Posts tagged ‘pastors’

March 28, 2012

Justice

by pastortimfowler

Justice.jpg

According to dictionary.com, this is the definition of Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. It does not mean do what you think is right. It does infer that there is a higher authority that determines what is right. I believe that higher authority is God. Otherwise that leaves the whole idea of right and wrong in the hands of mankind, who has the tendency of injecting feelings over facts. I have written about right and wrong and where we get the idea of what they are. It has little to do with feelings, but few will admit it. Justice is a word being tossed around by many in cases like I wrote about yesterday. Justice in America is accomplished through a system of laws and courts and civil authority, not random groups who feel like they have a better way.
Before I go any further I want to respond to one comment from a reader about yesterday’s blog. I said that clergy needed to speak out about the threats of taking the law into your own hands and this person said that there are no black pastors or churches that were not racist or had the guts to speak out. This is one of those times that I would like to slap someone who reads my blog. You could not be more wrong. The only reason I feel that I can speak out on such a sensitive subject and be as bold as I am is because my friends know my heart and know me. They know that the truth sets us free and not our opinions. Many of my friends are black and pastor churches full of people who love God and other people, regardless of race. While I appreciate your opinion, I take offense at your racist comment about my friends and brothers in Christ.
Now back to justice. The goal of justice is to make things just, or right. Right and wrong were never meant to be subject to feelings. They were never meant to be gray areas or ambiguous. There is a difference between and law and right and wrong. A law can be something that is totally based on feelings. For instance, the current health care law is a feeling that everyone has a right to health insurance. I can find no place that ever gives us a clear-cut right or wrong concerning this. If the law remains, it will be wrong not to follow the details of the law, but it is still based on a feeling.
Right and wrong is where there is a clear-cut determination, regardless of feelings. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. These are things that almost every civil society in the world agree on. It is something that comes from the very moral fiber of humanity, which I believe comes from God. It is right to help the poor, but how, is left open for interpretation. It is right to work for what you have and to provide for your family. It is right to love and protect one another.
But justice is the process of taking a wrong and to the best of the ability of the legal system, making it right. That may mean to those who have stolen, that they give back. To those who have hurt another that they lose the ability to hurt again. The process most often takes time, and because of the human element, can sometimes make mistakes. That still does not give anyone the authority to take this into there own hands. We must first give the justice system time to work. In America we are innocent until proven guilty. We are protected from those who would take vengeance into there own hands and given a method to defend ourselves against all accusers.
The bottom line to this whole idea of justice comes down to God. He is the only righteous judge. He is the only one who knows the hearts of man and has promised that no sin will go unpunished. He did not limit those sins to the ones that we feel are worst, but to all sin that has separated us from Him. He made a way for the punishment for sin to be given to another. One who would be our sacrifice and take the wrath of God so that we may receive total forgiveness. Not based on who we are or how good we say we are, but totally based on His love for us and His hatred of sin that causes us to be separated from Him. God can do this because only a righteous judge can bring true justice with no influence from human imperfections. God has done this and will do this for those who repent.
Although His justice is firm and final, He has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our advocate, the Savior of humanity. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord. His judgment is true and His mercy is greater. Justice will prevail.

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October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

by pastortimfowler

Halloween is here! The Great Pumpkin has arrived! And I am still saying, what’s the big deal? Halloween has always been the least favorite of holidays for me, even when I was a kid. I even waited late in the day to blog about it because I couldn’t think of much to say. What it the big deal about dressing up like someone else and going door to door asking for candy by using a phrase, that if it were taken literal, would make a lot of people mad when they got the trick?
I know a lot of fellow Christians and pastors who make a big deal of Halloween because it is the Devil’s night. Like every other night is free from demons? Then they try to fool everybody into thinking that the “Fall Festival” the church is having is not a Halloween party in costume as a fall festival. I have spent my entire pastor career trying to figure out why church people will not let their church celebrate Halloween at the church building, but everyone who has a kid, and some who don’t, celebrate it at home.
What about the same parents who complain about their kids getting jacked up on sugar throughout the year but take the same jacked up kids to get 50 gallon bags full of candy on Halloween. Is it like these kids will be better behaved because they were wearing a costume when they got it?
Some of the costumes that I see are quite crazy to figure out. I see wives dressed like hookers all the time on Halloween. Why won’t they dress that way any other time. It might spice up the marriage. Besides, these same wives who dress like hookers, okay, not all are hookers, but they sure look like it has something to do with sex, are the ones that complain when their husbands look at the women that they (wives) say dress like hookers. I only wish every wife would think about how confusing that is to us men. We are so weak and pitiful.
Guys don’t have a set costume that they wear. They seem to go for the random, whatever pops into my mind, way of choosing a costume. I think it would be much more fun if the guys put on the sexy outfits and complained when other wives looked. Somehow I think that there would be far less fighting about that one.
I don’t get it. I guess I will just play along when the wife comes home in her french maid outfit tonight. I just hope she brings some candy corn.

September 5, 2011

Labor Day

by pastortimfowler

Today is Labor Day, a national holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. I always get it confused with Memorial Day for some reason. Either of them get you a day off, generally, but for me, they just mean that the banks are closed. My wife has to work today and I have no idea why I came to the office other than to do this blog and respond to the visitor cards from yesterday and plan out the rest of my week. Technically, us pastors only work a few hours a week anyway, and even then, it’s not real work.
I think that Labor Day should be the day of the year that every pregnant woman has to have her baby. It would make more sense than what we have now. At least you would not need me to start my blog off with the purpose of Labor Day in order for you to know what we are celebrating. And, are we really celebrating as it is? If women were having babies, we would all have a real reason to have a party.
This would help expecting dads too. They would not have to worry about that unexpected phone call in the middle of something important. They usually come about the time you set the hook on a really nice fish or have just hit your best tee shot of the round. If not that, you get woke up in the middle of the night and she hasn’t even had the decency to make coffee yet. If they just did it on Labor Day, dads would know not to go fishing or golfing or only have that one night to be woke up without coffee.
This could solve so many other problems too. Husbands would never forget their wife’s birthday. Since Labor Day is on the calendar as a holiday, and if women were having babies on that day, we would all know what it meant and at least one of us would remember that we needed to buy a card and remind the rest of those who were about to forget. We would also remember our children’s birthdays and that would make men look better and more caring.
Instead, we have a day that messes with our normal routine and makes life no easier. I am all for honoring the veterans who gave their lives for our freedom. Wait a minute…that is the one in May. This is Labor day, where we, hold on, let me read the opening line. No wonder I don’t like this holiday. It is not in honor, or memory, it is simply a day dedicated to blah, blah, blah. Get back to work you lazy bums. Cash our checks and deliver our mail! No one shot at you or is buying flowers and candy, why we don’t even fly the flag for this day.
Happy Labor Day, or is it, Merry Labor Day. I am not even hearing fireworks in my neighborhood where they do fireworks for any ol’ excuse. Either have a baby or get to work. It’s Labor Day.

March 31, 2011

A blast from the Past

by pastortimfowler

I don’t always have people fall in love with me after they meet me. Sure, that is hard for you to believe if you have ever met me, but sadly it is true. There are a lot of sick people out there.
Four years ago there was this person that was coming to my church and they liked me. (Wouldn’t it be a great time to stop on that positive note?) After a while he/she, (identity protected here), disagreed with me on a biblical issue and decided to leave the church. This happens no matter what church you go to because not everyone wants to hear the truth. Now I am talking about God’s word, not mine.
So I have not heard from this person in almost three years when all of a sudden I get an email from him/her. I won’t go into details about what was said, but basically I ruined everything and I suck.
Years ago, when I first felt the call to go into the ministry, I went to my pastor and asked for some advice. I asked him to give me a verse of scripture that he would say that every pastor should take to heart. So without hesitation he gave me this verse: Ezekiel 3:9 (GW) I will make you as hard as a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be terrified in their presence, even though they are rebellious people.”
Every time something like this happens I remember that verse and remember over and over how Jesus was persecuted for doing good. Although I am far from being Jesus, I do try my best to love people. Even if I don’t like you, I try to remember that God made us all very different for a reason and I don’t have to like you to love you.
That verse sounds a little tough, but often pastors are given tasks to say things that don’t sit well with others. Often the message that we preach is one that causes people to be challenged in the way they may be living and things that they may be doing.   And, because what we hear that convicts, it often causes us to get defensive, so, God will harden pastors to protect them.
It would be easy to get really hurt or offended by someone like this but I won’t fall into that trap. God never said that this would be a popularity contest and He never said that everyone would like you or agree with you. He only said, as much as possible, love people. Love covers a bunch of sin. Christians need to remember that we are not to be afraid of offending people. And like a parent, we can’t take what an upset child says too seriously, we can’t get to caught up in things that immature people say about us.
One of the things that I look forward to, is seeing this person face to face. I know that may sound weird, but I like to see people who are mad at me. When I do, I try to go speak to them as if nothing ever happened and smile as if they were my bestest friend. I might be apt to live out this scripture a bit; Romans 12:20 (GW) says, But, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.”
I just think that if someone is still mad after three years, they have the problem, not me. So please feel free to send me a blast from the past, you just might be a subject of my next blog.