December 17, 2013

Menopause

by pastortimfowler

As a pastor and a marriage counselor I get to hear of other peoples struggles and because of confidentiality I can’t name names, but occasionally I get to use generic references from the experience. Today I want to use an experience from a friend of mine whom I council often. Please don’t panic if you are reading this and think that I would even divulge anything ever said to me in a private session. I won’t. This is someone I know and I have his okay to do this.
My friend’s wife is going through menopause. Menopause is when women of a certain age began to go through changes in their bodies due to hormones and these changes can wreak havoc on a marriage. Most men just do not understand these things. Emotions and physical manifestations of these changes make it virtually impossible for men to understand their wives during menopause. (Like we need another challenge in doing that).
So after much prayer, I thought it would be beneficial to my friend and countless other men to blog about how God may want us (husbands) to deal with this change of life for women that challenges most marriages.
I have been blessed to be married to the same woman for 30 plus years and consider myself an expert on all things dealing with women, or should I say woman, being that woman God gave me. Because of this, I believe that God has told me to tell men to turn the tables on these women.
In my younger days, I use to listen to the band Aerosmith. Many years ago they had a song that was not one of their many hits, but I liked it because of the message. Although not biblical, it said, “Don’t get mad, get even”. I want to say that it may have some relevance in this topic, with my help.
Men should get the male version of menopause first and do it early in life, way before nature takes its course with your wives. We need to tweak it just a bit though. Menopause has to do with hormonal changes in women but for us guys it should be, “men-a-pause”.
1Corinthians chapter 13 defines love as patient, kind, and not self centered, among other things. Before we are forced to accept changes in our wives, we should practice pausing to thank God more often for our wives, no matter what the circumstances. Thankfulness has a way of overcoming hormonal changes, but men need to practice this for the entire marriage or it will be virtually impossible during female menopause. Thankfully, nothing is impossible with God.
My friend tells me that for most of there lengthy marriage that his wife was always cold natured. She would turn the heat up in winter and the AC off in the summer. Now she sweats all the time, even when he is cold. This results in him sleeping on the couch or wanting to ride in separate vehicles, or wanting to run away to live on a small deserted island far, far, away. If he had been practicing “men a pause” all of his marriage, he would have realized that these differences early in the marriage were a result of how God made her, not how he needed to change her. Thus, when God changed her during menopause, it would be easier for my friend to pause and thank God for what He is doing now. Remember, it is God who made menopause, to which men all across the world are saying with great sarcasm, “Thanks God”.
An old children’s Sunday School song says, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done”. If men don’t pause often to thank God for their wives, they can get caught up on all the negatives of things that they can’t change instead of all the things they can change in their own hearts. I am talking about changing frustration into gratefulness and bad attitudes into attitudes of love, true love. (Patient, kind, not self centered…)
So men, don’t get mad get even. Start “men a pause” before she starts menopause. Don’t be like my friend who is now partially insane (but still madly in love). Do what it takes to pause and reflect on all of her beauty and grace and positive attributes that God gave her. That way, when God decides that it is time for her to change in a way that is very physical and totally out of her control, you will be able to continue to pause and thank God. She is a precious gift, even when she is reaching for the thermostat and kicking blanket of the bed while you lay there freezing.

December 13, 2013

What I want for Christmas

by pastortimfowler

A new truck, a fishing boat, new golf clubs, peach milkshakes (year round) from Chic-fil-a, season tickets to Gamecock football next year, and one of those little remote control helicopters. There is my list for those who are still shopping and can’t decide what to get me.
On another note, I would like to share what I want for Christmas that does not include presents.
My parents divorced when I was 11 and from that time on, Christmas got really hard. I would put on a fake smiles and act like I wanted to be in each house, when what I really wanted was my parents to quit fighting. Later as we kids became adults, we would still try to get together at someone’s house and act like it was special to see each other on Christmas when the fact was we didn’t want to see each other the rest of the year.
This caused problems after I was married and had kids, because instead of appreciating the fact that my inlaws were doing it right, I resented the fact that my birth family rarely did. Here is the good news; I overcome that; well, almost.
As I watch how Christmas is perceived these days it makes me long for a few things and I will now share them in a list to avoid getting too “preachy”.
So here is my other list of what I want for Christmas.
I want families to get together because they realize what a precious gift they are to each other.
I want commercials and Christmas music to only be aired in December.
I want people to stop going into debt to try to show love, and just give from the heart.
I want everyone who is told “Happy Holidays” to ask for clarification of which holidays are being proclaimed happy.
I want Christmas trees and anything else designated for Christmas to not have to be renamed for political correctness.
I want everyone who is so uptight about Christmas being called Christmas to focus on saving the whales instead of ruining a centuries old tradition.
I want children’s plays in schools to sing true Christmas songs instead of ones that are made up through fear of offending someone who doesn’t even want to celebrate Christmas.
I want everyone to know the kind of love that Christmas truly represents. A love that compelled God to give His Son, Jesus CHRIST, so that I might be forgiven for all the stupid mistakes that I have made in the past, including when I tried to make Christmas all about me.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!

November 15, 2013

Super Typhoon

by pastortimfowler

When I decided to go to the Philippines last year, I kept telling my wife that I need to go in November. I was not sure why, all I knew was that everything in me said go in November. So I prayed and felt that God was leading me and made reservations for the first 2 weeks of November 2013. The reason for this trip was to visit a good friend and fellow pastor, Antonio Ner, whose church we have supported through the years. It was supposed to be a trip to see where we can best help, reinforce the facts of his ministry is worth supporting, and I kept getting this feeling like God was going to show me something miraculous. Little did I know that I was going to be right in the middle of history; the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall; Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Here on the east coast of the USA we call these storms hurricanes. In the Pacific they are called typhoons. Because the waters around the Philippines is always warm due to its close proximity to the equator, typhoons can from year round and often become really strong, really fast. This was true for the storm named, Yolanda.
We arrived on a Friday, two days after we left Rock Hill SC. Our first days on the ground were challenged with being part of a weekend youth rally where we were to play volleyball and basketball and share the gospel with about 200 kids. Although jetlag was kicking our butts, we managed to get through it fairly well. The next couple of days we have various activities, including a meeting with city official in the mayor’s office and a tour of the local Bible College and speaking to some 250 high school students. We also confirmed with a much larger high school, a Thursday assembly to speak with over 2500 student about drugs and alcohol and the fact that God has an answer to those who ask Him for help.
As Wednesday night rolled around we began to hear about this storm that had formed and was quickly gaining strength. The storm named Yolanda was on a trajectory to hit our island and several others in its path. Thursday the decision was made to cancel school as the outer bands began to hit the island and the storm grew stronger.
By Thursday night, Yolanda had grown to the “super typhoon” status. It was still gaining strength and was looking like it would be historic…and it was. By Friday morning, Yolanda was the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall. Its path was through several of the southern Philippine islands, including ours. We were going to be on the strongest side, the southern side of the storm. Warnings were up and preparations were being made to evacuate, yet many had no place to go and even those who did manage to find emergency shelter could not be guaranteed safety from this massive storm.
Our Friday morning was first spent in one of the local jails, ministering to and feeding prisoners. As the winds were building and the storm drawing near, the gospel was shared and received by those incarcerated on this island. One of the prisoners gave me a small model wooden boat that he had made and I thought, how nice; a life boat.
Later that day as the storm intensified, the Pastor Ner gathered myself and a couple of his church men and we went to help people who needed to flee their homes for shelter. As we drove around I kept thinking about the radar picture I saw that showed the strongest part of this storm hitting out area. I kept thinking that it was not as bad as I thought it would be and then the winds would gust and blow our vehicle and trees across the road.
Several times we stopped to cut trees with a machete and help people who were trying to remove debris from the roads. We helped some people find shelter and finally headed back to our own places to finish out the storm.
The next day the reality of this storm began to unfold as news pictures showed the island next to us in complete chaos. We drove around our own island checking on people and taking food to those in need and seeing for ourselves the devastation. Although our island had much damage, it was nothing in comparison to the other islands. The governor of our island made a profound statement and to this day I can only agree with what he said. Negros Occidental was spared from the wrath of this storm through Divine intervention and prayer.
I thought that I was going to this tropical nation to help a fellow pastor and to learn more about his ministry. My thoughts that God wanted to show me something miraculous was true. What I thought and to be honest, I wish my ideas was true, was that I may see someone healed from being crippled or a blind person receiving their sight, but instead I saw something on a much grander scale. I saw God save thousands from a super typhoon’s rage and there is no one that can convince me otherwise.
Please pray for these people who will be trying to recover for years to come. If you would like to help, there are many ways. One way is to give to Pastor Ner directly. He knows the worst of the needs and can get the food and supplies there the same day. Our church has a direct line to get him funds. You can contact me if you are interested in helping and I will share the details of how this works. But if nothing else, pray.
Visit our church website or Facebook page if you would like to help. Or email me at emanrev.

October 21, 2013

From an appreciative pastor

by pastortimfowler

October is Pastor appreciation month and this past Sunday my church had a lunch in celebration of it. As the recipient of the appreciation I thought it would be fitting to say a few words about it. I felt the love and appreciation. I know that I am not taken for granted and know that my church is full of very special people. I only wish that there was an appreciation month for the congregation.
I have been a pastor for about 20 years now, and the last 11 years at the amazing church called The Body. When I asked God years ago to allow me to serve a church that would understand what it truly means to know Jesus and serve Him, I never dreamed that He would grant me this privilege.
On any given Sunday, my church serves people. It does not matter what your background is or what you think about religion, these folks want to serve you. Serving is an act of love. Jesus came to this earth to serve others and told the church that if it wanted to be great, it would serve all who graced its doors. Needless to say, my church has achieved true greatness.
If you are hurting or lonely or in need of a helping hand, The Body is there to help. Not with just kind words or a prayer, and those are plentiful, but with the actions to back every word.
As a pastor, it is not uncommon to have to do the hard work and lowly tasks that are required to make a church function. No pastor should ever think that they are above cleaning, fixing, or getting down and dirty to make things work. But when the people of the church are true servants, like at The Body, the pastor can be free to dig deeper and pray harder and follow God in the amazing quest of teaching those in need of a Savior how forgiveness and freedom from oppression are available to all who ask.
A pastor and his family are often lonely for much of their ministry. Building close friendships can be difficult and are often avoided because you don’t want to be hurt when circumstances require unpopular decisions to be made. But when the vision of the pastor is accepted and taken personally by the members of a church, those friendships blossom and are so very precious. I have that freedom and my family does too. For that I am very appreciative. I don’t have people who are just friends, I have friends who are family who stick it out through thick and thin.
One sure way to know if a church is doing the will of God is when people are finding the love and forgiveness of God on a regular basis. At The Body it is a weekly event to have people accept Jesus as their Savior. This happens because they meet people who have already experienced God’s grace and love it so much that they share it with others. This year we have already seen nearly 100 people meet Jesus for the first time. Many of those are well on their way to becoming the great servants of Jesus Christ and stewards of His great love.
So without taking up pages and pages of text to rant and rave about how blessed I am, I will simply end with this. THANKS FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART!!! I am a grateful and very appreciative pastor and I thank God for you, my church and my family and fellow servants. May God continue to bless each one of you with His love, mercy, and riches in heaven.

October 1, 2013

Government shutdown

by pastortimfowler

I remember as a little kid hearing the story of Chicken Little and the screams of “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” As the story goes, the sky did not fall. And so we have yet another government shutdown. Yes, I said another. There have been many in the past. Lately all we have heard is the threat that it was coming if congress did not act. Last time I checked though, there were three branches of government, so I hold them all responsible. We did not elect these people to go to Washington and try to scare people by yelling their own version of “the sky is falling!”. It is time that they acted like leaders and not spoiled brats. I think that the people, democrats and republicans and independents alike, should rally together and not vote for any of them next election unless they get their act together and work as Americans serving the public good, not their own.
So far, and just like the last times the government shut down, nothing bad has happened. They did turn off the “panda cam”; those rotten scumbags! But they are still collecting my taxes and paying themselves. Perhaps they should really shut things down that matter, like the bank that pays them. If us normal people’s jobs are shut down, we don’t get paid. Let the president and senate and congress have to file for unemployment…oops, they couldn’t…the government is shutdown.
I don’t worry about these silly political games. It bothers me because they are not doing their jobs, but I am still working and I don’t need them to do anything to help me support my family. I do worry about how the USA is looked upon when our leaders act like dictators and we say we want to spread democracy throughout the world.
I guess there is some benefit to having a king. No one can tell them to compromise and shutting down the government because people don’t work well together is not gonna happen. But kings and dictators are why the USA was started. We wanted out from under tyranny. We wanted a government that was for the people and by the people. We wanted something different and better.
Through it all, I know that some great act of diplomacy will save the day and we will all get our government back to tell us how wonderful they are, but not those other guys. You and I will probably never notice a change in the things that matter. But the media will tell us how the sky was stopped from falling and how us poor slobs known as citizens can now live in peace and love and comfort because the crisis was averted.
I am happy to say that I find my peace and love and comfort in another King…Jesus. He never shuts down, never gives up, never lets me down. He always provides and always does what He says He is going to do. He truly cares for me and truly cares for you. I don’t need to worry about Him ever shutting down on me. I hope you have this same King. If not, seek Him out. He is just a prayer away.

September 16, 2013

Struggles happen to all

by pastortimfowler

Reading through the Bible you will find hope, peace, and encouragement. What you will also find is that even the best of God’s people go through struggles of their faith. Jesus said that in this life, we will have troubles, but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the things of this world. I find encouragement in those word, especially when I am going through struggles of my own.
It would be awesome if becoming a Christian meant that everything became easy. It would be amazing to have your life miraculously void of anything unpleasant or hard to deal with, but it would also eliminate the need for God to be your source of hope and your faith to have any strength.
Going through a major struggle can cause you to doubt God if you lose perspective. Faith is something that needs to be exercised in order to stay strong. Without struggles, faith can dwindle to the point of weakness and turning our need of God into depending on one’s self.
I once heard a great analogy that I want to share about struggles and their need in strengthening our faith.
A man was recovering from a long illness and while in the hospital, asked if he could have his bed moved closer to the window so that he could enjoy nature while recovering. So his bed was moved and to his delight he saw a caterpillar spinning its cocoon on the window sill. After days of watching it hang motionless in the window, he saw the silky oval began to move, ever so slightly. He watched for a while and saw the cocoon began to move even more and decided that he could help speed up the process and relieve the struggles of the soon to emerge butterfly, so he grabbed a pair of surgical scissors and gentle snipped open the cocoon to allow the butterfly to easily slide out. As soon as he made the incision, a beautiful yellow and black butterfly emerged. For hours, the man watched as the butterfly sat there moving its wings in an attempt fly away, but it never achieved flight. A few hours later a strong wind came and blew the butterfly off the window ledge and down to the walk below where it died. Because the cocoon was cut open, the butterfly never strengthened its wings enough to fly. It was the struggle to open the cocoon that made the wings strong enough to fly. Because there was no struggle, there was no strength and the butterfly died.
Easy is not always the answer. Faith is not meant to make things easy, it is meant to be strengthened so that we too may someday fly.

September 2, 2013

Labor Day

by pastortimfowler

I usually don’t blog about specific holidays, but this one, Labor Day, is one that I need to get a few things off of my chest about. I like the fact that we have an extra day off for most Americans. The long weekend help families to rejuvenate and relax before the long school year gets rolling along.
Here is my problem; not everyone understands what it means to be in labor. It is a special time, but only women can experience it. Sure it is hard work going in labor and dads can be in the room, but only women really experience it. But does this warrant a holiday? I don’t think so.
When half of the human race will never experience labor, it is insensitive to have a national holiday to celebrate something. Even with something like Christmas where people of faith other than Christians may not celebrate, we can all still understand and enjoy that giving spirit of that holiday.
I have heard it said that passing a kidney stone is the closest thing a man will come to experiencing what a woman feels when giving birth. I personally have never passed a kidney stone and don’t know what it feels like. But to me it would make more sense to have a national holiday for passing kidney stones that a labor holiday. At least men and women can experience passing a kidney stone and therefore there is not any discrimination involved. That would be a cruel holiday, but at least it would be fair.
We already celebrate birthdays and birthdays are a result of women being in labor. Everyone can celebrate birthdays, so even if they chose not too, it makes it less likely to have half of the human race feeling left out just because they can’t experience something due to a physiological impossibility.
We have Mother’s day, which certainly is only for women, but we follow it by Father’s day to ensure fairness. Labor day is just way too controversial for me to be comfortable with. We live in a day where people are easily offended and having holidays like this one worries me.
So there you have it. My blog on the controversial holiday of Labor Day.
Hold on a second…Someone just told me that Labor Day is NOT about giving birth…In that case…Never mind.

August 27, 2013

Is drinking alcohol a sin?

by pastortimfowler

Lately I have heard a few concerns about a statement that I make from time to time. That statement is. drinking alcoholic beverages is not a sin. Before you go off on a rampage, let me say that I do not encourage people to drink such beverages. I spent most of my teen years and young adult years as a drunk and saw my dad throw away his marriage due to alcoholism. This is a subject that I have intimate first hand knowledge about and do not take it lightly.
I would love nothing better than to be able to say that the Bible prohibits the drinking of alcoholic beverages. I know that there are restrictions of priests and some say that because we are a “royal priesthood” that is applies to us, but I just find too much that contradicts that. What I am required to do as a pastor is to tell the truth, even it goes against my personal feelings.
If drinking alcohol was a sin, then Jesus caused people to sin with His first miracle of turning water into wine and in the Lord’s Supper where wine is used. If my understanding of scripture is correct, it would be better for one to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea than to cause someone to sin. Jesus was sinless. Paul, not sinless, told Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach problem. Medicinal I know, but we don’t excuse a sin for medical purposes.
What is a sin is drunkenness. The abuse of strong drink in a habitual and destructive nature. I was sinning in my abuse of alcohol. I neglected family, friends and mostly, God. Drinking a glass of wine, a beer, or a scotch is not a sin. Oh how I wish it was, but this is not about my wishes or feelings and I can’t change God’s word for my own.
Now for what is a sin. Causing someone who struggles with alcoholism and is now seeking God for deliverance to fall back into drunkenness. That is a good reason for Christians to not drink in public or in front of others who may be one temptation away from falling back. In my church we have many who are in this place of recovery or deliverance. We offer a 12 step program to help them. If I were able to drink a glass of wine on occasion and this act were to be seen by someone in recovery, it could cause them to question their own ability to “just have one glass”. If my actions cause this new believer to fall back into sin, I am guilty. So Christians need to be mindful of our actions and their impact on others.
The other sinful situation of drinking alcohol that comes to mind is the one of needing a drink to “take the edge off”. You have a long hard day at work and your boss has been busting your chops all day. Everything you did went wrong even when you knew it was right. So you come home and open the fridge and grab a cold one.
If Jesus says to bring Him your burdens and troubles but you take them to Bud first, that sounds a lot like having a god before Him. Why not grab your Bible and read it for that encouragement and to take to edge off? Why not go straight to a quiet place and pray about that tough day? What do your children think when mommy or daddy say that they need a beer instead of, I need Jesus?
Drinking is not in and of itself sinful. Can it be? Yes. Far too often we are more concerned with our own wants than others and alcohol is our first thought rather than Jesus and that is sinful.
Be careful with how you throw around judgement. Be careful how you throw down your drinks. Both can feel good and in the proper time be sinless, but most of the time, we are the ones who are sinning, not someone else. Alcohol has its place and can be enjoyed in the right situation, but far to often, because of our sinful nature, we make it sinful out of our lack of concern for others or our neglect of turning to God first in all things.
It is my prayer that one day every alcoholic can receive that freedom that I did. But if Christians make it easy for an alcoholic to excuse their sin, we have just stepped into a sin that is just as great.

August 27, 2013

Is drinking alcohol a sin?

by pastortimfowler
August 22, 2013

Three things that make my marriage GREAT

by pastortimfowler

In Ephesians 5, the Bible tells us that marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. With that in mind, when people look at my marriage, I want them to see something special. The problem I have is my lack of perfection. But there is a solution to that and it is one of the three things that I attribute to having a great marriage.
I can’t tell you that it is easy, but it is worth every bit of the effort. So here are three things that make my marriage great and not necessarily in order.
1. We have great fun together. Even though we don’t like the same things, for instance, I like baseball and she likes movies and we don’t share those likes, we enjoy it when the other person is having fun and are willing to sacrifice for the other’s joy. We do enjoy each others company more than we dislike anything else. Fun is not always about mutual likes, but learning to share mutual joy. We love to laugh together and have found things that we love to do together like riding the motorcycle and scuba diving. But the one thing we love to do together as much as anything is be together and that is fun!
2. We have great trust. Trust is earned and the more you earn the less work it takes. We don’t worry about what is happening while the other is away. We don’t worry about how to figure out what the other is feeling because we share it openly. No one can help me out of emotional struggles more than my wife and vice versa. We fully trust each other with our emotions and our actions. That leads to far less stress and little to no wrongful jealousy. Each time we act in trust our relationship, we gain respect and love. You see, I don’t believe in falling in love, I believe in growing in love. Trust grows love.
3. We have a great Savior. If we were left to use only the love of mankind to make our marriage great we would be continually acting in a self preserving way. This is the cause of failure in most marriages. Sure, you can have a successful marriage without God, but you must love sacrificially. That is God’s love for us through Jesus. It is His attempt to reconcile us to Himself because of our sins that separate us from having a relation that He designed for us to have. That is the principle that I spoke of from Ephesians 5. That our marriage should show that same selfless love so that others can find hope. This is hard to do. I love me, but I must love my wife as much as I love me. I must be willing to sacrifice my well being for hers. When that happens, she can then trust me enough to submit to my leadership out of love and trust that my leadership has her best interest at heart. Although I have a ways to go before I can claim success in this type love, I can say that with every step I take in that direction, our marriage is greater. I am not satisfied with having a great marriage. I want a perfect marriage. But since perfection is only available in Christ, I will continue to strive for greater.
There you have it. 3 things that make my marriage GREAT!.

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