Posts tagged ‘followers’

October 18, 2012

Me Me Me…

by pastortimfowler

Help Others

Mark 9:33-34 33 Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ministry is a beautiful thing. It allows the church to help those in need. It is a source of great joy. Unfortunately it can be a source of arguing and troubles. No, this did not start with my church or your church or even your grandparent’s church, it started with the very first people who were followers of Jesus. (see above)
The reason this happens is that we forget to put self aside and be more considerate of those in need. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to himself so that he could live daily for Christ. Far to often Christians forget that this is needed in our lives. We forget that once we are saved, we become workers with Christ for God. We are to become like Christ to people. Christ died for people and lived for God’s will to be done.
The church is not a place to complain because someone else did something to help another. It is a place to rejoice because someone was helped by Jesus and Jesus happened to use one of His own. It is a place to find joy that others are ministering to those in need, even if we can’t or aren’t part of it. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows if we are doing things out of love or for self glory. I trust that and let Him worry about it. Meanwhile, if a person in need gets help and it is from a believer, I give God the glory.
When these disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, they were as far from being Christ-like as they could possibly be. Jesus goes on to tell them that they must be childlike, not childish, in order to become great. Children are obedient. He later tells them that if they want to be great they need to become servants. Servants don’t think that they are great, they too are obedient.
As we grow as Christians we must always be aware that not everything can be explained. Not everything can be communicated. And not everything is meant for us to do. I am sure that others who saw Peter walk on water were a bit jealous that it wasn’t them. I am sure that some may have wished it was them who received the vision of the book of Revelation. But the important thing to remember is that the people who God wanted involved were involved in the things that He wanted done. It just is not about us once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We must also remember that others are watching how we handle adversity. Every Christian has someone watching how we handle things to see if they want to follow us or not. It is not about them following you or me, but are we following Jesus and therefore they should follow us. Some may see our attitude and be offended because they don’t understand why we are upset. It may involve a weaker person and our reaction causes them to fall away. So be careful how you react to things.

Remember that children and servants are to be obedient, not important. Jesus is the important one and so is that person who needs help. We don’t want to hurt someone who is a weaker and younger believer.

Matthew 18:6-7 6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.
7 How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!

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October 17, 2012

Undecided

by pastortimfowler

Voting

During this and most of the past few election cycles, the focus has been on the ever-present undecided voter. The debate last night was of the town hall-style debate in which the questions were posed by 80 undecided voters. Both candidates tried their best to say things that would get them to make up their minds and vote for them. I am not convinced that we need to place the future of our country on people who do not have enough information by now to make up their minds who they will vote for.
I know that some of you want to lecture me on the importance of every vote while others want to tell me how in the presidential campaign, the individual vote is worthless due to the electoral college system. Please, save it for someone who is undecided. I know who and how and when and where I will vote and made my mind up a long time ago. I also understand how this system works and understand that there is something far more important than your vote to some people and that is called getting the attention.
Right now pollsters want to talk to and hear what the undecided voter is saying. If they call me and tell me they are taking a poll, I doubt that they will care for my opinion if I tell them that I have made up my mind. I also doubt that they will ask me to come to a debate and ask questions.
I did not find any question asked last night that most of us who have made up our minds did not already know the answer that we believe. I also heard nothing that made me want to change my mind. What I wanted to do was change the channel. When asked a question, each candidate carefully worded things to be as much in the middle or as far from controversy as possible. That makes them followers, not leaders. Dear Mr. and Ms. undecided, real leaders make decisions based on convictions, not potential votes. That means that I will not agree with everything, no matter what political party you are affiliated with. Make up your mind what you believe and follow the person that you believe will lead in that direction. If after four years they have been found to be a liar or unable to meet your expectations, vote them out. That is what decided voters do.
Undecided votes need to learn how to make up their minds. But if you can’t, please stay out of the voting booths with all those emotions running through your veins. Making last-minute decisions on things that are important is not good. If you are undecided about getting married just a few days before the wedding, it is not a good thing to go through with it. If you are undecided a few days before closing on a house it is not a good thing to go through with it. If you are undecided about getting off on the next exit of the interstate, don’t do it at the last second, it could cause a wreck.
Here is my advice to the undecided voter. Take this year off from voting. Pay attention to things over the next few years and see if you like the way things are going. If not, then you may want to vote for someone else. If you do, then vote for the person who is already there. Take the time to form some core beliefs in your own life and not what you hear on the news or from the internet. Decide if life is important and when it begins or if you like the amount of taxes you are paying or if you think that person who wants your vote can make tough decisions based on facts or popularity polls. Here is another idea. Keep track of what these guys are saying now and if they lie this time, they will probably lie next time. Voting is an important process that should be taken seriously, not taken as an opportunity to get attention and have people sway you at the last-minute.
Our political system is great in that it always gives us choices. It has left and right, conservative and liberal, and most importantly it has a history to follow. Get informed and stay involved and make up your mind. The Bible has a great verse about people who are undecided about things. Ephesians 4:14Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray.
It is okay to believe in something. But like the old saying says, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”