Archive for May, 2011

May 27, 2011

cheese on that thing with a hole

by pastortimfowler

I “woke up” this morning after successfully winning the couch back from the dogs. I lost the battle for either of the beds to the red-head twins, Twitch, and my favorite wife. We were spared the worst of the storms that passed by last night and into the wee hours of the morning, but the heavier rains made it hard for my Direct TV to pick up a signal and I ended up watching something recorded that I had seen at least 10 times. Around 2am my stomach started telling me it was lonely and wanted me to send it one of its best friends, ice cream, but I refused. I will make up to my stomach today with a peach shake from one of my favorite fast food places.
My wife, who is my favorite wife, volunteered to keep every grandkid this side of the Mississippi for the weekend, and Twitch if the oldest at 6 years old and needed to go to school this morning. Because I am such a nice guy and my wife was busy with the other herd of grandkids, I took Twitch to school.
Twitch got ready for school, or should I say he got dressed. I don’t think playing with his cousin and the dog had anything to do with not eating breakfast before we had to leave. So being the coolest Papa on the planet, I suggested that we drive through the McBreakfast place on the way. Mimi told me exactly what to do when I got there. I am so glad that she gives me such instructions. I would be lost trying to figure out where to go and what to do without her. I never get lost when she is around because she constantly tells me where to go.
Before I pull up to the menu board and order I asked Twitch what he wanted to be sure that it matched what I was told before leaving the house. I was told to get hash browns and that was all he would eat. Twitch, who is never contradictory to anything normal, told me that he wanted a crescent with cheese. I told him that McBreakfast did not serve crescents and suggested hash browns. He said no, let me think about it.
The drive through at McBreakfast is a very busy place. I was 5th in line number 2 when this started. Now I am 2nd in line number 2 and Twitch wants to think about it. I am pretty sure that his mother, father, other grandparents, any number of aunts and uncles have taken him to this place before for breakfast. I am certain that I have been here with him before and he always knows what he wants. So I ask again. Now he wants a cheeseburger and I have to explain that they don’t sell cheeseburgers for McBreakfast.
So I pull up to the speaker and told him to make up his mind while I ordered my McBreakfast. FYI, I ate breakfast before I left the house because I had been up all night and was hungry at 2am, but waited until 6am to eat. But I needed to kill time while he thought about what he wanted and this is the only way I could think of on the spur of the moment.
So I ordered and asked again, “what do you want?”. He said, “cheese on that thing with a hole in it”. I am not stupid, but I am not sure that I get it. Why does this kid who eats the same thing every time I am with him now want something different and can’t even name it? I also know that God loves me and knows when I am operating on limited rest and nerves, but I think sometimes God just wants a good laugh and He uses me for this purpose.
I look in my rear view mirror and there are cars lined up in both lanes as far as the eye can see. So I asked, “What?” He said, cheese on a thing with a hole in it. As I was about to order the hash browns like Mimi told me to order for him, the lady in the McSpeaker asks me, “Does he want a cheese bagel?” I look at Twitch and he is shaking his head yes. I look in the mirror and my head is just shaking, but I told her yes. She asked if that will complete my order and I thanked her and pulled around to get our food.
On the way to school, we ate our McBreakfast and he told me that he did not want his hash browns because he was full from eating all of his cheese on that thing with a hole in it.

May 26, 2011

And The Winner Is…

by pastortimfowler

In case you did not know, last night was the finale for American Idol. In case you didn’t know, I am glad its over. In case you didn’t know, Scotty won. In case you didn’t know, it was the longest 2 hours of my life and I had it DVR’d so that we could fast forward through the 1 hour and 55 minutes of crap before they announced the winner.

I think that I am officially old because I did not get 90% of the music that was played and I certainly didn’t get why they chose the artists that they did to do the finale. It was like they had a bunch of names in a bowl and the bowl spilled and they just grabbed a handful and said “these will have to do”. And if I never see Lady Gaga again, I will take it as a sign that God really does like me.
I thought AI was supposed to be a family show. I am sure that there were millions of kids under the age of 15 watching it. After all, the 2 finalists were teenagers. But if I had kids at home, I would have not let them watch the show. As much as I like Steven Tyler, it is hard to understand why the network made such a big deal about his profanity early in the season, then did a tribute to it on the finale. J-lo is beautiful, but I wouldn’t want my daughter shaking like that for any reason. Randy was in it to win it though. Almost every artist had a sexual overtone to their performance and did I mention that if I never see Lady Gaga again, I would feel blessed?
I felt bad for the girl who was the runner-up. Here is a 16-year-old who had to sing a song with her idol, Carrie Underwood, and had to sing a song that there is not way that she could relate too. I mean, Carrie has had many other hits that a 16-year-old could sing without any problem at all? I like the song and I am not a prude, but the girl could not know about the meaning of that song. And why not let her sing, Jesus Take the Wheel?
I did like the humor that was thrown in from the other contestants who had been voted off. With a few exceptions, I think that this group really did form some friendships.
My honest side of me has to say that I did not think that Scotty would win. From the beginning I said that he did not have the “wow” factor with his vocals that the others had. I really thought the girl would win. I do know this; that many who did not win AI have gone on to do really well and I think that we will hear from her in the future. But Scotty pulled it out.
I believe he did it because he was genuine. Every time you saw him he was the same person and something about him made you think that he was already a star. I heard him mention a few times throughout the season about how he was a person of faith in God. He did not flaunt it and did not make it seem like he was better than anyone else. I think he was a great example of a Christian in the spotlight. The best part about the whole show last night was when a 17-year-old young man said, “first, I need to thank the Lord, who made this possible”. Under all the pressure and excitement of the moment, he was who he had always been, a believer in Jesus Christ.
And the winner is…

May 25, 2011

No Particular Reason

by pastortimfowler

While waiting for the mail to run, I saw that it was not going to happen. The mail has no legs, and therefore it will not run. But I did see a fly walking and thought to myself that it would be really cool if it never flew again. But it didn’t happen. I needed to call a friend today and when I went to dial the number, I realized that touch phones don’t let that happen. Dials on phones are a thing of the past. Someone complained that it was too hot in the office and asked me to turn up the AC and then got upset that it got hotter because I turned it up to 80 when it was on 75.
Jesus said that you must be born again and it freaked people out because that didn’t make sense. God said be holy because He is holy and that is impossible, all we can do is try. Paul said that when we are weak, God is strong and that we all do things that we know we shouldn’t and don’t do things that we know we should. Jesus said the greatest among us will be the servants and last time I checked, most people want someone else to do it. He told us that the rich would have a hard time getting into heaven and we still want to win the lottery. We hate giving what God tells us to give but we have no problem giving more than a car is worth the day we get it financed. Many hold grudges against people for a long time and expect God to forgive them right away.
Just a few random thoughts for no particular reason.

Tags: , , ,
May 24, 2011

I Complain Too Much

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday my phone rang and the person on the other end asked how I was doing and I responded I am hot and I sure wish it were cooler. Just a few days ago I was complaining because it was so cool and for mid to late May I was ready for warmer weather. Today I was moving some lumber for a family member and was murmuring about how hot it was and that this was going to be a long summer. Earlier in the year we had a shot of winter that gave us snow and blustery winds and I complained about how cold it was and then as the weather mellowed and we did not get anymore snow, I complained because we didn’t get more snow than we had and said that if it was going to be warm it might as well go ahead and get hot for the summer.
I love being in the south. We get just enough of each season to say we have four seasons and I love the changes and love certain aspects of each season, but I always find something to complain about when it comes to the weather. There is something in all of us, I think, that gets us complaining when it comes to the weather. As much as we like the good, it doesn’t take much to make us turn negative.
It is a beautiful day today. It is hot, but I really do like it hot. It means I can ride my motorcycle, I can go fishing, I can sit under the shade of a tree and sip something cold to drink while I read or blog. I am not sure why I complained earlier about the weather. I really want to look into why I complain too much.

May 23, 2011

Who Are You?

by pastortimfowler

Years ago I went to a convention in Atlanta and was convinced that I needed to be a better husband and that God was going to allow that to happen. I made a decision to go home and begin to try to love my wife like Christ loves the church. The change in my heart was real but the change in my flesh was slow to follow. But no matter the division within my being, I went home to be a better husband. Something must have happened, because my wife asked me after a couple of days, who are you and what have you done with my husband?
After a couple more days the intensity wore off. What I learned in theory became harder and harder to do in reality. I realized that Christ was a lot better at loving people than I was and that my love for my wife was constantly being challenged by my love for self. I also realized that this was a fight worth fighting because although not perfect, my wife was worth all the love I could give her.
I think this scenario happens in church too. We hear a compelling sermon and are challenged to take on the task at hand but time and self get in the way. Sometimes we are compelled for other reasons. Maybe we see someone at church doing a lot or looking important, and they very well may be. That can motivate us to step up our efforts to serve or be involved. But unless it is really God that inspires the change, it can often end in failure and if it isn’t God inspiring, failure may be a good thing.
We need to be careful though, when we start labeling failures. Many so-called failures are nothing more than a re-firing of God’s refining process. Impurities often take several cycles to come out, no matter what is being purified. This can be a most valuable learning period and lessons learned here are life changing, for real. If change was easy and every process was painless, we would think that all God does is wave a magic wand and problems go away. We would begin to think of Him as some sort of wizard instead of the loving Father that He is.
God knows who we are. He made us this way. Even all the so-called imperfections are part of who God made us to be. We come to Him as little children, sometimes in grown up bodies, but never the less, children in our faith. He takes us as we are, who we are, and molds us into who we need to be. If we will let Him, He will make us better husbands, wives, and anything else we need to be, for His glory. But it does take time and patience. Isn’t it funny that the first thing that 1 Corinthians 13 says about love in its definition of love is that love is patient.
God is patient. He knows our heart. He knows if we are reacting to an emotion or reacting to His call. He knows if we need to be still and be ministered too or if we need to get off our butts and minister to others. The key is to let God move our hearts and that always results in better outcome.
I think my wife will say that I am a better husband than the day I came back from that conference. I still don’t love her as much as Christ loves the church, but I am working on it. The point is that we know who we are, and God knows who we are, and sometimes He wants us to be who we are instead of what others think we should be. So if our desire is to be better in the things that God has called us to do, be patient, He will get you there. But shine in what you do for Him and be who you are for Him and that will usually result in others asking, who are you? Then your answer can be, I am His and I am loved, who are you?

May 20, 2011

They Get It

by pastortimfowler

I will be brief with this blog today, although I should or could go on for quite a while. Over the last few weeks, our church has had many challenges that could have caused heartache in many ways. There have been needs from individuals and needs for the building and spiritual needs as well. All of which have been met and or exceeded.
When stuff like this happens, I have to hold back the pride that swells up in me. I know many pastors who would love to have half of the response to these situations that we went through. They are not unique to us but certainly do hit home for any church that experiences struggles of different sorts.
I consider myself to be extremely blessed as a pastor. Teaching what the Bible expects Christians to be can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be frustrating. Human nature wants us to be selfish. We have the desire to look out for ourselves first and think of the needs of others if we have anything left. But not the folks of The Body. They have taken the idea that God gives and so we should too and ran with it. They have stepped up and stepped out in faith to do things that might have been considered to difficult to accomplish if nothing else, for now.
Jesus said the greatest on earth will be the servants. He set the bar high and led by example. Many in our church who have stepped up and met these needs have only been Christians for a short time, yet they have achieved a level of greatness that many take years, if ever to get. They serve in ways the make me humble as a fellow servant and proud as a pastor that will one day give an account for them. I know that we are far from perfect, but I do believe that we are great in the way Jesus meant.
Sure, we have a long way to go and I will be foolish to think that something else won’t come up. It would be crazy to think that someone somehow will get prideful and selfish, and I am sure that we will drop the ball from time to time. But we will learn and grow and continue to serve Jesus and we serve others.
Thanks to the great people at The Body. They get it!

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!

May 18, 2011

children’s stories

by pastortimfowler

Today I was reading the Bible story of David and Goliath. I remember my MeMa reading it to me as a little kid. She was a great story-teller because she would use different voices for each character. I use to sit and picture myself as David, walking toward the giant and picture my brother as the giant, and hurling the rock into his head. Of course after I did that I would run away, because mom and dad threatened to whip me if I ever through rocks at my brother again. But that is not the point of this.
Everyone was scared of the giant. Goliath was about 9 feet tall and according to the story, a great warrior. I use to go to wrestling as a kid and I remember Andre the Giant who was 7’4″ and about 350 lbs. and that was huge, but this guy was even bigger. And although wrestling was real back then, not like today, Goliath was not a wrestler, he was a killer. The whole Israeli army was afraid of this one guy. Israel had a pretty good army of trained men who had fought many battles, but they were all scared of this one guy.
So David, who was taking his brothers some food, heard what was happening, and got upset that the Israeli army was scared. David asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” I love that line. It would make a great line in a movie. David told every that he would go kill the giant and they all said that he was crazy. One said that he needed to go home because he was just a boy. David was probably a teen age boy, but as a shepherd, he had seen his share of danger.
David told the guys, “look, I protect my sheep from lions and bears and wolves and have killed them, I will kill this giant. David spoke as if he were cocky, but he was not. He was confident, not in his self, but in God. He told the army, “God will deliver this giant to me and the then everyone will see how awesome our God is.
So David takes a few rocks, his sling, and God with him to meet the giant. The giant laughed at him because he was young, had no armor, and no real weapon that he could see. Goliath, of course could not see David’s protector, God and David proceeded to kill the giant and in effect, defeat the whole Philistine army.
Fast forward to today. Other than Andre, we have very few physical giants to fight. But we have a bunch of spiritual ones. And the people of God are acting much like His army did back then. Looking at the enemy and not looking at God.
One thing that I have learned through years of ministry is that when I forget who God is, everything else looks worse. Problems look insurmountable, those who want to defeat me look bigger than life, and even life itself seems to fight like a giant who would have my head. So with God nowhere around, we turn to friends who aren’t looking to God and they see the giants in our life and tell us about the giants in their lives and together we are worthless for anything but fear.
But the Bible say that God’s people have not been given the spirit of fear, and so we need to turn our focus to God. Fear is the enemy’s way of getting us out of the battle. Fear causes us to surrender and never even try to fight. Fear usually comes with a reputation that is bigger than the even the problem.
But I serve a God that not only has a bigger reputation for defeating all enemies, but HE IS BIGGER than all enemies. We have been told that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We have been told the even the enemy of death has been defeated. we still have a few battles to wage, but the giant is dead.
It is time for God’s people to live victoriously. It is time to look our problems over and ask, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” I serve the God of life and hope and power and strength. Let’s defeat our enemies so that the whole world knows who our God is.
Maybe its time to remember some old children’s stories.

May 17, 2011

Jesus a liar?

by pastortimfowler

One of the oldest arguments in the Christian world is whether or not one can lose their salvation. I think that is the best argument in the universe for Satan to have Christ’s people arguing about. After all, we call Satan a liar, so in this argument, someone is calling Christ a liar. No, I don’t mean that you are saying, ‘Jesus is a liar’, but someone is believing and following a lie if God’s people disagree on this important doctrine. These are the words of Jesus out of John’s Gospel:
John 10:28-30
28 and I give them eternal life. They will never be lost, and no one will tear them away from me.
29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than everyone else, and no one can tear them away from my Father.
30 The Father and I are one.”
In John 3:16 we are told that whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life.
In these verses there are words that make Jesus a liar if we can lose our salvation. Here are Webster’s definitions for these important words’
Eternal- 1. without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing ( opposed to temporal ): eternal life. 2. perpetual; ceaseless; endless
Never- 1. not ever; at no time 2. not at all; absolutely not
Everlasting- 1. Lasting forever; eternal

Now I am not sure if Jesus was confused when He said these things, but they seem to be leaning toward not being able to lose your salvation. It is hard to imagine that Jesus really meant you could lose it and I will unsave you if you do something bad enough. After all, there is nothing we can do prior to salvation that is bad enough for Him to say, “No, I don’t think I will save you. You have been too bad.” But somehow, now that we are saved, there will be something that is bad enough for Jesus to lose someone from His own hands; you know, the ones that were nailed to the cross for us.
What kind of cruel God would allow His Son to die for the sins of the world but that death not be good enough to keep you saved once you are saved? That would mean that our sins we commit after salvation are worse than the sin that Jesus died for before our salvation. That would mean that we can’t work to earn salvation but we have to work to keep it. And that would make not only Jesus a liar, but the Apostle Paul a liar too when he wrote this:
Ephesians 2:4-9
4 But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us.
5 We were dead because of our failures, but he made us alive together with Christ. It is God’s kindness that saved you.
6 God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with him.
7 He did this through Christ Jesus out of his generosity to us in order to show his extremely rich kindness in the world to come.
8 God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.
9 It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it.
My strongest argument of eternal salvation comes from Jesus words in John 3:3, when He said that no one can enter into heaven unless they are born again. And then this verse, Galatians 4:6, Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, “Abba! Father!” .
If we are truly children of God, then we can NEVER not be children of God. We can be rebellious children and we can even be children who say that we don’t even know who our Father is, but that can’t change the fact of who our Father is. He is the one who saves us from our sin. Even the stupid sin of a rebellious child who decides that he/she does not like the rules of the Father and chooses to run away and change their identity. Because of the blood, especially the blood of Jesus, we can’t change who our Father is. We can deny Him, but that does not stop Him from being who He is; Our Heavenly Father.
Deep in our heart, we know if we were truly born again. That is the real question. If it was real, we can’t lose it. JESUS said so. Salvation is HIS and WE are HIS. But if we are playing a game of “get me out of the mess I’m in” and not truly seeking forgiveness, then you are not a child of God and Jesus is not the liar, you are.
So, are you a child of God? Do you have eternal life? If so, you can never lose it, it is not yours to keep. You are His to keep and He is perfect, the perfect keeper of His people, His children.
Jesus is not a liar.

May 16, 2011

Free will

by pastortimfowler

The following is a statement sent to me by a church friend who reads all kinds of weird stuff and then asks me to blog about it. THESE ARE NOT MY WORDS:
If God knows everything, then he knows what we will do in the future, including what sins we will commit. If he knows what sins we will commit, then we are a part of a “universal plan”, which means we have no free will. If we have no free will, and are forced by this universal plan to commit these sins, then how can God judge us for them and send us to Hell for them? So either God is not omniscient, or he’s a gigantic *jerk*.
I do wish people would at least consider the possibility that God may judge them one day before they become so bold as to call God a gigantic jerk, but my prayer is that they meet my gigantic Savior before they meet a gigantic Judge.
Free will is not that difficult to understand. It all boils down to love. God wants us to learn to love Him, not be forced into His big cosmic plan to send some to Hell. FYI, God does not send people to Hell, people reject God’s perfect plan to forgive us and that sends people to Hell.
God knows all, omniscient, is the word that is used. Ephesians 1:4 – Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Before we were ever created God knew that giving us free will would mean that we would chose to sin and cause separation from Him, so He made a way so that all who sinned would have a path to freely chose to love Him and accept His salvation. God knew that this guy would say something so stupid and arrogant before he was even born but loved him enough to still give him free will and a way of salvation if he asks.
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul had been appointed king and had disobeyed God, so it says in verse 11 that God regretted making Saul King. Not because God made a mistake, but because Saul’s mistake meant that Saul did not love God and rejected God’s love as an act of free will and that is what God regretted. Saul never had remorse over his sin. Saul was only concerned that he had God on his side in order to be a more powerful king, not a more loving child of God.
A jerk is someone who only thinks of their self. Someone who thinks that they are better than anyone else and has no regard for another person’s feelings. God knew, because He is omniscient, that free will would mean that we would sin. He knew that sin would mean separation from His creation, which He loves. He knew that we would sin by choice and by accident and that we would never be able to atone for it. So because He loves us, He gave his Son to be our sacrifice, payment for the sin we commit. He allowed His sinless Son to die in our sinful place because He knows we can’t help ourselves but to sin. He also knows that He put something inside of all of us that craves love. God is not a jerk. Unfortunately some choose to try to love themselves into being god, rather than loving the one true God who knows the way to forgive sin, through love.
The only way to truly know God’s love is to have free will.

Tags: , , ,