Posts tagged ‘joyful’

August 24, 2012

Back To School

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22809952@N03/6009153377/

 

As I was taking our international student to school today I noticed that all the other kids were back to school this week. He goes to a private school that started over a week before public school did. The traffic was heavier and slower thanks to the buses on the road. I was starting to think about letting Freddy ride a bicycle so that I could avoid that morning madness. The way my wife is feeding him, he could use the exercise.
Going back to school always made me sick. I got sick more during the school year than any other time. I never got the kind of sick that made me run a fever, usually it was a stomach ache. Most of the time it was only an 8 hour bug that really seemed to start easing off within an hour of the bus going by my house. My guess is that I was allergic to something at school; probably having to do with those old books.
My mom never posted pictures on Facebook of me going back to school. She didn’t cry and get all emotional either. Well, I did see her laughing hysterically a few times as I looked out the bus window. I don’t remember any parents, “back in the day” posting kids going to school on Facebook. Parents just sent their kids off on the bus or that dreaded 3 mile, uphill walk in knee-deep snow, and then they would all meet to celebrate with moonshine, fresh from the still.
When my kids were young and going to school, we never had to worry about sending them back to school. They never got out of school through the summer. But on the rare occasion that one of them passed a grade and got a break from school, we did not post their pictures on Facebook. To be honest, we did not take many pictures of our kids at all. We figured that because they had to live with us anyway, why create any evidence that could be held against us when they moved out.
Facebook is a great thing. I use it to post my blogs, stalk, I mean, keep up with a few close friends, and find material for my blogs, like thousands of pictures of kids going back to school. I do not believe that Facebook was created for back to school pictures posted by parents. It was created by a college student. College students don’t post anything that parents are proud of, why should parents do otherwise? Facebook should be limited to pictures of those report cards, or, pictures of that letter from the truant officer and/or notice of suspensions that will drive many of you to drinking again. But then again, my parents didn’t post those things about me on Facebook either.
So, rejoice that the little ones are going back to school. Go ahead and post those cute little pictures, we know what is coming later. Those little angels who look so cute now, will be those fallen angels with colored hair, stuff sticking through their nose, and pre-drawn tattoos as they wait to turn 18 and really embarrass you.
I want to leave you with a Bible verse to go with all of this. Philippians 4:4 Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful!

July 9, 2012

All In?

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/baggis/167538086/

The biggest moment in a poker tournament is what is known as the “all in” moment. Each player starts with the same amount of chips and the goal is to win the chips from the other players over the course of many hands of poker. Usually toward the latter part of these tournaments, someone decides that they have too few chips to stay in much longer but they have a great hand and so they move all their chips into the center of the table, calling, “all in”. It is at that time that reality sets in. Either this is the hand that changes the night for better or this is the time that you head home with nothing. Going all in is a risky move.
This past weekend the youth of our church went on their first ever youth retreat to Myrtle Beach. They had some work they did helping the hosts and they had some fun time also, but they had a lesson from one of the leaders asking them if they were all in. The analogy used was different though. They were near the pool and as you know, most people ease into the pool. Usually they get in up to their knees and get a feel for the water before deciding to go all in. These guys were in to the knees with God in their role as Christians. Many of them said that they believed and had even made a decision to become a Christian but none of them had committed to that all in moment. Let’s face it; this can be scary.
Are you all in? As a Christian, have you decided to test the waters by coming to church and attending a class and even giving regularly? Some of you are thinking, “what do you mean, test the waters, I thought that was all in?” Sorry, but it is not. Church is only a small part of being a Christian, but for most, it has become what identifies us as Christians. God wants more from us than a couple of hours a week. He wants us all in.
Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should take up our crosses as we follow. Crosses are hard to carry. I am not talking about those gold ones around the neck. I am talking the wooden ones that they hang you on with nails. Now Jesus did not expect us to literally carry crosses, but rather to realize that this walk He took was His all in moment when He carried His cross up the hill to die for the sins of the world. And if all he would have done was to talk about it, He could have been like most of us who are only testing the waters or making safe bets that won’t put us out of the game or vault us into the lead.
Christians should be different in everything we do. Not “Bible thumpers” who yell out at every one that they are going to hell, but living examples of the Bible that was written to show God’s love for the world. Our marriages should be stronger than most because they are modeled after the one that God designed. Our work ethic should be better because we work as if God were our boss. Our friendships should be better because we want to be friends that stick closer than a brother. Our faith should be our guide because we trust God and show it in the way we act in every aspect of our lives. Reading our Bibles should not be something that we don’t have time for, but rather something that there is always time for. Praying for others should be habitual and joyful and worship should show in our faces as we celebrate the King of Glory as our Savior every chance we get. And oh yeah, our willingness to do the tough things for others should never come into question as we carry our crosses so that others might be saved.
Right now I am thinking of a list of places that I need to double-check to see if I am truly all in. We don’t stay all in all of the time. But we must be willing to fearlessly accept the fact that we have gotten back into the shallow water or are only making safe bets and we must be willing to dive into the deep or push the whole stack of chips and go all in. Its your move. Will you go all in or are you bluffing? Will you take the plunge into the deep water or play it safe in the kiddie pool? Come on…Go all in.

December 21, 2011

Christmas Giving

by pastortimfowler

Christmas is a strange time of year. It is the time when most people are the most joyful, and at the same time it can be a time when they are at their lowest. It is a time of giving and receiving and spending time with family and friends. This is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I would like to share what I get to be a part of every year at my church and I will try to remain as humble as possible, but at the same time I am running over with pride.
We are a medium-sized┬áchurch of about 150 people and this number changes, lately it has been increasing. We reach a unique group of people, mostly young families and people who do not fit the typical “churchy” crowd. Like their pastor, many of these have been turned off by religion at one time or another and even hurt by the politics that often ruins what church should be. But for whatever reason, God has seen fit to bring us together under the roof of a building and in a church family called The Body, A Church for Anybody.
With the economy being as bad as it is, we find ourselves in fellowship with several families that are struggling to make ends meet and because these are families with kids, it is a difficult time to celebrate Christmas when some may not be able to give gifts to their kids. Giving gifts is a custom of the season that allows us to escape the reality of hard times and focus on putting a smile on the face of children, but when you lose a job or income gets cut, it can be difficult to make this happen on your own. Without a second thought, the people in our church have taken to the spirit of giving and made sure that these kids smile on Christmas morning. There are 5 families that will be blessed by receiving, but probably 20 more that will be blessed by Christmas giving.
One family told me today that they sacrificed giving their adult children gifts, with those adult children’s blessings, in order to provide for another family with children who still live at home. They took the $100 that they would normally spend for those gifts and bought for someone else. Today I was told that they received an unexpected bonus from work that doubled that amount. You just can’t help but think that God was showing how much He likes Christmas giving too.
On Christmas day, we will gather for a morning worship and after church several of us are going out to a restaurant that is open to sing a Christmas Carol and give a gift to those who are working. As grateful as they must be to have a job, it has to be tough to work on Christmas day. So we have been collecting “tips” for about two months now for the purpose of giving to those who are waiting tables and serving others on Christmas day a bit of Christmas cheer that will hopefully make their Christmas sacrifice well worth it. We have chosen a restaurant that only has 5 or 6 people who are working that day and because of the generosity of the people in my church, each person who is working will receive a Christmas card with over $100 in it.
Again, it is hard to be humble when you talk about something that you are involved in, but I am blown away by the love of the people who I serve at this church and it does truly humble me to know them. They love others and show it through their actions and the biggest action this time of year is in their Christmas giving. I love it!!!
Merry Christmas!

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