Posts tagged ‘leaders’

September 6, 2012

Force Fed God

by pastortimfowler

God is our...

Yesterday I saw on the news the vote to allow God to be part of the DNC platform again. Somehow the brilliant move to eliminate God from the platform was actually made and they had to vote on bringing Him back. Many think it was an oversight and never meant to have been such a big deal. If it was on purpose, I personally don’t understand why they would not want God there. He is usually very quiet and for the most part just observes such events. When you watch the vote that took place it was not convincing that the majority wanted God back on the platform. Either way, I believe He was being forced on those who did not want Him there to begin with. But there is no way to have a convention without God, like it or not.
Politics is a strange thing. You are either very passionate about your political views or you are barely aware of these sort of things. Those who are very passionate take great offense to anyone who would criticize their point of view and those who are not involved act as if they have never heard of the election system, other than the fact that we vote for who we would like to have as our leaders. I tend to be more of the type that could care less about most things that make the news and only focus on a couple of major issues. I don’t voice my politics to loudly, but don’t hide how I feel when asked.
God is a major factor in how I lean politically. But at the same time, I am not persuaded by just talk about God. I like to see the actions and most importantly, does what a politician say match up to what the Bible says. This is only applicable for moral issues. There are many issues that I have to go with my gut on and I always remember that there is no way a politician can keep his word on everything nor can he remember everything he has every said. So I don’t go for the gotcha moments that news programs like to run.
I do not believe that anyone who runs for public office wants to kill any people in our society. When I see images of people rolling little old ladies off cliffs, I laugh and think about how stupid some people must be to expect anyone to believe such garbage. I also don’t believe that politicians who say they will never raise taxes actually believe that we, the people, believe that is true. Most ads ran during a political campaign are designed to shock and play on the emotions of people. I believe that both political parties know that if they just ran ads with facts and figures that the people would probably fall asleep during election cycles. Politics have become big business for big egos.
I have good friends who are Democrats and good friend who are Republicans. Some are very involved in the process and others are casual observers. Neither are bad people, even the ones whom I totally disagree with politically. Some of them are very vocal about their affiliation to a particular party while others probably don’t even care enough to vote. But here is a fact.Your political party affiliation does not make you a Christian nor does it make you a good or bad Christian. It only makes you a Democrat or a Republican. All governments and their leaders are a result of a sovereign God allowing that leader to rule over His people. Christians are to respect whoever that is and follow the laws of the land. We are free to voice our opinions, but never free to condemn solely because we disagree with their policies. We must follow the laws of the land and use the proper means available to peacefully change the things that we don’t like.
We can not force God on people, nor do we have to. God has made Himself known through the wonder of His creation. He has set things in order according to His will and not ours. He will be at the DNC with or without a vote. He will be with the Republican nominees whether they want Him there or not. God is not elected by man and will never be dethroned by any vote or popular opinion or political affiliation. God is God because He always has been God and always will be. No need to force feed Him to anyone. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess. Not believing will not stop you from meeting Him. God is God alone.

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July 11, 2012

Attitude Checks Can’t Be Mailed

by pastortimfowler

Outlet says oh

I am in the process of doing some organizing at our church, mainly with staff and volunteer leaders. This means meetings and reminders of what our vision is and what we are trying to achieve and, of course, attitude checks. Most of them are good attitudes, but from time to time, some attitudes get negative, including my own. Positive attitudes are vital to success and way to often we forget this. Sometimes we think that our negative attitudes are the most important in the room and, that may be so in your own mind, but usually is the farthest from the truth in the minds of others. And…in the church it is supposed to be more about others than ourselves.
I saw a sign over the entrance to a bar one time that said please check firearms and attitudes at the door. I love that. Maybe we should hang that sign over the church door. But then I would have to leave my firearm outside and if you forget to check your attitude one day I would be left defenseless. But it would be nice to leave our attitudes at home when we come to be servants like Jesus. Jesus had a right to have an attitude. He was getting accused of wrong doing when in fact He was innocent. I may come close, but the rest of y’all are far from innocent. We are fortunate that God retired the old ways of just killing everyone who had a bad attitude. Church attendance would have dropped by several after my last meeting if He was still dong it that way. Why in some churches they would even have to find a new pastor every other week or so. But that is not how God chooses to deal with us. Instead He let Jesus take the death for us and then constantly reminds Himself that His death was in our place and therefore He shouldn’t kill us, yet.
Listen, church people have it tough. We are supposed to be “good” and yet we are stuck in these bodies that scream out, “ME! ME! ME!” No not the singing, Mi Mi Mi. The “me” factor is what causes people who don’t believe in God to think that they don’t need to believe in a God that lets His people act like some of us do. So no matter how hard we try to be good, we screw up and act selfish and forget about checking our attitudes at the door. I think that we should check them at the door both coming and going.
The Apostle Paul said in one of his writings that he died daily to self so that he could live better for Christ. Most people don’t even want to think about dying themselves and certainly don’t want to live under someone else’s guidelines, especially when they go against “what’s in it for me”. But that is exactly what being a Christian is supposed to be about. Giving up selfish desires and thinking about what is best for someone else. Far too often we fail, but that is what grace is for.
Attitudes are often a great indicator of what is in our hearts. If our hearts are full of me stuff then our attitudes are going to quickly become negative when someone asks us to do something for others. If our hearts are full of God stuff, then it is harder to have a bad attitude when we are asked to serve others. So, checking our attitudes often is important, especially if we are going to tell others that we are Christians and even more so if you are going to assume the role of a leader in a church. I may print a sign for this weekend to check the attitudes at the door. But maybe it should read, “attitude checks can not be mailed, they must be made in person”.

July 6, 2012

Youth Gone Wild

by pastortimfowler

Today I saw our church youth and their leaders off for their first ever retreat and mission trip. Because our church is a young church, only 6 years old, missions has been slow to develop and certainly youth missions have lagged. But God has been doing some incredible stuff this past few months and is preparing our church to be a mission minded church. For those of you who aren’t “churchy”, missions is the command from Jesus that says to go into all the world and preach the gospel. It includes helping those in need and sharing a message of hope.
In the last year our church has had the opportunity to help several missionaries as well as take a few trips, including our recent trip to Cuba. Our youth are going to the beach to have a time of bonding and growing spiritually and to serve at a campground in the area as the missions part of the trip. I know it sounds minor, but before you can walk you must first crawl.
At last count there are 13 youth and 7 adults who are gone. I worry about the adults, especially those who are taking their first trip of this type. I can only imagine the fun that they are going to have. We had prayer with them before they left and I told the youth to behave, but I feel like perhaps I should pray for angels to surround the adults. When all is said and done, they will return with many stories of jokes and pranks and good times that will cause them all to be closer with each other and hopefully, closer to God.
So to end this very short blog, please pray for our youth and the leaders who took them. If you don’t believe in prayer, then buy the upcoming video, Youth Gone Wild, featuring youth from our church duct taping youth leaders from our church to various utility poles all around the Myrtle Beach area.

January 6, 2012

Make Disciples

by pastortimfowler

By now those who follow my blogs have noticed that these early 2012 blogs have been rather serious. Don’t lose heart, the humor is still here, but the challenge to tweak a few things in my life has hit me pretty hard. Many in our church have been saying for months that we felt like God was going to do something big in our church this year and I agree. But I have always believed that God will start with the leader and this time is not different.
Jesus gave the command to go into all the world and make disciples, and, this is something I love, but can improve on. Standing before a group of people on Sunday mornings preaching a sermon is not making disciples. It is an important part of my calling and I love it, but God expects all of us to help others grow in their Christian life. This is not any different from any other family. Older brothers and sisters should help teach the younger siblings how to be productive parts of the family. Since the church is full of brothers and sisters in Christ with God as our Father, it only makes sense that we help the young to grow in their faith.
My wife and I have taken this challenge serious for years, and I can look back through the years at the younger brothers and sisters that have grown and are now teaching others. This year we are purposefully picking a few young men and women to pour our lives into. We are not going to teach them to be deacons or Sunday School teachers, but we are going to teach them how to know what God has in store for them and help them pursue that.
A wise man once told me that you only have to be one step ahead to lead. This sounds simplistic and it is true. But what we are missing is the fact that much too often, those who are a step ahead end up sitting still and stay where they are, thus they quit leading and began gathering a crowd. Jesus was not about gathering crowds, He gathered a group of people to live with and teach a lifestyle to, not a position in the church. He taught them about life as His follower, not how to act in a building on Sundays.
Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to teach people how to have church. We are to teach people how to have Christ, then how to live as Christians. Christianity is meant to be a life of discipline in the ways of Christ. That is what a disciple is, someone who is disciplined. Discipline is not punishment, it is living under control and in subjection to the ways of Christ. It is about learning how to do what the Bible says and not just learning what it says. And, for a person to do this they must first see it in action.
If you are one step ahead, keep taking the steps needed to lead. Don’t rest because you feel as if you have reached your potential. God has no limits and neither do the ones who follow His ways. Church is not the place where Christians live, it is the pit stop in the race to the finish. It is where we rest and fuel up and get a cool drink of living water in order to go back out and run the race.
I am looking forward to leading this group of young men. I eagerly look forward to the day that they are leading others and so on. After Jesus left this world to go and prepare a place for us, he left behind men and women who understood that the leading was now on them. Each one of them was responsible for leading others and then those were responsible for even more. Fast forward and couple of thousand years and millions upon millions have come to know Christ. The family has grown and yet somehow we seem to have reached the point where we are satisfied with a weekend meeting. It is time to rethink what the church has become and return to the command of Christ to make disciples.

December 30, 2011

2011 Stickers

by pastortimfowler

Here are a few things that 2011 left stuck in my brain:
1. The 7th grandkid is as awesome to welcome to the family as the 1st. My youngest son and his wife brought into the world, Bryson, and it was as exciting as ever. I am always blown away by seeing a newborn and especially from one of my own children. God gives us a special miracle in every child and as we were blessed with our now 7th grandkid, I am still in awe. SEVEN grandkids!!! WOW!!!
2. Jake got a kidney. Jake was born with many medical problems and one that effected many of the others was his need for a working kidney. Early in the year he got his new kidney and since then his improvement has been nothing less than miraculous. At 2 years old, he could not eat solid food, his speech was extremely limited, and just the hassle of dialysis was horrible. But since the transplant he has began to eat, talk, and so many of the other problems have shown improvement. He was not supposed to ever be born alive, but God had other plans. Now he is more alive than ever.
3. Our church has grown. 2010 was a very tough year in many ways and made 2011 start off with much anticipation and even some anxiety. We had bought a building and the economy was tanking and our people were struggling to keep and find jobs. Financially it was tough. We needed to make some improvement to the building and numerical growth was minimal. But our people made tough choices and sacrificed and we survived. This last year we have seen our finances grow to allow us to make the improvements needed and our numerical growth has been incredible. We saw over 70 people raise their hand to salvation and over 50 of those were baptized. But what is the best growth of all came in the spiritual side of people. God brought up and brought in leaders. Many of our new folks grew into servants and servant leaders. We reached out to our community in ways that exceeded all expectations. We gave to help meet the needs of most anyone who asked and to many who didn’t. We did not grow to be the biggest church in town, but I do believe we may have grown the biggest heart for people in need. God has to be pleased with their unselfishness and love for our neighbors.
4. I am still married. No, we were not nearly divorced. But I consider myself to blessed beyond measure every year that I can say that I am married to her. If you only knew me like she knows me, you would know that she must be something special to put up with me. As shocking as that may sound, because I can be wonderful, she gets that part of me that is, how should I say, not so wonderful. Proverbs 18:22 Whoever finds a wife finds something good and has obtained favor from the Lord. I have to smile and even laugh to think that God shows me favor. If there has ever been a guy who did NOT deserve God’s favor it would be me. But because of His great love, mercy, and forgiveness and because Jesus paid my sin debt, I am not just a Christian, but God loves me and even shows it in giving me my wife.
I look forward to 2012. God has great things in store for me and for you.

September 9, 2011

That Woman God Gave Me

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending the whole day at Newspring Church in Anderson SC for their annual leadership conference. Although I had been there before for worship and a different training event, I could not believe what happened there this time. Pastor Perry Noble and his church are incredible tools that God is using to change the world. I know that sounds like a huge statement but I don’t think that I am exaggerating. They are really doing things that reach worldwide and doing it in a practical way.
This particular conference was to motivate leaders to follow the model of leadership set forth in the Bible and perfected by Jesus Christ.
I have been to many events in many churches before and usually walk away with really useful stuff. Occasionally I am moved to an emotional response that resembles an allergy attack in which my eyes start watering, but that is rare.
Yesterday was different. There were seven different pastors that spoke in front of the 3000 plus leaders who were gathered there and I felt so bad for all of those guys because the seven speakers were talking only to me. How they picked me out of the crowd I don’t know, but I was made to feel very special. I was hoping that this was a fluke after the first guy finished and then after the second guy did it too I got nervous, but when it continued all day I was on overload.
As a pastor, I feel confident that I hear from God daily as I try to lead and serve my church. I read and study my Bible daily, listen to other pastors who teach on the radio when I can, and I try my best to stay spiritually fed. But at this event I felt as if I was at an all you can eat dinner and I couldn’t get enough. Even when I knew I was full, I felt like God packed it down and stuffed in some more. I am not talking burgers and ‘dogs, but the finest spiritual cuisine one could eat.
One of the speakers spent 45 minutes talking about gratitude. When he said that this was his topic I wanted to zone out because I feel like I am a fairly grateful guy. But as he began to preach I realized over and over that I was falling short. The Bible tells us that we are to be thankful in everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am real good about gratitude for the good, and have even said thanks for some of the trials, but I often blame myself for things that go wrong. This guy said that we need to be careful blaming ourselves for those thing that go wrong or we may be quick to take credit when things go right. God gives us trials to make us stronger, not for us to play the blame game.
The one area that I was most convicted was my gratitude for my wife. I take her for granted more than I ever should. I am supposed to be Christ to her and so many times I am more like the devil, and not in the fun way that we like to think. Not only does she support me in everything we do, and she is a great cook, a great mom, a great worker, a great friend, but she is also great in the things that she does that I don’t like. Sounds weird, but I am not grateful for those things like I should be. They are just as much part of the person I love as the other things, yet I am quick to complain. Oops, sorry honey. I love you for who you are, all of you.
This pastor made a statement that scared me in a Godly way. He said if you are not grateful for the things that God has given you because you think that they have flaws, God can always take it back. God does not make mistakes and we need to understand this. I made a promise to take her for better, worse, rich, poor, sick, and health. I have overwhelmingly had the best side of it all. The few things that I find irritating, I really want to be grateful for because if I don’t have those small parts, I don’t have her.
So, I am praying to be really grateful for her, not what she does. I want to thank God every moment of the day for my wife who is better than I ever deserved and quit acting like I am entitled to anything at all. What I deserve is nothing close to what He has given me. I have more to be grateful for than I can count and my wife makes up the biggest part of all those things.
Thank you God for every part of who my wife is. She is perfect for me, and I am for ever grateful.

September 9, 2011

What I Learned Today

by pastortimfowler

Here is a very short blog that will summarize what I learned today at a leadership conference.
*You can drink from a fire hose.
*Christian leaders are not superstars, they are servants.
*If you aren’t grateful for what you have, God can always take it back.
*Your spouse needs to be your friend, not just your lover.
*Christians need to run towards the mess.
*Leaders need to be a bit crazy.
*Christ is enough.
I told you this would be short, but look out in the days to come as I want to elaborate on a few of these. My heart is running over with joy and excitement.
A very special thanks to the people at NewSpring Church in Anderson SC for their hospitality during this amazing conference.