Archive for ‘Prayer’

July 27, 2012

So Long My Friend

by pastortimfowler

I asked you guys to pray for my friends the other day and I am grateful to all who did. I have to give you an update, and at first it seems sad. James died of complications of his illness last night. Because of this, I ask you to continue to praying for his wife and kids. As much as this sucks for them right now, I know that time and God’s grace will allow for things to get better.

James was a Christian. That means now he is better. No more sickness or pain, for him. That sounds great and is true according to what the Bible teaches and in that case I am jealous. But on the other hand, family and friends are left to deal with the sorrow and heart-break of his death. Nothing but time will help that and it is easy to begin to doubt God. That is okay though; God can handle that. He knows what it is like to have someone close die.

God knows that death is an enemy and we are told that the last enemy to be defeated is death. It is a momentary hiccup in the fabric of time that separates what we know and what God knows. Eternity is that close, and wow, in times like this, it is closer than I ever thought. But we are not left to guess what happens after someone dies. For those who believe in this stuff, God says if you have asked Jesus to take your sin penalty for you, you go to heaven. James made that decision several years ago and handed death over to God and accepted the gift of life.

James and I were really getting to know each other in the last year. I thought I knew him, but didn’t. He was really an intense guy who had a wacky past like me. He was funny, while at the same time kept it real. I found out that his faith was stronger than I thought and that was so refreshing.

While we didn’t have enough time with James for my satisfaction, God has promised us an eternity when this life is over. Now, his faith is no longer about what he believes. He has seen it for himself that God is real. He understands what we don’t; the answer to the question, why? He is laughing at our doubts and if I know James, laughing at me and some of the ways I struggled giving answers to things in the Bible that make no sense to us, but now make perfect sense to him. He has seen the beginning of life and knows that there is now no end. He is probably not worried about whether the chairs in the worship center are lined up straight or not. He knows the words to songs that Wanda tries to get us to sing louder and knows the words to songs that only those in heaven can sing. He even knows why that stupid video system doesn’t always work that drives me and Sheila crazy. Somehow I don’t think we will let it bother us as much anymore. (Hey James. Could you at least ask God to let it all work together just once for us?)

There is still a need for prayer. There is still a need for time and for sure, a need for God’s grace. I thank you all for your part. I thank God for the grace and for the time we had with James. I will straighten the chairs this week James, I am sure you have more important things to do.
So long my friend.

Advertisements
July 24, 2012

Pray For My Friends

by pastortimfowler

LTD_Clinical_Equip_0009 IV, Stand, flouid bag

God brings people in and out of our lives all of the time. Rarely do we have those super special people who stay around a long time. God has been very very good to me and has not only brought me a wife that has stuck around, but has brought me several friends too. A couple of these friends, needs your prayers. I am only doing this because it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission and she would probably tell me no if I asked her if I could post this.
Sheila and I met at church in a very strange way. Her and her family lived just a couple of doors down from the church I worked at and she was using us as an occasional baby sitters for her children. Her and her significant other were not church people and did not plan on becoming church people. If the truth be known, they still aren’t church people; they are amazing people who know Jesus and have blessed our church by making it theirs now. I will condense this part quite a bit, but it is an amazing testimony. After a few weeks, she started coming, then James, and the next thing you know we are baptizing them and performing a middle of the week wedding. Over the next 8 years, they have become friends to the point of being family.
Here is the prayer need. James in the hospital ICU with a weird lung problem and the doctors are not optimistic about his recovery being quick nor full. I personally believe that God has other plans. Sheila has to work and many of our church folks are helping where we can. She is hard-headed and stubborn, but we are working around that. But I am asking you to pray for her specifically because the love of her life is very sick and she is hurting from it. She has amazing patience and stamina for persevering through tough times, but this is different as you can see. Pray for her to be strengthened and for patience and for God’s grace to be overflowing in her life at this time. She is by far one of the best people God has ever sent to our church and to me as a friend.
Pray for her two boys, both teenagers. That in it self is a need for prayer when everything is going just fine. But now they are faced with uncertainty and I am sure their faith is being tested. Pray that they will find extra patience with mom and that they will see just how awesome God is, even in the hard times, which is when we all need it most.
Pray for James. That his recovery will be faster than the doctors can ever explain and that the recovery is full. He recently quit driving a truck and has been home for the last few months and because of that has been in church regularly ever since. He has grown in his relationship with God and was really getting to find his place with friends and in serving at the church. It goes without saying that he loves his family and loves the Lord. But when something like this happens, even the strongest faith can be challenged.
Yep, every so often we get blessed with someone special in our lives and when they are hurting, you hurt. So I am asking everyone who reads this to take a minute to pray for my good friends. I will keep you updated as we hear the good news start to happen. Thanks for taking this time to read about this special need and thanks most of all for taking time to pray.

March 22, 2012

Cuba

by pastortimfowler

Cuba, La Havane

Yesterday I found out for sure that I was going to Cuba in June for a week-long mission trip. I am amped up! 7 years ago I went and was blown away by the experience and have wanted to go back but never was able to make it happen. Then a few weeks ago a friend of mine told me that he was going and invited me to tag along. So I filled out the application and sent in my deposit and yesterday I spoke to the guy heading it up as he told me I was going to be part of the group.
Cuba is a fascinating place. Many think that the old cars you see in pictures are collections of classic cars, but they are not. They are the last cars from America that were ever sold in Cuba and to many, the last cars they were able to buy. Cuba is a very poor country, but so beautiful. The people are amazingly friendly and warm and their hospitality is unforgettable. Even the government officials that I met there were friendly and although extremely professional, they were not rude, but rather very likable.
We will be helping to build a seminary while we are there and helping to encourage the church leaders. My feeling is that we are probably going to be the ones who are encouraged. When I came back from my last trip I was filled with joy and re-energized to do ministry here.
So I am asking for people to pray for us as we prepare for this trip. Pray for our safe travels, a smooth passage through customs on both sides, and for lives to be changed because of the unique opportunity to meet fellow believers in a country that many Americans don’t get to travel to. I am also going to be asking for donations to help cover the costs. If you were to feel led to donate you can give through our church website, http://www.thebodylive.com/onlinegiving.html and just be sure to note that it is for the Cuba trip. That way your gift will be tax-deductible.
I told you that God keeps blowing my mind with the things He is doing in my life. It is hard to express the joy that I feel. I am even blown away by the fact that He lets me blog and people really read it.
Thanks!

February 3, 2012

Update: Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I talked with my friend’s wife in the Philippines this morning and here is what we know. He has an infection that is causing a high fever that is causing his liver to not function properly. These are all complications due to his diabetes, hepatitis, and lack of funds to have all of his medicines that he should take on a regular basis. The good news is that they think they have caught it quick enough that there will not be any permanent damage to his liver. They are waiting on a few more test results before they make any final determinations. If things go well, he should be released tomorrow.
I told his wife that many people are praying for him and she extends her thanks. I told her that I believed that God would provide for the financial needs that they have and she simply said, “I know that”. They are wonderful people of great faith.
Here is what I hope will happen. Someone out there in the blog world will feel compelled to pay for his medicine. Our church is raising money for another ministry related need that they have, and can always tell them to use the money for medicine, but I know him, he will want to buy the ministry needs first. Before you think that he has his priorities mixed up let me say that he does not. He knows that this body is meant for death and that the soul is meant for eternity. He has a great burden for his people to know salvation through Jesus Christ and believes that it is a higher calling than his physical needs. I of course have told him that if he lets his health go then he will not be able to minister and therefore he needs to take care of himself. It is hard to argue with him.
But I believe that both can be accomplished. I don’t know the amount needed to get the medicines that he needs. I can find out once he is out of the hospital and will if someone wants to know. But here is what I believe will happen through this. Someone reading this blog, who knows God and knows His voice will get the nudge from God to give and it will be the right amount without even being told. Those of faith know what I am talking about. It is a divine intervention that is hard to explain.
If you are new to my blogs I can only assure you that I do not make this sort of thing a habit. I have never asked for people to give before and unless I feel like it is of God, I won’t in the future. This time, I do feel like God wants me to ask, so I do.
Again, you can reach me through Facebook message, email, or our church website if you feel led to help. I will give the contact information to you or you can give through our church and we will ensure that the funds are sent to him. DON’T give unless you feel it is something that God wants you to do or if you are not a religious person, you may feel personally that this is something that you would like to do. Either way I thank you. I ask that you continue to pray for his health and his ministry.
God bless.
Our church website is; http://www.thebodylive.com
My email is: emanrev@msn.com

February 2, 2012

Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I have a friend who lives in the Philippines and he is someone who starts churches and helps pastor of the churches that he starts. I talk to him regularly on Facebook and occasionally on the phone. We first met about nine years ago when he visited my church while here in the states raising funds for his work. For whatever reason God bonded us in friendship and we have stayed in touch and I feel much closer to him than the distance of being half way around the world from him should allow.
The Philippines is for the most part a poor country, and especially where he is. Many people there do not have running water or sewage. He told me the other day about a 3-year-old who died from complications caused by drinking from the river because they do not have the ability to drill deep wells for safe drinking water. His church had to get the body from the morgue for the family who could not afford it. This family of 6 live in a 3 meter by 3 meter room.
Although my friend is younger than I am, he is not in the best of health. He is a diabetic and has hepatitis. On top of that, he has bad allergies that cause frequent sinus infections. Every time I talk to him I tell him that he needs to take care of his health and he tells me that he stays busy so that he doesn’t have to think about it. The availability of medicines is not the greatest and the doctors and hospitals are nothing like what we have here in the states, so even if money were not an issue, the quality of care can be questionable at best.
This morning I got a Facebook message from his wife telling me that he is in the hospital. I have not heard what is wrong or how serious it is. There is a 13 hour time difference that makes talking a challenge, so I am waiting for a reply. I am asking those who believe in God to pray for him. He is an amazing person who cares for his people with great compassion and with very little concern for his own well-being. His wife and kids are amazing people too and they have supported him and his ministry with uncompromising dedication.
I also ask you to pray for that nation. There is a wide variety of beliefs in that country and many are in direct conflict with Christianity. Some even resort to violence against those who don’t believe as they do. There is little help from the government in the form of protection for those who are trying to start the churches. Being a nation of islands, many of the smaller or more remote ones are often ran by those who have little regard for the law. The church in the Philippines is not the powerful force of money and resources as we see in the states. It is much more like the church of the early New Testament, a group of believers who join together to help those in need. Its kind of refreshing when you think about it like that.
There is a need in my friend’s church and ministry for financial help if you were to feel led to do so. I normally would never mention something like this, but I have personal knowledge of the legitimacy of the need. If you are interested in helping out that way, you can contact me via email or message me on Facebook. My email is emanrev@msn.com. I will give you a direct contact source or you can give through our church. But most of all I ask for your prayers for my friend’s health, his ministry, and his country.
Thanks for the prayers and I will update this as soon as I hear about why he is in the hospital or that he is out and all is okay.

January 5, 2012

Fleece

by pastortimfowler

In the Bible there is a story of a man named Gideon who was told by God to do something that he did not think was possible unless it truly was of God and Gideon wanted to be sure of it. So in order to be sure that he had heard from God correctly, he asked God to do something that only him and God knew and something that only God could accomplish as asked. He took a piece of wool, or a fleece, and set it out in the open field and told God that the next morning he wanted to see dew everywhere except on the fleece and then the next night, after God did this, he asked God to do just the opposite. God did what He was asked to do and Gideon knew that God was in fact the one who prompted him to do this God sized task. You can read the account in the book of Judges chapter 6 if you want to get the whole story.
I have asked God for something like this fleece deal in trying to make a couple of tough decisions. I feel weird even saying it, but I can’t wait to see it happen. As I wrote yesterday, there have been some things that challenged me as I have been reading the Bible and a book that a friend gave me. The timing of these two things and my feelings as well as some conversations that I have had with my wife over the last several months have caused me to be quite agitated. Not in a bad way, but in a way that I believe that God is wanting me to do some things that are out of my comfort zone in a major way.
I do not recommend the fleece method of clarifying what God is asking you to do. Gideon was not a weak man of faith, but rather his task that God gave him to do was beyond Gideon’s authority and comfort level to do on his own and he wanted no doubt that it was God telling him what to do. I believe that most of what we need to do for God is written plainly in the Bible and we are not doing them, so why would God ask us to go beyond expectations and why would we need to clarify what is plainly written for us.
No, I am not the perfect person at following everything that God says. I wish I was, but I am not. I do try to live a life of example to the best of my ability. But when it comes to everyday life, God is very clear on how we should live and what we should do. There is not much to fleece God about. And if we ask Him to show us a sign for something so very obvious, I doubt that He will waste His time showing us His miracles when we are not showing Him our faith.
Part of this experience of mine is a gut check of what I should be doing daily. Reading and studying the Bible, prayer for others, sharing my faith, and so on, are being checked and rechecked to be sure that I am not missing the obvious. In fact I would suggest this to every Christian to do on a regular basis. I get this feeling that one of the reasons that the church of today is not seeing the miracle-working power of God as we read about in the Bible is because we have boxed up God into our own little package of religion. If the church were to begin following the commands of Jesus in all that we do, I believe that some things that we consider miraculous today would become routine then.
No, I am not getting ready to play “super Christian” and start freaking everybody out, but I am taking an inventory of what I do and whether or not it is in line with what I preach and read from the Bible. It is not a New Year’s resolution, it just has the timing to be suspiciously like one. But I am tired of hearing that God did this or God did that and everything that happened could have happened even if God did not exist. I want people to see the God of the Bible in the heart of His servant and in the midst of His church. We don’t need a fleece for this, we need to trust God in our actions not just our words.
As far as my “fleece”, I will be just as satisfied if the answer from God is not in line with what I ask of Him, as long as it is in line with what He asks of us.

August 26, 2011

Just Talk To Me

by pastortimfowler

Copyrighted photo  http://www.flickr.com/photos/ithicuspictures/2852196227/

 

I had the privilege of sitting in on our Thursday night Lady’s Bible study last night. It is one of the perks that comes with being the pastor. The study was on how to have and effective prayer life and the discussions were interesting and thought-provoking. You would be amazed at how much women can talk when they get together.
When I was a new Christian I use to love listening to the old deacons of the church pray. They had the deep voice and spoke like they were from England only with a southern accent. They would say stuff like, Thou art holy and righteous and henceforth we must be cleansed of our unrighteousness and go hither to over yonder, thus saith the Lord for ever and ever Amen, or something like that. It sounded good and for the longest time I was obsessed with reading Shakespeare and the King James Bible so that I could pray like that.
As I read the Bible more and more I got the feeling that I was not getting this prayer thing right. God was talking to me through His word, and if I did not use the KJV I could get some plain English from God, and, I never really understood why God wanted to talk like that to begin with. The guys that Jesus chose to follow Him back then did not talk to Him like He was in a stage production. They just had a conversation with Him. They would talk, He would listen, then respond and so forth, hither to…(LOL). I got to thinking that maybe our prayers that we hear so much in church are not as much talking to God as they were a speech for others to hear.
It was about 15 years ago that I heard this man praying at a conference that I think I started wanting to quit giving speeches and start talking to God. It happened a couple of times before I got it, but he would start praying and it sounded as if he had just quit talking to the audience and started talking to someone else, God. I did not even catch the fact that he was praying until I looked and saw that he had bowed his head. Then I realized that was how I spoke to my wife, with head bowed in reverence, and he must be talking to God. So I started trying to talk and not sound different. It as hard, but something about it felt good.
Later, like about 2 years ago, I learned another really cool thing about prayer from someone else who prayed different from the rest of us, my grandson Nicholas. He would just switch gears and talk to God as if He was right there in the room with us. Once he heard me tell my wife, with my head bowed, that my back hurts and I wished it would stop because the next day I had something to do that hurt backs did not mix well with. Nicholas looked at me and asked if he should pray for me. I said sure, and he did. “Jesus. You heard that Papa’s back is hurting and tomorrow he needs it to feel better, so when he wakes up, please make it feel better. I will be sleeping in Mimi’s bed and he will be on the couch, that way you will know where his back is. Thanks” Then he continues talking to everyone else in the room. I am glad he told God where I would be that night because strangely enough my back felt better the next morning. I have heard him pray about any number of things and it always seems as if he is talking to someone right there with him. Maybe that is because God is always right there with us and not sitting up in heaven waiting for us to sound all holy and old.
For a Christian we are told that God is our Heavenly Father and we have been given the right to call Him Daddy. The only time I ever talked to my dad with Victorian English I think I remember getting whacked and told not to be a smart a–. Most of my conversations with dad were right there, right now and real. I talked perfect southern English, much like I do today, and dad understood and responded like a dad should.
God wants us to pray. Prayer is modeled in the Bible over and over. Most of it is a man of woman talking to someone they love. It was not in Victorian English or any other English, it was translated from the language of that day. I think that when we are told to pray without ceasing and to pray about everything, God is saying…Just talk to me.

July 29, 2011

Going Inter-planetary

by pastortimfowler

I was blown away this morning when I opened an email response to a blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago. It was from England! It said that they were looking for help on a subject and did a search and my blog came up on top. Usually the only way my name or something I do comes up first is if I am getting blamed for something. So, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who read my blogs and to God for using me in something that I enjoy so much.
I can remember a few years back when I was really fighting the trend for tweeting, Facebook and blogging. It wasn’t that I was against them as much as I did not understand it all. For the record, I still don’t understand tweeting, but I continue to tweet. (I feel like a bird watcher every time I say that).
Blogging has gotten me several blasts from folks who disagree with what I write. Although I do try to speak the truth, blogging is just another way of voicing one’s opinion and we are all entitled to our own. My opinion is right and those who disagree with it are usually married to me, or vegan, or even people with hair, and God loves them too. But I enjoy the feedback no matter which side you are on.
One of my goals is to offer fuel for hope, and a bit of humor. I love to see and hear people laugh and I love it when people have to stop and think about something they thought little about before or even had firm feelings about something that now have to be at least given another look. Sometimes I purposefully blog about something that I know will ruffle feathers, but I never set out to hurt or offend and if you are ever offended by one of my blogs, get over it. See, humor, fact and hope, right there.
I never dreamed that anything I would say or write would ever have an impact on someone in England. I rarely ever thought anyone would care much outside of South Carolina or really, ever care at all. I hope this is nothing more than God showing me that He can still use any of His creatures to say something, even an ass, or me. (Referring to Balaam’s animal, nor what some of you gasped about).
I will never apologize for giving God glory, pointing to Him as the answer, or tell people about the God who allowed His Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of humanity. God has forgiven me of more than most will ever know and still forgives me daily. Because of Him, I have hope and love life because it is a gift from Him. There was a time when I said that there was no God, but when I decided to open my mind to the possibility that I could be wrong, He forgave my stupidity and forgave me. So I blog from my heart, from my experiences, and my warped sense of humor. Thanks for giving your time to read. To the person in England, we drink sweet iced tea on this side of the pond, and thanks for the prayers.
Now that my blog is international, my next goal is go inter-planetary. To boldly go where no blog has gone before!

July 12, 2011

I Need Your Prayers

by pastortimfowler

I feel very blessed to have people as wonderful as my church folks in my life. I have so little to complain about and even when I do have stuff I try to keep them under wraps. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am and I know that God has blessed me far more than I deserve. From time to time I get feeling overwhelmed at how awesome God is and how I deserve nothing as amazing as my life is.
It is hard to follow such statements as I just made with a prayer request, but I do need your prayers. For years I have suffered with chronic back pain. On good days the pain is like a that of a bad headache and on the worse days it is like having a knife lodged in my lower back that causes shooting pain if I move the wrong way. Normal days it is like a bad toothache and few things help to give any relief. It effects my sleep because being in any one position for too long hurts, so sleep is rarely more than an hour uninterrupted.
That said, I don’t want sympathy. I can function and have learned to accept it. But I do want your prayers because it sometimes wears me down and in times of spiritual battles and stressful situations this can be a challenge. Now is one of those times. There are many things happening that require my focus and Satan is masterful at taking advantage of our weakness. One thing he can’t defeat is the prayers of God’s people.
The Apostle Paul had a physical problem that He wrote about and God told him the His grace was sufficient. Paul accepted that and I do too. But Paul also knew the power of prayer and often asked for it from those he loved and was not ashamed to do so. Even Jesus asked for prayers in His moments of pain and stress. So I guess I have nothing to be ashamed about, I am in good company among those who have asked for prayer.
Usually, these things level off in a week or so, and I even have a vacation coming up next week. But in the mean time, if you be so kind as to pray for me, I would be grateful.
God is so awesome and He never gives us more than we can handle. We just need learn when to pass some stuff off to others and say, I need your prayers.

July 7, 2011

Jake’s miracle

by pastortimfowler

If all goes well, a little boy will get a new kidney today. Modern science has made these things fairly common and successful and yet it is still nerve-racking for the family. Jake’s miracle is not the kidney transplant but the simple fact that he is even alive today.
I met Jake’s mom early in her pregnancy, as her and a friend visited our church. After a couple of visits, Jake’s mom began to tell me that her pregnancy was a very high risk and that the doctors wanted her to have an abortion. He was not developing a brain stem, kidneys, lungs, and had every indication that he would never survive the full term of pregnancy. So we prayed.


The next visit, she was told that things were improving, but even if she was able to deliver, Jake would be nothing more than a “vegetable” for the lack of a better term. Doctors doubted still that he would be born alive, so we continued to pray.
Although Jake has many medical problems, Jake is a smiling, happy, playful boy, going on 3 years old now. He defied everything the doctors said and that is the miracle. God is the giver of life. God determines our life on this earth, not man. Although mom could have taken the advice of doctors and had an abortion, God is still in control. But because she chose life over death and love over fear, and God has bless her with a wonderful little boy and today it is our prayer that he gets a new kidney.
This new kidney will not fix every problem, but it will help. Dialysis is hard on adults, but even more on little kids. Even if getting off dialysis is the only benefit from this it is great. But I would not be surprised if Jake defies the odds again and shows dramatic improvement in all areas. I believe that God has something very special planned for this little boy. I know that I have been touched by his life and look forward to what God is going to do.
I ask for your prayers today, as the surgery should take place around noon. Any surgery for Jake is high risk, but his Physician is a GREAT ONE, and the doctors are pretty good too.