people have tried to turn what God wants into their gain, whether it was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day or corrupt preachers of today. Those will answer to God for their false teachings. But why do professing believes get thrown off by people who profess not to believe? It is one thing to say, I believe this way but respect your opinion, but never is it okay to go against what God clearly teaches. For instance, Jesus is the only way of salvation. The Bible is very clear about that. Why would a Christian argue against that? It borders on heresy and at best ignorance.
Your eternal life is a dangerous thing to play a game of people pleasing with. If you believe in the God of the Bible, don’t doubt what the Bible says. Faith is believing, not wishful thinking. It is by grace through faith that we are saved. God condemns those who don’t believe. But he made what He wants you to believe simple and direct and easy to obtain.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts his own heart is a fool. Whoever walks in wisdom will survive. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I think I believe is a people pleaser’s way of saying I don’t know. Salvation is to know.

February 23, 2012

Work It Out

by pastortimfowler

I always hate blogging about stuff where I have to talk about what I am doing, but sometimes I can’t help it. My wife, whom I love dearly, was given a diet for a thyroid condition and it is really good for her. One of the things it does is keep your weight in check, and if you need to lose some pounds it does that well and quickly. The only problem is that it requires her and I to be on two different menus, and that gets expensive and not practical all the time. After talking about it and me encouraging her to get back on it because of the health benefits, I told her to make it easier I would eat the same stuff too. So for the last month we have been faithful to follow this thing and I have lost 12 pounds already. She has lost about the same, but I did not think she needed it cause she is so fine, but I guess everyone if given the option can be happy with dropping a few pounds.
Our church tries to provide a variety of activities for the members and guests, including exercise programs. The latest to start was P90X for the men. Because I was losing this weight, I thought that it would be a good time to start exercising again. For many years I was a gym rat. I even went through the training to become a personal trainer at one time. I love to workout and enjoy the sweat, but for the last five years I have had chronic back pain that limits my ability to exercise like I want too. But I am giving this a try.
P90X is an advanced workout routine for freaks. If you have never seen it advertised you should Google it and check out this torture. I am not a wimp and even though my back limits me, I am not in bad shape. Not in good shape, but I can hang in there with most people. Considering the fact that I am 50 now, I think I am doing okay with it. My only problem is that I can’t feel my arms from the workout 2 days ago and my legs are hurting from last nights workout. There are a handful of us trying to do this, a couple of youth and a couple of younger adults. I am trying not to hate the guy who started this, but my body says that I need to.
I know that if I stick with it I will overcome the soreness and my desire to hate the guy who started it. I know that I will increase my stamina and my muscle tone. But sticking with it hurts. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but I am allergic to pain. It makes me hurt and walk funny.
As I was thinking about this I realized how similar Christianity is to a good diet and exercise. The Bible tells us to exercise our faith and to walk by faith. The problem is that most people are lazy and would rather cut back on eating than exercise. Starving yourself physically will lose weight but you only become weaker. Same is true with our faith. Walking by faith and exercising our faith often hurts. At best it is uncomfortable and takes dedication. Like I want to hate the guy who started the P90X, many want to hate the preacher who tells them to do what the Bible says instead of sitting around doing nothing. But I know that in a few weeks I will thank him for this; maybe.
Most of why we do or don’t do things is because we don’t have a change of heart and change of mind. That desire to do what is right is often overridden by the easiness of doing nothing. This diet that we started is a healthier diet than my burger and fries diet that I love. But it too means changing my heart and mind. Sure I could have bought bigger clothes, but I can’t buy another body. We can’t change the fact that God has one way of salvation and once we are saved He desires the best for us. He knows that a steady diet of His word mixed with exercising our faith makes us strong and less vulnerable to spiritual attacks. Healthy Christians are far more likely to get the praise of God when we all stand before him. Sure He will give us a robe that fits us, but I want to look good in mine, not cover up an out of shape faith that I never did anything with.
We can work out and eat better to change our physical health. We can eat better spiritually, but in the end, it is better if we get our faith in shape and work it out too. Change your heart and mind and eat the good stuff and exercise what God gives you.

February 21, 2012

Priority

by pastortimfowler

After reading the Old testament book of Daniel I got to thinking about priorities. Does the church today have their priorities in order? Do I? I know that a lot of people think of the book of Daniel and get caught up in the prophesies, and they are interesting, no doubt. But from the beginning of the book you see 4 guys who know God and have their priorities in order.
The last time I was interviewed for a job as pastor, I was asked what my priorities were. I was quick to say, God, family, church. That sounds like a good answer and I try to keep that in mind, but lets face it, God is not always on the top of that list. Perhaps after reading this I will no longer be welcome to stay as pastor of my current church. Everyone knows that pastors are super Christians and never get their priorities out of whack, but I like to be a rebel. Okay, I don’t like it when this is what makes me a rebel, but it is true. So, I know if a pastor can get priorities messed up, the regular folk certainly can.
Let me go back to Daniel and those 4 and what these guys faced. Basically Israel was once again being rebellious against God and God allowed them to be over taken by hostile people. But Daniel and his 3 friends had found favor with the king because, like me, they were smart and good-looking. (Stop laughing) They were told to do things that were against God’s word and refused. Rather than get their priorities out of whack, they decided to trust God and God honored them. Not only did he protect them from death, but God continued to give them favor with a hostile people.
Today we, the church, have decided to make it known that we don’t care about God as much as we care about self. We would rather have a program that keeps us happy over a mission trip that make us sleep without AC or heat. We would rather the band play the songs we know than to worship God as if He was who we know. We would rather the preacher keep it short so that we don’t miss the football game instead of missing the football game because we asked the preacher if he would spend a couple of extra hours teaching us the Bible. We would rather argue the politics of welfare than to take a cooler of sandwich meat and drinks into the homeless hangouts of our town and feed and eat with them as we share the gospel.
In a class last night we discussed how if we spent 15 minutes a day reading the Bible that we could read it in a year. My wife can read a novel a day on vacation. Most people I know, including myself, can do it in a few days. We remember every name of every character in a series like Twilight or Harry Potter, but can’t name the disciples. We know every player on our favorite team and know their schedule and even have time for fantasy football, but don’t know how to lead someone to Jesus. We can learn every change on Facebook even though we complain about it and add friends about every day, but we don’t bring anyone to our church all year.
Today I was stood up twice by people who wanted to meet with me to get help with their spiritual life. I saw both of them on Facebook as I was waiting on them to show up. A couple that wanted help with their marriage was supposed to meet with me today, but they had something come up. Sure, these can probably be explained, but it does make you wonder about our priorities. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all else will be added to it. Somehow we think that we need to get everything else in order and then find time for God.
All I know is that God has been dogging me out about keeping my priorities in order. I hope that other Christians will understand that unless we put God first, those who don’t believe will have no need to put God anywhere in their priority list. We have been given a command to follow Jesus. To follow anyone, they must be put in front of us or we are not following at all.

February 17, 2012

Its Free!!!

by pastortimfowler

Without saying that I am a Republican or Democrat, I am saying that I am sick of politicians promising everything to everyone and saying that it is free. The latest argument that insurance companies should give away contraceptives to people who are poor is another of the many “free” things the government promises. The latest vote on the Hill is to continue giving unemployment to those who are still without work. They are “giving” us about $40 extra in our paychecks by not taking more of our money. The sacrifice that no one is talking about is that this gift is coming from our future Social Security. I can probably do without it now more than I can do without it when it is my retirement plan.
Who pays for anything that the government “gives” us? Where does the government get “their” money? Its call our taxes. Its called taking our money and using it as if it was theirs. I won’t argue about who should pay more. Rich or poor, we should all pay our share because we must fund the basics of what makes our country function, but welfare and handouts don’t make anyone more productive and those things are not free. The only people who do not pay for these things are those who are making it their lifestyle of taking and never giving.
I ran a business a couple of times in my life. Nothing was free. Every factor of business was accounted for and was figured into the pricing of our products and services. If I incurred a cost such as a raise in rent, power bill, payroll, or made to give something away, I passed the cost on to the customer. Don’t gasp in disbelief, because every business does it. Otherwise we can’t stay in business. So when the government, who has no money of its own, tells any business that they must pass on a service or a product to those who can’t pay and make it “free”, someone will have to pay for it and that someone is the paying customers.
Freedom is not free. There is always a price for something valuable. Those who get things for free continually have no value in what they get and someone else is paying for them. They become dependent and often feel as if they are owed the hand out. The right to have property comes from the privilege of having a job or a way to produce a product that has value to someone else who is willing to pay for it. A home given to someone who has no desire to work and no concern of losing it is often a just a building that eventually has no worth to anyone. A check that is given for doing nothing but walking to the mailbox only makes one want to walk to the mailbox. Sure we pay for unemployment insurance, but that has its limits. Congress extending those benefits for what is now years, are not spending the big pile of free money that they make, but rather they are taking money from my paycheck that I earn and giving it to someone who now, may not be willing to work anymore.
Everything has a cost and some has to pay. Usually those who pay the highest cost are those who have the biggest heart. Government has no heart. They are not giving out of love and concern, but rather the desire to stay in office. If they want it to be free, give it from their paycheck and leave mine alone.
I give to church and other charities. I help those in need and do it because of the motivation of knowing Jesus as my Savior. But never forget that Jesus worked. He told people to work and give and even to pay taxes. But paying taxes was never to take care of those who want something for free. His command was for Christians to personally take care of the family and people they knew who were in need and the church to take care of the poor that had no family…not the government.
Stop believing when people say. Its free!

February 16, 2012

Ezekiel Bread

by pastortimfowler

Did you know that the Bible tells people to eat bread made with human excrement? If you believe what the makers of Ezekiel Bread say, you may have even tried it. They actually make bread that uses human dung. The problem is that the Bible does not teach that the bread should be made with human excrement but would be cooked over it, and if you read the full details, it was not meant for anyone other than the prophet. And, God told him that he could substitute cow dung for the fuel for cooking this bread. I will explain the implications in a minute.
This was asked of me in a Bible study that involved several people who were unchurched, but became interested in a conversation that I was involved in. We were talking about weird food trends and I mentioned Vegans, because I know a few. They know I think that they are weird, but most of all, they know I love them and kid with them a lot. Some in the vegan culture believe that God wants us to be vegetable eaters and never eat meat. This is not biblical and from the time Noah got off the ark, God gave the okay to eat meat. Personally I just don’t think that there are enough vegetables that I could find that I would be able to sustain myself. I have never been much of a veggie eater. We mentioned a few other weird foods and that was when I was asked what I thought about Ezekiel bread.
This is a great example of how the Bible can be used to “prove” anything. If you do not read it all and you look for a few lines, you can make a case that the Bible says a lot of stupid stuff. But that is wrong and yes, stupid. There is no other book on earth that is used so out of context to prove so many points. I love it because even those who do not believe in the God of the Bible want to use the Bible, that is God’s Word, to prove their points to those who do believe.
Ezekiel is a book of prophesy to Israel warning them of impending judgement of God. God often used his prophets to give very vivid and visual examples of their sins. The law of Moses was very clear about the things that Israel could eat, and use in food preparations. They were given great details of things that they could not even come near or touch and human excrement is one of those things. So when God told Ezekiel to make this bread, it was made from basically weeds, to show the spiritual famine as well as the physical famine that God sent. Ezekiel was told to bind himself up and have this bread mixture prepared to eat in front of Israel and to cook it over his own dung in order to show His disgust toward Israel’s sinful ways. Ezekiel pleaded with God that he had not committed these sins and had always followed the food laws of Mose, so God said, okay, you can use cow dung. FYI, cow dung is a common fuel used by people in areas where resources are limited. This recipe and way of preparation was not given because it was healthy or pleasing to God, but rather because God was angry with the sins of the people and wanted them to see a visual image of how disgusting it was to Him.
My advice for people who want to follow a fad diets is that you check with your physician first. Many fad diets are not good for you and are derived from poor information that people get from places like the Bible in an attempt to give them validity. God is not as concerned with what you eat as He is with what you believe. He has given us the okay to eat a large variety of what He created. There are some things that we are allowed to eat that may not be as healthy as some may think, but remember this; God wants our souls healthy first and foremost. Even those who have the best of diets and exercise habits eventually die. If they have the perfect body but have never received forgiveness of their sins, when they die, all the healthy diets in world will not save them from judgement.
If you want to eat the bread that will save your soul, you must eat the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. And that is not literal eating, it is for sure, spiritual.

February 15, 2012

Who’s To Blame?

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2306924250/

A famous musician dies. Everyone knows her and knows her troubled past. She made bad decision after bad decision and fell prey to those in the industry who prey on her type. The music world is saddened. The news media is excited. They have something that the whole world will listen to them talk about in hopes of finding the truth. Weeks go by and by the time the truth is learned, our lives are filled with the next tragedy that is bound to happen. At the height of it all, the question that never seems to get answered is, who’s to blame?
Sure there are doctors, like with Michael Jackson, who get convicted of crimes. Sure there are family members who are rejected from funerals. Sure there are those on the inside that should have seen it coming and did nothing about it. But still, who is to blame?
I feel comfortable writing about this because I know what it is like to struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. Although I was not a famous musician or a movie star, the drugs and alcohol did not seem to care. I had plenty of people who played a part in my addictions. My dad was an alcoholic. My brother and sister both did drugs and drank. I listened to rock and roll music which glorified drugs and drinking. I had a dealer who knew that I was an addict and had sober friends and family that knew it too. If only someone was to blame. Then I would have stopped…NOT.
The bottom line of the blame game is you, or in this case her, or in my case me. I chose to make bad decisions that led to more bad decision and I chose to not listen to good advice and the cries of those who knew I was heading in a very dangerous direction. Short of locking me in a room and monitoring my activity 24 hours a day, there was nothing anyone could do to stop me from my self-destructive ways. Even the loving cry of a wife and children were not enough to stop me from opening a bottle or a bag. No one ever poured a drink down my throat or forced a pill or joint or line into my bloodstream. It was all me and short of me changing my decision-making process, nothing was going to stop me.
Who’s to blame is ourselves. We are in control of what sin we chose to make prevalent in our lives. We all sin. We are all powerless to fully overcome sin and God knows this. He is waiting on us to realize it. Once we do, we can then make the choice to call out to Him for help. He and He alone can totally free you from sin. We must be able to replace an addiction with a suitable fix or else the addiction will manifest itself somewhere else. The Bible tell us not to be drunk with wine but to be filled with the Spirit of God. That is the suitable fix for any addiction and any sin.
It starts with our admitting our sin. Next we ask for forgiveness and by faith accept the new life God wants to give us. He then condemns the sin but saves the sinner and gives us the power to overcome anything this life can throw at us. We can always chose to fall back, but God will never chose to disown you. Your soul is safe, your flesh is weak, but God is the answer and we are who’s to blame.

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”

February 13, 2012

It Didn’t Look That Bad

by pastortimfowler

Last week I was off the blog scope as some of you may have noticed. What stinks is that I had a lot of really awesome and cool stuff to say. Now I forgot it all and I have to blog about why I did not blog all last week; I was sick.
I don’t go to the doctor very often. Before I do, I will try every home remedy possible and use the tried and true method of waiting to get better first. After raising 3 kids I have become pretty good at judging what is a cold or flu and what is just a simple bump or bruise versus the major stuff that needs doctors assistance. I became very good at looking at the back of a throat to see if it was just red or had little white bumps that meant Strep. Through the years I did not miss the call too often and even got to where I could look in the mirror with a flashlight and diagnose myself.
Monday of last week I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and a headache. This lasted a couple of days then just as quickly as is came on me it left. The next morning though I noticed a tingling in my throat that later that day turned to a burning and then later it became difficult to swallow. So I grabbed my flashlight and went to the mirror and took a long look and all I saw was some redness. So I gargled with some salt water and took a few Advil and suffered through it. The next morning I could hardly swallow my own spit. Again I looked in the mirror with my flashlight and only saw red. So I did the last thing any man wants to do and that was call the wife to come have a look. As soon as she looked she said, “Oh yeah. You have strep.”
We argued for a minute about why I did not see the white bumps that she claims were covering my throat but she insisted that I go to the doctor no matter what I saw or didn’t see. The only reason that I agreed with her to go was that I was scheduled to leave the next day for a men’s retreat and we were gonna go snow tubing and I knew that I was not snow tubing with my throat hurting that bad.
Once at the doctor’s office, I told the doctor that I did not see anything that looked like strep, but my wife said she did. I told her that I want to be safe and that I had to travel the next day. She, the doctor, told me that looking for the white spots was not a foolproof way to know if it was strep or not but it was the normal most of the time. So she grabs the wooden stick and crams it down my throat and starts to laugh. “What white spots did you not see? You throat is covered in them.”
How could I miss this? I looked several times. My diagnostic skills had never been questioned like this before. This was devastating.
After the exam and the test came back quickly with a positive, the doctor showed me the stick that she used to test me with. It looked like a pee test strip and she asked me if I saw the three lines. She said normally there is one, maybe two lines that indicate a positive, but this one had three. I looked at the strip and did not see a thing. The doctor then asks, “Do you wear glasses?”
So tomorrow I have my very first eye doctors appointment. Things just didn’t look that bad.

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