Posts tagged ‘salvation’

August 30, 2012

One Step Ahead

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/252574052/

6am is very early for a lot of people. I am one of those. There was a time when I was up and about by 5:30am every morning, but with kids growing up and moving out and jobs changing to not require it, I have taken a liking to sleeping a little later. But this week I started meeting with a group of guys from the church at 6am for ministry training and it was really weird to be out that early. We wanted to meet at IHOP so that we could relax and let the food and drink come to us, but it doesn’t open until 7am. In fact, there is not a restaurant in this town other than fast food that opens that early, so I am not the only one who doesn’t want to get up that early.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,so one person sharpens the wits of another. This is the verse I shared with the guys today, at 6am. It is important in life to have someone who can help you achieve your goals and follow God’s calling. It doesn’t matter if you are called to do a specific ministry or just want a closer relationship with God, others who have a little more experience can and should help. It is easy to become a Christian. All it takes is admitting you are a sinner in need of forgiveness from God and asking Him to forgive you because you believe that Jesus paid your sin debt. It is by grace that we are saved through faith. After that, the hard part begins. Growing to be the best Christian that you can be. Jesus never left the ones that He called alone to figure things out for themselves. He invested His time and His love into their lives. He showed them by example how to live a life that is pleasing to God and taught them about forgiveness when they failed.
Far too often Christians stagnate and become of very little influence to those around them. Not because they don’t want too, but because they don’t know how too. We try to be loners in our faith and self-taught followers of Christ. But like a self-taught plumber, self-taught Christians often don’t attempt much real work for fear of causing a bigger mess than that which already exists. This should not be the case.
Reading the Bible is an important part of being a Christian. But, like learning something such as plumbing, what you read can often confuse you more because some things need someone to explain terminology and procedures. And then there are those things that happen that don’t seem to fit the directions that you just read. I was trying to install a new sink the other day and the fittings in my house were different from what I had in the instructions that came with the sink. I tried several times to figure it out on my own, but every time I did, water kept flowing out of the pipes onto the floor and I am pretty sure that is not normal. So I went to the local home improvement store with parts in hand and asked for help. This guy was a plumber who had done this many times before and showed me how to make things right. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but without his help, I would have never gotten it and chances are, I would have never tried this again. Now I believe that I could do it right and even help someone else who might be attempting this for the first time.
So I am trying to help some guys who want to go further in ministry. They in turn are helping others who are trying to grow in their Christian walk and relationship, and hopefully, one day those who they are helping will be meeting with me at 6am. Meanwhile, I encourage you to see about finding someone to help you grow to a better relationship with God. Perhaps you need encouragement to read your Bible more. Perhaps you need to serve in another capacity at your church and you need someone to help you take that step. Perhaps you just need to strengthen your faith in the simple fact that God has forgiven you or maybe you need to take that important step of trusting God for forgiveness and salvation. If so, and no matter where you need the help, there is someone who can and will help you. All you need to do is ask. But don’t think that you can do it all alone; iron sharpens iron.
A wise man once told me that you only need to be one step ahead to lead. Lead others to help them lead others. If you don’t know where to go, ask for directions. But please, do what it takes to find your way to God and continue growing closer to Him. He is waiting to meet you and desires a relationship with you.

April 11, 2012

What Does That Word Mean?

by pastortimfowler

I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to people using words that don’t mean what they think it does or perhaps they have no clue what they mean but they are trying to sound smart. I had a professor one time use the word flabbergasted as he was trying to tell us how good it would feel to be healed completely after you met Jesus. I thought the word meant something negative but it was in fact proper use of it because it means to be overcome with astonishment.
There are lots of words that people use because they hear them on TV or in a song or in a conversation. The word surreal is one that I hear a lot and I don’t think it is always used properly. I hear it in about every interview on the news when something happens that people think is special. It may be close, but not what the intent of the word is supposed to be. I have a friend who got in the habit of using the word phenomenal. Everything that was better than normal was phenomenal, but if that was so, then nothing would really be phenomenal.
Lately there is a word used by our president that bothers me. It is not a hard word, but I don’t think he is using it correctly; fair. The word fair means free from bias and so how can you tax someone more than others for any reason and call it fair? Usually it is used when talking about the rich not paying their fair share. But how can anything be fair if there is bias based on income? What about those of us who don’t have minor children? We pay more in taxes than someone who make the same wages who has minor children. Is that fair? And my biggest question of all is who elected anyone for the purpose of telling me how much of my money I need to give them to spend on fairness?
If you want to be fair, perhaps we should use a standard percentage for everyone to pay no matter how much they earn. 20%, and that is not the amount I am suggesting, would be the same percentage for someone who make $10,000 per year or $10,000,000 per year. That would be fair. And forget about deductions for children or houses or anything else, just pay your percentage and it will be fair.
There are very few things in this world that are fair. I find fairness in the Bible. God says that all believers should give 10% of their income. No matter if that is a penny or millions of dollars, 10% is the standard and it is fair. It teaches that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness. Everyone will have to either die for their sins or accept Jesus’ death for their sins. That is fair. Anyone can be forgiven, no matter the sin or amount of sins and the fair thing that God requires is that everyone ask to be forgiven believing that Jesus died for our sins. God has no favorites and it is not His will that even one soul perish, but that all should come to know His great love and forgiveness. That is surreal. That is flabbergasting. It is phenomenal. It is fair.

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 3, 2012

Update: Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I talked with my friend’s wife in the Philippines this morning and here is what we know. He has an infection that is causing a high fever that is causing his liver to not function properly. These are all complications due to his diabetes, hepatitis, and lack of funds to have all of his medicines that he should take on a regular basis. The good news is that they think they have caught it quick enough that there will not be any permanent damage to his liver. They are waiting on a few more test results before they make any final determinations. If things go well, he should be released tomorrow.
I told his wife that many people are praying for him and she extends her thanks. I told her that I believed that God would provide for the financial needs that they have and she simply said, “I know that”. They are wonderful people of great faith.
Here is what I hope will happen. Someone out there in the blog world will feel compelled to pay for his medicine. Our church is raising money for another ministry related need that they have, and can always tell them to use the money for medicine, but I know him, he will want to buy the ministry needs first. Before you think that he has his priorities mixed up let me say that he does not. He knows that this body is meant for death and that the soul is meant for eternity. He has a great burden for his people to know salvation through Jesus Christ and believes that it is a higher calling than his physical needs. I of course have told him that if he lets his health go then he will not be able to minister and therefore he needs to take care of himself. It is hard to argue with him.
But I believe that both can be accomplished. I don’t know the amount needed to get the medicines that he needs. I can find out once he is out of the hospital and will if someone wants to know. But here is what I believe will happen through this. Someone reading this blog, who knows God and knows His voice will get the nudge from God to give and it will be the right amount without even being told. Those of faith know what I am talking about. It is a divine intervention that is hard to explain.
If you are new to my blogs I can only assure you that I do not make this sort of thing a habit. I have never asked for people to give before and unless I feel like it is of God, I won’t in the future. This time, I do feel like God wants me to ask, so I do.
Again, you can reach me through Facebook message, email, or our church website if you feel led to help. I will give the contact information to you or you can give through our church and we will ensure that the funds are sent to him. DON’T give unless you feel it is something that God wants you to do or if you are not a religious person, you may feel personally that this is something that you would like to do. Either way I thank you. I ask that you continue to pray for his health and his ministry.
God bless.
Our church website is; http://www.thebodylive.com
My email is: emanrev@msn.com

January 31, 2012

Tourist Trap Christians

by pastortimfowler

So, we were in the Bahamas for a port of call during our recent cruise and decided to play tourist. We left the ship to go shopping in the town and see if we could buy a few souvenirs and gifts for the kids back home. We went into what was called the Straw Village which was lined with row after row of locals selling trinkets and t-shirts and hats. After the third row of probably 20 rows, I began to notice that nothing was much different from the row before. The same hats, the same jewelery, the same shirts, just a different display and a different person sitting there trying to get us to buy their stuff. There was no gap in between tables and only about five feet in between vendors. As we continued to make our way around to the next row and then the next, I began to see something that made me think about Christians.
Let me preface what I am about to say with the note that I never like to lump any group of people together with a blanket statement, even though there are many broad statements that could be said about many groups, including Christians. I am not accusing all Christians of being like what I am about to say, but there are enough that it could apply to a large portion of them.
Each vendor in this place knew that there were cruise ships in port that day. This was a regular stop and a popular place for tourists to shop. Most of the first time tourists like me, were expecting this enthusiastic greeting from all of the locals who they were trying to earn our business. Sadly, it wasn’t so. Instead of a warm welcome, we were greeted with a barrage of the same old lines repeated by each vendor there. “Slow down, look and touch. Great deal today.” This was said over and over by each vendor and was said with no enthusiasm and no meaningful voice inflections. And, because they were seated so close to each other, there was no recognizable difference in one vendor to the next. They were so used to tourists being there that it was not special to them, even though it was our money buying their goods that put food on their plates. They repeated the same lines so many times that it had no impact on them nor us, the tourists.
Christians have become a lot like this. We are free in America to speak the Gospel anytime, anywhere, to anyone. But we have heard it and spoke it so much that there is no meaning to our words anymore to the ones who hear it from us. Those who hear it from us have heard the same old lines repeated time and time again by a less than enthused Christian that it does not convict them to act, but rather compels them to hurry through the market of churches selling Christianity.
Every now and then we came across an individual in the market that had a smile and a belief that what they were selling was really worth you buying and they were willing to put the effort into making the most of their one opportunity to sell you what they had. And strangely, at these rare vendors tables, tourists were flocking and buying and walking away thinking that they had received something special from their visit to the Bahamas.
I know that my salvation, given to me from God through Jesus Christ is special. You can only get it from God and He has authorized me to be a vendor for it. He has put me in a market place that has groves of people walking through, looking for something and someone to convince them to buy it. I can either repeat the same old boring line that you have heard a million times before or I can sell it to you in a way that makes you know that what I have is special. The burden is not on the tourist walking by my table in life, but on me, the vendor, who has been given the wonderful opportunity to sell you something that will make you glad that you came by my table.
Most tourists only get to visit a place like this once or twice in a lifetime. Some will buy a trinket that will end up in the bottom of a suitcase and make a less than dazzling impression on others and may never get a second look after that. Some will remember the person who sold the trinket and tell the story of how wonderful the person who sold it to them was and convince others to try what they just experienced. But never forget that the vendors are the ones who truly make the difference to someone buying from them. They are the ones who make someone walk by in hopes of escaping, or, stop and buy what they are selling.
Christians are not selling to tourists the trinkets of a vacation, but a life changing, eternal hope of having favor with God and being able to show the benefits of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Churches are not the place that just happens to put food on the table, but rather are giving food for the soul. Jesus is far better than trinkets and t-shirts and certainly is better than a 5 day vacation in a tropical paradise. It is the hope of an eternal home in the paradise of Heaven with a God who loves us enough to pay our sin debt and allow us to share this awesome hope with others.

December 27, 2011

I Don’t Know When

by pastortimfowler

There are only a few days left in the year. Really?!?! 2011 is almost over? Time flies when you are having fun. I just hope that this isn’t our last days, because I have already paid for my cruise in January. What am I talking about? The Mayan calendar that ends in 2011. Oh wait; never mind. I was just told that we have until December 2012 before it all ends. The good news is that I won’t have to do any Christmas shopping for next year and I get to take my cruise if this is true.
What if we only had a few days left? What would it be like?
Imagine for a moment that we were told beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world would end in a few days. Do you think it would be a fun place to finish out your last days? Or do you think it would be pure chaos? I would put my money on the chaos. It would be nice to think that brotherly love would break out and we would all gather around to sing and hug for the remainder of our lives, but something tells me that it would be a dangerous and violent place with rape and theft and fear for those who are weak.
The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be just that type of situation. Violence and fear, not peace and love. Left to ourselves, humanity will self destruct and there is not much that we can do about it. Laws can only restrain lawlessness as long as there is someone to enforce the laws with consequences that compel one to think twice before committing such an act. It is also God that puts a sense of right and wrong in our hearts and a fear of knowing that one day we will be judged. It is God that restrains evil and allows for order in our world and even with Him in control that potential for evil in humans is barely kept in check.
The difference between the last days of the world without God and the last days of the world with God are pretty simple. Without God, there is no hope and it all ends in destruction. With God, there is hope and He promises a new life, new heaven and new earth. God is the God of hope. He is the God of salvation. He is life and love and He offers this freely to all who ask.
The Bible tells us that no man knows the hour or the day of the end of the world as we know it. Only God. But He promises to those who know Him and His salvation that we will not face His wrath, but be saved. I do believe that it is a good thing that we don’t know the hour or the day. Many religious “know-it-alls” have tried to say that they know the end and predict the date, but they are fools. God does not want us to know the time of the end because He wants us focused on life. He wants us loving people and helping those in need and sharing the good news that He saves and He loves. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.
I don’t know when it all will end but I do know Jesus, so…Bring on 2012!!!

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

by pastortimfowler

I am not an expert on the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday in America nor do I want to be. I know what I was taught in school when I was a kid, and I know some of the stuff that is being taught now and I also know that there is a lot of controversy over who is right and who is wrong. My concern is that we have lost focus on the purpose of it all together, to give thanks for what we have. Not only to give thanks, but to thank the one who provides us with all we have, God.
It is a holiday that is a challenge for people who don’t believe in God. I can understand the anger and frustration because to be thankful, you must know who you are thanking. You can’t be thankful to no one and it is really narcissistic to thankful to yourself. We don’t have food, air, life, liberty, or family because of government, or because of what we do, it is because there is a God who loves us. Don’t be hate’n if you disagree, be thankful for a great country that allows you the freedom to disagree. Oh yeah, if you don’t believe, you don’t know who to thank…never mind. So for this blog, I will concede to those who want to thank themselves.
At least if you don’t believe in God you can pretend to be grateful to someone. Isn’t it nice to have freedom, family, health, food, and air to breath. I know us humans are doing our best to destroy the perfect air of nature, which God created, but some of you are trying hard to save the planet, so be thankful for that. Stop trying to ruin my Thanksgiving because you are miserable. Pretend that everything is the result of human actions whether it is good or bad and be thankful. If I want to thank a God that you don’t believe in, let me do it and I will be fine if you thank, uh, what ever.
There is no perfect world. If we all focus on what is wrong, we will all be miserable. Why not call a time out this Thanksgiving and focus on only what you are thankful for, not what I am doing that you consider wrong. Thank whoever or whatever you want, even yourself. Tell yourself how grateful you are for what you are doing and let me thank God for what He has done and is doing. When we have a national holiday to gripe and complain and point fingers at everyone that we disagree with, I promise to participate and not be thankful anything anyone else is doing, but for now, we don’t have that and we do have Thanksgiving so be THANKFUL!
Happy Thanksgiving.

November 8, 2011

Faith and Doubt

by pastortimfowler

If only it were easy to have great faith and never doubt. I was asked to blog about these so let’s see how it goes. First let me give a non-biblical definition of the two words. from our old friend, Webster’s.
Faith- a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
Doubt- a : to lack confidence in : distrust <find myself doubting him even when I know that he is honest — H. L. Mencken> b : to consider unlikely <I doubt if I can go>
Humans are sinful creatures by nature and sin causes a separation from God. That in turn causes a trust issue, or our faith is challenged and doubt kicks in. When humans look at something or someone, it is very easy for us to pick out their faults. If you put a small dot in the middle of a sheet of white paper and ask people what they see, they will automatically be focus on the small dot and not pay any attention to the large amount of unblemished paper. We look at our kids report cards and see a “C” when the rest of the grades are “A’s” and “B’s”. We look at our spouse not putting the lid on the toothpaste but overlook the years of providing for the family. So keeping in stride with that, we want to look at God and see flaws because things aren’t going our way, and we forget that there are no flaws in God. We are flawed, due to sin.
It is hard to trust someone who thinks that they are better than you. We want to “show them”. But God does not think that He is better than us, He is better than us. He made us and knows us and most importantly, He loves us. There is nothing that He asks us to do that will not be the best for us, even if we don’t understand it. That is where faith and doubt collide.
Doubt is that lack of confidence in God. The “I don’t understand” factor. Doubt says “me” when faith says “God”. We often doubt things that we are new at or are learning about. A child doubts that he can read a book, but loving parents encourage and help the child to overcome doubt with confidence. A teen doubts that they will pass the driver’s license test, but loving parents encourage and teach. Soon we are reading without thinking about it and driving while texting. We now have turned our doubts into faith.
Faith is not some mystical characteristic that only Moses and Jesus had. Faith is trust. The more you do what God says and see that the outcome is what He promised, the more our faith is built. I learned to ride a bike when I was 4 years old. For a while, I doubted my ability to not crash. As years went by and crashes did happen, I had more and more faith in my ability to avoid the crashes. Last year I got a bike and decided to ride it. I had not been on a bike for years, but my faith in my ability to ride was there because I had ridden a bike so many times before.
Like everything else that we do in life, our Christian faith must be something that grows with experience. We must start out with the basics and we must learn to trust God and resist allowing our doubts to scare us away from ever trusting Him. I could have easily never ridden a bike again after my first crash. Doubt could have said that I would never ride without getting hurt. But encouragement from those who had ridden kept me moving towards my faith in the bike. That is the important thing about church and being around other believers who are more mature and will encourage us when we have those moments of doubt. Having someone there to point us back to the fact that God loves us and has our best interest at heart is a major factor in building our faith. Faith never starts out strong in anything that we do. For some reason we freak out when our Christian faith waivers. But we shouldn’t.
God loves us unconditionally. He is our Father in Heaven and is very patient with our doubts and fears. He has given us His word that He will never leave us and never disown us. Having faith in that is a great place to gain confidence. God knows that we are sinful. He allowed Jesus to take our penalty for us so that we could have His forgiveness and unfailing love.
Our first battle with faith and doubt is all about salvation. When you are confident in your salvation, you can begin to be confident in other things of God. That is why God made salvation simple and totally of His doing, not our own. That way our doubts don’t screw it up. Never forget this verse when it comes to faith:

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.
Be patient as your faith grows and before you know it, you will be doing whatever God asks, no doubt. I am not sure if this will make as much sense to you as it did to me, but my old pastor told me this: Doubt your doubts, not your beliefs.

October 3, 2011

Could It Get Better?

by pastortimfowler

Incredible would be the best word I could use to describe this past weekend. Our church had its annual lady’s retreat and about 30 of our ladies spent the weekend in Tybee Island, Ga. From the pictures I saw on Facebook and the short conversations that I had with my wife, they had a great time and I am sure once I hear the details it will only get better.
Of course when I talk about 30 women being away for the weekend, that meant that they are away from our church too. On most Sunday mornings we will have about 140 people attending and that includes an average of about 30 kids also. So if you take 30 people away from our normal Sunday morning it is noticed simply by looking at the crowd size. But we notice it even more because many of these ladies serve in our church in vital areas. Children’s director, teachers, greeters, check in stations for kids, just to name a few. Add to the ladies being away the fact that we had our audio/video guy and his wife out and about 12 other folks who were away, and it was really noticed that people were missing.
I have to say that rarely do we have people who just lay out of church. The folks here have taken an ownership in what God is doing and for whatever weird reasons, they seem to enjoy coming. Mostly because people find God here, but secondly, they have real friends that come here. Not just people we see once a week, but people that we hang out with and have a real relationship with. So I am not the type of pastor who has to guilt people when they are away and usually when they are away it is for a good reason, not just laziness and lack of desire to come. Have I told you lately that I am a very blessed pastor? God has allowed me to serve a bunch of folks who are real and excited about knowing God.
With so many people away this Sunday I was expecting the worst. Although my wife assured me that things were well taken care of, I couldn’t help but be skeptical. All the other people who were gone had also assured me that they had things covered and that nothing would be missed. They were right. Although the people were missed, things went over without a hitch. I was so amazed, and I really shouldn’t be. That is just what kind of church I serve.
I also thought that because so many of the regular folks were out that the crowd would be rather puny, but it wasn’t. Sure those who are here regularly could tell that people were missing, but only because we knew who they were. We had plenty of folks and if those 40 plus people had shown up we would have been near capacity. Boy, listen to me whine.
My sermon this week was on using grace as the foundation to build your Christianity on. Grace is favor given, not earned. God just loves us and when we seek Him, He gives us grace and therefore we have favor in His sight. Being in His good grace is a special thing that anyone can experience, but sadly too many people don’t because they pervert who God is. God is love, not someone waiting to crush you like a bug when you screw up. Sure, if you continue to deny Him and never ask for His favor, He can and probably will prove He is able to squash you like a bug, but that is not His goal. His grace is an awesome thing that allows us a very personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Because of God’s grace, six people became God’s children this weekend. It is not uncommon for our church to see 3 or 4 people each week trust God, but this week with a lot of folks gone, God showed us that He never misses hanging out with people who welcome Him. As we were finishing our morning worship time I informed people that we would be filling the horse trough for baptisms next Sunday because there were 2 or 3 people who had asked about it. As the day progress and we came back for the evening Bible study, about 12 more people had contacted me about getting baptized next week. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see 20 people baptized next Sunday.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, maybe you find this hard to get excited about. But it is what God gets excited about. He is not excited about money or buildings or how important a person thinks they are. God is excited about people knowing about His great love and sharing it with others. So if you are not a Christian, first let me thank you for reading my blogs. Secondly, if you live in the Rock Hill SC area, come next week and see all these baptisms and meet some people who will be surprisingly a lot like you. Either way, the first visit is free and if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back.
But WOW!!! This was an incredible weekend. I will be so glad to get my wife home and all those ladies who serve all over our church. They should be really stoked for next weekend. Holy Kaw! Next weekend could be better than this one!

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