Posts tagged ‘blessed’

October 10, 2012

What Are You Doing?

by pastortimfowler

I am very blessed to be serving in a church where people “get it”. Last week, many of those who serve in our children’s ministry and greeter ministry as well as our music ministry were away on Sunday and yet the church did not fall to pieces. The reason is that others did not hesitate to step up and fill in where needed. Every Sunday our church functions in ways that I can only describe as incredible. For a church our size, we do more than other churches two and three times our size do and this is a testament to the people who attend.
Sure there are those who have not found their place yet and there are others who have not found the motivation yet and there are still those who don’t care yet, but they are few and they are being taught otherwise. I always ask people what are they doing and if they say nothing or I don’t know, I try to find them something to do. You see, we want people who act like the own the place not members who think that they deserve a staff to meet their every need. This is how God wants us to view the church. In fact we are told that we are God’s building blocks in the church and that we are His co-workers in building the church. There is no place in the Bible that teaches us to join in membership with privileges.
I don’t know where you attend or if you attend a church on Sunday morning. If you are attending somewhere, are you serving? Do you have a reason to be there outside of “doing your weekly sacrifice to God”? If you don’t show up, do people miss you? If you didn’t find someone to fill in, would things go undone? Every church member should evaluate their importance in the church as workers and not attenders. We are to let our good works shine before others and glorify God. If you don’t have a place to get involved, perhaps all you need to do is ask. But if you are told there is nothing needed, try picking up trash that no one else will or sprucing up the bathrooms just before church starts or maybe do something as simple as greeting everyone with a smile and a friendly “hello”.
If you don’t go to church and you are thinking about it, look for a place that has needs. Look for a place that you can offer to use your talents and then get involved. It will make getting to know others and getting to know God a lot easier. It will help you to feel needed and wanted and you might even help others who would not attend because of something you are willing to do that “regular” church people won’t, don’t, and haven’t thought about doing.
Make it your priority to be missed if you aren’t there. Train others to do what you do and do it better than anyone else. Serve God with the gifts and talents that He gave you and you will find joy and satisfaction at whatever church you attend. I know that as a pastor I sure do appreciate those who get involved in serving at my church. We are growing and new folks are coming every week. I would love to say it is because the pastor is such an awesome dude, but, I don’t need too. I mean, I am only doing my part. Others are the ones who make it the friendly and welcoming place where they feel safe and excited about bringing their friends and family.
If your pastor hasn’t asked you lately, then let me…What are you doing?

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September 18, 2012

Miraculas Faith

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62533788@N02/7846245072/

When was the last time you saw a miracle? For Christians, we talk about miracles all the time and do get a chance to see them. For the most part we see people healed who have no explanation, situations that seem hopeless, all of a sudden become blessings, or that relationship that was over is now mended. In our church we have seen babies born who were said would not be and a foot that was scheduled to be amputated due to diabetes suddenly turn pink and healthy, and we have seen our share of just totally unexplainable stuff that we give God credit for. But those things seem to, over time, fade in the level of excitement and we all but forget about them until someone like me brings them up as a reminder.
God is all-powerful and does do those type of miracles and more. But that is not what He wants us to focus on. From the beginning of time God has shown His miracle-working power and it has never held the people’s attention much longer than it took for the next problem to come up. But God did not and does not stop doing the impossible, only because He loves us and, I think there is part of it that goes without saying, if you could do those type things, you just would. What God wants us to focus on is His words. What God says should be as good to those who believe in Him as the miracles we give Him credit for. But trusting in God’s word is tough for us because some of what He says goes against our egos and our own desire to be rebellious.
One of the greatest miracles I have ever had happen to me was in my finances. We had begun to trust God’s word and what it says about giving, particularly tithing or giving 10% of our income. It wasn’t long after that time that we experienced a severe reduction in income. The first thought was to cut back on giving and pay our bills, but we remembered God’s instructions to believers about giving from the first of what we made and we decide to act in faith. If we did what God says do, then He has to honor what He says. Without going into a long story of details, let me just say that our finances were blessed. A miracle, I believe so, but most importantly, it was done because of faith in God’s word and His faithfulness to keep His word. I can tell you several other stories of how faithfulness on our behalf was honored by God acting like God and doing what we could not explain. Some may say that these are not true miracles but rather coincidences and I will only say that God is in control of those too.
My point is this. God has no obligation to do miracles as a reward for our good behavior nor does He have to do them to prove that He exists. God wants a relationship with people and miracles don’t make relationships stronger, trust does. God cannot be proven into existence. He has and always will exist. His miracles in the past did not bring people flocking to Him, His faithfulness did. And that relationship based on faith or trust is what opens the way for Him to do those mind-blowing things that we can’t explain. But if God never did another miracle, would you still trust Him? I would.
I would because I find nothing that He has ever said to be proven wrong. I find plenty that I don’t understand, but nothing wrong. I would because whenever God has said something and I acted on it, the results were exactly what His word says they would be. My marriage is stronger because I follow His guidelines for marriage. My friendships are stronger because I follow His guidelines for friendships. My children all turned out fine (Yes, I know that is open for debate if you know them), because we tried to raise them on God’s guidelines. My church is growing like crazy because we did away with all the bylaws and man’s laws and just started to following the Bible.
The biggest reason for my faith in God’s word is because week after week I see people who are hurting and messed up and just plain weird, decide to trust God for salvation and forgiveness and they in turn bring their friends who eventually have the same experience and so on. I know where I came from. I was not good enough for God to love me, I was so messed up that I was certain that there was no way He could love me, but He did anyway. He forgave me, accepted me, and was patient as I learned to trust Him through the years.
Truly the most miraculous thing about God is faith. If you haven’t seen a miracle, take a step of faith and trust God to forgive you. If you have seen a miracle, don’t forget about it, but look at how often the little things He promises never fail you and build on those. What God does for us is miraculous, but it is all an act of miraculous faith.

July 13, 2012

Still Married And Wanting More

by pastortimfowler

Next week my wife and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. That means I may not be blogging next week because we always take the week off and go somewhere. It is really strange saying that I have been married for 32 years. Most people my age have been married several times and few have that many years with the same person. I still remember when I thought that 30 was old. Now I have been married longer than that. I use to say that my wife married me when I was 12, but that still makes me older than I feel like I want to be.
I have been very blessed. I wish that everyone could experience the type of marriage that I have. I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than when we got married. We are still passionate and fun and learning each other. We love being together and trust each other when we are apart. We laugh, cry, and pray together and have no fears of dying with any regrets of what we could have done together. Our marriage is that special.
Now I don’t want you to think that we don’t have tough times. I tell everyone that my wife is the best of everything for me, including my best fight. No one can make me as angry as she can. But that is because we are passionate. But when we fight, we fight to make us stronger, and when that goes wrong, we forgive to make us humble. In our 32 years we have been on the brink of divorce twice. We have been in marriage counseling and we have been separated. We have been tempted to call it quits, but by the grace of God have never followed through with it. We have suffered through alcohol and drug abuse and self centeredness. We have had plenty of money and great careers and we have both been unemployed and dirt poor. All of these things have worked together to make us stronger.
We use our experiences to help others every chance that we get. We can look young couples in the eyes and tell them that we understand where they are and what they are going through. It brings us great joy to see a couple about to call it quits, turn things around and become stronger than ever.
As a husband, I can honestly say I am the best husband my wife has ever had. She knows this and will be the first to tell you that she has never married anyone that is as good as me. Of course, since I am the only husband she has ever had, I rank number one without any competition. That doesn’t change the fact that I am the best husband she has ever had though.
My wife is incredible. She is extremely smart and has the most incredible patience. She has worked her way to the top in corporate America, ran her own business, and helped to build our church. She has people skills that make her the type of friend that people dream of. As a mom, she is compassionate and nurturing and as a grandmother, or Mimi, she is the one responsible for spoiling the kids beyond repair. Add to all of this, she is unbelievably beautiful and sexy. Yes, I am truly blessed.
So next week, we are heading out to spend a week away from work and church and family and friends. We are going to ride the motorcycle, dine out, watch movies and read books. We are going to forget about the stresses of life and enjoy being together and reflect on how awesome it is to be married to each other. This will mean, no blogs, no Facebook, and no phones.
When we walked down that aisle and said our vows 32 years ago, no one thought that we would make it. Our dads even made bets about how quickly it would end. They said that we would never make it because we were too young and I was too messed up. They were correct about me, but God does work miracles. I was so happy to get married that day. It was the best thing that I could have ever done. I am happily and joyfully married and can’t wait to see what is coming in year 33 together and beyond.
Happy Anniversary to my bride and girl of my wildest dreams. Thanks for loving me and letting me love you.
I am still married and wanting more!

July 12, 2012

It IS About Me

by pastortimfowler

Most of them are good attitudes, but from time to time, some attitudes get negative, including my own. This is the third line from yesterday’s blog. Why did I start with it today? Because I have been blasted from people telling me that it was inappropriate to talk about other people like that. DUH…It IS about me. I was saying that even a beloved pastor can get self-centered and if I can do it, I bet you can too. (Not a good thing)
I consider myself to be the most blessed pastor in the world. My church is full of people who “get it”. They love everyone that walks through the doors regardless of how the look, color, age, or any other descriptive characteristics. They make our church a great place for people to come and feel loved and relaxed and that leads to many people coming to know Jesus. That is the most important thing in the world, not how you or I feel. And that was the purpose of the whole blog yesterday.
It is so easy to get our feelings hurt or feel like someone is stepping on our toes. As a very confident pastor, I have a vision and a direction for my church that I truly believe God gave to me. The reason I believe this is because people come to our church and then come to know Jesus every Sunday. We don’t do a show of wealth or fluffy, feel good sermons. We are modern and our band is awesome and yes, we use some lights while they are playing, but other than that, things rely on God using us to love others. For those of us who have been in church a long time, we can often get our feelings hurt if we feel like we are being neglected or our territory is being invaded or our leadership is being questioned. That is often the time of the much-needed attitude check. And so, I had to check mine.
Sometimes we need to trust that the leaders that God has put in our lives are not only thinking about themselves when they have to put their foot down about a situation. Just like CEO of a company, the pastor is overseeing the big picture and every day is thinking about how to stay heading in the right direction. Sometimes those who work in a specific area, miss how the big picture is effected by what they do. Sometimes the pastor must be firm in staying a course and when that happens, this pastor, can be less than tactful. The old saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it” comes to mind in this case. I don’t feel like I said anything wrong, but I sure wish I had checked the attitude sooner and said it better.
God loves His people, even those who screw up. He knows that we will never be perfect and therefore, He gives us grace. I love that and need that and I try to model that. But God also does not put up with our inappropriate behavior and will be blunt and to point in correcting us. It is at that time that we can either check our attitude and learn or we can continue to be self-centered and lose sight of the big picture. I am far from being God, but I am sure of the vision, this big picture, that God has given me and the direction our church is going. Too many people are coming to know Jesus for us to be doing too much that He does not like from His church.
It is about me though. I love me and you know it. I am one of my favorite people. But I am not perfect and I admit it. For those who just had your bubble burst, I am sorry. Perfection was Jesus, I am only His servant. If someone took yesterday’s blog to be about you, then maybe you should look in the mirror. If your mirror is foggy, it is not my fault. I am looking in mine and trying to find the Windex to clean it off; ’cause when I look in my mirror and its dirty, it IS about me.

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!

March 7, 2012

Billionaires

by pastortimfowler

I read today that there are now 1226 in the world. It pains me to report that I am not on that list. I remember when Mr and Mrs. Howell were considered extravagantly rich. I guess being stranded on a deserted island with only 5 other people makes a millionaire seem really rich. I miss Gilligan’s Island. This same report said that the richest of these billionaires can lose as much as 11 billion in one day. I wish they would lose a billion my way.
I would be lying if I said that I would not want to be rich. Being rich offers a lot of benefits. It lets you eat the food you want to eat. It lets you vacation in better hotels and locations. It allows you to pay your mortgage and power bill while filling your gas tank all on the same day. Being rich can even allow you to get season tickets to see your favorite team and not have to park a mile down the road where it only costs $20. If I were rich I would park in the $50 parking just because I could.
But I am not jealous of those super rich. I have been blessed with more than I ever deserve. First, I have a beautiful family. My wife and I have been happily married for over 30 years. Money had little to do with it. We have three grown children who all have children of their own. We have a home that we can afford and automobiles that will get us to the jobs that we have. We have a church family that loves us and loves other people. We have friends who like us because of who we are and could care less how much money we have; thankfully. We are in relatively good health and don’t have too many enemies. Most of all, we know Jesus Christ personally as our Lord and Savior.
Being rich is not the way to happiness. God wants to give us happiness and have it not depend on how much money we can make. Jesus says that He wants us to have the joy that He has and to look to Him for our blessings. We are told that the things we have on this earth like money and houses and cars will all fade away. But things like family and friends are eternal when they are built on faith in Him.
No, I did not get my name on the list of those 1226 billionaires in the world, but I do have my name written in the Lamb’s book of life. Yep, I am rich beyond measure!

July 15, 2011

Back Out Bowing

by pastortimfowler

This will be my last blog for a while, until Monday July 25 2011. I will be leaving this Sunday after church for vacation and although I will be taking my laptop, I am not even sure if there is wi-fi where we are staying. If there is I may sneak in a short blog just to rub it in that I am on vacation.
I suppose that you are wondering where the rich and famous go on vacation? I don’t know. I am not rich and famous. We are going to a state park on a lake in beautiful South Carolina. We are borrowing our favorite daughter’s RV that we sold her because she kept borrowing it from us. From there we will get in a few day trips on the motorcycle, but we will mainly relax and do as little as possible, outside of reading and fishing.
On the 19th of this month, my wife and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. It is also her birthday: it is not her 29th again: it is not any in the 30s or 40s but she is not in her 60s. She is not 51-59 and definitely not 70-100. We actually celebrated her birthday last month in order to get family and friends together for a surprise party, so this will be mainly our anniversary trip. Of course, since I married her on her birthday, she gets me every year and I am the gift that keeps giving, so what more could she ask for.
Every year we try to get away for a week. We both live very busy lives and rarely take much time off. Most years we take a week-long motorcycle trip. We have been to Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, all over South Carolina, and even rode to Niagara Falls one year. This year we will just use the state park as our base. This allows us to ride all day without carrying a weeks worth of clothes everywhere.
I have been extremely blessed to have been married to the same woman for 31 years. Since I was only 12 when we got married, I had to grow up fast. I had to quickly learn how to handle an older woman and start making her into the woman I wanted her to be. We have had our share of hard times. There was this one time when she rebelled against me as I was training her to bow as she backed out of the room. Wow, I didn’t think we would ever get through that one. But most of our time together has been filled with good times. We have raised 3 children together, several cats, some dogs, a parrot, and a snake. The animals all turned out great except for that mentally ill cat. The children, well lets just say we tried. Now as grandparents we are livin’ la vida loca. We can spoil kids and send them home with noisy toys that drive their parents crazy.
So for the next week, try to think happy thoughts and not drink too much as you suffer through a week that may not contain my blogs. I’ll be back. I am just going to take a few days to celebrate, relax, and reflect. But if you get lucky and there is wi-fi, I just might do a vacation blog just because I can.
To my beautiful wife JoAnne, I love you, happy birthday, happy anniversary, and well done on learning to back out of the room while bowing.

July 12, 2011

I Need Your Prayers

by pastortimfowler

I feel very blessed to have people as wonderful as my church folks in my life. I have so little to complain about and even when I do have stuff I try to keep them under wraps. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am and I know that God has blessed me far more than I deserve. From time to time I get feeling overwhelmed at how awesome God is and how I deserve nothing as amazing as my life is.
It is hard to follow such statements as I just made with a prayer request, but I do need your prayers. For years I have suffered with chronic back pain. On good days the pain is like a that of a bad headache and on the worse days it is like having a knife lodged in my lower back that causes shooting pain if I move the wrong way. Normal days it is like a bad toothache and few things help to give any relief. It effects my sleep because being in any one position for too long hurts, so sleep is rarely more than an hour uninterrupted.
That said, I don’t want sympathy. I can function and have learned to accept it. But I do want your prayers because it sometimes wears me down and in times of spiritual battles and stressful situations this can be a challenge. Now is one of those times. There are many things happening that require my focus and Satan is masterful at taking advantage of our weakness. One thing he can’t defeat is the prayers of God’s people.
The Apostle Paul had a physical problem that He wrote about and God told him the His grace was sufficient. Paul accepted that and I do too. But Paul also knew the power of prayer and often asked for it from those he loved and was not ashamed to do so. Even Jesus asked for prayers in His moments of pain and stress. So I guess I have nothing to be ashamed about, I am in good company among those who have asked for prayer.
Usually, these things level off in a week or so, and I even have a vacation coming up next week. But in the mean time, if you be so kind as to pray for me, I would be grateful.
God is so awesome and He never gives us more than we can handle. We just need learn when to pass some stuff off to others and say, I need your prayers.