Posts tagged ‘rewards’

October 2, 2012

What It Means To Be Called

by pastortimfowler

I have been blessed to be the pastor of my church for 10 years now. In those ten years I have seen a lot of stuff that many might take for granted, but I am still amazed at. Like when people who are one day going to hell if they die and in the very moment that they ask God to forgive them they change their direction toward going to heaven. The church is a place where people from every walk of life should be able to come and find love and forgiveness. God loves people so much that He let His Son Jesus die on a cross as payment for our sin. Once a person accepts this forgiveness, God begins a process of growing us into people who serve others. He requires His people to take a personal role in developing new believers, called discipleship, and often calls men and women to become more than just believers, to become ministers of the gospel. In our church lately we have had several men who have said that they feel called to this ministry; wow!. It is the call that I answered almost 20 years ago and feel very privileged to have done so.
So what does it mean to be called? Everyone is being called to answer God’s call of salvation. Few are called to the ministry in an official capacity and that is what I am talking about. A pastor, evangelist, missionary, youth or children’s pastor all are things that come with a specific calling. The Bible gives some specific instructions in the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus for those who are called. It tells us things like we should not be drunks, we should manage money well, and we should have our family in order. Sadly, many people don’t care about those things and they leave themselves open for criticism and corruption and Satanic attacks. But one of the main things that the Bible teaches about this call is that it is a call to be a servant and that few will be called, but those who are called are called for life.
It was Jesus who said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God made salvation very easy to obtain but the call into the ministry unique. Way too often men answer the call to ministry with an idea of a position of authority. Perhaps they should think about Jesus washing feet, the job of the lowest ranking servant. Perhaps they should remember that Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant.
Titles can be worn by anybody. But they can only be exemplified by those who live out what that title requires. Pastor is a title that has its roots in being a shepherd. Shepherds were not highly thought of in society and rarely told people what to do. Instead they put their lives on the line for some pretty simple animals who needed protection. They have the position of a leader but the responsibility of a servant. Leading as a shepherd means having sheep follow, not telling them where to go and what to do.
Those who are called into ministry must learn to be humble. Humility is rarely a normal human quality. We are taught early and often to look out for number one and that we deserve the best. Jesus was the ultimate minister. He humbled himself even to the point of dying on a cross for those who hated Him. He healed sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead and yet never took the credit for doing great things. His main focus was saving the souls of a fallen mankind who cannot save themselves.
When you are called into the ministry it means that you get serious about becoming not only a teacher, but a student. Although God equips those that He calls, He expects us to submit ourselves to the teaching of those who have gone before us. Sometimes that means submitting to someone without a title or someone who’s personality clashes with our own. Sometimes it means serving in a position that no one else wants to do, not even yourself. Sometimes you have to do it for longer than you want to and remember that you have been called to serve God and man even if man doesn’t give the recognition that you want.
But ultimately being called into the ministry means that God knows that you can do what He has called you to do. What He calls you to do should be the highest priority and pleasing Him the goal. Sometimes the rewards are very obvious, but often they will only be recognized when we get to heaven. But the call to ministry is a life long calling that is worth every second that you serve. Romans 11:29- God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. This means when you want to quit, you don’t. It means when you  get tired, you dig deeper for strength. It means when you don’t see rewards for your efforts that you remember where your rewards are stored, in heaven, and you keep serving in faith.
I have been blessed in that I have been able to make it through some tough times since I have been called. I have seen many souls saved and lives changed and now I am seeing others called. I would love to take credit for some of these things, but I must always keep in mind that if I don’t do what God calls me to do, there are others who will. I am not needed by God, but I am wanted by Him. He loves me; first enough to save me, and secondly enough to call me into this crazy life of ministry. What it means to be called into the ministry is really quite simple. It means that God is God and we have surrendered to Him no matter the cost.

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September 14, 2012

Watching and Waiting

by pastortimfowler

Jesus is Coming

One of the elements of the Christian faith is the promise of the return of Jesus Christ to earth. The details of when and how are often a subject of debate among believers, but it is not something that believers disagree will happen. The truth of the matter is that Jesus said that no man will know the our or the day, and therefore we should be waiting and watchful. This means for some 2000 years now Christians have been watching. That sure is a long time; when is it enough and we are going to say, forget about it?
2 Peter 3:3-4 First, you must understand this: In the last days people who follow their own desires will appear. These disrespectful people will ridicule God’s promise
4 by saying, “What’s happened to his promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of the world.”

Just 20-30 years after the death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven of Jesus, Peter wrote this to the believers who were getting a little tired of waiting. So it is no small wonder that believers today, some 2000 years later are getting tired of watching and waiting. I encourage you to read all of Peter’s second letter, especially the third chapter. He tells us that we need to remember that time for God is not the same as it is for us. He says that a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years is just like a day. We get caught up on God working on our time when we should be preparing to work on His eternal time.
When the early church was told to watch and to wait they were being told a military term. Most people think of watching and waiting as is we are watching a TV show that we don’t like as we wait on our favorite show to come on. This is far from what we are supposed to be doing. The military is on constant watch. They are waiting for two things; the enemy to attack and the commander to return if he is gone.
The first is an obvious thing for a military watch to do. These watches, or soldiers who are assigned positions of surveillance, were always alert, attentive to what they were told to do, and did not sit down with their feet propped up. Because the enemy rarely gives you a warning that they are going to attack, this watch did not get comfortable. Lives were at stake and they knew it. At the first sign of a potential threat, the alarm was sounded and all the other soldiers went into action.
The second thing a military watch was for was to wait for the commanders return. When the commander was away, the unit went into a mode of operation that included a certain vulnerability to internal strife. The return of the commander meant security in leadership. His return was always marked with an announcement of his return. It was a good thing to have the commander return to his people. Upon his return, the soldiers would all tighten up the ranks and walk a little taller and a little more circumspect. There was usually an inspection of the troops upon his return, so the time of waiting was not idle time but rather preparation time. Rewards were usually given out for those who performed their duties in an outstanding fashion.
So Christians are to be waiting and watching. We should be ever aware of an enemy that is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. We should be waiting on the return of our Commander who is returning and will have rewards with Him. He is returning, we don’t know when, but we do know that when He does, He will gather us all together for a time of inspection and rewards. We are not waiting for the next show to begin, we are waiting Jesus to return. We are not watching a show that gets boring and puts us to sleep. We are watching a battle for souls and we are the soldiers who will be victorious.
Don’t get comfortable and go to sleep. Drink a cup of spiritual coffee. I suggest the 2 Peter brand for an eye opener. If that don’t do it, perhaps a shot of Revelation 19 will do it. Meanwhile the rest of us need to make sure our whole set of armor is on and ready for inspection, but even more so, ready for battle. This war is hell, but the winner is Heaven.

August 17, 2012

Trial by Children

by pastortimfowler

a boy and his steed

As I told you a few weeks ago, God was messing with me, I mean, blessing me with extra children around the house. My wife started baby sitting and we took an international student into our home for the school year. I believe the Bible; all of it. I don’t understand all of it and do have some questions for God when I get there. This verse is one I think I will question: Psalm 127:3 – Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him. A reward? Really?
So with the rewards piling up, I was trying to think about all the things that I must have done right to deserve these rewards. I know that I am an excellent husband and treat my wife better than she deserves. I get up early and fix her coffee. I do dishes and cook and sometimes the other way around. I keep the yard looking as well as could be expected and I am just an all around good guy. But to reward me with children for that? Couldn’t God have just given me a couple of free rounds of golf?
I am a great dad to my own children. A raised them for 18 years and through them out of the nest so that they would learn to fly. Sure they bumped their butts a little, but on the third or fourth bounce, they got it. All of them are out of jail and free of any communicable diseases, as far as I know, and they either have a husband who is like me or are a husband like me. That surely does not deserve more children back in my house does it? How about a fishing trip to the Amazon River in South America? That would be sufficient.
I am an awesome pastor too, just ask the people that I pay to say that who use to go to my church. I tell them that they are going to Hell and how to avoid it. I keep all of my sermons short and stay on point so that no one is forced to wonder what I am talking about. I rarely turn down a opportunity to have people buy my lunch if they want to talk to me and, I let people bring me peach milkshakes from Chic- Fil-A anytime they wish. Does this deserve the reward of children? Hardly. Perhaps an all expenses paid Bible conference in the Bahamas might be more appropriate.
And we can’t forget that I provide almost an endless supply of fantastic and informing blogs that keep you on the edge and have you begging for more. These blogs challenge your minds and imaginations and keep you laughing and therefore bring great joy to many lives daily. But reward me with children? No, I am not worthy. It would be more appropriate to send money to my church and designate it for the pastor’s vacation fund.
Yes, I feel like this may be a trial that I am going through. Perhaps a trial to keep me humble and learn patience. Perhaps a trial to learn to accept blessings of great magnitude, even though I may not deserve them, so I should just accept them. If this is so, I thank God for the rewards, but ask God to scale it back a bit and stick with the simple and less rewarding things like golf and fishing trips.