Posts tagged ‘married’

October 12, 2012

Date Night

by pastortimfowler

Being married for 32 years and pastor of a growing and busy church and playing host to an international teenager and having grandkids all would seem to be a dream come true for most people. For the most part it is for me too. But it cramps my style a bit when it comes to date night with my favorite wife. In case you don’t know, she is an incredibly gorgeous woman and dating her has been one of my favorite activities from the first day that we met. We try to date as often as possible because it is fun and keeps the romance alive. She loves taking me out in public and showing off her “trophy husband” and then telling all of her girlfriends how lucky she is. I love taking her out in public and watching the eyes turn to have a look at her and knowing that I am going to cut the night really short so that I can get her home where only I can look at her.
I want to encourage married couples to date. Not to schedule a time away from kids to go eat, but a time to get dressed up, open doors, turn heads, flirt, and get a good nights sleep…Right. We need to have fun as married people. Life gets really busy, really fast, and really often and this can cause the romantic fires to dwindle down to nothing but a pile of ashes if we are not careful. It doesn’t have to totally depend on date nights, but they sure do stir the embers. Getting dressed up as if you wanted to impress the other person and then walking around in public and holding hand and sneaking a kiss or an accidental touch here or there makes you remember that you use to do this a lot and you enjoyed it.
I am very fortunate that my wife and I know how to enjoy ourselves without date nights. Like many of you, a busy lifestyle makes date nights few and sometimes far in between. But we still sit around and flirt across the living room and hold hands around the house and she still tries to cop an accident touch of my butt while I get a Diet Mtn. Dew from the fridge. We flirt on Facebook and send texts that say silly things like “oh baby you sure look good in those cut off gym pants” and “what the heck is that in your hair?” We know that being married is much more that flirting and romance, but one thing we are really good at is flirting and romance. Yes, she is a lucky woman and I am a great husband.
Last night we got away for a date night and it was just as much fun as the first date we ever had. The only difference was that I knew I had enough money to put gas in the car and I knew that when we got home, I didn’t have to meet her dad. Other than that, we looked good, we had fun, flirted, and neither of us can wait until the next time we go out for date night.
Proverbs 5:18-19
18 Let your own fountain be blessed, and enjoy the girl you married when you were young,
19 a loving doe and a graceful deer. Always let her breasts satisfy you. Always be intoxicated with her love.
I would want to disobey God’s word now, would I? And you shouldn’t either. Date again and again and again.

July 13, 2012

Still Married And Wanting More

by pastortimfowler

Next week my wife and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. That means I may not be blogging next week because we always take the week off and go somewhere. It is really strange saying that I have been married for 32 years. Most people my age have been married several times and few have that many years with the same person. I still remember when I thought that 30 was old. Now I have been married longer than that. I use to say that my wife married me when I was 12, but that still makes me older than I feel like I want to be.
I have been very blessed. I wish that everyone could experience the type of marriage that I have. I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than when we got married. We are still passionate and fun and learning each other. We love being together and trust each other when we are apart. We laugh, cry, and pray together and have no fears of dying with any regrets of what we could have done together. Our marriage is that special.
Now I don’t want you to think that we don’t have tough times. I tell everyone that my wife is the best of everything for me, including my best fight. No one can make me as angry as she can. But that is because we are passionate. But when we fight, we fight to make us stronger, and when that goes wrong, we forgive to make us humble. In our 32 years we have been on the brink of divorce twice. We have been in marriage counseling and we have been separated. We have been tempted to call it quits, but by the grace of God have never followed through with it. We have suffered through alcohol and drug abuse and self centeredness. We have had plenty of money and great careers and we have both been unemployed and dirt poor. All of these things have worked together to make us stronger.
We use our experiences to help others every chance that we get. We can look young couples in the eyes and tell them that we understand where they are and what they are going through. It brings us great joy to see a couple about to call it quits, turn things around and become stronger than ever.
As a husband, I can honestly say I am the best husband my wife has ever had. She knows this and will be the first to tell you that she has never married anyone that is as good as me. Of course, since I am the only husband she has ever had, I rank number one without any competition. That doesn’t change the fact that I am the best husband she has ever had though.
My wife is incredible. She is extremely smart and has the most incredible patience. She has worked her way to the top in corporate America, ran her own business, and helped to build our church. She has people skills that make her the type of friend that people dream of. As a mom, she is compassionate and nurturing and as a grandmother, or Mimi, she is the one responsible for spoiling the kids beyond repair. Add to all of this, she is unbelievably beautiful and sexy. Yes, I am truly blessed.
So next week, we are heading out to spend a week away from work and church and family and friends. We are going to ride the motorcycle, dine out, watch movies and read books. We are going to forget about the stresses of life and enjoy being together and reflect on how awesome it is to be married to each other. This will mean, no blogs, no Facebook, and no phones.
When we walked down that aisle and said our vows 32 years ago, no one thought that we would make it. Our dads even made bets about how quickly it would end. They said that we would never make it because we were too young and I was too messed up. They were correct about me, but God does work miracles. I was so happy to get married that day. It was the best thing that I could have ever done. I am happily and joyfully married and can’t wait to see what is coming in year 33 together and beyond.
Happy Anniversary to my bride and girl of my wildest dreams. Thanks for loving me and letting me love you.
I am still married and wanting more!

May 10, 2012

Mother’s Day

by pastortimfowler

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusandsue/6989520159/

In case I get busy tomorrow, I wanted to be sure and get in my Mother’s Day blog. If there was ever group that deserves a holiday, it is this one. Mothers are awesome. There are two women in my life who have shown me just how awesome they are, my mother and my wife. My wife tries to tell me what to do like my mother did, but I never listened to her either, so get over it, dear.
My mom had some faults, but I know that without her I would not have been born. As much as my dad wanted me, he was not able to get pregnant and therefore married my mother to have me. Her first attempt to have me was a failure. Not a total failure, because it produced my sister. But my dad really waned me, so they tried again, and you know what they say, the second time is the charm.
When I was born they liked me so much that they tried to have another me, but it too ended in something not quite me, my brother. Don’t get me wrong, they liked them, but they were not me. I was my parents favorite first-born son.
My mom raised me special from the beginning. I did not get the first born’s hand me downs. I was the first of my siblings to learn to pee standing up. My sister claims that she could have done it first, but I guess it wasn’t that important to her until I started doing it. My mom dressed me in blue before the others and she also gave me the most masculine name of the first two of her children.
Mom cooked my favorite meals quite often. Chicken, burgers, and bacon covered anything were the top of the list. Often she would cook other stuff for the other children, but I know that she was only trying to not play favorites. It is hard for a mother to show favoritism when she has more than 1 child even though I believe she wanted to. Part of the reason that I think I was her favorite child is because she was my favorite mom as I was growing up.
My mom went to heaven several years ago. I believe she is there with no more pain from the cancer that took her life. I believe that she no longer worries about me and those other two she birthed. I believe she is trying hard not to play favorites when she tells God how thankful she is for having us, but I know that when no one else is around, she tells God how special I am.
My wife is the other mom that is special to me. I believe that it is something genetic that I inherited from my dad, but I too could not get pregnant. So I had to find someone who could. I wanted to have a child just like me because I was such a joy to my mom. Sadly I got stuck with those kids that we had to raise. They are okay, but they are not me. My wife, their mom, says that they are just like me, but we all know that would be too good to be true. I think that she loved me so much that she wanted more of me and sees those traits that make our children better. You can’t blame her for that.
My wife is a great mom. She made the children eat the same food I liked and rarely cooked them anything else. She dressed them like me often and even made our oldest, my daughter, learn to pee standing up so that she could be more like me. This is still very troubling to my daughter and her family now. My wife made all of our children promise to always say they love me more and taught them to be Gamecock fans. She never worried about how she was perceived, only how they perceived me.
In all the years that we have been married, she has treated me like she was my mother. She said that if she didn’t have any children that I would be her favorite child and believes that I will never grow up. Of course I am extremely mature for my age and this is just her desire to never stop being a mom. She cooks for me, cleans my room, makes sure I have everything I need to watch every football game the Gamecocks play, and always makes sure to leave to toilet seat up, because after all, I learned to pee standing up.
Happy Mother’s day to my two favorite moms and to all mothers out there. Sure, you don’t have children like me, but not everyone can be so blessed. Enjoy the kids you have and you can always teach them to be like me by continuing to read my blogs and teach them my ways. My two favorite moms did it with their kids, and you can too.

May 9, 2012

Unbelievers and Believers Can Agree

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierre_pouliquin/158414881/

Yesterday was crazy on Facebook with people going back and forth about the NC amendment concerning marriage. Needless to say, people are passionate about this subject. I want to address a couple of things concerning this.
First, I hate it that the church gets such a bad rap on this subject. But you can’t complain about what happens when people who are supposed to show the love of God, show the ugliness of humanity. God does not hate people. He hates sin. Sure, that means that sin must be defined and that there are people who do not agree with how it has been defined, but God is the one who calls those shots. God loves people so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus to die for those sins and receive full acceptance as His children. He made it possible for any human, no matter if you are gay or straight, rich or poor, black or white, to be forgiven and receive eternal life. As His people, we are to represent Christ by showing compassion and love and not by acting as judge and jury. I believe if the church would spend a little more time cleaning up its own back yard we wouldn’t have such a hard time when we try to clean our neighbor’s.
Second, I hate it that people who don’t believe in God get so upset at people who do. They quote the Bible, and it is often quoted very much out of context, as if it should mean something because they use it and not when Christians use it. They tell Christians that we shouldn’t force our beliefs on them, yet they have no problem trying to force Christians to accept what they believe. They act as if having no God makes them better judges of humanity than those who have a God. Sadly, all we humans can do is make a decision to believe that we are special in nature and enforce some sense of morality and laws. Because we are not of the same minds on this, there will always be issues of disagreement.
I have a good friend who is a professing non believer and we are probably on as different ends of this argument as two people can get. Yet we respect each other enough not to let this disagreement hinder our friendship. I have said a few things that he probably takes offense to and he has done the same with me. But, at the end of the day, we can’t wait to play cards together each month. That is what friends are supposed to do. But I want to conclude this with something that I think we would agree on.
He serves his fellow-man very unselfishly. He holds friendship high in his beliefs of what is important. I would like to think that he would agree that I do the same. What we need to do is address the issue of can we make a difference that helps those that we feel are underprivileged. Believers and non-believers can be involved as fellow citizens to do our part to help others. I know that the church has traditionally helped those in need. Sadly it has gotten more recognition for opposing issues than solving problems. Jesus would never do anything but love people and meet their needs. He relied on His love to change people’s hearts and cause them to want to listen to His teachings.
I do not believe that the real issue is gay or not gay, married or not married. I believe that the real concern is who a politician can get to vote for him. I would like to see the people of this great country start telling politicians that we don’t need them to baby-sit us. We need them to provide a safe and productive place for all Americans to raise a family, regardless of its make up. We, the people, should take care of our fellow-man and if someone is hurting, comfort them. If someone needs help, help them. If I as a Christian help those who Jesus helped, I will be helping anyone who needs it, not telling them that they are wrong and deserve to be in the place that they are in. If All Christians will do that, maybe there won’t be a need to have people who don’t believe quote the Bible to us. And maybe more will learn the love of God instead of hearing of the wrath of God. Yes, God is a God of love and wrath, but that is for another blog.
People who get involved in others lives for the purpose of other’s well-being will be passionate. Let’s keep the real situation in the forefront. We can and should all help. And yes, there might even be a way to disagree on a definition or an issue and still help our fellow-man as believers and non believers alike . That is my intent. What is yours?

May 8, 2012

Marriage Debate

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6168801346/

I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.

August 5, 2011

Marriage Is GREAT!!!

by pastortimfowler

I really want to say something about married life. I have attempted to write this several times now but keep getting to the point of being way to wordy. It is hard to talk about something that you believe in so much and keep it short and sweet. Too many marriages are definitely short, but sure not sweet. It breaks my heart to see young couples throw away their marriages because they are too proud to get help before it is too late. But maybe one of the reasons they throw away their marriage is because they don’t have the hope that comes from hearing about marriages that are successful. So I will take a few minutes to tell about a hugely successful marriage; mine.


We have been married for 31 years now. I can not imagine not being married. We have been through a lot, but always end up stronger for the trials that we went through.
I continually tell people who my wife and I are the best of everything for each other and I mean it. Listed below are few examples.
I have the best conversations with my wife. There is no one I would rather talk to about our problems or anything else. We solve problems together. Not always quickly, but always together. We have learned that the way things are said often make the meaning of what you say different. For instance, if I say I need to buy a blue shirt, that means at the closest store that sells shirts, I will be in and out with a blue shirt within 5 minutes. When she says she needs a blue shirt, it means a full day of shopping and she might come home with a blue shirt. We understand these subtle differences because we love to talk a lot and there is no one we love talking to more than each other.
I have the best fun with my wife. Don’t jump to the conclusion that everything we do for fun we do it together. I believe couples need time apart for the different types of fun that they enjoy, but I never have more fun than when I am having fun with my wife. We plan our anniversary each year around a week-long motorcycle trip. Sometimes we don’t plan the ride, only the destination. We love seeing new places together and laughing at the stupid things we end up doing together. We camp together, and even if there are grandkids with us, we have fun together. She even fishes with me occasionally and I go to bookstores with her from time to time. But the bottom line is we have more fun with each other than with anyone else.
I have the best fights with my wife. That sounds like a negative, but think of it this way. That usually means you are passionate and who better to be passionate with? It also means that we know more about each other than anyone else does. No one can push those buttons better than we can because we know what buttons to push. Fighting is normal in a marriage and even intense fighting. I am not talking physical fights. I don’t fight with anyone that way. I will kick your butt if you mess with my wife, but that won’t be much of a fight…just saying. One thing we always do is make up after a fight. And we make up better than with anyone else.
Close your eyes if you are easily embarrassed now. We have the best sex life together too. Sex is a wonderful gift that God allows married couples to have. He even tells us that we get to own each others bodies. Sadly, this is one area that couples fall apart at over the years. They get too busy, too tired, and to distracted to keep this area fresh and exciting. Media makes sex into something perverted and purely physical. But God says it is much more than that. He tells us that it is a key instrument to a successful prayer life…1 Corinthians 7:5 Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you. Outside sources of sexual stimulation, (movies, tv, pictures, etc.) should not be allowed in you sex life. God tells men to rejoice in the wife’s body, not fantasize the she is someone else. Sex is not the only factor in a successful marriage but is an important one. There is nothing wrong with letting other married couples know this, within reason, because too often it is lied about to make people think that after marriage, sex ends or becomes boring. In fact, marriage should be the only time for sex and it should be the best with your spouse.
I guess the most important thing that we are the best at together is our spiritual lives. We serve together and worship together and pray together. Our church knows we do this together and we promote other couples to become involved together in growing spiritually. Every individual is created by God to know Him and learn of His love. When two people get married, we become a living example of Christ’s love for the church for the whole world to see. That is what the bible says in Ephesians chapter 5.
There is nothing better than a great relationship with God and there is nothing better than your marriage to show that to others.
Marriage is great, not easy, but if your spouse is the best of everything to you, yes, marriage is great!!!

July 25, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation

by pastortimfowler

Do you remember when you were a kid and you went back to school and had to write the report about “what I did on my summer vacation”? As a kid we did not take many real vacations. We rarely took a week to travel and that meant that my report included a lot of weird stuff that caused my friends to think that we were weird. I stayed very active during the summer and we did a lot of stuff but we just rarely traveled.
Now that I am all grown up, I like to travel for my vacations. Sometimes I take long trips and other times it is just down the road a ways. Since I have been married, we take our vacation in conjunction with our anniversary. Often it includes a road trip on the motorcycle, affectionately known as the Holy Kaw. We have been to Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington DC, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and Niagara Falls, Canada. Lately we have been less adventurous and road less, but still love taking parts of our vacation to put some miles on the Holy Kaw.
This year we took an RV and stayed at one of South Carolina’s beautiful state parks. Our camp site was beside a lake and had plenty of shade, which was greatly appreciated, because the temperatures were around 100 degrees each day. If you have never vacationed in an RV it is a great experience and you should try it. There are different levels of amenities for RVs and it just so happened that the one we were using was like a hotel on wheels. Roughing it was not an option.
So here is what I did on my summer vacation.
Day one: We drove to the park and unloaded all of our stuff. It was a lot. My wife packs more stuff for a week than I need for a month. My friend met us there with his boat and took us to watch some birds fly in for the night. By the time the sun was setting there were tens of thousands of birds flying around and it reminded me of a Hitchcock movie. We ate and laughed until we puked. (not really, no puking)
Day two: We went to WalMart to get the groceries and other essentials needed for a week in an RV. Prior to that we walked around the mall and looked for weird people who also walking around the mall. We came back and I drowned some worms and called it fishing while the wife read a book. Later I read a book. Its called relaxing.
Day three: Road the Holy Kaw to see some family and had lunch with our favorite daughter. That evening we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday by dining out. Yes, I married her on her birthday and no, I have never forgotten either.
Day four: We did nothing but read and fish, and I use the term fish lightly. Relaxing is the new chillin’.
Day five: We road the Holy Kaw to Florence to see our son and daughter-in-law and our soon to be born grandson. We took them out to lunch for a late celebration of there 5th wedding anniversary. When we got back to the RV we read some more and talked about how awesome God is to give us grandchildren.
Day six: I rode the Holy Kaw back home, exchanged it for our mini van and picked up Twitch, our oldest grandson, because Mimi was having gbaby withdrawals. We got back to the RV and went swimming, “fished”, and made Smores.
Day seven: Time to go home. Packed, hooked up the RV, but first a detour for me. As Mimi and Twitch went to a birthday party back home, I met a friend to go fishing and actually catch some fish. I did.  Vacation over…Sort of.
Day eight: We visited another church that Sunday morning. I had someone filling in for me and I love seeing what God is doing in other places. It was uplifting and I got to worship and hear a great message that challenged me to get back to work.  Vacation over! That is what I did on my summer vacation.

July 15, 2011

Back Out Bowing

by pastortimfowler

This will be my last blog for a while, until Monday July 25 2011. I will be leaving this Sunday after church for vacation and although I will be taking my laptop, I am not even sure if there is wi-fi where we are staying. If there is I may sneak in a short blog just to rub it in that I am on vacation.
I suppose that you are wondering where the rich and famous go on vacation? I don’t know. I am not rich and famous. We are going to a state park on a lake in beautiful South Carolina. We are borrowing our favorite daughter’s RV that we sold her because she kept borrowing it from us. From there we will get in a few day trips on the motorcycle, but we will mainly relax and do as little as possible, outside of reading and fishing.
On the 19th of this month, my wife and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. It is also her birthday: it is not her 29th again: it is not any in the 30s or 40s but she is not in her 60s. She is not 51-59 and definitely not 70-100. We actually celebrated her birthday last month in order to get family and friends together for a surprise party, so this will be mainly our anniversary trip. Of course, since I married her on her birthday, she gets me every year and I am the gift that keeps giving, so what more could she ask for.
Every year we try to get away for a week. We both live very busy lives and rarely take much time off. Most years we take a week-long motorcycle trip. We have been to Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, all over South Carolina, and even rode to Niagara Falls one year. This year we will just use the state park as our base. This allows us to ride all day without carrying a weeks worth of clothes everywhere.
I have been extremely blessed to have been married to the same woman for 31 years. Since I was only 12 when we got married, I had to grow up fast. I had to quickly learn how to handle an older woman and start making her into the woman I wanted her to be. We have had our share of hard times. There was this one time when she rebelled against me as I was training her to bow as she backed out of the room. Wow, I didn’t think we would ever get through that one. But most of our time together has been filled with good times. We have raised 3 children together, several cats, some dogs, a parrot, and a snake. The animals all turned out great except for that mentally ill cat. The children, well lets just say we tried. Now as grandparents we are livin’ la vida loca. We can spoil kids and send them home with noisy toys that drive their parents crazy.
So for the next week, try to think happy thoughts and not drink too much as you suffer through a week that may not contain my blogs. I’ll be back. I am just going to take a few days to celebrate, relax, and reflect. But if you get lucky and there is wi-fi, I just might do a vacation blog just because I can.
To my beautiful wife JoAnne, I love you, happy birthday, happy anniversary, and well done on learning to back out of the room while bowing.

June 30, 2011

What More Can They Want?

by pastortimfowler

Five years ago today I did a wedding for a couple of young people who were weird and wacky. They had dreams of making it big in the music industry and living happily ever after. They went to school, moved around, and chased a dream. Dreams come true.
My youngest son and his wife celebrate 5 years of marriage today. I know that this does not qualify as happily ever after but it sure is a start. Few couples that I know have been willing to make the sacrifices and work as hard to make their dreams come true as these two. Paying their own way through school, taking jobs that seemed quite a stretch to achieve their goals and never giving up on seeking what they were looking for.
Today they serve in the music ministry in one of the largest and most dynamic churches in South Carolina, maybe even the USA. The music industry can be a brutal place to make a living and certainly to live out a Christian life. Staying true to your roots and to yourself and to each other can be extremely difficult, but so far so good. I have watched them take risks that many warned against taking and watch the rewards of those risks pay off now. As a pastor and a dad I can’t be more proud of where they serve and how they serve and what they have done so far.
Not only do they celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, but this year they will also celebrate the birth of their first child, a boy. Although this will be our 7th grandchild, it is not less thrilling! Anytime that God blesses one of your children with a child it is incredible. Children are a blessing from God and grandchildren are the crown of the grandparents! We can’t wait to hold him in our arms and tell him of our love for him and our pride for his parents and our thankfulness to God for him.
It would be nice to be able to send them away for week as they celebrate their anniversary or to lavish them with other expensive gifts, but unfortunately that can’t happen right now. We feel as though we are the ones who have gotten the gifts with the way they live their lives and have blessed us with a grandson. But what I can do and will never stop doing is praying for their marriage, their children, and their ministry. I will always have great pride in them being my family and great humility in knowing that they are all a gift from God. And now, I have included them in a 2nd blog…what more can they want?

June 28, 2011

A Better Pastor

by pastortimfowler

copyrighted photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike_leach/

I had a wonderfully humbling experience today. I was talking to a couple about their upcoming wedding when it was brought to my attention that the future husband was not a Christian, but the bride is. I know that this is going to stir up a lot of feelings in people but I am hoping that you will understand the big picture. The Bible tells Christians not to marry someone who is not a Christian. In the Old Testament God told Israel not to marry those outside of the Jewish faith, so this is a consistency with God and there is a reason for it. Humans have this tendency to think about what is immediately in front of them and let God and His will be put aside for what we want. That often leads to sin and that is what God sent Jesus to die for, our sin. Because of that high price, He doesn’t want us to do things that will make it easier to sin and being married to someone who is not of the same faith as we are makes it easy to follow our spouse rather than God. This is not the total point of this blog but it does have its place here.
You see as a pastor I have to do what God says, even if I don’t understand it fully. I know it would be better for a couple to be married and live together than to not be and live together. But, living together before marriage is a sin too. My dilemma is that I can’t marry someone who God says shouldn’t be married even if I think it would be better than the other choice.
SO…I am talking with this couple and the guy is a very unique person who was saying a lot of the right things, but something was not sitting right with me. I thought that he was being argumentative, and so I was putting up my shield and getting ready to fire back but I just couldn’t get a peace about how I was trying to handle things. I was seeing our conversation getting nowhere and I kept remembering my earlier blog about judging others. I was judging this guy and I was convinced that I was using the right standards to judge and at the same time, something kept telling me I was wrong.
So I asked the young lady to leave the room and asked the guy if I could talk one on one with him. He said yes.
I told him first that I was wrong to draw some of the conclusions about him and asked him to forgive me. He did. I told him why I had my convictions and to the best of my ability why I had to stick by my guns about not marrying them, but I saw that he really had a good idea of what marriage was about and asked if he would explain how he thought of God. So he did.
He began to explain how he had been hurt in some previous attempts to seek answers and ask questions about his opinions of God. He said that other pastors had gotten defensive and very matter of fact on him and he felt like he was being pushed away, not by God, but by those who should be teaching him about God. So he decided to form his own opinions with as much conviction as he could have and trust that God was as understanding as he hoped that He would be. Sadly this guy understood God better than those pastors did, or at least acted.

I asked if I could show him in the Bible exactly what God wanted from us and the extent to which God had gone to forgive us and make us His. I told him the God loved him as much as he thought, and more. I was able to show him that the only thing that he was missing in his opinion of God was the point to which Jesus was the sacrifice for our sin and it was through Jesus that we receive forgiveness and eternal life.
He told me that it was really cool to be able to talk about this and get clarity about God and forgiveness and when I asked if I could lead him in a prayer to ask for forgiveness and salvation, he said, no I think I have the right words and he prayed the best prayer of salvation I have heard in a while, because it was real and it was from his heart.
Real quickly I want to say that he had told me when we first met that he didn’t go to church because he did not like crowds. I have heard that before, but not in truth. So I remembered a line I had used many times before and had to live it. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. It helps you grow as a Christian, but is not the standard to judge by. What God wants from us going to church is fellowship and accountability. So I told him that if he wanted to, until he felt comfortable enough to come to church, I would meet with him as often as he would like and him and I would build a relationship and learn about God together. He accepted.
So I am proud to say that the wedding is on and I have a new brother in Christ and I am excited about building a new friendship with someone who taught me to act more like Jesus than a pastor, and in that I think I will be a better pastor.

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