Posts tagged ‘saved’

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!

October 2, 2012

What It Means To Be Called

by pastortimfowler

I have been blessed to be the pastor of my church for 10 years now. In those ten years I have seen a lot of stuff that many might take for granted, but I am still amazed at. Like when people who are one day going to hell if they die and in the very moment that they ask God to forgive them they change their direction toward going to heaven. The church is a place where people from every walk of life should be able to come and find love and forgiveness. God loves people so much that He let His Son Jesus die on a cross as payment for our sin. Once a person accepts this forgiveness, God begins a process of growing us into people who serve others. He requires His people to take a personal role in developing new believers, called discipleship, and often calls men and women to become more than just believers, to become ministers of the gospel. In our church lately we have had several men who have said that they feel called to this ministry; wow!. It is the call that I answered almost 20 years ago and feel very privileged to have done so.
So what does it mean to be called? Everyone is being called to answer God’s call of salvation. Few are called to the ministry in an official capacity and that is what I am talking about. A pastor, evangelist, missionary, youth or children’s pastor all are things that come with a specific calling. The Bible gives some specific instructions in the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus for those who are called. It tells us things like we should not be drunks, we should manage money well, and we should have our family in order. Sadly, many people don’t care about those things and they leave themselves open for criticism and corruption and Satanic attacks. But one of the main things that the Bible teaches about this call is that it is a call to be a servant and that few will be called, but those who are called are called for life.
It was Jesus who said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God made salvation very easy to obtain but the call into the ministry unique. Way too often men answer the call to ministry with an idea of a position of authority. Perhaps they should think about Jesus washing feet, the job of the lowest ranking servant. Perhaps they should remember that Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant.
Titles can be worn by anybody. But they can only be exemplified by those who live out what that title requires. Pastor is a title that has its roots in being a shepherd. Shepherds were not highly thought of in society and rarely told people what to do. Instead they put their lives on the line for some pretty simple animals who needed protection. They have the position of a leader but the responsibility of a servant. Leading as a shepherd means having sheep follow, not telling them where to go and what to do.
Those who are called into ministry must learn to be humble. Humility is rarely a normal human quality. We are taught early and often to look out for number one and that we deserve the best. Jesus was the ultimate minister. He humbled himself even to the point of dying on a cross for those who hated Him. He healed sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead and yet never took the credit for doing great things. His main focus was saving the souls of a fallen mankind who cannot save themselves.
When you are called into the ministry it means that you get serious about becoming not only a teacher, but a student. Although God equips those that He calls, He expects us to submit ourselves to the teaching of those who have gone before us. Sometimes that means submitting to someone without a title or someone who’s personality clashes with our own. Sometimes it means serving in a position that no one else wants to do, not even yourself. Sometimes you have to do it for longer than you want to and remember that you have been called to serve God and man even if man doesn’t give the recognition that you want.
But ultimately being called into the ministry means that God knows that you can do what He has called you to do. What He calls you to do should be the highest priority and pleasing Him the goal. Sometimes the rewards are very obvious, but often they will only be recognized when we get to heaven. But the call to ministry is a life long calling that is worth every second that you serve. Romans 11:29- God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. This means when you want to quit, you don’t. It means when you  get tired, you dig deeper for strength. It means when you don’t see rewards for your efforts that you remember where your rewards are stored, in heaven, and you keep serving in faith.
I have been blessed in that I have been able to make it through some tough times since I have been called. I have seen many souls saved and lives changed and now I am seeing others called. I would love to take credit for some of these things, but I must always keep in mind that if I don’t do what God calls me to do, there are others who will. I am not needed by God, but I am wanted by Him. He loves me; first enough to save me, and secondly enough to call me into this crazy life of ministry. What it means to be called into the ministry is really quite simple. It means that God is God and we have surrendered to Him no matter the cost.

March 13, 2012

Give It Up

by pastortimfowler

My wife and I were watching TV last night and saw a commercial that made us both laugh. Perhaps the seriousness of it was not meant to make us laugh but there was a line that caused us both to laugh very hard. The commercial was for one of these devices that you wear around your neck and press a button if you need medical assistance. What got my attention is that everyone on this commercial was a woman. I thought to myself that maybe only women were allowed to buy them and maybe I had a discrimination law suit against them. But what got us laughing is that one woman said that she loved her device so much that she would give up beer, wine, and cigarettes to have her little button around her neck. Image that. Willing to give up tobacco and alcohol to save your life. But my thought was, if she gave up the alcohol, maybe she would not fall down as much and could see the numbers on the phone to dial 911.
In my life I have given up alcohol and cigarettes. I have given up drugs, chasing women, and driving like crazy too. All of which can be dangerous to your health. I can’t say that my motivation was to give them up for health reasons as much as because of my relationship with God, but I have quit a few bad habits for a reason.
What are you willing to give up and what is your motivation? Many people have bad habits that would benefit us to give up. Health reasons are not enough. Money is not enough either. Wives, husbands, and children are not always enough either. So what is it that makes us decide to give up something that we think we enjoy but don’t need?
I am of the opinion that until we decide that we want to quit something it is virtually impossible to quit a bad habit. For years I drank alcohol and drank habitually. I knew that it was not good for my health, but that was not the motivation. I even got to the point to where it was ruining my marriage and my wife told me to quit or else, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I got to the point that I wanted to quit, and yes those things were a motivational part of my decision, that I finally had what it took to quit. I guess the bottom line is that we are the only ones in control of our lives.
This is why so many attempts to quit something fail. It is the reason why attempts at religion fail. It is why we don’t continue going to the gym or keep other New Year’s resolutions. We will never do the hard stuff until we decide that we really want it. That runs deeper than a decision made from disgust or peer pressure, it is a heart matter.
It would be nice if someone would invent a button that we could wear around our necks to push when we decided to do something tough. Just push the button and it does all the work for us. When we have fallen and can’t get up, we just push the button and we are set free. But it just isn’t that simple. That little button that was advertised was a method of calling someone to save you. The only problem is that you still had to wait for them to get there. You still had to hope that someone on the other side got there in time to do any good. Even if the lady gave up the beer and cigarettes, and could afford the service, it could still fail. But I guess if you are old and your mobility if limited, it is a nice thing to have at whatever cost.
Humans all have a need to be saved. Maybe it isn’t our health that is the problem. Perhaps we have a sin problem. Perhaps a physical death is not what we really need to be saved from. What happens when you die? What if you had to stand before a Holy God that did not tolerate any sin of any type when you die? How would you be saved then? Well there isn’t a button to push, but there is a very simple way. God says through the Bible that whoever will call to Him through Jesus Christ with faith that Jesus died in our place, will be saved. It is the method that I chose to believe and it has not failed me yet. There are many other promises that come with the promise of forgiveness and salvation, one of which is the power to overcome the things of this life that hold us back. That is how I quit smoking, drink, chasing women, and many other things that would kill me. I decided I wanted to change and God said He would help. Who knows, maybe you could be so bold? But like I said, until you decide you want it, it is probably not going to happen.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

March 28, 2011

Its a Miracle!

by pastortimfowler

I have been a pastor for close to 20 years now. For the last 10 years I have tried to keep up with many statistics such as average attendance, baptisms and people who are saved. Someone once told me that church was not about numbers, but I strongly disagree.
Some numbers are so important that God keeps up with them. He knows every soul that is His. He knows every act that you do in His name. He keeps score.
This past Sunday we were fortunate enough to see people be born again. This is a true miracle. In a day where churches are full of people looking for healing and financial blessings, (both are good), there is something that still thrills me about seeing a person realize that without Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, they are hopeless. In a world where at our fingertips we can learn anything we want, there is still that sense of desire to know God. People are still searching for hope and for meaning. That hope and meaning are only found in knowing God. And on Sunday mornings, I get to stand before people and tell them that God is real, His love is overwhelming, and help is a prayer away.
Consider the fact that I was never the “churchy” type and that at one time denied that there was a God, it’s a miracle that I get this privilege. But I guess God figures, who better to hear it from than someone who has overcome so much. My story is not so different from so many others. God having mercy, convicting the heart of its need of forgiveness and them allowing it all to be forgiven by the act of Jesus dying on a cross. Many have had this experience and God uses every one of them to share this miracle.
I remember the day that I first told someone about Jesus. They laughed because they remembered who I was. But God used that day to prepare me to tell another. Eventually I told someone who was needing to hear that God would and did forgive people who had messed up as bad as me. Then the miracle happened again, and another poor soul was birthed into the love of God.
I can look back through the years now and see that many others I have shared my story with are now doing the same. God’s love is not just adding to the miracles, but is now multiplying the miracles. It is like a pyramid scheme gone wild, in a good way. Please don’t take this as bragging, nothing would have happened had it not been that God had mercy on me and forgave me. It just blows me away that He loves me that much and I want to share it whenever I can.
God is holy; perfect and sinless. Mankind is not. Purity and impurity can not mix. So to be with God, something has to happen. God must take all impurity from us and protect us from it or we will never be able to be with Him. He does that by forgiving our sin and making us one with Him In Christ. Holy White Out, sort of. The blood of Christ from the cross covers up our sins and God sees purity. It’s a miracle!

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