Posts tagged ‘believers’

September 19, 2012

Redistributing Wealth

by pastortimfowler

give

I heard on the news this morning that Pres. Obama said that he believed in redistributing wealth. DUH! He has said that for many years. Why is it news now? I too believe in redistributing wealth, but of a different kind. Let me explain.
Socialism is the act of taking from those who have much and giving to those who have little. It sounds noble, but it leaves out the fact that there is only so much you can take from someone before they have nothing left to generate wealth with. It does take money to make money. Our government believes this and that is why they propose stimulus packages. Pretty soon those who had money and could make money lose that ability and then there is no one to provide jobs that pay a living wage. It won’t matter what the minimum wage law is, if you don’t have people to hire others, there just won’t be anyone with money. This is what happened to Cuba and is happening in Europe.
But there is a source of wealth that is never-ending. It is the riches of Heaven and of God. He has told all of His believers to give and give abundantly. Give to the poor and it will be given to you. Perhaps this is an area of neglect by the church that has motivated governments to try to step in a help. If the church and its people gave like God says give, we would not need government welfare. But giving should be an act of love not a mandate of government.
Jesus did not from those who had much to give to those who had little. All through the Bible when God asked people to give, it was those who were poor. The widow and her son were asked to give to Elijah. The boy with a couple of fish and some bread was asked give. The widow gave the most because she gave a penny. Jesus took what those who gave in faith and in love and multiplied it and redistributed out of His power, not the power of the all mighty dollar or a government.
Christians need to trust in God’s provisions. We need to be those who redistribute the wealth, but not our own; God’s.
Luke 6:38…Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.”

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April 25, 2012

Personal Suffering

by pastortimfowler

Wow. I asked for some blog ideas yesterday and got quite a few suggestions. One of the questions has to do with personal suffering. This is something that most of us can relate to and there is much controversy over its place in the Christian community. The reason that I am responding to this one first is because I have had several people ask questions about this in the last week.
First place to start is why do we suffer stuff like sickness and disease? The simple answer is easy; sin. When God created Adam and Eve He intended for them to live forever. He told them that if they disobeyed that it would bring on death, and in that, pain and suffering. As we all know, they disobeyed and God kept His word. From that time on, pain and suffering were a part of our lives. As humanity reproduced, the sin nature is passed from generation to generation and therefore, we have and always will have pain and suffering.
This does not mean that God does not care about our physical well-being. However many churches make their claim to fame as one of healing the physical ailments of believers. Jesus was very compassionate when it came to those who were sick and lame. He healed them and committed much of His earthly time to this. But He healed more people who did not believe than those who already believed because He was dealing mainly with the Jews, they required miraculous signs to believe. (1Cor 1:22) Even in the early church when the Apostles performed miracles, most often it was to the unbeliever.
But God has never promised that we would always be healed of our physical ailments. In fact, even the Apostle Paul had physical ailments and wrote to the church about ways to help when they were physically sick. Not even Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead, was given permanent physical healing. One of the reasons for physical ailments in believers is so that we learn to depend on God’s grace to be sufficient. That is what God told Paul about his “thorn is the side”.
Jesus was asked why a boy was physically impaired and whether or not it  was because of his mother’s or father’s sin. Jesus told them that it was neither, but rather it was for God’s glory. Of course Jesus healed the boy and God was glorified, but still, the point was not that the ailment was a curse, just a fact of life. God wants us to ask Him for anything that we are concerned about. He does still heal today, but not everyone. Not even Jesus healed everyone that He came in contact with. So there is no promise of physical healing.
Many quote, and wrongly so, this verse from Isaiah, that says, by his stripes we are healed. They forget the rest of it. Isaiah 53:5 … But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. It was for our spiritual healing that He bled and died, not our physical. Way too many Christians become disappointed with God when they believe otherwise. We have the promise of eternal life, not this physical life.
Sadly, our society teaches us that if we don’t look like someone on a magazine cover that we are flawed. If we weigh more than this or don’t have muscles that show every detail, or our breasts are not the right size, or our hair is not bald, (I added that for me), them we are not right. But God made us unique and special to Him. The beauty that He sees is not on the outside, He looks on the inside. He sees the intent of the heart and loves us unconditionally.
Jesus said it best: John 16:33 …These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

April 11, 2012

What Does That Word Mean?

by pastortimfowler

I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to people using words that don’t mean what they think it does or perhaps they have no clue what they mean but they are trying to sound smart. I had a professor one time use the word flabbergasted as he was trying to tell us how good it would feel to be healed completely after you met Jesus. I thought the word meant something negative but it was in fact proper use of it because it means to be overcome with astonishment.
There are lots of words that people use because they hear them on TV or in a song or in a conversation. The word surreal is one that I hear a lot and I don’t think it is always used properly. I hear it in about every interview on the news when something happens that people think is special. It may be close, but not what the intent of the word is supposed to be. I have a friend who got in the habit of using the word phenomenal. Everything that was better than normal was phenomenal, but if that was so, then nothing would really be phenomenal.
Lately there is a word used by our president that bothers me. It is not a hard word, but I don’t think he is using it correctly; fair. The word fair means free from bias and so how can you tax someone more than others for any reason and call it fair? Usually it is used when talking about the rich not paying their fair share. But how can anything be fair if there is bias based on income? What about those of us who don’t have minor children? We pay more in taxes than someone who make the same wages who has minor children. Is that fair? And my biggest question of all is who elected anyone for the purpose of telling me how much of my money I need to give them to spend on fairness?
If you want to be fair, perhaps we should use a standard percentage for everyone to pay no matter how much they earn. 20%, and that is not the amount I am suggesting, would be the same percentage for someone who make $10,000 per year or $10,000,000 per year. That would be fair. And forget about deductions for children or houses or anything else, just pay your percentage and it will be fair.
There are very few things in this world that are fair. I find fairness in the Bible. God says that all believers should give 10% of their income. No matter if that is a penny or millions of dollars, 10% is the standard and it is fair. It teaches that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness. Everyone will have to either die for their sins or accept Jesus’ death for their sins. That is fair. Anyone can be forgiven, no matter the sin or amount of sins and the fair thing that God requires is that everyone ask to be forgiven believing that Jesus died for our sins. God has no favorites and it is not His will that even one soul perish, but that all should come to know His great love and forgiveness. That is surreal. That is flabbergasting. It is phenomenal. It is fair.

April 9, 2012

Seeing is Believing

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34827444@N08/3706533015

Shortly after Jesus rose from the grave, He went to see His disciples. One of them, Thomas, who had not seen Him yet, told the others that he would not believe until He saw Jesus for himself. My associate pastor preached our Sonrise service Easter and asked the question, have your seen Jesus. Sadly many do not believe because they have not seen. Jesus was quoted as saying , blessed are those who believe and have not seen. He was talking to Thomas, the doubter, about how he saw the resurrected Jesus and believed but others would have to believe without seeing Him physically.
When we started our church 7 years ago we wanted to name it something that represented what and who the church should be and so we called it, The Body. 1 Corinthians 12:27 You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it. This is speaking about the group of believers called the church. We are to be the body of Christ to the world who cannot see Jesus as Thomas and the other disciples did.
Our theme song is from a group called Casting Crowns, titled, If We are The Body. It asks the questions that if we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching, hands healing, words teaching? The point of the song is that unless people see Christ in His church, they are not going to believe that He is alive. If people outside of the church can’t see the love of Christ in us who are the church, then they may never see the love of Christ at all.
My old pastor told me that the church was not a country club for saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. When we act as if we are the privileged few instead of the fortunate forgiven, people can get really turned off by this whole Jesus thing. The church must remember that we are nothing without Christ and with Him and only because of Him are we anything. His death on the cross was to pay the sin penalty for everyone who will believe and His resurrection was to give us a life that we can’t have without Him. But we have a responsibility to share this message with others and do it in a way that people believe. In other words, we must act enough like Jesus for people to see Him before they see us.
Thomas gets a bad rap for his doubt. Every time you hear someone called a doubting Thomas they are referring to the Thomas of the Bible. But Thomas was at least honest enough to say he did not truly believe. Jesus did not condemn him for that. Instead Jesus offered to let Thomas touch His wounds. If you think about it, Jesus could have acted like He had never been hurt and tried to show Thomas how godly He was, but He didn’t. Instead He showed Thomas how much His past hurt Him and how human He was. That is why God became a man. To show us that He understands us. Everyone in the Jewish world knew about the God in Heaven who could not be touched. Jesus was God on earth so that He could be touched.
So the church needs to remember that we are not the God of Heaven who is holier than all, but rather we are the Body of Christ, who is every bit as human as the next guy and every bit loving as the Christ who died on a cross for our sin. We have been hurt and sometimes still hurt. We have fallen down and sometimes still do. But we get back up and not even death can keep us down, because Jesus defeated death and has given us the victory over it. But life must still go on and the world needs to see a church that loves unconditionally and gives unselfishly and never forgets that God wants to use us to represent Jesus to the world. We must never forget that some may still need to see to believe.