Posts tagged ‘better’

May 21, 2012

Be Careful of Pride

by pastortimfowler

 http://www.creationswap.com/cottagedesign

As you have heard in the past, I pastor an incredible church. I try not to say that too often because they will get big heads and start thinking that I like them. Then they would expect me to keep saying nice things about them. Anyway, this weekend was great. We are very blessed to have a place where our folks can feel good about bringing their friends who don’t go to church. Every week we have new faces in the crowd because someone is bringing friends. As a pastor, this is both refreshing and humbling.
This Sunday we were privileged to get to baptize 5 people. For a church our size, about 150, it is unusual to see so many baptized at once, but we do this quite often. So far this year we have baptized over 25 people. We had a few others who were scheduled to be dunked but they did not make it due to sickness in the family. I was disappointed.
I am not sure of why I let it bother me but it did. I am thrilled that 5 people were there, but was strangely bothered by those who did not make it. I understood that there was reason they did not come, but it still bothered me. I would like to explain that I have a competitive nature and somehow felt like I was winning a race or something. Even though I still won, I could have done better, if that makes sense.
You see, baptizing people means that people are getting to know Jesus. When people get to know Jesus they accept Him as Savior. When they accept Him as Savior, they no longer go to hell and Satan loses. Take that! Punk! When Satan loses, God gets the glory and when God gets the glory, I like it. But there is still something in me that likes to think I had a part in it. I like to think God has used our church as a small part of His plan. I struggle with the prideful side of this, but I guess it is okay to be proud to be on the winning team.
When God allows us to be part of what He is doing, we must be careful to never forget that without Him there is nothing that really matters. If there is no God, then baptized people just got wet and our church is a place where strange delusions cause people to act weird. But because there is a God, we act weird and dunk people in water because they are professing to know Jesus. Either way I guess it can sound a bit strange.
Pride can take you in ways that you shouldn’t go. It can cause you to think about self and feel pitiful if you don’t get what you want or it can motivate you to do more so that others get what they need. My feeling blah about the folks that did not make it this Sunday was a little of both. I guess I should be careful not to let the negative side of pride get the best of me. There are many churches out there would be thrilled to baptize 5 people in a whole year, and I got to do it in one Sunday morning. WOOHOO!

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April 17, 2012

Children Deserve Better

by pastortimfowler

Parents today have a hard time raising children. They can’t do what they want to do without fear of government intervention. Schools can’t do what they need to do because of fears of lawsuits and lose of funding, and that only leaves grandparents as the source of hope, and we can’t keep the kids long enough to straighten them out.
I heard on the news today about a 6-year-old girl who was handcuffed by the police because she was pitching a fit at school. She was throwing things in the office and turning over bookcases. When I did that as a kid, no one called the police. The principal grabbed me and busted my butt with a paddle and then called my dad who took me home and busted my butt with a belt. Six year olds don’t need the police called on them, they need what I got if they act out like that.
As I watched the news story about this event, of course they had an expert come on and make excuses for the kid. She said the girl probably had ADHD or PBDO, or some pshyco-babble disorder that needed to be understood and the schools needed to be better equipped to handle this. So we need psychologists and a police station in the elementary school? I think that if we better equip principles with wooden paddles we could solve a couple of problems. First, six-year olds would think twice about showing off like that because, and I speak with experience, paddles hurt, and kids would start wearing their pants up around their waist to provide a little protection from when they misbehaved.
When I heard that the police were called to handle this problem, I immediately thought that it would have been a good day to be a bank robber in that town. While our police force was handling the important job of raising children, bank robbers could be doing their thing with less of a chance of getting caught. I can only imagine when that police officer was growing up he was thinking about becoming a cop so that he could protect the world against six-year-old girls in elementary school. I would love to know when they would schedule that training at the police academy. Do they put it before or after what to do if a bank robber pulls a gun on you?
Children do not need to be abused. But they also don’t need to be handcuffed. Most of them do not need a psychologist either, unless this is repeated over and over again. They may just need a paddle across butt and the promise of another one if they do it again. Too many parents are trying to be anything but a parent to their children and too many schools are trying too hard not to be a place where kids get their little feelings hurt. Adults have a responsibility to teach children that there are authority figures in the world that deserve our respect. Children need to know that bad behavior has serious consequences from mom and dad or the principal. They need to know that they do have to mind and they do have to follow rules. If they don’t learn it as a six-year-old, they won’t learn it as an adult. It is kids who don’t learn this early in life that end up needing to be in handcuffs as adults. But they do not need to be handcuffed as a six-year-old who is just pitching a temper tantrum.
Our children deserve better.

November 8, 2011

Faith and Doubt

by pastortimfowler

If only it were easy to have great faith and never doubt. I was asked to blog about these so let’s see how it goes. First let me give a non-biblical definition of the two words. from our old friend, Webster’s.
Faith- a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
Doubt- a : to lack confidence in : distrust <find myself doubting him even when I know that he is honest — H. L. Mencken> b : to consider unlikely <I doubt if I can go>
Humans are sinful creatures by nature and sin causes a separation from God. That in turn causes a trust issue, or our faith is challenged and doubt kicks in. When humans look at something or someone, it is very easy for us to pick out their faults. If you put a small dot in the middle of a sheet of white paper and ask people what they see, they will automatically be focus on the small dot and not pay any attention to the large amount of unblemished paper. We look at our kids report cards and see a “C” when the rest of the grades are “A’s” and “B’s”. We look at our spouse not putting the lid on the toothpaste but overlook the years of providing for the family. So keeping in stride with that, we want to look at God and see flaws because things aren’t going our way, and we forget that there are no flaws in God. We are flawed, due to sin.
It is hard to trust someone who thinks that they are better than you. We want to “show them”. But God does not think that He is better than us, He is better than us. He made us and knows us and most importantly, He loves us. There is nothing that He asks us to do that will not be the best for us, even if we don’t understand it. That is where faith and doubt collide.
Doubt is that lack of confidence in God. The “I don’t understand” factor. Doubt says “me” when faith says “God”. We often doubt things that we are new at or are learning about. A child doubts that he can read a book, but loving parents encourage and help the child to overcome doubt with confidence. A teen doubts that they will pass the driver’s license test, but loving parents encourage and teach. Soon we are reading without thinking about it and driving while texting. We now have turned our doubts into faith.
Faith is not some mystical characteristic that only Moses and Jesus had. Faith is trust. The more you do what God says and see that the outcome is what He promised, the more our faith is built. I learned to ride a bike when I was 4 years old. For a while, I doubted my ability to not crash. As years went by and crashes did happen, I had more and more faith in my ability to avoid the crashes. Last year I got a bike and decided to ride it. I had not been on a bike for years, but my faith in my ability to ride was there because I had ridden a bike so many times before.
Like everything else that we do in life, our Christian faith must be something that grows with experience. We must start out with the basics and we must learn to trust God and resist allowing our doubts to scare us away from ever trusting Him. I could have easily never ridden a bike again after my first crash. Doubt could have said that I would never ride without getting hurt. But encouragement from those who had ridden kept me moving towards my faith in the bike. That is the important thing about church and being around other believers who are more mature and will encourage us when we have those moments of doubt. Having someone there to point us back to the fact that God loves us and has our best interest at heart is a major factor in building our faith. Faith never starts out strong in anything that we do. For some reason we freak out when our Christian faith waivers. But we shouldn’t.
God loves us unconditionally. He is our Father in Heaven and is very patient with our doubts and fears. He has given us His word that He will never leave us and never disown us. Having faith in that is a great place to gain confidence. God knows that we are sinful. He allowed Jesus to take our penalty for us so that we could have His forgiveness and unfailing love.
Our first battle with faith and doubt is all about salvation. When you are confident in your salvation, you can begin to be confident in other things of God. That is why God made salvation simple and totally of His doing, not our own. That way our doubts don’t screw it up. Never forget this verse when it comes to faith:

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.
Be patient as your faith grows and before you know it, you will be doing whatever God asks, no doubt. I am not sure if this will make as much sense to you as it did to me, but my old pastor told me this: Doubt your doubts, not your beliefs.

June 15, 2011

Better Than Anything

by pastortimfowler

I am reading through the book of Hebrews in the New Testament now and this can be a challenging book to read and understand. I love it. I think it is one of the most important writings of the Bible because it clearly lays out the deity of Jesus Christ and our need to put Him above all else. The main theme that sums up Hebrews is this: Jesus is better. Better than angels, better than prophets, better than Moses, better than anything!
Every time I read it I am forced to rethink how I respond to being told that Jesus is better than anything. Most Christians will have no problem agreeing with that premise in word but we have a hard time agreeing with it in actions. So I want to challenge you to think about whether or not you truly believe that Jesus is better by how you live your lives. Trust me, I am only writing from experience in my own life. If we take this as a challenge and try to act on it in a positive way, there is no telling how God may turn around and show us His better side.
Let’s start with one that my wife will have to deal with. Jesus better than coffee
When we need to get our day started, do you reach for Jesus or make coffee? So often I hear that people don’t have time to read the Bible, the words of Jesus and His instructions for life, but we always have time to make coffee. Right now some are saying, not me, I drive through Starbucks to get my coffee. So is that not at least an extra 5 minutes? I am not a great reader and certainly not a speed reader, but I can read any number of Psalms and even a whole chapter of most books in 5 minutes. Jesus is better than coffee because He is the source of our strength and wisdom and if we drink from His word, we get eternal life, not life that ends in a crash ’cause the caffeine has worn off.
Jesus is better than Facebook.
I love Facebook. I love reading about people who are riding to work in heavy traffic and can’t handle the stress that comes from just getting to that job, much less that job. But let me ask you this, would it be better to risk your life to post on Facebook all your frustrations and risk crashing or would it be better to talk to Jesus, since you are not getting anywhere fast anyway? Maybe instead of telling the world about your problems, and they can only post something cute and sarcastic back, what about telling Jesus your cares and see if He responds. I am sure that what He will tell you will be better than what I may post on your wall.
Jesus is better than your opinion.
I know that we have all heard the opinions are like things we all have, however the problem is that often our opinions are based on what is popular and not what Jesus would really say if He was asked. We need to be ever mindful of the fact that the only time some people will ever hear from Jesus is when we are talking. So if what we are saying isn’t biblical, then it can’t help. We need to be more concerned with helping others than we are helping our own popularity. Jesus cares about others and wants us to share that care through giving better advice than when we preface what we say with “I know this is only my opinion, but…” So if you add another “t” to but and put a hole in it, you get the value of your opinion and Jesus is better than that.
Jesus should be the center of our lives. He is better than everything else, but what we think is that He wants us to give up everything else. I don’t think that is true. If we can make time for Jesus, He will make your coffee time better. If we make time for talking to Jesus, he will make those traffic jams seem better. If we will make our opinions less important than God’s word, Jesus will make our opinions better.
Jesus made me better by forgiving my sin and placing a new desire in my heart. I need to follow that desire and allow Him to continue to make the things I do better so that others know the He is better. But it is hard to believe that Jesus is better than anything when we act like anything is better than Jesus.