Archive for November, 2012

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

by pastortimfowler

thank you note for every language

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. I have more than I can name to be thankful for, but I always like to mention a few.
I am thankful for my wife. She is the girl of my dreams and the love of my life. Everything I ever wanted in a woman is fulfilled in her, except the fact that she does not fish or like baseball. (I have to keep her humble) Other than that, she is everything I could dream of in a wife.
I am thankful for my kids and grandkids. They are far from perfect, but, I still like them. None of them have become filthy rich yet so I will probably have to work until I am really old. I am still thankful for them.
I am thankful for my church. It is full of really weird people who remind me that God made none of us perfect. Some of them look weird and most of them act weird. They will make it possible for me to continue working as a pastor until I am really old.
I am thankful for the friends that I have. Really.
I am thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ. I do not deserve what He did for me.
I think that is all I want to mention right now. There has been plenty that I did not mention for someone to get their feelings hurt because I did not mention them or what they did.
I want to close out this blog by telling you who I am thanking. Way too many people say that they are thankful, but don’t really think about who they are thankful too. In my case it is God. Not a god, but the one true living God. The one who forgave me, started fixing me, and will always love me. The God that gave me everything I mentioned above and everything I failed to mention. He made the turkeys that we will eat and the families that we will be hanging out with. He gave His Son to die in my place and His Spirit to guide me through this life. Without Him I am nothing but a body waiting to expire. With Him I am anything He wants me to be and even though this life is temporary, He has assured me of a life that will never end. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. That is who I am thanking. Not just during this great holiday, but everyday that He lets me live on this earth.
Thanks God! And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

November 19, 2012

God In The Irritations Of My Life

by pastortimfowler

God is our...

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!

November 13, 2012

Extra Marital Affairs

by pastortimfowler

VANESSA & MICKEY-1068b

It has been all over the news lately about the CIA director resigning because of an extra marital affair. It was said that there were tens of thousands of emails that were sent between him and the woman. This has me worried. Does the director of the CIA not know that emails are not a secure form of communication? That aside, it breaks my heart to hear about this.
A good friend of mine and at the time a mentor, had an affair and it cost him his marriage and church. It really blew me away when I found out about it because he was my pastor. The only reason I am tell you this is because this stuff can happen to anyone if you are not careful. Sexual temptations are the toughest, especially for men, and it seems to be almost as difficult for women. I say that because everyone I know who had an affair did it with someone of the opposite sex. The marriage relationship is precious and delicate. What seems to happen is that it gets to the point of being mundane and callused and this is dangerous.
In a world where people get their feelings hurt for the stupidest of reasons, we have a tendency to take our marriages for granted. Marriage is a continual and demanding work. And, since the wedding vows say that marriage is until death, the work should never stop. Sadly we have made marriage very disposable and are not willing to work as diligently to keep our marriage together as we are to get to the point of getting married.
Most extra marital affairs begin with seemingly harmless conversation. Rarely is there a sexual encounter that starts things off. This usually happens because the conversation at home has become less than engaging. We come home after a full day at work and the conversation consists of; “How was your day?” “Fine”. How was yours?” “Fine”. Meanwhile the person at work that is potentially getting a promotion, laid off, or is working on a project with you, is talking in great detail all day. So rekindle the conversation. Flirt with your spouse. Don’t allow ‘fine’ to be the whole answer. Knowing the stress of your spouse or the joy of the spouse allows for you to keep that emotional bond in tact. It is those emotional bonds that become strained and eventually broke that leads to an affair.
Find a couple that has a strong marriage that has been married a few years longer than you. We all need a mentor and a marriage mentor can help when things are getting tough. Developing a relationship with someone who has a long and successful marriage is a great way have some support and encouragement when things are tough and everyone else is telling you to quit. We have people in our lives that help us at work, at play, and financially, so why not a marriage coach? All those others things seem to fall apart when the marriage does.
Most importantly, make your marriage line up with the biblical guidelines for marriage. Before you start thinking negatively, maybe you should read it. The old complaint of wives obeying husbands is not what you probably think it is. God instituted marriage before He even started the church. It is His precious gift to man. There are promises of health, wisdom, long life to those who have a biblical marriage.
No, this does not make for a flawless marriage, but it makes for a forgiving marriage. And it makes for a marriage that both agree to certain ground rules that are not flexible. We do very few things in life that have such lackadaisical guidelines and yet is so important to everything else we do. But a biblical marriage can be a strong and long-lasting marriage and when followed with integrity can be affair proof.
If your marriage is struggling, get help. If it is not, help others. No, the national security may not be on the line, but your sanity certainly may be. And when your marriage is strong and happy, so many other things tend to line up as well.

November 9, 2012

Veteran’s Day

by pastortimfowler

Veterans Day

This weekend our nation will celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is the best holiday that celebrates a human. As a veteran, I know the sacrifices that our military men and women make in order for us to be free. Not only do they sacrifice, but their families do too. Unless you have been there, you will never fully understand this.
I use to think of veterans as those old guys who use to drink at the VFW. That is not putting anyone down, it is just where I first understood and got to know people who served in the Armed Forces. The VFW is a great organization that does great work. But far too often we forget that veterans are also young men and women who have children and live right next door. Many who served their time and returned to the civilian world don’t talk about their years of service and sacrifice. They did not serve to be honored or recognized, they served because they believe in our country.
I would like to suggest that you do something to say thanks. If you know a veteran, buy him a meal. Take him or her out for a cup of coffee. Shake their hand and just say how much you appreciate their service. It really doesn’t take much to let them know that you appreciate them. They don’t expect it, but they most certainly deserve it. If you happen to see someone who is still serving, no matter what day it is, thank them. I try to buy their drink and lunch if I can. But more than anything, the kind words from a stranger means a lot.
So this Veteran’s Day, be patriotic and let our vets know that you care. Fly a flag in the yard if you have one. Go by the recruiting office and drop off a box of donuts. Stop in the local Guard or Reserve unit and shake some hands. Help a spouse whose alone due to deployment. Take a kid of one who is deployed to the movies. But what ever you do, pray for them and be grateful for their service.
Thank you to all the brave men and women who served and are serving in the US Armed Forces! You are heroes and patriots and I am grateful!

November 7, 2012

We Better Think About It

by pastortimfowler

Thinking RFID

The election is over and the blame game is going strong. I have already heard the Christians screaming about stuff like gay marriage and abortion and how the US is doomed to be judged by God. I will now proceed to make some people mad. We better think about it.
(1)Why did Jesus come to earth? (2)Why did He die on the cross? (3)Why did He establish the church? I am glad you asked. Here are some answers.
(1) 1 Timothy 1:15…This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the foremost sinner.
(2) Colossians 2:13-14 …13 You were once dead because of your failures and your uncircumcised corrupt nature. But God made you alive with Christ when he forgave all our failures.
14 He did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross
.
(3) Matthew 5:13-16… 13 “You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
14 “You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill.
15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house.
16 In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven
. Those three references are not the complete biblical answers, especially to the question of what is the purpose of the church, but it does summarize things fairly well. Now let me add my two cents worth into things.
God wants all to be saved, not just those who haven’t committed “really bad things”. Jesus came to earth to save sinners, and we all fall into that category.

When nailed to the cross, Christ took all sins and the death penalty, and nailed them to the cross. He did this so we could be forgiven if we chose to accept the gift of eternal life.
Those who are forgiven and claim to be followers have been given the task of telling others that they too can receive this gift. It is a command to tell others the good news. It is not our place to decide that one sin is worse than another. It is not our job to elect a better sinner. There is no such thing. But it is our job to act like we know this holy God and let people see our good works, not words. We should shine in what we do, not what we post on Facebook (my blog being the exception). We should be telling people how we were forgiven and how grateful we are for that rather than telling people how evil they are.
One thing I have not heard anyone say this morning is how bad it would have been to elect someone who, according to most evangelicals, follows a false religion. Is that better than abortion? I know that many think that Romney was a good guy, but being good is not what gets you to heaven. Being forgiven does. And no, this is not me putting an endorsement of Obama in my blog. I just think if we are going to be critical of one, we should be critical of all.

Perhaps it is time for Christians to do some serious thinking. The Bible tells us that we (God’s people) need to confess our own sins. It tells us that we need to follow God’s commands, all of them, not just pick and chose which sin we think is best or worst. There will never be a presidential candidate that is perfect, but there will always be a God who is. If we really want to make a difference as believers, perhaps it is time to be more passionate about our faith than we are about elections.

I used to be a drug addict and an alcoholic. I used to be a horrible spouse. I used to be a lot of things, and still have many sins that I struggle to overcome daily. But I have not always been a Christian. I am only a Christian because of what Christ did and my confessing to be a sinner to God and accepting His forgiveness. No president has changed that nor ever will. No election will make the church any more or less responsible for living that forgiven life in front of people. I am responsible for living as a very grateful and obedient follower of Christ. Without actions, my words mean nothing.

The church needs to love people with their actions. We need to show evidence that it is far better to be a forgiven sinner than one who is not. Hateful words rarely win anyone, but love covers a multitude of sin. Christ accepts sinners, all sinners. He allows them to come to Him just as they are and forgives completely. He patiently waits for us to change as His grace keeps us in good standing. Grace is amazing, judgement is not. Think about it.

November 6, 2012

Write In Votes

by pastortimfowler

 

Vote

I did my civic duty of voting today. It was not thrilling or even mildly exciting, but it was important. I knew years ago who I was voting for today for the national races. The local stuff is always the ones that I have to wait until the last-minute to decide who or what to vote for. Most of the time I will just vote along the party lines, but every now and then I want to shake things up. This year I voted for the “write in” on three different races.
In SC, the national race always goes for the Republicans. My vote means very little there. But I think the real way to make a difference is on the local positions. Often one or two votes decides who will fill some of these positions. Because many of these people are locals, you can actually vote for someone who you know and not just from a campaign ad or what the media says about someone. But in three of these I did not know the person, and there was only one person in these, so I used the “write in”
I did not know the person on the ticket for one of the county council seats. I had not seen a sign nor an ad, so in this one I wrote in my youth pastor. I think that he would do a fine job. If you ask him, he would tell you that he does not have a clue about what this position does, so I figure that he is perfect for the job and will fit in nicely with the others who don’t have a clue.
I did not know the person running for the water and sewage person. I am not sure why this is an elected position and I don’t remember the actual title of the position, so I wrote in my youth pastor’s wife. She would be the first to tell you that she has to put up with a bunch of crap, so I think that she will do a fine job. Between the two of them, I am confident that my little portion of our country will rapidly start improving.
The last position that I used the “write in” for was a school board position. Again I saw no sign nor ad for the only person on the ballot so I wrote in my wife. As I have said before, she loves kids and can’t seem to get enough of them around her. She thinks that she knows everything, and she will be the first to tell you that, so a position in the education part of politics is perfect for her. I know that once these guys read this and especially if any of them get elected, that they will thank me later.
Yes, the American political system is working well in my precinct. I can’t wait to see the results of this year’s voting. I hope that my wife and my friends serve us well and if they don’t, I can’t wait until next election to vote the bums out of office!

November 2, 2012

What’s Up?

by pastortimfowler

I am sure that many of you are wondering what’s up? I have posted very few blogs in the last 2 weeks. For those who don’t know, we had a fire at the church. Of course you should know this because I wrote about it. Things are hectic and on top of that, “normal” church business goes on and I have had a close friend in the hospital ICU this week. So, with no office to work out of and my house full of kids who would normally be in the nursery at church, it has been difficult to blog. And now for the pity part of it, I am sitting in the park in 40 degree temps, writing a blog. Okay, it is actually not that cold and I love this beautiful fall weather, but show the pity anyway.
We will have church Sunday. The clean up of our worship area will be complete today. The other side, where classrooms and offices are, will be at least another couple of weeks before they can be used.
I have also found out how important it is to leave things where you last put them. Many have been calling me asking where things are that have been moved by the guys who are cleaning. I have not been there to watch the whole thing, nor could I have been if I wanted too. When I ask he crew where things are they just point to another person who does the same. In their defense, there have been as many as twenty people working in the same area this week and many things were sent out for cleaning. My feeling is that most everything we will need or are looking for has been sent out. The good news is that for the next few weeks we can blame everything that goes wrong on Sunday on the fire.
I would normally be rather stressed about these things, but I have been given a great peace about it all. It is like God is saying, “Chill…I got this.” So who am I to argue with God? Of course Sunday morning when what I need comes up under the category of unfound and missing, then I will start stressing. But something just keeps telling me that it is going to be a great Sunday. On top of Sunday being expected to be awesome, I am excited about Monday. My brother from the Philippines is coming into town and we are going to send him off to his family with a night of worship.
I love it when Satan thinks he can knock you down only to knock you back into the arms of God. I love it when everything that goes wrong turns around to be alright and what many would see as a curse turns out to be a blessing. I love it when the fire of this world smokes up everything and you find out that at the same time the fire from God was purifying and strengthening His people. I love it when someone who has every right to complain and be bitter, gives you the biggest smile and hug and tells you how awesome God is. I love it when friends that you thought may have forgotten you, turn out to be the first to call and the most help to those in need.
Like I said before, the enemy can only stir the battle, but Jesus Christ has given the victory! The enemy can burn a building, but my God is a consuming fire! His fire consumes sin, cleanses His people, and destroys the enemy.
Thanks to all who have been praying. Thanks to all who have been understanding and patient. And to all who are looking for stuff, it will be found or replaced. But as far as this Sunday goes, don’t let anything bother you. God has some blessings waiting for you.