Archive for ‘Sacrifice’

April 10, 2012

Most Precious

by pastortimfowler

www.flickr.com/photos/tonivc/2283676770

Today I was having lunch with my favorite wife and a friend from church and the friend asked me to blog about a subject that her husband’s Bible study was discussing the other day. The lesson was about giving from what is most precious to you. Then she asked me what was most precious to me. We were eating at Taco Bell and I was trying to enjoy my taco but they kept wanting to know my most precious possession. I was in a no win situation because my wife was there. If I had said that she was my favorite possession then someone would get mad and say that I don’t own her, if I had said something else, she would have got mad. So I ate my taco.
The lesson that she was talking about was trying to get the point across that we need to give from our hearts and not from things that don’t mean anything to us. God gave us Jesus, His most precious possession, and He did it because of His great love for us. Most of what we see given in churches are what we happen to find in our pockets as the offering plate is passed around, unless we look and see that it is more than a couple of dollars then we tell God that we will owe Him.
My wife gives from her heart all the time. She loves children. In an earlier blog I told you that she is an addict when it comes to little kids. She gives them her very best all the time. It makes me jealous from time to time. I see the kids getting anything that they ask for and when I ask for something she tells me I don’t need it. Everybody needs cake. She gives to the church all the time. There is not much that happens there that she is not involved in. Not only does she love kids, but she loves regular people too and gives to them. She gives to her work. Professionalism in the dictionary has her picture as the definition. And yes, she gives to me, but I don’t want to go into details about how or what. My wife is so giving that she tried to give the people who take out the trash at Taco Bell her van. She tossed her keys in there as she was leaving.
I like the way Taco Bell gives. With a regular combo you get a large drink. Not like you need it, but then you get free refills. They give away the taco sauce in is the little packets too. I don’t use them, but I see people loading their hands with them. I think they take them home and make soup out of them. My favorite is the peppermints that they give away. Its like desert after a taco meal.
Giving from what is precious to us is hard to do. We like to hold things more closely if they are important to us. So to answer the question of what is most precious to me…I don’t really know. I don’t like to hold on to stuff. I get told that I don’t care about money. I like to give it away and I like to spend it. I don’t care about clothes. Jeans and a t-shirt are fine with me and if you need mine, you can have them. God has given me a great life and a great family, but I know that they really belong to Him, so I let God decide where they are given.
If I had to say what I hold most precious, I guess it would have to be my time. I realize that I only have a certain amount and after that, I get no more. I don’t own my time, but I own what I do with it. I find it most difficult to give the time that I have chosen to do something for me to someone else who needs my help. But, I get the greatest reward from knowing that when I do give it away, someone else’s time on earth is made better.
With the time I have, God allows me to fill it with a beautiful wife, wonderful children and grandchildren, and a church family that is most incredible. He allows me to preach and teach the Bible as my vocation and I don’t have to punch a time clock. I never get tired of working for Him. My only struggle is when I want my time to be mine and it gets interrupted. That is why I think that it is my most precious possession. So I try to give it away despite what I feel, and I never get disappointed in the results.

October 24, 2011

Was It A Tree?

by pastortimfowler

Quite often I will get questions about things that people read in the Bible that catch their eye, or perk their curiosity, and in some cases, even cause doubt. These are always great teaching opportunities and I always welcome these questions. Here is one I received the other day; When speaking of the crucifixion, I have heard songs that mention a tree, and others a cross and even the Bible uses these two terms. Why?
There are a couple of places that come to mind where the Bible uses the term tree for the crucifixion. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Galatians 3:13 (KJV)
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
In both of these the word tree is translated from the Hebrew word in Deuteronomy, and the Greek word in Galatians, from a word that means timber, wood, or plank. That definition makes it pretty easy to clear up any confusions, seeing how the cross was definitely made of wood. Some modern translations use the word pole in place of tree. I think the confusion comes from what we know as a cross and a pole. Let me try to enlighten you.
There is some debate among biblical scholars about methods of crucifixion because of these words. Some think that people were hung on a single pole, with their hands directly overhead. There are some recorded instances of this method being used, but not so much in the area and time that Jesus was crucified in. But my opinion is that the traditional cross, with two pieces was used.
The crosses were stored unassembled. Just piles of wood or timber. Everyone knew they were there for the making of crosses, but until needed they were just poles or trees. No one in those times had any confusion about what was meant when a tree was mentioned in context with crucifixion. Much like today if I were talking about baseball and the batter put some wood on the ball, we would not think that he had a pine tree in his hand, but rather a baseball bat, even if the bat was aluminum.
Either way the crucifixion was a cruel and humiliating way to put someone to death. It was where our sins were put to death by our Savior Jesus Christ. He hung on the tree so that we didn’t have to. Have took our curse, and gave us forgiveness and eternal life. He was not left on the tree, He was put in a borrowed tomb and rose from the grave three days later. The tree or cross was only a way of displaying to the world that sin had been nailed to cross, left there when Christ’s body was taken away. I know you don’t see the sin when you see the cross, but that is because the blood of Jesus covered the sin of humanity.
And one last thing, the verse in Deuteronomy 21:23, that is listed above, is another reason that I say that believers should be buried and not cremated. It is part of the law and we were never told to stop obeying the law. God ahead, blast back at me if you want too.

April 19, 2011

Treasure hunting

by pastortimfowler

Most of the day today I have been trying to get ready to go on a short vacation with a few friends. We are heading to Venice Beach, Fl. for a dive trip. It is called the shark tooth capital of the world and that is what we are going to look for. Not just regular teeth but rather prehistoric teeth from an extinct species of shark called the Megalodon. Some of the teeth we hope to find are as big as 7 inches long. They say this shark was a big as a Greyhound Bus.
Since I am leaving bright and early in the morning and it is a 10 hour drive, I am not sure if I will blog anymore the rest of the week. I am taking my laptop and hope to squeeze in one but not making any promises. It is supposed to be a vacation of sort but I will be spending some time preparing for Easter services. I rarely take time off before Easter because it is such an important time in the Christian faith, but my good friend an I have been wanting to make this dive for years and this is the first time that it worked out for both of us to go.
Vacation is a time to relax and appreciate God’s creation. I will be doing that. I find very little as relaxing as swimming under the ocean and treasure hunting. These teeth we hope to find are valuable. Some of the bigger ones in good shape can bring hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. To think that something died that long ago and it can still have that much of an effect on me now. Now that is real value.
You know, Jesus died a long time ago, and although I never expect to find His fossilized remains, He still brings value into my life. I find value in the fact that He created such a magnificent planet that I can have such fun and even find remains of creatures that He created that are no longer around. But better than that, I can find forgiveness for everything that I have ever messed up. I can find favor with a holy God that without this forgiveness I would never have. I find peace in troubled times and joy in living my life for Him. These are treasures that have no price tag. They can’t be bought. They are free to anyone who would ask for them.
Everyone has heard that Jesus died on a cross. It is not hard to believe, because everyone knows death is real. Jesus chose to die in my place and yours, because of our sin against God. But He didn’t leave it at that. Jesus did the unthinkable, the impossible, the unimaginable: He resurrected from death. He did this so that all who ask to be forgiven can find this treasure called eternal life. It is a gift. Not earned nor bought, but given upon asking.
There is only one catch. We must ask in belief that God does forgive and Jesus did die for our sin and that He does give life when we ask.
I have never been to Venice beach to look for these shark’s teeth. I have never personally seen someone who has any of these teeth. The reason I am going to look for them is because I believe they are there. The only reason you do anything that has a risk is because you believe the risk is worth it.
Years ago I went looking for forgiveness and found it in Jesus Christ. The risk was worth it. I found something as real as the teeth I hope to find. I found a God who loves me and forgives me and gave me a treasure worth hunting.
This Easter, why not try to find forgiveness, and why not try to find this loving God. He died for your sin too and better yet, He lives to give you a life that never ends.
It is time to go treasure hunting!

March 2, 2011

Thoughts on Leviticus

by pastortimfowler

Sacrifice

In my journey to read through the Bible again this year I have been reading through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. This is where Arron and his sons become the official priests of Israel and what it takes to achieve a holy standing before God.
First of all I am really glad that I am a Christian when I read about the stuff that had to happen. The amount of detail and effort that it took is mind numbing. What makes it more difficult is that this status of being holy was only temporary and the sacrifices had to be repeated over and over.
When God gave the instructions to build the tabernacle He told the people to give gold, silver, bronze, jewels, and most of the precious stuff that they had. They did it and as far as I can tell they did not do a lot of whining about it. Christians are only asked to give 10% to maintain the church, and none of it in jewelery.

But back to Leviticus. The priests had to sacrifice a bull to make the tabernacle holy. Then they had to sacrifice a bull to make the clothes holy. Then they had to sacrifice to make themselves holy before they could sacrifice to make the person offering the sacrifice holy. And that was just the sin offering.
There were guilt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship offering, praise offerings and an ordination offering. The priests had to put blood from the bull, goat, lamb, or dove on about everything, including their big toe!
I know it was an extreme honor to be one of those priests. I know that they got to experience the presence of God every time they offered a sacrifice. I know that the clothes must have been really awesome to wear because they set you apart from everyone else. But it they messed up at any level, it was all for nothing. If they forgot to confess ALL their sins before entering the Holiest part of the tabernacle, they would die.
So being a Christian is pretty cool. Our holiness does not depend on a bull, goat, or dove. It does not depend on someone wearing the right clothes or having the right set of rituals. It depends on what Jesus did and that alone. He shed His blood, forgave my sin, and that was good enough to never have to be repeated.
Sure I have my part to do in all this. But it won’t cost me my life if I mess up. I am the son of the King! The Chief High Priest and Judge of all has found me forgiven of all charges and set free!
My part is simple. Ask for forgiveness when I sin. Love others freely like God loves me. Give like I trust God to give to me and to help others like God helps me. Have a relationship with my Savior and forget the whole religious thing. No stinkin’ animal blood on me.
Wait a minute…it does mean the blood of Jesus covers me. Like the old hymn says; What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.