Posts tagged ‘biblical’

January 8, 2013

Where Did They Come From?

by pastortimfowler

SONY DSC

In Genesis chapter four we are introduced to Adam and Eve’s two son’s. Every time I read about their story of envy and murder I am reminded that parenting has never been easy and maybe, just maybe, I did okay, ’cause none of my kids killed the other; yet. There are a couple of things that we are told in this chapter that make people ask questions so I figure I will give my explanation. The first is, after Cain murdered Able, it almost seems like God gave him a really light punishment and even offered him protection. The second and probably the one I am asked about the most, is, where did Cain and Able’s wives come from? Both answers have a common answer. Let me explain.
The easy answer, but less acceptable answer for many is the one about the wives. They married their sisters. The other answer helps to make this more understandable and I will offer some biblical evidence for my answer as well.
Let me give an analogy to set the tone. In America there are laws against speeding. I have seen some speed limits as low as 15MPH. It is a known fact that horses can run faster than 15MPH. But when the cowboys were running around in early America on horses running faster than 15MPH, none of them were given tickets for speeding because there was no law against speeding. Sadly, today we have little regard for speed limits and the severity of this analogy is not the same as murder, or even incest, but, if there is no law, even if it is something wrong, there can be no punishment.
Now Adam and Eve were punished for their disobedience. They were told not to eat of that tree. But there were no other laws given. There was an awareness of right and wrong, but no law specifying individual deeds as sin. Romans 5:13Sin was in the world before there were any laws. But no record of sin can be kept when there are no laws. This is what explains the murder being treated with kid gloves, and can explain the “sister act” of Cain and Able’s marriage.
Today we have laws against incest. We also have medical evidence of the dangers of incest. But there are a couple of other things about Cain and Able’s situation that we must keep in mind. And there are some Biblical truths that we must remember as well.
Cain and Able’s generation was the first from Adam and the effects of sin on the human body were not as bad yet as we know them today. For several generations after Adam, humans lived upwards of 900 years. After the flood in Noah’s day, the lifespan of mankind was quickly limited to about 120 years, by God’s say so and the accumulating effects of sin which is what brought us death and disease. So the medical reasons for not having incest were not yet in place and there was no law against it yet.
There are two times in the Bible where marrying close relatives was necessary, or the Bible is false. Cain and Able and Noah’s family after the flood.
Many question whether or not God made other humans and they were the wives. Not according to the Bible. Genesis 3:20 Adam named his wife Eve [Life] because she became the mother of every living person. Adam and Eve lived over 900 years and could have many babies in that time. They were fully mature at creation and could have started having kids right away. There was not even many causes of head-aches then, so that excuse did not exist to not make babies. And we are told that sin entered into the world by one man, Adam, and was forgiven by one man, Jesus.
So that is where they came from.

Advertisements
November 13, 2012

Extra Marital Affairs

by pastortimfowler

VANESSA & MICKEY-1068b

It has been all over the news lately about the CIA director resigning because of an extra marital affair. It was said that there were tens of thousands of emails that were sent between him and the woman. This has me worried. Does the director of the CIA not know that emails are not a secure form of communication? That aside, it breaks my heart to hear about this.
A good friend of mine and at the time a mentor, had an affair and it cost him his marriage and church. It really blew me away when I found out about it because he was my pastor. The only reason I am tell you this is because this stuff can happen to anyone if you are not careful. Sexual temptations are the toughest, especially for men, and it seems to be almost as difficult for women. I say that because everyone I know who had an affair did it with someone of the opposite sex. The marriage relationship is precious and delicate. What seems to happen is that it gets to the point of being mundane and callused and this is dangerous.
In a world where people get their feelings hurt for the stupidest of reasons, we have a tendency to take our marriages for granted. Marriage is a continual and demanding work. And, since the wedding vows say that marriage is until death, the work should never stop. Sadly we have made marriage very disposable and are not willing to work as diligently to keep our marriage together as we are to get to the point of getting married.
Most extra marital affairs begin with seemingly harmless conversation. Rarely is there a sexual encounter that starts things off. This usually happens because the conversation at home has become less than engaging. We come home after a full day at work and the conversation consists of; “How was your day?” “Fine”. How was yours?” “Fine”. Meanwhile the person at work that is potentially getting a promotion, laid off, or is working on a project with you, is talking in great detail all day. So rekindle the conversation. Flirt with your spouse. Don’t allow ‘fine’ to be the whole answer. Knowing the stress of your spouse or the joy of the spouse allows for you to keep that emotional bond in tact. It is those emotional bonds that become strained and eventually broke that leads to an affair.
Find a couple that has a strong marriage that has been married a few years longer than you. We all need a mentor and a marriage mentor can help when things are getting tough. Developing a relationship with someone who has a long and successful marriage is a great way have some support and encouragement when things are tough and everyone else is telling you to quit. We have people in our lives that help us at work, at play, and financially, so why not a marriage coach? All those others things seem to fall apart when the marriage does.
Most importantly, make your marriage line up with the biblical guidelines for marriage. Before you start thinking negatively, maybe you should read it. The old complaint of wives obeying husbands is not what you probably think it is. God instituted marriage before He even started the church. It is His precious gift to man. There are promises of health, wisdom, long life to those who have a biblical marriage.
No, this does not make for a flawless marriage, but it makes for a forgiving marriage. And it makes for a marriage that both agree to certain ground rules that are not flexible. We do very few things in life that have such lackadaisical guidelines and yet is so important to everything else we do. But a biblical marriage can be a strong and long-lasting marriage and when followed with integrity can be affair proof.
If your marriage is struggling, get help. If it is not, help others. No, the national security may not be on the line, but your sanity certainly may be. And when your marriage is strong and happy, so many other things tend to line up as well.

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26015375@N06/3914730774/

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

May 18, 2012

That Loving Feeling

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3281711078/

Falling in love is a weird term. It isn’t biblical nor is it something that really happens. Growing in love would be a better term. Yet Hollywood and TV land are constantly making shows that tell the story of two people who meet and know from the start that they are in love. (Yawn). I have experienced lust at first sight, and that happened more than once, but never love at first sight. There are many who will probably argue with me on this one, but far too often we confuse love and lust. And, most people have no idea of what love really is. Dictionary.com gives this definition for love. A noun; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I don’t care for the definition as a stand alone meaning, but even this can’t happen at first meeting. The Bible gives this meaning for love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end…
Certainly, this doesn’t happen at first sight.
This brings up the other side of the argument, can you fall out of love? I say no. There are a couple of reasons for my answer. First, the biblical definition of love says that love never ends. Now this is based on pure love, God’s type of love. Not a lustful, self-centered love, but one that is sacrificial and serving of others. The Bible says that God is love. Because of that, we have the ability to love like Him. This is the perfect love that never ends. God never stops loving. Some may say this isn’t true because God punishes sin, but like a father punishes a son that he loves, God does so too. God’s love is extended to every human on earth that ever has, is, or will live. This is done through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins. Sadly, many are blinded by misinterpretations of God’s word and ignorance of the total concept of the Bible, and never see this love. But for any who will seek Him, love can be found.
This type love is extended through married couples and families. This is another reason that I say you don’t fall out of love. A mother loves a child. If that child grows to be a mass murderer, the mother still loves the child. Sure she can be disappointed and ashamed, but she does not stop loving the child. This love is deeply engrained in who a mother is. Her love is not conditional, it is a part of her very being.
My parents were married for 21 years when they got a divorce. My dad was an alcoholic and became abusive. Finally, my mother couldn’t stand it any longer and filed for divorce. They did the typical divorce couple fights and said mean, hateful things about each other. Many years later, when my mother died of cancer, my dad cried like a baby at her funeral. He told me that he never stopped loving her, but that he had allowed his love for her to become inactive due to drinking.
My mother told me several times before she died that she still loved my dad. She said the love that used to show in their relationship stopped being nurtured and so it stagnated. She said that after years of wanting to feel the love flow and not being able to caused her to lose hope, but not love.
We must be very careful to not let love become defined as warm fuzzy feelings. We must constantly work to show love so that is doesn’t become stagnant. Stagnant waters are where disease and filth tend to gather. Love is far too beautiful for that to happen. Love must be given away as freely as we want to receive it. It can never become a one way street or we will risk becoming stagnant.
There is a great old song that is sung in many a karaoke parties called, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. You can lose the feeling, but love never ends.
Don’t let the ones you love, lose that loving feeling.

December 31, 2011

No More This Year

by pastortimfowler

I have decided that this will be the last blog that I do for the rest of the year. I figure that I will start back sometime next year. Please be patient and don’t panic. For my last blog of 2011, I thought it would be good to say thanks to everyone who has read any of my blogs and share a few last thoughts for the year.
I do read every bit of feedback that I get. I do not post every reply because some are not appropriate to be posted on a church website, where all of my blogs are posted. Some are simply personal and other are redundant. But I do read and appreciate your feedback.
This year was the first time that I have ever attempted to blog on a regular basis. It has been quite challenging to not get repetitive and to continually come up with something worth reading. Some of you are waiting patiently for that to happen still. I have found some of the best ideas for blogs come from you guys. Many this year have come from one particular friend who loves to challenge me and I think that she likes to give topics that she knows that I will get blasted for. I do enjoy the challenge and I hope that next year more people will offer suggestions for topics. As you can tell, I don’t shy away from many, even though I probably should.
It has been my goal to be honest, biblical, and funny. To challenge you to think outside of what is comfortable and to learn from the things that others respond back with. I try hard to state plainly when it is an opinion and I try even harder to not offend, although that is virtually impossible. I do wish that some people would not get so uptight about things that are clearly one person’s opinion or even an attempt at humor. Humor is one of my favorite tools, no matter how lame the attempt.
My life has been a roller coaster of experience from one extreme to the other. Through it all, God has been very merciful and has not yet killed me for being stupid from time to time. Instead, He has allowed me to learn from my mistakes, given me an abundance of chances to change for the better, I hope. I believe that it is God that motivates me to share my life and thoughts through these blogs and I will do my best to always give Him the WOOHOO’s that He deserves.
Thanks again for reading. 2011 was pretty good, 2012 is going to be great!

December 19, 2011

Christmas meal

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday was our church’s annual Christmas meal and this has become one of my favorite things about our church. We take all the chairs that normally form a semi-circle seating pattern for worship and set up tables and chairs for a family style eating extravaganza. Extravaganza is one of my favorite, but least used words in my vocabulary. The men and women of the church cook turkey and ham and all the favorite holiday type foods that you can imagine and after a brief, yet wonderful sermon, we eat and laugh and hang out until most of the food is gone. Then those who are able, load people into wheelbarrows and take them out back to sleep it off.
Our church is my family. No, I am not dissing my wife and kids, but this is a special relationship that we all share and it is truly family. We share food, share laughter and share tears. No one is left alone and everyone does their part of making it all work. Like in most families, there is always the grumpy person and the weird aunt or uncle that everyone tries not to act like we are avoiding, but other than that we can’t get enough of this special fellowship.
God wants His people to have a closeness. We are told that people will know that we are His because of how we love each other. I don’t think that there would be much doubt of that if you were to have been there yesterday. And, I can proudly say that most anytime that you visit, you will find the same love among the people. None of us are “holier than thou” and many of us are as “messed up as thou” and that makes it easy to find common ground.
As in most churches, there are always a handful who work hard to manage the chaos and organize the efforts. Those who did it this time are amazing in how well it was done and the love at which they used to bring us all together. It was not just a list of things to do but an effort to think of how people’s needs would be met. I believe the biblical term would be ministry, which means serving, which Jesus says makes you great, and I can only say that there were some great people organizing this whole thing.
The day did not end when the meal was over. Lots of folks stayed to help with the clean up. After that, many of the guys and youth stayed to watch football as many of the moms took the younger kids to see Santa. They are the brave souls in the crowd.
Later that night our youth had their Christmas party and another group of servants showed their greatness to make that happen. With nearly twenty youth and a handful of adults, the music was loud, the games were wild and the family was happy. I was the smartest of all; I went home after welcoming them and opening the party in prayer.
Christmas is a special time and can be difficult to those who don’t have family. Some people are alone because they have moved, other because of hardship. Some have been shunned by family and friends and others have condemned themselves because of past experiences. My plea is that you not allow the past to ruin the future. God can and will forgive you for whatever the past holds. God will provide a place and people for you to celebrate if you chose to seek it. I would like to invite you to be a part of my family and our celebration of God’s great love. We don’t judge, we don’t condemn, we don’t exclude. We are The Body, A Church for Anybody, and especially you.
Merry Christmas!

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.

July 26, 2011

This Will Be Tough

by pastortimfowler

Day two of the return from vacation and it is like I was never gone, except for this huge back-log of stuff that needs to be done because everyone else did not take vacation the same time that I did. I think next time it should be mandatory that we all take vacation at the same time, and that way no one will come back and be behind.
While I was gone I was praying about my next series that I will be preaching. I have struggled from day one of having the thoughts that perhaps this is where God wants me to spend some time teaching and preaching. I have even questioned the fact that this was the direction that God was leading because I was having such a difficult time with it. Then it dawned on me that I was about to preach the most incredible series that God has ever allowed me to preach and that was why I was struggling so much. You see, I believe with all my heart that Satan does not want this series to happen.
Even as I am writing this blog, I am not 100% sure of the exact direct that God is going to take me or even how long the series will be, but I do know that it is biblical, bold, and basic. The series if about how we deal with the truth. The truth is so simple, so easy, so basic, but yet everyone messes it up.
From the beginning of time, the truth has been challenged. If you are reading this as someone who does not believe in God, you still deal with this struggle only from a different angle, but in the beginning of human’s existing on earth, the truth was twisted to deceive us. For those who don’t believe in God, your struggle is who decides what is true. But either way, truth exists and when we stray from it, we get into all sorts of dilemmas.
Some say that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that truth is somehow relevant. My argument is that there has to be at least one absolute truth, even in that argument. Here it is; it has to be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. I don’t want to linger here, maybe another blog.
I want to challenge Christians to live the truth. If you believe that God’s word is true, then we must live like it is true, and if you are a Christian that doesn’t believe that, you can’t be sure that you are a Christian at all. Trusting anything but the truth is dangerous. All lies are for someone else’s benefit, not yours. The truth is for the good of everyone and I say that because Jesus says that He is the truth.
I ask for Christians to pray for me as I study and preach this series. I ask you to pray that you are able to not just hear the truth but to trust it enough to do it. In the Bible, James tells us that without doing what we hear from God’s word we are just fooling ourselves. I would love for you to hear this series and I normally don’t do this, but if you are not in the Rock Hill, SC area, you can listen to it online. All of our sermons are posted within a couple of days after they are preached and often they are posted that Sunday. Go to http://www.thebodylive.com and listen to this. It will be tough, but it will be, the truth.