Posts tagged ‘friendship’

October 8, 2012

Politics And Friends

by pastortimfowler

Politics Balloons

Politics can really put a strain on relationships. It makes me wonder if we shouldn’t put a bit of thought into what is happening in our politics, or better yet, in our friendships, if we can become so divided over something like an election.
I have really tried to avoid voicing my political opinions very adamantly because I know that it would strain some relationships with some of my friends. It has already cost me one or two Facebook friends, which obviously were not real friends, because I either responded to something they said or they did not like what I said. Sadly, we can allow politics to interfere with friendships when they are rarely why we became friends to begin with.
Have we forgotten that as Americans we all have freedom of speech? It seems as if one side is always trying to make the other side sound as if they are anti-American or even bigoted if their opinion differs. But the beauty of America is that we all have the right to say what we think. Yes, even bigots can voice their opinion and I can’t do anything about it. I can lobby against their cause and I can vote against their candidate, but I cannot stop them from saying what they want to say, and yes, they can call me names too.
Isn’t friendship stronger than politics though? What makes your friendship strong is a relationship. That makes me wonder what kind of relationship we think that we have if an election season and ruin friendships? Facebook friends for the most part are not really friendships. I am talking about people whom we know or at least thought that we knew for some period of time. This precious bond of friendship is supposed to be one of respect and mutual admiration. We are supposed to know more about our friends than what pages they like and what pictures they share on a web-page. We should know what their deep-rooted beliefs are. Do they think that wealth should be redistributed or do they feel like they should be able to keep the money they earn and give to charity as desire? Do they believe that life is a precious gift from God and it begins at conception or do they feel like a woman can do whatever she wants with something that is within her own body? Do they feel like marriage is already defined or needs to be redefined? But do these things really make a friendship?
You know what surprises me? These things are rarely talked about when two friends get together for a lunch or game of cards or to watch a movie. These things are important, but most people don’t meet at political rallies to begin friendships. most friendships begin in school or on the golf course or at a kid’s soccer game. Most friendships are formed with the idea that you like that person for who they are, not what political views they have. And, these friendships should last even when you find out that he is a Republican and you are not or she is a liberal and you are not.
Some of my best friends hold vastly different political views than I do. I have known that for a long time and though they are wrong for disagreeing with me, (haha), we work together, play together, laugh together, cry together, and yes, we attend the same church together. We do this because politics is not the driving force behind our relationship. We can be different and still like each other. We can hold views that are very polarizing in the political world and not let it cause our friendship to suffer. Different is not always wrong and even if it is, how will you ever change someone’s mind if you don’t like them as a person?
America is a beautiful place where people from every walk of life can live together and voice their opinions and still love each other as fellow Americans. We can work together and play together and vote opposite of each other and at the end of the day, still be friends. If you can’t do this, perhaps you should evaluate who you call friends and what a true friend really is. Perhaps you should decide if politics is more important than a friend and if so, be prepared to live a lonely life. Politicians will say whatever it takes to get your vote, a friend will doesn’t care about your vote, whoever it is for, they care about you.

September 18, 2012

Miraculas Faith

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62533788@N02/7846245072/

When was the last time you saw a miracle? For Christians, we talk about miracles all the time and do get a chance to see them. For the most part we see people healed who have no explanation, situations that seem hopeless, all of a sudden become blessings, or that relationship that was over is now mended. In our church we have seen babies born who were said would not be and a foot that was scheduled to be amputated due to diabetes suddenly turn pink and healthy, and we have seen our share of just totally unexplainable stuff that we give God credit for. But those things seem to, over time, fade in the level of excitement and we all but forget about them until someone like me brings them up as a reminder.
God is all-powerful and does do those type of miracles and more. But that is not what He wants us to focus on. From the beginning of time God has shown His miracle-working power and it has never held the people’s attention much longer than it took for the next problem to come up. But God did not and does not stop doing the impossible, only because He loves us and, I think there is part of it that goes without saying, if you could do those type things, you just would. What God wants us to focus on is His words. What God says should be as good to those who believe in Him as the miracles we give Him credit for. But trusting in God’s word is tough for us because some of what He says goes against our egos and our own desire to be rebellious.
One of the greatest miracles I have ever had happen to me was in my finances. We had begun to trust God’s word and what it says about giving, particularly tithing or giving 10% of our income. It wasn’t long after that time that we experienced a severe reduction in income. The first thought was to cut back on giving and pay our bills, but we remembered God’s instructions to believers about giving from the first of what we made and we decide to act in faith. If we did what God says do, then He has to honor what He says. Without going into a long story of details, let me just say that our finances were blessed. A miracle, I believe so, but most importantly, it was done because of faith in God’s word and His faithfulness to keep His word. I can tell you several other stories of how faithfulness on our behalf was honored by God acting like God and doing what we could not explain. Some may say that these are not true miracles but rather coincidences and I will only say that God is in control of those too.
My point is this. God has no obligation to do miracles as a reward for our good behavior nor does He have to do them to prove that He exists. God wants a relationship with people and miracles don’t make relationships stronger, trust does. God cannot be proven into existence. He has and always will exist. His miracles in the past did not bring people flocking to Him, His faithfulness did. And that relationship based on faith or trust is what opens the way for Him to do those mind-blowing things that we can’t explain. But if God never did another miracle, would you still trust Him? I would.
I would because I find nothing that He has ever said to be proven wrong. I find plenty that I don’t understand, but nothing wrong. I would because whenever God has said something and I acted on it, the results were exactly what His word says they would be. My marriage is stronger because I follow His guidelines for marriage. My friendships are stronger because I follow His guidelines for friendships. My children all turned out fine (Yes, I know that is open for debate if you know them), because we tried to raise them on God’s guidelines. My church is growing like crazy because we did away with all the bylaws and man’s laws and just started to following the Bible.
The biggest reason for my faith in God’s word is because week after week I see people who are hurting and messed up and just plain weird, decide to trust God for salvation and forgiveness and they in turn bring their friends who eventually have the same experience and so on. I know where I came from. I was not good enough for God to love me, I was so messed up that I was certain that there was no way He could love me, but He did anyway. He forgave me, accepted me, and was patient as I learned to trust Him through the years.
Truly the most miraculous thing about God is faith. If you haven’t seen a miracle, take a step of faith and trust God to forgive you. If you have seen a miracle, don’t forget about it, but look at how often the little things He promises never fail you and build on those. What God does for us is miraculous, but it is all an act of miraculous faith.

May 30, 2012

Its ALL Your Fault

by pastortimfowler

Different Sides

Now that Mitt Romney has gained enough delegates to officially receive the Republican presidential nomination, the campaign is gonna get nasty. If you think that what you have heard up until now was bad, wait for what you are going to see in the next few months. These guys better put on their toughest skins and hang on for dear life.
I would be lying if I said that I totally hate the political season. I do get tired of the lies that are told from both sides. I also get tired of the smears of a personal nature. I wish that the candidates would just say what they are going to do and how they are going to do it and let us decide for ourselves about their character. But there has to be some way of knowing about a person’s past and who they associate with. It would be nice if the media would research this and put out an information source for those who want to read it. But that won’t happen and we, the voting public, will have to sort through the slants and angles that is called the news.
I guess what bothers me the most about this time of year is how I am almost forced to choose sides between friends. I know that I often voice my opinion in my blogs, but I try my best to keep it civil. I also feel that a blog is a place for thoughts, feelings, and opinions to be voiced. But sometimes Facebook, and yes I know I post this on Facebook, is a place where some really hateful stuff is posted that is very stereo typical and often down right ignorant and hateful. I am talking about people who I consider in many cases, personal friends. But they use Facebook to say things that I have never heard them say in person and it is often very decisive. I have seen this especially in the political realm. Right and left hate blurbs that are meant to somehow make you seem involved, often make you think about who your friends are. If they feel that strongly about their point of view and people who view things differently, then maybe the friendship needs to be examined.
Right now many of you are jumping to the conclusion that I am talking about you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that I care that much about your stupid rants on Facebook. I care more about what they do to relationships. I never knew some things about some of my friends until they made that one really thoughtless posts that said something that lumped me into the group of worthless, lowlife, scum that you were talking about. And I bet you didn’t know that about me. Maybe we need to spend more time talking to those who are different from blasting a stereo type on Facebook.
Here is something that I know about differences. They are healthy in a relationship. My wife and I are almost complete opposites in many areas. We have been married for over 30 years even with those differences. But I never post something hateful about something that I know that she feels strongly about. That would hurt our relationship. Instead I appreciate our differences and have found that they make us a stronger couple. There are some things that I am passionately against that she likes, but that does not make her wrong or lump her into a group of hate mongers. I have found that some of those things make her far better at dealing with some situations than I could ever do.
In our political arena, we have become so polarized that we can see no good in the other party. But that is not the way our founding fathers intended it to be. They understood that there must be checks and balances in our leadership and that if each party used its strengths, together we would have a great country, like the one that we are in danger of losing if we continue the trend toward total one-sided hatred. Healthy debate is a wonderful thing, but stereo typing gets you to the point where nothing gets accomplished. Sadly we see this in Washington today. And I am sure that you know exactly which side is the problem (HAHAHA).
I have learned in my years of dealing with life and relationships that there is never only one side who can take all the blame. Sure there can be a degree that is greater on one side than the other, but never is it completely one-sided. We shouldn’t let politics divide us to the point of losing our ability to listen to other opinions and solutions to problems that need to be solved. And if we can’t agree that one side’s ideas are right for us, we don’t have to throw them into the category of evil.
We just celebrated Memorial Day to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom. I served in the Navy with people from every walk of life and never once did we let our differences stop us from serving the country that we love. It is freedom that allows us to have our opinions and to voice them. It is freedom that allows us to be different and still be Americans. So be careful not to get locked into the polarizing speech that causes folks to choose a side over a friendship. Strong friendships are far more valuable than strong opinions spoken behind the screen of a computer.

February 2, 2012

Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I have a friend who lives in the Philippines and he is someone who starts churches and helps pastor of the churches that he starts. I talk to him regularly on Facebook and occasionally on the phone. We first met about nine years ago when he visited my church while here in the states raising funds for his work. For whatever reason God bonded us in friendship and we have stayed in touch and I feel much closer to him than the distance of being half way around the world from him should allow.
The Philippines is for the most part a poor country, and especially where he is. Many people there do not have running water or sewage. He told me the other day about a 3-year-old who died from complications caused by drinking from the river because they do not have the ability to drill deep wells for safe drinking water. His church had to get the body from the morgue for the family who could not afford it. This family of 6 live in a 3 meter by 3 meter room.
Although my friend is younger than I am, he is not in the best of health. He is a diabetic and has hepatitis. On top of that, he has bad allergies that cause frequent sinus infections. Every time I talk to him I tell him that he needs to take care of his health and he tells me that he stays busy so that he doesn’t have to think about it. The availability of medicines is not the greatest and the doctors and hospitals are nothing like what we have here in the states, so even if money were not an issue, the quality of care can be questionable at best.
This morning I got a Facebook message from his wife telling me that he is in the hospital. I have not heard what is wrong or how serious it is. There is a 13 hour time difference that makes talking a challenge, so I am waiting for a reply. I am asking those who believe in God to pray for him. He is an amazing person who cares for his people with great compassion and with very little concern for his own well-being. His wife and kids are amazing people too and they have supported him and his ministry with uncompromising dedication.
I also ask you to pray for that nation. There is a wide variety of beliefs in that country and many are in direct conflict with Christianity. Some even resort to violence against those who don’t believe as they do. There is little help from the government in the form of protection for those who are trying to start the churches. Being a nation of islands, many of the smaller or more remote ones are often ran by those who have little regard for the law. The church in the Philippines is not the powerful force of money and resources as we see in the states. It is much more like the church of the early New Testament, a group of believers who join together to help those in need. Its kind of refreshing when you think about it like that.
There is a need in my friend’s church and ministry for financial help if you were to feel led to do so. I normally would never mention something like this, but I have personal knowledge of the legitimacy of the need. If you are interested in helping out that way, you can contact me via email or message me on Facebook. My email is emanrev@msn.com. I will give you a direct contact source or you can give through our church. But most of all I ask for your prayers for my friend’s health, his ministry, and his country.
Thanks for the prayers and I will update this as soon as I hear about why he is in the hospital or that he is out and all is okay.