Posts tagged ‘America’

September 26, 2012

Celebrity Stupidity

by pastortimfowler

The Freedom of Speech

Everyone loves a celebrity. We seek their autograph, their picture, and if you are running for public office, you seek their endorsement. But this brings to mind the old saying, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
Today I read about Madonna, (and I thought that she was a has been but I guess she is still a celebrity), and her endorsement of the president for the upcoming election. OUCH! She called him a black Muslim. She should thank her star on the famous Broadway walk that she is not a Republican who said something like that. Why she would be ran out-of-town. But, she is a not and she can say whatever she wants too and not have much backlash. But let me go on record as saying that I think her remarks are absolutely ridiculous and that she should apologize to the president and to the country. I will wait patiently.
Why does she have to call him black? He is our president. I never refer to any president as white or black or Hispanic or any other ethnicity. Is she a racist? If I were to call him black and criticize him I would be called a racist. Does she think that people are stupid? It is obvious that he is not green or blue. I thought that people were people and the color of their skin did not matter. At least that is how I was raised in my middle-income home with white parents and siblings. FYI…we had a cat that was black.
But, Madonna has said stupid stuff in the past and got away with it and it is her right as an American, even though she is white, to say what ever she wants. Freedom of speech does not limit stupid speech and her speech has been stupid at times. But as a celebrity, when she says something, people listen, even if it is offensive to one group or another.
Would it matter if the president was a Muslim? He says that he is a Christian and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. The Republican candidate says that he is a Mormon and I really don’t care. I want to have a president who stands for all Americans of every race and religion. If the president was a Muslim, he would still be the president that was sworn to uphold the constitution of the USA. Does being a Muslin or a Christian or a Jew or a Mormon, or an atheist change that? I hope not and don’t think so.
So why did Madonna say that the president was a black Muslim? The only conclusion that I can come to is that I can think of is that celebrity stupidity is still a part of free speech and as offensive as it may be and as stupid as it may be, she has a right to say whatever she wants in this great country that has great men who serve as president no matter what color they were born or what religion they follow.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

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August 29, 2012

Hateful Speech

by pastortimfowler

Speech is Silver

I saw this on Facebook today: Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. When I read it I thought about our nasty political climate and presidential campaign and it made me think about these verses of the Bible:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (GW)
1 First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people,
2 for rulers, and for everyone who has authority over us. Pray for these people so that we can have a quiet and peaceful life always lived in a godly and reverent way
.
Christians should really think before they post things on Facebook or anywhere else that are full of hateful words. I think that it is very easy for us to lose our credibility as the people of love that we are supposed to be when all people see or hear from us is hateful slams of those we disagree with. Some of you may quickly say that in America, we have freedom of speech, and that is true, but as Christians, we have freedom from sin and using hate filled speech is sinful.
Years ago, I got out of the Navy and because I needed a job to provide income immediately, I went to work as a car salesman. One of the things I had to do is learn about the competition’s cars. All car makers make a model to compete with the others, like compact, mid-sized, full-sized, and pick-ups. What you learn is that there are subtle differences between each of them and that a good salesman could tell you what they are. My boss told me to learn those differences, not to talk down about the other make of cars, but to point out the ways your make of car was better. For instance I might say to a customer, Yes sir, the Chevy does have good towing capability, but the Ford we sell will tow a thousand pounds more than that. Given the fact that they are both fine vehicles, wouldn’t you get more for your money with our better towing capability?
But for some reason, people like to talk about the bad stuff or the different stuff as if it were bad. I was told years ago that different is not always wrong, it is just different. That is the way our country was built, to respect and give freedom to be different. But in the case where different is in deed wrong, slamming that wrong publicly rarely results in change. That is where Christians need to remember the words written in the verses above. Whatever leader is in place, it is because God has allowed that leader to be there. We are to follow the laws of the land and to respect those who are in authority over us and most of all we are to pray for them. Romans 13:4 The government is God’s servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God’s servant, an avenger to execute God’s anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

So I challenge you to promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Love covers a multitude of sin.

July 3, 2012

Third Option Men

by pastortimfowler

 

I want to tell you about an organization that is worth checking out. It is called Third Option Men. The founder is a guy named Evan, and him and his dad were the ones who made our trip to Cuba possible. I encourage you to check out the website and/or Facebook page. The website is www.thirdoptionmen.org and just type in the name to find them on Facebook. The purpose of this group is to encourage guys to develop relationships that allow for accountability and more than just a Sunday morning type relationship that is far to common in the church today. It is about the type of relationship that Jesus had with his disciples, close and personal.
Far too often men tend to take their Christianity way too casually. We want the type of relationship that does not allow another man to get close enough to ask the hard questions or hear the brutal truth about how we are struggling in our relationships at work, home, and with God. Evan describes this beginning and often only type of man to man relationship of Christian males as the ‘awkward handshake’. The kind of relationship where we know your name and your favorite football team but never know that your marriage is falling apart and you might be struggling with an addiction. He encourages us to develop relationships that are real, relevant and reliable, just like Jesus and His relationship with others.
Basically, men have only three options in life. We can live for self, live for worldly gain, or live for God. Christian men need to choose the third option…get it? Third Option Men?
Living for self is easy. Looking out for number one is the way we are taught through most of life and the media. This is much like the “if it feels good do it” mentality. I saw a commercial the other day about a company that does cosmetic surgery and one of the women made the statement that if there was something that someone could do to make them feel better about themselves that they should do it at any cost. So if you think the way God made you is not good enough and that He made a mistake, a doctor can fix it and you will feel good about yourself. Sadly, surgery does nothing for that God shaped hole we are all trying to fill. So self-indulgence is not the answer.
Living for worldly gain sounds good. If we could only have more money, a bigger house, or a nicer car, we would feel better. Even if we could have bigger breasts (not men, but our wives) and less wrinkles, that would help, but you need to have the money for that. After all, we see how happy all the Hollywood crowd is with their plastic surgery and successful marriages and lack of drug and alcohol abuse, (Sarcasm). I actually saw more satisfied people in Cuba making $20 a month than I see in Hollywood making millions. Before you disagree, think about the number of famous people who are divorced, in rehab, gone broke, or even killed themselves. Jesus said it best about this option; Matthew 16:26, What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?
The third option, to live for God, requires one to deny self and think of others. It requires you to build a relationship with someone who cares enough to invest time in you or vice versa. It requires you to give and to love and to get involved with someone to the point that you know what is really important and what can really help. It is what Jesus did with the men that He decided to hang out with. It is what we need to do as Christian men.
We took this message into Cuba and found that men there have the same reservations as we do in America. But when laid out in plain and biblical truths, it is undeniable that it works and is needed. Not the program or the book, or even the title, but the lifestyle. Third Option Men has a heart for those who are hurting and is going into churches and communities and countries to help men get over that macho attitude of self-reliance and teaching them to live for God.
I chose the third option. It is not easy and I fail often, but I have some friends who know how to help and care when I struggle. They too have chosen to follow God. God does not want men to be loners, but to have vital relationships to help us through that many paths that He may lead us.
Check it out…Third Option Men.

July 2, 2012

Back From Cuba

by pastortimfowler

I am back and wow, do I have a lot to tell you. Cuba is a place that is full of beautiful people and scenery and yet my heart breaks every time I go. Socialism and Communism have made it one of the poorest places in this hemisphere. The average monthly wage is around $20 per month and because the government has taken everything from those who were rich, now everyone is poor. The old saying that it takes money to make money is true. There is no way to equally distribute what I make in order to lift others out of poverty, it only makes me poor too. That taxation in Cuba assures that the government only has money and the people get “free” healthcare from doctors who are lucky to make $45 per month and would make more money if they drove a horse-drawn cart around for the public transportation system, which is how we got around in the city of 140,000 people.
But the church is alive and well and serving those in need like you would not believe. Their hearts are filled with hope and appreciation for God’s provisions, even if it means they can’t afford to eat anything more than rice and beans and plantains. But they share and help and love, even with those occasional American Christians who come to help. I truly believe that I learned more from them than I was able to teach the Cuban church. Humble takes on a new meaning for me now.
We are fooled by pictures of classic cars and beautiful facades on buildings that have been touched up to make them look good. The cars are not owned by collectors, but rather by people who bought them the last time that they had any money to spend on such a luxury. Most cars are only painted over rust buckets and few have any original working parts. The buildings are weathered and termite infested and crumbling. Not even the locals can drink the water from the public water supply because it is such poor quality.
But this does not stop the people of Cuba from taking pride in what they have and sharing it with others. They have little from the government to share but have found ways to make ends meet and share what they get through an undercover free market that shows hope of letting entrepreneurs make a little more that they can keep to provide for their own and those who need help just to survive on what the socialist way has taken away. I love the heart of these people. They know more than most, that government is not the answer and never will be when it comes to providing the needs of family. Hard work and free markets are the only reason that they were the once a thriving resort and leading producers of sugar and entertainers of years gone by. That is a fading memory now.
People in Cuba cringe when you mention the name Castro. They lower their voices and do not say his name themselves. The do not speak out against the oppressive socialist system that has plunged them into poverty like we in the USA have never seen. But they know the answer is freedom and free markets where people can achieve a level of prosperity that allows others to be employed and purchase goods produced by individually owned companies who can provide jobs to others instead of money to the government.
I cannot wait to go back. I will be sharing more about the things we did and saw, but I wanted to get this out first. So many people in America are thinking that the government is the answer and that socialism works. It is a failure everywhere it is tried and Cuba is a direct and devastating example of its results. Taking everything from the rich so that the poor have more only results in the rich becoming poor and no one able to provide jobs to those who need it. Handouts are only a temporary fix. The old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime is true. But if you can’t even afford to buy a net or a fishing pole and there is no one now making them because no one can afford to buy them, what happens? People starve and suffer and no one is better off except the elite few who dictate oppression to the people who need a job.
Thanks for your prayers and support. God, please bless Cuba again. And God bless America!

March 27, 2012

Justice or Self-Righteous?

by pastortimfowler

gun

Why is there not an uproar about the New Black Panthers putting a bounty out for the guy in Florida who shot the teen? I know that this is a horrible incident and that many were hurt by it, but what gives these people the right to put a bounty on the head of someone who has not even been charged with breaking a law? In America, we are innocent until proven guilty and in this case the man has not even been accused by law enforcement of breaking a law.
I am not a lawyer and I am not an expert on the particular law that this man is not accused of breaking. I am a legal concealed weapons carrier and in my state there is a similar law on the books that says we can stand our ground and defend ourselves if we feel threatened. It does seem to be a bit strange that we can shoot another person because of a feeling, but that is how the law is written. But by taking the course and legally obtaining and carrying a weapon, I do not automatically support and agree with the law. However, I am covered under that law, regardless of how I feel or others feel. This is not my fault nor is it the fault of the shooter in Florida. So why is he the target of such hatred? Where is the outrage not over those who publicly threaten an innocent man with harm, just because they disagree with a law?
It would be nice if there was not a race issue to be talked about, but only the discussion of whether or not the law was broken and if there is a disagreement with the law, then taking the proper steps to have the law changed. That is how a civil society should operate. But when we have groups making threats of taking the law into their own hands, we bring hatred into the picture and civility is left by the wayside. Sadly the race issue threatens to blow things into an all out race war. This bothers me.
Every elected official should be stepping into the public’s eye to stress the legal and civil ways to handle such issues. They should condemn any group who threaten to step outside the boundaries of the law and not back down until the public outcry is for true justice, not vigilante efforts to under mind the law. The media should condemn and expose anyone who tries to subvert the legal system. Clergy should take to the pulpits to remind the church of its obligation to follow the laws of the land and it appointed officials. Every law-abiding citizen should be on guard against groups who put themselves above the law and we should not stand for any of those who are supposed to speak out for the laws of the land if they neglect to do so.
My heart breaks for this young man who was killed. There is never a good way to lose a loved one. But I also feel bad for the man who shot him. Not because I agree with what he did. I was not there and I only have the reports from the media to form my opinions. But his life is ruined without the help of a group like the New Black Panthers getting involved. And I also believe that if this man acted wrongly, he will be exposed for it. There is a process for such things to work themselves out and I believe that for the most part it is a good and just system.
It is easy to understand the anger that can be stirred when an event like this takes place. But anger is not a means to destroy, but a means to make things right. God’s design for anger is to fix the injustice and restore things to it proper bearings. Human anger is often distorted and dangerous, but that is why we have laws and a system of justice. Ultimately I believe that no matter the fault of this situation, God will keep track and make it right. He is the Righteous Judge and no sin will go unpunished. But in some cases, only God knows the true injustice and in that case we must trust Him to make things right.
I pray for the families involved. I pray for peace and I pray for the truth to come out. But I also pray that those who try to take the law into their own hands would be exposed for the menace to society that they are. They are not seeking justice. They are claiming to be self-righteous and only God can do that.

January 31, 2012

Tourist Trap Christians

by pastortimfowler

So, we were in the Bahamas for a port of call during our recent cruise and decided to play tourist. We left the ship to go shopping in the town and see if we could buy a few souvenirs and gifts for the kids back home. We went into what was called the Straw Village which was lined with row after row of locals selling trinkets and t-shirts and hats. After the third row of probably 20 rows, I began to notice that nothing was much different from the row before. The same hats, the same jewelery, the same shirts, just a different display and a different person sitting there trying to get us to buy their stuff. There was no gap in between tables and only about five feet in between vendors. As we continued to make our way around to the next row and then the next, I began to see something that made me think about Christians.
Let me preface what I am about to say with the note that I never like to lump any group of people together with a blanket statement, even though there are many broad statements that could be said about many groups, including Christians. I am not accusing all Christians of being like what I am about to say, but there are enough that it could apply to a large portion of them.
Each vendor in this place knew that there were cruise ships in port that day. This was a regular stop and a popular place for tourists to shop. Most of the first time tourists like me, were expecting this enthusiastic greeting from all of the locals who they were trying to earn our business. Sadly, it wasn’t so. Instead of a warm welcome, we were greeted with a barrage of the same old lines repeated by each vendor there. “Slow down, look and touch. Great deal today.” This was said over and over by each vendor and was said with no enthusiasm and no meaningful voice inflections. And, because they were seated so close to each other, there was no recognizable difference in one vendor to the next. They were so used to tourists being there that it was not special to them, even though it was our money buying their goods that put food on their plates. They repeated the same lines so many times that it had no impact on them nor us, the tourists.
Christians have become a lot like this. We are free in America to speak the Gospel anytime, anywhere, to anyone. But we have heard it and spoke it so much that there is no meaning to our words anymore to the ones who hear it from us. Those who hear it from us have heard the same old lines repeated time and time again by a less than enthused Christian that it does not convict them to act, but rather compels them to hurry through the market of churches selling Christianity.
Every now and then we came across an individual in the market that had a smile and a belief that what they were selling was really worth you buying and they were willing to put the effort into making the most of their one opportunity to sell you what they had. And strangely, at these rare vendors tables, tourists were flocking and buying and walking away thinking that they had received something special from their visit to the Bahamas.
I know that my salvation, given to me from God through Jesus Christ is special. You can only get it from God and He has authorized me to be a vendor for it. He has put me in a market place that has groves of people walking through, looking for something and someone to convince them to buy it. I can either repeat the same old boring line that you have heard a million times before or I can sell it to you in a way that makes you know that what I have is special. The burden is not on the tourist walking by my table in life, but on me, the vendor, who has been given the wonderful opportunity to sell you something that will make you glad that you came by my table.
Most tourists only get to visit a place like this once or twice in a lifetime. Some will buy a trinket that will end up in the bottom of a suitcase and make a less than dazzling impression on others and may never get a second look after that. Some will remember the person who sold the trinket and tell the story of how wonderful the person who sold it to them was and convince others to try what they just experienced. But never forget that the vendors are the ones who truly make the difference to someone buying from them. They are the ones who make someone walk by in hopes of escaping, or, stop and buy what they are selling.
Christians are not selling to tourists the trinkets of a vacation, but a life changing, eternal hope of having favor with God and being able to show the benefits of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Churches are not the place that just happens to put food on the table, but rather are giving food for the soul. Jesus is far better than trinkets and t-shirts and certainly is better than a 5 day vacation in a tropical paradise. It is the hope of an eternal home in the paradise of Heaven with a God who loves us enough to pay our sin debt and allow us to share this awesome hope with others.

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

by pastortimfowler

I am not an expert on the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday in America nor do I want to be. I know what I was taught in school when I was a kid, and I know some of the stuff that is being taught now and I also know that there is a lot of controversy over who is right and who is wrong. My concern is that we have lost focus on the purpose of it all together, to give thanks for what we have. Not only to give thanks, but to thank the one who provides us with all we have, God.
It is a holiday that is a challenge for people who don’t believe in God. I can understand the anger and frustration because to be thankful, you must know who you are thanking. You can’t be thankful to no one and it is really narcissistic to thankful to yourself. We don’t have food, air, life, liberty, or family because of government, or because of what we do, it is because there is a God who loves us. Don’t be hate’n if you disagree, be thankful for a great country that allows you the freedom to disagree. Oh yeah, if you don’t believe, you don’t know who to thank…never mind. So for this blog, I will concede to those who want to thank themselves.
At least if you don’t believe in God you can pretend to be grateful to someone. Isn’t it nice to have freedom, family, health, food, and air to breath. I know us humans are doing our best to destroy the perfect air of nature, which God created, but some of you are trying hard to save the planet, so be thankful for that. Stop trying to ruin my Thanksgiving because you are miserable. Pretend that everything is the result of human actions whether it is good or bad and be thankful. If I want to thank a God that you don’t believe in, let me do it and I will be fine if you thank, uh, what ever.
There is no perfect world. If we all focus on what is wrong, we will all be miserable. Why not call a time out this Thanksgiving and focus on only what you are thankful for, not what I am doing that you consider wrong. Thank whoever or whatever you want, even yourself. Tell yourself how grateful you are for what you are doing and let me thank God for what He has done and is doing. When we have a national holiday to gripe and complain and point fingers at everyone that we disagree with, I promise to participate and not be thankful anything anyone else is doing, but for now, we don’t have that and we do have Thanksgiving so be THANKFUL!
Happy Thanksgiving.

July 1, 2011

God Bless America!

by pastortimfowler

This is a long weekend for most people in America as we celebrate our nation’s birth and independence. I love our country and its people and love the meaning of this holiday. I also worry each year when the people I know travel and head to lakes and beaches and parties. I worry because this holiday also has a record number of injuries and deaths due to drinking and fireworks and crowded road and waterways.
I rarely travel or vacation during the 4th for those and other reasons. I like open water and roads and as I get older I dislike fireworks more and more. I try to drive during non-rush hours and if I go on a lake I like to do it during weekdays and non-holidays. I like to watch professional fireworks displays but have never been too impressed with the ones you spend a hundred bucks on from a roadside stand. Mine usually end up being far less than that the box promises.
All that said, I still love the 4th of July. I am thankful for our forefathers who sacrificed so much for our freedom and our country. I love thinking about the brave men and women who serve so bravely in the US Armed Forces to keep us safe and often sacrifice all for our country and its freedom. I love watching children spending time with families and the carefree times of vacation. I love seeing our flag flying high and proud on porches and business fronts. It is a beautiful flag and represents our beautiful country.
I will be taking a long weekend off from my blog. I will not be heading to the beach or to the lake, but rather enjoying a rare day off with my beautiful wife and will probably just relax around the house. Our vacation happens in a couple of weeks as we will be celebrating our anniversary and venturing out on the Holy Kaw. I will be observing and take mental notes for things to blog about as I take a break over the next few days and will be back at it on Tuesday, July 5th with something fresh to challenge you with.
Meanwhile, I hope that you have a great holiday. Please be safe on the roads and waterways. Watch out for those who drink too much and don’t have the common sense enough to not drive or operate a watercraft. Be careful if you use fireworks, although I find many duds, the ones that do go off can hurt. Use plenty of sunscreen and drink plenty of non alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. Have fun and let kids be kids and enjoy this wonderful time. Take a few minutes to reflect and tell others about the meaning of this holiday and thank God for a country that is free.
God bless you and God bless America!

March 14, 2011

Melt Down

by pastortimfowler

It is almost impossible to turn on the news and not hear about the continuing struggles of the people of Japan. The pictures are horrifying and the task of cleaning up has to be overwhelming to those involved. On top of everything else that they are going through there is now a probable melt down of a nuclear reactor. This is a worst case scenario gone wild.
There is a tremendous fear of nuclear power because of this potential. But in reality, a place where few live and many never visit, the risks have been proven to be worth it for the 30 plus years that we have been using nuclear power as a producer of electricity. There have been very few incidents that have been of any real threat and it took an 8.9 earthquake and a 35 foot tsunami to cause the problem that exists right now.
So I am watching the news and I hear that the US government is wanting to put a moratorium on building anymore nuclear pants here in the US. One official gave the time frame of 30 years before we would be able to build one again. Couple that with the fact that we stopped all drilling for oil in the US due to one disaster in the gulf and I am remembering the words of candidate Obama who said that under his energy plan the cost of energy would necessarily skyrocket.
I am sorry but our economy is horrible, people can’t find jobs, it cost me nearly $70 to fill my truck the other day and some can’t afford to drive around to look for a job now. Add to that the fact that electricity bills were going up before the Japan incident and now they will rise even more now, and we aren’t even going to be able to afford to plug-in our electric cars that only allow us to drive up to 150 miles on a charge and take almost 8 hours to recharge.
Imagine if Thomas Edison was operating under the same conditions when he was building the light bulb and for every failure he had he was told to stop working on the project for 30 years. We would all still be in the dark. What if after the first automobile accident we decided to wait 30 years to build cars? We would still be riding horses. What if after every time your child wrecked on their bicycle we made them not ride again or if they missed a math problem we told them not to try anymore?
America is great because we looked failure in the eye and said “you will not keep us from achieving greatness.” Failure and accidents and even death are part of the risks of freedom and America. The biggest melt down that I worry about is the melt down of the American way of life that brought us through oppression, depression, and wars.
I thank God that after Jesus was wrongly convicted and crucified that his believers did not take the stance of politicians today. They did not decide that it was best to wait 30 years and study the cost and how and why a life was lost for the salvation of humanity. Even at the loss of many of their own lives they encouraged the preaching of the Gospel, no matter the risk or cost because the greater good justifies the sacrifice that was made.
Let’s stop having a melt down of sound thinking and put America on the path of greatness once again.
God bless America! PLEASE!