Posts tagged ‘religious’

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!

October 4, 2011

Ashes To Ashes?

by pastortimfowler

My dear friend is at it again; asking me to blog about stuff that is not the easiest to explain and of course, I don’t just explain, I opine. I often wonder what is really at work inside my friend’s head and I am sure that I don’t really want to know. So…the question was about cremation and should Christians be cremated.
If you watch much TV you have heard the minister at a funeral say something like, ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’. It sounds good, but we did not come from ashes and the Bible never mentions coming from ashes or returning to ashes. The Bible does say that we came from dust and will return to dust. That is one reason for a Christian to believe that it is proper to be buried. So before I go any further I will state that cremation is not a Christian or Jewish tradition or religiously appropriate way of disposing of a dead person, (or a live person in case you were wondering).
I can’t find where there is a specific punishment for cremating a body, either for the living who instruct this to happen of the dead who is burned. This body that we live in is perishable and not the one that Christians believe to receive after physical death. That will be a glorified body, immortal and incorruptible according to the Apostle Paul’s writings. This does not mean that we are not to follow the examples of the Bible though. If you see something that is only practiced by the people of God and another practiced only by those who are not people of faith in God, then it is a logical assumption to do what that example says, even if there are no consequences mentioned. One of the commands of Jesus is to follow Him. Guess who was buried? Jesus. When Moses died, according to Deuteronomy 34:5,6, God buried Moses. Every mention of Godly men and women who die in the Bible stated that they were buried. Some may argue that Jesus was placed in a tomb, but it was not a man-made structure, rather a cave or dug out place in a hill. Genesis 3:19, Psalm 104:29 and Job 10:9 all state that we return to dust, reflecting burial in the ground of some sort.
There are several mentions of cremation in the Bible. The term cremate is not generally used, but it is stated that the dead were burned. Some modern translations of the Bible may use the word cremate, but I am not sure. These cremations were always mentioned when disposing of those who were wicked or rebellious. 1Samuel 31:12, 2Kings 23:20, and Amos 2:1 all speak of burning the dead and those who were being burned were not God’s people.
One reason for cremation not being a Christian way of disposing of a body is because burning was also a way of offering sacrifices. On the altar of God, the blood and the fat of the animals sacrificed were burned and the meat was eaten. This was an act of worship that God instructed for as long as the sacrifice has been instructed. Pagan religions also offered sacrifices and some even offered human sacrifices, thus burning the bodies. It was not just the blood and fat, but the whole body that was burned, because except in the extreme cases of cannibalistic people, it was never appropriate to eat human flesh. Even the Israelites fell into the hideous traps of human sacrifice and began to offer their children as burnt offerings. God finds this appalling.
So that is why I never suggest to anyone that they cremate a loved one who has died. Sure it may be cheaper to cremate, but it is not the way that God shows us to dispose of the human body once the soul has left it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to that dead person, and I am not sure how it may affect the living who make that decision, but if we are to follow God’s example, we will bury the dead. Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow, you will produce food to eat until you return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust, and you will return to dust.”

August 18, 2011

Doctor’s visit

by pastortimfowler

My wife and I are among the many who do not have health insurance. Because of this we do not go to the doctor very often. Even when we had insurance, years ago, we did not go that often. I hear people complain all the time about how much their out-of-pocket expenses are even with insurance and have to fight back the laughter. They are complaining about paying $20-50 in co pays for an office visit and we just paid a lot more than that. Even at ten times what your deductible is, this visit was cheaper without insurance. How? Because you are paying for your insurance every paycheck whether you go to the doctor or not.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have insurance for when something major happens. But for regular illness and injury stuff, I had just as soon pay them out-of-pocket. At least then I can negotiate and ask for options without an insurance company to tell me what I have to do.
So you are probably thinking that I don’t like insurance companies. Wrong. I could care less about them. What I don’t like is how people think that insurance is such a great deal and use it all the time. If more people would quit using insurance to cover colds and sniffles and bumps and bruises, all of our medical costs would go down, and the cost of insurance would too. Doctors can’t cure the common cold, make a bruise or pulled muscle heal any faster or prevent you from ever getting sick or injured. With the way people flood the doctors with trivial stuff that would get better on its own, doctors spend far less time than they need to on the big issues that require their services. I wonder how much better attention a patient with a major illness would get if the doctor had not just treated 10 snotty nosed kids who have a cold.
God made our bodies to be amazingly resilient. They can and do fight of all sorts of germs and viruses. They can mend cuts, tears, and bruises. They learn to make defenses against the germs that make us sick and do an incredible job at it, without the aid of a doctor. Believe it or not, most pills only help the symptoms not heal the problem. Sure they can aid in the work that you body does, but rarely do you get better any faster.
I do believe in some preventive medicine. Immunizations are great at keeping us safe from some pretty nasty stuff. Eating well and exercising are good to maintain a healthy weight and fend off illnesses cause by being overweight. Doctors are experts at spotting certain things that can be stopped early, like cancers, and as we age there are things they can help monitor in order to begin treatment as soon as possible to extend our life expectancy.
My point of this is in hopes of people getting back to some common sense living. Insurance companies are not evil. They do not exist to offer us the cheapest possible medical care possible. The exist to make money. That is what companies do in America. If companies don’t make money, you don’t have a job. Making money is not wrong and we can’t blame insurance companies for it either. If you don’t want them to make so much money, quit using them so much. Cut back on coverage. Pay for more stuff out-of-pocket. Let you body and your kid’s bodies heal themselves like God designed them to do.
Can you imagine what it would be like if we used car insurance like we use our health insurance? If every time we were due for an oil change, we filed a claim, flat tire, file a claim, wiper blades, file a claim. No one would be able to afford auto insurance and those who didn’t have it would pay outrageous prices for what is now very common procedures, or not get them done at all.
Thankfully, my wife’s appointment went fairly well. She had a few minor issues, a few screws loose, (haha), and got a few prescriptions. We have the money in the bank, or had it there, and we have found that we both could lose a few pounds, so not eating every other day will help there since the money is now gone. This was a needed visit though and I am glad that we did not have to have insurance just so she could go.
There was a day when our moms would give us some soup and juice and a warm blanket and love us through the sniffles. She would put a band-aid on the cut after she boiled it out with peroxide and we rarely saw the doctor. Maybe we need to return to some of that and quit having so many trips to the doctor’s office.