Posts tagged ‘men’

November 13, 2012

Extra Marital Affairs

by pastortimfowler

VANESSA & MICKEY-1068b

It has been all over the news lately about the CIA director resigning because of an extra marital affair. It was said that there were tens of thousands of emails that were sent between him and the woman. This has me worried. Does the director of the CIA not know that emails are not a secure form of communication? That aside, it breaks my heart to hear about this.
A good friend of mine and at the time a mentor, had an affair and it cost him his marriage and church. It really blew me away when I found out about it because he was my pastor. The only reason I am tell you this is because this stuff can happen to anyone if you are not careful. Sexual temptations are the toughest, especially for men, and it seems to be almost as difficult for women. I say that because everyone I know who had an affair did it with someone of the opposite sex. The marriage relationship is precious and delicate. What seems to happen is that it gets to the point of being mundane and callused and this is dangerous.
In a world where people get their feelings hurt for the stupidest of reasons, we have a tendency to take our marriages for granted. Marriage is a continual and demanding work. And, since the wedding vows say that marriage is until death, the work should never stop. Sadly we have made marriage very disposable and are not willing to work as diligently to keep our marriage together as we are to get to the point of getting married.
Most extra marital affairs begin with seemingly harmless conversation. Rarely is there a sexual encounter that starts things off. This usually happens because the conversation at home has become less than engaging. We come home after a full day at work and the conversation consists of; “How was your day?” “Fine”. How was yours?” “Fine”. Meanwhile the person at work that is potentially getting a promotion, laid off, or is working on a project with you, is talking in great detail all day. So rekindle the conversation. Flirt with your spouse. Don’t allow ‘fine’ to be the whole answer. Knowing the stress of your spouse or the joy of the spouse allows for you to keep that emotional bond in tact. It is those emotional bonds that become strained and eventually broke that leads to an affair.
Find a couple that has a strong marriage that has been married a few years longer than you. We all need a mentor and a marriage mentor can help when things are getting tough. Developing a relationship with someone who has a long and successful marriage is a great way have some support and encouragement when things are tough and everyone else is telling you to quit. We have people in our lives that help us at work, at play, and financially, so why not a marriage coach? All those others things seem to fall apart when the marriage does.
Most importantly, make your marriage line up with the biblical guidelines for marriage. Before you start thinking negatively, maybe you should read it. The old complaint of wives obeying husbands is not what you probably think it is. God instituted marriage before He even started the church. It is His precious gift to man. There are promises of health, wisdom, long life to those who have a biblical marriage.
No, this does not make for a flawless marriage, but it makes for a forgiving marriage. And it makes for a marriage that both agree to certain ground rules that are not flexible. We do very few things in life that have such lackadaisical guidelines and yet is so important to everything else we do. But a biblical marriage can be a strong and long-lasting marriage and when followed with integrity can be affair proof.
If your marriage is struggling, get help. If it is not, help others. No, the national security may not be on the line, but your sanity certainly may be. And when your marriage is strong and happy, so many other things tend to line up as well.

Advertisements
July 3, 2012

Third Option Men

by pastortimfowler

 

I want to tell you about an organization that is worth checking out. It is called Third Option Men. The founder is a guy named Evan, and him and his dad were the ones who made our trip to Cuba possible. I encourage you to check out the website and/or Facebook page. The website is www.thirdoptionmen.org and just type in the name to find them on Facebook. The purpose of this group is to encourage guys to develop relationships that allow for accountability and more than just a Sunday morning type relationship that is far to common in the church today. It is about the type of relationship that Jesus had with his disciples, close and personal.
Far too often men tend to take their Christianity way too casually. We want the type of relationship that does not allow another man to get close enough to ask the hard questions or hear the brutal truth about how we are struggling in our relationships at work, home, and with God. Evan describes this beginning and often only type of man to man relationship of Christian males as the ‘awkward handshake’. The kind of relationship where we know your name and your favorite football team but never know that your marriage is falling apart and you might be struggling with an addiction. He encourages us to develop relationships that are real, relevant and reliable, just like Jesus and His relationship with others.
Basically, men have only three options in life. We can live for self, live for worldly gain, or live for God. Christian men need to choose the third option…get it? Third Option Men?
Living for self is easy. Looking out for number one is the way we are taught through most of life and the media. This is much like the “if it feels good do it” mentality. I saw a commercial the other day about a company that does cosmetic surgery and one of the women made the statement that if there was something that someone could do to make them feel better about themselves that they should do it at any cost. So if you think the way God made you is not good enough and that He made a mistake, a doctor can fix it and you will feel good about yourself. Sadly, surgery does nothing for that God shaped hole we are all trying to fill. So self-indulgence is not the answer.
Living for worldly gain sounds good. If we could only have more money, a bigger house, or a nicer car, we would feel better. Even if we could have bigger breasts (not men, but our wives) and less wrinkles, that would help, but you need to have the money for that. After all, we see how happy all the Hollywood crowd is with their plastic surgery and successful marriages and lack of drug and alcohol abuse, (Sarcasm). I actually saw more satisfied people in Cuba making $20 a month than I see in Hollywood making millions. Before you disagree, think about the number of famous people who are divorced, in rehab, gone broke, or even killed themselves. Jesus said it best about this option; Matthew 16:26, What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?
The third option, to live for God, requires one to deny self and think of others. It requires you to build a relationship with someone who cares enough to invest time in you or vice versa. It requires you to give and to love and to get involved with someone to the point that you know what is really important and what can really help. It is what Jesus did with the men that He decided to hang out with. It is what we need to do as Christian men.
We took this message into Cuba and found that men there have the same reservations as we do in America. But when laid out in plain and biblical truths, it is undeniable that it works and is needed. Not the program or the book, or even the title, but the lifestyle. Third Option Men has a heart for those who are hurting and is going into churches and communities and countries to help men get over that macho attitude of self-reliance and teaching them to live for God.
I chose the third option. It is not easy and I fail often, but I have some friends who know how to help and care when I struggle. They too have chosen to follow God. God does not want men to be loners, but to have vital relationships to help us through that many paths that He may lead us.
Check it out…Third Option Men.

October 10, 2011

Gratitude

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday in my series on Foundations of Our Faith, I preached about gratitude. It was one of the most rewarding Sundays that I have experienced in a while. For me to say that and you to get the understanding of it is difficult, because I am extremely blessed to pastor this church and every Sunday is rewarding. We average seeing 3-5 people each week come to know Jesus for the first time and the people who call this their home church are incredible in their pursuit of true Christianity. They love each other and they make those who come for the first time feel like they are welcome and like they can be themselves. They are unashamed to invite folks who don’t “do church” to come because they will not feel like an outsider or treated as if they are another notch in our cross or something like that.
So what was so special about this Sunday? I have to say that I am not sure that I can articulate it in a way that everyone will understand, but I will try. One thing that happens every week that freaks me out, is that people really listen to what I am saying. That shouldn’t be weird, but I have preached in churches where I thought that I was all alone and the building was full. But there was a different atmosphere this week. Every week these guys listen and I am thankful, but not only were they listening this week, but they were responding with understanding . When our praise band finished their last song, just before we did baptisms, the band was called back for an encore. Sure I may have started it, but the feeling was real. Then instead of people rushing out to get home, they all stayed as we baptized 12 people. It was funny to watch folks jockeying for position to take pictures and videos and then to see them posted on Facebook by the time I got home. We had kids as young as 8 and adults as old as 40 getting baptized for the first time and even had a whole family get baptized. It was fun. It was not a religious experience, it was a family affair. No one rushed out after the baptisms were through, most everyone stayed to clean up water, hug wet people, and laugh about the fact that we need higher ceilings so that we could flick lighters next week when they call the band back for another encore. The whole thing even spilled over to today, as I checked out Facebook and Twitter to see people posting how they were grateful for one thing or another.
It is experiences like this that make you grateful to be a Christian and for me to be a pastor. I have always taught that God does not want us to have religion, but rather He wants us to have a relationship. First, He wants a relationship with us, then He wants us to have a relationship with each others. I know that there are churches everywhere that say they have that type relationship, but I really think ours is special. Yep, I am a bit prejudice, but it is true. We don’t just hang out together on Sundays, but we hang out all throughout the week. Last week, about 30 women from our church spent the weekend at the beach together and skipped church. Something tells me they were more like what God intends the church to be during that time than most people an any given Sunday. Friday and Saturday of this week there were 9 of the guys took off for a motorcycle ride around the perimeter of South Carolina for no other reason than to hang out with each other and have some fun.
To wrap up Sunday, after our evening Bible study, about 20 of us went to eat at IHOP. Moms, dads, kids, pastors and lay people, just eating and laughing. Nothing organized, nothing fancy, but everything about it screamed, “we love each other”. The Bible says that people will know that we are disciples of Jesus by the way we love one another. I think people know this about our church, and although I have felt this for a while, this Sunday it all just seemed to come together in every way.
Nothing says you believe in what you are doing better than having a grateful heart and showing that heart to others. That is what made it all so special: gratitude.

September 13, 2011

Doing What We Are Told

by pastortimfowler

I hate getting older, but considering the option, I think hate is too strong of a word. Last night our men’s Bible study group met over at one of our group member’s house and helped rip out flooring in order to put in new sub-flooring. I was working with a crow-bar and my back was yelling at me to stop. There was a time when that stuff didn’t bother me but now I hate to admit that it does.
My dad always told me to work hard at whatever I was doing. He said that the results that you get will be equal to the effort that you give. I wish he would have told that to some of those boards that were not coming up no matter how much effort I put into it. My siblings and I were raise in a very strict environment and were taught that when a grown-up told you to do something, you did it, no questions asked. I am thankful for that now that I am older and trying to be a better Christian by trying to do what God says do. I am not trying to be better to earn favor, because God already loves me as much as He can, but I want Him to be please with my faith.
Faith is a strange thing to some. Many people think that faith is the gauge of how great of miracles you can do, but I believe it is more about gauging anything that you do. The truest of faith comes when we do the things that we don’t even think about. I never think about sitting in a chair before I do it because I have faith in the chair. Faith is real belief, not wishful thinking that it will be okay. Often my faith is tested when I know what I am suppose to do but struggle with the actual task at hand because of my own personal desires being contradicting to it.
So, The Bible tells us to bear each others burdens. Sometimes that is being a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Sometimes it is answering the call in the middle of the night to help someone who is tempted or even has fallen to that temptation, and other times it means canceling a Bible study to go help someone tear up a floor. As a pastor I have faced each of these and the last was the hardest. My back hurts even before the work and I am not a construction or even destruction minded person. I get intimidated by those things and often feel in the way instead on helping. It would have been so much easier to have the Bible study for those who “couldn’t make it” to help and to send others to do what I was not willing to do. But if that happened, I would have never experienced the joy of seeing almost three fourths of the men in my Bible study show up to work hard for a few hours. I would have never had the prayer that I prayed answered and I love seeing God immediately answer prayers.
What was the prayer? I was in the middle of a great big grunt to pry off this stubborn piece of plywood and all of the sudden a felt a sharp pain in my lower back. The board did finally come up but my back began to have spasms and I said please Lord, don’t let me have to quit right now. What I didn’t notice was that this was the last piece that we had to get up and that we were finished for the night. BAM! God answered my prayer. My back still hurts and the spasms continued for a few minutes, but I didn’t have to quit, it was just time to quit.
We finished the night by thanking everyone for helping and reminding everyone of this verse: Galatians 6:2 ~ Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.
We did not walk on water and we didn’t heal my back but, our faith was in action by doing what we were told.