Posts tagged ‘forgiven’

November 7, 2012

We Better Think About It

by pastortimfowler

Thinking RFID

The election is over and the blame game is going strong. I have already heard the Christians screaming about stuff like gay marriage and abortion and how the US is doomed to be judged by God. I will now proceed to make some people mad. We better think about it.
(1)Why did Jesus come to earth? (2)Why did He die on the cross? (3)Why did He establish the church? I am glad you asked. Here are some answers.
(1) 1 Timothy 1:15…This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the foremost sinner.
(2) Colossians 2:13-14 …13 You were once dead because of your failures and your uncircumcised corrupt nature. But God made you alive with Christ when he forgave all our failures.
14 He did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross
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(3) Matthew 5:13-16… 13 “You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
14 “You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill.
15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house.
16 In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven
. Those three references are not the complete biblical answers, especially to the question of what is the purpose of the church, but it does summarize things fairly well. Now let me add my two cents worth into things.
God wants all to be saved, not just those who haven’t committed “really bad things”. Jesus came to earth to save sinners, and we all fall into that category.

When nailed to the cross, Christ took all sins and the death penalty, and nailed them to the cross. He did this so we could be forgiven if we chose to accept the gift of eternal life.
Those who are forgiven and claim to be followers have been given the task of telling others that they too can receive this gift. It is a command to tell others the good news. It is not our place to decide that one sin is worse than another. It is not our job to elect a better sinner. There is no such thing. But it is our job to act like we know this holy God and let people see our good works, not words. We should shine in what we do, not what we post on Facebook (my blog being the exception). We should be telling people how we were forgiven and how grateful we are for that rather than telling people how evil they are.
One thing I have not heard anyone say this morning is how bad it would have been to elect someone who, according to most evangelicals, follows a false religion. Is that better than abortion? I know that many think that Romney was a good guy, but being good is not what gets you to heaven. Being forgiven does. And no, this is not me putting an endorsement of Obama in my blog. I just think if we are going to be critical of one, we should be critical of all.

Perhaps it is time for Christians to do some serious thinking. The Bible tells us that we (God’s people) need to confess our own sins. It tells us that we need to follow God’s commands, all of them, not just pick and chose which sin we think is best or worst. There will never be a presidential candidate that is perfect, but there will always be a God who is. If we really want to make a difference as believers, perhaps it is time to be more passionate about our faith than we are about elections.

I used to be a drug addict and an alcoholic. I used to be a horrible spouse. I used to be a lot of things, and still have many sins that I struggle to overcome daily. But I have not always been a Christian. I am only a Christian because of what Christ did and my confessing to be a sinner to God and accepting His forgiveness. No president has changed that nor ever will. No election will make the church any more or less responsible for living that forgiven life in front of people. I am responsible for living as a very grateful and obedient follower of Christ. Without actions, my words mean nothing.

The church needs to love people with their actions. We need to show evidence that it is far better to be a forgiven sinner than one who is not. Hateful words rarely win anyone, but love covers a multitude of sin. Christ accepts sinners, all sinners. He allows them to come to Him just as they are and forgives completely. He patiently waits for us to change as His grace keeps us in good standing. Grace is amazing, judgement is not. Think about it.

October 30, 2012

Church On Fire

by pastortimfowler

I know its been a few days since my last blog and for those of you whose mental well-being depends on my blogs, I am sorry, but, you are crazy anyway. Things have been really bizarre over the last week, including a church fire. So let me enlighten everyone on what is happening.
As I have told you many times, I pastor an incredible church. The people there are desperate; desperate for doing good things for God. I am SO blessed. We see many people helped all year round. People who are hurting and in need are loved on and taken care of and most importantly, people have their sins forgiven and come to know Jesus. All this made possible because of the people of our church. But there is one bad thing that comes from the people in the church being “on fire”; lots of spiritual warfare. And let me tell you, it has been a battle field in the spiritual realm.
As a pastor of almost 20 years I have seen spiritual battles take place and I have seen God work in some amazing ways. It usually happens during a time of intense growth of the church. I have been part of churches who never seem to have any troubles, but thinking back on those, they also rarely saw people come to know Jesus. You see, spiritual battles are not over things that you and I often think are important, like carpet and music in the church, but it is over those who are lost and those who are saved telling those who are lost how to be saved. I am not talking about a mechanical spiel or a guilt trip, I am talking about sharing love and forgiveness that comes from God to people who need it. And when that happens on a regular basis, spiritual battles erupt.
What are these spiritual battles? Things like tensions between people in the church. If the enemy can get the church turning against each other, the church will quit thinking about those outside the church who need Jesus. Things like getting people focused on material things over spiritual things. Far too often the church worries about stuff and forgets about people. When the church thinks that its buildings and the stuff in the buildings are as important as people, the battle swings to the enemy’s favor. And if the enemy can’t get the people fighting with each other or worrying about their stuff long, then they are defeated.
Yep, we have been faced with some stuff like that. Some things that should have been trivial were escalated and some people who should be working together got to working alone and our focus was being pulled away from God and started focusing on stuff. All of this because we are winning this battle for souls. God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, won the war on sin. But the battles still rage. The enemy can’t take our souls back, so they try to keep us distracted enough to where we are not reaching others who need salvation.
I am so thrilled that over the course of this year, our church has seen nearly 100 people come to know Jesus. And because of that, we see the heat of the battle. And because we won’t give in to the those distractions, the heat was turned up; literally. I believe the church fire was part of this spiritual battle. Sure, accidents happen, but everything happens for a reason. God allows us to experience things for a reason and the enemy will move in to areas where weakness is displayed. But I am confident that this battle is going to be a terrible defeat for the enemy. Just two months away from starting our 2nd worship time, we are now faced with not being able to use half of our building. A devastating blow to a church that loses its focus, but a rally cry to a church that is on fire for God. So I look forward to watching even more people being loved on and even more people coming to know Jesus and an even more determined group of people putting aside the trivial things that have tried to distract us over the last week, turning into an even greater focus on the things of God. That is just the type of folks I get to serve as pastor.
Our church may have been damaged by fire, but the fire of its people just got fueled. Don’t doubt me. The fight is on! Our church is on fire!

August 30, 2012

One Step Ahead

by pastortimfowler

LEAD

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.

January 18, 2012

It Is Forgiven

by pastortimfowler

I am winding down the work week with anticipation of my wife and I leaving this Saturday for our first ever cruise. It couldn’t come at a better time. Last week I told you that I wrecked my truck, well last night, my wife had a deer run into the side of her van. Add that to the cruise ship running aground in Italy and we are excited and ready to go. The way we look at it, the odds are in our favor that things will mellow out just in time for our vacation.
With two claims in one week, I was sure that my insurance premiums would be ready to go through the roof. So I went in to talk to my agent and she told me the deer thing was under comprehension, which is not charged against you and my wipe out in the truck was not going to cost me either because I had accident forgiveness on my policy. Finally a bit of good news in a week that has been very stressful.
God has been very kind to me through all of this. On top of protecting me from injury, my truck is still 100% drivable. Although the wife’s van has quite the dent in the doors and fender, , she and my grandson were not hurt and the van is also 100% drivable. Because both vehicles are paid for, I was able to save a little money for the repair of my truck to take on our upcoming cruise, of which I will treat my beautiful wife to a day at the spa and some unexpected shopping. Yep, I give God credit for that too, because He wants me to love my wife and treat her special. Let’s face it ladies, nothing says special like a spa day and shopping.
God also allowed us to not have our budget wrecked from all of this. He is in control of everything, including our finances. We try hard to save and to give and to live within the means of the income He has allowed us to have. That is why we have a written budget that we manage our money by. It allows us to see where our money goes and to use it within the guidelines of scripture. A bump in our insurance premiums would throw that our of whack, and although we could adjust and survive, this accident forgiveness really helps keep things from getting complicated.
I want to confess something that may seem awkward, but I hope that you get the point from what I am about to say. When I wrecked my truck, it caused me some stress and I began to get irritable and even lost my cool with my wife. Not godly. Then when she got hit by the deer, I began to doubt God’s protection of us. Not godly. My wife is a saint. She does not deserve me getting ill with her because I am stressed and she always understands and forgives. God is awesome to me. I have my wife, kids, grandkids, and an incredible church, not to mention my health, her health, their health and the Gamecocks beating Clemson. Despite all of that, I still screw up, and when I do, just like my accident forgiveness that doesn’t cost me, God forgives me and my sins, when I confess them, and they no longer cost me. Jesus paid that debt in full, and every time I forget and mess things up, I get that relief when I talk to my Agent, Jesus, to let him know about another accident, and He says, not a problem. You’re covered. It is forgiven.