Posts tagged ‘eternity’

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.

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August 14, 2012

Winning Gold

by pastortimfowler

Love isn't Love Until You Give it Away

The first lady had some guilt to lay on Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas for eating at McD’s after winning gold in England. Gabby is the picture of health and while Ms. Obama is no cow, she certainly doesn’t look like she has avoided Big Macs all her life either. But I am not gonna talk about that. I want to talk about the gold.
This year’s Olympic gold medal is composed of 92.5 percent silver, just 1.34 percent gold, and the remainder 6.16 percent is made up of copper and is worth about $650.00. I was disappointed when I learned this. I thought it was pure gold. Sure, if it were it would be worth a lot more and there would be a greater risk of theft, but wow, only 1.34% gold? Currently gold is going for about $1600.00 per ounce, so weighing about 400 grams or, 14 ounces, that would be a lot of money, about $22,000.00 or so if it were solid gold.
I would think that an Olympic medal of any sort would be worth more than anyone could pay me if I had won it. It would be like winning the Superbowl and getting one of those rings. I don’t know if you have ever seen one, but wow, they are a lot of bling! But did you know that many people who have one these things have sold them? I know because I watch Pawn Stars and they have stuff like that come in all the time.
I like money. I would like to have more of it and will gladly take any extra that you may not want. You can contact me via my church website, http://www.thebodylive.com if you would like to send me money. But I have grown to know that money, as nice to have as it is, does not make you truly happy. Family, friends, and faith work best for that. Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is a great source of happiness and more specifically, joy. Jesus said that we should not spend all of our time on earth storing up treasure here, but that we should store up things in heaven that really make a difference for eternity.
Jesus was and is not anti money. He did say that people who love money had a problem. They tend to rely more on their riches than on Jesus. Jesus knew that money was not important in heaven but was very useful on earth when we keep things in the proper perspective. But once we leave this world, money and gold and rings and stuff like that stay here and are absolutely worthless to those who die.
There is a joke I heard long ago about gold and its value in heaven. A rich man died and asked if he could take a bag of his gold to heaven. When he got permission to take it and was walking around the streets of heaven, he noticed that all the angels were laughing at him. When he asked his friend who had been there a while, why the angels were laughing at him, his friend told him that they thought it was funny that he was carrying a bag of pavement around like it was something valuable.
What is valuable in heaven? YOU are! Your soul and the souls of every human being are so valuable to God that He allowed Jesus to die for us on a cross so that we may live with Him in heaven. When we forget that things of this world are only temporary and focus on riches here, it is then possible that we miss out on what God has in store for us. Our eternal life is that important to God. He loves us. He made a way for all who believe and ask for forgiveness to receive eternal life and a place in heaven.
I don’t know if the streets in heaven are really made of gold. I think it is far more valuable than we can imagine and it will not be our focus when we get there. I know that here on earth how we treat others with what we have is far more valuable than the stuff we have. If we put stuff above the lives of others, we miss out on true happiness and become self-centered and ultimately self-condemned. Love is something to give away, not to waste on one’s self. Marriages don’t work unless you love your spouse at least as much as you love yourself. Giving love to your child is far more important than teaching a child to love himself. God loves us so much that He gave so that we may have eternal life. God’s love is given to us so that we can give it away to others.
As for Gabby Douglas, she knows that value of a gold medal. She also knows that there is something far more valuable, and that is knowing Jesus and God’s love. And something in me says that after training for the Olympics for as long as she did, that the Big Mac she ate after it was over was pretty valuable too. Winning gold can only sustain you for little while, after that, you need something more.

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.

July 27, 2012

So Long My Friend

by pastortimfowler

I asked you guys to pray for my friends the other day and I am grateful to all who did. I have to give you an update, and at first it seems sad. James died of complications of his illness last night. Because of this, I ask you to continue to praying for his wife and kids. As much as this sucks for them right now, I know that time and God’s grace will allow for things to get better.

James was a Christian. That means now he is better. No more sickness or pain, for him. That sounds great and is true according to what the Bible teaches and in that case I am jealous. But on the other hand, family and friends are left to deal with the sorrow and heart-break of his death. Nothing but time will help that and it is easy to begin to doubt God. That is okay though; God can handle that. He knows what it is like to have someone close die.

God knows that death is an enemy and we are told that the last enemy to be defeated is death. It is a momentary hiccup in the fabric of time that separates what we know and what God knows. Eternity is that close, and wow, in times like this, it is closer than I ever thought. But we are not left to guess what happens after someone dies. For those who believe in this stuff, God says if you have asked Jesus to take your sin penalty for you, you go to heaven. James made that decision several years ago and handed death over to God and accepted the gift of life.

James and I were really getting to know each other in the last year. I thought I knew him, but didn’t. He was really an intense guy who had a wacky past like me. He was funny, while at the same time kept it real. I found out that his faith was stronger than I thought and that was so refreshing.

While we didn’t have enough time with James for my satisfaction, God has promised us an eternity when this life is over. Now, his faith is no longer about what he believes. He has seen it for himself that God is real. He understands what we don’t; the answer to the question, why? He is laughing at our doubts and if I know James, laughing at me and some of the ways I struggled giving answers to things in the Bible that make no sense to us, but now make perfect sense to him. He has seen the beginning of life and knows that there is now no end. He is probably not worried about whether the chairs in the worship center are lined up straight or not. He knows the words to songs that Wanda tries to get us to sing louder and knows the words to songs that only those in heaven can sing. He even knows why that stupid video system doesn’t always work that drives me and Sheila crazy. Somehow I don’t think we will let it bother us as much anymore. (Hey James. Could you at least ask God to let it all work together just once for us?)

There is still a need for prayer. There is still a need for time and for sure, a need for God’s grace. I thank you all for your part. I thank God for the grace and for the time we had with James. I will straighten the chairs this week James, I am sure you have more important things to do.
So long my friend.

July 27, 2011

What Jesus Looks Like

by pastortimfowler

I had the honor of doing a funeral today for my friends, the West family. It was for a member of the family who just happened to have been homeless most of his adult life for one reason or another, and why is irrelevant. Often I am challenged to think about different things as I prepare for a funeral and too often I am struck right between the eyes with things that I need to make right or rethink.
My biggest fear of doing funerals for people who I don’t know is that I am not sure of their eternal destination. Let me rephrase that; I have no personal knowledge of their profession of faith, because the bottom line is, we can only present evidence to the world of our salvation, we can never prove it.
I like to think that people can look at me, my life, and how I live it, and determine that based on the evidence that shows, they can tell I know Jesus. After all you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. But anyone can look at a tree full of peaches and say that is a peach tree, it takes a deeper look if there is no fruit. So what I am saying is that in the dead of winter, a peach tree is still a peach tree even though there is no fruit or even any leaves.
I have tried to convince people of this fact for as long as I have been a pastor. Too often, Christians try to judge what a Christian should look like based on the perfect conditions of being a Christian and over look the fact that none of us continually live under perfect conditions.
So as I was searching for scripture to use for the funeral I came across one of those eye-opening things that happens to me from time to time. The kind of thing where God says, HEY! Your are missing ME in all this. So I started reading and I saw Jesus in a homeless man…here is what I’ talking about.
Luke 9:57-58
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
Matthew 25:42-45
42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’
44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant {they seemed}, you failed to do for me.’
Jesus said in Lk. 9:57,58 that He was homeless too. Earth is not our home it is our journey to eternity. Then in Mat. 25:42-45, He says that He was the hungry, thirsty, sick, and in prison. He did not say that as a joke, He said it to make a point. Remember the peach tree? Not only will it not bear fruit in the winter, but it will not bear fruit when it is hungry, thirsty, sick, or not planted in a good place. These are the trees that need the most attention. These are the ones that God says He would die for and that need the help the most.
I like to have my pretty Jesus. You know, the one that is a good-looking, with hair flowing in the breeze, smiling ’cause He’s happy, and all is right with the world. But the Jesus that took my sin to the cross was a prisoner, condemned to die for sins He did not commit. He was stripped of His clothes, hungry and thirsty. He had no home. Few recognized this Jesus, but that is the one we all meet first in the path to salvation. Only after we are saved can we see the resurrected and glorified Jesus.
Few would think that a Christian is that homeless guy, strung out on drugs, begging for a dollar to buy a drink or a smoke. Few would think that a Christian would not have a good job and nice clothes to wear to church, like I have. But aren’t we all forgetting that we are not supposed to look like Christians, we are supposed to look like Jesus.
And I believe that sometimes Jesus saves the homeless and downtrodden and allows them to stay that way for those of us who look good to have a real look at the cost of sin. Jesus looked even worse when He took all of our sin the day He died on the cross. And He died for sinners, not saints.
I think I might have had a chance today to get a better picture of what Jesus looks like.

April 12, 2011

How did it all begin?

by pastortimfowler

I have a problem on Tuesday mornings thanks to a lady’s Bible study at our church. They lure me into the room with coffee and donuts and then ask me questions that cause me to talk for a while. This morning the subject turned to eternity and how the universe and life all started. I am still not sure if I got enough coffee or donuts for the amount of time that I had spent on the subject today. So how ’bout a blog to empty my brain and make room for something else?
Many times I encounter people who do not believe in God. They believe that everything is a result of chance happenings that put the universe into motion. My brain is simple and so I tend to simplify things, sometimes too much. So this subject presents a few things that must be simplified for me. I will try to explain.
Most people agree that things began with a “big bang”. What exploded? Did something explode that always existed or was there a time when nothing existed? If there was a time when nothing existed how did this thing that exploded come into existence? Last time I checked you can’t make something from nothing even in the wildest stretch of science fiction. So that leads one to believe that there was always something. If you can explain how to get something from nothing, please let me know. I really want to hear that. Again I am a simple guy with a simple brain. But something from nothing don’t work.
The next question would be, what is that something that has always existed? Was it something that was lifeless or was it something with life? I am not talking about something dead, because weird things tend to end up growing in dead stuff and dead stuff by definition is something that at one time had life. I am talking about lifelessness, as some scientists insist, a mass that exploded, creating the universe that we now know. Just a funny note, every time I had ever seen an explosion the only thing that is created is a mess, not something so precise as the way our universe operates.
If something lifeless exploded, what produced life? We go through great efforts to sterilize things so that no life will grow. In a perfectly sterile environment, most scientists will agree that nothing lifeless will develop life. How then can a lifeless object explode in the environment of deep space, that does not support life, and yet life become a byproduct of this event?
The other scenario is that the something that always existed was something with life. God fits that description. God is life. But, if something with life explodes in the environment of deep space it is hard to believe that it would produce more life or anything of order. Just think logically.
Of course I believe that God always existed and the He created life as we know it. The universe, the galaxy, the solar system, earth, and life on earth are very complex and work together with great design. Imagine walking through a parking lot and looking down to find a drinking straw. If I were to say to you that the straw was not made by any designer, but rather the winds and rain and lightening that were part of the cosmos of the parking lot blew together all the elements needed to form the drinking straw and formed it through years of evolution, you would correctly say to me; YOU ARE AN IDIOT! Drinking straws are created by drinking straw makers. Where there is a creation there must be a creator.
We often think of eternity from an after-life perspective. I think if we look at eternity from a how it all began perspective that we will find that eternity does matter and provides great logic for tough questions like, how did it all begin?