Posts tagged ‘gift’

September 15, 2011

We Love To Give

by pastortimfowler

Early this morning I read the Old Testament book of Esther. It is a strange thing that not once in the whole book does it mention God. Yet the theme of salvation and deliverance run throughout. At the end of the book, Mordecai proclaims an annual feast and celebration called Purim, that involves the giving of gifts to people all around you. It is a celebration that sounds a lot like our modern Christmas celebration.
I do not know of a more joyful time than Christmas morning when you get see someone opening the gift that you thought so hard about and looked for days or weeks to find just the right thing. Or watching a child get that toy they have talked about all year-long. I love seeing a mom get that home-made gift from a child who is so proud of what he or she made and mom beams with love even if the gift is obviously made by a small child. What about the young woman who parades her new engagement ring around, showing it to everyone and the guy who gave it to her smiling with great pride as she does?
Giving gifts is a wonderful thing that is full of reward and joy for the giver as much as it is for the receiver. There have been times when I have heard people during a birthday party shout from the crowd, “That one is from me!” because they are so excited about giving the gift. Yes, giving is a wonderful thing and we love to give.
Then there is church. We spare no expense on gifts for our spouse, children, or even friends. We are willing to go into debt by the thousands of dollars during Christmas in order to give. But when it is time to give at church, we suddenly become cynical. We forget that giving brings us joy and we turn into Scrooge as we grumble to reach into our pockets for change.
I think part of the problem is that we are thinking about giving to an institution called the church instead of giving to a God who loves us enough to forgive our sins and allow His Son to die in our place so that we can have eternal life with Him. It would be a lot more difficult to give my wife something if I constantly thought about what I was giving to the institution of marriage instead of the mother of my children. But because it is personal, I give with joy. We need to get that mindset with giving to God.
The church is God’s way of being personal with people. We are His arms and feet and lips. It is organized and sure there are flaws, but only because humans are flawed, not God. But the church is how people who don’t know God, get to know God.
The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. That does not mean that we are not loved if we give begrudgingly. It means when we give with joy, He receives with joy. We love to bring joy to children when we give. We love to bring joy to our spouse when we give. We need think about bringing joy to God when we give. We love Christmas and birthdays and giving to those in need. God loves us so much that He gave His Son. So when it comes to God, shouldn’t we love to give?

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June 30, 2011

What More Can They Want?

by pastortimfowler

Five years ago today I did a wedding for a couple of young people who were weird and wacky. They had dreams of making it big in the music industry and living happily ever after. They went to school, moved around, and chased a dream. Dreams come true.
My youngest son and his wife celebrate 5 years of marriage today. I know that this does not qualify as happily ever after but it sure is a start. Few couples that I know have been willing to make the sacrifices and work as hard to make their dreams come true as these two. Paying their own way through school, taking jobs that seemed quite a stretch to achieve their goals and never giving up on seeking what they were looking for.
Today they serve in the music ministry in one of the largest and most dynamic churches in South Carolina, maybe even the USA. The music industry can be a brutal place to make a living and certainly to live out a Christian life. Staying true to your roots and to yourself and to each other can be extremely difficult, but so far so good. I have watched them take risks that many warned against taking and watch the rewards of those risks pay off now. As a pastor and a dad I can’t be more proud of where they serve and how they serve and what they have done so far.
Not only do they celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, but this year they will also celebrate the birth of their first child, a boy. Although this will be our 7th grandchild, it is not less thrilling! Anytime that God blesses one of your children with a child it is incredible. Children are a blessing from God and grandchildren are the crown of the grandparents! We can’t wait to hold him in our arms and tell him of our love for him and our pride for his parents and our thankfulness to God for him.
It would be nice to be able to send them away for week as they celebrate their anniversary or to lavish them with other expensive gifts, but unfortunately that can’t happen right now. We feel as though we are the ones who have gotten the gifts with the way they live their lives and have blessed us with a grandson. But what I can do and will never stop doing is praying for their marriage, their children, and their ministry. I will always have great pride in them being my family and great humility in knowing that they are all a gift from God. And now, I have included them in a 2nd blog…what more can they want?