Posts tagged ‘different’

August 29, 2012

Hateful Speech

by pastortimfowler

Speech is Silver

I saw this on Facebook today: Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. When I read it I thought about our nasty political climate and presidential campaign and it made me think about these verses of the Bible:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (GW)
1 First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people,
2 for rulers, and for everyone who has authority over us. Pray for these people so that we can have a quiet and peaceful life always lived in a godly and reverent way
.
Christians should really think before they post things on Facebook or anywhere else that are full of hateful words. I think that it is very easy for us to lose our credibility as the people of love that we are supposed to be when all people see or hear from us is hateful slams of those we disagree with. Some of you may quickly say that in America, we have freedom of speech, and that is true, but as Christians, we have freedom from sin and using hate filled speech is sinful.
Years ago, I got out of the Navy and because I needed a job to provide income immediately, I went to work as a car salesman. One of the things I had to do is learn about the competition’s cars. All car makers make a model to compete with the others, like compact, mid-sized, full-sized, and pick-ups. What you learn is that there are subtle differences between each of them and that a good salesman could tell you what they are. My boss told me to learn those differences, not to talk down about the other make of cars, but to point out the ways your make of car was better. For instance I might say to a customer, Yes sir, the Chevy does have good towing capability, but the Ford we sell will tow a thousand pounds more than that. Given the fact that they are both fine vehicles, wouldn’t you get more for your money with our better towing capability?
But for some reason, people like to talk about the bad stuff or the different stuff as if it were bad. I was told years ago that different is not always wrong, it is just different. That is the way our country was built, to respect and give freedom to be different. But in the case where different is in deed wrong, slamming that wrong publicly rarely results in change. That is where Christians need to remember the words written in the verses above. Whatever leader is in place, it is because God has allowed that leader to be there. We are to follow the laws of the land and to respect those who are in authority over us and most of all we are to pray for them. Romans 13:4 The government is God’s servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God’s servant, an avenger to execute God’s anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

So I challenge you to promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Love covers a multitude of sin.

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July 9, 2012

All In?

by pastortimfowler

Pool

The biggest moment in a poker tournament is what is known as the “all in” moment. Each player starts with the same amount of chips and the goal is to win the chips from the other players over the course of many hands of poker. Usually toward the latter part of these tournaments, someone decides that they have too few chips to stay in much longer but they have a great hand and so they move all their chips into the center of the table, calling, “all in”. It is at that time that reality sets in. Either this is the hand that changes the night for better or this is the time that you head home with nothing. Going all in is a risky move.
This past weekend the youth of our church went on their first ever youth retreat to Myrtle Beach. They had some work they did helping the hosts and they had some fun time also, but they had a lesson from one of the leaders asking them if they were all in. The analogy used was different though. They were near the pool and as you know, most people ease into the pool. Usually they get in up to their knees and get a feel for the water before deciding to go all in. These guys were in to the knees with God in their role as Christians. Many of them said that they believed and had even made a decision to become a Christian but none of them had committed to that all in moment. Let’s face it; this can be scary.
Are you all in? As a Christian, have you decided to test the waters by coming to church and attending a class and even giving regularly? Some of you are thinking, “what do you mean, test the waters, I thought that was all in?” Sorry, but it is not. Church is only a small part of being a Christian, but for most, it has become what identifies us as Christians. God wants more from us than a couple of hours a week. He wants us all in.
Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should take up our crosses as we follow. Crosses are hard to carry. I am not talking about those gold ones around the neck. I am talking the wooden ones that they hang you on with nails. Now Jesus did not expect us to literally carry crosses, but rather to realize that this walk He took was His all in moment when He carried His cross up the hill to die for the sins of the world. And if all he would have done was to talk about it, He could have been like most of us who are only testing the waters or making safe bets that won’t put us out of the game or vault us into the lead.
Christians should be different in everything we do. Not “Bible thumpers” who yell out at every one that they are going to hell, but living examples of the Bible that was written to show God’s love for the world. Our marriages should be stronger than most because they are modeled after the one that God designed. Our work ethic should be better because we work as if God were our boss. Our friendships should be better because we want to be friends that stick closer than a brother. Our faith should be our guide because we trust God and show it in the way we act in every aspect of our lives. Reading our Bibles should not be something that we don’t have time for, but rather something that there is always time for. Praying for others should be habitual and joyful and worship should show in our faces as we celebrate the King of Glory as our Savior every chance we get. And oh yeah, our willingness to do the tough things for others should never come into question as we carry our crosses so that others might be saved.
Right now I am thinking of a list of places that I need to double-check to see if I am truly all in. We don’t stay all in all of the time. But we must be willing to fearlessly accept the fact that we have gotten back into the shallow water or are only making safe bets and we must be willing to dive into the deep or push the whole stack of chips and go all in. Its your move. Will you go all in or are you bluffing? Will you take the plunge into the deep water or play it safe in the kiddie pool? Come on…Go all in.

May 2, 2012

Church Denominations

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buou/1541519972/

 

I hear all the time that people are confused about the different beliefs of churches, especially the different denominations, like Baptist, Methodists, and so on. People tell me that denominations are wrong and not what Christ intended for the church. Someone just yesterday told me that they were about to quit going to church because of the confusion. I don’t believe that this is a problem and certainly don’t think it should cause people not to go to church. I think the biggest concern would be why the church can’t give a good reason for our differences.
Why are people not confused about food? There are so many restaurants out there and they serve so many different foods. What about cars? There are so many different car dealerships and they all say that their brand is better than the other. They can’t all be right. Maybe I won’t ever drive a car then. Even football teams are different. They have different colored uniforms and some run the ball and others throw the ball. Some are more focused on defense and while others are focused on offense. Why some even specialize in special teams. This has never stopped people from buying cars, eating out, or watching football. We all know that diversity is good for the food industry and the automobile industry. We all know that football teams have to be different and that it is good for the game. So why can’t churches be different without being wrong?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Churches are supposed to be different. We have different functions in the Body of Christ. My hand and my foot have two totally different functions but are still part of me. They don’t hate each other, but compliment and support each other. Because they are different does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. Why we even have doctors who specialize in different body parts because they are so different, yet each doctor is caring for the same body. I am wearing contacts now, and even among my eyes there is a difference. One eye has a contact for seeing up close and the other has one for seeing far away and yet they function together for me to see well at any distance.
Denominations were formed out of the need for different people groups to join together with each other and worship and to serve. Sure there are some minor disagreements on things of the Bible, but that is not hard to understand given the fact that no one can fully understand God. Our minds just can’t fully grasp an almighty and holy God. So we will have some differences. What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask. He thinks so highly of our unique needs that He gives us different churches so that we can find a place where we feel comfortable and can best serve the greater good of the Body of Christ.
As Christians, we need to defuse the idea that our differences prove that there is no God and explain that it instead shows the amazing love of God as He cares enough to not make us to be some sort of robots that have no individuality. The Apostle Paul said that we are to be all things to all men that some might in some way win some to Christ. If you need a more strict teaching then there is a church for that. If you need to be more free-spirited and like to shout, there is a church for that. If you need to perform certain rituals in order to feel closer to God, there is a church for that. I love my church. I think it is perfect for me. But I don’t dislike your church because it is not right for me. As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.
God is THE Creator. He created different planets and solar systems and galaxies. He created different plants and animals and people. Why is there a problem with Him creating different churches? The answer is simple. There is no problem, yet rather a wonderful solution to the different types of people who He loves and wants to have a relationship with.

October 28, 2011

That Woman God Gave Me

by pastortimfowler

Okay, its time for me to do some flirting, or at least attempt to score a few brownie points, even though I don’t need them because she is already my favorite wife. Over the last couple of weeks I have seen a couple of moving stories about couples. One, long dead, was said to be 1500 years old and were buried holding hands, and the other was a couple who died holding hands after 72 years of marriage. WOW!
I have now been married longer than any of my children have been alive. As a matter of fact, I have been married longer than a lot of people in my congregation at my church. It will be 32 years this coming July and what is really weird is that I am still very young. I got married when I was a wee child of 18. If you are good at math, you can see that I am barely over 40 years old.
In my first church where I was pastor, there were lots of old people. At my current church there are not that many old people, but that’s another story. At that other church there were 4 couples who had been married for over 60 years. That was one of the highlights of that pastorate. I was always amazed at them and how much they still seemed to love each other. When I spent time with them, I always asked them to give me advice on how to keep my marriage together for that long, and remain as happy as they seemed. What they told me was not complicated and they all gave me the same four suggestions. Keep God in you marriage. Have fun and laugh at and with each other. Flirt so much that she/he never doubts that you find them attractive. Fight fair and make up quickly. After hearing these things, I immediately knew that I had a great chance of having a long marriage. Now all I have to do is not die soon.
I wish that I could say that I married my high school sweetheart and that we dated for years and were in church forever, but that is not true. I met her at a party, and we knew each other only 6 months before we got married. From the minute I saw her, I knew that I wanted to date her, of course I was only 17 and she was drop dead gorgeous and every other guy on the planet would want to date her too, but I wanted to date her right then. Thankfully, she was open to the idea of dating me and after a few months, I figured that I better lock this thing down before she realized what she was doing. So we got married and here it is almost 32 years later and she still has no idea what she has gotten herself into.
We have a great marriage. We love and serve God together. If I had to pastor a church without her, I probably wouldn’t. She is so gifted and humble and is a walking example of God’s grace. We have fun and laugh a lot. As different as we are, we purposefully do things together just for fun. She says that I am a comedian, but no one makes me laugh more than her. We flirt, I more than her. All she has to do is walk in the room and I think that she is flirting. I still by her flowers and candy for no specific reason, and she lets me stare at her. We fight. I would like to say we fight fair, but I am not sure if that would be true, but we do make up quickly. I hate it when she ignores me and she hates it when I act real stupid. So we still work on fighting fair, and for the most part, we do okay.
I love being married to her. I can’t imagine not having her around. I hope that we live to see our 80th wedding anniversary but if not, I hope that we have one of those stories that make people go awwww, when we kick the bucket. But mostly, I want to live a life in front of people that makes them want to be married. Marriage takes a bad rap these days and too many people are trying to find true love like they are test driving cars. True love doesn’t come until you have been married a while. The longer you are married, if you follow the advice from my friends, the greater your love will grow. And don’t think that all the fun ends with marriage and age. With greater love comes great joy and greater fun. My married life is better than ever, and it will probably only get better over the next 20 years or so. I am wildly, madly, passionately in love with my wife. Staying married to her is all the blessing I need. I am very grateful for that woman God gave me.

August 5, 2011

Marriage Is GREAT!!!

by pastortimfowler

I really want to say something about married life. I have attempted to write this several times now but keep getting to the point of being way to wordy. It is hard to talk about something that you believe in so much and keep it short and sweet. Too many marriages are definitely short, but sure not sweet. It breaks my heart to see young couples throw away their marriages because they are too proud to get help before it is too late. But maybe one of the reasons they throw away their marriage is because they don’t have the hope that comes from hearing about marriages that are successful. So I will take a few minutes to tell about a hugely successful marriage; mine.


We have been married for 31 years now. I can not imagine not being married. We have been through a lot, but always end up stronger for the trials that we went through.
I continually tell people who my wife and I are the best of everything for each other and I mean it. Listed below are few examples.
I have the best conversations with my wife. There is no one I would rather talk to about our problems or anything else. We solve problems together. Not always quickly, but always together. We have learned that the way things are said often make the meaning of what you say different. For instance, if I say I need to buy a blue shirt, that means at the closest store that sells shirts, I will be in and out with a blue shirt within 5 minutes. When she says she needs a blue shirt, it means a full day of shopping and she might come home with a blue shirt. We understand these subtle differences because we love to talk a lot and there is no one we love talking to more than each other.
I have the best fun with my wife. Don’t jump to the conclusion that everything we do for fun we do it together. I believe couples need time apart for the different types of fun that they enjoy, but I never have more fun than when I am having fun with my wife. We plan our anniversary each year around a week-long motorcycle trip. Sometimes we don’t plan the ride, only the destination. We love seeing new places together and laughing at the stupid things we end up doing together. We camp together, and even if there are grandkids with us, we have fun together. She even fishes with me occasionally and I go to bookstores with her from time to time. But the bottom line is we have more fun with each other than with anyone else.
I have the best fights with my wife. That sounds like a negative, but think of it this way. That usually means you are passionate and who better to be passionate with? It also means that we know more about each other than anyone else does. No one can push those buttons better than we can because we know what buttons to push. Fighting is normal in a marriage and even intense fighting. I am not talking physical fights. I don’t fight with anyone that way. I will kick your butt if you mess with my wife, but that won’t be much of a fight…just saying. One thing we always do is make up after a fight. And we make up better than with anyone else.
Close your eyes if you are easily embarrassed now. We have the best sex life together too. Sex is a wonderful gift that God allows married couples to have. He even tells us that we get to own each others bodies. Sadly, this is one area that couples fall apart at over the years. They get too busy, too tired, and to distracted to keep this area fresh and exciting. Media makes sex into something perverted and purely physical. But God says it is much more than that. He tells us that it is a key instrument to a successful prayer life…1 Corinthians 7:5 Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you. Outside sources of sexual stimulation, (movies, tv, pictures, etc.) should not be allowed in you sex life. God tells men to rejoice in the wife’s body, not fantasize the she is someone else. Sex is not the only factor in a successful marriage but is an important one. There is nothing wrong with letting other married couples know this, within reason, because too often it is lied about to make people think that after marriage, sex ends or becomes boring. In fact, marriage should be the only time for sex and it should be the best with your spouse.
I guess the most important thing that we are the best at together is our spiritual lives. We serve together and worship together and pray together. Our church knows we do this together and we promote other couples to become involved together in growing spiritually. Every individual is created by God to know Him and learn of His love. When two people get married, we become a living example of Christ’s love for the church for the whole world to see. That is what the bible says in Ephesians chapter 5.
There is nothing better than a great relationship with God and there is nothing better than your marriage to show that to others.
Marriage is great, not easy, but if your spouse is the best of everything to you, yes, marriage is great!!!