Posts tagged ‘servants’

October 18, 2012

Me Me Me…

by pastortimfowler

Help Others

Mark 9:33-34 33 Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ministry is a beautiful thing. It allows the church to help those in need. It is a source of great joy. Unfortunately it can be a source of arguing and troubles. No, this did not start with my church or your church or even your grandparent’s church, it started with the very first people who were followers of Jesus. (see above)
The reason this happens is that we forget to put self aside and be more considerate of those in need. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to himself so that he could live daily for Christ. Far to often Christians forget that this is needed in our lives. We forget that once we are saved, we become workers with Christ for God. We are to become like Christ to people. Christ died for people and lived for God’s will to be done.
The church is not a place to complain because someone else did something to help another. It is a place to rejoice because someone was helped by Jesus and Jesus happened to use one of His own. It is a place to find joy that others are ministering to those in need, even if we can’t or aren’t part of it. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows if we are doing things out of love or for self glory. I trust that and let Him worry about it. Meanwhile, if a person in need gets help and it is from a believer, I give God the glory.
When these disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, they were as far from being Christ-like as they could possibly be. Jesus goes on to tell them that they must be childlike, not childish, in order to become great. Children are obedient. He later tells them that if they want to be great they need to become servants. Servants don’t think that they are great, they too are obedient.
As we grow as Christians we must always be aware that not everything can be explained. Not everything can be communicated. And not everything is meant for us to do. I am sure that others who saw Peter walk on water were a bit jealous that it wasn’t them. I am sure that some may have wished it was them who received the vision of the book of Revelation. But the important thing to remember is that the people who God wanted involved were involved in the things that He wanted done. It just is not about us once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We must also remember that others are watching how we handle adversity. Every Christian has someone watching how we handle things to see if they want to follow us or not. It is not about them following you or me, but are we following Jesus and therefore they should follow us. Some may see our attitude and be offended because they don’t understand why we are upset. It may involve a weaker person and our reaction causes them to fall away. So be careful how you react to things.

Remember that children and servants are to be obedient, not important. Jesus is the important one and so is that person who needs help. We don’t want to hurt someone who is a weaker and younger believer.

Matthew 18:6-7 6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.
7 How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!

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September 28, 2011

Slaves In The Bible

by pastortimfowler

My dear friend has been challenging me to blog about some really tough stuff. So now she asked me to blog about slaves in the Bible. I have been hoping I could do this one for a long time. (Sarcasm noted)
One thing my friend is experiencing is the ignorance of people when it comes to the Bible. Notice I did not say stupidity, although that can be a problem too from time to time, but you can’t fix stupid. Ignorance about the Bible comes from people who are not Christians and people who are Christians. Sadly, Christians form their opinions of the Bible when what they really need is to accept the truth of the Bible. We spend a lot of time picking out one or two things that sound like the point that we want to make and running with it as if it were fact. We take things out of context and the true meaning gets twisted. Any writing taken out of context can be dangerous and any writing that someone sets out to criticize can be condemned by those who want to find fault.
Let me give a brief overview of what the Bible is. It is God’s communication to man in the written form. It is not everything that God knows, but it is what He wants us to know. It is not an old writing that has no relevance for today, but rather a writing that when studied in context, including the context of the culture of the times that it was written, can be applied to any culture and time. Too often people get stuck in what is an event or teaching relevant to only to an era and fail to be able to take the principle of the teaching and apply it to present time. The Bible is the account of God creating the world for humans to occupy, giving them free will to make choices, including wrong choices, and loving us in spite of our flaws. In that love, He gives us a way to restore the flawed humans that He loves so much and gives guidelines for His will in our lives and how to deal with the times when we chose to go against His will and screw things up.
Bad choices have consequences and some of those last throughout generations. Cultures often dictate many of our choices, including ones that God’s people fall in to. Just because God permits something to happen does not mean that He approves of it. We do this with our own children as a teaching tool when they chose not to listen to wisdom, don’t we? In God’s perfect will, we would have no pain, sorrow, or death. Because we have freedom to choose and we chose to go against God, the consequences permeate culture and culture adopts those things that are contrary to God, but seem good to some people, especially those in positions of power.
Slavery was never an idea of God. When we think of slavery, we think of the evil of owning another person and often the mistreatment and abuse of those people. The most common word used in the Bible for slaves is the word servant. There were two types of servants, the person who served you in return for protection, housing, and food, and the other is the person used for forced labor. God gives very specific instructions on how to treat those servants that worked for you in the first capacity. They were to be treated properly and provided for and freed from their obligations to you at the end of seven years, and, even then, they were given the choice of staying with you because this was most similar to a job. God gave harsh penalties for mistreating these servants and never gave the command to own people. Society had made owning people acceptable, not God.
In the case of forced labor, slavery, God is best known for providing their freedom, commonly known as the Exodus, and the movie, The 10 Commandments. God sets people free from all sorts of bondage, especially sin. Sin puts us in the mindset of thinking we are right and God is wrong. Sin causes us to put self before others and is what led to slavery as we think about it in the worst of ways. Sin also makes us slaves to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and money, to name a few. All of which have good and godly ways of being used, but perverted outside of that, in turn result in bondage. God cares about those who are oppressed and provides a way to set us free. He frees those who are slaves to people who pervert authority and those who are slaves to those who pervert the freedom of our own will.
For who the Son sets free, you are free indeed. Only God can provide true freedom, and because of that, I choose to serve Him.

June 29, 2011

Just Do It!

by pastortimfowler

In the book of James, Christians are challenged with an “in your face” look at who we should be. Just in to the first two chapters most who claim to be Christians could walk away with a deep need to re-examine what it means to be a Christian. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this one: James 1:22 Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. Doing what we hear is a test of our faith. I know way too many folks who can quote the Bible very well and yet they do very little of what they quote. Apparently this is not a new problem since James was writing about it almost 2000 years ago.
James also says that faith without doing something with it is basically dead, or worthless. He tells us that even demons believe in God and even tremble at His name. What that means is that saying you are a believer is not enough. We must begin to do what the Bible teaches if we want to be called Christians. With that statement I mean others should be calling us Christians by the way we act, but we all know that most folks outside the church world call us hypocrites.
Can you imaging how many people would be following Jesus if He acted like many Christians act? What if He only quoted scripture and never did anything? What if he only said He was going to die on a cross and be raised the third day? Where would we be today?
By the same token, many people who don’t read the Bible, or don’t go to church, see people who are supposed to represent Jesus and all he taught and what they get is words and not enough actions. James said that if someone asked for food or clothes that really need them and all we do is tell them that we will pray for them that our faith is dead.
Faith should cause us to do good things for people. It should cause us to give because we know that God honors our giving. It should cause us to serve, because Jesus said the greatest among us will be servants. It should cause us to teach because you can’t make disciples if they don’t know what to do. It should cause us to lead children to worship and know Jesus because He said that they were precious to Him and that we must come to Him like a child does.
So here is my challenge. If you are a Christian, and you are not involved in doing what you hear taught from the word of God, start doing something. Here are a few suggestions:
You can pray. This is needed and was modeled by Jesus. Luke 18:1 Jesus used this illustration with his disciples to show them that they need to pray all the time and never give up.
Pray for someone, by name, that you know does not know Jesus. Pray for your church leaders that they are wise and not scared to do what they need to do. Pray for our nation, that we return to are Christian roots.
You can help in the children’s area at your church. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar. You just need to love kids and love Jesus. Mark 10:15-16 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it.” Jesus put his arms around the children and blessed them by placing his hands on them.
Not matter how big your church is, there is never enough help in that area. Some people rarely ever get to worship with “the big people” because they are loving kids. Even if you only help once a month it helps.
You can go out daily and invite people to your church. Luke 14:23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. This is nothing more than telling people, with enthusiasm, how much you love the Lord and your church. What? You don’t have enthusiasm about one or the other? Perhaps it’s because you are not doing what you have been taught and your faith is dead.
Its time to come alive and show your faith! Faith means you really believe it. You sit in chairs because of faith. You drive your car because of faith. Showing people what you know about Jesus should be just as natural because of faith. Like Nike says…Just do it!