Posts tagged ‘Pastor Tim Fowler’

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.

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November 21, 2011

New Fan

by pastortimfowler

This past Saturday I took my 6-year-old grandson to his first USC Gamecock football game in Columbia SC. He already likes the Gamecocks but knows very little, if anything, about football. Because this was a game that they were supposed to easily win, and they did, I figured that it would be a safe bet to go to this one in case he lost interest and we had to leave. He didn’t, and we stayed the whole game and had a blast.
In a stadium with 80,000 screaming fans it is not the place to try to teach a 6-year-old about football. I tried. It is a great place to teach a 6-year-old how many different ways that you can mold cotton candy before you eat it. I also discovered that stadium cotton candy, by weight, is more valuable than gold. One bag that weight of almost nothing was $5.00. We had two bags and a bucket of popcorn the size of a new Prius and pizza that was older than most Priusessesseessss.
I am not rich, but I need to be if I am going to keep taking grandkids to the Gamecock football games. Between tickets and food and parking, my wife and I now live in her mini-van. Thank goodness it is bigger than a Prius.
Most everywhere we take our 6-year-old grandson he has to use the bathroom, and this was no different. As we entered the stadium there were rows of port-a-potties set up for the fans who were waiting to come in. He wanted to use them. I said no, we will go once we are inside. I am not prejudice against port-a-potties, I just want better for my grandson. Some of my best friends use port-a-potties. So once inside and after we ate the pizza left over from the first ever game held in Williams-Brice Stadium, we went to the bathroom. It started off with the normal walk toward that urinal and then panic set in on my grandson’s face. This was the first time he had ever seen the public pee trough. Sorry ladies, but that is what us guys get in many stadiums; a metal trough with water running and drains along the bottom.
Most little boys are not to worried about where they pee. In fact, most are perfectly fine with a tree or a bush. Give them your typical toilet bowl and they will pee on the floor half of the time. Give them a chance to basically pee on the floor on purpose and it really freaks them out. But we made it through the experience and he learned the what every man learns: the brick wall stare.
Did you know that most colleges have male cheerleaders? He didn’t. Did you know that those male cheerleaders spend a lot of time touching girls butts and looking up their dresses? He didn’t. Did you know that there is no good way for a 6-year-old to really understand that it is okay but he shouldn’t do it?
Did you know that the chicken can dance? Did you know that the chicken doesn’t touch girls butts and look up their dresses? I do now.
Did you know that if you try to explain everything that a 6-year-old boy notices in a stadium filled with 80,000 people who you will not see every play, especially the really good ones? Did you know that it is hard to explain why everyone gets excited when your team gets a first down when all the time the cheerleaders are asking us, “whadaya want? TD, What’s that? touchdown”?
Did you know that the poor fellow who was sitting beside us was really a patient guy because my 6-year-old grandson can talk to a tree if he had to?
Did you know that the cotton candy guy in the section below you could throw the cotton candy to us? Well he can’t but 6 year olds know more than I do and waiting for one of those guys to come to our section is not worth the wait when I could miss some of the game to go to the concession stand and get some.
Sorry for all the questions, I just wanted to share the joy.
We did make it through the game and we won and he told me that it was awesome to get to come to the game with me and that makes it all worth while. Hopefully, the Gamecocks truly have a new fan now. I know the cotton candy guy does.

November 17, 2011

Life Insurance

by pastortimfowler

Rock Hill SC is not tornado alley, but that does not change the fact that a tornado touched down and took the lives of 3 people yesterday. It is hard to imagine that yesterday morning, if you had asked these people, “do you think that you will die in a tornado today?” that they would have done anything other than laugh at you. Yet here we are facing the horrible truth that it happened and they are gone.
As always, I hope that these people knew Jesus as their Savior. I did not know any of them, but that doesn’t change the sorrow I feel because of this tragedy. It does not change that I hope they had eternal security and if that is true, ultimately they are okay now. I pray for the family members that are left to question why this happened and that they will find peace that only comes from God. Again I will continue to pray for them and there are already efforts to reach out and help those who have lost there possessions as well.
Most of us have probably thought about a scenario in which we meet our death. No, I am not being morbid, just blunt. Every time I fly I think about it. Often when I ride my motorcycle on long trips I think about it. But most of the time death is the farthest thing from my mind. And on most days which start off as normal as yesterday did, I don’t think about death at all.
Here is the problem. If we don’t think about death, and most importantly, what happens after we die, we are leaving eternity to chance and that is a chance I had rather not take. Very few people truly think that when you die, that’s it, the switch is off and nothing else happens. But we are confused on what to believe about the many possibilities. Even those who are Christians have some differing thoughts about what happens after death and I find that strange. Maybe we make it too complicated. Here is what the simplicity of the Bible says.
Hebrews 9:27 People die once, and after that they are judged. To be judged, there must be a conscious state after death. To be judged, there must be a standard of judgement. To be judged, there must be a Judge. To be judged, there must be a crime.
The crime, is called sin. An eight year old once gave me this definition of sin and I like it and think it is biblical. Sin is anything that you think, say, or do, that does not please God. The standard of judgement is holiness. God is holy and tells us that we are not. Sins reward is death and death is the vehicle in which we are brought to trial. No one is holy, not among humans. We all sin. One sin means that we are not holy and thus death is imparted. God is our judge, through Jesus Christ as our advocate. If you have accepted the death of Jesus as payment for your sin, He proclaims your penalty paid in full and commutes your death sentence to life in Heaven. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, He says that He does not recognize you as His client and the death penalty is carried out. Not believing in Jesus or God will not stop this trial nor will it get you leniency. Proclaiming that you did not see the speed limit sign does not stop the officer from giving you a ticket.
We are not sure if we will have a tomorrow. Death can sneak up on us in many ways and much too often, when you least expect it. That is why many people carry life insurance, which provides for the family after you are dead. It does not return life to those who die. The only way that can happen is through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. This is life insurance that helps those who die. It is free and not because of a government mandate. It is free because God loves us and does not want to have to judge us as guilty sinners, but rather forgiven children. To get this insurance all you have to do is ask. Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

November 16, 2011

Please Keep Winning

by pastortimfowler

Congratulations to Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils for becoming the all time most winning coach in NCAA basketball history. Last night his team won the 903rd game of his coaching career and that number will only get higher as this season progresses, unless we start being more fair. After all, it is not fair that his team wins so much when there are so many other teams that are not doing as well.
There seems to be a more defined line between winning and losing teams these days. Winning teams always have more points and losing teams always have less. It just isn’t fair. I would like to see the NCAA put some new rules in place to fix this. They need to find a way to take points from the team that is scoring more and give them to the teams who are scoring less. This will make it much more equal and fair and everyone will be happy.
Right now there is a terrible injustice going on in college basketball. Teams like Duke are manipulating the system by using money and their continued winning year after year to unfairly entice better players to their team, thus keeping the worse teams stuck in a losing way. These other teams will never be able to compete as long as Duke is allowed to keep all the points that their players score. That is why I would like to see point equality rules put in place to even the playing field. Here is how that could work.
If Duke is playing a team that is not capable of beating them, and we know they can’t because we will continually tell them that they can’t so soon that will quit trying, that team will get the first 36% of the points that Duke scores. Now this other team should not worry about practice anymore either because this system will fix the inequalities. If that 36% is not enough for the other team to tie, and that is all we really want is for everyone to be the same, then for every basket Duke scores, the points will be divided according to how much the NCAA decides it is needed. Also if the other teams players should decide not to play anymore because of this unfairness, then Duke’s players should be made to finish the game for the other team.
We will also need to address the height thing too. Many players on other teams are not as tall as Duke’s players. This in not fair. Players who are less fortunate than those tall players should have options to make things fair too. Short players should be able to either lower the goal that they are shooting at, use a ladder that is wheeled to them, preferably by a Duke player, use a trampoline to provide extra height of his jumps, or it would just be easier for Duke’s players not to be able to try to block their shots and all the previous mentioned suggestions be available if necessary.
Duke will not be exempt from practicing hard and spending their money to provide top coaches and facilities even if most of their points are taken away. They will need to practice harder and score even more points to maintain the level needed to attract top players and staff to their program. Duke will be responsible for trying to keep the stands full of fans and the networks broadcasting the games even if the other teams don’t try. Remember it is not their fault that Duke is so good and they stink. Basketball has become unfairly controlled by corrupt winners of games and championships.
As far as Coach K’s winning record, that will need to be dealt with too. There are coaches who will never attain that many wins because Coach K is a fat-cat coach. His wins need to be stripped from him and given to coaches who have never coached in the NCAA or are getting fired for not winning any games. This is largely due to “Big Basketball” like Duke winning so that others can not. Perhaps Coach K should be fired and his wins taken and redistributed and a less fortunate “wannabe” coach put in his place to help make things fair.
Fairness and equality will make basketball a game that anyone can play and all teams compete at the same level. Although TV revenue will drop dramatically due to the predictable outcome of every game, money will be taken from other more successful programming that is unfairly being watched.
Coach K…PLEASE KEEP WINNING!

November 15, 2011

It Sucks. Yep, I Said It

by pastortimfowler

The last few days have been tough. It seems like every way that I turn, something is going wacky. I heard someone use a term one time and not sure how nice it is, but it goes something like this: This sucks! Now of course I would never use this term for any other reason than to make the point of this blog. No one can ever accuse me of acting like anything other than the perfect Christian guy. If they do, they suck.
Hear is are a few things that have happened lately that have provoked this blog.
Last Friday, I woke up to back spasms, again. You would think that I would get use to this, but I haven’t. They are a common part of my everyday life, only some days they are worse than others. I know, if you have followed my blogs for a while you may have heard about them before, but like my blog, they are my spasms and I can whine about them when I want too. Friday they were pretty intense and I had to go pick up the red-head twins for the weekend with Mimi, who just happens to live at my house.
When I got there to pick them up, it was right in front of the USC Gamecock stadium and I was reminded that I really wanted to stay there and see the game , but neither of the red-head twins are old enough to drive yet so I had to load them in my truck and drive an hour back to my house. The whole time they were yelling and screaming and acting like little kids and I was trying to yell with them and I actually hurt my vocal chords while we were seeing who could yell the loudest. (It was a game)
Saturday, was not that bad, except for trying to get those leaves out of my yard. When I woke up Saturday, my back felt better and that was a relief, but as I was trying to get an extension cord untangled, my dog thought it would be funny to sneak up behind me and see me trip over her. Guess what that started? Back spasms. So I got the leaves out of the yard and went in to watch the football game that I really wanted to see live. It was a good game and my team won.
Some time during the game the dog wanted to play again and as I was wrestling with her, something popped in my elbow and it has not stopped hurting since. As if that wasn’t enough, I took a couple of Tylenol to ease the pain and did not realize that there were two other letters on the bottle, PM. So I took a nap on the couch. It was only a short nap because soon the wife come home with the red-head twins and two others who were still playing the game, let’s see how loud we can yell. As I sat up from my nap, I had a back spasm which caused me to flinch and I got a “crick” in my neck.
Because I had a nap so late in the day, I did not sleep much Saturday night and Sunday morning came way to soon. It was a big day at the church with several things that were starting up. I am on edge on Sunday mornings anyway, just because I want everything to go well. Some people started not showing up at the times that they were supposed to and one person went home early and another said they couldn’t do what they were supposed to. On top of everything else, I was not preaching that morning. I get bummed out when I don’t get to preach. Not because the person who is preaching will not do a great job, but because after all that had been going wrong, the one thing I believe I can do right is preach. It allows me to forget everything else and talk about the One who is always right. God.
Later that day, I was called by a friend to tell me that a family member was in ICU, and another friend of mine was having some other personal issues that I didn’t have an answer for him. I think my phone rang 4 or 5 times with bad or disturbing news.
Monday, was a new week and had to get better; wrong. As if it weren’t bad enough that my run of bad luck seemed to be continuing, the wife had a really bad day. I hate it when she has a bad day cause if I’m not careful it can turn even worse because I am so sensitive. Okay, maybe sensitive is the wrong word, but I can’t use the one she called me. So add it all up and the last few days have been worth taking the risk to say, this sucks.
So Monday night we have our men’s Bible study and God decides to show off and remind me that no matter how much I think it sucks, He doesn’t. He reminded me that His grace is sufficient and that His love can overcome anything that I allow to bother me. He reminded me that it is not the things that bothered me that sucked. What sucked was that I let them bother me so long before turning my focus to HIM.

November 14, 2011

Longing For The Days of Old

by pastortimfowler

If you are not a football fan like I am, don’t give up on this blog yet. If you are a football fan like I am, then you will understand what I am about to say. I long for the days of old. I think football is getting too soft. I saw more penalties this weekend for what use to be a good, hard hit, and now the guys have no idea how to tackle someone for fear of losing yardage to those penalties. Football use to be a sport of real men, somewhat of the gladiator type. Now it seems to be driven by the political correctness crowd. And that is what bothers me the most.
Political correctness, the love of money, and personal motives, seems to drive everything that we do today. It is rare that you see an individual whose motives are not driven by those things. Even the news that we see on TV has become political and money driven. I have no problem with anyone who makes money from hard work or creative ideas. I do have a problem when they make money off twisted truths and the less fortunate.
So that brings me to the story of Penn State University and what happened to one of the football coaches. If you haven’t heard, you have not looked at any news outlet, because this has been all over the place. But there was an assistant coach who was caught performing lewd sexual acts on a young boy. He was not just accused, but was actually seen as he was molesting a young boy in the showers of the players locker room. This is the stuff that makes me long for the good old days.
There was a time when if a person like this was caught, they were considered lucky if they made it to trial. Someone would have taken justice into their own hands and this man would never touch a little boy again. Sure, there are those who will argue for the legal system to work, but I somehow like the thoughts of someone “manning up” and handling the problem. I am not talking about sitting around plotting a crime, I am talking about taking swift immediate actions to protect a child, not a football program. I would like to think that had I walked in on this crime that I would have been able to ask forgiveness for beating this man to a bloody pulp. And what about the other coaches and the 300 pound football players? Couldn’t they have made sure that this pervert, “slipped on a bar of soap”?
Instead, this man was allowed to continue to hurt innocent children for the sake of a football program. This is what I was talking about earlier with political or money, or selfish motivations that I see. There was a time when these things were not allowed to go unchecked. Someone would have made sure that this fellow did not hurt someone again.
I kept hearing the news report that the head coach did everything that was legally required of him and then they asked, but did he do all that was morally required. This is the same news media that despises God and does everything in their power to discredit God and His people. So I have to ask, if there is no God, where do morals come from? The only answer left is that they come from people. And if people make morals, then it is only subject to whose morals we want to follow. If I am the one making up the morals of society, I can make it perfectly fine to molest little children and who are yo to question me? After all, we shouldn’t judge, right?
But that is not where morals find there beginnings. Morals come from a Holy God, who by the way, finds molesting little children detestable, and His morals are placed inside decent humans who have a responsibility to protect innocent people. Maybe not by pounding such a pervert into a bloody pulp, but maybe by dragging his sorry butt out into the middle of the schoolyard and holding him down until the police come and take him away.
But no. We want to spend our time protecting football players from being hit too hard during an inherently physical and violent game. We want to make sure that an unprotected receiver doesn’t get hit too hard and if so, throw a penalty flag, while we let an unprotected little child get raped and the football program that provided the man who did a job, continues to a football program at all.
Sorry for the rant, but I am disgusted by this whole thing.

November 9, 2011

You Want Me To Listen?

by pastortimfowler

The political season is in full swing. This is one of my least favorite times. In case you are wondering, I consider myself a fairly conservative guy. If you have decided to never read my blog again because of that statement, then you are part of the problem that bothers me. America is a great country full of sinful people who will always make a mess of things if not kept in check. Whether you are conservative or liberal in your political likings, we should all decide to make a stand on a few things.
First we should all agree that our country is a great country and that there is nothing wrong with us being great. Greatness is more than being the strongest. We help more people around the world than any other country. We defend our friends and keep our enemies at check. We do more to keep our planet clean and safe than anyone else ever has or ever will. We have freedom to speak out against the things we don’t like and to make an honest living pursuing our passions. There is plenty of room for improvement and differing opinions but nowhere else in this world can you be as free as we are. That is how I can write this blog and you can agree or disagree with it openly.
Second, I think we should all hold our media accountable for what they put out as fact. This may spark some controversy, but stick with me. Right now, Herman Cain is being accused of sexual harassment by at least four women. At first, it would be easy to say that with that many who are accusing him, he must have done something. The majority of the media is reporting this as if it were fact, yet our courts would probably not take any of them as a legal case because hearsay is not admissible in court. And, in America, we are innocent until proven guilty. Not so in the media. For those on the liberal side who may think that this is fair, I am just as upset with those who covered anyone who accused Pres. Obama of not having a birth certificate.
The media has a responsibility to report facts, not opinions, when they claim to be reporting the news. Investigative journalists should remember the journalistic code of ethics that says than you never report on a subject without verifying your sources and their credibility. But those of us who watch the news never seem to question the ethics of those reporting as long as it suits our political agenda. I believe that we should all write letters expressing our dissatisfaction with inaccurate and unfair reporting no matter which side it is on. When they see that their customers are upset, things will change. Let me state very clearly that if a candidate has done something wrong that they should be raked over the coals until they apologize or get out of the business.
I did a blog a few weeks ago about how we need to think for ourselves and to think logically. How many things have been contradicted over the past five years by so call science and or studies or the media? One minute salt is bad for you and we are taking it out of food and the next it isn’t. One minute cell phones are causing gas pumps to blow up and the next there is no evidence at all that this is true. But still today there are signs at gas stations that tell you to turn them off. Weather forecasters tell us that each hurricane season will be the worst ever and every year it doesn’t seem to happen. When are we, the common folk, going to start thinking that the problem may not be the stuff that is being reported on and start wondering if the problem is not the ones doing the reporting?
Third, and last, with this all being tied back to our politics, I think that it is time to hold the feet of those who make promises in the campaign but break them in office, to the fire. I know that there are things beyond their control once in office, but don’t promise me that you will never do this or the first thing that you will do will be that, and the opposite happens and you didn’t put up one heck of a fight. I am sick of political speeches that promise the moon for my vote and all I get for my vote is a broken promise. We should vote out every politician who only talks the talk but never walks the walk. Pretty soon liberals and conservatives alike will have the government that we really want. Of the people, by the people, for the people. We should all ask the media and ask politicians, do you really want me to listen? If so, change some stuff.

November 8, 2011

Faith and Doubt

by pastortimfowler

If only it were easy to have great faith and never doubt. I was asked to blog about these so let’s see how it goes. First let me give a non-biblical definition of the two words. from our old friend, Webster’s.
Faith- a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
Doubt- a : to lack confidence in : distrust <find myself doubting him even when I know that he is honest — H. L. Mencken> b : to consider unlikely <I doubt if I can go>
Humans are sinful creatures by nature and sin causes a separation from God. That in turn causes a trust issue, or our faith is challenged and doubt kicks in. When humans look at something or someone, it is very easy for us to pick out their faults. If you put a small dot in the middle of a sheet of white paper and ask people what they see, they will automatically be focus on the small dot and not pay any attention to the large amount of unblemished paper. We look at our kids report cards and see a “C” when the rest of the grades are “A’s” and “B’s”. We look at our spouse not putting the lid on the toothpaste but overlook the years of providing for the family. So keeping in stride with that, we want to look at God and see flaws because things aren’t going our way, and we forget that there are no flaws in God. We are flawed, due to sin.
It is hard to trust someone who thinks that they are better than you. We want to “show them”. But God does not think that He is better than us, He is better than us. He made us and knows us and most importantly, He loves us. There is nothing that He asks us to do that will not be the best for us, even if we don’t understand it. That is where faith and doubt collide.
Doubt is that lack of confidence in God. The “I don’t understand” factor. Doubt says “me” when faith says “God”. We often doubt things that we are new at or are learning about. A child doubts that he can read a book, but loving parents encourage and help the child to overcome doubt with confidence. A teen doubts that they will pass the driver’s license test, but loving parents encourage and teach. Soon we are reading without thinking about it and driving while texting. We now have turned our doubts into faith.
Faith is not some mystical characteristic that only Moses and Jesus had. Faith is trust. The more you do what God says and see that the outcome is what He promised, the more our faith is built. I learned to ride a bike when I was 4 years old. For a while, I doubted my ability to not crash. As years went by and crashes did happen, I had more and more faith in my ability to avoid the crashes. Last year I got a bike and decided to ride it. I had not been on a bike for years, but my faith in my ability to ride was there because I had ridden a bike so many times before.
Like everything else that we do in life, our Christian faith must be something that grows with experience. We must start out with the basics and we must learn to trust God and resist allowing our doubts to scare us away from ever trusting Him. I could have easily never ridden a bike again after my first crash. Doubt could have said that I would never ride without getting hurt. But encouragement from those who had ridden kept me moving towards my faith in the bike. That is the important thing about church and being around other believers who are more mature and will encourage us when we have those moments of doubt. Having someone there to point us back to the fact that God loves us and has our best interest at heart is a major factor in building our faith. Faith never starts out strong in anything that we do. For some reason we freak out when our Christian faith waivers. But we shouldn’t.
God loves us unconditionally. He is our Father in Heaven and is very patient with our doubts and fears. He has given us His word that He will never leave us and never disown us. Having faith in that is a great place to gain confidence. God knows that we are sinful. He allowed Jesus to take our penalty for us so that we could have His forgiveness and unfailing love.
Our first battle with faith and doubt is all about salvation. When you are confident in your salvation, you can begin to be confident in other things of God. That is why God made salvation simple and totally of His doing, not our own. That way our doubts don’t screw it up. Never forget this verse when it comes to faith:

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.
Be patient as your faith grows and before you know it, you will be doing whatever God asks, no doubt. I am not sure if this will make as much sense to you as it did to me, but my old pastor told me this: Doubt your doubts, not your beliefs.

November 7, 2011

Hip-Hop Joy

by pastortimfowler

Our church had a youth ministry event last night and the main part of it was a hip-hop concert. I do not care for hip-hop and don’t think that I will any time soon. I kind of feel like my dad when he use to complain about my rock and roll music. But what I do like is the message and the heart of those who were performing. These young men were reaching out to the youth in a way that I could not and would not. My calling is not a hip-hop ministry, (thank you Jesus) and is not a ministry to youth (as a group). Mine is to pastor a church that is full of a very diverse group of people.
Ministry is not my way or your way, it is God’s way of using me and you to reach those who don’t know Him. If everyone had a hip-hop ministry, people like me would likely die and go to hell. As much as I want to be cool and hip, I fall just a hop short of hip. But God did not leave ministry to be only one way and that means that everyone has a ministry if they would only seek it.
I am good friends with a young man who has been doing hip-hop for years. He has built a ministry that reaches thousands and there is no telling how many young people have come to know Jesus because of what he does. In fact, he is the one who set us up to have the artists that performed last night. I was having lunch with him one day when I told him that I just didn’t understand that style of music and had a hard time appreciating it. I told him that I knew God was using him and that it was a ministry, but I had never been able to appreciate rap and hip-hop.
He told me that he understood and prayed for me because I was getting old and out dated. (Joke) Not really, but he did take time to explain the appeal that it had for him. He said it allowed him to continually flow with a thought to a beat and not be stuck with the traditional style of verse, chorus, verse, chorus that most music has. When he explained it to me that way, it made perfect sense  why he chose that style. It did not make me like hip-hop, nor did it make me want to change my ministry, but it did allow me to better understand how effective this can be in reaching people with the message of the gospel.
I have another friend whose ministry is to feed the poor. All he does is collect food and distribute it to those on the street. Another friend has a southern gospel group who sings the oldest style of music they can find. Still another friend of mine spends much of his time ministering to hard-core bikers. I know people who consider their ministry to be praying for people all the time and those who just sit with old people as they are dying. None of these are what I would choose to do on a regular basis nor has God called me to do, but then again they all say that they would never want to pastor a church like I do. And you know what? That’s the way it should be.
What is important is that if you are a Christian, you find something to do that reaches others with the love of Christ. Although more traditional forms of ministry like teaching and preaching are fine, most people miss the boat because they only focus on such things. But God gives great joy to those who serve Him and I feel that if you aren’t experiencing joy in a ministry, you are probably not doing the ministry that God wants you to do.
I have heard it said many times from many people who if you do what you love as a job, that you will never work the rest of your life. The idea is that work is no fun but doing what you love is not work. I see too many Christians that serve in churches and are miserable and complaining that no one else will do it. Those are people who are not doing the ministry that God wants them to do. Sure we all have to do some things in life and ministry that aren’t fun, after all Jesus didn’t have fun dying on the cross. But Jesus also never complained, nor did He let anyone stop Him from doing what He was called to do. Jesus also said that He wanted us to have His joy and that comes from doing His work the way that He would have you to do it.
Search out what God would have you do, then find a place to do it and watch people come to know Jesus as you come to know great joy!

November 4, 2011

Not Today

by pastortimfowler

I am packing and about to head out for my weekend of tent camping with my wife and a bunch from the church. So I am too busy to blog today. As soon as I think that I am through packing and ready to go, the wife lets me know that she needs something else. I had to go to the grocery store earlier, Wal-Mart, and probably somewhere else before I can head down early to set up camp. The good news is that the rain has almost stopped. As soon as this front passes, it should turn colder and that means I must find wood that will burn after a good soaking of rain.
Now I am looking out at my dog, the Jack Russel, who is not going camping with us, as she is trying to climb the fence in the back yard. She is obsessed with squirrels and pecans and my neighbor has 2 pecan trees and lots of squirrels in his yard. This drives my dog crazy and she will obsess with this until something else catches her attention or she figures out how to climb over the fence. This will drive me crazy while I am gone, because we have to leave the doggy door open for them to use the bathroom until my daughter gets here later. We will leave all the other doors in the house shut so that if she catches a squirrel, we can find it quicker in case she decides to bring it in the house.
The wife just left from having lunch with me. I love it when she comes home on her lunch hour and I am free to join her. I try to cook a meal for us and we look at it as saving money and sticking to our Dave Ramsey plan. But now that she is gone, I have to wash dishes before I can leave to set up camp, after I stop by a couple of stores now that the rain is almost gone. Oh wait; its raining hard again.
I thought that I would take a quick break in all I am doing to let you know that I would not have a blog. Not today. So until Monday, or after I recover from this weekend, take care.