Posts tagged ‘convicting’

October 9, 2012

Prove It

by pastortimfowler

évidence

Proof- evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true.
Last night in our men’s Bible study we talked about proof of God. We were mixed on whether or not you can prove that God exists. I say no you can’t. But, you also can’t prove that He doesn’t exist. This all started as we were talking about evidence and particularly the verse in the Bible that says that faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things unseen, (Heb. 11:1) We were actually studying from Paul’s 2nd letter to the church in Corinth and he was telling them that Christians need to live their lives as if we believe in this unseen God and therefore provide evidence of His existence to those who don’t believe.
Sadly the most common statement made about Christians by those who are not Christians is the we are hypocrites. Not a great witness if we are trying to provide proof of God. We tell people about a God that loves them and provides for them and is our source of happiness and complain at the first hint of trouble in our lives. We tell people who God has blessed us with a great job but don’t give from the money that the God-given job provides. We say that God made our lives better but are the first ones to post on Facebook how miserable we are at work, school, with our relationship to others. We tell people that we pray to a God that answers us and yet we have no idea what answer we got because our prayers are basically, “Bless them”.
Years ago a man wrote a song called Amazing Grace. Now there is evidence of God. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. We need to live like we have been saved. We need to live like we have been found. We need to live like we received our sight. We need to live like we use to be something that now we are not.
Because we are not made perfect in the flesh there will always be some hypocritical ways left in us. But those need to decrease with time and while we are struggling with this new-found grace, we need to allow God’s grace to cover us. We need to be able to tell others through our actions that God is changing us and let the words be reflective of our actions.
We will never be able to prove that God exists at least in the sense of being able to touch and see Him. We can only offer evidence as we discover Him through the truth of the Bible and put those truths into practice. If the evidence we present is contaminated with lies and inconsistencies then it will be hard to convince others that God is anything more than Santa or the Easter Bunny. But if we live our lives with integrity and true change that comes from God’s strength and words, then over time, as the evidence continues to mount up, people will have no choice but to weigh the evidence and find that the evidence is overwhelming, and the only verdict that can be rendered is that of, yes, there is a God.
How does your life as a Christian present the evidence? Is it convicting enough that you live like you believe it in order for others to begin to believe too?

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September 10, 2012

Opps…Emotions Stink

by pastortimfowler

stress

I feel like I owe an explanation for my sermon yesterday, for those who attend my church. If you don’t, then you won’t have a clue about why I am writing this until you read it. Everyone can have “one of those days”, including the pastor. Sundays are supposed to be wonderful events and a time to hear from God, not stress out. Except for pastors, and I think to some degree we all stress out over Sundays. It is our pinnacle moment for the church and we want everything to be perfect. It rarely works that way, so we get use to it. But then there are those days when one thing leads to another and before you know it, you are about to explode.
Here is my explanation and/or excuse. Friday night I took my 7-year-old grandson camping at the beach with his Cub Scout troop. It was a 3 and a half hour drive there and a 4 and a half hour drive back; I will explain later. I stress over being around little kids. I want to tolerate them but I have to really try. We had a good time, but sleeping in a tent on the ground does not help my back, which hurts all the time, and lately has been in one of those more painful stages. Saturday, I went to the beach to body surf with the kid. Body surfing is not good for your back either. But we had a blast. Then we went down the water slide which is not good for the back, and I found out that if you get to spinning too much, you can rip you toenail off. I didn’t understand that either, but it happened. We rode bikes for hours and then packed up and started home.
About 40 minutes into my drive it started raining. I know that God said that He would never flood the world again, but I think He was showing me how hard it had to rain to accomplish this.
7-year-old boys ask a lot of questions when it is raining that hard. Driving does not help my back and stress about heavy rain and a 7-year-old asking endless questions don’t help either. By the time we got home, the normal 3 and a half hour drive was 4 and a half hours. After unpacking, and hot shower, and a few moments of sitting around updating the wife, I went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up stiff and hurting. That is the beginning of a rough day. I got to church and most of the first few people who I saw complained about something going wrong. I usually try to hide in my office and study for my sermon, but everyone knows where to find me and did. For some reason, everything that I wanted to say in this sermon was being pushed aside and i was not sure with what I was going to say. That is stressful.
There were some people didn’t show up to do their jobs, those who were filling in didn’t want to do it and let me know, and it seemed as if every person I talked to had a complaint or didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I still did not know what I was going to talk about until the last song was played and it was time for me to give my message.
I believe that I listen to God about what I preach. Sure, I like to joke and inject a few personal things to lighten the mood, but for the most part I feel as if I am saying what God want me to say. Of all morning for Him to want me to say some tough stuff, I felt like it was then. Sure, you could say I was not in a great mood and that affected what I spoke about. But after 20 years of doing this, you learn to put the petty stuff aside. I just had to say some tough stuff this time.
My sermon was about how God expects His people to do more than come to church on Sunday. Especially if you consider yourself to be a mature Christian. We are in a spiritual battle that is raging 24/7 and most Christians want to play weekend warrior. We want to be entertained and told stuff that feels good and that is not what the Bible does for us. It is very convicting and very critical of God’s people who should know better than to get complacent. So I said what I said.
It must have been close to what God wanted said. Two people became Christians Sunday morning. Several came to me afterwards and said that they knew I was stressed, but what I said impacted them in a positive way. WHEW!
That being said, I never want people to think that I don’t care and that I am self-centered. I do love me, but I love you guys too. I want people to be blessed by being a Christian. That is God’s intent. But in order to receive the blessings, we need to fight that good fight. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
So I want to say that I am really sorry for anybody who I may have snapped at or made feel like I was being a jerk. If you really want to know what that feels like, ask my poor wife who sees the worst side of me more than anyone. She is a saint, and I appreciate her patience with me more than she will know. But I believe that she will tell you that I try my best to say the truth, say it with love, and say only what God wants said during my sermons.
I love my church, and I love the people who go there. I want them to unashamed of the God they serve and the God who gives unconditional love and forgiveness. Sometimes tough things need to be said. Where I fail is saying them with the proper temperance and for that I can only say, sorry.