Posts tagged ‘Satan’

January 7, 2013

Did God Really Say…?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

Today I was reading Genesis chapter 3 and this is where Adam and Eve were tempted and gave in to temptation. It is the fall of mankind from a life of eternal fellowship with God to one of separation from God and the beginning of humanity’s struggle to accept God’s word for what God intends it to be and what we want it to be. Genesis 3:1The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden‘?”
The argument of what God really says or really means is as old as mankind. Because we were given free will, we are unlike any other creature that God put on this earth. We have the choice obeying or disobeying. We can choose to believe in God or not. He will never force us to believe. God wants us to believe that He is our creator and that we are precious to Him and that He loves us. He wants us to love Him and love can never before forced. Free will is our blessing and our curse all rolled into one. It is what allows us to choose to believe in this loving God and accept His provision for forgiveness or chose to believe that we can do it ourselves.
Satan, in whom I also believe in, is a master of deception and a master of twisting God’s words. That is how he works and how he got Adam and Eve to fall into sin. It is because Satan knows that we are prideful and pride causes us to think that no one can do it better than we can. No one can love me like I love me. But this is not true. No one knows me better or loves me better than God, our Creator. But Satan twisted that truth and had Eve questioning the truth of God’s word with a little jealousy to stir the pot. Between our pride, jealousy, and nowadays our lack of reading the Bible completely to know the truth, Satan finds it really easy to get us to ask, what did God really say?
Satan told Eve that God just didn’t want us to have this great knowledge of right and wrong and if we did obtain it, God would be jealous that we would know what He knows and that we would be like God. And, like most kids who are far smarter than their parents, she believed that.
Christians are quick to accept the forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, but then we find loopholes and cause for doubt when we read or hear that the Bible tells us not to do or to do things that we don’t feel good about. Feelings, unfortunately will cost many Christian to miss out on many blessings. These same feelings will cause many who are not Christians to miss out on forgiveness and all the time blame God for sending them to Hell.
God does not send people to Hell no more than people get themselves into Heaven. God simply tells us the truth and we use our free will to believe God, who made a simple and complete way of forgiveness and eternity in Heaven, or to not trust God because we think we know better. And all along the way, Satan is there to encourage us to not trust God.
Here are a few things that God says and you can decide what to believe:

Romans 3:23Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.
Sin is anything that you think say or do that goes against God. This means we have all missed the mark. Most of us don’t have a hard time believing that we have sinned. We just have a hard time believing what will happen to us because we have sinned.

Romans 6:23 The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God told Adam and Eve that they would die when they disobeyed Him. This is a spiritual separation and yes, the physical death is part of the curse. We deserve it because God is God and we are not and we were told to obey Him. His rules, not mine or yours. This is not what God wanted nor wants now, so He gave a solution to our sin problem in Jesus Christ. It is a total gift. This to is not open for our ways to override God’s way.

Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
You must exercise your free will to call on Him or not. But whoever does, will be saved from their sin problem. Again, simple, singular (in that Jesus is the only way) and our choice. God will not nor can not force us to love Him or accept His love. He wants us to know Him and learn to love Him just as a child learns to love his parents.

Romans 8:1 So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned.
Just as God took care of Adam and Eve after they disobeyed, He will take care of us. When we trust God’s word for forgiveness, we get God’s word for eternal protection and eternal life. But if we chose not to believe God, then we chose to find out the hard way that God does not lie. And when this life is over, we will all meet Him. Some will meet Him as Savior, some will meet Him as Judge, but all will meet God one day.

Romans 14:11For it is written, “As I live,” says the Lord, “to me every knee shall bow, And to God shall every tongue confess.”
On that day, we will not get the option to ask…Did you (God) really say…?

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October 30, 2012

Church On Fire

by pastortimfowler

I know its been a few days since my last blog and for those of you whose mental well-being depends on my blogs, I am sorry, but, you are crazy anyway. Things have been really bizarre over the last week, including a church fire. So let me enlighten everyone on what is happening.
As I have told you many times, I pastor an incredible church. The people there are desperate; desperate for doing good things for God. I am SO blessed. We see many people helped all year round. People who are hurting and in need are loved on and taken care of and most importantly, people have their sins forgiven and come to know Jesus. All this made possible because of the people of our church. But there is one bad thing that comes from the people in the church being “on fire”; lots of spiritual warfare. And let me tell you, it has been a battle field in the spiritual realm.
As a pastor of almost 20 years I have seen spiritual battles take place and I have seen God work in some amazing ways. It usually happens during a time of intense growth of the church. I have been part of churches who never seem to have any troubles, but thinking back on those, they also rarely saw people come to know Jesus. You see, spiritual battles are not over things that you and I often think are important, like carpet and music in the church, but it is over those who are lost and those who are saved telling those who are lost how to be saved. I am not talking about a mechanical spiel or a guilt trip, I am talking about sharing love and forgiveness that comes from God to people who need it. And when that happens on a regular basis, spiritual battles erupt.
What are these spiritual battles? Things like tensions between people in the church. If the enemy can get the church turning against each other, the church will quit thinking about those outside the church who need Jesus. Things like getting people focused on material things over spiritual things. Far too often the church worries about stuff and forgets about people. When the church thinks that its buildings and the stuff in the buildings are as important as people, the battle swings to the enemy’s favor. And if the enemy can’t get the people fighting with each other or worrying about their stuff long, then they are defeated.
Yep, we have been faced with some stuff like that. Some things that should have been trivial were escalated and some people who should be working together got to working alone and our focus was being pulled away from God and started focusing on stuff. All of this because we are winning this battle for souls. God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, won the war on sin. But the battles still rage. The enemy can’t take our souls back, so they try to keep us distracted enough to where we are not reaching others who need salvation.
I am so thrilled that over the course of this year, our church has seen nearly 100 people come to know Jesus. And because of that, we see the heat of the battle. And because we won’t give in to the those distractions, the heat was turned up; literally. I believe the church fire was part of this spiritual battle. Sure, accidents happen, but everything happens for a reason. God allows us to experience things for a reason and the enemy will move in to areas where weakness is displayed. But I am confident that this battle is going to be a terrible defeat for the enemy. Just two months away from starting our 2nd worship time, we are now faced with not being able to use half of our building. A devastating blow to a church that loses its focus, but a rally cry to a church that is on fire for God. So I look forward to watching even more people being loved on and even more people coming to know Jesus and an even more determined group of people putting aside the trivial things that have tried to distract us over the last week, turning into an even greater focus on the things of God. That is just the type of folks I get to serve as pastor.
Our church may have been damaged by fire, but the fire of its people just got fueled. Don’t doubt me. The fight is on! Our church is on fire!

October 3, 2012

Dead Car Batteries

by pastortimfowler

Car Battery

This morning I was told that my wife’s car would not start. It had been hard to start for a week or so now and we have been putting off the inevitable of buying a new battery. It’s funny that every time something goes wrong with your car that you think the worst and my wife does this well. She said, “I hope it’s not the alternator”. I am not sure if she really knows what the alternator is or does, but it sounds worse than a dead battery. But this got me thinking about our spiritual lives and I thought I would draw out this analogy.
A car’s electrical system is a lot like our spiritual life. It is all tied together and certain things can make us unable to run and in some cases even unable to start.
The battery is our free will. Although it comes fully charged, unless it is in a car that is fully functional, it is nothing but a bunch of useless chemicals. Put it in a car that is fully functional and it becomes a major part of the car’s ability to function. But of itself, the battery has no power at all. It must be charged in order for it to come to life. The factory puts the charge on the battery, but unless something is available to continually charge it, it dies.
The car has a charging system and the alternator is that which provides power to the car when it is running and charges the battery so it stays fully charged and able to start the car. This is our relationship with God or God’s will. The battery starts the car, then the alternator takes over. If you tried to run the car without the alternator, the battery would soon die and the car would cut off and not start again. So the alternator is what really provides power to the functioning car. The battery is only the starting power and the alternator is the staying power.
Our free will as Christians is constantly used to try to start our Christian life each day. That is a hard task and takes lots of power. If our spiritual batteries are not fully charged, sooner or later we will not get started at all with what God wants from us. Our free will must constantly be given over to the power and will of God in order for us to continue running as intended. It is then that we take the load off of our own abilities to function as designed and allow God to be the driving force.
As long as the car is running, even if the battery is dead or taken out of the car, the car will still run because the alternator is providing all the power. But when you cut the car off, and we all have to do this from time to time, the dead battery makes it impossible to get started again without something happening.
Often the answer is what we did for the last couple of weeks. We just used jumper cables and got some starting power from another vehicle. Other Christians can do this and in cases where the battery was just drained due to leaving the lights on while the engine was off, it might be all that is needed. But do this too often and the battery will go bad and don’t forget that over time all batteries go bad. They just are not perfect, kinda like our free will.
In the case where the battery dies, it is easy for people to jump to the wrong conclusion and say that the alternator is bad. These things rarely go bad and in the case of God’s will, it never goes bad. But when we struggle as Christians, Satan is there to tell us that it is the worse case scenario. This is kinda like my wife’s thoughts…NO! I am not calling her Satan, it just works for this analogy. When that happens we can do a couple of things. Listen to your husband, the wise Christian, to tell you that it is not as bad as you think. Getting godly council is like listening to someone who knows cars. They can help calm you down when Satan attacks with his lies.
But every car comes with an owner’s manual and they often give some very simple troubleshooting tips. In this case, the owner’s manual would say that the most likely problem is the battery. The Bible, our owners manual, will tell you that our free will is most often the problem to our challenges in life. Every now and then, we need to replace the battery. When we need to replace the battery, we go to the parts store and tell the person that we have a problem and need a new battery. If we go there and tell them that we don’t have a problem, they can’t fix it. So the obvious must be stated. This is our prayer life and God is the person to fix our dead battery.
We must confess our sins. 1John 1:9 says. If we confess our sins, God is faith and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Unrighteousness is our free will. Forgiveness is God’s will. When God replaces our will with His will, we can begin to start our days again without the whining and groaning of a dead or dying battery. Remember this, the quicker a car starts, the sooner it runs off the alternator’s power and stops draining the battery.
There is nothing wrong with replacing a battery. It must be done from time to time. Free will is the same way, it can work for a while to do God’s work, but even under the best conditions we must replace it from time to time. Dead car batteries are powerless. Dead free will is too. God’s will is the life-giving power to keep our free will full of power.

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.

May 21, 2012

Be Careful of Pride

by pastortimfowler

 http://www.creationswap.com/cottagedesign

As you have heard in the past, I pastor an incredible church. I try not to say that too often because they will get big heads and start thinking that I like them. Then they would expect me to keep saying nice things about them. Anyway, this weekend was great. We are very blessed to have a place where our folks can feel good about bringing their friends who don’t go to church. Every week we have new faces in the crowd because someone is bringing friends. As a pastor, this is both refreshing and humbling.
This Sunday we were privileged to get to baptize 5 people. For a church our size, about 150, it is unusual to see so many baptized at once, but we do this quite often. So far this year we have baptized over 25 people. We had a few others who were scheduled to be dunked but they did not make it due to sickness in the family. I was disappointed.
I am not sure of why I let it bother me but it did. I am thrilled that 5 people were there, but was strangely bothered by those who did not make it. I understood that there was reason they did not come, but it still bothered me. I would like to explain that I have a competitive nature and somehow felt like I was winning a race or something. Even though I still won, I could have done better, if that makes sense.
You see, baptizing people means that people are getting to know Jesus. When people get to know Jesus they accept Him as Savior. When they accept Him as Savior, they no longer go to hell and Satan loses. Take that! Punk! When Satan loses, God gets the glory and when God gets the glory, I like it. But there is still something in me that likes to think I had a part in it. I like to think God has used our church as a small part of His plan. I struggle with the prideful side of this, but I guess it is okay to be proud to be on the winning team.
When God allows us to be part of what He is doing, we must be careful to never forget that without Him there is nothing that really matters. If there is no God, then baptized people just got wet and our church is a place where strange delusions cause people to act weird. But because there is a God, we act weird and dunk people in water because they are professing to know Jesus. Either way I guess it can sound a bit strange.
Pride can take you in ways that you shouldn’t go. It can cause you to think about self and feel pitiful if you don’t get what you want or it can motivate you to do more so that others get what they need. My feeling blah about the folks that did not make it this Sunday was a little of both. I guess I should be careful not to let the negative side of pride get the best of me. There are many churches out there would be thrilled to baptize 5 people in a whole year, and I got to do it in one Sunday morning. WOOHOO!

April 27, 2012

Inferiority Holds You Captive?

by pastortimfowler

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rubyblossom/4299889293/

This was a subject given the other day when I asked for blog ideas. It is difficult to keep this short and yet get the point across but I will try.
I am not sure if this is all bad. One of the qualities of a person who believes that they are inferior is that they are usually humble. Humility is a wonderful Christian asset and often is very hard for people who always feel confident. But I do think that there are some things that the Bible says about this and maybe this will shed a little light.
Let’s look at Moses. When He met God through the burning bush, he was told that he would be the one to deliver God’s message to Pharaoh. Moses immediately responded that he could not do it because he wasn’t good enough due to poor speech, afraid people would think he was a liar, and overall just afraid. If anyone in the Bible had an inferiority complex it was Moses. Yet he turned out to be one of the most influential people in history.
The Bible says that we were not given the spirit of fear, but of peace, love,and a sound mind. A sound mind, (and this is not saying if you feel this way that you are crazy), is the ability to think clearly because God gives us wisdom and we have faith in God. Moses was not using a sound mind when he argued with God that he could not do what God asked him to do. But God is patient and continued to overcome Moses inferior objections. Ultimately Moses had the faith to not only go to Pharaoh, but to lead his people for 40 years with God’s guidance.
The only person that the Christian is inferior too is God. We must remember, with humility, that a we are children of the King of Kings, the Lord of all creation, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
The captivity of a feeling of inferiority is only a tool of Satan who would have us do anything other than listen to God. Jesus said, “With God, all things are possible.” Satan would say, “You can’t do what God expects of you. You are just not good enough.” Satan wants us to believe that we aren’t good enough and that God can’t or won’t use us.
We are not deserving of salvation and we can’t be good enough. We are saved because of God’s mercy and love for us. After salvation, we are co laborers with God to build His church. He equips us and gives us everything we need to be successful. We need humility to keep us from thinking that we are better than anyone else just because we are Christians, but never need to feel inferior, because Jesus said that all power and authority was given to Him and He is the one who empowers us.
We are no longer people in bondage, no matter who we are or what our personal hang ups are.
John 8:36So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.

April 13, 2012

Is It War?

by pastortimfowler

When I was in the Navy, we got to hang around with Marines quite a bit. The Marines have an amazing way of taking something as stressful as what they are called to do and making it look easy and some of the strangest comments about war that I have heard have come from a Marine. I don’t think that anyone really likes war, and some would say that there is never a time for war, but the fact of the matter is that there are wars and they are not pretty.
One Marine friend of mine said that he was taught in boot camp that war was about killing people and breaking things and that is why God created Marines. That may sound overly simplistic, but in reality it is very true. Somehow we have gotten this idea that wars can be fought with minimum of either one of those things happening. If we only had a smarter bomb or better intelligence, we could not kill as many people and break fewer things. But that will only lengthen the time it takes for the ones that you are fighting to give up and surrender. Remember that old saying, “all’s fair in love and war”? There was a reason behind that saying and it wasn’t so that fewer people would die and less buildings explode. As long as we try to make a war a good one and a cleaner and safer war, we are going to be terribly disappointed. Wars are not meant to go on forever and are not meant to be political. They are about killing people and breaking things and whoever kills the most and breaks the most usually wins.
The other day my blog was about words and their meanings. War is one of those words that we have used to the point of not really understanding what it is. When I was a teen, the USA started the war on drugs. Now we have marijuana just about legalized and more people than ever addicted to prescription drugs, not to mention the most addictive street drugs that have ever existed. We have a war on poverty that has only resulted in more people on food stamps than ever before.  What we in the USA consider poverty would be considered middle class in most other countries. The latest “war” that everyone is hearing about is a war against women. Supposedly, if you don’t believe the same way about birth control as someone else, that makes you at war against half of the people on the planet. Come on people, these things are not wars.
There is one war that few recognize, but it is about killing people and breaking things. It is a spiritual war for your soul. Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to deceive and lead souls to an eternal death. Satan wants to destroy marriages, and the lives of our children by fooling them into thinking that they are just some sort of mistake that resulted in our existence. He wants to destroy your reality by getting you addicted to drugs and alcohol. He wants people to think that the most important thing in life is the fun that you can have and that the thought of a God that is the ultimate King of the universe is only for people who are weak-minded and uneducated.
God has given us victory over all of this, but He is not drafting people to fight on His side. He is accepting volunteers and is willing to equip those who join the fight with everything needed to defeat the enemy. The Bible describes the final battle in this war as one where Satan and his followers are destroyed and their kingdoms wiped out. Those who are on the winning side will take part in a Kingdom that on this earth is only a fantasy. The Kingdom of God, where there is finally peace and war no longer exists, because the real war was fought and the enemy and his stuff was destroyed.
God knows how to win a war.

November 25, 2011

Ism’s

by pastortimfowler

If you know me then you know that I love Facebook and that I am a sick man. Anyone who loves Facebook must be sick. But I do and I love to goof off and mess with people, while at the same time, try to remember that I have a responsibility to share my faith with others and to defend my faith as well. But you know what that means…trouble. So I should learn to listen to my dad who said to just walk away from a fight. Unfortunately I didn’t walk away from many physical fights when I was young and I didn’t walk away from a Facebook fight the other day. I thought that I would share what I learned and then add some brilliant commentary.
A good friend of mine is a vegan. No, not an old car made by Chevrolet, a person who doesn’t eat meat. I don’t know why I like someone so silly, but I do. She will occasionally post some stuff letting me know how ignorant I am about animal feelings and I can’t resist telling her that I only see a meal. We joke often, but deep down she knows that I am right and that she really wants a steak. It is because of this that I am considering a vegan converting scheme that will cause her to stock a freezer full of yummy beef products. I am going to start a farm where cows are raised and pampered and groomed and only eventually die of old age, and then butchered while soft, sad music is playing. What vegan could resist this? And before you say it, I know, this is a stroke of genius.
Now back to my original thought. I had a few folks who were determined to convince me that anyone who ate meat was sinning. Even though I presented several verses of scripture that showed otherwise, they were insistent that even the killing of an animal was a sin, which would mean that God was a sinner and everyone who ate the Passover meal was a sinner because they were doing what God said. The discussion went back and forth for a while, longer than I should have had an interest in it, and finally ended as I drew everyone’s attention back to my friend by making jokes at her. (She loves it).
I believe that making a choice to be a vegan, eating only plants and plant products is perfectly fine. I believe that if you make this choice because you have great compassion for animals it is perfectly alright. But as soon as you allow this to pervert what God’s word says, it becomes an “ism”. Here is the definition of an “ism” from the dictionary: (noun)- informal, derogatory, often an unspecified doctrine, system, or practice. This is done with race, socio-economic status, beliefs on evolution (Darwinism) and many others.
We don’t like to think of the world in a purely good and evil sense, but it is. Jesus said if you are not for Him, you are against Him. Satan will use anything to drive a wedge between you and God, even the food we eat. The Apostle Paul spent some time explaining that eating meat that was sacrificed to idols was okay, unless it offends the weaker believer. The Pharisees tried to tell Jesus that His disciples were sinning because they ate without washing their hands. Anything that can cause us doubt about God and His word is dangerous to us and is a result of evil forces working against us.
If you believe that evolution supersedes creation as described in God’s word, you are wrong and are influenced by Darwinism. If you believe that following the ten commandments gets you to heaven when the Bible is clear that Jesus is the only way, you are wrong and are following Legalism. If you believe that your race makes you better than another race, you are wrong and following Racism. If you believe that eating only plants is correct and eating meat in a sin, as it was told to me in the Facebook discussion that the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill”, you are wrong and are following Veganism.
I am proud to be white, but white don’t make me right. I love my race, but hate racism. I want to try to follow the ten commandment, but realize my need for a Savior as a law-breaker. I do not abuse animals and I am perfectly aware of some who do, and they are wrong. But eating meat is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God. Veganism can be dangerous if it perverts the word of God. Many movements start out with great intent but get twisted by people who are misleading, then they risk becoming “ism’s”.
Being a vegan because you have compassion for God’s creation and you made this choice because of your inner conviction, makes you, well, like my friend, the vegan Christian. She can take the jokes as well as dish them out. She stays true to her convictions, and, although I can’t read her mind, I feel pretty confident that her most important “ism” was her baptism.
Be careful little child what you see, be careful little child what you read, be careful little child what you hear. There’s a Father up above, And He’s looking down in love So, be careful little eyes what you see.

August 23, 2011

Tell The Truth

by pastortimfowler

The hardest sin in the world to not do is lying. I am sure that someone is already saying that they don’t lie, so that should be proof that we all do it. Personally I struggle with approximately 783 different sins on a regular basis, but I am special. In those, lying is incorporated into half of them. There are times when I want to lie so bad it almost hurts not to. I feel the convictions all the time and often rip my cloths like they did in the Old Testament when they were upset. Can anyone see that there may be a few lies mixed in to this already? I like to call them artistic liberties.
Lying is deeply engrained in us. It starts as babies when we learn that we can cry for no reason and mommy will come get us. No one ever taught us how to lie, it just starts to happen. When mom or dad asks us if we did it and we say no, knowing that we did and that our parents know it before they asked. The Bible tells us that Satan is the father of all lies and so he uses that against us all the time.
I am not saying that everyone is a habitual liar or chronic liar, or lying for evil ways. I am just saying that we all lie and it always ends up coming back to get us. We are taught in children’s stories like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, that lying is wrong and has consequences. Our parents and teachers tell us that we shouldn’t lie and yet we still do it. And, I can think of a few times when lying has seemed like the right thing to do and therefore justified it. I am not proud of that fact, but this is one time I am not lying.
Let me give a few things that most of us have lied about. Our age, even jokingly, we do that. As young boys noticing girls for the first time, especially the older ones who liked only older guys, we often said that we were a few years older than we really were. Women as they get older never get older. Our occupation. This usually has to do with impressing the opposite sex too. I have held several fictitious positions in my life. Our income. Again, often tied to impressing the opposite sex, but sometimes we do it to get credit that we don’t think we qualify for. Our weight. Most of us are heavier than we say we are. Why that matters, I am not sure, but it is a lie for most of us. Our availability. You know what I mean. Sorry, I am busy that day or time, when really you just don’t want to be around that person. Our family. Sounds strange, but I had this uncle growing up that did everything and had everything and took me everywhere, even though no one ever met him. Wrong number. Who hasn’t used this one? I did not know what the speed limit was through here. HA! Yes we do, we just didn’t plan on the cop using radar that day.
Most of these are common and relatively harmless, except for the fact that God hates lies and He did not say only the big ones. He does not like “stretching the truth”, fibbing, or little white lies. He doesn’t even like it when a husband says, “sure honey, that looks fine” so that the wife doesn’t get mad at you.
That being said, how can we deal with this lying thing?
I have found that often a lie can be averted by asking the question, do you really want me to answer that truthfully? That causes people to at least think long enough for you to think about how to tell the truth tactfully. You don’t have to scream to your wife, “Oh my gosh, that thing is hideous!” You could say that you don’t think it compliments her like some other dresses she wears. You can just tell the truth and let people know that if they ask you something they can expect the truth and most people will then be very careful what they ask you after a while.
I have some good news and I have some bad news about lying.
The bad news is that lying is a sin. God hates it and expects better from those who claim to know Jesus as Savior. The good news is that He forgives us if we ask and make an attempt to change our ways.
The bad news is that many people lie about knowing Jesus as Savior. They act the part, but it has never been a real conversion. The good news is that God waits patiently for those who don’t know Him and freely gives salvation to those who trust Him by faith.
The bad news is that many people die thinking they were good enough to get to heaven, but they believed a lie. No one can be good enough. We are all sinners and need to be forgiven and need to ask for it. The good news is that no one has to die and go to hell. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you trust the truth, you will be forgiven. God loves us that much.
I was told that if you lie, you will eventually have to tell another lie and then another and so on. But if you tell the truth you never have to remember which lie you told to who. I guess that is what makes God so awesome. He only tells the truth, He never has to change it and He never has to apologize for it. When Jesus told us to let our yes be yes and our no be no, He was simply saying…tell the truth.

July 26, 2011

This Will Be Tough

by pastortimfowler

Day two of the return from vacation and it is like I was never gone, except for this huge back-log of stuff that needs to be done because everyone else did not take vacation the same time that I did. I think next time it should be mandatory that we all take vacation at the same time, and that way no one will come back and be behind.
While I was gone I was praying about my next series that I will be preaching. I have struggled from day one of having the thoughts that perhaps this is where God wants me to spend some time teaching and preaching. I have even questioned the fact that this was the direction that God was leading because I was having such a difficult time with it. Then it dawned on me that I was about to preach the most incredible series that God has ever allowed me to preach and that was why I was struggling so much. You see, I believe with all my heart that Satan does not want this series to happen.
Even as I am writing this blog, I am not 100% sure of the exact direct that God is going to take me or even how long the series will be, but I do know that it is biblical, bold, and basic. The series if about how we deal with the truth. The truth is so simple, so easy, so basic, but yet everyone messes it up.
From the beginning of time, the truth has been challenged. If you are reading this as someone who does not believe in God, you still deal with this struggle only from a different angle, but in the beginning of human’s existing on earth, the truth was twisted to deceive us. For those who don’t believe in God, your struggle is who decides what is true. But either way, truth exists and when we stray from it, we get into all sorts of dilemmas.
Some say that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that truth is somehow relevant. My argument is that there has to be at least one absolute truth, even in that argument. Here it is; it has to be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. I don’t want to linger here, maybe another blog.
I want to challenge Christians to live the truth. If you believe that God’s word is true, then we must live like it is true, and if you are a Christian that doesn’t believe that, you can’t be sure that you are a Christian at all. Trusting anything but the truth is dangerous. All lies are for someone else’s benefit, not yours. The truth is for the good of everyone and I say that because Jesus says that He is the truth.
I ask for Christians to pray for me as I study and preach this series. I ask you to pray that you are able to not just hear the truth but to trust it enough to do it. In the Bible, James tells us that without doing what we hear from God’s word we are just fooling ourselves. I would love for you to hear this series and I normally don’t do this, but if you are not in the Rock Hill, SC area, you can listen to it online. All of our sermons are posted within a couple of days after they are preached and often they are posted that Sunday. Go to http://www.thebodylive.com and listen to this. It will be tough, but it will be, the truth.