Posts tagged ‘tragedy’

December 20, 2012

Until next year

by pastortimfowler

GoodbyeOldHelloNew

2012 has been a busy, hectic, but very productive year. It is hard to believe that we only have a couple more weeks before it is over. I have taken a break from blogging due to a fire in our church and the fact that I have been trying to rethink how I want to focus my blogs. This will be my last blog until next year, so let me leave you with a few thoughts.
Our church had a great year. We saw over 100 people come to know Jesus as Savior and baptized nearly 60 people. We grew to the point of need to have a second worship time and that will be 8:30am beginning Jan. 6, 2013.
Our country re-elected President Obama. Say what you want, the people have spoken and its time to move forward.
Supposedly the world is ending tomorrow. The Mayan calendar says so. If that happens, this will be my last blog. I am planning ahead, just in case.
The Gamecocks beat Clemson for the fourth year in a row and Navy beat Army for the eleventh year in a row. It makes me happy.
My youngest grandkid turned one. My oldest turned 11. If I got these wrong, I know I will be corrected. The point is, I try to notice these things.
My wife and I are hosting an international student from Korea. His real name can’t be pronounced properly, so everybody calls him Freddy. I taught him how to shoot guns and he is teaching me how to praise God for successfully raising teenagers.
Our nation saw tragedy when senseless violence took the lives of innocent people and some think we need new laws. I just think we need to pray harder and enforce the laws we have. New laws have never stopped stupidity or insanity.
I celebrated my tenth year as pastor of my church. I am not sure how long this is going to take. These are some really weird people, but I like them.
This is only a partial list of things that I remember from 2012 and my very brief comment on them. For the most part 2012 was a great year. I believe in hope and I believe 2013 will be even better. Until them, have a merry Christmas and I will be back next year. Actually I will be here, but not blogging. Either way, unless the world ends tomorrow, look for new blogs to start in 2013.

November 17, 2011

Life Insurance

by pastortimfowler

Rock Hill SC is not tornado alley, but that does not change the fact that a tornado touched down and took the lives of 3 people yesterday. It is hard to imagine that yesterday morning, if you had asked these people, “do you think that you will die in a tornado today?” that they would have done anything other than laugh at you. Yet here we are facing the horrible truth that it happened and they are gone.
As always, I hope that these people knew Jesus as their Savior. I did not know any of them, but that doesn’t change the sorrow I feel because of this tragedy. It does not change that I hope they had eternal security and if that is true, ultimately they are okay now. I pray for the family members that are left to question why this happened and that they will find peace that only comes from God. Again I will continue to pray for them and there are already efforts to reach out and help those who have lost there possessions as well.
Most of us have probably thought about a scenario in which we meet our death. No, I am not being morbid, just blunt. Every time I fly I think about it. Often when I ride my motorcycle on long trips I think about it. But most of the time death is the farthest thing from my mind. And on most days which start off as normal as yesterday did, I don’t think about death at all.
Here is the problem. If we don’t think about death, and most importantly, what happens after we die, we are leaving eternity to chance and that is a chance I had rather not take. Very few people truly think that when you die, that’s it, the switch is off and nothing else happens. But we are confused on what to believe about the many possibilities. Even those who are Christians have some differing thoughts about what happens after death and I find that strange. Maybe we make it too complicated. Here is what the simplicity of the Bible says.
Hebrews 9:27 People die once, and after that they are judged. To be judged, there must be a conscious state after death. To be judged, there must be a standard of judgement. To be judged, there must be a Judge. To be judged, there must be a crime.
The crime, is called sin. An eight year old once gave me this definition of sin and I like it and think it is biblical. Sin is anything that you think, say, or do, that does not please God. The standard of judgement is holiness. God is holy and tells us that we are not. Sins reward is death and death is the vehicle in which we are brought to trial. No one is holy, not among humans. We all sin. One sin means that we are not holy and thus death is imparted. God is our judge, through Jesus Christ as our advocate. If you have accepted the death of Jesus as payment for your sin, He proclaims your penalty paid in full and commutes your death sentence to life in Heaven. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, He says that He does not recognize you as His client and the death penalty is carried out. Not believing in Jesus or God will not stop this trial nor will it get you leniency. Proclaiming that you did not see the speed limit sign does not stop the officer from giving you a ticket.
We are not sure if we will have a tomorrow. Death can sneak up on us in many ways and much too often, when you least expect it. That is why many people carry life insurance, which provides for the family after you are dead. It does not return life to those who die. The only way that can happen is through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. This is life insurance that helps those who die. It is free and not because of a government mandate. It is free because God loves us and does not want to have to judge us as guilty sinners, but rather forgiven children. To get this insurance all you have to do is ask. Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

October 11, 2011

Is It Fair?

by pastortimfowler

Sometimes it is impossible to understand God. If you are simply a human, it would be easy to think that God is cruel. This is especially true when things happen in our lives that really suck, and we think it should happen differently. A friend was telling me last night about a tragedy that happened where a young husband and dad died unexpectedly and that he couldn’t help but feel like it was not fair. It stinks, hurts, sucks, and a whole lot of other things, but I am not sure that fair is the right way to look at it. Don’t misunderstand, it is a legitimate question and the feelings are normal, but what is fair?
Here are the first two definitions in the dictionary for fair:
1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.
If we use these definitions, then God is fair. God said to Adam and Eve, the day you disobey me, you die. He clearly stated in the law of Moses that some sins were punishable by physical death, and, we are all told that what we deserve for sin is death. We are told that it is inevitable that humans die and after that we are judged. So in death, God is fair. Does that mean we understand it? No. Does it mean we agree? No. Does it mean that God is cruel? No. He is fair, free from bias, dishonesty or injustice. He is a fair judge. What He does is proper under the rules. In every definition of fairness God stands the test of fairness.
We want fair to be, pleasing. We want fair to mean nobody wins and nobody loses and nobody gets hurt. That is not fair. Jesus told us that in this world we will have troubles. He did not tell us to follow Him and He will never allow pain to come our way. He did say that He would never leave us alone in our pain and that He would make everything that we go through on this world worth it if we trust Him.
Where would we be if there were no pain in the world? What would it be like if we never had to hurt again? Would it be fair? Maybe, but I don’t think it would be that great either. We learn more from pain than we ever do from pleasure. When we place our hand on a hot surface, even after we have been told that it is hot, it is the pain that finally teaches us to listen. But if pleasure was such a good teacher we would have fewer people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Think about all the things that you learned from pain and then see if the pain was a good teacher now that you can look back on it. Most people would never want to suffer the pain again, but would definitely value the lesson learned.
Not much can be done to take away the hurt and feelings that come with someone close to you losing their life. Even Jesus wept when His good friend Lazarus died. But the fairness of God offers hope to those who mourn those losses. It is a hope that is hard to understand because it goes against what we want to feel at such times. It is a hope that does not come from ourselves, but from God and His promise of fairness. He promises that ANYONE who trusts Him and asks for the forgiveness of their sin will receive full pardon and not be given what we deserve, but instead be given eternal life. We can pass from this life of pain and suffering to a life free of all pain and suffering.
You see this life is but a vapor, but there is an eternity and you will be there in one way or another. Eternal death, is the eternal separation from God in what we hear of as Hell. Eternal life is when we pass from this life to forever with God in a place where death and pain and what we call unfairness will never happen again. God is so fair that He offers this to ANYONE who will ask. No matter what you have done, no matter how bad you think you may be, God’s love is fair to all and His forgiveness is complete to all. Don’t be fooled, His judgement is just as fair to all who refuse is forgiveness, no matter how good you have been or how good you think you are. God is holy, we are not, and without His forgiveness we stay unholy. It is that simple, because God is that fair.

September 12, 2011

I Rememeber 9/12

by pastortimfowler

Sunday was a tough day for Americans. We had to remember one of the worst days in our history. I am not one that thinks we should never see those images again, instead, I think we should see them at least once a week, every week as a reminder. For the most part I thought that yesterday’s ceremonies were tasteful and honoring, and I don’t want to get into the politics of it all, so I won’t.
For every bad thing that happens to us in life there are good that can come out of it. Sure, we can linger in the sadness and dwell in the past sorrows, but that is not what God would have us do. He gives us these things to strengthen us and allows us to help others when they face a tragedy in their lives. 9/11 was no different.
I remember 9/12 as the beginning of that strengthening of our country. The news channels began sounding the rally cry and Americans from every walk of life were united in the call to seek justice and to rebuild. There were no politics, no left or right, it was straight down the middle resolve to make it through this thing together. There was no blame or cynicism or conspiracy theories, just good ole American resolve to make things right.
I don’t remember how long it took before people started coming up with political agendas for their responses to 9/11, but the first one got the ball rolling for all the rest and a united America began to do what the terrorists had hoped to do with the attack; we began to divide. What the terrorists could not do, political motivations did. I am not sure who disgusts me more, the ones who attacked our country that day or the ones who attack it over and over when they point the finger of blame at anyone other than the terrorists who did this. This is not healthy for America and it only aids those who want to hurt us.
I know and most of us understand that there are people in this world who have a different belief system than we do. There are those who have no regard for freedom and the free market society that we enjoy here. I know that we have a great privilege to speak freely and voice our opinions against those that we disagree with. But there is a difference between disagreeing with those who oppose your ideas and hating them. I have heard people who live in this country and are citizens of this country say that they hate this country. Many are rich enough to do the following but they don’t…JUST MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY! If what we have here is so bad, get out. Even poor Americans who hate the USA can afford to move to Mexico. If America is so bad, so evil, and so disgusting to you, leave. But they don’t. You know why? Because despite all of our flaws, and all of our differences, we area still the greatest nation this earth. And, if these same people were in another country trying to speak the hateful things that they say here, they would probably be put in jail or killed.
Thinking back on the events that happened ten years ago yesterday, I long for that unity in our country that was so evident in the weeks that followed. We are a great nation that when united can send a man to the moon and revolutionize the way the world acts and thinks. United we can overcome any obstacle thrown our way. But divided we will end up in a deep recession that causes people to be unemployed in numbers not seen since the great depression. It will cause morale to sink to all time lows and motivate nothing but hateful rhetoric. Yep, just like you see today.
I don’t think this is our country’s destiny and this is not where we will stay. We will overcome this just like we did on 9/11, ten years ago. On 9/12, ten years ago, we united as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I remember 9/12.