Posts tagged ‘servant’

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.

January 5, 2012

Fleece

by pastortimfowler

In the Bible there is a story of a man named Gideon who was told by God to do something that he did not think was possible unless it truly was of God and Gideon wanted to be sure of it. So in order to be sure that he had heard from God correctly, he asked God to do something that only him and God knew and something that only God could accomplish as asked. He took a piece of wool, or a fleece, and set it out in the open field and told God that the next morning he wanted to see dew everywhere except on the fleece and then the next night, after God did this, he asked God to do just the opposite. God did what He was asked to do and Gideon knew that God was in fact the one who prompted him to do this God sized task. You can read the account in the book of Judges chapter 6 if you want to get the whole story.
I have asked God for something like this fleece deal in trying to make a couple of tough decisions. I feel weird even saying it, but I can’t wait to see it happen. As I wrote yesterday, there have been some things that challenged me as I have been reading the Bible and a book that a friend gave me. The timing of these two things and my feelings as well as some conversations that I have had with my wife over the last several months have caused me to be quite agitated. Not in a bad way, but in a way that I believe that God is wanting me to do some things that are out of my comfort zone in a major way.
I do not recommend the fleece method of clarifying what God is asking you to do. Gideon was not a weak man of faith, but rather his task that God gave him to do was beyond Gideon’s authority and comfort level to do on his own and he wanted no doubt that it was God telling him what to do. I believe that most of what we need to do for God is written plainly in the Bible and we are not doing them, so why would God ask us to go beyond expectations and why would we need to clarify what is plainly written for us.
No, I am not the perfect person at following everything that God says. I wish I was, but I am not. I do try to live a life of example to the best of my ability. But when it comes to everyday life, God is very clear on how we should live and what we should do. There is not much to fleece God about. And if we ask Him to show us a sign for something so very obvious, I doubt that He will waste His time showing us His miracles when we are not showing Him our faith.
Part of this experience of mine is a gut check of what I should be doing daily. Reading and studying the Bible, prayer for others, sharing my faith, and so on, are being checked and rechecked to be sure that I am not missing the obvious. In fact I would suggest this to every Christian to do on a regular basis. I get this feeling that one of the reasons that the church of today is not seeing the miracle-working power of God as we read about in the Bible is because we have boxed up God into our own little package of religion. If the church were to begin following the commands of Jesus in all that we do, I believe that some things that we consider miraculous today would become routine then.
No, I am not getting ready to play “super Christian” and start freaking everybody out, but I am taking an inventory of what I do and whether or not it is in line with what I preach and read from the Bible. It is not a New Year’s resolution, it just has the timing to be suspiciously like one. But I am tired of hearing that God did this or God did that and everything that happened could have happened even if God did not exist. I want people to see the God of the Bible in the heart of His servant and in the midst of His church. We don’t need a fleece for this, we need to trust God in our actions not just our words.
As far as my “fleece”, I will be just as satisfied if the answer from God is not in line with what I ask of Him, as long as it is in line with what He asks of us.

February 15, 2011

Servants test.

by pastortimfowler

It has been so many years that I don’t remember the last time my wife or I got the flu. But… today the doctor confirmed it…she has the flu. I get paranoid when she gets sick. I will not sleep in the same room and I don’t like being in the same room with her. I use lots of Lysol and wash my hands and take vitamin b and c and other letters in the alphabet. I go out of my way to not get what she has. Here is the bad part. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and you guessed it…I kissed her.
So here is what I am thinking. I want to be a good husband. I want to serve her and take care of her, and at the same time minimize my contact with her. One good thing is she wants to be left alone for right now. I am sitting outside writing this blog.
Jesus said the greatest among us will be those who serve others. I want to be great! I just want to stay healthy. How do doctors and nurses do it? Day in and day out they help sick people. They give them meds and fluff the pillows and help them to the bathroom. These are some great people; real servants.
Jesus touched the sick and the lame and healed them. I would have been more of the type to speak the word with authority and heal them from a distance. I would have sent one or two of my disciples if someone sick needed hands to touch them so that they get better. Maybe that Judas guy; he could touch the sick people.
I guess that is probably one of the reasons God did not chose me to be the Savior. Instead he chose me to be a pastor, who has to visit people in hospitals where there are lots of sick people. Wow, God has a strange sense of humor. And now He has given me a sick wife. The flu, but just the regular flu. Good thing it is not the Swine flu…or is it? Could this be the pandemic we were all waiting for? Could I be the one that nurses her through this horrible time and become a hero to all mankind?
Oh yeah, there is another reason God did not chose me to be Savior, you must be humble.
So here is my test. To be a servant to my sick wife. To not worry about if I get sick but to worry about her getting better. To make her soup when she is hungry and cold and to give her Sprite when she is thirsty and hot. To say soft and loving words of encouragement and pass the test as the greatest servant to ever walk the earth! Oops, there goes that humility thing again.
I would appreciate the prayers for her to get better and me to be great the way God wants me to be great; as a servant.
Now where did I put that Lysol?