Posts tagged ‘sinners’

January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

August 31, 2012

Expert Predictions

by pastortimfowler

20082005

College football season started in my house last night. I am a huge SC Gamecock fan and have been all of my life. Last night they barely won a game that should have been a blow out according to the experts. I really hate it when the experts say stuff like that and I buy into it. In football, anything can happen and usually does especially when you are talking about college ball.
I listen to a lot of experts predict things and I can’t tell you how often they are wrong. For instance, the weather forecaster on TV. They are considered experts in weather and yet they probably only get it right half. I was watching the forecasts for hurricane Isaac and a week before it came close to Florida, they were saying that it would hit Tampa. It made landfall in New Orleans. Just this morning I heard the forecast for my area was to be mostly cloudy and I am sitting in bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky.
Experts in the financial world are not much better. Every time we get a jobs report it is worse than the experts predicted. Stocks go up and down every day despite what they say and those same experts who blame speculators for oil prices going sky-high, never mention the speculators when it drops to record lows. Three years ago many of the experts said that we would be well recovered from the recession we are not still in, and yet unemployment went up in over 30 states just last month.
Experts predicted that in the year  2000 AD on New Years day all computers would freak out and it didn’t happen. Experts said that cars were not going to catch on and flying would never happen. They said that everyone would be flying around instead of driving by now and that a new ice age was coming, but now its global warming. They said salt would kill you, now it won’t, saccharine would kill you, but not really now, red meat was good but now its bad, and that if you would just take this pill or that one you would never get fat.
So far the experts have messed up a lot of predictions. There is one source of predictions that I have found to be really accurate; the Bible. The Old Testament is full of predictions that Jesus would come to earth and die, and He did. In fact almost 1000 years before it happened, great details of the crucifixion were written in Psalm 22. The Bible predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be totally destroyed and it happened. It predicted that several super powers would fall and gave a time frame to when it would happen, and it did. Very few historians disagree with the historical accuracy of the Bible. It is used as a historical document far more than most would ever guess. What is disputed is the claim to be the word of God and that the God of the Bible is who it claims Him to be. But with all of the weird and far out predictions the Bible has already gotten right, it does make you wonder if it could be right about God too.
In the New Testament there are some really far out claims that when made could never be imagined and today are not far away from being a reality. It says that there will be a time when money will be useless and that no one will be able to buy or sell without a certain mark. When that was written 2000 years ago it was absurd to think about that possibility and even as little as 20 years ago it seemed far-fetched. Yet here we are today with fewer and fewer people using cash and the need to carry cash is almost obsolete. It tells us that Jesus will return to earth one day and when that happens, everyone will see it. Today that is as close to a possibility as ever before with the video phone capability that everyone has.
With so many experts being so wrong so often and the Bible being right so often, why do people doubt the simple things that the Bible claims? Like all humans are sinners. No one has to be taught to lie, it comes natural. It says that all sinners will be judged by God and that we either stand on our own merits or we can stand on the merits of Christ. His death on the cross, also not disputed by historians, is an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. What is disputed is that Christ rose from the grave. It says that God loves us enough to allow His Son to die for us and that if we will live for Him, He will give us eternal life.
Eternal life is something many experts agree that humans have or will have. What form it takes and how we achieve it is what is in question. Some say that we earn it, the Bible says it is a gift. Some say it is a never-ending cycle of coming back as other creatures. Some say that everyone goes to heaven and the Bible says that only those who trust in Christ go. Some say that eternal life will be achieved through modern medicine and this causes those who are rich to spend millions to preserve their corpses in hopes that they can be revived when that time comes. The Bible says that we all die and after that there is judgement. Judged on our own works or on what Christ did for us.
So given the accuracy of the expertise of man and the expertise of God, I will choose to go with God. After all, if last nights game was any indication of the expert’s ability to get it right, I don’t want to risk my soul to that.

March 26, 2012

For The Love Of Bacon

by pastortimfowler

Broadbent Bacon line

Romans 14:1-4
1 Welcome people who are weak in faith, but don’t get into an argument over differences of opinion.
2 Some people believe that they can eat all kinds of food. Other people with weak faith believe that they can eat only vegetables.
3 People who eat all foods should not despise people who eat only vegetables. In the same way, the vegetarians should not criticize people who eat all foods, because God has accepted those people.
4 Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful.
In this particular few verses, we see that Vegans have been causing trouble with meat eaters, at least that is the way I see it. Vegans are a weird bunch of people who just don’t understand how wonderful bacon really is. One of my best friends is a vegan and she will tell you that I am right. Vegans are weird. But I should refrain from making such comments so not to start an argument. Notice that I didn’t say that they are wrong, just weird. Wrong would be forcing my opinion of food on another and these verses say we shouldn’t. Weird says, I can’t believe that you don’t love bacon! Even God changed His mind about eating bacon. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 11:7 , You must never eat pigs. (Because pigs have completely divided hoofs but do not chew their cud, they are also unclean.) he told the Jews not to eat pork, but in the New Testament, Acts 11:8-9 8 “But I answered, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! I’ve never put anything impure or unclean into my mouth.’ 9 “A voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Don’t say that the things which God has made clean are impure.’
He changed His mind and I am pretty sure it was all about bacon. Bacon is heavenly, in my opinion.
By now, Vegans and others who think that I am making light of the Bible in general are mad at me and ready to argue. But I am wise and I hide behind a computer to these controversial things. Sure you can respond and I have the choice of publishing your response or not, but I will not cause a scene in public over this powder keg of Biblical interpretation. I will only remind you of what Paul says in the first verse of this opening scripture and welcome you of weak faith to my world. A world where every meal is wrapped in bacon and every Vegan is weird. But just like the bacon, the Vegan is loved. I love you and God loves you and I believe if it were possible, bacon would love you.
I love what verse one says. Sadly it is ignored by way too many Christians. We just can’t resist a good argument. There is just something fulfilling, in the wrong way, about arguing. Of course I would love to have everyone agree with me on all of my points of view, but that would mean I would have less of a drive to blog as often as I do and you would be less fun to mess with. You, being anyone who does not believe the way I do.
God loves unity, but most people would argue that the church who believes in this God of unity, sure doesn’t love the unity that He does. After all, many wars have fought over religion or something to do with it. On any given day you can start a fight between two people who say they believe in the same Jesus just by asking them to explain the difference in what they believe. I know it sounds like a lot of fun, but us believers we really ought to think twice before we open our mouths sometimes. I have met more people who refuse to believe in the God of the Bible because of Christians than I ever have because of their own research.
I started off poking fun, and yes it was just that, to prove a point. Arguments over such things have been going on for quite a while and to be honest, they are not important in the way that God thinks about us. Humans will never be able to fully understand God’s love and patience with us. But other humans will never understand Christians who set out to do battle with anyone who has an opinion different from theirs. The church, is made up of people from every walk of life and the only constant is a God that we can’t fully understand. He has made it simple to be part of His family, but not exclusive to the interpretation of any one person or group. It all boils down to this. We are sinners, God is not. God loves us, we love self. So God gets to call the shots and is fully capable of straightening out any mess that we make, even when it involves bacon.

June 13, 2011

Judge Away

by pastortimfowler

I was asked the other day about how Christians are supposed to judge right and wrong, when the Bible tells us not to judge. That is a great question and the short answer is that the assumption that we are told not to judge is wrong. That assumption comes from taking one verse out of context and is used by people who are not Christians so that Christians will not tell them that they are sinners, and by Christians who are sinning but would rather submit to sin than submit to God.


Matthew 7:1-5
1 “Stop judging so that you will not be judged.
2 Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.
3 So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer’s eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
4 How can you say to another believer, ‘Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,’ when you have a beam in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer’s eye.

This is where that teaching comes from. It does not say that we can’t call a sin a sin, it tells believers not to be hypocrites by pointing to other people’s sins when we are sinning in a very obvious manner. Let me share some other verses that are better suited for us having the right to judge others.
John 7:24- Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly.” This plainly tells us to judge others, but to do so correctly. That is the key. To judge the sin and not the opinion. Sin is wrong, and people don’t like to be told that they are wrong. So if we do tell them, we can expect to be criticized. But often we turn a blind eye to sin because of that. God has given us the truth to help us judge. If the Bible says it is wrong, we can say it is wrong. There is no one in their right mind would not tell someone who is sexually molesting a child that they are not wrong. That is judging, right?
1 Corinthians 6:2- Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? So if you’re going to judge the world, aren’t you capable of judging insignificant cases?
I think that this is an important verse for Christians to understand. There is coming a time when we will judge the world. This means that we will enforce the laws of God. So if God is going to trust us in the future to judge the world, we need to be able to judge ourselves now. The emphasis is on righteous judging, not self righteous judgement.
Overwhelmingly, Christians are shut down because of ignorance of the Bible. Ignorance can often lead to us not doing what God wants us to do because someone who doesn’t want to accept that they are a sinner plays a guilt card on us. There is a whole book in the Old Testament call Judges. It is about people who were given the authority to judge the actions of others according to God’s word. Most of the judging was for the purpose of correcting the actions of God’s people not those who were outside of them.
The same is true today. God’s people must first learn to judge themselves using God’s word before we should go running to tell those outside that they are sinners. My personal belief is that they already know it and are trying to find hope, not judgment. That is where Christians are to use a tool far greater than judgment. That tool is called GRACE. Grace is what God used when we all deserved judgment. When God judges us it is not in comparison to me or you or any other person we know, but He judges us compared to Jesus and we all fall short. So by accepting forgiveness and God’s grace we are reconciled to God and judged as such.
So grace allows us to admit our faults and receive forgiveness. It allows us to know the truth and when we know the truth we are free to judge away.