Posts tagged ‘holy spirit’

April 18, 2012

What’s Next

by pastortimfowler

I asked my church last Sunday night what they would like to study in the next few weeks. We are finishing up a study on anger and I like to see if they have any ideas that I can turn into a good couple of weeks of teaching. One of the suggestions was the men of the Bible. My wife teaches a women’s group on Wednesdays and they recently studied the women of the Bible. I am sure it was a great study, but I don’t do those kind of studies very well. It would be a great study, but I think I will leave it to my wife and her Wednesday night crowd to handle that. I am not sure what I will teach next.
Maybe I will start a basket weaving class. That way we keep our hands occupied and can take something home with us after we are finished. Everyone likes baskets and few folks nowadays know how to make one from scratch. If we get enough participation we can fill them with Easter eggs next year and sell them to the Easter Bunny.
Whatever I teach next I want it to be something that we can walk away from with an idea of how to do what we were studying. So many Bible studies just give us head knowledge. We walk out knowing something in our minds but have no idea how to put into our lives in a way that others see a difference. I really think that Jesus wants people to see how much we know by the way we act instead of how much we talk. Talking is the easy part.
I wonder what kind of Bible study it would be if we studied how Jesus and His teaching changed the way we act? Would it be a quick, one night study where we all agreed that we are doing fine? Would it be a boring night that is so boring no one will come back? Will it be weeks of talk about how messed up he or she is? Would it be a continual story of all the great things we think that we have done?
The Apostle Paul was an amazing fellow. He often had to talk about his self. When he did it was usually a defense of his calling into the ministry, because he was a very bad dude before he met Jesus or a reminder of the fact that before he met Jesus that he was a very bad dude. Paul said of himself that he was the worst of all sinners. He told people that he was nothing without Jesus and rarely talked about how good he was and never compared himself to others. He never bragged about his church or his group that he hung out with, but rather he bragged about God’s mercy and grace and calling in his life to preach the gospel.
The reason Paul talked like this is not because he spent time studying the deep secrets of the Bible. He knew them and for the longest time, before he met Jesus, went around quoting the Bible to people. He was a very religious man. Once he met Jesus, he got away from religion and started having a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. He began to recognize that the less he talked about Paul, the more people would see Jesus. He showed people through his actions what he knew from the word of God. He lived each day as if it were his last and did not focus only on Sunday gatherings. One of his greatest teachings was to the church in Corinth when he taught about love. He said that even if he could do all things spiritual but did not have love, then it was all worthless. Love is the overwhelming factor that changes someone from a religious person to a person in a relationship with God. It changed Paul’s life.
Sounds like I may have found a good next topic for my Sunday evening Bible study.

September 27, 2011

Talking To Adam

by pastortimfowler

I have to stop taking requests for blog ideas. I get a lot of weird ideas that make me have to think and we all know what happens when I start thinking. Today I was asked to do a blog about who I would want to talk to out of the Bible and why. The only two people I could not choose are God and Jesus. I will assume that this also means the Holy Spirit and will forgive the disrespect to the Holy Trinity from my friend who probably wasn’t thinking.
After pondering this, and yes, I said pondering, I would choose Adam. I would choose Adam because he saw things that no man has ever seen, so let me blog a bit.
Adam was the first to see creation in its perfect state. I would love to have him tell me about the beauty of a world that had no flaws and no dangers. We think of untouched land as forests or jungles that are difficult to walk through but this was made with man in mind and nothing was a threat to Adam. There were no thorns or plants that would cause allergic reactions or if there were, they were not a bother to him ever. He didn’t have shoes, so the ground had to be very comfortable to walk on, because if you think about it, he didn’t have callused feet in the first few days.
Adam got to see every creature on earth and name them. I would love to hear his thought on the first time he saw a possum or an elephant. I know that he was looking for a companion and found none of the animals to be suitable, but I bet he was tempted to pick a couple. I would ask him which ones. Surely he could have had thoughts about hanging out with a grizzly bear or a lion for a while. How did he get the nerve to tell God, “Nah, none of them turn me on”?
I would really love to hear about that woman God gave him. I know that he did not know she was naked, he does now and I would love to ask him about her. She must have been a really hot chick. Before you get all uppity on me, remember that this was not my idea to blog about this and I am only being honest. This is hard to figure out how to say without someone taking it wrong but I will try. Sin has taken its toll on humanity. We are all now flawed because of sin. I think my wife is beautiful and she is flawed by sin. I bet Eve, who was not flawed by sin, was incredible looking. I want to hear about that from Adam. Then, I want to hear his reaction when he finally realized that she was naked. But I am a man and I can’t help myself.
Now that Adam has a had a few thousand years to think about it, I would love to talk to him about why they fell to the temptation. What did the fruit look like? What did it taste like? When did the sensation of knowing good and evil overtake them? Was it when the took the bite or did they have to chew it up and swallow it before they actually knew they had messed up? I can’t imagine being perfect and sinless one second and the very next second knowing you have sinned. And I would have to ask, did you try to take your time putting Eve’s leaves together after you knew she was naked? You know, did he tell her that the first one made her look fat, just so she would have to make another or did he keep “accidentally” tearing the leaves in just the right spots?
One thing I have always been curious about is time. Were they living in a place where time did not matter before they sinned? I know they had night and day, but when we become sinless, time won’t matter to us because we will be in heaven. He was created to live forever and I want to know what he thought about time before the sin. After the sin, did he feel like Eve was always making him late or did she not develop that until they had kids? And what about having the first kids in the whole world? Did you want to beat them? Did they start the whole back talking to parents thing?
But most of all I want to talk to him about God. I want to hear about their walks together and what kind of things did they talk about. What do you say to God about anything? I mean, did Adam look at God and pat Him on the butt and say “good job!” for creating the universe? Did he ask God what was he thinking when He made the duck-billed platypus? Did he talk to God about how hot Eve was?
Yep I would want to talk to Adam if I could.

August 31, 2011

How Long Does It Take?

by pastortimfowler

Have you ever seen someone who a few months ago was doing really well and today they are hardly recognizable as the person you thought that you knew? What I am talking about is the type person that use to come to church, was very active in worship and serving and seemed to have their act together, and one day they just quit coming. So you run into them and they have began to live a lifestyle that has no resemblance to who you knew them to be just a little while ago. How does this happen?
Today I finished reading 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament. It chronicles the time in the Jewish history after the period of judges up to the captivity of the Babylonian empire. In short summaries we hear of each king and their actions and how their rule effected the people of Israel. Those kings who followed the ways of God and passed that on to their people were blessed and the nation was blessed and those who did not follow God’s ways brought on misery for the themselves and the people.
Because these are short summaries of each king’s reign it often looks like a rapid decline in morality, when in reality things progressed over a few years, but from time to time you could see the fall take place within months. In these cases the kings before them who tried to follow God, often forgot or refused to destroy the places where idols were worshiped. They would try to make people happy on both sides and play church when it was convenient and please the idol worshipers when that was convenient. As a result, when a king would come in behind him who did not follow God at all, the fall of the people happened very fast and often in months.
Becoming a Christian happens at the blink of an eye. The very moment that we repent and accept Christ as Savior, we become a Christian. The growth of Christians takes time and effort. We must build new habits and tear down the things that are not pleasing to God. Often times we will leave those bad things alone and just try to build our Christian faith around it. We do all the right things and ignore those that are counter productive to our growth. Often in this period of Israel’s history, a new king would come along and try to restore things to God but leave the idols and their alters in place. The effort was always full of conflict because it is easy to worship something that does not hold you accountable. Idols don’t, God does.
God wants us to tear down and destroy the things that distract us from following Him fully. If they are destroyed they can’t tempt later. But the people who fall away, like I mentioned in the beginning, are those who usually just tried to build around the old ways and not get rid of them.
There is no way the we can ever live a totally sinless life as long as we are flesh and blood. But the Holy Spirit in us does allow us to continually work toward holiness. We do need to build new ways into our lives. We need to lay a new foundation and use fresh, new material that God provides. But often before we build we need to spend time doing a bit of demolition. We must tear out the old foundation and things that our lives had been built upon. God is giving us a new foundation in Jesus Christ.
So when you see someone who has fallen away and it seems like they have only taken a short time to fall a long way, remember this. God wants the old stuff destroyed, not moved around or built around. He wants us to start over with newness and build on one solid foundation, not covering up the old one because we like it too much to get rid of.
I tell my staff all the time that we are all closer than we will ever want to admit to falling into our old ways. I warn them and they warn me of things of the past that need to be torn down and gotten rid of. I encourage you to take a few minutes in prayer and ask God to play building inspector and look around to see if there might be some things you need to work on. I surely don’t want to run into you one day and see you in a broken mess and wonder, how long did it take?

June 27, 2011

Satan, An Angel of Light?

by pastortimfowler

Here is a good idea for a blog, even though the person who sent it to me will now think that she is special. She asked the following:
If Satan is an ‘angel of light’, how do we differentiate whether it’s God or Satan coming to us/leading us to or through something?
Is Satan able to respond to our prayers, too? To mess with us/tempt us/etc…? When we pray to God…can Satan hear and take action in order to bamboozle us?
I am always looking for something new to blog about and do try to respond to most of the questions or requests, so please send them.
Let me address the first part about Satan. He is not an angel of light. He disguises himself as one. 2 Corinthians 11:14 ~And no wonder, even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. His disguises are good ones too! This is his most effective tool against new believers and lazy believers. New believers because they have not learned how to recognize God’s voice and God’s will and Satan knows this. He also knows that all Christians will try to justify wrong behavior because it feels good or looks good, so Satan makes sure you see these factors. Lazy Christians because they would rather have someone tell them what God says than to read it for themselves and take the time to get to know God on a personal level. And that brings us to the second part of that question, how can we tell the difference?
Sometimes we can’t. As a new believer, or weak believer, or even a mature believer going through a tough time, our emotions can over take us and we can make a mistake and fall right into Satan’s trap. It happens to all believers. We must learn from those mistakes. Satan is not stupid. We should never look to try to out dual him. But in the same light, God has given us a full suit of armor to protect us, and our eternal life is in God’s hands and nothing can take that away.
Just like anything else we do, we get better the more we learn and the more that we practice. We begin to know that God’s word never contradicts itself and if we commit His word to memory it becomes harder and harder for Satan to fool us that way.
I like to think that I know my wife so well that if I hear her voice I know it. I also know her well enough to know that if someone else says that my wife says or did something, that I can distinguish the truth because I know her that well. I know that my wife would never say kill our children, so know matter who I would hear that from I know she is not saying it. That is very obvious. But what if someone told me that she said that she wanted to go to a baseball game that night? I would have my doubts because I know my wife does not like baseball, and it would not be her wanting to go. But knowing her that well took time and effort, and even though I love baseball, I know she does not, so recognizing the truth even against my dream of her one day becoming a Braves fan isn’t gonna happen no matter how bad I want it.
The next question is in the same lines of thought as the first, but can be complicated to answer. Simply answered; yes.
In Daniel chapter 10, Daniel has an angel come to him to say that his prayer had been heard but an opposing angel was fighting to delay or stop the response. Angels are used especially in the Old Testament, as God’s messengers. Our prayers take us into a supernatural realm that we don’t fully understand and Satan and the other fallen angels are part of it. This is one argument used for the claim of having a prayer language that is only between you and God, but I do not feel that is an accurate interpretation of scripture. If there was such a language, I would think that Daniel, of all people, would have it. The argument there is that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us this language and somehow the Holy Spirit was not giving that out back then, but I thought that God was the same yesterday, today and forever. (This will be the topic of another blog I am sure).
Bottom line is that Satan wants Christians to be discouraged, disoriented, and disgruntled. He wants us to remain immature and weak and ignorant. God wants us to grow, and to know Him. He wants us to love Him enough to get to know Him to the point that we are not easily deceived. That takes time and effort. Read your Bible daily. Trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you in the truth and never let your guard down. Pray prayers that are in God’s will and you will not be confused about the answer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, our Heavenly Father will protect us because He loves us. And remember this verse: 1 John 4:4 ~Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

April 11, 2011

How Are There Three In One?

by pastortimfowler

I was asked to write about the Holy Trinity, God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Mainly to give some understanding of how this can be three individual identities and yet still be one. The focal point of the question was Jesus being man and God. Wow, this should be a simple blog…NOT.
This is and has been a great theological discussion and teaching that has been a struggle of faith for many. There is not an easy answer and I know some who accept no answer to this except that it is a false premise. So in my bestest English and simplification efforts I will dive right in.
Starting out in Genesis 1:26 God is referred to in the plural when He says, “Let us make man in our image”. Throughout the Old Testament (from here on out I will use OT) God appeared to people in many ways, including, smoke, fire, spirit, angel, and human. The angelic and human appearances are referred to as pre-incarnate Christ because of the references to them as LORD. Pre-incarnate meaning prior to being born in the flesh.
Moses was the only human to ever catch a glimpse of the full glory of God. By this I mean all three, Father, Spirit, Son at one time. God was able to show Moses His backside as He passed by and it nearly killed Moses (Exodus 33). On earth we never see all 3 at the same time for that reason. We see Jesus and the Spirit, the Spirit and the Father, Jesus and the Father, but never all 3 because humans can not see the fullness of God prior to death.
So how can this trinity be? I like to explain it like this. Using myself as an example, I am Tim. I am a father, and son, and a husband. I am all three at the same time. I never stop being one to be the other. But I am only a father to my children, only a son to my parents, and only a husband to my wife. I never change those roles and I am completely correct in claiming all three identities. I answer to Tim, father, son, and husband, even though if my wife ever called me husband to get my attention I would not respond because that just sounds weird. But I am three identities in one, kinda like God.
The difficulty most people have is Jesus and God being one yet totally separate. Jesus is the most unique attribute of God. The pre-incarnate Christ appeared many times to people in the OT as a human form but was not born of flesh like the Jesus of the New Testament (NT). Throughout the OT we are told of a coming Messiah. A Savior that would end the reign of sin on the human soul. We are told that this Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
From the first sin of humanity, God demanded that blood be shed to cover the sin. Adam tried to use a leaf, but God gave them skin of an animal. The penalty for humanity’s sin is death. This sinful nature is passed from generation to generation through the blood lines. Man is the link of sin (Romans 5:12) and that is the importance of the virgin birth. When God fathered the Child, the human blood-line of sin was broken. When Jesus was born from a woman He was 100% flesh and still God.
God has 3 attributes that are important to know. He is omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent or, all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once. When God became man, he gave up, by choice, the attribute of omnipresent. God can do all things, including that.
Just as sin was passed to all men through the blood of one man, Adam, so is salvation passed to all who ask through the blood of one man, Jesus (Romans 5:17) Because God required death for sin, and through the sacrificial system He set in place, it was told that a spotless lamb was the acceptable offering. Jesus became the Lamb of God that would be the final sacrifice for all humanity.
Remember that when we see God in heaven we will see Him in all His glory. Humans can not comprehend God in His glory so He breaks it down to in to 3 easier ways to understand Him. Our Father in heaven, the Spirit who keeps and teaching us, and our Savior who lived a complete human life yet sinless to die as our sacrifice.
Remember that God lives outside the limits of time ad space and beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend. He took great efforts to understand us as humans by becoming human. It was far easier than Humans becoming God.