Posts tagged ‘life’

December 5, 2012

Surviving The Storm

by pastortimfowler

5879848337_329554c941_b

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13013135@N00/5879848337/

As you might have noticed, I have not been putting out blogs at the pace I normally do. There has been a lot going on that has demanded my attention and so I had to eliminate some things from my daily routine temporarily. As if the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are not busy and hectic enough, I have had to deal with several other issues that added to “the storm”.
I like to call things that keep me extra busy storms because it sounds much more dramatic than just saying that I have been too busy to do some stuff. A storm makes you think that winds are raging and thunder and lightning are threatening and the danger element is really high. So if I had to be really honest about it, I guess instead of a storm, I have been in a rain event.
Rain events are nothing to be laughed at. During a good rain, things can get really wet and even cold and that does not feel good. Rain can make you want to sleep more and forget about going outside to do other stuff. Rain may sound innocent, but let me tell you, until you have seen the rain that I have seen, you don’t have a clue. And then if it rains on a Monday, well, rainy days and Mondays always get me down.
Probably the worst thing about the rain in life is when you get those breaks where the sun comes out, so you go outside and don’t wear a raincoat or take an umbrella and you are scared that it may rain again and get your hair wet. That can cause a lot of stress. I mean, what if it really does start raining again? Then what?
I was out in the middle of a big field one time and did not have a raincoat or an umbrella and it started raining. At first it was a gentle mist, but then it became a constant mist, and, add in the wind, or breeze, and it was like being in the middle of a field getting wet and there was nothing you could do about it. Although it only lasted a few minutes, I got wet. And, although I shave my head and so my hair was not affected, I felt the stress that others who might have hair would have felt if they were out in that field too. And for those who would scoff at this, later that day, it rained really hard and I was a bit shaken at the thought of how, if that would have happened while I was out there, that I could have gotten really wet.
So, although what I have been through is not really a storm of life, but rather a rain event, I wanted you to know that I am fine. I have relied on my years of experience to get me through it. I also try to remember that even though the rain of life is tough, there are people who are going through the storms of life, and in those storms there is most often rain. So if you just think about the rain and block out the thunder and lightning and raging wind and all the really bad stuff that goes along with a storm, and just think about the rain, then you will understand what I am going through and you won’t be so critical about me not blogging for a while.
Yes, God can calm the storm. Sometimes He chooses to clam the child in the storm. But when it is just raining, God is still there.

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November 19, 2012

God In The Irritations Of My Life

by pastortimfowler

God is our...

Sorry for the lack of blogs lately. I have been dealing with the aftermath of the church fire, extra people in my house, and a barrage of other stuff that has had me a bit distracted. Through it all, God has been in touch with me, mainly through Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes right in my face. I thought that I could share a few things that He showed me.
He is in the stuff that I find irritating. I know that this may sound as if I am saying that God is irritating, and I am not. I do get rather flustered with Him from time to time because He refuses to let me be in charge or He lets me and everything gets all messed up. But, God is in the stuff that has been irritating me in some really cool ways.
I love my grandkids and I love the kids in my church. But kids irritate me. Unlike my wife who is a kid addict, I can only tolerate kids in small amounts and in short bursts. So with the fire at our church rendering our children’s area unusable, the kids have been coming into the adult worship area while I am preaching. The result; several of them have accepted Jesus as their Savior and I got to baptize 5 of them in the last two weeks. Many of them have come up to me and told me with all the excitement of a little child about how cool it was and thanked me for it. WOW! God is all in that irritation.
Lately I have been trying to do more with my grandkids, especially my oldest grandson who is 7. He lives with his dad and mom and a bunch of girls, and girls are trouble, we all know that. His dad works rotating shifts and does not get to take part in things like scouts and a lot of weekend stuff, so I am trying to fill in. In the past few months I have been to three camping events with him and slept in a tent and gone without a shower and fed him more junk food than he should have ever been allowed to eat.
I also took him to a Gamecock football game this weekend. There is about an hour drive to the stadium from my house and to help keep him entertained, I took the wife’s tablet so he could play games. I find it hard to have meaningful conversation with a 7-year-old for more than a couple of minutes, much less for an hour. Guess what? The tablet was not charged. So for an hour, we talked. Did you know that a 7-year-old can talk continuously for 15 minutes without stopping or even breathing? And I learned that I could throw a Chees-it and hit him in the mouth while I was driving but can’t catch one when he throws it. I also learned that if you slowed down beside the semi truck while he pumped his fist, that after several miles, even the toughest truck driver will eventually blow his horn.
I love to watch the Gamecocks play. Having a 7-year-old with you limits that ability. But when it is really cold and the wind is blowing hard and you told the kid to leave his jacket in the truck because you were not taking yours, kids can be an excellent heat source. So he sat in my lap most of the game and that was a great way to talk about the game, and eat pizza at the same time. And because it was military appreciation day, I got to tell him how God allowed us to be free to do what we are doing because of their service. Then to hear him say, ” God wanted us to be here today” was the icing on the cake.
I came home that night to find my 1-year-old grandson there. He will be staying with us for a few days. I don’t get to see him that often because his parents live a couple of hours away. But when I walked in, he ran to me. I tried to run away, but God wanted him to hug me and kiss me. I get really irritated when slobbery little kids try to kiss me, especially when I am not ready and they kiss me in the mouth. (gag). I am not sure why I felt the overwhelming presence of God at that time, but I did.
And finally, the fire at the church. What a pain. But I have met some really awesome people who are working to clean up the mess. I have talked to them about our church, invited them to attend, and had several tell me that they will come. My church folks have been amazingly understanding about the inconvenience and have stepped up in more ways than I can count to make this really irritating circumstance more than bearable.
God has really been in the middle of this most irritating time. He has been the peace when things are hectic. He has been the wisdom when things are crazy. He has been the love when I felt like I did not want to love or be loved. But I don’t know why I am surprised. He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me. He never lies and never disappoints. He gives me so many reasons to be thankful and just in time for Thanksgiving. What an awesome God I serve!

August 31, 2012

Expert Predictions

by pastortimfowler

20082005

College football season started in my house last night. I am a huge SC Gamecock fan and have been all of my life. Last night they barely won a game that should have been a blow out according to the experts. I really hate it when the experts say stuff like that and I buy into it. In football, anything can happen and usually does especially when you are talking about college ball.
I listen to a lot of experts predict things and I can’t tell you how often they are wrong. For instance, the weather forecaster on TV. They are considered experts in weather and yet they probably only get it right half. I was watching the forecasts for hurricane Isaac and a week before it came close to Florida, they were saying that it would hit Tampa. It made landfall in New Orleans. Just this morning I heard the forecast for my area was to be mostly cloudy and I am sitting in bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky.
Experts in the financial world are not much better. Every time we get a jobs report it is worse than the experts predicted. Stocks go up and down every day despite what they say and those same experts who blame speculators for oil prices going sky-high, never mention the speculators when it drops to record lows. Three years ago many of the experts said that we would be well recovered from the recession we are not still in, and yet unemployment went up in over 30 states just last month.
Experts predicted that in the year  2000 AD on New Years day all computers would freak out and it didn’t happen. Experts said that cars were not going to catch on and flying would never happen. They said that everyone would be flying around instead of driving by now and that a new ice age was coming, but now its global warming. They said salt would kill you, now it won’t, saccharine would kill you, but not really now, red meat was good but now its bad, and that if you would just take this pill or that one you would never get fat.
So far the experts have messed up a lot of predictions. There is one source of predictions that I have found to be really accurate; the Bible. The Old Testament is full of predictions that Jesus would come to earth and die, and He did. In fact almost 1000 years before it happened, great details of the crucifixion were written in Psalm 22. The Bible predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be totally destroyed and it happened. It predicted that several super powers would fall and gave a time frame to when it would happen, and it did. Very few historians disagree with the historical accuracy of the Bible. It is used as a historical document far more than most would ever guess. What is disputed is the claim to be the word of God and that the God of the Bible is who it claims Him to be. But with all of the weird and far out predictions the Bible has already gotten right, it does make you wonder if it could be right about God too.
In the New Testament there are some really far out claims that when made could never be imagined and today are not far away from being a reality. It says that there will be a time when money will be useless and that no one will be able to buy or sell without a certain mark. When that was written 2000 years ago it was absurd to think about that possibility and even as little as 20 years ago it seemed far-fetched. Yet here we are today with fewer and fewer people using cash and the need to carry cash is almost obsolete. It tells us that Jesus will return to earth one day and when that happens, everyone will see it. Today that is as close to a possibility as ever before with the video phone capability that everyone has.
With so many experts being so wrong so often and the Bible being right so often, why do people doubt the simple things that the Bible claims? Like all humans are sinners. No one has to be taught to lie, it comes natural. It says that all sinners will be judged by God and that we either stand on our own merits or we can stand on the merits of Christ. His death on the cross, also not disputed by historians, is an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. What is disputed is that Christ rose from the grave. It says that God loves us enough to allow His Son to die for us and that if we will live for Him, He will give us eternal life.
Eternal life is something many experts agree that humans have or will have. What form it takes and how we achieve it is what is in question. Some say that we earn it, the Bible says it is a gift. Some say it is a never-ending cycle of coming back as other creatures. Some say that everyone goes to heaven and the Bible says that only those who trust in Christ go. Some say that eternal life will be achieved through modern medicine and this causes those who are rich to spend millions to preserve their corpses in hopes that they can be revived when that time comes. The Bible says that we all die and after that there is judgement. Judged on our own works or on what Christ did for us.
So given the accuracy of the expertise of man and the expertise of God, I will choose to go with God. After all, if last nights game was any indication of the expert’s ability to get it right, I don’t want to risk my soul to that.

May 31, 2012

Welcome To This World, Coraline!

by pastortimfowler

baby feet close up!

I went to see my friend and his wife and their new baby last night. It was their first child and they were thrilled. I love seeing first time parents with their new babies, especially the dad. In this case, the baby was delivered via “C-section, so mom was still under the influence of the pain meds. They had both seen the baby in the delivery room, but she had not yet been brought from the nursery into their room yet. The nurse had been in checking on mom and said that they were going to bring the baby in a few minutes. At that time it was only me and the parents in the room. Some of the immediate family were on their way and showed up right before they brought the baby in, but I got to hang out with them by myself for a few minutes.
I don’t know mom that well. I have met her a few times but never had the privilege of hanging out and getting to know her. I play cards with dad once a month and have done so for over two years. Because I don’t know her that well I won’t make fun of mom and some of the things I observed as she enjoyed the pain meds. But that is one of the fun things about visiting a mom who just delivered via cesarean. They think that they are acting normal, but they are not.
Dad was trying real hard to act normal, but you can’t after your first child is born. You would think that they shared the pain meds with dad sometimes by the way they act. Of course I never acted goofy when my kids were born because, well, have you met my kids? This guy was doing pretty good though. He showed me pictures from right after the birth. Very few babies are cute then, to outsiders, but to dad they are gorgeous. Cesarean babies do look better than those born the other way. Those babies look like cone head aliens, to outsiders, but normal to parents. This was a cute baby. I watched the pride swell with each picture he showed me. It is a special moment.
For a few minutes the conversation went from the tough delivery to our next card game and then back to how beautiful the baby is and finally the family came in. I don’t like to hog time from family in any situation that involves a hospital. So I decided to wait until they brought the baby in and get a look at her in person and then head out so the family could have their time. Suddenly the door opened and the nurse came wheeling in the bed with this gift from God in it. They picked her up and handed her to mom and then I got to see that moment that is worth a million moments. It is the one where dad stands next to his wife who is holding their new-born child and he tries with all he has to smile, but tears just start flowing down his face as pride and joy and reality overwhelm him.
With that memory firmly etched in my mind I went over and hugged him and told mom that everything was awesome and bid farewell to the family I had just met. I knew that I had just seen the greatest life changing event a man can go through, other than knowing God. I believe that it is hard to look at this event in life and not consider that something this awesome just doesn’t happen without the God of love that I believe in. It never gets old and never ceases to amaze me how a grown man can be turned into a speechless and weeping ball of emotions all because of a little baby. I always thank God for that experience and hope that He never stops blessing me with the chance to see His gifts of children being brought into this world.
Congratulations Dru and Wendy! Welcome to this world Coraline. (Yes, I spelled that right)

November 28, 2011

Expect Versus Demand

by pastortimfowler

Luke 12:48 But the servant who didn’t know what his master wanted and did things for which he deserved punishment will receive a light beating. A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot.
This verse comes from the teaching of Jesus about an evil servant and a faithful caretaker. It teaches that there are degrees of punishment and reward as well as degrees of responsibility. I want to focus of the last half of the verse that has been italicized.
Yesterday was an awesome day for me. I celebrated my 50th birthday and the highlight, other than spending the day with my wife, was preaching that morning. I love to preach and on those rare years that my birthday falls on a Sunday I had much rather preach than take the day off. This was no different and as always it was special. I usually give my testimony and this was no different and at the end of it when the invitation was given, 3 people accepted Jesus and I now share my birthday with the day that they were born, again.
Being 50 is not much different from being 49. I am sure that will change as the year goes by. I hear that 50 is the new 27, so that is exciting. But 50 does bring a time of reflection or at least it did with me. I sat up Saturday night waiting on midnight to roll around and then I spent some time looking back at what I had done with my life. I realized that I had wasted far too much of it on things that did not matter. So I thought about the things that do matter and found them to be lacking and decided to see if I could change that in the next 50 years. So far, I have done a great job of keeping the things that matter outweighing the things that don’t.
One of the reasons that we don’t do the important things in life is because they matter to other people and there is a huge level of accountability involved. That is what the last half of the verse above says. But notice that even the last half of the verse can be broken into 2 statements. Lets look at them for a minute.
A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. I believe that there is something that God puts into all of us that says that we should be a compassionate people. I also believe that most people know that there is a God who is responsible for everything that we have. After all, only a fool says in his heart. “there is no God”. I also believe that God has an expectancy of those whom he created to be responsible with the things they have. If you have a lot, you have a lot expected of you. I believe those who have a lot will be judged more harshly than those who do not. I think that there is that teaching in this story where this verse comes from. I believe that this is talking to people who do not have a relationship with God of their Father.
The second half, More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot, I believe he is talking to those who know Jesus as Savior and God as Father. Here is why. It uses the word entrusted verses the word given. I did a study on these two words and found that given, as used here, is most commonly used when speaking of giving servants their work load. The word entrust is most commonly used when giving an inheritance or a trust to a family member. God therefore entrusts those who are His children with a task far more important that those who are merely slaves. The good name of the family is at stake and that is why more will be demanded of us.
Now here is the difference in two more words. Expect versus demand. Expecting comes with an uncertainty of accomplishment. Demands come with a certainty of accomplishment. If you have high expectations of a new college graduate quarterback to become a great pro quarterback and he fails, he didn’t live up to expectations. If he makes the team and is made the starting quarterback, the team then demands his continued best.
In that context, you can think of someone blessed with much but not knowing God as Father as being expected to do what is right, but those who know God as Father, are demanded to use what they have been entrusted with to protect the good name of the Lord.
I want to spend my next 50 years meeting the demands of what I have been entrusted with; The good news that Jesus loves and saves those who are lost.

November 17, 2011

Life Insurance

by pastortimfowler

Rock Hill SC is not tornado alley, but that does not change the fact that a tornado touched down and took the lives of 3 people yesterday. It is hard to imagine that yesterday morning, if you had asked these people, “do you think that you will die in a tornado today?” that they would have done anything other than laugh at you. Yet here we are facing the horrible truth that it happened and they are gone.
As always, I hope that these people knew Jesus as their Savior. I did not know any of them, but that doesn’t change the sorrow I feel because of this tragedy. It does not change that I hope they had eternal security and if that is true, ultimately they are okay now. I pray for the family members that are left to question why this happened and that they will find peace that only comes from God. Again I will continue to pray for them and there are already efforts to reach out and help those who have lost there possessions as well.
Most of us have probably thought about a scenario in which we meet our death. No, I am not being morbid, just blunt. Every time I fly I think about it. Often when I ride my motorcycle on long trips I think about it. But most of the time death is the farthest thing from my mind. And on most days which start off as normal as yesterday did, I don’t think about death at all.
Here is the problem. If we don’t think about death, and most importantly, what happens after we die, we are leaving eternity to chance and that is a chance I had rather not take. Very few people truly think that when you die, that’s it, the switch is off and nothing else happens. But we are confused on what to believe about the many possibilities. Even those who are Christians have some differing thoughts about what happens after death and I find that strange. Maybe we make it too complicated. Here is what the simplicity of the Bible says.
Hebrews 9:27 People die once, and after that they are judged. To be judged, there must be a conscious state after death. To be judged, there must be a standard of judgement. To be judged, there must be a Judge. To be judged, there must be a crime.
The crime, is called sin. An eight year old once gave me this definition of sin and I like it and think it is biblical. Sin is anything that you think, say, or do, that does not please God. The standard of judgement is holiness. God is holy and tells us that we are not. Sins reward is death and death is the vehicle in which we are brought to trial. No one is holy, not among humans. We all sin. One sin means that we are not holy and thus death is imparted. God is our judge, through Jesus Christ as our advocate. If you have accepted the death of Jesus as payment for your sin, He proclaims your penalty paid in full and commutes your death sentence to life in Heaven. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, He says that He does not recognize you as His client and the death penalty is carried out. Not believing in Jesus or God will not stop this trial nor will it get you leniency. Proclaiming that you did not see the speed limit sign does not stop the officer from giving you a ticket.
We are not sure if we will have a tomorrow. Death can sneak up on us in many ways and much too often, when you least expect it. That is why many people carry life insurance, which provides for the family after you are dead. It does not return life to those who die. The only way that can happen is through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. This is life insurance that helps those who die. It is free and not because of a government mandate. It is free because God loves us and does not want to have to judge us as guilty sinners, but rather forgiven children. To get this insurance all you have to do is ask. Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

October 26, 2011

No Accident

by pastortimfowler

A good friend of mine has been in the hospital for the last few days and thankfully he is about to be released. It was really weird the way it happened and how quickly it turned dangerous. One day he is at the doctor for a minor problem, an infection, and the next day he is in ICU because his blood pressure had bottomed out. I will probably regret saying this, but thank goodness his wife kept nagging at him to go to the emergency room and get checked out. I know that she will not call it nagging, but us guys know what I’m talking about.
Whenever this type thing happens it always causes me to reflect on how short this life is and how quickly we can lose it. My friend is a guy about my age, so young, and relatively healthy and a week ago you would have never thought that he would be in the hospital, much less ICU. We can have someone we love with us today and tomorrow God can take them away. It reminds me of this verse from the Bible: James 4:14 You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. We rarely think of life this way until we are faced with these things.
So, what are you doing to make the most of this life? If you are like me, I often think about selfish things, like watching the football game or going fishing. But I am talking about making the most of life so that others can have it better. We are put here for a reason and somehow I don’t believe it was to be selfish. If so we are only here by mistake and there is no Creator, and if that’s the case, forget everyone, I’m going fishing.
When faced with the possibility of death being near, we often think, is there anything after this? There are very a few choices for what happens after death. If there is no God, no Creator, no Higher being who has any moral fortitude, then we don’t have to worry about what we do in this life. Unless you believe in reincarnation, but even then if there is no judge of what is a good life, then it is just the luck of the draw. With my luck, I would come back as a cricket or a worm being sold in a bait shop. But if we die and that is it, life just ends, we should not worry about doing anything more than what feels good to self. I can’t even make a good argument for being a good husband and father if there is no moral higher being that we have to answer too when we die.
As a pastor I have had to sit in hospital rooms with people who are dying, both young and old. I can’t recall anyone ever saying that they wished they had done more for themselves, but rather the opposite, they wish they had done more for others. Funny how people closest to death think very seriously about what is after death and those of us who seem to be a long way from death seem to be quite selfish thinking. But with what happened to my friend, healthy one day and in ICU the next, we all should be thinking a little more about how close to death we might really be.
I wrote in my blog yesterday that I wished that people would think a little more for themselves about things instead of listening to what others say. I think that holds true for how we think about God. I believe that there is a Creator who loves me and will judge the things that I have done. I believe that He offers forgiveness because He loves me and that He wants me to know Him. I believe that God wants everyone to know Him and that if we just thought logically, we might have reason to think that perhaps there is a God. Just look at the world around us. It has design and purpose and where there is design and purpose there is a designer. Let me leave you with this to think about.
If you had never seen a watch, but found one as you were walking along the beach one day, would you think that the watch formed by accident? After all, the sand contains the minerals needed to make the watch and the force of the ocean and gravity and the occasional asteroid crashing into the beach would create the heat needed to form the glass and if lightening stuck at the right time it would cause an electrical charge that would power the watch, right? Of course not. Although you couldn’t explain it, you would think that someone made it. Perhaps a watch maker.  And if you searched, you could find this watchmaker or at least someone who knew him or enough about him to learn what the watch was and how to use it.
I can tell you about my Creator, if you really want to know. Life is not an accident.

August 9, 2011

Granny Has A Gun

by pastortimfowler

What an eye-opening experience I had yesterday. I am not sure how close together it happened, but my wife had it too. We both realized, not out of ignorance, but rather out of amazement, that as of now, all of our children have children of their own. I am not sure why it was so mind-blowing but it was. We have been very blessed with the fact that we have great children of our own and now each one of them have given us a grandchild. I never dreamed that one day I would be looking at having three children and each of them with children. WOW!.
Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents, and parents are the glory of their children. How true this is. Even though I have been a grandparent for about 7 years now, this never gets old. But seeing the youngest of your own children having his first is pretty cool.
I often get worried about what kind of world they will grow up in. I worried the same about my kids, but they had an awesome dad. My two sons can only hope to be as awesome a dad as I am, and my daughter was never going to find someone good enough for her or to father my grandkids. But that is what my father in law said about me and he was wrong. Some how I think they will all exceed my expectations though.
But we do live in a world that is much more unstable and much less friendly to children. With the invention of the internet, child predators are coming out in groves and it means that parents must be on their toes more. Our kids are really good parents, but I still worry. I guess it would only be fair that I should let every child predator know that I am a Christian. This means that I am forgiven of every sin that I ever have or ever will commit. Although this does not give me a license to sin, it does give me the peace of knowing that if I snap and kill some pervert who would ever even attempt to hurt my grandkids, that I would still go to heaven. And in case someone might be thinking that I don’t have it in me to do such a thing, I should also tell you that I received my marksmanship medal after achieving a perfect score while I was in the military and I still practice regularly. Not only do I have a hand gun, but I carry it, loaded. What would be even worse is if my wife got a hold of you. She too is an expert shot, but she is much meaner than I am when it comes to our grandchildren.
Sorry for chasing that rabbit, but it felt good.
God has blessed me with so much and I don’t know why, other than He is just an awesome God who loves us more than we can understand. Every time I see a newborn baby I marvel at His ability to create life and then to think that He entrusts me to have a part in raising that life. It is a tall order, but I love stepping into the responsibility. I think I am going to pray that everyone gets to experience having grandkids.
So quickly let me tell you a few things that were incredible yesterday when Bryson was born.
Watching my son agonized over his wife in labor.
Watching my son walk into the room holding his newborn son.
Watching my daughter in law weep tears of joy as she held him.
Watching my wife glow with pride and love as she held Bryson and then as she held our son.
Watching Bryson look at me as I held him. He smiled bigger then than any other time that day.
Seeing Bryson wear his Gamecock ‘boggin’ as he was smiling at me.
Watching all the responses from so many of you as you sent your congratulations.
Thanks for the support and prayers. Thank God for His love and blessing.