Posts tagged ‘challenge’

February 5, 2013

Trials Make You Stronger

by pastortimfowler

rejoice1

I know its been a while and the blogs are further in between this year so far. Things have been very hectic and very trying in this first part of 2013. While I was planning on blogging through the Bible, I have found it hard to find the time to do as much as I originally planned. Today as I was preparing for my men’s Bible study on Thursday nights, I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and was inspired and encouraged by Paul’s words to this early bunch of Christians. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 … Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom.
I am not comparing my suffering to that of a martyr or even that of the early church, but I have learned that anyone’s sufferings are real and challenging to them at the time. As I told you a while back, our church had a fire that smoked out a whole side of our building that included my office. My office is my sanctuary for study and thought and prayer and I do a lot of planning for our church there. Not being able to use it makes me feel like I am out of touch or at least out of sync with the church. That and the fact that dealing with insurance and contractors can be enough to challenge anyone’s faith, has made it a long 3 months.

Spiritual warfare comes in many forms. It can be as simple as strained relationships and as complex as attacks on one’s faith. It seems that mine have been on many levels. During this time I try to keep a smile on my face and my focus on helping others, but the smiles seem to be forced more than natural and the faith of knowing I am doing God’s will has been challenged with each decision. I have to continually remind myself that I am fighting battles that are not about people or me, but about people’s souls. The strained relationships cause tensions that make it hard to show love and feel love. Although I know love is not about one’s feelings, I also know that without the feelings it must be continually reminded in order to not forget who you love.
God has promised us victory over our enemies. He has promised to be with us in every situation and that His love is greater than my love. My challenge is to depend on His love when mine is weakened. Showing love is not always about a smile. It can be about difficult circumstance that makes happiness depend more on joy and peace rather than good times and good feelings.

So as I was reading this, I was reminded that suffering for Christ of any kind is part of being worthy of God’s kingdom. Worthy only because of what Christ did and never because of what I do and what I feel. That makes me feel better.
So if you find yourself feeling down and out or like you can’t stand anymore in the face of the attacks that are surrounding you, remember that Christ suffered for doing no wrong. He suffered for my wrong and your wrong and gladly bore our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and made righteous and worthy of His kingdom.

I thank God that my feelings do not mean I am not loved. I thank God that He feels the same about me regardless of my feelings and that His feelings for me are pure love and unchanging. I thank Him that I am counted worthy to suffer for His cause and that I am in the battles that mean so much. Even if I fail, He will not. And if I fail while loving and serving Him, then I am ever bit as worthy of His kingdom and will never be condemned because of Christ’s work and not my own. Trials make you stronger because the Bible says when we are weak, then He is strong. Thanks God. I await your strength and thank you for the trials.

January 3, 2013

Is There An Eternity?

by pastortimfowler

ETERNITY

Genesis is an incredible book of the Bible. It has the seedbed to all Bible doctrine and has been the source of many questions throughout time. The very beginning of all that we know is put out for scrutiny and scientific analysis. I have heard believers of the creation account called fools and complete idiots for believing such nonsense. But today I want to challenge you to question science with science and to take a good hard look at what the Bible says about the beginning of all that we know as this universe.
Science and the Bible tend to work well together. I believe that God gave us amazing brains and the ability to figure out great mysteries. Somehow science has been turned into an “anti-God” field of study that shows how there is no need for a God and only a desire to show that man is the higher power due to evolution. So lets look at the definition of science.
Science: a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws. I like that definition because it puts the Bible in play. The Bible claims to contain the truth. One thing I learned about the truth long ago is that some people don’t like the truth. Especially when it goes against their feelings. But science is not about feelings it is about facts and truth.
Here is a claim from the Bible that science often disagrees with: Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Most scientist say that there was a big bang and this ball of mass exploded causing cosmic dust to form the universe. So lets look at some logic, facts, and science to see which makes more sense.
The real question that I believe must be dealt with is eternity. Either something always existed or at one time there was nothing. Science will prove over and over that nothing cannot be the answer because nothing can’t explode or create something. Nothing, absolute nothing, leaves it impossible for either the Bible or some scientific claims to happen. So that means that something had to have always existed. That works well for me, a Bible believer. And if you are a big banger, it works for you. So what is it that always existed?
Science would have to say it was a lifeless mass so dense that it was collapsing in on itself and exploded. The Bible says that God, a living, loving, all-powerful being always existed. Science uses a term called cause and effect: Cause and effect (also written as cause-effect or cause/effect or cause and consequence) refers to the philosophical concept of casuality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event. So we must ask what caused this lifeless mass to do anything? Was it getting bored with just sitting in a vacuum of space and decided to collapse in on itself one day? Science says that there must have been a cause for this action.
The Bible says that God, an intelligent and all-powerful being spoke into existence all that we see. There is cause and effect. Science. Sure it is not easy to understand how, but it does meet the criteria for science better than the other possibility. Remember that we are not going on feelings, only science and facts and truth.
You see the true problem that must be addressed is the problem of eternity. If mankind can prove that there was a beginning to everything from lifelessness, then the Bible is wrong and we don’t have to worry about eternity on the other end, death, nor answering to a higher authority when we die. If all that we see came from nothing of any intelligence or power or conscience, then we are merely scientific accidents awaiting our end.
But, if God did create everything because He has always existed, then we have to admit that we are not the highest form of life and there is a possibility that we will have an eternity on the other side of death and we may have to give an account to Him, the one true living God.
God loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him. He made a way. His name is Jesus. And whoever will call on the name on the Lord will be saved.
Romans 14:11-12
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

January 2, 2013

2013…the year of the blog

by pastortimfowler

Story_of_God

 

Happy New Year to all in the blogosphere. 2013 is going to be a great year if you have the right attitude and motivation. My motivation is driven by what I find in God’s Word, the Bible. I know some who read these things are not big Bible believers and some are skeptics, and some are on the fence about what you believe. But I happen to believe it and think that it is quite a motivational book when understood and taken in context.
This year I thought that I would try to share more of that with you. This does not mean that you will always agree with me, although you should, but I hope that it will challenge you to think about a few things, especially things like eternity and whether or not we need to be concerned about it. I invite feedback and criticism, after all, nothing sparks a good debate better than the Bible. All I ask is that you keep it clean and keep it open for thought and discussion.
Each year I try to read the Bible from beginning to end. I have been doing this for about 20 years now and most years have been successful. Every time I read it I find something awesome and refreshing and I learn something new. I have had to change my mind on some stuff because I better understood the whole thing and have had to eat some crow because I did not understand things as well as I thought. But one thing has always been true; I have never found a contradiction that could not be explained or could lead me to believe the Bible is wrong. There are still plenty of things that I can’t explain, but nothing that I can’t accept.
So this year as I read through it again, I am going to share some of my findings and ask some questions and who knows, maybe I will give some answers. I am going to be blunt and give evidence or at least attempt to give some logic and every now and then I may even have to say that I just don’t know the answer. The reason is, I think I have more and better answers from the Bible than most are getting from elsewhere, especially when it comes to trying to prove that God does not exist and that the Bible is not scientific. I think you may be surprised by what I might share over the next year.
God has always been a source of controversy. No one was around when He created it all, so skeptics says it was an accident. Most who disagreed with Him have already died and although they know the truth now, can’t argue anymore. Those who are still alive can’t prove He doesn’t exist any more than I can prove He does. And, God does not need to proven to be God. I will leave you with this to close out this blog. Not believing in God will not stop you from meeting Him. If I am wrong, it really doesn’t matter. But if you are wrong, eternity is riding on it.
Thanks for an awesome 2012 and thanks for following me into 2013. It is going to be a great year! The year of the blog!

March 6, 2012

Courageous Faith

by pastortimfowler

In our men’s Bible study last night we finished the Courageous study based on the movie Courageous. I was not thrilled about teaching it because I have not seen the movie and probably will not see it. I don’t like movies, even if I see them with my wife. But the study was not really the movie, but the life of Joshua and the courage he had to stay true to God. I love his story and his faithfulness.
At the end of the study we were told to read this: 1 Peter 3:15 But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.
The challenge was to be courageous enough to share what God was doing in our lives on a regular basis. I love this verse and was thrilled when it was part of our closing for this study. The first thing it tells us is to dedicate our lives to Christ as Lord. Not to a Savior, although He is, but to a Lord. That means a master or ruler. We rarely have a problem submitting to authority. Sure there are a few folks who do, but your average person has no problems following the rules. If a policeman tells us to do something we do it because they have authority over us in certain situations. We do what our boss at work says and expect to be rewarded for when we do a great job and for the consequences when we don’t. But for some reason when God says do something we find a million excuses why we shouldn’t. That is not faith and it certainly is not courageous faith.
Next we are told to be ready to defend our faith. It is hard to defend what you don’t put into practice.The sad reality is that most Christians like the Savior of Jesus but not the Lord. We would much rather do what feels right or good and leave the tough Christian stuff to the professionals. We argue that the Bible really doesn’t say what it says and listen to people who have no formal training in the Bible as if they were the experts. We don’t ask our pastor because He might tell us what we don’t want to hear. That leads to the next part of this verse which always makes me uneasy about my own obedience. It says that we should be defending our faith to those who ask. Are people asking you about your faith. Not your church, but how you are acting because you are acting on what God says even if you don’t understand it. I have faith in the chair I sit in. It never fails me, although it could. I don’t know how it was made, and could not make it myself, but I trust it will support me, not just based on what the manufacturer says, but on how people have sat in chairs for years and now me too. That is faith. An action base on real belief not a wish and a desire to go to heaven. If Christians did what the Bible said, and believed that the Bible was the words of our Lord, not just our Savior, we may have more people asking us about our faith in God not our opinion of what the preacher says or an opinion about a church.
It is also very hard to explain something that we don’t really believe or understand. That is usually because we have not tried to understand it. Years ago I began to learn how to scuba dive. Now I am very proficient at it and can explain about anything you want to know about it. I can tell you exactly what you need to do to become a diver and I believe in the training that I received to save my life and yours if you chose to follow me. But I did a lot of study and training before I actually dove and still refresh my mind in the basics every time I go diving. I ask lots of questions of my instructor and those who I dive with me who have more experience. I never go to someone who only tells me that diving is dangerous and never trust someone who tells me my instructor is wrong. That could get me killed. I want to know who and what I am putting trust for my life in to. Who are you trusting to learn the Bible? How much effort are you putting into learning it and living how God says to live and what God says to believe?
Finally it tells us to be gentle and respectful while defending our faith. This is hard when you don’t really know what you believe. But if you are confident and like Joshua, have trusted God time and time again and seen Him come through for you, you will be confident and be able to be gentle and respectful. There is a difference in being gentle and respectful and beingĀ  pushed around because you aer weak in your faith. Jesus was a master at defending who He was and what He was teaching with amazing gentleness and respect. But He never let a religious nut mess with Him and teach something that was wrong. Jesus had courageous faith. Do you?

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!

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