Posts tagged ‘church’

July 29, 2013

Back by Popular Griping?

by pastortimfowler

I feel humbled that so many have griped about my lack of blogs lately. Griping seems like such a harsh word though, so maybe I should have used another. Oh well, I can’t think of that word though. I don’t think I will do a daily blog, but I will try to do one a week or so. I have been extremely busy in the past few months and needed some down time from the blogs to deal with more urgent issues.
I have had the opportunity to travel this year. In March I went to Israel and walked where Jesus walked. I was able to see the Old City of David and walk the streets where Jesus carried the cross. I sailed the Sea of Galilee and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. I even had the chance to be baptized in the Jordan River. It was an incredible experience that I would encourage anyone to do if given the chance.
In June I went to Cuba for the third time. Our church is partnering with a church there and this time I led a group of ten men from my church there to help in growing the church in Cuba. We took about 30 soccer balls, 50 baseballs, a bunch of gloves, and some bats and helped them start a children’s sports camp where they can tell kids about Jesus. We are already planning to go back next year and hopefully take two groups from our church next time.
In November I will be flying to see a friend in the Philippines. I have known him for about ten years and he has visited me a couple of times. Although the invite has always been there to visit him, the timing never worked out until now. I am not sure what I will be doing there outside of a lot of preaching and teaching, (Nothing to complain about there). I do believe this will be something that I will do again, if God allows.
Besides these trips, I have had some opportunities to travel quite a bit in the US too. Nothing as incredible as the foreign trips, but certainly nothing to complain about.
So I figured I would start with a blog explaining what I have been doing and hopefully I can elaborate on some of the more interesting parts of each trip in the next few blogs to follow. If not, I will make up something that is every bit as interesting. After all, I have such an amazing life, just being married to that woman God gave me and dealing with these people who come to my church. All of them are weird and or different and give me plenty to talk about.
So if you are one of those who has griped about me not blogging, stand by, you may be part of an upcoming blog. Just remember that I only do this because I love you and…you asked for it.
Thanks for reading and thanks for “encouraging” me blogging again.

February 7, 2013

Who, Me?

by pastortimfowler

moses

In Exodus We meet Moses. I would never have hired Moses to do what God wanted him to do. I mean, he was going to represent God to royalty and this guy was a convicted murderer and, by his own admission, a lousy communicator. He flat-out said that he didn’t want the job, so who in their right mind would hire someone like that? God.
I love God’s response to Moses when he was telling God how he could not talk well. Exodus 4:11-12 …11 The LORD asked him, “Who gave humans their mouths? Who makes humans unable to talk or hear? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? It is I, the LORD! 12 Now go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Notice God did not say, “Oh never mind. I will find someone else.” Instead He reminded Moses of who He is and assured Moses that He would help. God wants to help us. He knows our faults and knows our fears. He knows us. And, what He wants of us is to know Him. When we know Him we know His power and compassion and we can overcome what we think is disqualifying. My old pastor use to tell me that God does not call the worthy, but He does make worthy the called.
Way too often I hear people say that God can’t or won’t use them and I remind them of the story of Moses. I remind them that God gives us the power to overcome all of our flaws. He knows that we are needy and God has what we need. Grace and forgiveness and power. I know these things well because I to am not worthy or able to do what He has called me to do. But with God all things are possible. Even for someone like me, a totally unworthy and failing man who God called to lead and incredible church for what God wants to do.
So when God calls you, don’t think that He has made a mistake. He knows who you are and you don’t need to ask, Who, me? Because just like I would have never hired Moses, Moses would have never hired me. But God did. He will hire you too if you let Him.

December 20, 2012

Until next year

by pastortimfowler

GoodbyeOldHelloNew

2012 has been a busy, hectic, but very productive year. It is hard to believe that we only have a couple more weeks before it is over. I have taken a break from blogging due to a fire in our church and the fact that I have been trying to rethink how I want to focus my blogs. This will be my last blog until next year, so let me leave you with a few thoughts.
Our church had a great year. We saw over 100 people come to know Jesus as Savior and baptized nearly 60 people. We grew to the point of need to have a second worship time and that will be 8:30am beginning Jan. 6, 2013.
Our country re-elected President Obama. Say what you want, the people have spoken and its time to move forward.
Supposedly the world is ending tomorrow. The Mayan calendar says so. If that happens, this will be my last blog. I am planning ahead, just in case.
The Gamecocks beat Clemson for the fourth year in a row and Navy beat Army for the eleventh year in a row. It makes me happy.
My youngest grandkid turned one. My oldest turned 11. If I got these wrong, I know I will be corrected. The point is, I try to notice these things.
My wife and I are hosting an international student from Korea. His real name can’t be pronounced properly, so everybody calls him Freddy. I taught him how to shoot guns and he is teaching me how to praise God for successfully raising teenagers.
Our nation saw tragedy when senseless violence took the lives of innocent people and some think we need new laws. I just think we need to pray harder and enforce the laws we have. New laws have never stopped stupidity or insanity.
I celebrated my tenth year as pastor of my church. I am not sure how long this is going to take. These are some really weird people, but I like them.
This is only a partial list of things that I remember from 2012 and my very brief comment on them. For the most part 2012 was a great year. I believe in hope and I believe 2013 will be even better. Until them, have a merry Christmas and I will be back next year. Actually I will be here, but not blogging. Either way, unless the world ends tomorrow, look for new blogs to start in 2013.

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/4759535950/

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. I have more than I can name to be thankful for, but I always like to mention a few.
I am thankful for my wife. She is the girl of my dreams and the love of my life. Everything I ever wanted in a woman is fulfilled in her, except the fact that she does not fish or like baseball. (I have to keep her humble) Other than that, she is everything I could dream of in a wife.
I am thankful for my kids and grandkids. They are far from perfect, but, I still like them. None of them have become filthy rich yet so I will probably have to work until I am really old. I am still thankful for them.
I am thankful for my church. It is full of really weird people who remind me that God made none of us perfect. Some of them look weird and most of them act weird. They will make it possible for me to continue working as a pastor until I am really old.
I am thankful for the friends that I have. Really.
I am thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ. I do not deserve what He did for me.
I think that is all I want to mention right now. There has been plenty that I did not mention for someone to get their feelings hurt because I did not mention them or what they did.
I want to close out this blog by telling you who I am thanking. Way too many people say that they are thankful, but don’t really think about who they are thankful too. In my case it is God. Not a god, but the one true living God. The one who forgave me, started fixing me, and will always love me. The God that gave me everything I mentioned above and everything I failed to mention. He made the turkeys that we will eat and the families that we will be hanging out with. He gave His Son to die in my place and His Spirit to guide me through this life. Without Him I am nothing but a body waiting to expire. With Him I am anything He wants me to be and even though this life is temporary, He has assured me of a life that will never end. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. That is who I am thanking. Not just during this great holiday, but everyday that He lets me live on this earth.
Thanks God! And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

November 19, 2012

God In The Irritations Of My Life

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/31735795@N08/4142227460/

Sorry for the lack of blogs lately. I have been dealing with the aftermath of the church fire, extra people in my house, and a barrage of other stuff that has had me a bit distracted. Through it all, God has been in touch with me, mainly through Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes right in my face. I thought that I could share a few things that He showed me.
He is in the stuff that I find irritating. I know that this may sound as if I am saying that God is irritating, and I am not. I do get rather flustered with Him from time to time because He refuses to let me be in charge or He lets me and everything gets all messed up. But, God is in the stuff that has been irritating me in some really cool ways.
I love my grandkids and I love the kids in my church. But kids irritate me. Unlike my wife who is a kid addict, I can only tolerate kids in small amounts and in short bursts. So with the fire at our church rendering our children’s area unusable, the kids have been coming into the adult worship area while I am preaching. The result; several of them have accepted Jesus as their Savior and I got to baptize 5 of them in the last two weeks. Many of them have come up to me and told me with all the excitement of a little child about how cool it was and thanked me for it. WOW! God is all in that irritation.
Lately I have been trying to do more with my grandkids, especially my oldest grandson who is 7. He lives with his dad and mom and a bunch of girls, and girls are trouble, we all know that. His dad works rotating shifts and does not get to take part in things like scouts and a lot of weekend stuff, so I am trying to fill in. In the past few months I have been to three camping events with him and slept in a tent and gone without a shower and fed him more junk food than he should have ever been allowed to eat.
I also took him to a Gamecock football game this weekend. There is about an hour drive to the stadium from my house and to help keep him entertained, I took the wife’s tablet so he could play games. I find it hard to have meaningful conversation with a 7-year-old for more than a couple of minutes, much less for an hour. Guess what? The tablet was not charged. So for an hour, we talked. Did you know that a 7-year-old can talk continuously for 15 minutes without stopping or even breathing? And I learned that I could throw a Chees-it and hit him in the mouth while I was driving but can’t catch one when he throws it. I also learned that if you slowed down beside the semi truck while he pumped his fist, that after several miles, even the toughest truck driver will eventually blow his horn.
I love to watch the Gamecocks play. Having a 7-year-old with you limits that ability. But when it is really cold and the wind is blowing hard and you told the kid to leave his jacket in the truck because you were not taking yours, kids can be an excellent heat source. So he sat in my lap most of the game and that was a great way to talk about the game, and eat pizza at the same time. And because it was military appreciation day, I got to tell him how God allowed us to be free to do what we are doing because of their service. Then to hear him say, ” God wanted us to be here today” was the icing on the cake.
I came home that night to find my 1-year-old grandson there. He will be staying with us for a few days. I don’t get to see him that often because his parents live a couple of hours away. But when I walked in, he ran to me. I tried to run away, but God wanted him to hug me and kiss me. I get really irritated when slobbery little kids try to kiss me, especially when I am not ready and they kiss me in the mouth. (gag). I am not sure why I felt the overwhelming presence of God at that time, but I did.
And finally, the fire at the church. What a pain. But I have met some really awesome people who are working to clean up the mess. I have talked to them about our church, invited them to attend, and had several tell me that they will come. My church folks have been amazingly understanding about the inconvenience and have stepped up in more ways than I can count to make this really irritating circumstance more than bearable.
God has really been in the middle of this most irritating time. He has been the peace when things are hectic. He has been the wisdom when things are crazy. He has been the love when I felt like I did not want to love or be loved. But I don’t know why I am surprised. He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me. He never lies and never disappoints. He gives me so many reasons to be thankful and just in time for Thanksgiving. What an awesome God I serve!

November 13, 2012

Extra Marital Affairs

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessabertozzi/2963317535/

It has been all over the news lately about the CIA director resigning because of an extra marital affair. It was said that there were tens of thousands of emails that were sent between him and the woman. This has me worried. Does the director of the CIA not know that emails are not a secure form of communication? That aside, it breaks my heart to hear about this.
A good friend of mine and at the time a mentor, had an affair and it cost him his marriage and church. It really blew me away when I found out about it because he was my pastor. The only reason I am tell you this is because this stuff can happen to anyone if you are not careful. Sexual temptations are the toughest, especially for men, and it seems to be almost as difficult for women. I say that because everyone I know who had an affair did it with someone of the opposite sex. The marriage relationship is precious and delicate. What seems to happen is that it gets to the point of being mundane and callused and this is dangerous.
In a world where people get their feelings hurt for the stupidest of reasons, we have a tendency to take our marriages for granted. Marriage is a continual and demanding work. And, since the wedding vows say that marriage is until death, the work should never stop. Sadly we have made marriage very disposable and are not willing to work as diligently to keep our marriage together as we are to get to the point of getting married.
Most extra marital affairs begin with seemingly harmless conversation. Rarely is there a sexual encounter that starts things off. This usually happens because the conversation at home has become less than engaging. We come home after a full day at work and the conversation consists of; “How was your day?” “Fine”. How was yours?” “Fine”. Meanwhile the person at work that is potentially getting a promotion, laid off, or is working on a project with you, is talking in great detail all day. So rekindle the conversation. Flirt with your spouse. Don’t allow ‘fine’ to be the whole answer. Knowing the stress of your spouse or the joy of the spouse allows for you to keep that emotional bond in tact. It is those emotional bonds that become strained and eventually broke that leads to an affair.
Find a couple that has a strong marriage that has been married a few years longer than you. We all need a mentor and a marriage mentor can help when things are getting tough. Developing a relationship with someone who has a long and successful marriage is a great way have some support and encouragement when things are tough and everyone else is telling you to quit. We have people in our lives that help us at work, at play, and financially, so why not a marriage coach? All those others things seem to fall apart when the marriage does.
Most importantly, make your marriage line up with the biblical guidelines for marriage. Before you start thinking negatively, maybe you should read it. The old complaint of wives obeying husbands is not what you probably think it is. God instituted marriage before He even started the church. It is His precious gift to man. There are promises of health, wisdom, long life to those who have a biblical marriage.
No, this does not make for a flawless marriage, but it makes for a forgiving marriage. And it makes for a marriage that both agree to certain ground rules that are not flexible. We do very few things in life that have such lackadaisical guidelines and yet is so important to everything else we do. But a biblical marriage can be a strong and long-lasting marriage and when followed with integrity can be affair proof.
If your marriage is struggling, get help. If it is not, help others. No, the national security may not be on the line, but your sanity certainly may be. And when your marriage is strong and happy, so many other things tend to line up as well.

November 2, 2012

What’s Up?

by pastortimfowler

I am sure that many of you are wondering what’s up? I have posted very few blogs in the last 2 weeks. For those who don’t know, we had a fire at the church. Of course you should know this because I wrote about it. Things are hectic and on top of that, “normal” church business goes on and I have had a close friend in the hospital ICU this week. So, with no office to work out of and my house full of kids who would normally be in the nursery at church, it has been difficult to blog. And now for the pity part of it, I am sitting in the park in 40 degree temps, writing a blog. Okay, it is actually not that cold and I love this beautiful fall weather, but show the pity anyway.
We will have church Sunday. The clean up of our worship area will be complete today. The other side, where classrooms and offices are, will be at least another couple of weeks before they can be used.
I have also found out how important it is to leave things where you last put them. Many have been calling me asking where things are that have been moved by the guys who are cleaning. I have not been there to watch the whole thing, nor could I have been if I wanted too. When I ask he crew where things are they just point to another person who does the same. In their defense, there have been as many as twenty people working in the same area this week and many things were sent out for cleaning. My feeling is that most everything we will need or are looking for has been sent out. The good news is that for the next few weeks we can blame everything that goes wrong on Sunday on the fire.
I would normally be rather stressed about these things, but I have been given a great peace about it all. It is like God is saying, “Chill…I got this.” So who am I to argue with God? Of course Sunday morning when what I need comes up under the category of unfound and missing, then I will start stressing. But something just keeps telling me that it is going to be a great Sunday. On top of Sunday being expected to be awesome, I am excited about Monday. My brother from the Philippines is coming into town and we are going to send him off to his family with a night of worship.
I love it when Satan thinks he can knock you down only to knock you back into the arms of God. I love it when everything that goes wrong turns around to be alright and what many would see as a curse turns out to be a blessing. I love it when the fire of this world smokes up everything and you find out that at the same time the fire from God was purifying and strengthening His people. I love it when someone who has every right to complain and be bitter, gives you the biggest smile and hug and tells you how awesome God is. I love it when friends that you thought may have forgotten you, turn out to be the first to call and the most help to those in need.
Like I said before, the enemy can only stir the battle, but Jesus Christ has given the victory! The enemy can burn a building, but my God is a consuming fire! His fire consumes sin, cleanses His people, and destroys the enemy.
Thanks to all who have been praying. Thanks to all who have been understanding and patient. And to all who are looking for stuff, it will be found or replaced. But as far as this Sunday goes, don’t let anything bother you. God has some blessings waiting for you.

October 30, 2012

Church On Fire

by pastortimfowler

I know its been a few days since my last blog and for those of you whose mental well-being depends on my blogs, I am sorry, but, you are crazy anyway. Things have been really bizarre over the last week, including a church fire. So let me enlighten everyone on what is happening.
As I have told you many times, I pastor an incredible church. The people there are desperate; desperate for doing good things for God. I am SO blessed. We see many people helped all year round. People who are hurting and in need are loved on and taken care of and most importantly, people have their sins forgiven and come to know Jesus. All this made possible because of the people of our church. But there is one bad thing that comes from the people in the church being “on fire”; lots of spiritual warfare. And let me tell you, it has been a battle field in the spiritual realm.
As a pastor of almost 20 years I have seen spiritual battles take place and I have seen God work in some amazing ways. It usually happens during a time of intense growth of the church. I have been part of churches who never seem to have any troubles, but thinking back on those, they also rarely saw people come to know Jesus. You see, spiritual battles are not over things that you and I often think are important, like carpet and music in the church, but it is over those who are lost and those who are saved telling those who are lost how to be saved. I am not talking about a mechanical spiel or a guilt trip, I am talking about sharing love and forgiveness that comes from God to people who need it. And when that happens on a regular basis, spiritual battles erupt.
What are these spiritual battles? Things like tensions between people in the church. If the enemy can get the church turning against each other, the church will quit thinking about those outside the church who need Jesus. Things like getting people focused on material things over spiritual things. Far too often the church worries about stuff and forgets about people. When the church thinks that its buildings and the stuff in the buildings are as important as people, the battle swings to the enemy’s favor. And if the enemy can’t get the people fighting with each other or worrying about their stuff long, then they are defeated.
Yep, we have been faced with some stuff like that. Some things that should have been trivial were escalated and some people who should be working together got to working alone and our focus was being pulled away from God and started focusing on stuff. All of this because we are winning this battle for souls. God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, won the war on sin. But the battles still rage. The enemy can’t take our souls back, so they try to keep us distracted enough to where we are not reaching others who need salvation.
I am so thrilled that over the course of this year, our church has seen nearly 100 people come to know Jesus. And because of that, we see the heat of the battle. And because we won’t give in to the those distractions, the heat was turned up; literally. I believe the church fire was part of this spiritual battle. Sure, accidents happen, but everything happens for a reason. God allows us to experience things for a reason and the enemy will move in to areas where weakness is displayed. But I am confident that this battle is going to be a terrible defeat for the enemy. Just two months away from starting our 2nd worship time, we are now faced with not being able to use half of our building. A devastating blow to a church that loses its focus, but a rally cry to a church that is on fire for God. So I look forward to watching even more people being loved on and even more people coming to know Jesus and an even more determined group of people putting aside the trivial things that have tried to distract us over the last week, turning into an even greater focus on the things of God. That is just the type of folks I get to serve as pastor.
Our church may have been damaged by fire, but the fire of its people just got fueled. Don’t doubt me. The fight is on! Our church is on fire!

October 18, 2012

Me Me Me…

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/keokiseu/4667820885/

Mark 9:33-34 33 Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ministry is a beautiful thing. It allows the church to help those in need. It is a source of great joy. Unfortunately it can be a source of arguing and troubles. No, this did not start with my church or your church or even your grandparent’s church, it started with the very first people who were followers of Jesus. (see above)
The reason this happens is that we forget to put self aside and be more considerate of those in need. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to himself so that he could live daily for Christ. Far to often Christians forget that this is needed in our lives. We forget that once we are saved, we become workers with Christ for God. We are to become like Christ to people. Christ died for people and lived for God’s will to be done.
The church is not a place to complain because someone else did something to help another. It is a place to rejoice because someone was helped by Jesus and Jesus happened to use one of His own. It is a place to find joy that others are ministering to those in need, even if we can’t or aren’t part of it. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows if we are doing things out of love or for self glory. I trust that and let Him worry about it. Meanwhile, if a person in need gets help and it is from a believer, I give God the glory.
When these disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, they were as far from being Christ-like as they could possibly be. Jesus goes on to tell them that they must be childlike, not childish, in order to become great. Children are obedient. He later tells them that if they want to be great they need to become servants. Servants don’t think that they are great, they too are obedient.
As we grow as Christians we must always be aware that not everything can be explained. Not everything can be communicated. And not everything is meant for us to do. I am sure that others who saw Peter walk on water were a bit jealous that it wasn’t them. I am sure that some may have wished it was them who received the vision of the book of Revelation. But the important thing to remember is that the people who God wanted involved were involved in the things that He wanted done. It just is not about us once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We must also remember that others are watching how we handle adversity. Every Christian has someone watching how we handle things to see if they want to follow us or not. It is not about them following you or me, but are we following Jesus and therefore they should follow us. Some may see our attitude and be offended because they don’t understand why we are upset. It may involve a weaker person and our reaction causes them to fall away. So be careful how you react to things.

Remember that children and servants are to be obedient, not important. Jesus is the important one and so is that person who needs help. We don’t want to hurt someone who is a weaker and younger believer.

Matthew 18:6-7 6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.
7 How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!

October 15, 2012

Appreciation

by pastortimfowler

October is pastor appreciation month and this Sunday our church celebrated. The Pastor Bunny brought everyone heart-shaped gifts full of eggs and fireworks, wrapped in mistletoe. Not really. We did not have fireworks.
I was so grateful for the dinner and gifts and kind words. I am the one who should be giving the gifts and tokens of my appreciation.
I don’t hide it; I love my church and my church family. They never miss an opportunity to show God’s love to people. They make it easy to be a pastor and for the record, it is not always as easy as I make it look. After all, I am a trained professional.
So today I wanted to give a shout out to everyone at The Body, A Church for Anybody; my church! I wanted to say how much I love you guys and how blessed I feel to have the privilege of serving as your pastor. I wanted to say that gifts and meals and cards are wonderful, but pale in comparison to the love I feel all the time from you guys. There is never a time that I doubt your love or don’t feel like I am appreciated. And although I rarely like to speak for other people, I believe that I can say the same is true for my associate pastors as well.
One of the great things that you do for me on a regular basis is love my wife. In fact, I think that we can tone that back a bit. She is beginning to think that she is more important than me. Just kidding. She is humbled by your love and affection for her. In no other church that we have ever served in has she felt so genuinely loved. And if anyone wants to win over my heart, that is the best way to do it; love and appreciate my wife. For that I say thank you, very much.
Our church is on an amazing journey. We are growing both numerically and spiritually. We see folks introduced to Jesus every week because you guys are bringing others. Those people are coming because they see your love for God and your belief in our church to show that love. We are seeing people who’s lives are being changed in every aspect of life. Marriages being restored, friendships being developed, people called into ministry and to the mission field. None of this happens in a church because of a great pastor. It happens in a church because of great people who serve a great God.
So since I have had my time in the spotlight for pastor appreciation month, I would like to make the rest to this month about me, the pastor, showing my appreciation for the people I get to serve. I am sad to say that I won’t be able to buy everyone a gift or cook everyone a meal, but I will say thanks to God every time I pray and every time I think about each of you. I will try my best to smile and give you all a hug as often as I can and express my appreciation to you as best I can.
For anyone who does not attend my church, please show your love and appreciation for your pastor, not just this month, but all the time. Love his wife and his family and watch how God will bless you and your church. October is Pastor Appreciation month, so take some time to show it. If you aren’t sure how, I know a bunch of people who are experts at it and can show you anytime.
Thank you!!! The Body, A Church for Anybody!!! Your pastor appreciates you!!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers