Posts tagged ‘me’

February 7, 2013

Who, Me?

by pastortimfowler

moses

In Exodus We meet Moses. I would never have hired Moses to do what God wanted him to do. I mean, he was going to represent God to royalty and this guy was a convicted murderer and, by his own admission, a lousy communicator. He flat-out said that he didn’t want the job, so who in their right mind would hire someone like that? God.
I love God’s response to Moses when he was telling God how he could not talk well. Exodus 4:11-12 …11 The LORD asked him, “Who gave humans their mouths? Who makes humans unable to talk or hear? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? It is I, the LORD! 12 Now go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Notice God did not say, “Oh never mind. I will find someone else.” Instead He reminded Moses of who He is and assured Moses that He would help. God wants to help us. He knows our faults and knows our fears. He knows us. And, what He wants of us is to know Him. When we know Him we know His power and compassion and we can overcome what we think is disqualifying. My old pastor use to tell me that God does not call the worthy, but He does make worthy the called.
Way too often I hear people say that God can’t or won’t use them and I remind them of the story of Moses. I remind them that God gives us the power to overcome all of our flaws. He knows that we are needy and God has what we need. Grace and forgiveness and power. I know these things well because I to am not worthy or able to do what He has called me to do. But with God all things are possible. Even for someone like me, a totally unworthy and failing man who God called to lead and incredible church for what God wants to do.
So when God calls you, don’t think that He has made a mistake. He knows who you are and you don’t need to ask, Who, me? Because just like I would have never hired Moses, Moses would have never hired me. But God did. He will hire you too if you let Him.

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October 18, 2012

Me Me Me…

by pastortimfowler

Help Others

Mark 9:33-34 33 Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ministry is a beautiful thing. It allows the church to help those in need. It is a source of great joy. Unfortunately it can be a source of arguing and troubles. No, this did not start with my church or your church or even your grandparent’s church, it started with the very first people who were followers of Jesus. (see above)
The reason this happens is that we forget to put self aside and be more considerate of those in need. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to himself so that he could live daily for Christ. Far to often Christians forget that this is needed in our lives. We forget that once we are saved, we become workers with Christ for God. We are to become like Christ to people. Christ died for people and lived for God’s will to be done.
The church is not a place to complain because someone else did something to help another. It is a place to rejoice because someone was helped by Jesus and Jesus happened to use one of His own. It is a place to find joy that others are ministering to those in need, even if we can’t or aren’t part of it. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows if we are doing things out of love or for self glory. I trust that and let Him worry about it. Meanwhile, if a person in need gets help and it is from a believer, I give God the glory.
When these disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, they were as far from being Christ-like as they could possibly be. Jesus goes on to tell them that they must be childlike, not childish, in order to become great. Children are obedient. He later tells them that if they want to be great they need to become servants. Servants don’t think that they are great, they too are obedient.
As we grow as Christians we must always be aware that not everything can be explained. Not everything can be communicated. And not everything is meant for us to do. I am sure that others who saw Peter walk on water were a bit jealous that it wasn’t them. I am sure that some may have wished it was them who received the vision of the book of Revelation. But the important thing to remember is that the people who God wanted involved were involved in the things that He wanted done. It just is not about us once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We must also remember that others are watching how we handle adversity. Every Christian has someone watching how we handle things to see if they want to follow us or not. It is not about them following you or me, but are we following Jesus and therefore they should follow us. Some may see our attitude and be offended because they don’t understand why we are upset. It may involve a weaker person and our reaction causes them to fall away. So be careful how you react to things.

Remember that children and servants are to be obedient, not important. Jesus is the important one and so is that person who needs help. We don’t want to hurt someone who is a weaker and younger believer.

Matthew 18:6-7 6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.
7 How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!

July 12, 2012

It IS About Me

by pastortimfowler

Most of them are good attitudes, but from time to time, some attitudes get negative, including my own. This is the third line from yesterday’s blog. Why did I start with it today? Because I have been blasted from people telling me that it was inappropriate to talk about other people like that. DUH…It IS about me. I was saying that even a beloved pastor can get self-centered and if I can do it, I bet you can too. (Not a good thing)
I consider myself to be the most blessed pastor in the world. My church is full of people who “get it”. They love everyone that walks through the doors regardless of how the look, color, age, or any other descriptive characteristics. They make our church a great place for people to come and feel loved and relaxed and that leads to many people coming to know Jesus. That is the most important thing in the world, not how you or I feel. And that was the purpose of the whole blog yesterday.
It is so easy to get our feelings hurt or feel like someone is stepping on our toes. As a very confident pastor, I have a vision and a direction for my church that I truly believe God gave to me. The reason I believe this is because people come to our church and then come to know Jesus every Sunday. We don’t do a show of wealth or fluffy, feel good sermons. We are modern and our band is awesome and yes, we use some lights while they are playing, but other than that, things rely on God using us to love others. For those of us who have been in church a long time, we can often get our feelings hurt if we feel like we are being neglected or our territory is being invaded or our leadership is being questioned. That is often the time of the much-needed attitude check. And so, I had to check mine.
Sometimes we need to trust that the leaders that God has put in our lives are not only thinking about themselves when they have to put their foot down about a situation. Just like CEO of a company, the pastor is overseeing the big picture and every day is thinking about how to stay heading in the right direction. Sometimes those who work in a specific area, miss how the big picture is effected by what they do. Sometimes the pastor must be firm in staying a course and when that happens, this pastor, can be less than tactful. The old saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it” comes to mind in this case. I don’t feel like I said anything wrong, but I sure wish I had checked the attitude sooner and said it better.
God loves His people, even those who screw up. He knows that we will never be perfect and therefore, He gives us grace. I love that and need that and I try to model that. But God also does not put up with our inappropriate behavior and will be blunt and to point in correcting us. It is at that time that we can either check our attitude and learn or we can continue to be self-centered and lose sight of the big picture. I am far from being God, but I am sure of the vision, this big picture, that God has given me and the direction our church is going. Too many people are coming to know Jesus for us to be doing too much that He does not like from His church.
It is about me though. I love me and you know it. I am one of my favorite people. But I am not perfect and I admit it. For those who just had your bubble burst, I am sorry. Perfection was Jesus, I am only His servant. If someone took yesterday’s blog to be about you, then maybe you should look in the mirror. If your mirror is foggy, it is not my fault. I am looking in mine and trying to find the Windex to clean it off; ’cause when I look in my mirror and its dirty, it IS about me.

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”.

November 22, 2011

You’re So Vain

by pastortimfowler

This morning I was reading the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and as always, spent more time pondering than reading. That’s right, I ponder. This was written by Solomon, the fellow who God gave him anything that he asked for, and Solomon chose wisdom. He was the wisest man to ever live and in his writing this, the wisdom has driven him to understand things that are often not what humans want to know.
I believe that humans will naturally try to find a way to put the “me first” factor into everything. Even the most mature Christians that I know, myself included, (see, I just injected me into the thought), want to think that somehow life is all about them. Our best attempts at humility are much too often filled with thoughts of how to look humble and get recognized for our humility. So Solomon starts out saying that it is all vanity of vanities. I love the translation God’s Word and the way it reads: Ecclesiastes 1:2 Absolutely pointless!” says the spokesman. “Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless.” But that is what vanity is, pointless. If life is all about me/you, then this life is pretty pointless. This all reminds me of the old song by Carley Simon, You’re So Vain.
When reading this amazing book of the Bible it is easy to misunderstand what he is saying. He says over and over that this life is pointless. It is almost like he is saying that we shouldn’t even have a desire to live. At one point he says that one generation dies and another one lives, but the earth lasts forever. It as if he is saying that we are worthless on this earth, but that is not the point of this writing. But Solomon understoond something that few ever will. Imagine being able to understand everything. The longer you live, the more you understand.
Many times I have people in the church come to me and suggest that we do a certain ministry or project. Part of being the pastor is to try to understand the impact of what our church does and what the impact of what each ministry or project has on the overall mission of our church. Way too often I have to think about the underlying motives of these suggestions. Most of them are not made with any ill intent, but they are made with a selfish motive that generally is not even recognized by those doing the suggesting.
For instance, if someone comes to me with an idea for the children’s ministry of our church and they have children, that idea is usually something that they think will be best for their children. That is not wrong, but it is self motivated and that is vanity. If someone comes to me with an idea to feed to homeless, and I don’t mention that it was their idea, often they get their feelings hurt, even if we implement the idea exactly like they suggested. Vanity.
Solomon said this: Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless (vanity). It’s like trying to catch the wind. The older he got the more he saw that everything that humans did had a touch of vanity in it. Remember that this is not me talking, this is the man that God granted wisdom.  Wisdom that had never before and never will again be given to a man. And let me add this: If you are saying to yourself, I am not like that, you are being vain. What Soloman was realizing in this wisdom was that man was more about man than about God. That it was God that is the center of the universe, not man. Even the best of man is nothing compared to God. It is indeed vanity and the wisdom that he thought would bring him great joy, in the end only showed him how short he came when compared to the glory of God. This is how he ends Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone. God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.