Posts tagged ‘failures’

January 4, 2012

Dont Read The Book

by pastortimfowler

Every time I get the chance, I tell my church and the people in the Bible studies that I lead, to read their Bibles from the beginning to the end and to do it often. I remember the first time I did it and it was life changing. I have never had such a great feeling of accomplishment than when I finish it the first time and then again and again. I never get tired of seeing new things that He reveals to me. I will admit that I do get nervous with some of the things I am confronted with. Often it is my failures and my insecurities and my lack of faith. But with each reading I gain the trust and faith in God to step a little closer to what He has in store for me and a little bolder to speak with faith the love of God for humanity.
I am not an avid reader. Other than the Bible, I have to make myself read books. A few years back I committed to reading at least 6 new books each year. That does not sound like much to some, but there was a time just before this commitment that I could count on one hand the number of books I had read completely.
The other day I was given a book to read by someone who works with me in the ministry. I had heard about it and had thought that one day I would get around to reading it. But now it was in my hands and so I started. RATS! DARN! FIDDLESTICKS! and other words of frustration.
I tell people who reading is great and beneficial and I encourage it. I caution people who when it comes to Christian books, especially those who claim to explain the Bible that they should be careful. I tell them that they should never let a book interpret the Bible, but to let the Bible interpret the book. Of course this is not possible if you have never read the Bible from beginning to end. So, seeing how I have read the Bible from beginning to end, I can allow this to happen, and this book is very biblically sound.
It is challenging Christians, and I are one, to take to heart the command to “go into all the world” like Jesus commanded. Not just to go, but to do and to equip those who do. It suggests that the American church is not doing much that requires God to help. It suggests that what most churches are doing are done through man’s desire and not really God’s desire.
Never the less, this book does not challenge churches, it challenges individuals, just like the Bible. I have been challenged, and I am going to try to take up this challenge. I am not going to give details right now, because it is a bit overwhelming for me. I am going to start looking at doing what we can’t do unless God is involved more than what we can do and it would be nice if God would join in with us.
I ask for your prayers. It is crazy to know that you are a Christian who serves a God who created the universe and know that most of what you are doing doesn’t require God to be part of it. As I read the Bible, I read accounts of miracles. Not stuff that can’t be explained, but stuff that can’t happen unless God does it. Sadly I don’t see that in much of my ministry. I do see God working through our church and we are reaching people with the Gospel. To that I am thrilled! I just want to know more of God’s will and less of my own.
Don’t read this book! Don’t read the Bible! Don’t do either if you are just doing it because you feel obligated, as if God were some dude that you owed the favor. You don’t owe God a favor, you owe Him your life. It is His. He promises that if we will do what He asks, that we will see Him do what He says. He said, and this is a paraphrase, don’t read the book, do the deed. (James 1:22)

May 23, 2011

Who Are You?

by pastortimfowler

Years ago I went to a convention in Atlanta and was convinced that I needed to be a better husband and that God was going to allow that to happen. I made a decision to go home and begin to try to love my wife like Christ loves the church. The change in my heart was real but the change in my flesh was slow to follow. But no matter the division within my being, I went home to be a better husband. Something must have happened, because my wife asked me after a couple of days, who are you and what have you done with my husband?
After a couple more days the intensity wore off. What I learned in theory became harder and harder to do in reality. I realized that Christ was a lot better at loving people than I was and that my love for my wife was constantly being challenged by my love for self. I also realized that this was a fight worth fighting because although not perfect, my wife was worth all the love I could give her.
I think this scenario happens in church too. We hear a compelling sermon and are challenged to take on the task at hand but time and self get in the way. Sometimes we are compelled for other reasons. Maybe we see someone at church doing a lot or looking important, and they very well may be. That can motivate us to step up our efforts to serve or be involved. But unless it is really God that inspires the change, it can often end in failure and if it isn’t God inspiring, failure may be a good thing.
We need to be careful though, when we start labeling failures. Many so-called failures are nothing more than a re-firing of God’s refining process. Impurities often take several cycles to come out, no matter what is being purified. This can be a most valuable learning period and lessons learned here are life changing, for real. If change was easy and every process was painless, we would think that all God does is wave a magic wand and problems go away. We would begin to think of Him as some sort of wizard instead of the loving Father that He is.
God knows who we are. He made us this way. Even all the so-called imperfections are part of who God made us to be. We come to Him as little children, sometimes in grown up bodies, but never the less, children in our faith. He takes us as we are, who we are, and molds us into who we need to be. If we will let Him, He will make us better husbands, wives, and anything else we need to be, for His glory. But it does take time and patience. Isn’t it funny that the first thing that 1 Corinthians 13 says about love in its definition of love is that love is patient.
God is patient. He knows our heart. He knows if we are reacting to an emotion or reacting to His call. He knows if we need to be still and be ministered too or if we need to get off our butts and minister to others. The key is to let God move our hearts and that always results in better outcome.
I think my wife will say that I am a better husband than the day I came back from that conference. I still don’t love her as much as Christ loves the church, but I am working on it. The point is that we know who we are, and God knows who we are, and sometimes He wants us to be who we are instead of what others think we should be. So if our desire is to be better in the things that God has called us to do, be patient, He will get you there. But shine in what you do for Him and be who you are for Him and that will usually result in others asking, who are you? Then your answer can be, I am His and I am loved, who are you?