Posts tagged ‘New Testament’

March 19, 2012

5 Thing I Try to Act Like I Believe

by pastortimfowler

Being a pastor is an amazing life of impossible situations made possible by God. I wish that all Christians could have the experience of spending a week in my shoes. No matter how awesome I think I am, and I know many of you agree with me, I am constantly facing challenges that need a supernatural intervention and I am never left disappointed. I don’t want to come across as some sort of spiritual super guy, but rather a guy that has learned through years of trial and error about how faith really works. My church must get tired of hearing about my faith and their faith in chairs, but you have to admit,it is a brilliant analogy. We sit in chairs because we have faith in chairs.
Faith is not what you believe, it is what you do because you believe. The New Testament book of James says that faith without doing something with it is dead. It means that if all we do is tell people that we believe but never act like it, then there is no real faith and nothing for others to believe in.
Situations are constantly presenting themselves to me in a way that I have to act before I can fully weigh the consequences and often they go against conventional thinking. But what I have learned through the years is that God can fix my mistakes better than He can deal with my lack of actions. I don’t underestimate God’s ability to guide my actions to accomplish His will. He can stop me from screwing up just as easily as He can give me success in doing something right. But if I refuse to do anything because I don’t believe God, there is nothing going to happen, for sure.
Here are 5 things I believe and try to always act like I believe:
1. Isaiah 55:9 “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”
I don’t understand everything, but I don’t have too. God understands everything and I want to act like I believe that.
2. Isaiah 55:11 My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do. God’s word is what is powerful, not mine. Even if people say they don’t believe, God will handle that, I don’t have too.
3. Hebrews 13:5 Be happy with what you have because God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.” I am not alone. If I am doing what God says for me to do, even if no one else is with me, He is.
4. Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Nothing is impossible when you trust in the truth and do it. NOTHING. Not acting because it feels impossible is denying the power God.
5. 1 John 4:16 We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them. Not only does God love me, but HE IS LOVE. Love is a far greater motivator to action than fear.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

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September 20, 2011

From Slave To Servant

by pastortimfowler

Reading the New Testament letter of Philemon that the Apostle Paul wrote to his friend is quite an eye opener. It is one of the shortest “books” of the Bible and yet there is so much to learn from it. I thought I would share some observations that I saw.
This is a letter that Paul wrote to a friend while Paul was in prison. It is near the end of his life and yet he still seeks every opportunity to encourage others and share Jesus with anyone that will listen. He opens the letter by addressing Philemon and his wife and son who had a group of folks that had church in their house. He expresses his passion for their faithfulness and encourages them to keep up the good work. There is no whining about being in prison and how unjust the court system was, only praise and admiration for what Jesus was doing in his life and theirs. He called Philemon not just a fellow worker, but a brother in the faith and Paul took this relationship very serious.
Philemon had a slave that had run away by the name of Onesimus. This slave was arrested and thrown into the same jail where Paul was held as a prisoner. I am sure that most of the guys in prison were all proclaiming their innocence and maybe Onesimus was too, but Paul was focused on one thing. Sharing God’s love with others and he did this with the slave and fellow prisoner. Once he was convinced of this man’s position in Christ, Paul obviously told him that He needed to go back and make things right with his old master and that was the purpose of this letter.
He tells his good friend that his old slave was no longer a disobedient slave but now a brother in Christ. Paul instructs Philemon to receive his old slave as if he were receiving Paul himself. He tells him that if there is a debt that is owed to charge it to him and to treat him not like the criminal that he was, but as a brother that he had become.
Isn’t it amazing that whatever we use to be before knowing Jesus as Savior is totally wiped out in Christ and we become new people? If only we acted that way toward others instead of only expecting it for ourselves. Paul met a man who was a runaway slave that by law could have been put to away for a long time or in the worst of cases be put to death, and saw someone who desperately needed Jesus, not a Judge. He didn’t just lead him to Jesus, but he took actions to help him live a life pleasing to Jesus. He didn’t worry about what others would think if he helped a criminal, but thought about what God would think if he didn’t help a sinner in need of a Savior.
If we could all look at the need instead of the problem. If we could all look at a potential brother instead of a potential bother. If we could all see people like Paul saw people and like Jesus sees people, then maybe more people would turn to Jesus, than turn to their troubles of the past and face them as a pardoned criminal, grateful to the Righteous Judge, who gave us over to the Perfect Savior. Maybe more people would see our forgiveness and our compassion and become forgiving and compassionate themselves.
Funny how this slave of a master was set free to become a servant of The Master.

June 15, 2011

Better Than Anything

by pastortimfowler

I am reading through the book of Hebrews in the New Testament now and this can be a challenging book to read and understand. I love it. I think it is one of the most important writings of the Bible because it clearly lays out the deity of Jesus Christ and our need to put Him above all else. The main theme that sums up Hebrews is this: Jesus is better. Better than angels, better than prophets, better than Moses, better than anything!
Every time I read it I am forced to rethink how I respond to being told that Jesus is better than anything. Most Christians will have no problem agreeing with that premise in word but we have a hard time agreeing with it in actions. So I want to challenge you to think about whether or not you truly believe that Jesus is better by how you live your lives. Trust me, I am only writing from experience in my own life. If we take this as a challenge and try to act on it in a positive way, there is no telling how God may turn around and show us His better side.
Let’s start with one that my wife will have to deal with. Jesus better than coffee
When we need to get our day started, do you reach for Jesus or make coffee? So often I hear that people don’t have time to read the Bible, the words of Jesus and His instructions for life, but we always have time to make coffee. Right now some are saying, not me, I drive through Starbucks to get my coffee. So is that not at least an extra 5 minutes? I am not a great reader and certainly not a speed reader, but I can read any number of Psalms and even a whole chapter of most books in 5 minutes. Jesus is better than coffee because He is the source of our strength and wisdom and if we drink from His word, we get eternal life, not life that ends in a crash ’cause the caffeine has worn off.
Jesus is better than Facebook.
I love Facebook. I love reading about people who are riding to work in heavy traffic and can’t handle the stress that comes from just getting to that job, much less that job. But let me ask you this, would it be better to risk your life to post on Facebook all your frustrations and risk crashing or would it be better to talk to Jesus, since you are not getting anywhere fast anyway? Maybe instead of telling the world about your problems, and they can only post something cute and sarcastic back, what about telling Jesus your cares and see if He responds. I am sure that what He will tell you will be better than what I may post on your wall.
Jesus is better than your opinion.
I know that we have all heard the opinions are like things we all have, however the problem is that often our opinions are based on what is popular and not what Jesus would really say if He was asked. We need to be ever mindful of the fact that the only time some people will ever hear from Jesus is when we are talking. So if what we are saying isn’t biblical, then it can’t help. We need to be more concerned with helping others than we are helping our own popularity. Jesus cares about others and wants us to share that care through giving better advice than when we preface what we say with “I know this is only my opinion, but…” So if you add another “t” to but and put a hole in it, you get the value of your opinion and Jesus is better than that.
Jesus should be the center of our lives. He is better than everything else, but what we think is that He wants us to give up everything else. I don’t think that is true. If we can make time for Jesus, He will make your coffee time better. If we make time for talking to Jesus, he will make those traffic jams seem better. If we will make our opinions less important than God’s word, Jesus will make our opinions better.
Jesus made me better by forgiving my sin and placing a new desire in my heart. I need to follow that desire and allow Him to continue to make the things I do better so that others know the He is better. But it is hard to believe that Jesus is better than anything when we act like anything is better than Jesus.