Posts tagged ‘2012’

January 2, 2013

2013…the year of the blog

by pastortimfowler

Story_of_God

 

Happy New Year to all in the blogosphere. 2013 is going to be a great year if you have the right attitude and motivation. My motivation is driven by what I find in God’s Word, the Bible. I know some who read these things are not big Bible believers and some are skeptics, and some are on the fence about what you believe. But I happen to believe it and think that it is quite a motivational book when understood and taken in context.
This year I thought that I would try to share more of that with you. This does not mean that you will always agree with me, although you should, but I hope that it will challenge you to think about a few things, especially things like eternity and whether or not we need to be concerned about it. I invite feedback and criticism, after all, nothing sparks a good debate better than the Bible. All I ask is that you keep it clean and keep it open for thought and discussion.
Each year I try to read the Bible from beginning to end. I have been doing this for about 20 years now and most years have been successful. Every time I read it I find something awesome and refreshing and I learn something new. I have had to change my mind on some stuff because I better understood the whole thing and have had to eat some crow because I did not understand things as well as I thought. But one thing has always been true; I have never found a contradiction that could not be explained or could lead me to believe the Bible is wrong. There are still plenty of things that I can’t explain, but nothing that I can’t accept.
So this year as I read through it again, I am going to share some of my findings and ask some questions and who knows, maybe I will give some answers. I am going to be blunt and give evidence or at least attempt to give some logic and every now and then I may even have to say that I just don’t know the answer. The reason is, I think I have more and better answers from the Bible than most are getting from elsewhere, especially when it comes to trying to prove that God does not exist and that the Bible is not scientific. I think you may be surprised by what I might share over the next year.
God has always been a source of controversy. No one was around when He created it all, so skeptics says it was an accident. Most who disagreed with Him have already died and although they know the truth now, can’t argue anymore. Those who are still alive can’t prove He doesn’t exist any more than I can prove He does. And, God does not need to proven to be God. I will leave you with this to close out this blog. Not believing in God will not stop you from meeting Him. If I am wrong, it really doesn’t matter. But if you are wrong, eternity is riding on it.
Thanks for an awesome 2012 and thanks for following me into 2013. It is going to be a great year! The year of the blog!

Advertisements
December 20, 2012

Until next year

by pastortimfowler

GoodbyeOldHelloNew

2012 has been a busy, hectic, but very productive year. It is hard to believe that we only have a couple more weeks before it is over. I have taken a break from blogging due to a fire in our church and the fact that I have been trying to rethink how I want to focus my blogs. This will be my last blog until next year, so let me leave you with a few thoughts.
Our church had a great year. We saw over 100 people come to know Jesus as Savior and baptized nearly 60 people. We grew to the point of need to have a second worship time and that will be 8:30am beginning Jan. 6, 2013.
Our country re-elected President Obama. Say what you want, the people have spoken and its time to move forward.
Supposedly the world is ending tomorrow. The Mayan calendar says so. If that happens, this will be my last blog. I am planning ahead, just in case.
The Gamecocks beat Clemson for the fourth year in a row and Navy beat Army for the eleventh year in a row. It makes me happy.
My youngest grandkid turned one. My oldest turned 11. If I got these wrong, I know I will be corrected. The point is, I try to notice these things.
My wife and I are hosting an international student from Korea. His real name can’t be pronounced properly, so everybody calls him Freddy. I taught him how to shoot guns and he is teaching me how to praise God for successfully raising teenagers.
Our nation saw tragedy when senseless violence took the lives of innocent people and some think we need new laws. I just think we need to pray harder and enforce the laws we have. New laws have never stopped stupidity or insanity.
I celebrated my tenth year as pastor of my church. I am not sure how long this is going to take. These are some really weird people, but I like them.
This is only a partial list of things that I remember from 2012 and my very brief comment on them. For the most part 2012 was a great year. I believe in hope and I believe 2013 will be even better. Until them, have a merry Christmas and I will be back next year. Actually I will be here, but not blogging. Either way, unless the world ends tomorrow, look for new blogs to start in 2013.

January 3, 2012

What Is Important To You?

by pastortimfowler

Here is my first blog of 2012. What is important to you?
I have a friend who pastors a church in the Philippines and although I have only met him personally once, he has an amazing impact on me and my ministry. When we first met nine years ago, I had just been called to pastor a dying church in Rock Hill and he had just started a church in his home town in the Philippine Islands. He was trying to raise money for his ministry and I was trying to find hope in a church that had decided to turn inward and reject the people who lived all around.
Our church had a million dollar building bought and paid for, that included a full kitchen, class rooms, bathrooms, a 400 seat auditorium, and, despite being located in a part of town that was known for its crime and poverty, we have the full support of the police and government. His church was meeting in a graveyard because it was safer than anywhere in town. They had no classrooms, no running water, and if they were caught, they could be killed because of some of the terrorist groups that inhabit the islands and a government and police force that does not have the means to protect them.
Today, I pastor a church that has closed the original church, sold the building, and relocated. We have grown from a group of about 30 to a group of 150 and we have a different building with all the amenities of the previous building. It has been a challenge and a joy to see the change, and despite what I think as challenges, they pale in comparison to my friend’s nine years at his church.
They finally got a building, we would call it a roof over some chairs. They have grown numerically as well and I am sorry to say that I don’t have the numbers to report. They still don’t have it as nice as we do and probably never will, but they continue to grow and worship, despite the unending threats. Last night we talked and he told me that his health was a challenge due to diabetes and they are praying for the finances to be able to by a vehicle to transport people who live too far to walk to church.
In our conversation he told me that God was bigger that health or wealth problems. He said that God has never let him down and had always given them more than they deserved. He was optimistic and hopeful for the new year and knew that God would provide for their needs and allow them to continue to grow and prosper.
If our churches in America were in the same predicament as his, they would close and people would abandon their “faith”. I have seen people leave the church because they did not get their way in choice of color of carpet. I have seen people leave the church because the music was too loud, too slow, too new, or too old. I have seen people complain because there was not enough parking to keep them from having to walk too far in a parking lot. I have seen people complain about not having a playground or not having the temperature of the heat or AC set to their liking. I have heard complaints about my sermons being too long, too topical, too much about money or too much about a particular sin. I have had people refuse to be baptized because the water was too cold and refuse to become members because the church did not have a softball team.
My friend baptizes in a muddy river, has no AC, no parking lot and few vehicles to get people there. They have no carpet, no video system, and no playground. They complain about having to leave too soon if the pastor doesn’t preach and teach long enough. They risk physical harm and even death and still they join the church. They bring their friends and family and then they bring others. They believe that what they have is a blessing and they receive anything more with utter amazement that God would show them such grace. They think the most important thing that they have is their salvation from Jesus Christ. Because of this they make their church and their ministry about reaching lost people and not comforting themselves. They believe that God has and will supply all of their needs and because of that, they make the most important thing in their lives, God.
What is important to you?

December 27, 2011

I Don’t Know When

by pastortimfowler

There are only a few days left in the year. Really?!?! 2011 is almost over? Time flies when you are having fun. I just hope that this isn’t our last days, because I have already paid for my cruise in January. What am I talking about? The Mayan calendar that ends in 2011. Oh wait; never mind. I was just told that we have until December 2012 before it all ends. The good news is that I won’t have to do any Christmas shopping for next year and I get to take my cruise if this is true.
What if we only had a few days left? What would it be like?
Imagine for a moment that we were told beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world would end in a few days. Do you think it would be a fun place to finish out your last days? Or do you think it would be pure chaos? I would put my money on the chaos. It would be nice to think that brotherly love would break out and we would all gather around to sing and hug for the remainder of our lives, but something tells me that it would be a dangerous and violent place with rape and theft and fear for those who are weak.
The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be just that type of situation. Violence and fear, not peace and love. Left to ourselves, humanity will self destruct and there is not much that we can do about it. Laws can only restrain lawlessness as long as there is someone to enforce the laws with consequences that compel one to think twice before committing such an act. It is also God that puts a sense of right and wrong in our hearts and a fear of knowing that one day we will be judged. It is God that restrains evil and allows for order in our world and even with Him in control that potential for evil in humans is barely kept in check.
The difference between the last days of the world without God and the last days of the world with God are pretty simple. Without God, there is no hope and it all ends in destruction. With God, there is hope and He promises a new life, new heaven and new earth. God is the God of hope. He is the God of salvation. He is life and love and He offers this freely to all who ask.
The Bible tells us that no man knows the hour or the day of the end of the world as we know it. Only God. But He promises to those who know Him and His salvation that we will not face His wrath, but be saved. I do believe that it is a good thing that we don’t know the hour or the day. Many religious “know-it-alls” have tried to say that they know the end and predict the date, but they are fools. God does not want us to know the time of the end because He wants us focused on life. He wants us loving people and helping those in need and sharing the good news that He saves and He loves. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.
I don’t know when it all will end but I do know Jesus, so…Bring on 2012!!!

November 29, 2011

No Calendar

by pastortimfowler

As I came to the office this morning, my plan was to begin looking ahead at 2012 and trying to plan my preaching and teach subjects. As I am not the most organized person in the world, I have to try really hard to do these things and I get easily distracted by things like, looking for next year’s calendar online that has holidays listed. I did not know that you could find so many websites that are dedicated to calendars. I usually get my desk calendar at the office supply store about December 29th. I wish that I had one now, because now I am writing my plans on a sticky note and hoping that I can keep track of it until late December.
Last year, well actually it was this year, but I am in the “thinking about next year mode”, I went to a conference where I was convicted to plan out my year of preaching to allow for more prayer, and believe it or not, to look at how much time I don’t take off from being a pastor. It shocked me how little time I wanted to take off, and according to the guy who spoke at the conference, you need to schedule some away time. I usually schedule my away time in between Sundays and prepare my sermons while I am away which means I don’t use the away time for down time which he said we needed. But I did manage to work on this and I can see his point, so I am trying to plan ahead and I don’t have a calendar.
This all sounds fascinating, I know, and by now you are wondering if this is not my attempt to put off what I need to do, and it isn’t. Like I said, I wrote stuff down on a sticky note. As I was trying to find a calendar and plan my year, I was reminded that planning ahead this year might not be needed. When you type in calendar for a web search, eventually you will have to read about the Mayan calendar, which basically says that we don’t need anymore calendars now. The world is ending soon. I am excited about this possibility, but better not count on this whole not needing a calendar thing.
So I did finally get a teaching point out of this planning without a calendar ordeal. Preaching is often dictated by holidays. I try to preach an Easter sermon an Easter Sunday. I try to preach something patriotic on the 4th of July. I try to preach stuff that is relevant to the regularly scheduled holidays. I also like to plan vacations and conferences and thus have a guest speaker scheduled for those Sundays that I a gone. It is just about impossible to that if you don’t have that year’s calendar. So I got my sticky notes out and did what I could for January 2012 and decided to blog.
Do you see how easy it is to get distracted when you don’t have the right information in available? Not knowing certain facts can cause you to get sidetracked from the important stuff you are doing and get you looking for alternate sources to complete your task. This often leads to mistakes and confusion. Can you imagine me not preaching the Easter sermon on Easter? What if I scheduled a guest speaker and gave him the wrong date? What if I lose that stick note? What if the Mayans are right? What if I just decided not to preach anymore because I got distracted and started looking for facts in a place filled with lies?
These things happen to Christians all the time. The Bible tells us things that we need to do daily and we act as if they aren’t on our calendars. It tells us how to live our lives so that we are pleasing to God but we get distracted and read Cosmo and listen to Oprah. Then on New Year’s Eve we make resolutions based on last year’s failures only to plan them on a sticky note that is lost in a few days with all the other unimportant stuff we allow to clutter our lives. Sadly, we have the Bible available most of the time and still make these mistakes. It doesn’t change like the numbers on a calendar and it is always accurate for the time we need it. You just can’t make a good plan for life without right tool, a Bible.
With all this said, I guess it is time to go buy a 2012 desk calendar before I lose my sticky note.