Posts tagged ‘Easter’

April 9, 2012

Seeing is Believing

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34827444@N08/3706533015

Shortly after Jesus rose from the grave, He went to see His disciples. One of them, Thomas, who had not seen Him yet, told the others that he would not believe until He saw Jesus for himself. My associate pastor preached our Sonrise service Easter and asked the question, have your seen Jesus. Sadly many do not believe because they have not seen. Jesus was quoted as saying , blessed are those who believe and have not seen. He was talking to Thomas, the doubter, about how he saw the resurrected Jesus and believed but others would have to believe without seeing Him physically.
When we started our church 7 years ago we wanted to name it something that represented what and who the church should be and so we called it, The Body. 1 Corinthians 12:27 You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it. This is speaking about the group of believers called the church. We are to be the body of Christ to the world who cannot see Jesus as Thomas and the other disciples did.
Our theme song is from a group called Casting Crowns, titled, If We are The Body. It asks the questions that if we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching, hands healing, words teaching? The point of the song is that unless people see Christ in His church, they are not going to believe that He is alive. If people outside of the church can’t see the love of Christ in us who are the church, then they may never see the love of Christ at all.
My old pastor told me that the church was not a country club for saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. When we act as if we are the privileged few instead of the fortunate forgiven, people can get really turned off by this whole Jesus thing. The church must remember that we are nothing without Christ and with Him and only because of Him are we anything. His death on the cross was to pay the sin penalty for everyone who will believe and His resurrection was to give us a life that we can’t have without Him. But we have a responsibility to share this message with others and do it in a way that people believe. In other words, we must act enough like Jesus for people to see Him before they see us.
Thomas gets a bad rap for his doubt. Every time you hear someone called a doubting Thomas they are referring to the Thomas of the Bible. But Thomas was at least honest enough to say he did not truly believe. Jesus did not condemn him for that. Instead Jesus offered to let Thomas touch His wounds. If you think about it, Jesus could have acted like He had never been hurt and tried to show Thomas how godly He was, but He didn’t. Instead He showed Thomas how much His past hurt Him and how human He was. That is why God became a man. To show us that He understands us. Everyone in the Jewish world knew about the God in Heaven who could not be touched. Jesus was God on earth so that He could be touched.
So the church needs to remember that we are not the God of Heaven who is holier than all, but rather we are the Body of Christ, who is every bit as human as the next guy and every bit loving as the Christ who died on a cross for our sin. We have been hurt and sometimes still hurt. We have fallen down and sometimes still do. But we get back up and not even death can keep us down, because Jesus defeated death and has given us the victory over it. But life must still go on and the world needs to see a church that loves unconditionally and gives unselfishly and never forgets that God wants to use us to represent Jesus to the world. We must never forget that some may still need to see to believe.

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April 6, 2012

When The World Turns Against You

by pastortimfowler

9-7-4 Easter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/5651018258

Imagine a time when everyone you know turns against you. Maybe you did something that you shouldn’t have. But what if you didn’t? What if you were just misunderstood? What if you were lied about and plotted against? What if everyone you knew left you all alone during the worst time of your life? How would you feel? You may feel a lot like Jesus.
As we get ready to fill our children with more lies about rabbits who bring baskets of eggs and candy, we have to think about the true meaning of Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you thought that you caught a bit of disdain for the Easter Bunny, you are right. At least Santa has a hint of what Christmas is about, but this is pure fantasy and misleading. Easter is the most important holiday for the Christian. It is the single most important part of our belief. Anyone can die, but Jesus was resurrected and that stands alone among all other beliefs. But before you can come back to life, you must die, and Jesus did. It was a painful, humiliating death and everyone who was close to Him left Him and even disowned Him.
Jesus, according to the Bible was a sinless man. He never lied, cheated, or stole, never betrayed a friend, and never turned down helping someone in need. His followers spent three and a half years living with Him and following Him. They were by his side when the blind man received his sight back. They were there when those with leprosy were healed of their disease. They were there when the five thousand were fed with only a few fish and loaves of bread. They saw Him walk on water and calm the storm. They heard Him teach about how He was sent to earth to die for the sins of humanity and that He would rise from the grave.
Just a few days before his arrest and crucifixion Jesus told his followers that one of them would betray him. We all know now that it was Judas and that he sold the information about Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. But what we rarely think about is that if the truth be told, they all betrayed Him. On the day that He was arrested they all began to scatter. They went back to their homes and villages and to their jobs. Some hid and we are told that a few followed from a distance. At one point, one of His closest friends was asked if he wasn’t one of Jesus’ followers and he denied it three times. The last time he not only denied that He knew Jesus, but he cursed Jesus in public and in front of those who had Jesus arrested. Leading up to the day that He was nailed to the cross, most everyone who knew Him, was gone.
The day that Jesus was crucified, he was publicly humiliated in every possible way. The religious crowd laughed at Him and mocked Him. His own people, the Jews, rejoiced that Jesus was dying on a cross instead of the known hardened criminal Barnabas. He even had two convicted criminals hanging beside Him and one laughed at Jesus’ demise. Only a few of his closest family and friends were there and even then they kept their distance.
Even today I feel that Jesus is still being mocked. We have reversed the trend from hiding on the day of his crucifixion to many who claim to know Him hiding the rest of the year. Now that we are all safe, and time has passed, everyone feels safe coming out on Easter for an hour. We just hide the rest of the year in case there is some retaliation. But our coming out on Easter is only under the disguise of wearing new clothes that we call our Easter outfit. We also don’t want to get to close too this horrible injustice so we bring out the Easter Bunny to make us all feel better.
When the world turns against us, we often turn to God. We call on Him to save us from our misfortune and our memories are often short-lived when God answers. But God never forgets us. Even while He was on the cross, He never forgot that without His death, we would have to die. Without His resurrection, we would only rot. When the whole world turns against you, Heaven will not.

April 25, 2011

Is the Easter Bunny a lie?

by pastortimfowler

Sorry for the down time, but nature called. No, not the bathroom, scuba diving. I took a 3 day trip to Florida for some fossil hunting with a few close friends and my son. I had a blast, got rested and now I am ready to get back to keeping the world informed.


While I was gone there were a few good blog ideas that were sent to me on Facebook. One was about the idea of the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa and if it was a lie to tell our kids about them.
I want people to pay attention in church and when they do pay attention I want them to be able to live a more Godly life. I try to teach that too often we try to make the Bible more difficult than it is. When God says to tell the truth, that is what He means. So where does that leave the Easter Bunny? Is the Easter Bunny a lie?
This could be fun for my vegan friends. To think that they read my blogs and I get to say stuff like, rabbits are for eating not bringing baskets of candy and eggs. ROFL, or for those who are not as abbreviation savvy as I am, that means “rolling on floor laughing”. Oh wait! That in not true. I am not literally rolling on the floor. I think I just lied. See how easy it is to confuse sarcasm, exaggeration, and even abbreviation, as lies? As you can see, this thing about lying can be a difficult one to be truly literal about. But I still love fried rabbit.
We have to be careful what we teach our kids and how far we go with things that are such big events in their lives. Christmas and Easter should be big events in a kid’s life but for different reasons than they have come to be. These are the two biggest Christian events that we can teach. The virgin birth of our Savior and the death and resurrection of our Savior. But ask most kids what they mean and who it is about and you get Santa and the Rabbit.
For those who don’t know, I will never condemn someone for participating in these two traditions. I never cared for the Rabbit thing because that to me is just a big slap in the face to Christians from the secular world. It is very difficult to get from a crucified Savior and His resurrection to a Rabbit bringing candy and eggs. I would choose to teach my kids about Jesus and give them candy to reinforce that truth than to support a real stretch of the imagination. Besides, rabbits do not care about people getting candy. They are better pan-fried with a little garlic or kept as pets that do nothing more than make a mess. FYI, I don’t like rabbits as pets.
Santa is a fantasy based on some truth. Saint Nicholas was a real man who did take gifts to children. He was a Christian and from what I can find, someone who believed in helping and giving to others.
Santa is easy to explain as a fun fantasy for kids and easy to bring in the real teaching of the holiday. We can tell our children about the real man who started the tradition and how it was his love of Jesus that compelled him to do what he did. We can explain that it is fun to imagine him flying around the world helping others and a sleigh and 8, (9) if you count Rudolf, reindeer. I think children can have just as much fun with the fantasy and not have to present it as fact. And it is easy to take what “Santa” does and teach our children to be givers.
In case you were wondering, I never eat reindeer.
What I am saying is that as parents we have a responsibility to allow kids to be kids. Indulging in fantasy and having creative imaginations are perfectly normal. When we present fiction as fact, we risk confusing them and yes, we lie to them. Often this presents a dilemma for parents who become Christians years after having children and have been teaching them about Santa and the Rabbit. But kids appreciate the truth and done with love, they can be told the truth. After all, most lies are done with the intent of deception for personal gain. Not that it is right, but Santa and the Rabbit are more childhood fantasy than lies for personal gain. Unlike trolls and monsters and fairies which we do tell our kids are not real…unless its the TOOTH FAIRY!
So what about the Tooth Fairy? Please, do I have to tell you what I think about that? We all know that she is not really a she, but rather one of Santa’s elves who was fired for stealing and went to work for the Easter Bunny, but quit because the money was fake too, and ended up going into business for his self as a cross-dresser who in the day time posts weird, “important” stuff on Facebook for everyone to re-post if they really care.
Let me know what you think. Is the Easter Bunny a lie?

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