Posts tagged ‘Pharisees’

August 10, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

by pastortimfowler

Should I stay or should I go?

I love, absolutely love, being a pastor. I get to see people grow and change and learn to be servants. I get to share God’s love with people and see the fruits of my labor. I have been blessed to have a church full of people who are passionate about what has happened to them and are sharing it with others. Even when I think that I want to pull my hair out, and for those who know me, that means things are really stressful and weird, I still love what I do.
This past few weeks has been both stressful and weird. On top of funerals, surgeries, and the other everyday stuff a pastor can deal with, I have been dealing with getting use to having an international student in my house. He is a great kid, so far, and I will get used to having a teenager in my house again, I hope, but this is quite an adjustment for me. I am a creature of habit and don’t mind having a routine that rarely changes. When it does, I have to think that God is trying to teach me something, or, He has decided to show me a sick sense of humor.
In the last couple of weeks I have had a few people tell me the they think that God wants them to leave our church. Before some of you panic, this is not uncommon. I think about leaving at least three of four times a week, and that is in a good week. The reason people tell me that God may want them to leave our church is because they feel like they are not getting along with someone or that things are changing and they don’t like it. I want to address those two reasons for a minute.
First, if there are people who you are not getting along with, consider that God may want you to change something about you, like patience, instead of changing churches, after all, love is patient. Sure I know that most of you are perfect and have no need for change in your own lives, but there are a few who need to learn that God often puts us around people who are different to get us to love those who we don’t like. Luke 6:27, But I tell everyone who is listening: Love your enemies. Be kind to those who hate you. If you are attending a church in hopes of liking everyone you are going to be disappointed. Our command is to love people, not like them. Being the new kid on the block only lasts for a while and then reality sets in. You will find people who disagree and maybe even disappoint you. Those are the ones who challenge you to be more like Jesus, who by the way, does not like everything we do either, yet still loves us. We are not put into the church to be liked or to like everyone. We are put here to serve God and bring Him glory. I am sure glad Jesus did not walk away when He found out someone did not like Him.
Second, is the change thing. Change is always going to make some people uncomfortable. But think about this; if nothing ever changes in church, people are not getting to know Jesus. I would like to offer this suggestion. Rather than getting upset about change, get upset about the status quo. Get upset when you do the same thing week in and week out and never get comfortable with the way things are. The Pharisees got upset because Jesus changed the way they had always done things. Those were the religious guys and the ones who the church way to often resembles. Yet it was their lack of change that had Jesus nailed to the cross. I am very glad that Jesus changed things or I would still be headed to hell. Change is a good thing. Perhaps instead of leaving to find a church that stays the same, you should look and see if it is you that needs to change. I know that I have to evaluate how to change on a daily basis.
Changing the church you attend is often needed. I am not so naive as to think that everyone should stay in the same place all the time. I have changed churches a few times myself. I did know that there was a specific purpose for my change and that it was God that wanted me to go elsewhere and not my own pride or selfishness. But to change churches for the two reasons above is often just that, prideful and selfish. Solving problems instead of running from them helps us to grow and to understand the heart of God better.
If you need to go, I give you my blessing. You will know it is God when you have complete peace about it and can tell anyone who asks the reason without fear or confusion. Fear and confusion are not from God. The very best servants of God, like Paul and Barnabas, left churches to serve elsewhere. Sometimes the best are needed somewhere else to help others grow. That is part of God’s plan and design and I am all for that.
Meanwhile, don’t let Satan cause you to leave where God is working, and He is working at our church. People are coming to know Jesus as Savior every week and others are growing and learning to serve others to help them be more like Christ. Satan is a liar and a punk. He loves complacent churches where nothing ever changes and people rarely get saved. He loves it when we get focused on ourselves and forget that we should be helping others. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble. He said that people would dislike us and that we should never grow weary of doing what is right. Doing what is right is not always easy. Doing what is wrong often is. Think about it.

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March 24, 2011

Caught in the Act

by pastortimfowler

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is John 8:1-11, the woman caught in the act of adultery. Today I was reading it again and again I was blown away. In case you have never read it I will try to sum it up for you.
Jesus was teaching a bunch of people in the temple, (church for us). There were these guys called Pharisees. These were very religious men who knew the Bible, at that time, the Old Testament, by memory. They could quote it without even missing a punctuation mark.
Let me pause here to say that I wish I knew the Bible that well. I also wish that everyone I knew that claimed to be Christians would strive to know the Bible that well. Even if we never got it all memorized, we would have to be better off for knowing the Word of God better.
So these guys brought a woman to Jesus and she had been caught having sex with a man that was not her husband. The Old Testament law required that this woman be stoned to death for this act and the Pharisees were asking Jesus what He was going to do about it.
If that seems extreme, try to remember that the Bible is very clear that the price of sin is death and the Old Testament law was so that the Jews saw that price just as much as they saw the miracles of God when they lived right. This is another teaching for another time though.
Jesus is the Righteous Judge and like any judge has the right to pass any sentence up to the maximum under the law. So here is what He did. He wrote something in the dirt with His finger. The Bible does not say what He wrote but I have a theory. There is only one other place in the Bible that God writes anything with His finger. In Daniel 5:22-28, the finger of writes, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, which means, counted, counted, weighed and divided. The purpose was to show an unholy people that God knew everyone of them and that everyone of them were found unholy and that they would become a divided or broken people for their sinfulness.
The Pharisees who brought this woman to Jesus would immediately know this writing and because they were a sinful bunch, they were left with no choice but to lay down their stones when Jesus said, Let you who have no sin throw the first stone at her.
Now this does not excuse the woman. She was in front of the Judge, guilty as charged. But the Judge can do something that is well within His jurisdiction. He can show mercy. So Jesus tells the woman, I don’t condemn you, go sin no more.
Are we like the Pharisees? Are we learning God’s word so we can find fault in others? Think about this…What were these guys doing to have caught her in the very act? Were they looking through windows, following her around until they found something wrong? Then when they caught her, I bet they didn’t let her get dressed and fix her hair before they took her to Jesus, all the while they were dressed in their finest holy attire, looking like they were special.
Jesus never asked us to look good, but rather to do good. He never asked us to catch wrong doers, but to stop doing wrong. He asked us to love even those who were enemies and pray for them and show the same compassion and mercy that He did.
He told her that she was sinning, nothing she didn’t know already. He told her that she was not condemned because He could forgive her sins. Then He told her to stop having this affair, sin no more.
This is how we should handle things. Like Jesus. If we are seriously wanting to see someone sin, all we need to do is watch ourselves and we too will be caught in the act.