Posts tagged ‘disagree’

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!

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August 10, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

by pastortimfowler

Should I stay or should I go?

I love, absolutely love, being a pastor. I get to see people grow and change and learn to be servants. I get to share God’s love with people and see the fruits of my labor. I have been blessed to have a church full of people who are passionate about what has happened to them and are sharing it with others. Even when I think that I want to pull my hair out, and for those who know me, that means things are really stressful and weird, I still love what I do.
This past few weeks has been both stressful and weird. On top of funerals, surgeries, and the other everyday stuff a pastor can deal with, I have been dealing with getting use to having an international student in my house. He is a great kid, so far, and I will get used to having a teenager in my house again, I hope, but this is quite an adjustment for me. I am a creature of habit and don’t mind having a routine that rarely changes. When it does, I have to think that God is trying to teach me something, or, He has decided to show me a sick sense of humor.
In the last couple of weeks I have had a few people tell me the they think that God wants them to leave our church. Before some of you panic, this is not uncommon. I think about leaving at least three of four times a week, and that is in a good week. The reason people tell me that God may want them to leave our church is because they feel like they are not getting along with someone or that things are changing and they don’t like it. I want to address those two reasons for a minute.
First, if there are people who you are not getting along with, consider that God may want you to change something about you, like patience, instead of changing churches, after all, love is patient. Sure I know that most of you are perfect and have no need for change in your own lives, but there are a few who need to learn that God often puts us around people who are different to get us to love those who we don’t like. Luke 6:27, But I tell everyone who is listening: Love your enemies. Be kind to those who hate you. If you are attending a church in hopes of liking everyone you are going to be disappointed. Our command is to love people, not like them. Being the new kid on the block only lasts for a while and then reality sets in. You will find people who disagree and maybe even disappoint you. Those are the ones who challenge you to be more like Jesus, who by the way, does not like everything we do either, yet still loves us. We are not put into the church to be liked or to like everyone. We are put here to serve God and bring Him glory. I am sure glad Jesus did not walk away when He found out someone did not like Him.
Second, is the change thing. Change is always going to make some people uncomfortable. But think about this; if nothing ever changes in church, people are not getting to know Jesus. I would like to offer this suggestion. Rather than getting upset about change, get upset about the status quo. Get upset when you do the same thing week in and week out and never get comfortable with the way things are. The Pharisees got upset because Jesus changed the way they had always done things. Those were the religious guys and the ones who the church way to often resembles. Yet it was their lack of change that had Jesus nailed to the cross. I am very glad that Jesus changed things or I would still be headed to hell. Change is a good thing. Perhaps instead of leaving to find a church that stays the same, you should look and see if it is you that needs to change. I know that I have to evaluate how to change on a daily basis.
Changing the church you attend is often needed. I am not so naive as to think that everyone should stay in the same place all the time. I have changed churches a few times myself. I did know that there was a specific purpose for my change and that it was God that wanted me to go elsewhere and not my own pride or selfishness. But to change churches for the two reasons above is often just that, prideful and selfish. Solving problems instead of running from them helps us to grow and to understand the heart of God better.
If you need to go, I give you my blessing. You will know it is God when you have complete peace about it and can tell anyone who asks the reason without fear or confusion. Fear and confusion are not from God. The very best servants of God, like Paul and Barnabas, left churches to serve elsewhere. Sometimes the best are needed somewhere else to help others grow. That is part of God’s plan and design and I am all for that.
Meanwhile, don’t let Satan cause you to leave where God is working, and He is working at our church. People are coming to know Jesus as Savior every week and others are growing and learning to serve others to help them be more like Christ. Satan is a liar and a punk. He loves complacent churches where nothing ever changes and people rarely get saved. He loves it when we get focused on ourselves and forget that we should be helping others. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble. He said that people would dislike us and that we should never grow weary of doing what is right. Doing what is right is not always easy. Doing what is wrong often is. Think about it.

August 2, 2012

The Internet Friend

by pastortimfowler

Internet Sign

As a pastor, I have studied the Bible for almost 20 years now. I have my Masters and worked toward my Doctorate until I got tired of going to school. I have challenged traditional teaching and made it a point to never take someone’s word about the meaning of any one liner quoted by anyone trying to prove a point. I have gotten used to people questioning me and my faith and I understand where they are coming from most of the time because I used to do the same. But I was not satisfied with the fact that logic kept screaming at me that things that have design don’t happen by chance, they happen because of a designer. I never once came across something that I, in seeing it for the first time, like a liquor bottle-shaped like the state of South Carolina, immediately thought that it was a mistake or chance of nature rather than something designed by a designer and then intelligently made it. Call me stupid if you want, but I just never thought like that.
I have on rare occasions gone to the doctor and wanted him to help me figure out what was wrong with my body. Not that there is anything wrong with it as it is, just sometimes I do get sick. When the doctor comes back with the diagnosis, I don’t argue with him and tell him he doesn’t know what he is talking about. I trust him as an educated guy who has studied the human body and how to help it heal. Sure, there are some corrupt doctors who use this knowledge for profit, but overall, their intentions are good and honorable. Somehow, as a pastor and someone who has spent years studying the Bible, I and others like me, are made out to be wackos and manipulators. A wacko I may be, but not a manipulator. I am not profiting from telling someone what the Bible says. I am, like the doctor who trys to help someone who self diagnosis’ himself , only trying to give accurate facts to help that person better understand the Bible.
Yes we all make mistakes. Yes we all have our own beliefs. But there is this thing called absolute truth and there can only be one truth. If you don’t think so, then please answer this one question. Are you absolutely sure that there is no absolute truth? God says that He is truth and that His word is truth. He also tells us that we are not God. I am going to lean toward the God’s side of that argument.
Lately I have had several discussions with people about how they disagree with me and the Bible. When I ask where they get their interpretation of the Bible, they often quote a verse or two and tell me that they read an article on the internet. That is like me saying that I read part of an anatomy book and saw an article online and that is why the doctor is wrong.
We all have friends who know everything. I have a friend who is an expert mechanic. He knows everything about cars. He went to school to be an accountant and works in a firm as an accountant, but he can tell me everything that is wrong with any car. Those stupid mechanics at the dealership often disagree with him. Go figure. Another friend is an expert in football. He can tell you why every team loses their game and what should have been done differently. He knows this because he played little league football when he was 8 years old and has the NFL channel. He did not go to college and rarely even goes to NFL games or college games, and he works as a salesman. My friend who coaches the local high school football team never asks the salesman for advice. Hmmm.
So as you know, our friend, the internet, knows everything too. Like television, if it is on the internet it has to be true.
I don’t suggest making a life or death decision about your health based on what you read on the web. I don’t suggest replacing the whole engine in your car based on the chat room conversation with the guy who is a master mechanic. I don’t suggest making your decision on who God is based on one or two lines quoted by your friend or the internet either.
We can agree to have our differences about what the Bible says about marriage and drinking and gambling and other stuff, but what it says about eternity needs to be considered more seriously. If you mess up in one of those other areas, God still loves you and will forgive you if you ask. If you mess up in whether or not God is who He says He is or if He is real or not, just because you think you or the internet are smarter than Him, that could be a tough one to get around. Don’t let a friend be your doctor if he is an accountant and don’t let the internet friend be your god. Both can cause an irreversible death.

May 9, 2012

Unbelievers and Believers Can Agree

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierre_pouliquin/158414881/

Yesterday was crazy on Facebook with people going back and forth about the NC amendment concerning marriage. Needless to say, people are passionate about this subject. I want to address a couple of things concerning this.
First, I hate it that the church gets such a bad rap on this subject. But you can’t complain about what happens when people who are supposed to show the love of God, show the ugliness of humanity. God does not hate people. He hates sin. Sure, that means that sin must be defined and that there are people who do not agree with how it has been defined, but God is the one who calls those shots. God loves people so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus to die for those sins and receive full acceptance as His children. He made it possible for any human, no matter if you are gay or straight, rich or poor, black or white, to be forgiven and receive eternal life. As His people, we are to represent Christ by showing compassion and love and not by acting as judge and jury. I believe if the church would spend a little more time cleaning up its own back yard we wouldn’t have such a hard time when we try to clean our neighbor’s.
Second, I hate it that people who don’t believe in God get so upset at people who do. They quote the Bible, and it is often quoted very much out of context, as if it should mean something because they use it and not when Christians use it. They tell Christians that we shouldn’t force our beliefs on them, yet they have no problem trying to force Christians to accept what they believe. They act as if having no God makes them better judges of humanity than those who have a God. Sadly, all we humans can do is make a decision to believe that we are special in nature and enforce some sense of morality and laws. Because we are not of the same minds on this, there will always be issues of disagreement.
I have a good friend who is a professing non believer and we are probably on as different ends of this argument as two people can get. Yet we respect each other enough not to let this disagreement hinder our friendship. I have said a few things that he probably takes offense to and he has done the same with me. But, at the end of the day, we can’t wait to play cards together each month. That is what friends are supposed to do. But I want to conclude this with something that I think we would agree on.
He serves his fellow-man very unselfishly. He holds friendship high in his beliefs of what is important. I would like to think that he would agree that I do the same. What we need to do is address the issue of can we make a difference that helps those that we feel are underprivileged. Believers and non-believers can be involved as fellow citizens to do our part to help others. I know that the church has traditionally helped those in need. Sadly it has gotten more recognition for opposing issues than solving problems. Jesus would never do anything but love people and meet their needs. He relied on His love to change people’s hearts and cause them to want to listen to His teachings.
I do not believe that the real issue is gay or not gay, married or not married. I believe that the real concern is who a politician can get to vote for him. I would like to see the people of this great country start telling politicians that we don’t need them to baby-sit us. We need them to provide a safe and productive place for all Americans to raise a family, regardless of its make up. We, the people, should take care of our fellow-man and if someone is hurting, comfort them. If someone needs help, help them. If I as a Christian help those who Jesus helped, I will be helping anyone who needs it, not telling them that they are wrong and deserve to be in the place that they are in. If All Christians will do that, maybe there won’t be a need to have people who don’t believe quote the Bible to us. And maybe more will learn the love of God instead of hearing of the wrath of God. Yes, God is a God of love and wrath, but that is for another blog.
People who get involved in others lives for the purpose of other’s well-being will be passionate. Let’s keep the real situation in the forefront. We can and should all help. And yes, there might even be a way to disagree on a definition or an issue and still help our fellow-man as believers and non believers alike . That is my intent. What is yours?