Posts tagged ‘favor’

February 21, 2012

Priority

by pastortimfowler

After reading the Old testament book of Daniel I got to thinking about priorities. Does the church today have their priorities in order? Do I? I know that a lot of people think of the book of Daniel and get caught up in the prophesies, and they are interesting, no doubt. But from the beginning of the book you see 4 guys who know God and have their priorities in order.
The last time I was interviewed for a job as pastor, I was asked what my priorities were. I was quick to say, God, family, church. That sounds like a good answer and I try to keep that in mind, but lets face it, God is not always on the top of that list. Perhaps after reading this I will no longer be welcome to stay as pastor of my current church. Everyone knows that pastors are super Christians and never get their priorities out of whack, but I like to be a rebel. Okay, I don’t like it when this is what makes me a rebel, but it is true. So, I know if a pastor can get priorities messed up, the regular folk certainly can.
Let me go back to Daniel and those 4 and what these guys faced. Basically Israel was once again being rebellious against God and God allowed them to be over taken by hostile people. But Daniel and his 3 friends had found favor with the king because, like me, they were smart and good-looking. (Stop laughing) They were told to do things that were against God’s word and refused. Rather than get their priorities out of whack, they decided to trust God and God honored them. Not only did he protect them from death, but God continued to give them favor with a hostile people.
Today we, the church, have decided to make it known that we don’t care about God as much as we care about self. We would rather have a program that keeps us happy over a mission trip that make us sleep without AC or heat. We would rather the band play the songs we know than to worship God as if He was who we know. We would rather the preacher keep it short so that we don’t miss the football game instead of missing the football game because we asked the preacher if he would spend a couple of extra hours teaching us the Bible. We would rather argue the politics of welfare than to take a cooler of sandwich meat and drinks into the homeless hangouts of our town and feed and eat with them as we share the gospel.
In a class last night we discussed how if we spent 15 minutes a day reading the Bible that we could read it in a year. My wife can read a novel a day on vacation. Most people I know, including myself, can do it in a few days. We remember every name of every character in a series like Twilight or Harry Potter, but can’t name the disciples. We know every player on our favorite team and know their schedule and even have time for fantasy football, but don’t know how to lead someone to Jesus. We can learn every change on Facebook even though we complain about it and add friends about every day, but we don’t bring anyone to our church all year.
Today I was stood up twice by people who wanted to meet with me to get help with their spiritual life. I saw both of them on Facebook as I was waiting on them to show up. A couple that wanted help with their marriage was supposed to meet with me today, but they had something come up. Sure, these can probably be explained, but it does make you wonder about our priorities. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all else will be added to it. Somehow we think that we need to get everything else in order and then find time for God.
All I know is that God has been dogging me out about keeping my priorities in order. I hope that other Christians will understand that unless we put God first, those who don’t believe will have no need to put God anywhere in their priority list. We have been given a command to follow Jesus. To follow anyone, they must be put in front of us or we are not following at all.

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November 1, 2011

Curses

by pastortimfowler

I hope that I cover all of the questions that I was asked for this blog about curses. This is an interesting subject that probably takes more than a blog to clear up all the questions, but at the same time, can be a simple answer to give. I like simple and believe that it is the best way to study the Bible and the it best way that allows my brain to work.
The first curse came from God, when He cursed the serpent, man, and the ground. When you look at the word curse from the original texts it means that God’s favor is removed. There is no greater curse than that.
One of the questions was, who or what does the cursing. Only God can remove His favor. He can give authority and has given authority to humans to speak a curse, but only when prompted by following God’s word or His leadership. In Matthew 18 Jesus says that whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven. I think that this could be a curse on a believer who is not following God’s instructions for repentance. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:5 that the church should give a Christian who refuses to live a sexually pure life over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. I believe this too is a curse to Christians who refuse repentance.
Many believe that those who practice witchcraft can put curses on people. I do not know enough about this to speak with much authority, but I do know that dabbling in the supernatural world of the occult can lead to demon possession. But a person who is not living for God in already cursed by not having God’s favor. I don’t know that I would agree that casting a curse on someone in this sense of the word is truly putting a curse on someone or something.
As far as who or what can be cursed, God clearly shows us in His first 3 curses that it can be man, beast or an inanimate object. Jesus cursed the fig tree. God cursed the ground. In 1 Samuel 4, a child is named Ichabod, which means God’s glory has departed, as a sign to Israel that they were being cursed. I have heard of pastors pronouncing the curse of Ichabod on churches and cities who were not responsive to God’s word. Jesus even said to dust your feet off if someone was not responsive to His words.
I think it is a dangerous area for the average Christian to dwell in. I see nowhere in the Bible where anyone other than a spokesperson for God who was directly instructed by God to pronounce a curse, happens. Christians are far greater instructed to speak blessings into the lives of others. Jesus says in Luke 6:28, Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who insult you. I don’t think that these curses as spoken toward the believer, can remove God’s favor from your life, but the idea is that they will try to remove your trust in God’s favor.
The last question, is there an evil, good, or just curse. When God pronounces a curse it is just. He is a just God. Evil curses are like I spoke of earlier, in my opinion, are demonic and those who dabble there are already cursed. As far as a good curse goes, that would have to be in the same lines as the just curse, because God always wants repentance and if a curse drives someone to repentance, it is a good curse.
My favorite curse outside the Bible is the curse that Snoopy speaks to the Red Baron. I just thought you would want to know.

October 3, 2011

Could It Get Better?

by pastortimfowler

Incredible would be the best word I could use to describe this past weekend. Our church had its annual lady’s retreat and about 30 of our ladies spent the weekend in Tybee Island, Ga. From the pictures I saw on Facebook and the short conversations that I had with my wife, they had a great time and I am sure once I hear the details it will only get better.
Of course when I talk about 30 women being away for the weekend, that meant that they are away from our church too. On most Sunday mornings we will have about 140 people attending and that includes an average of about 30 kids also. So if you take 30 people away from our normal Sunday morning it is noticed simply by looking at the crowd size. But we notice it even more because many of these ladies serve in our church in vital areas. Children’s director, teachers, greeters, check in stations for kids, just to name a few. Add to the ladies being away the fact that we had our audio/video guy and his wife out and about 12 other folks who were away, and it was really noticed that people were missing.
I have to say that rarely do we have people who just lay out of church. The folks here have taken an ownership in what God is doing and for whatever weird reasons, they seem to enjoy coming. Mostly because people find God here, but secondly, they have real friends that come here. Not just people we see once a week, but people that we hang out with and have a real relationship with. So I am not the type of pastor who has to guilt people when they are away and usually when they are away it is for a good reason, not just laziness and lack of desire to come. Have I told you lately that I am a very blessed pastor? God has allowed me to serve a bunch of folks who are real and excited about knowing God.
With so many people away this Sunday I was expecting the worst. Although my wife assured me that things were well taken care of, I couldn’t help but be skeptical. All the other people who were gone had also assured me that they had things covered and that nothing would be missed. They were right. Although the people were missed, things went over without a hitch. I was so amazed, and I really shouldn’t be. That is just what kind of church I serve.
I also thought that because so many of the regular folks were out that the crowd would be rather puny, but it wasn’t. Sure those who are here regularly could tell that people were missing, but only because we knew who they were. We had plenty of folks and if those 40 plus people had shown up we would have been near capacity. Boy, listen to me whine.
My sermon this week was on using grace as the foundation to build your Christianity on. Grace is favor given, not earned. God just loves us and when we seek Him, He gives us grace and therefore we have favor in His sight. Being in His good grace is a special thing that anyone can experience, but sadly too many people don’t because they pervert who God is. God is love, not someone waiting to crush you like a bug when you screw up. Sure, if you continue to deny Him and never ask for His favor, He can and probably will prove He is able to squash you like a bug, but that is not His goal. His grace is an awesome thing that allows us a very personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Because of God’s grace, six people became God’s children this weekend. It is not uncommon for our church to see 3 or 4 people each week trust God, but this week with a lot of folks gone, God showed us that He never misses hanging out with people who welcome Him. As we were finishing our morning worship time I informed people that we would be filling the horse trough for baptisms next Sunday because there were 2 or 3 people who had asked about it. As the day progress and we came back for the evening Bible study, about 12 more people had contacted me about getting baptized next week. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see 20 people baptized next Sunday.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, maybe you find this hard to get excited about. But it is what God gets excited about. He is not excited about money or buildings or how important a person thinks they are. God is excited about people knowing about His great love and sharing it with others. So if you are not a Christian, first let me thank you for reading my blogs. Secondly, if you live in the Rock Hill SC area, come next week and see all these baptisms and meet some people who will be surprisingly a lot like you. Either way, the first visit is free and if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back.
But WOW!!! This was an incredible weekend. I will be so glad to get my wife home and all those ladies who serve all over our church. They should be really stoked for next weekend. Holy Kaw! Next weekend could be better than this one!

June 24, 2011

What Will We Eat For Lunch?

by pastortimfowler

My youngest son and his wife are on their way to see us and have a baby shower tomorrow. She is due to have our 7th grandchild, a boy, in August. They live in Florence which is about 2 hrs from here, 1hr 5minutes if my favorite wife is driving. Because of our work schedules it has been really tough getting to see them, so this will be awesome.
It is hard to believe that our youngest is getting ready to have a child. They have been married for several years and between school and jobs have traveled most of their married life. Now he seems to have landed his dream job and settled down and they are ready to have 10-15 children and start a small farm. I can’t wait to have some fresh bacon and eggs picked right off the vine!
I know that many of you are still in awe that I am a grandfather. Actually, now that I read that word “grandfather” I don’t like the sound of it and prefer the term “those kid’s dad’s dad”. You may not be aware of this but my wife is older than I am. I was a child when we met and I was actually sold to her off a Russian bride/groom website. It was my 12th birthday when we got married and although I was scared, she wanted children right away and that explains the reason that I already have grandkids.
It was funny how in the early years she use to call me her “fine breedin’ stock” and how she use to giggle as I blushed…but that is another blog for another time.
I have lived a blessed life until now. No, I don’t expect it to change, but I am sure of my past. I have a great wife, who practically raised me too, great kids, who are all beautiful like their dad, and yes, even grandkids. I know that God has given me favor, because I prayed that each of my children would have a child just like them and so far, so good. I can’t wait to see how this one is going to turn out. He will probably be musically inclined, have great taste in women, love to fish, and like to tell on his siblings when they have the next 10 or so. He will love to play games with his dad and practically worship the ground that he walks on. Because this son was our “good child” it will be hard to name too many annoying things that the grandson should do.
No matter what he is like, I am super stoked about seeing him for the first time. No, I don’t consider that thing that looked like mom had swallowed a jelly bean, a real picture. I’m talking the little smiling, slobbering, face after he comes out of hiding. I am sure that he will continue the trend of great looking Fowler men who dazzle the world with their smile and woo the women, no matter how much older they are.
I live a blessed life. I am not sure what I did to deserve it, but I’ll take it. God’s grace is so awesome!
I just got a text and they are close. I wonder what we will eat for lunch?