Posts tagged ‘growing’

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.

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May 18, 2012

That Loving Feeling

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3281711078/

Falling in love is a weird term. It isn’t biblical nor is it something that really happens. Growing in love would be a better term. Yet Hollywood and TV land are constantly making shows that tell the story of two people who meet and know from the start that they are in love. (Yawn). I have experienced lust at first sight, and that happened more than once, but never love at first sight. There are many who will probably argue with me on this one, but far too often we confuse love and lust. And, most people have no idea of what love really is. Dictionary.com gives this definition for love. A noun; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I don’t care for the definition as a stand alone meaning, but even this can’t happen at first meeting. The Bible gives this meaning for love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end…
Certainly, this doesn’t happen at first sight.
This brings up the other side of the argument, can you fall out of love? I say no. There are a couple of reasons for my answer. First, the biblical definition of love says that love never ends. Now this is based on pure love, God’s type of love. Not a lustful, self-centered love, but one that is sacrificial and serving of others. The Bible says that God is love. Because of that, we have the ability to love like Him. This is the perfect love that never ends. God never stops loving. Some may say this isn’t true because God punishes sin, but like a father punishes a son that he loves, God does so too. God’s love is extended to every human on earth that ever has, is, or will live. This is done through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins. Sadly, many are blinded by misinterpretations of God’s word and ignorance of the total concept of the Bible, and never see this love. But for any who will seek Him, love can be found.
This type love is extended through married couples and families. This is another reason that I say you don’t fall out of love. A mother loves a child. If that child grows to be a mass murderer, the mother still loves the child. Sure she can be disappointed and ashamed, but she does not stop loving the child. This love is deeply engrained in who a mother is. Her love is not conditional, it is a part of her very being.
My parents were married for 21 years when they got a divorce. My dad was an alcoholic and became abusive. Finally, my mother couldn’t stand it any longer and filed for divorce. They did the typical divorce couple fights and said mean, hateful things about each other. Many years later, when my mother died of cancer, my dad cried like a baby at her funeral. He told me that he never stopped loving her, but that he had allowed his love for her to become inactive due to drinking.
My mother told me several times before she died that she still loved my dad. She said the love that used to show in their relationship stopped being nurtured and so it stagnated. She said that after years of wanting to feel the love flow and not being able to caused her to lose hope, but not love.
We must be very careful to not let love become defined as warm fuzzy feelings. We must constantly work to show love so that is doesn’t become stagnant. Stagnant waters are where disease and filth tend to gather. Love is far too beautiful for that to happen. Love must be given away as freely as we want to receive it. It can never become a one way street or we will risk becoming stagnant.
There is a great old song that is sung in many a karaoke parties called, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. You can lose the feeling, but love never ends.
Don’t let the ones you love, lose that loving feeling.