Posts tagged ‘faith’

February 5, 2013

Trials Make You Stronger

by pastortimfowler

rejoice1

I know its been a while and the blogs are further in between this year so far. Things have been very hectic and very trying in this first part of 2013. While I was planning on blogging through the Bible, I have found it hard to find the time to do as much as I originally planned. Today as I was preparing for my men’s Bible study on Thursday nights, I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and was inspired and encouraged by Paul’s words to this early bunch of Christians. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 … Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom.
I am not comparing my suffering to that of a martyr or even that of the early church, but I have learned that anyone’s sufferings are real and challenging to them at the time. As I told you a while back, our church had a fire that smoked out a whole side of our building that included my office. My office is my sanctuary for study and thought and prayer and I do a lot of planning for our church there. Not being able to use it makes me feel like I am out of touch or at least out of sync with the church. That and the fact that dealing with insurance and contractors can be enough to challenge anyone’s faith, has made it a long 3 months.

Spiritual warfare comes in many forms. It can be as simple as strained relationships and as complex as attacks on one’s faith. It seems that mine have been on many levels. During this time I try to keep a smile on my face and my focus on helping others, but the smiles seem to be forced more than natural and the faith of knowing I am doing God’s will has been challenged with each decision. I have to continually remind myself that I am fighting battles that are not about people or me, but about people’s souls. The strained relationships cause tensions that make it hard to show love and feel love. Although I know love is not about one’s feelings, I also know that without the feelings it must be continually reminded in order to not forget who you love.
God has promised us victory over our enemies. He has promised to be with us in every situation and that His love is greater than my love. My challenge is to depend on His love when mine is weakened. Showing love is not always about a smile. It can be about difficult circumstance that makes happiness depend more on joy and peace rather than good times and good feelings.

So as I was reading this, I was reminded that suffering for Christ of any kind is part of being worthy of God’s kingdom. Worthy only because of what Christ did and never because of what I do and what I feel. That makes me feel better.
So if you find yourself feeling down and out or like you can’t stand anymore in the face of the attacks that are surrounding you, remember that Christ suffered for doing no wrong. He suffered for my wrong and your wrong and gladly bore our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and made righteous and worthy of His kingdom.

I thank God that my feelings do not mean I am not loved. I thank God that He feels the same about me regardless of my feelings and that His feelings for me are pure love and unchanging. I thank Him that I am counted worthy to suffer for His cause and that I am in the battles that mean so much. Even if I fail, He will not. And if I fail while loving and serving Him, then I am ever bit as worthy of His kingdom and will never be condemned because of Christ’s work and not my own. Trials make you stronger because the Bible says when we are weak, then He is strong. Thanks God. I await your strength and thank you for the trials.

January 28, 2013

How Did We Get Here?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

 

I want to fast forward through the rest of Genesis to get to Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. I am currently working on a commentary of the Bible so I don’t want to duplicate that in blog form. Most people are familiar with the story of Moses and how God used him to free Israel from slavery in Egypt. What most don’t think about is how they got there. If you have read your Bible you know the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and the brother’s lie to the dad saying that he was killed. What happens after that is often forgotten when the slavery part comes around.
The Old Testament is full of typology. Certain things and places represent certain common theological issues all throughout the Bible. For instance, Egypt is a type of sin. God’s people, Israel were in bondage to sin, Egypt. When we get to that point in the Bible, most of us are feeling sorry for Israel and rooting for them to be delivered. We all want God to fix the injustice that Egypt is inflicting on them. What we forget is that Israel chose to live there.
Keeping in mind the typology, Israel chose through the years to disobey God. God promised them a land through Abraham and his descendents and over time they rebelled and did what they wanted to do. They chose what felt right to man over what was right to God. That is how sin works. It causes us to go farther and farther away from God. Before you know it we are deep in trouble and crying for God to get us out of it..
Remember that Joseph was sold and left for dead. God sent a famine, and his family that did this to him had to face their sin by going into Egypt and asking for help. Joseph made it possible for the family to move into Egypt and for a while, things were great. But that is how it is, way to often, with sin. It usually feels good and for a while even looks like the right thing, but before long, sin shows its true colors and turns ugly.
God said from the beginning that sin would lead to death. He said that sin would cause trouble for mankind as long as we are on this earth. The more we sin, the less God can fix our problems until we finally decide to turn to Him in desperation and let Him restore us. The good news is that when we finally ask God for help, He will help. He is the only answer to our sin problem. His gift of salvation and forgiveness comes through. Call to Him with all your heart. It is called faith and repentance. If we cry out to God with a change of heart He will forgive us and begin to deliver us from our sin.
The best thing we can do is trust God before we move to Egypt. Turn to God before we think that we can fix a problem by trying to get even further in sin.
Don’t forget that it was Israel that chose to live in Egypt. Don’t forget that even their best efforts turned into slavery. Don’t forget that God is the one who set them free. And don’t forget that you too can be set free if you cry out to God.

January 24, 2013

Isaac Could Have Died

by pastortimfowler

Isaac

In Genesis 22 God’s promise of a son to Abraham has been fulfilled and God tests Abraham’s faith with a really bizarre request. He tells Abraham to take his only son Isaac to the place of worship and sacrifice him. Without chasing that obvious questions of “isn’t that cruel”, because it isn’t if you know God’s promise to him. I want to talk about Abraham’s faith. This whole story is a Christ like story. Think about the similarities. Abraham’s only son, God’s only Son. Isaac carried the wood up the hill, Christ carried the cross up a hill. The father, Abraham was asked to sacrifice, God the Father offered the sacrifice. There was a ram with thorns around its head, Christ wore a crown of thorns. I could go on, but I think you can see the similarities.
Abraham had been promised that God would make his descendants more than the stars in the sky. If Isaac dies, how could this happen? So Abraham had to make a choice. Trust God or argue with God. The Bible tells us that God would rather have our obedience than our sacrifice. But if God wants our sacrifice, we need to trust Him to still fulfill His promises. God cannot lie.
So what were the choices that God had? Well, He could have let the sacrifice happen. If so, He would have had to raise Isaac from the dead or have his 100 plus year old wife have another baby. God could do either. Raising the dead is not hard for God to do. It is hard for us to believe and understand, but not hard for God. Sarah had Isaac at 99, so it wouldn’t be hard at 100 plus.
He could have caused the knife not to penetrate Isaac. Jesus walked through walls and disappeared from among crowds. God made himself in the form of fire and smoke and human flesh, I am sure that He could cause a knife to not penetrate skin.
What God did was what Abraham said God would do. He provided the lamb. As the knife was raised, an angel said stop and they looked and there was a ram in the thorn-bush. It was the lamb from God, again a Jesus picture, as He is THE Lamb of God.
Sure, Isaac could have died. But Abraham believed God and we are told in Hebrews that God counted this faith toward Abraham’s righteousness. As I said, God wants our obedience more than our sacrifice. He wants us to believe that His promises can be trusted no matter how bizarre they sound. God’s ways are higher than ours and our understanding is not required. He wants us to do what we are asked and allow Him to be God. He has done miracles as long as we have been on earth and even before. Nature’s laws do not apply to God and He will never allow the impossible to make Him a liar.
So next time that you are faced with the unbelievable and even the impossible, remember that God is the God of impossible and His love for us is unending. If He tells you to do the unthinkable, first, know that it is from God. Abraham knew this was from God, because Abraham had a very close relationship with God. He knew His voice and knew His promises were true.
I don’t think that God will ask you to sacrifice your child. I often prayed for that when my children were little and was not given the go ahead. But He may ask you to be obedient in the face of logic and worldly wisdom. Knowing God will mean that whatever He asks of you, you can find peace and you can trust Him. The closer your relationship, the greater the peace. The greater the faith, the easier it is to do the impossible.

January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

January 16, 2013

Walk By Faith

by pastortimfowler

Abraham

In Genesis chapter 12 we meet a man named Abram, later called Abraham. He is named in a genealogy in the previous chapter, but the first few verses of 12 kind of make you think that we should have known this guy a little more than we do at this point in the Bible. God starts talking to this guy and making him promises as if they have known each other for a while; well they had, but we haven’t.
God tells Abram to go to a place that he will be shown later. The motivation behind it almost seems to be the promise of being a great nation, but this guy was old and didn’t have any kids. I have to be honest with you. If God were to tell me to go somewhere, right now, at my age, and promise to give me lots of kids, I would have to seriously consider becoming a Buddhist monk instead. Promising me kids as motivation would be like promising a kid broccoli as motivation.
The sudden introduction of Abram and the assumption that he knew God a lot longer than it took for us to read that much of the Bible, lets us use our imaginations and assume more than we probably should. What I want to share with you is that the safest assumption is that God and Abram had a relationship that was very close. It had to be for this man to leave his land and relatives with no idea of where he was going. And, I know from reading the rest of the Bible and a personal testimony, that God desires relationships with His people and not religion.
God does not make sense. He reminds me of my parents when I was 6. They made no sense to me when they said not to build a ramp for my bicycle in order to jump over my little brother who was laying in front of the ramp. I had been riding for 2 years and can’t remember ever seeing them on a bike. What did they know about daredevil stunts? I had been watching Evil Knievel jump motorcycles over buses and cars and his parents weren’t around telling him to stop it.
You see, God is, or wants to be our Father. He wants to be intimately involved in our lives. He knows when we are in danger and knows how to do what is best for us. We tend to think that God is only there to be at our beck and call when it should be the other way around. God is our maker and our God. He wants us to love him and trust Him and we can, if we will just quit acting like know-it-all 6 year olds.
I think back through my childhood days and remember all the times that I did just trust my dad. He told me to cast my fishing line in that direction and I did, and I caught a fish. He told me to stand up to that bully and don’t act scared and the bully went away. He told me to go over there and wait and the snipes would come running out of the woods…No wait…there was no such thing as snipes and I waited in the dark for quite a while before I figured out it was a joke. But for the most part, I trusted my dad and did things he told me when I did not know the outcome. I did it because I knew he loved me and was going to take care of me.
Now I can see how Abram took off on his journey to a place that God would show him. Abram is the father of the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims. God held up His end of the bargain. He always does and always will. We just need to know Him. We need to walk by faith.

October 2, 2012

What It Means To Be Called

by pastortimfowler

I have been blessed to be the pastor of my church for 10 years now. In those ten years I have seen a lot of stuff that many might take for granted, but I am still amazed at. Like when people who are one day going to hell if they die and in the very moment that they ask God to forgive them they change their direction toward going to heaven. The church is a place where people from every walk of life should be able to come and find love and forgiveness. God loves people so much that He let His Son Jesus die on a cross as payment for our sin. Once a person accepts this forgiveness, God begins a process of growing us into people who serve others. He requires His people to take a personal role in developing new believers, called discipleship, and often calls men and women to become more than just believers, to become ministers of the gospel. In our church lately we have had several men who have said that they feel called to this ministry; wow!. It is the call that I answered almost 20 years ago and feel very privileged to have done so.
So what does it mean to be called? Everyone is being called to answer God’s call of salvation. Few are called to the ministry in an official capacity and that is what I am talking about. A pastor, evangelist, missionary, youth or children’s pastor all are things that come with a specific calling. The Bible gives some specific instructions in the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus for those who are called. It tells us things like we should not be drunks, we should manage money well, and we should have our family in order. Sadly, many people don’t care about those things and they leave themselves open for criticism and corruption and Satanic attacks. But one of the main things that the Bible teaches about this call is that it is a call to be a servant and that few will be called, but those who are called are called for life.
It was Jesus who said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God made salvation very easy to obtain but the call into the ministry unique. Way too often men answer the call to ministry with an idea of a position of authority. Perhaps they should think about Jesus washing feet, the job of the lowest ranking servant. Perhaps they should remember that Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant.
Titles can be worn by anybody. But they can only be exemplified by those who live out what that title requires. Pastor is a title that has its roots in being a shepherd. Shepherds were not highly thought of in society and rarely told people what to do. Instead they put their lives on the line for some pretty simple animals who needed protection. They have the position of a leader but the responsibility of a servant. Leading as a shepherd means having sheep follow, not telling them where to go and what to do.
Those who are called into ministry must learn to be humble. Humility is rarely a normal human quality. We are taught early and often to look out for number one and that we deserve the best. Jesus was the ultimate minister. He humbled himself even to the point of dying on a cross for those who hated Him. He healed sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead and yet never took the credit for doing great things. His main focus was saving the souls of a fallen mankind who cannot save themselves.
When you are called into the ministry it means that you get serious about becoming not only a teacher, but a student. Although God equips those that He calls, He expects us to submit ourselves to the teaching of those who have gone before us. Sometimes that means submitting to someone without a title or someone who’s personality clashes with our own. Sometimes it means serving in a position that no one else wants to do, not even yourself. Sometimes you have to do it for longer than you want to and remember that you have been called to serve God and man even if man doesn’t give the recognition that you want.
But ultimately being called into the ministry means that God knows that you can do what He has called you to do. What He calls you to do should be the highest priority and pleasing Him the goal. Sometimes the rewards are very obvious, but often they will only be recognized when we get to heaven. But the call to ministry is a life long calling that is worth every second that you serve. Romans 11:29- God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. This means when you want to quit, you don’t. It means when you  get tired, you dig deeper for strength. It means when you don’t see rewards for your efforts that you remember where your rewards are stored, in heaven, and you keep serving in faith.
I have been blessed in that I have been able to make it through some tough times since I have been called. I have seen many souls saved and lives changed and now I am seeing others called. I would love to take credit for some of these things, but I must always keep in mind that if I don’t do what God calls me to do, there are others who will. I am not needed by God, but I am wanted by Him. He loves me; first enough to save me, and secondly enough to call me into this crazy life of ministry. What it means to be called into the ministry is really quite simple. It means that God is God and we have surrendered to Him no matter the cost.

September 18, 2012

Miraculas Faith

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62533788@N02/7846245072/

When was the last time you saw a miracle? For Christians, we talk about miracles all the time and do get a chance to see them. For the most part we see people healed who have no explanation, situations that seem hopeless, all of a sudden become blessings, or that relationship that was over is now mended. In our church we have seen babies born who were said would not be and a foot that was scheduled to be amputated due to diabetes suddenly turn pink and healthy, and we have seen our share of just totally unexplainable stuff that we give God credit for. But those things seem to, over time, fade in the level of excitement and we all but forget about them until someone like me brings them up as a reminder.
God is all-powerful and does do those type of miracles and more. But that is not what He wants us to focus on. From the beginning of time God has shown His miracle-working power and it has never held the people’s attention much longer than it took for the next problem to come up. But God did not and does not stop doing the impossible, only because He loves us and, I think there is part of it that goes without saying, if you could do those type things, you just would. What God wants us to focus on is His words. What God says should be as good to those who believe in Him as the miracles we give Him credit for. But trusting in God’s word is tough for us because some of what He says goes against our egos and our own desire to be rebellious.
One of the greatest miracles I have ever had happen to me was in my finances. We had begun to trust God’s word and what it says about giving, particularly tithing or giving 10% of our income. It wasn’t long after that time that we experienced a severe reduction in income. The first thought was to cut back on giving and pay our bills, but we remembered God’s instructions to believers about giving from the first of what we made and we decide to act in faith. If we did what God says do, then He has to honor what He says. Without going into a long story of details, let me just say that our finances were blessed. A miracle, I believe so, but most importantly, it was done because of faith in God’s word and His faithfulness to keep His word. I can tell you several other stories of how faithfulness on our behalf was honored by God acting like God and doing what we could not explain. Some may say that these are not true miracles but rather coincidences and I will only say that God is in control of those too.
My point is this. God has no obligation to do miracles as a reward for our good behavior nor does He have to do them to prove that He exists. God wants a relationship with people and miracles don’t make relationships stronger, trust does. God cannot be proven into existence. He has and always will exist. His miracles in the past did not bring people flocking to Him, His faithfulness did. And that relationship based on faith or trust is what opens the way for Him to do those mind-blowing things that we can’t explain. But if God never did another miracle, would you still trust Him? I would.
I would because I find nothing that He has ever said to be proven wrong. I find plenty that I don’t understand, but nothing wrong. I would because whenever God has said something and I acted on it, the results were exactly what His word says they would be. My marriage is stronger because I follow His guidelines for marriage. My friendships are stronger because I follow His guidelines for friendships. My children all turned out fine (Yes, I know that is open for debate if you know them), because we tried to raise them on God’s guidelines. My church is growing like crazy because we did away with all the bylaws and man’s laws and just started to following the Bible.
The biggest reason for my faith in God’s word is because week after week I see people who are hurting and messed up and just plain weird, decide to trust God for salvation and forgiveness and they in turn bring their friends who eventually have the same experience and so on. I know where I came from. I was not good enough for God to love me, I was so messed up that I was certain that there was no way He could love me, but He did anyway. He forgave me, accepted me, and was patient as I learned to trust Him through the years.
Truly the most miraculous thing about God is faith. If you haven’t seen a miracle, take a step of faith and trust God to forgive you. If you have seen a miracle, don’t forget about it, but look at how often the little things He promises never fail you and build on those. What God does for us is miraculous, but it is all an act of miraculous faith.

September 12, 2012

Blinded?

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/globalcitizen01/6106364346/

It is time to open our political eyes and put on the glasses of realism when it comes to Muslim Extremists. The US Ambassador to Libya was killed yesterday by Muslim extremists and our news media is talking about the US political system being messed up. This outrages me. What has our politics got to do with a bunch of extremist heathens who kill innocent people because their feelings get hurt. The US needs to wake up before we see another 9-11 type attack happen because we refuse to call the real problem what it is.
I know many Muslims in my town. Our church rented a building to worship in for three years from a Muslim. He was professional, respectful, and peaceful. He was not and is not the enemy. He and those like him are friends and fellow Americans. But we must draw a line of separation and clearly identify the fact that extremists in the Muslim faith are the ones who are killing innocent people, especially Americans and those who are not extremist Muslims. Remember, these same extremists even kill other Muslims who disagree with them. It is time to wake up people.
This is not the fault of Obama, Romney, or even Bush. This has been happening for centuries. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant. This is not about our politics. This is not about news ratings. This is about murder of innocent people and it must be stopped. It is time to take the blinders off and see the real fault of those who are committing murder, not running for office or TV ratings.
Terrorism is a real part of our world. It has become so common that it has become accepted and some have turned it into a “plight of repressed people”. Here is the truth: Repressed people still don’t have the right to kill innocent people. Extremist Muslims are not repressed though, they are separatists. They chose to live outside the civilized world’s view of humanity and decency. They choose to use fear and threats to attempt to change minds and intimidate people to change their ways and beliefs. This reminds me of a quote of a previous president of the USA. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Americans do not bow to fear. We rise up and unite into the strongest force for good on the face of the planet. We don’t need media or politicians to remind us of the cost of freedom and the right to defend innocent people against terrorism and threats from extremists of any religion, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Protestant, or atheist.
I believe it is time to take the blinders off or we may end up blinded by having our eyes poked out. Let’s tell the media and politicians to tell the truth and reward that with our loyalty. But when they politicize and twist things for ratings, we need to turn them off, tune them out, and not give them out vote.

August 30, 2012

One Step Ahead

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/252574052/

6am is very early for a lot of people. I am one of those. There was a time when I was up and about by 5:30am every morning, but with kids growing up and moving out and jobs changing to not require it, I have taken a liking to sleeping a little later. But this week I started meeting with a group of guys from the church at 6am for ministry training and it was really weird to be out that early. We wanted to meet at IHOP so that we could relax and let the food and drink come to us, but it doesn’t open until 7am. In fact, there is not a restaurant in this town other than fast food that opens that early, so I am not the only one who doesn’t want to get up that early.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,so one person sharpens the wits of another. This is the verse I shared with the guys today, at 6am. It is important in life to have someone who can help you achieve your goals and follow God’s calling. It doesn’t matter if you are called to do a specific ministry or just want a closer relationship with God, others who have a little more experience can and should help. It is easy to become a Christian. All it takes is admitting you are a sinner in need of forgiveness from God and asking Him to forgive you because you believe that Jesus paid your sin debt. It is by grace that we are saved through faith. After that, the hard part begins. Growing to be the best Christian that you can be. Jesus never left the ones that He called alone to figure things out for themselves. He invested His time and His love into their lives. He showed them by example how to live a life that is pleasing to God and taught them about forgiveness when they failed.
Far too often Christians stagnate and become of very little influence to those around them. Not because they don’t want too, but because they don’t know how too. We try to be loners in our faith and self-taught followers of Christ. But like a self-taught plumber, self-taught Christians often don’t attempt much real work for fear of causing a bigger mess than that which already exists. This should not be the case.
Reading the Bible is an important part of being a Christian. But, like learning something such as plumbing, what you read can often confuse you more because some things need someone to explain terminology and procedures. And then there are those things that happen that don’t seem to fit the directions that you just read. I was trying to install a new sink the other day and the fittings in my house were different from what I had in the instructions that came with the sink. I tried several times to figure it out on my own, but every time I did, water kept flowing out of the pipes onto the floor and I am pretty sure that is not normal. So I went to the local home improvement store with parts in hand and asked for help. This guy was a plumber who had done this many times before and showed me how to make things right. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but without his help, I would have never gotten it and chances are, I would have never tried this again. Now I believe that I could do it right and even help someone else who might be attempting this for the first time.
So I am trying to help some guys who want to go further in ministry. They in turn are helping others who are trying to grow in their Christian walk and relationship, and hopefully, one day those who they are helping will be meeting with me at 6am. Meanwhile, I encourage you to see about finding someone to help you grow to a better relationship with God. Perhaps you need encouragement to read your Bible more. Perhaps you need to serve in another capacity at your church and you need someone to help you take that step. Perhaps you just need to strengthen your faith in the simple fact that God has forgiven you or maybe you need to take that important step of trusting God for forgiveness and salvation. If so, and no matter where you need the help, there is someone who can and will help you. All you need to do is ask. But don’t think that you can do it all alone; iron sharpens iron.
A wise man once told me that you only need to be one step ahead to lead. Lead others to help them lead others. If you don’t know where to go, ask for directions. But please, do what it takes to find your way to God and continue growing closer to Him. He is waiting to meet you and desires a relationship with you.

August 1, 2012

Missions

by pastortimfowler

 

Mission – a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work. Does that not sound awkward? Maybe it is the use of the word propagate, which means to spread, or maybe it is the use of the term religious organization, which could mean anything if you think about it. Sometimes definitions of words bother me and why I get into looking them up is beyond me, but for some reason I do.
When I was younger I use to watch Mission Impossible, the TV show. They were not a religious organization. I use to watch war movies and they would talk about “the mission” that they were on. I used the term, “I am a man on a mission” several times prior to becoming a Christian. Usually it was focused on finding a party or finding a girl or both. All of the examples I gave were to some degree exciting and challenging and even dangerous, especially the girl hunting. So I understand the term and what its root meaning is, and it fits in well with what God has called Christians to do, but, we are not all acting like we have a mission that is exciting and challenging and rarely dangerous.
This whole missions thing is on my mind lately because of my recent trip to Cuba and the fact that my friend from the Philippines will be here this week. Going to Cuba is exciting and challenging and even a bit dangerous. If things go well I will be going to the Philippines too, and that will be exciting and challenging and dangerous. My friend left his family in the Philippines to come here for a few months and they are in an area that recently had a major earthquake it is not uncommon to get typhoons through there this time of year. Why do people do this? Because it is needed.
Much like a soldier has a mission or a secret agent has a mission, God has given Christians a mission. We are to go into the whole world and preach the good news. Yep, the Philippines, and Cuba and Africa and Rock Hill and New York and Los Angeles and, well everywhere. No one said it had to be a foreign country, we are just supposed to go.
Some people think when Jesus said, “go”, that He meant to church on Sunday. Sorry; not what He was talking about. He meant to go where ever there are hurting people who need to know Jesus. Going to church is not what we are called to do. It is important to go to church. I like to think of it as the pit stop in the race. The race is out on the track driving as fast as possible to win, but from time to time you have to pull into the pits to get fuel, tires, and a cool drink of water. This is a short pause with the intent of getting you back out on the racetrack trying to win. Missions is the race, church is the pits.
Maybe you find it nearly impossible to go to a place like Cuba or the Philippines, but everyone goes to the grocery store. Kids go to school and parents go to work, and sometimes we get to go the beach or the mountains. Where ever we go we are on a mission. We are out to show Jesus and God’s love to whoever we come in contact with. It doesn’t mean we sit everyone down and give them the old “Bible beat down”, but we can help someone at the grocery store who may be overloaded and have kids, or we can help that new kid at school who doesn’t have a friend yet, or we can fill in for that co-worker who needs to be with a sick child. We can always be that shoulder to lean on or that ear to listen and that can go a long way into sharing the love of Christ with those who need it.
Some of you are thinking that this doesn’t sound exciting or challenging, and certainly not dangerous. If this is what you are thinking, you must ask yourself, what is more exciting or challenging and sometimes dangerous, than sharing the love of God with someone, no matter where they are? Why do we have to be in another country to do what God has called us and allows us to do anywhere? Maybe you are looking back at the definition and thinking that you have not been commissioned by a religious organization to propagate you faith. That is probably a good thing. Because Jesus should be and is the one who has commissioned His people to go into all the world. But if you think that you need an organization to commission you too, talk to your church and your pastor about it and I am sure they will agree with Jesus and say, GO!

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