Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

February 7, 2013

Who, Me?

by pastortimfowler

moses

In Exodus We meet Moses. I would never have hired Moses to do what God wanted him to do. I mean, he was going to represent God to royalty and this guy was a convicted murderer and, by his own admission, a lousy communicator. He flat-out said that he didn’t want the job, so who in their right mind would hire someone like that? God.
I love God’s response to Moses when he was telling God how he could not talk well. Exodus 4:11-12 …11 The LORD asked him, “Who gave humans their mouths? Who makes humans unable to talk or hear? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? It is I, the LORD! 12 Now go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Notice God did not say, “Oh never mind. I will find someone else.” Instead He reminded Moses of who He is and assured Moses that He would help. God wants to help us. He knows our faults and knows our fears. He knows us. And, what He wants of us is to know Him. When we know Him we know His power and compassion and we can overcome what we think is disqualifying. My old pastor use to tell me that God does not call the worthy, but He does make worthy the called.
Way too often I hear people say that God can’t or won’t use them and I remind them of the story of Moses. I remind them that God gives us the power to overcome all of our flaws. He knows that we are needy and God has what we need. Grace and forgiveness and power. I know these things well because I to am not worthy or able to do what He has called me to do. But with God all things are possible. Even for someone like me, a totally unworthy and failing man who God called to lead and incredible church for what God wants to do.
So when God calls you, don’t think that He has made a mistake. He knows who you are and you don’t need to ask, Who, me? Because just like I would have never hired Moses, Moses would have never hired me. But God did. He will hire you too if you let Him.

January 7, 2013

Did God Really Say…?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

Today I was reading Genesis chapter 3 and this is where Adam and Eve were tempted and gave in to temptation. It is the fall of mankind from a life of eternal fellowship with God to one of separation from God and the beginning of humanity’s struggle to accept God’s word for what God intends it to be and what we want it to be. Genesis 3:1The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden‘?”
The argument of what God really says or really means is as old as mankind. Because we were given free will, we are unlike any other creature that God put on this earth. We have the choice obeying or disobeying. We can choose to believe in God or not. He will never force us to believe. God wants us to believe that He is our creator and that we are precious to Him and that He loves us. He wants us to love Him and love can never before forced. Free will is our blessing and our curse all rolled into one. It is what allows us to choose to believe in this loving God and accept His provision for forgiveness or chose to believe that we can do it ourselves.
Satan, in whom I also believe in, is a master of deception and a master of twisting God’s words. That is how he works and how he got Adam and Eve to fall into sin. It is because Satan knows that we are prideful and pride causes us to think that no one can do it better than we can. No one can love me like I love me. But this is not true. No one knows me better or loves me better than God, our Creator. But Satan twisted that truth and had Eve questioning the truth of God’s word with a little jealousy to stir the pot. Between our pride, jealousy, and nowadays our lack of reading the Bible completely to know the truth, Satan finds it really easy to get us to ask, what did God really say?
Satan told Eve that God just didn’t want us to have this great knowledge of right and wrong and if we did obtain it, God would be jealous that we would know what He knows and that we would be like God. And, like most kids who are far smarter than their parents, she believed that.
Christians are quick to accept the forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, but then we find loopholes and cause for doubt when we read or hear that the Bible tells us not to do or to do things that we don’t feel good about. Feelings, unfortunately will cost many Christian to miss out on many blessings. These same feelings will cause many who are not Christians to miss out on forgiveness and all the time blame God for sending them to Hell.
God does not send people to Hell no more than people get themselves into Heaven. God simply tells us the truth and we use our free will to believe God, who made a simple and complete way of forgiveness and eternity in Heaven, or to not trust God because we think we know better. And all along the way, Satan is there to encourage us to not trust God.
Here are a few things that God says and you can decide what to believe:

Romans 3:23Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.
Sin is anything that you think say or do that goes against God. This means we have all missed the mark. Most of us don’t have a hard time believing that we have sinned. We just have a hard time believing what will happen to us because we have sinned.

Romans 6:23 The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God told Adam and Eve that they would die when they disobeyed Him. This is a spiritual separation and yes, the physical death is part of the curse. We deserve it because God is God and we are not and we were told to obey Him. His rules, not mine or yours. This is not what God wanted nor wants now, so He gave a solution to our sin problem in Jesus Christ. It is a total gift. This to is not open for our ways to override God’s way.

Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
You must exercise your free will to call on Him or not. But whoever does, will be saved from their sin problem. Again, simple, singular (in that Jesus is the only way) and our choice. God will not nor can not force us to love Him or accept His love. He wants us to know Him and learn to love Him just as a child learns to love his parents.

Romans 8:1 So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned.
Just as God took care of Adam and Eve after they disobeyed, He will take care of us. When we trust God’s word for forgiveness, we get God’s word for eternal protection and eternal life. But if we chose not to believe God, then we chose to find out the hard way that God does not lie. And when this life is over, we will all meet Him. Some will meet Him as Savior, some will meet Him as Judge, but all will meet God one day.

Romans 14:11For it is written, “As I live,” says the Lord, “to me every knee shall bow, And to God shall every tongue confess.”
On that day, we will not get the option to ask…Did you (God) really say…?

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!

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 10, 2012

Opps…Emotions Stink

by pastortimfowler

stress

I feel like I owe an explanation for my sermon yesterday, for those who attend my church. If you don’t, then you won’t have a clue about why I am writing this until you read it. Everyone can have “one of those days”, including the pastor. Sundays are supposed to be wonderful events and a time to hear from God, not stress out. Except for pastors, and I think to some degree we all stress out over Sundays. It is our pinnacle moment for the church and we want everything to be perfect. It rarely works that way, so we get use to it. But then there are those days when one thing leads to another and before you know it, you are about to explode.
Here is my explanation and/or excuse. Friday night I took my 7-year-old grandson camping at the beach with his Cub Scout troop. It was a 3 and a half hour drive there and a 4 and a half hour drive back; I will explain later. I stress over being around little kids. I want to tolerate them but I have to really try. We had a good time, but sleeping in a tent on the ground does not help my back, which hurts all the time, and lately has been in one of those more painful stages. Saturday, I went to the beach to body surf with the kid. Body surfing is not good for your back either. But we had a blast. Then we went down the water slide which is not good for the back, and I found out that if you get to spinning too much, you can rip you toenail off. I didn’t understand that either, but it happened. We rode bikes for hours and then packed up and started home.
About 40 minutes into my drive it started raining. I know that God said that He would never flood the world again, but I think He was showing me how hard it had to rain to accomplish this.
7-year-old boys ask a lot of questions when it is raining that hard. Driving does not help my back and stress about heavy rain and a 7-year-old asking endless questions don’t help either. By the time we got home, the normal 3 and a half hour drive was 4 and a half hours. After unpacking, and hot shower, and a few moments of sitting around updating the wife, I went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up stiff and hurting. That is the beginning of a rough day. I got to church and most of the first few people who I saw complained about something going wrong. I usually try to hide in my office and study for my sermon, but everyone knows where to find me and did. For some reason, everything that I wanted to say in this sermon was being pushed aside and i was not sure with what I was going to say. That is stressful.
There were some people didn’t show up to do their jobs, those who were filling in didn’t want to do it and let me know, and it seemed as if every person I talked to had a complaint or didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I still did not know what I was going to talk about until the last song was played and it was time for me to give my message.
I believe that I listen to God about what I preach. Sure, I like to joke and inject a few personal things to lighten the mood, but for the most part I feel as if I am saying what God want me to say. Of all morning for Him to want me to say some tough stuff, I felt like it was then. Sure, you could say I was not in a great mood and that affected what I spoke about. But after 20 years of doing this, you learn to put the petty stuff aside. I just had to say some tough stuff this time.
My sermon was about how God expects His people to do more than come to church on Sunday. Especially if you consider yourself to be a mature Christian. We are in a spiritual battle that is raging 24/7 and most Christians want to play weekend warrior. We want to be entertained and told stuff that feels good and that is not what the Bible does for us. It is very convicting and very critical of God’s people who should know better than to get complacent. So I said what I said.
It must have been close to what God wanted said. Two people became Christians Sunday morning. Several came to me afterwards and said that they knew I was stressed, but what I said impacted them in a positive way. WHEW!
That being said, I never want people to think that I don’t care and that I am self-centered. I do love me, but I love you guys too. I want people to be blessed by being a Christian. That is God’s intent. But in order to receive the blessings, we need to fight that good fight. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
So I want to say that I am really sorry for anybody who I may have snapped at or made feel like I was being a jerk. If you really want to know what that feels like, ask my poor wife who sees the worst side of me more than anyone. She is a saint, and I appreciate her patience with me more than she will know. But I believe that she will tell you that I try my best to say the truth, say it with love, and say only what God wants said during my sermons.
I love my church, and I love the people who go there. I want them to unashamed of the God they serve and the God who gives unconditional love and forgiveness. Sometimes tough things need to be said. Where I fail is saying them with the proper temperance and for that I can only say, sorry.

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.

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26015375@N06/3914730774/

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

May 2, 2012

Church Denominations

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buou/1541519972/

 

I hear all the time that people are confused about the different beliefs of churches, especially the different denominations, like Baptist, Methodists, and so on. People tell me that denominations are wrong and not what Christ intended for the church. Someone just yesterday told me that they were about to quit going to church because of the confusion. I don’t believe that this is a problem and certainly don’t think it should cause people not to go to church. I think the biggest concern would be why the church can’t give a good reason for our differences.
Why are people not confused about food? There are so many restaurants out there and they serve so many different foods. What about cars? There are so many different car dealerships and they all say that their brand is better than the other. They can’t all be right. Maybe I won’t ever drive a car then. Even football teams are different. They have different colored uniforms and some run the ball and others throw the ball. Some are more focused on defense and while others are focused on offense. Why some even specialize in special teams. This has never stopped people from buying cars, eating out, or watching football. We all know that diversity is good for the food industry and the automobile industry. We all know that football teams have to be different and that it is good for the game. So why can’t churches be different without being wrong?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Churches are supposed to be different. We have different functions in the Body of Christ. My hand and my foot have two totally different functions but are still part of me. They don’t hate each other, but compliment and support each other. Because they are different does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. Why we even have doctors who specialize in different body parts because they are so different, yet each doctor is caring for the same body. I am wearing contacts now, and even among my eyes there is a difference. One eye has a contact for seeing up close and the other has one for seeing far away and yet they function together for me to see well at any distance.
Denominations were formed out of the need for different people groups to join together with each other and worship and to serve. Sure there are some minor disagreements on things of the Bible, but that is not hard to understand given the fact that no one can fully understand God. Our minds just can’t fully grasp an almighty and holy God. So we will have some differences. What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask. He thinks so highly of our unique needs that He gives us different churches so that we can find a place where we feel comfortable and can best serve the greater good of the Body of Christ.
As Christians, we need to defuse the idea that our differences prove that there is no God and explain that it instead shows the amazing love of God as He cares enough to not make us to be some sort of robots that have no individuality. The Apostle Paul said that we are to be all things to all men that some might in some way win some to Christ. If you need a more strict teaching then there is a church for that. If you need to be more free-spirited and like to shout, there is a church for that. If you need to perform certain rituals in order to feel closer to God, there is a church for that. I love my church. I think it is perfect for me. But I don’t dislike your church because it is not right for me. As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.
God is THE Creator. He created different planets and solar systems and galaxies. He created different plants and animals and people. Why is there a problem with Him creating different churches? The answer is simple. There is no problem, yet rather a wonderful solution to the different types of people who He loves and wants to have a relationship with.

April 11, 2012

What Does That Word Mean?

by pastortimfowler

I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to people using words that don’t mean what they think it does or perhaps they have no clue what they mean but they are trying to sound smart. I had a professor one time use the word flabbergasted as he was trying to tell us how good it would feel to be healed completely after you met Jesus. I thought the word meant something negative but it was in fact proper use of it because it means to be overcome with astonishment.
There are lots of words that people use because they hear them on TV or in a song or in a conversation. The word surreal is one that I hear a lot and I don’t think it is always used properly. I hear it in about every interview on the news when something happens that people think is special. It may be close, but not what the intent of the word is supposed to be. I have a friend who got in the habit of using the word phenomenal. Everything that was better than normal was phenomenal, but if that was so, then nothing would really be phenomenal.
Lately there is a word used by our president that bothers me. It is not a hard word, but I don’t think he is using it correctly; fair. The word fair means free from bias and so how can you tax someone more than others for any reason and call it fair? Usually it is used when talking about the rich not paying their fair share. But how can anything be fair if there is bias based on income? What about those of us who don’t have minor children? We pay more in taxes than someone who make the same wages who has minor children. Is that fair? And my biggest question of all is who elected anyone for the purpose of telling me how much of my money I need to give them to spend on fairness?
If you want to be fair, perhaps we should use a standard percentage for everyone to pay no matter how much they earn. 20%, and that is not the amount I am suggesting, would be the same percentage for someone who make $10,000 per year or $10,000,000 per year. That would be fair. And forget about deductions for children or houses or anything else, just pay your percentage and it will be fair.
There are very few things in this world that are fair. I find fairness in the Bible. God says that all believers should give 10% of their income. No matter if that is a penny or millions of dollars, 10% is the standard and it is fair. It teaches that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness. Everyone will have to either die for their sins or accept Jesus’ death for their sins. That is fair. Anyone can be forgiven, no matter the sin or amount of sins and the fair thing that God requires is that everyone ask to be forgiven believing that Jesus died for our sins. God has no favorites and it is not His will that even one soul perish, but that all should come to know His great love and forgiveness. That is surreal. That is flabbergasting. It is phenomenal. It is fair.

February 29, 2012

Visions of Glory

by pastortimfowler

The short book of Joel in the Old Testament is a great encouragement to those who may have fallen away from their relationship with God. With only 3 chapters of reading it is full of promised blessings to a nation of people who were far away from where they needed to be in their relationship with God as a people could get. Yet because God desires to love us and bless us, instead of wiping them out, He promises earthly and spiritual blessings for their return to Him.
Most church people know the book of Joel because Peter quoted this verse in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Joel 2:28After this, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. Sadly we don’t read the rest of the three chapters to see what is happening. It is a great promise and exciting to hear that God is gonna pour out His Spirit on us, but somehow, whenever I hear this quoted in the church it is made to sound as if God was doing this because we were doing good things. The promise was made to a people who were in total rebellion and the Spirit of God is given to a bunch of people who still are disobedient and rebellious. We can only do the good things of God with His Spirit and without, we usually get into trouble.
God rejoices in our returning to Him. When we stray, God is grieved. He loves us and desires to have our fellowship. I am not talking about going to church on Sunday fellowship, but rather His desire to have us talk to Him and listen to Him and join Him in the work of making salvation and forgiveness available to anyone who will believe on a daily basis. Sadly though, the church rebels against God as much as Israel did in the Old Testament. But just like His passion to see Israel return to Him, God desires us to return and when we do, He blesses us with awesome love and forgiveness. Then He puts us back to sharing that love with others. That is why He pours out His Spirit on us and allows us to see glimpses of glory through dreams and visions.
What? You are not having those visions of glory? You are not feeling the love? Could it be that you are more concerned with you than with God? Could it be that you want God as your back-up plan in case you fail? I occasionally see a bumper sticker that says, God is my co-pilot. God doesn’t want to be your second in command. He wants to be first. Matthew 6:33 But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. When we put God first, then we can have the blessings. When we put Him anywhere but first, we can only have the warning of correction if we don’t change our ways, but God always shows the promise of how much it is worth the change to seek Him first and all else after that.
I desire visions of glory. How ’bout you?