Posts tagged ‘wisdom’

November 22, 2011

You’re So Vain

by pastortimfowler

This morning I was reading the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and as always, spent more time pondering than reading. That’s right, I ponder. This was written by Solomon, the fellow who God gave him anything that he asked for, and Solomon chose wisdom. He was the wisest man to ever live and in his writing this, the wisdom has driven him to understand things that are often not what humans want to know.
I believe that humans will naturally try to find a way to put the “me first” factor into everything. Even the most mature Christians that I know, myself included, (see, I just injected me into the thought), want to think that somehow life is all about them. Our best attempts at humility are much too often filled with thoughts of how to look humble and get recognized for our humility. So Solomon starts out saying that it is all vanity of vanities. I love the translation God’s Word and the way it reads: Ecclesiastes 1:2 Absolutely pointless!” says the spokesman. “Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless.” But that is what vanity is, pointless. If life is all about me/you, then this life is pretty pointless. This all reminds me of the old song by Carley Simon, You’re So Vain.
When reading this amazing book of the Bible it is easy to misunderstand what he is saying. He says over and over that this life is pointless. It is almost like he is saying that we shouldn’t even have a desire to live. At one point he says that one generation dies and another one lives, but the earth lasts forever. It as if he is saying that we are worthless on this earth, but that is not the point of this writing. But Solomon understoond something that few ever will. Imagine being able to understand everything. The longer you live, the more you understand.
Many times I have people in the church come to me and suggest that we do a certain ministry or project. Part of being the pastor is to try to understand the impact of what our church does and what the impact of what each ministry or project has on the overall mission of our church. Way too often I have to think about the underlying motives of these suggestions. Most of them are not made with any ill intent, but they are made with a selfish motive that generally is not even recognized by those doing the suggesting.
For instance, if someone comes to me with an idea for the children’s ministry of our church and they have children, that idea is usually something that they think will be best for their children. That is not wrong, but it is self motivated and that is vanity. If someone comes to me with an idea to feed to homeless, and I don’t mention that it was their idea, often they get their feelings hurt, even if we implement the idea exactly like they suggested. Vanity.
Solomon said this: Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless (vanity). It’s like trying to catch the wind. The older he got the more he saw that everything that humans did had a touch of vanity in it. Remember that this is not me talking, this is the man that God granted wisdom.  Wisdom that had never before and never will again be given to a man. And let me add this: If you are saying to yourself, I am not like that, you are being vain. What Soloman was realizing in this wisdom was that man was more about man than about God. That it was God that is the center of the universe, not man. Even the best of man is nothing compared to God. It is indeed vanity and the wisdom that he thought would bring him great joy, in the end only showed him how short he came when compared to the glory of God. This is how he ends Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone. God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.

August 3, 2011

Read It All

by pastortimfowler

Today I am reading the last few chapters of the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. I love this book. Every time I read it I get encouraged. As someone who has been a pastor for over 15 years, I usually hear the opposite from people who read Revelation. It usually brings on confusion and fears and that right there tells me that God is not leading them through it, but rather Satan is. After all God’s word is one of Satan’s most used tools. He used it in the beginning with Adam and Eve and he even tried to use it against Jesus, what makes us think he has stopped trying to use it on us? Here is wisdom; any time you get confusion and fear from God’s word, it is not because God doesn’t want you to understand it. Revelation ends with this blessing:Revelation 22:7 ~ I’m coming soon! Blessed is the one who follows the words of the prophecy in this book.” God would never offer a blessing and then make it confusing and scary.
So why does this happen?
Currently I teach a class to the men of our church and have offered it and will offer it to everyone who wants to attend, called, How to Study the Bible. Most people, even seasoned Christians have little practical knowledge of how to properly interpret scripture. For some reason the church teaches bits and pieces of the Bible and not the whole Bible. Most people want to know where to find their problem solving verse rather than live the life that solves their problems as described in the complete Bible. What I teach is that in order to know what God is really saying to His people, we must read the complete Bible, starting in Genesis and ending with Revelation. But instead we read a few verse here and a few there or we read only the New Testament and skip the Old Testament. What we don’t realize is that the New Testament was written not to void the old but to complete the Old Testament. This makes it impossible to understand much of the New Testament and correctly interpret what God wants us to know and be blessed by.
We do not read any other book like we read the Bible. I hear people get all excited about the latest greatest book by the latest greatest author and never hear them say that they are only going to read a few select lines or chapters or that they will read the last chapter and understand the whole book. We do not build a new shopping mall by skipping to the last page of the blue prints, yet we try to build new lives that way.
It is impossible to understand the book of Revelation without reading the entire Bible, so stop trying. I know that I have read the entire Bible at least 20 times and I still don’t understand it all, but every time I do it again, I get more understanding and closer to knowing that blessing that God promised. I have been through 7, almost 8 years of seminary and still learn something new each time I read it. There is not a quick way to understand an infinite God. The Bible is not everything that God knows, it is, however, everything that He wants us to know. God wrote us a love letter and we call it the Bible.
I challenge you to read your Bible from Genesis 1:1 and not stop until you reach Revelation 22:21. Let me rephrase that. Read it again and again and again from start to finish, then you will begin to understand and look forward to reading and seeing the encouragement and blessings of Revelation.
One final note. It is properly titled The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, for short, Revelation. There is only one. It is not Revelations. Just thought you should know.
So read your Bible and read it all.

June 20, 2011

Free Marriage Counseling

by pastortimfowler

Genesis 2:24
That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Before the church was started, before sacrifices were started, and before the Bible was ever written, God created the institute of marriage. It was His idea to unite a man and a woman for the sake of being one unit working together for the better of each other and to grow a family. He did not create marriage to be 2 men, 2 women, a man and a bunch of women, a woman and a bunch of men, or any other combination that may or may not include animals.
He created marriage and told us that this would be the reason that a man would leave his father and mother. Yes, it is time to move out when you get married. There is not a healthy situation in which you and your wife should stay in your parents house. If they have lots of land and another house can be put on this land, then that may be suitable, but always remember that it says that he should leave his father and mother.
It tells us that the two, husband and wife, should be united. This means that they begin new life as one. They no longer have his stuff and her stuff and my stuff and your stuff, they now have their stuff. Bank accounts, bills, dreams, and disasters are now all shared, along with the responsibilities that come along with being adults. The more stuff you don’t share the more likely that the unity is challenged and the marriage will break down.
Next we are told that the two shall become one flesh. Many believe that this means that they will have a sexual relation and I agree, but, not just for the sake of having sex. The purpose of sex in this account to be one flesh has the meaning of reproducing. (Genesis 1:28~ God blessed them and said, “Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth,…” ) That is why the idea that marriage is anything but a man and a woman is ridiculous. Only a man and a woman can make babies naturally. When the sperm and the egg join together, the two unite and become one flesh, thus fulfilling the command given to the couple.
Marriage can be a challenge that is greater than most anything we will do with another human. It is a life time venture that truly does take in the better or the worse, richer and poorer, and sickness and health. But like anything else in this world, if is valuable, it is worth working hard for. The most gratifying things in the world are the things that you work the hardest for. Marriage is no different.
There is such great wisdom in the Bible and we live in a time when we all need to seek wisdom, especially in our marriages. God is the creator and founder of marriage. He knows how they work successfully and how to heal them that are broken. We will take our dogs to the vet, cars to the mechanic, and computers to the geek, but we won’t take our marriages to a counselor. That is a matter of pride and that is selfish and that violates the command to be united.
As a veteran of 31 years of marriage, I am fully qualified to speak on all areas of pride, selfishness, and all things counter-productive to a healthy, God-based marriage. BUT…I am also the recipient tons of grace and mercy and patience that has allowed me to soak up a bit of wisdom. I have swallowed my pride and sought counseling and have been blessed with the healing from God of one of His most precious gifts, marriage.
My marriage is not perfect, but it is better than most. It is not broken, but has a few scars. It is strong though and a great example of how letting God have His way can allow the joy that He intended for a couple to be experienced on a regular basis. God used a wise man to counsel us and it helped save our marriage and strengthen it to the point that we can now help others. As part of my ministry, I have been blessed to be able to counsel others and will continue to do so, free of charge. Too often I hear that couples can’t afford counseling and therefore don’t seek it. Although I can’t promise to heal your marriage, that is up to you, I can promise to help and never let money stand in the way. I wish that every couple could experience the type marriage that I have and because of that, I will always offer free marriage counseling.
(You can reach me through http://www.thebodylive.com or respond through the comments section of this blog.)

May 19, 2011

Just Ask

by pastortimfowler

This morning I woke up early and had a horrible head-ache. I did not sleep much last night for a couple of reasons. First, I made the mistake of turning the Braves game on and it was a close game that went into extra innings, and it was played in Arizona, so it was a couple of hours behind us. Second was, and I believe that this was the main reason, I sat in on our church’s Wednesday night lady’s Bible study. Although I really enjoyed it, my head was filled with questions that they had asked me. Although I try to give the best answers that I can, when asked a lot of them, and some were tough ones, I always question whether or not I gave the best and most accurate answers possible. So I laid there try trying to remember the questions and the answers and of course watching the game.


If you are a guy and you have never been asked to sit in on a room full of women so that they can ask you questions, you are a blessed man. It is a lot like being a steak hung in front of a group of lions. (don’t take that they wrong way, however you were trying to twist it). But if you are an adrenaline junky, it could be right up your alley. For a pastor, it is humbling, to say the least. I think there were 15 women and most of them were hungry for the Word of God, and I was blessed to be there.
So many people go through their Christian life and never ask questions. I am not sure why. I do know that some do not know what to ask because they do not read the Bible and therefore don’t want to sound foolish. Others I believe think that they know it all and don’t have to ask. But I am not really sure why most people are afraid to ask about the things that deal with faith.
When Jesus was teaching His disciples, they asked questions. They asked about the kingdom that was coming and the kingdom that was in place. They asked about forgiveness and the asked about sin. They asked about miracles and healing and even where they were going to get food from. They even asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and to increase their faith. These guys had no problem asking questions and we could learn from this.
Sometimes we are scared away from asking questions because of the way others have treated us in the past when we asked. We have all heard that there are no stupid questions only stupid answers, but those stupid answers can make us not want to ask any more. I had a coach one time who quoted that “no stupid questions” thing to us all the time. Then when you asked him a question, he would tell you “that was a stupid question.”
God set the church up in order to have people in place that can answer questions. He gave gifts to those in the church like, teaching and preaching and prophesy. He told us to go and make disciples of others and that means to teach the ways of Christ. Hopefully we are teaching like Christ taught, with love and patience and a desire to spark curiosity enough to ask questions. God wants His people to be a family and families asks questions and raise up children in wisdom and in love.
Years ago I found out that when God allows you to learn something about Him, He wants us to tell everyone else that we possibly can about it too. God is so incredible that there is no way that anyone will every know everything about Him. Him is constantly revealing Himself to anyone who will seek to know Him. He desires us to ask the deep and intimate questions about who He is and what He wants from us. He loves it when we ask questions. Often He will answer us directly, but from time to time He want us to ask others. The Bible tells us to seek Godly wisdom and follow the leaders that He has in place. If He has placed these leaders, then they have the same heart to teach God’s ways and a desire to be asked the questions and give loving answers.
I love teaching God’s word. I know what He did for me and how He forgave me of so much and restored everything that was important to me. He blessed me to have a great family and most of all, a godly wife who shares my passion. He has allowed me to pastor a church that is full of people who desire to know God better and aren’t afraid to keep their pastor awake at night because they ask a lot of questions. And if I don’t have an answer I am not afraid to tell you that I don’t know, but love the challenge of seeking the answer, even if it means asking a few questions myself.
Please, learn ask many questions as you can about our awesome and loving God and Savior Jesus Christ. If you don’t know something about Him, just ask!

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