Posts tagged ‘Philippines’

July 29, 2013

Back by Popular Griping?

by pastortimfowler

I feel humbled that so many have griped about my lack of blogs lately. Griping seems like such a harsh word though, so maybe I should have used another. Oh well, I can’t think of that word though. I don’t think I will do a daily blog, but I will try to do one a week or so. I have been extremely busy in the past few months and needed some down time from the blogs to deal with more urgent issues.
I have had the opportunity to travel this year. In March I went to Israel and walked where Jesus walked. I was able to see the Old City of David and walk the streets where Jesus carried the cross. I sailed the Sea of Galilee and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. I even had the chance to be baptized in the Jordan River. It was an incredible experience that I would encourage anyone to do if given the chance.
In June I went to Cuba for the third time. Our church is partnering with a church there and this time I led a group of ten men from my church there to help in growing the church in Cuba. We took about 30 soccer balls, 50 baseballs, a bunch of gloves, and some bats and helped them start a children’s sports camp where they can tell kids about Jesus. We are already planning to go back next year and hopefully take two groups from our church next time.
In November I will be flying to see a friend in the Philippines. I have known him for about ten years and he has visited me a couple of times. Although the invite has always been there to visit him, the timing never worked out until now. I am not sure what I will be doing there outside of a lot of preaching and teaching, (Nothing to complain about there). I do believe this will be something that I will do again, if God allows.
Besides these trips, I have had some opportunities to travel quite a bit in the US too. Nothing as incredible as the foreign trips, but certainly nothing to complain about.
So I figured I would start with a blog explaining what I have been doing and hopefully I can elaborate on some of the more interesting parts of each trip in the next few blogs to follow. If not, I will make up something that is every bit as interesting. After all, I have such an amazing life, just being married to that woman God gave me and dealing with these people who come to my church. All of them are weird and or different and give me plenty to talk about.
So if you are one of those who has griped about me not blogging, stand by, you may be part of an upcoming blog. Just remember that I only do this because I love you and…you asked for it.
Thanks for reading and thanks for “encouraging” me blogging again.

Advertisements
November 2, 2012

What’s Up?

by pastortimfowler

I am sure that many of you are wondering what’s up? I have posted very few blogs in the last 2 weeks. For those who don’t know, we had a fire at the church. Of course you should know this because I wrote about it. Things are hectic and on top of that, “normal” church business goes on and I have had a close friend in the hospital ICU this week. So, with no office to work out of and my house full of kids who would normally be in the nursery at church, it has been difficult to blog. And now for the pity part of it, I am sitting in the park in 40 degree temps, writing a blog. Okay, it is actually not that cold and I love this beautiful fall weather, but show the pity anyway.
We will have church Sunday. The clean up of our worship area will be complete today. The other side, where classrooms and offices are, will be at least another couple of weeks before they can be used.
I have also found out how important it is to leave things where you last put them. Many have been calling me asking where things are that have been moved by the guys who are cleaning. I have not been there to watch the whole thing, nor could I have been if I wanted too. When I ask he crew where things are they just point to another person who does the same. In their defense, there have been as many as twenty people working in the same area this week and many things were sent out for cleaning. My feeling is that most everything we will need or are looking for has been sent out. The good news is that for the next few weeks we can blame everything that goes wrong on Sunday on the fire.
I would normally be rather stressed about these things, but I have been given a great peace about it all. It is like God is saying, “Chill…I got this.” So who am I to argue with God? Of course Sunday morning when what I need comes up under the category of unfound and missing, then I will start stressing. But something just keeps telling me that it is going to be a great Sunday. On top of Sunday being expected to be awesome, I am excited about Monday. My brother from the Philippines is coming into town and we are going to send him off to his family with a night of worship.
I love it when Satan thinks he can knock you down only to knock you back into the arms of God. I love it when everything that goes wrong turns around to be alright and what many would see as a curse turns out to be a blessing. I love it when the fire of this world smokes up everything and you find out that at the same time the fire from God was purifying and strengthening His people. I love it when someone who has every right to complain and be bitter, gives you the biggest smile and hug and tells you how awesome God is. I love it when friends that you thought may have forgotten you, turn out to be the first to call and the most help to those in need.
Like I said before, the enemy can only stir the battle, but Jesus Christ has given the victory! The enemy can burn a building, but my God is a consuming fire! His fire consumes sin, cleanses His people, and destroys the enemy.
Thanks to all who have been praying. Thanks to all who have been understanding and patient. And to all who are looking for stuff, it will be found or replaced. But as far as this Sunday goes, don’t let anything bother you. God has some blessings waiting for you.

August 1, 2012

Missions

by pastortimfowler

 

Mission – a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work. Does that not sound awkward? Maybe it is the use of the word propagate, which means to spread, or maybe it is the use of the term religious organization, which could mean anything if you think about it. Sometimes definitions of words bother me and why I get into looking them up is beyond me, but for some reason I do.
When I was younger I use to watch Mission Impossible, the TV show. They were not a religious organization. I use to watch war movies and they would talk about “the mission” that they were on. I used the term, “I am a man on a mission” several times prior to becoming a Christian. Usually it was focused on finding a party or finding a girl or both. All of the examples I gave were to some degree exciting and challenging and even dangerous, especially the girl hunting. So I understand the term and what its root meaning is, and it fits in well with what God has called Christians to do, but, we are not all acting like we have a mission that is exciting and challenging and rarely dangerous.
This whole missions thing is on my mind lately because of my recent trip to Cuba and the fact that my friend from the Philippines will be here this week. Going to Cuba is exciting and challenging and even a bit dangerous. If things go well I will be going to the Philippines too, and that will be exciting and challenging and dangerous. My friend left his family in the Philippines to come here for a few months and they are in an area that recently had a major earthquake it is not uncommon to get typhoons through there this time of year. Why do people do this? Because it is needed.
Much like a soldier has a mission or a secret agent has a mission, God has given Christians a mission. We are to go into the whole world and preach the good news. Yep, the Philippines, and Cuba and Africa and Rock Hill and New York and Los Angeles and, well everywhere. No one said it had to be a foreign country, we are just supposed to go.
Some people think when Jesus said, “go”, that He meant to church on Sunday. Sorry; not what He was talking about. He meant to go where ever there are hurting people who need to know Jesus. Going to church is not what we are called to do. It is important to go to church. I like to think of it as the pit stop in the race. The race is out on the track driving as fast as possible to win, but from time to time you have to pull into the pits to get fuel, tires, and a cool drink of water. This is a short pause with the intent of getting you back out on the racetrack trying to win. Missions is the race, church is the pits.
Maybe you find it nearly impossible to go to a place like Cuba or the Philippines, but everyone goes to the grocery store. Kids go to school and parents go to work, and sometimes we get to go the beach or the mountains. Where ever we go we are on a mission. We are out to show Jesus and God’s love to whoever we come in contact with. It doesn’t mean we sit everyone down and give them the old “Bible beat down”, but we can help someone at the grocery store who may be overloaded and have kids, or we can help that new kid at school who doesn’t have a friend yet, or we can fill in for that co-worker who needs to be with a sick child. We can always be that shoulder to lean on or that ear to listen and that can go a long way into sharing the love of Christ with those who need it.
Some of you are thinking that this doesn’t sound exciting or challenging, and certainly not dangerous. If this is what you are thinking, you must ask yourself, what is more exciting or challenging and sometimes dangerous, than sharing the love of God with someone, no matter where they are? Why do we have to be in another country to do what God has called us and allows us to do anywhere? Maybe you are looking back at the definition and thinking that you have not been commissioned by a religious organization to propagate you faith. That is probably a good thing. Because Jesus should be and is the one who has commissioned His people to go into all the world. But if you think that you need an organization to commission you too, talk to your church and your pastor about it and I am sure they will agree with Jesus and say, GO!

February 3, 2012

Update: Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I talked with my friend’s wife in the Philippines this morning and here is what we know. He has an infection that is causing a high fever that is causing his liver to not function properly. These are all complications due to his diabetes, hepatitis, and lack of funds to have all of his medicines that he should take on a regular basis. The good news is that they think they have caught it quick enough that there will not be any permanent damage to his liver. They are waiting on a few more test results before they make any final determinations. If things go well, he should be released tomorrow.
I told his wife that many people are praying for him and she extends her thanks. I told her that I believed that God would provide for the financial needs that they have and she simply said, “I know that”. They are wonderful people of great faith.
Here is what I hope will happen. Someone out there in the blog world will feel compelled to pay for his medicine. Our church is raising money for another ministry related need that they have, and can always tell them to use the money for medicine, but I know him, he will want to buy the ministry needs first. Before you think that he has his priorities mixed up let me say that he does not. He knows that this body is meant for death and that the soul is meant for eternity. He has a great burden for his people to know salvation through Jesus Christ and believes that it is a higher calling than his physical needs. I of course have told him that if he lets his health go then he will not be able to minister and therefore he needs to take care of himself. It is hard to argue with him.
But I believe that both can be accomplished. I don’t know the amount needed to get the medicines that he needs. I can find out once he is out of the hospital and will if someone wants to know. But here is what I believe will happen through this. Someone reading this blog, who knows God and knows His voice will get the nudge from God to give and it will be the right amount without even being told. Those of faith know what I am talking about. It is a divine intervention that is hard to explain.
If you are new to my blogs I can only assure you that I do not make this sort of thing a habit. I have never asked for people to give before and unless I feel like it is of God, I won’t in the future. This time, I do feel like God wants me to ask, so I do.
Again, you can reach me through Facebook message, email, or our church website if you feel led to help. I will give the contact information to you or you can give through our church and we will ensure that the funds are sent to him. DON’T give unless you feel it is something that God wants you to do or if you are not a religious person, you may feel personally that this is something that you would like to do. Either way I thank you. I ask that you continue to pray for his health and his ministry.
God bless.
Our church website is; http://www.thebodylive.com
My email is: emanrev@msn.com

February 2, 2012

Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I have a friend who lives in the Philippines and he is someone who starts churches and helps pastor of the churches that he starts. I talk to him regularly on Facebook and occasionally on the phone. We first met about nine years ago when he visited my church while here in the states raising funds for his work. For whatever reason God bonded us in friendship and we have stayed in touch and I feel much closer to him than the distance of being half way around the world from him should allow.
The Philippines is for the most part a poor country, and especially where he is. Many people there do not have running water or sewage. He told me the other day about a 3-year-old who died from complications caused by drinking from the river because they do not have the ability to drill deep wells for safe drinking water. His church had to get the body from the morgue for the family who could not afford it. This family of 6 live in a 3 meter by 3 meter room.
Although my friend is younger than I am, he is not in the best of health. He is a diabetic and has hepatitis. On top of that, he has bad allergies that cause frequent sinus infections. Every time I talk to him I tell him that he needs to take care of his health and he tells me that he stays busy so that he doesn’t have to think about it. The availability of medicines is not the greatest and the doctors and hospitals are nothing like what we have here in the states, so even if money were not an issue, the quality of care can be questionable at best.
This morning I got a Facebook message from his wife telling me that he is in the hospital. I have not heard what is wrong or how serious it is. There is a 13 hour time difference that makes talking a challenge, so I am waiting for a reply. I am asking those who believe in God to pray for him. He is an amazing person who cares for his people with great compassion and with very little concern for his own well-being. His wife and kids are amazing people too and they have supported him and his ministry with uncompromising dedication.
I also ask you to pray for that nation. There is a wide variety of beliefs in that country and many are in direct conflict with Christianity. Some even resort to violence against those who don’t believe as they do. There is little help from the government in the form of protection for those who are trying to start the churches. Being a nation of islands, many of the smaller or more remote ones are often ran by those who have little regard for the law. The church in the Philippines is not the powerful force of money and resources as we see in the states. It is much more like the church of the early New Testament, a group of believers who join together to help those in need. Its kind of refreshing when you think about it like that.
There is a need in my friend’s church and ministry for financial help if you were to feel led to do so. I normally would never mention something like this, but I have personal knowledge of the legitimacy of the need. If you are interested in helping out that way, you can contact me via email or message me on Facebook. My email is emanrev@msn.com. I will give you a direct contact source or you can give through our church. But most of all I ask for your prayers for my friend’s health, his ministry, and his country.
Thanks for the prayers and I will update this as soon as I hear about why he is in the hospital or that he is out and all is okay.

January 3, 2012

What Is Important To You?

by pastortimfowler

Here is my first blog of 2012. What is important to you?
I have a friend who pastors a church in the Philippines and although I have only met him personally once, he has an amazing impact on me and my ministry. When we first met nine years ago, I had just been called to pastor a dying church in Rock Hill and he had just started a church in his home town in the Philippine Islands. He was trying to raise money for his ministry and I was trying to find hope in a church that had decided to turn inward and reject the people who lived all around.
Our church had a million dollar building bought and paid for, that included a full kitchen, class rooms, bathrooms, a 400 seat auditorium, and, despite being located in a part of town that was known for its crime and poverty, we have the full support of the police and government. His church was meeting in a graveyard because it was safer than anywhere in town. They had no classrooms, no running water, and if they were caught, they could be killed because of some of the terrorist groups that inhabit the islands and a government and police force that does not have the means to protect them.
Today, I pastor a church that has closed the original church, sold the building, and relocated. We have grown from a group of about 30 to a group of 150 and we have a different building with all the amenities of the previous building. It has been a challenge and a joy to see the change, and despite what I think as challenges, they pale in comparison to my friend’s nine years at his church.
They finally got a building, we would call it a roof over some chairs. They have grown numerically as well and I am sorry to say that I don’t have the numbers to report. They still don’t have it as nice as we do and probably never will, but they continue to grow and worship, despite the unending threats. Last night we talked and he told me that his health was a challenge due to diabetes and they are praying for the finances to be able to by a vehicle to transport people who live too far to walk to church.
In our conversation he told me that God was bigger that health or wealth problems. He said that God has never let him down and had always given them more than they deserved. He was optimistic and hopeful for the new year and knew that God would provide for their needs and allow them to continue to grow and prosper.
If our churches in America were in the same predicament as his, they would close and people would abandon their “faith”. I have seen people leave the church because they did not get their way in choice of color of carpet. I have seen people leave the church because the music was too loud, too slow, too new, or too old. I have seen people complain because there was not enough parking to keep them from having to walk too far in a parking lot. I have seen people complain about not having a playground or not having the temperature of the heat or AC set to their liking. I have heard complaints about my sermons being too long, too topical, too much about money or too much about a particular sin. I have had people refuse to be baptized because the water was too cold and refuse to become members because the church did not have a softball team.
My friend baptizes in a muddy river, has no AC, no parking lot and few vehicles to get people there. They have no carpet, no video system, and no playground. They complain about having to leave too soon if the pastor doesn’t preach and teach long enough. They risk physical harm and even death and still they join the church. They bring their friends and family and then they bring others. They believe that what they have is a blessing and they receive anything more with utter amazement that God would show them such grace. They think the most important thing that they have is their salvation from Jesus Christ. Because of this they make their church and their ministry about reaching lost people and not comforting themselves. They believe that God has and will supply all of their needs and because of that, they make the most important thing in their lives, God.
What is important to you?