Posts tagged ‘feeling’

August 6, 2012

Don’t Burn Out!

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigstubs/2036448304/

 

I feel like my head is spinning. The last week has been crazy. Between traveling and church stuff and international students invading my house and little rug-rats all last week and now my friend from the Philippines is here, I can’t catch my breath. But wow it has been good. I have seen God at work in so many ways.  He even found time to give me a sanity break with my wife tonight.
It is hard to understand how people can say that they get burned out with God.
I understand that you can get burned out if you are serving your church, but maybe that is the problem. Maybe you are getting burned out because serving the church is not always serving God. (Gasp!) That’s right, I said it. Serving God and serving the church can be two different things. The church has a tendency of becoming overburdening while Jesus said His yoke was easy and burden was light. God does not cause burn out.
Now this does not mean that you will never have problems if you serve God. But God promises that when we are being productive Christians and serving Him that we will have joy and peace and love and it will be rewarding and there is nothing to get burned out about that. We have been called to ministry. The word minister means to serve. We have also been called to do all things like we are doing them for God. So if you are serving God in whatever you do and you remember that He is the one rewarding what you do, it makes it easier to serve with joy and avoid burnout.
If you are one who is feeling burn out, then maybe it is time to spend a few minutes alone with God to ask why. Be honest about what you are doing and feeling and listen for that still, small voice to say that it may be time to change. It may be time to change your attitude. Perhaps you are doing what God wants, but you are not doing it for His glory. Perhaps what you are doing is not truly a ministry. Maybe it is a church position that hasn’t changed in 100 years and is no more a ministry than clipping your toenails. FYI, I grow mine really long before cutting them and then donate them to people whose toenails fall off, kinda like the hair thing people do. Perhaps you are doing too much and you need to let someone else serve. Here is another FYI…your church will not fall apart if you stop doing something.
Burn out can happen to anyone who is not serving God or serving in a ministry of God. Feeling burned out is like when your car begins to backfire. It is a warning sign that something is wrong. The number one reason people’s cars quit running properly is because they don’t read their owner’s manual and follow the instructions for preventive maintenance. The reason Christians face burn out is because they don’t read the Bible and follow its instructions. So if you are listening for God’s voice and you don’t recognize it, it might be time to familiarize yourself with what God sounds like through reading His word.
Don’t burn out! Get fired up!

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June 8, 2012

What’s New?

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrentunnicliff/3717968862/

Change is a natural part of life and yet so many people fear and even loath change. If change never happened, we would spend much of our lives beating on vending machines…get it? Change? Vending Machines? I kill me. But seriously, change gives us butterflies, frogs, ice, and a new diaper.
Recently my wife has been feeling like it is time to change. No, not husbands. No need to lower her standards. Her job has been a real pain in the neck and even a few months before the recent stretch of difficult times in her office, we have been talking about how perhaps God was leading her to go elsewhere.
Changing jobs can be quite nerve-racking in the best of times, but throw into the mix a bad job market and it gets even more difficult. But when my wife told me that she had turned in her two weeks notice, she said that she felt peace about it. I knew then that she was hearing from God. The Bible tells us that God gives us peace in difficult times as a way of knowing that we can trust Him. I know my wife is a woman who prays about things and listens to God for direction. This is no different.
There have been many times through the years that we have had to make tough decisions about jobs that did not make the most sense to some at the time it happened. Early in my ministry I also ran my own VCR repair business. Yep, I said VCR. It was during the time in my ministry when I was only getting part-time pay as a youth pastor and was feeling like I was not being effective in my ministry. At the same time I had an opportunity to expand my business to become a part of a national company and the money part of it was quite awesome. In the same week I learned that the church was cutting my part-time salary and that God, through my prayer life was telling me to close my business; you know, the one that just showed promise of a national account. But I had been asking God to make something happen and that I would trust Him when he did. I had peace about my decision and my wife supported me, so I closed the business and within a week was called to interview for my first full-time pastorate.
I had never thought about moving from the town we lived in. It was home and it was where my church was and all was fine. I had been at my church for almost 4 years and it was growing. But in my prayer time I felt like God was telling me that another change was coming. Within a few months there were things that happened that caused me to resign from my church and spend almost a year not being a pastor of any church. It was one of the toughest things I had ever done, but I knew it was right. One day I got a call from a church in the town I currently live in wanting to interview me for the pastor of their church. I had no intention of moving to another town and neither did my wife,but after the interview I had a peace about it that I couldn’t understand and within a month the move was on.
My wife was an executive at a major cellular company. It was a job that most people only dream of and the financial part of it was incredible. But shortly after taking the church, she began to feel like she needed to leave the company. Although we both knew that this meant dramatic financial cuts, we also knew that God was behind it because we both felt a peace about it. So she took early retirement and resigned. Because of that, she was able to work with me at the struggling church that hired me. We were leading it through bold changes and I needed her management skills like never before. Because she listened to God, we were able to lead the church through a change that resulted in the church that I currently pastor. This is a church where we are seeing people’s lives changed on a daily basis. It has grown from a church of barely 30 people who worshiped on Sunday morning to a place where over 150 people worship on Sunday morning. Not only that, but the amount of people who have gotten saved here is incredible. This all happened because of making tough decisions about changing jobs at weird times and trusting God instead of what logic says.
So I am excited to see what God has in store next for My wife and I. She has so many skills and gifts that can be used in so many ways that I am having a hard time imagining the awesome experience that is coming. Sure, there may be a few challenges along the way, but that is why God gives us the skills that we have and the peace that comes from His promise to provide all of our needs according to His riches in Glory!
Something new is on the way. I like new! I am made new by the power of God and what Christ did for me on the cross. In heaven, everything will be new all the time and that is hard to understand. So, new is good and new can only come with change. God says that He will change us into new creatures in Christ and lead us through the change every day. How can we go wrong. I am excited about what’s new!

May 18, 2012

That Loving Feeling

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3281711078/

Falling in love is a weird term. It isn’t biblical nor is it something that really happens. Growing in love would be a better term. Yet Hollywood and TV land are constantly making shows that tell the story of two people who meet and know from the start that they are in love. (Yawn). I have experienced lust at first sight, and that happened more than once, but never love at first sight. There are many who will probably argue with me on this one, but far too often we confuse love and lust. And, most people have no idea of what love really is. Dictionary.com gives this definition for love. A noun; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I don’t care for the definition as a stand alone meaning, but even this can’t happen at first meeting. The Bible gives this meaning for love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end…
Certainly, this doesn’t happen at first sight.
This brings up the other side of the argument, can you fall out of love? I say no. There are a couple of reasons for my answer. First, the biblical definition of love says that love never ends. Now this is based on pure love, God’s type of love. Not a lustful, self-centered love, but one that is sacrificial and serving of others. The Bible says that God is love. Because of that, we have the ability to love like Him. This is the perfect love that never ends. God never stops loving. Some may say this isn’t true because God punishes sin, but like a father punishes a son that he loves, God does so too. God’s love is extended to every human on earth that ever has, is, or will live. This is done through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins. Sadly, many are blinded by misinterpretations of God’s word and ignorance of the total concept of the Bible, and never see this love. But for any who will seek Him, love can be found.
This type love is extended through married couples and families. This is another reason that I say you don’t fall out of love. A mother loves a child. If that child grows to be a mass murderer, the mother still loves the child. Sure she can be disappointed and ashamed, but she does not stop loving the child. This love is deeply engrained in who a mother is. Her love is not conditional, it is a part of her very being.
My parents were married for 21 years when they got a divorce. My dad was an alcoholic and became abusive. Finally, my mother couldn’t stand it any longer and filed for divorce. They did the typical divorce couple fights and said mean, hateful things about each other. Many years later, when my mother died of cancer, my dad cried like a baby at her funeral. He told me that he never stopped loving her, but that he had allowed his love for her to become inactive due to drinking.
My mother told me several times before she died that she still loved my dad. She said the love that used to show in their relationship stopped being nurtured and so it stagnated. She said that after years of wanting to feel the love flow and not being able to caused her to lose hope, but not love.
We must be very careful to not let love become defined as warm fuzzy feelings. We must constantly work to show love so that is doesn’t become stagnant. Stagnant waters are where disease and filth tend to gather. Love is far too beautiful for that to happen. Love must be given away as freely as we want to receive it. It can never become a one way street or we will risk becoming stagnant.
There is a great old song that is sung in many a karaoke parties called, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. You can lose the feeling, but love never ends.
Don’t let the ones you love, lose that loving feeling.