Posts tagged ‘thankful’

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

by pastortimfowler

I am not an expert on the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday in America nor do I want to be. I know what I was taught in school when I was a kid, and I know some of the stuff that is being taught now and I also know that there is a lot of controversy over who is right and who is wrong. My concern is that we have lost focus on the purpose of it all together, to give thanks for what we have. Not only to give thanks, but to thank the one who provides us with all we have, God.
It is a holiday that is a challenge for people who don’t believe in God. I can understand the anger and frustration because to be thankful, you must know who you are thanking. You can’t be thankful to no one and it is really narcissistic to thankful to yourself. We don’t have food, air, life, liberty, or family because of government, or because of what we do, it is because there is a God who loves us. Don’t be hate’n if you disagree, be thankful for a great country that allows you the freedom to disagree. Oh yeah, if you don’t believe, you don’t know who to thank…never mind. So for this blog, I will concede to those who want to thank themselves.
At least if you don’t believe in God you can pretend to be grateful to someone. Isn’t it nice to have freedom, family, health, food, and air to breath. I know us humans are doing our best to destroy the perfect air of nature, which God created, but some of you are trying hard to save the planet, so be thankful for that. Stop trying to ruin my Thanksgiving because you are miserable. Pretend that everything is the result of human actions whether it is good or bad and be thankful. If I want to thank a God that you don’t believe in, let me do it and I will be fine if you thank, uh, what ever.
There is no perfect world. If we all focus on what is wrong, we will all be miserable. Why not call a time out this Thanksgiving and focus on only what you are thankful for, not what I am doing that you consider wrong. Thank whoever or whatever you want, even yourself. Tell yourself how grateful you are for what you are doing and let me thank God for what He has done and is doing. When we have a national holiday to gripe and complain and point fingers at everyone that we disagree with, I promise to participate and not be thankful anything anyone else is doing, but for now, we don’t have that and we do have Thanksgiving so be THANKFUL!
Happy Thanksgiving.

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September 9, 2011

That Woman God Gave Me

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending the whole day at Newspring Church in Anderson SC for their annual leadership conference. Although I had been there before for worship and a different training event, I could not believe what happened there this time. Pastor Perry Noble and his church are incredible tools that God is using to change the world. I know that sounds like a huge statement but I don’t think that I am exaggerating. They are really doing things that reach worldwide and doing it in a practical way.
This particular conference was to motivate leaders to follow the model of leadership set forth in the Bible and perfected by Jesus Christ.
I have been to many events in many churches before and usually walk away with really useful stuff. Occasionally I am moved to an emotional response that resembles an allergy attack in which my eyes start watering, but that is rare.
Yesterday was different. There were seven different pastors that spoke in front of the 3000 plus leaders who were gathered there and I felt so bad for all of those guys because the seven speakers were talking only to me. How they picked me out of the crowd I don’t know, but I was made to feel very special. I was hoping that this was a fluke after the first guy finished and then after the second guy did it too I got nervous, but when it continued all day I was on overload.
As a pastor, I feel confident that I hear from God daily as I try to lead and serve my church. I read and study my Bible daily, listen to other pastors who teach on the radio when I can, and I try my best to stay spiritually fed. But at this event I felt as if I was at an all you can eat dinner and I couldn’t get enough. Even when I knew I was full, I felt like God packed it down and stuffed in some more. I am not talking burgers and ‘dogs, but the finest spiritual cuisine one could eat.
One of the speakers spent 45 minutes talking about gratitude. When he said that this was his topic I wanted to zone out because I feel like I am a fairly grateful guy. But as he began to preach I realized over and over that I was falling short. The Bible tells us that we are to be thankful in everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am real good about gratitude for the good, and have even said thanks for some of the trials, but I often blame myself for things that go wrong. This guy said that we need to be careful blaming ourselves for those thing that go wrong or we may be quick to take credit when things go right. God gives us trials to make us stronger, not for us to play the blame game.
The one area that I was most convicted was my gratitude for my wife. I take her for granted more than I ever should. I am supposed to be Christ to her and so many times I am more like the devil, and not in the fun way that we like to think. Not only does she support me in everything we do, and she is a great cook, a great mom, a great worker, a great friend, but she is also great in the things that she does that I don’t like. Sounds weird, but I am not grateful for those things like I should be. They are just as much part of the person I love as the other things, yet I am quick to complain. Oops, sorry honey. I love you for who you are, all of you.
This pastor made a statement that scared me in a Godly way. He said if you are not grateful for the things that God has given you because you think that they have flaws, God can always take it back. God does not make mistakes and we need to understand this. I made a promise to take her for better, worse, rich, poor, sick, and health. I have overwhelmingly had the best side of it all. The few things that I find irritating, I really want to be grateful for because if I don’t have those small parts, I don’t have her.
So, I am praying to be really grateful for her, not what she does. I want to thank God every moment of the day for my wife who is better than I ever deserved and quit acting like I am entitled to anything at all. What I deserve is nothing close to what He has given me. I have more to be grateful for than I can count and my wife makes up the biggest part of all those things.
Thank you God for every part of who my wife is. She is perfect for me, and I am for ever grateful.