Posts tagged ‘New Spring Church’

September 9, 2011

That Woman God Gave Me

by pastortimfowler

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

August 22, 2011

His love is amazing!

by pastortimfowler

It was a crazy weekend in a good way. If you are not a church person, then go ahead and read this just because it won’t hurt you. If you are a church person read it and be encouraged.
The church as a universal figure often gets the negative press of being judgmental and often full of hypocrites and holier than thou types. I have to admit that most of the press is true, but not accurate. The church is judgmental, we are told to be. We are not supposed to think that we are better than anyone else though. First and foremost, we are supposed to judge ourselves and if we did a better job of that, we would not be criticized so much for judging others.
I know for sure that my church is full of hypocrites, every last one of us. We all do what we shouldn’t do and don’t do what we should from time to time. I guess it’s the blatant hypocrisy that bothers people and that goes back to judging ourselves better. As long as flesh and blood people try to live spiritual lives, we are going to have hypocrisy. And as for being holier than thou, we should only be concerned about being as holy as we can be and letting God be the standard of holiness that we all look to. One thing I think that most people will agree with, is that, if people who claim to be Christians lived up to the hype, very few people would have a problem with the church. So please forgive us for failing, but I know our church and a few others are trying.
But that is not why I am blogging today. I want to praise a few things that happened that over the weekend.
My son’s church, the one he attends and serves at, not owns, had an amazing weekend. They had a goal for the people of the church to specifically invite people who admitted they were not Christians to come to the church and hear and see what they were doing and judge for themselves if it was worth the chance of knowing Jesus. Over 500 people made public their profession of faith in this one church on one weekend! That tells me that they were treated the way they thought Jesus wanted church people to act and that they believed the message that they heard. Pretty amazing. Sure this is a large church, but people respond to one person asking one question more than large numbers screaming demands. Jesus wants us to be personable with people. Way to go Newspring Church!
My ex youth pastor said that his church had record attendance this past weekend. They are a more traditional church that tends to appeal to older people in theory. But I have seen a change in the heart of the people and although he would be the first to agree, (I think), that they have ways to go, they have already traveled a great journey. The youth of this church is responding to the call to live lives that reflect Jesus in everything that they do. I can’t help but believe that the fire in this youth group is spreading to the whole congregation…Way to go Reedy Fork Baptist Church!
Our church had a larger than normal crowd this weekend. It was not a record, but it was above average. We had a women’s group on retreat and several other families who were out for known reasons and yet we still had the largest crowd in months. What was cool about it is that our people stepped up to fill gaps in every area that was lacking and no one complained. Just smiles and friendly serving of those who were attending. Our music was, although always good, incredible, the crowd was clapping and enjoying worship and we had a bunch of guests…Way to go, The Body, A Church for Anybody!
We always welcome and ask for feedback and I heard some amazing stuff. Stuff like, this is the friendliest church I have ever been in, I felt like I was at home here, and I am not a member but I felt like one. This is what happens when the hypocrites at my church get a chance to try to act like Jesus. They do a great job. Not perfect, but getting closer all the time.
I have been preaching a hard-hitting series on truth and propaganda and it has challenged folks to re-examine a few things. The response has been incredible and some people are making some very tough decisions about changing their lifestyles. That only confirms to me that the truth is powerful and God is the author of the truth. But most incredible is the fact the we saw 3 people make a profession of faith. Not the 500 of the other church mentioned, but we are much smaller and there is never a number, other than zero, that disappoints when people come to know Jesus. But when you add the number of people at our church alone that have met Jesus for the first time this year, it is pretty amazing.
Jesus changes lives. He never refuses anyone who calls on Him. He uses messed up people to do a divine work and I am so thrilled to see how it works when a church gets close to getting it right.
So if you go to church, get involved and watch what God is doing. If you don’t, check out a few churches and find one where the people are more like Jesus than the hypocrites you think we are. You won’t be sorry when you find it and you won’t forget Jesus when you meet Him or His people who understand who they are truly supposed to be. Why? Because God is truly awesome His love is amazing!