Posts tagged ‘Worship’

November 19, 2012

God In The Irritations Of My Life

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/31735795@N08/4142227460/

Sorry for the lack of blogs lately. I have been dealing with the aftermath of the church fire, extra people in my house, and a barrage of other stuff that has had me a bit distracted. Through it all, God has been in touch with me, mainly through Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes right in my face. I thought that I could share a few things that He showed me.
He is in the stuff that I find irritating. I know that this may sound as if I am saying that God is irritating, and I am not. I do get rather flustered with Him from time to time because He refuses to let me be in charge or He lets me and everything gets all messed up. But, God is in the stuff that has been irritating me in some really cool ways.
I love my grandkids and I love the kids in my church. But kids irritate me. Unlike my wife who is a kid addict, I can only tolerate kids in small amounts and in short bursts. So with the fire at our church rendering our children’s area unusable, the kids have been coming into the adult worship area while I am preaching. The result; several of them have accepted Jesus as their Savior and I got to baptize 5 of them in the last two weeks. Many of them have come up to me and told me with all the excitement of a little child about how cool it was and thanked me for it. WOW! God is all in that irritation.
Lately I have been trying to do more with my grandkids, especially my oldest grandson who is 7. He lives with his dad and mom and a bunch of girls, and girls are trouble, we all know that. His dad works rotating shifts and does not get to take part in things like scouts and a lot of weekend stuff, so I am trying to fill in. In the past few months I have been to three camping events with him and slept in a tent and gone without a shower and fed him more junk food than he should have ever been allowed to eat.
I also took him to a Gamecock football game this weekend. There is about an hour drive to the stadium from my house and to help keep him entertained, I took the wife’s tablet so he could play games. I find it hard to have meaningful conversation with a 7-year-old for more than a couple of minutes, much less for an hour. Guess what? The tablet was not charged. So for an hour, we talked. Did you know that a 7-year-old can talk continuously for 15 minutes without stopping or even breathing? And I learned that I could throw a Chees-it and hit him in the mouth while I was driving but can’t catch one when he throws it. I also learned that if you slowed down beside the semi truck while he pumped his fist, that after several miles, even the toughest truck driver will eventually blow his horn.
I love to watch the Gamecocks play. Having a 7-year-old with you limits that ability. But when it is really cold and the wind is blowing hard and you told the kid to leave his jacket in the truck because you were not taking yours, kids can be an excellent heat source. So he sat in my lap most of the game and that was a great way to talk about the game, and eat pizza at the same time. And because it was military appreciation day, I got to tell him how God allowed us to be free to do what we are doing because of their service. Then to hear him say, ” God wanted us to be here today” was the icing on the cake.
I came home that night to find my 1-year-old grandson there. He will be staying with us for a few days. I don’t get to see him that often because his parents live a couple of hours away. But when I walked in, he ran to me. I tried to run away, but God wanted him to hug me and kiss me. I get really irritated when slobbery little kids try to kiss me, especially when I am not ready and they kiss me in the mouth. (gag). I am not sure why I felt the overwhelming presence of God at that time, but I did.
And finally, the fire at the church. What a pain. But I have met some really awesome people who are working to clean up the mess. I have talked to them about our church, invited them to attend, and had several tell me that they will come. My church folks have been amazingly understanding about the inconvenience and have stepped up in more ways than I can count to make this really irritating circumstance more than bearable.
God has really been in the middle of this most irritating time. He has been the peace when things are hectic. He has been the wisdom when things are crazy. He has been the love when I felt like I did not want to love or be loved. But I don’t know why I am surprised. He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me. He never lies and never disappoints. He gives me so many reasons to be thankful and just in time for Thanksgiving. What an awesome God I serve!

November 2, 2012

What’s Up?

by pastortimfowler

I am sure that many of you are wondering what’s up? I have posted very few blogs in the last 2 weeks. For those who don’t know, we had a fire at the church. Of course you should know this because I wrote about it. Things are hectic and on top of that, “normal” church business goes on and I have had a close friend in the hospital ICU this week. So, with no office to work out of and my house full of kids who would normally be in the nursery at church, it has been difficult to blog. And now for the pity part of it, I am sitting in the park in 40 degree temps, writing a blog. Okay, it is actually not that cold and I love this beautiful fall weather, but show the pity anyway.
We will have church Sunday. The clean up of our worship area will be complete today. The other side, where classrooms and offices are, will be at least another couple of weeks before they can be used.
I have also found out how important it is to leave things where you last put them. Many have been calling me asking where things are that have been moved by the guys who are cleaning. I have not been there to watch the whole thing, nor could I have been if I wanted too. When I ask he crew where things are they just point to another person who does the same. In their defense, there have been as many as twenty people working in the same area this week and many things were sent out for cleaning. My feeling is that most everything we will need or are looking for has been sent out. The good news is that for the next few weeks we can blame everything that goes wrong on Sunday on the fire.
I would normally be rather stressed about these things, but I have been given a great peace about it all. It is like God is saying, “Chill…I got this.” So who am I to argue with God? Of course Sunday morning when what I need comes up under the category of unfound and missing, then I will start stressing. But something just keeps telling me that it is going to be a great Sunday. On top of Sunday being expected to be awesome, I am excited about Monday. My brother from the Philippines is coming into town and we are going to send him off to his family with a night of worship.
I love it when Satan thinks he can knock you down only to knock you back into the arms of God. I love it when everything that goes wrong turns around to be alright and what many would see as a curse turns out to be a blessing. I love it when the fire of this world smokes up everything and you find out that at the same time the fire from God was purifying and strengthening His people. I love it when someone who has every right to complain and be bitter, gives you the biggest smile and hug and tells you how awesome God is. I love it when friends that you thought may have forgotten you, turn out to be the first to call and the most help to those in need.
Like I said before, the enemy can only stir the battle, but Jesus Christ has given the victory! The enemy can burn a building, but my God is a consuming fire! His fire consumes sin, cleanses His people, and destroys the enemy.
Thanks to all who have been praying. Thanks to all who have been understanding and patient. And to all who are looking for stuff, it will be found or replaced. But as far as this Sunday goes, don’t let anything bother you. God has some blessings waiting for you.

July 30, 2012

Expecting More

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lollar/14941173/in/photostream/

As a pastor of many years and a church person of many more, there have been a lot of things that have stuck with me. One of them is how church people can get stuck in ruts of complacency. I did a blog last week about getting in a comfort zone. It is a dangerous thing for people who claim to know God to get to the point to where they expect the same ol’ stuff from God. But this is not a blog about being comfortable, it as about expecting more.
This morning I was talking with someone at the church and we were laughing about how busy we have been. At our church it is common to have stuff happening every day of the week. We like to use our building and let others use it. But there are a few things that are unique to our church and that is what we were talking about. In the last week we have not only had our regular schedule of worship and classes, but we have had a wedding, a funeral, baptisms, communion, baby dedication, and salvation. On top of that, we have recently been on missions trips, raised money for other churches, hosting exchange students, helped church members who needed it, helped homeless in our area, and regularly do counseling. This year we have had outdoor movies, tailgate parties, motorcycle rides, scuba trips, and of course the ever popular church work day. All of this leads to bunches of people visiting us for the first time and many deciding to stick around.  So much that we have almost reached our capacity on Sunday morning at 10:30am and are preparing to start a second worship time the first Sunday in January 2013. Not to brag too much, but we have had the privilege of seeing over 60 people make a decision to trust Jesus and over 30 of those have already been baptized this year, 2012.
All of this makes for a crazy pace and it often feels like we never know what to expect next. I love it. It sounds crazy at times and would be overwhelming if it weren’t for all the people who help make these things happen. I believe it is all in line with what God wants us to do because of all the ones who come to know Jesus. Far to often churches are fine with the same faces in the crowd every week. We get very uncomfortable if we don’t see strange faces in our crowd.
It is exciting to see what God can do using a bunch of strange people like us. He never asked for us to be better than anyone else, but rather God asks us to admit that we are sinners in need of His help. Then He forgives our sins, if we ask, and helps us to make changes in our lives that please Him. Most importantly, God wants us to love people, just the way they are. When that happens, people get curious and God gets the glory when they get to know Him, through His people.
I am expecting more from God. He never tires of blessing His children. He never gets bored and is never boring. If you have gotten that impression of God, you have been in the wrong place. The God I know and see working in my church is incredible and loving and far from boring. He has plenty of room in His family and in His church for you. Sure, you may have to change your mind on a few things, but that is the same with all of us who call ourselves Christians. Jesus said that He came to give us life and give it more abundantly, and He does not lie, I am expecting more!

July 9, 2012

All In?

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/baggis/167538086/

The biggest moment in a poker tournament is what is known as the “all in” moment. Each player starts with the same amount of chips and the goal is to win the chips from the other players over the course of many hands of poker. Usually toward the latter part of these tournaments, someone decides that they have too few chips to stay in much longer but they have a great hand and so they move all their chips into the center of the table, calling, “all in”. It is at that time that reality sets in. Either this is the hand that changes the night for better or this is the time that you head home with nothing. Going all in is a risky move.
This past weekend the youth of our church went on their first ever youth retreat to Myrtle Beach. They had some work they did helping the hosts and they had some fun time also, but they had a lesson from one of the leaders asking them if they were all in. The analogy used was different though. They were near the pool and as you know, most people ease into the pool. Usually they get in up to their knees and get a feel for the water before deciding to go all in. These guys were in to the knees with God in their role as Christians. Many of them said that they believed and had even made a decision to become a Christian but none of them had committed to that all in moment. Let’s face it; this can be scary.
Are you all in? As a Christian, have you decided to test the waters by coming to church and attending a class and even giving regularly? Some of you are thinking, “what do you mean, test the waters, I thought that was all in?” Sorry, but it is not. Church is only a small part of being a Christian, but for most, it has become what identifies us as Christians. God wants more from us than a couple of hours a week. He wants us all in.
Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should take up our crosses as we follow. Crosses are hard to carry. I am not talking about those gold ones around the neck. I am talking the wooden ones that they hang you on with nails. Now Jesus did not expect us to literally carry crosses, but rather to realize that this walk He took was His all in moment when He carried His cross up the hill to die for the sins of the world. And if all he would have done was to talk about it, He could have been like most of us who are only testing the waters or making safe bets that won’t put us out of the game or vault us into the lead.
Christians should be different in everything we do. Not “Bible thumpers” who yell out at every one that they are going to hell, but living examples of the Bible that was written to show God’s love for the world. Our marriages should be stronger than most because they are modeled after the one that God designed. Our work ethic should be better because we work as if God were our boss. Our friendships should be better because we want to be friends that stick closer than a brother. Our faith should be our guide because we trust God and show it in the way we act in every aspect of our lives. Reading our Bibles should not be something that we don’t have time for, but rather something that there is always time for. Praying for others should be habitual and joyful and worship should show in our faces as we celebrate the King of Glory as our Savior every chance we get. And oh yeah, our willingness to do the tough things for others should never come into question as we carry our crosses so that others might be saved.
Right now I am thinking of a list of places that I need to double-check to see if I am truly all in. We don’t stay all in all of the time. But we must be willing to fearlessly accept the fact that we have gotten back into the shallow water or are only making safe bets and we must be willing to dive into the deep or push the whole stack of chips and go all in. Its your move. Will you go all in or are you bluffing? Will you take the plunge into the deep water or play it safe in the kiddie pool? Come on…Go all in.

February 23, 2011

Praise and Worship

by pastortimfowler
Worship

Praise and Worship

Lately there has been a lot of talk in our church about praise and worship. It is a subject that is dear to my heart. For some reason it seems to be confusing and I thought that I could clear the air a bit.
Coming from a very conservative church background, it was hard for me to accept worship as being anything more that showing up at church. Most of what I knew was that the only ones who could make noise were the choir, piano, and organist. Everyone else just sat there and stared with their best “holy” face on.
On the other hand, I went to a lot of concerts and sporting events in my younger days and they seemed to be able to make as much noise as they wanted and no one cared. In fact they would look at you funny if you did not cheer. This seemed to be a struggle in my heart as I grew in my relationship with Christ. The more I loved the Braves, the louder and more frequently I did “the chop” and whistled and shouted. The more I loved Jesus, well, nothing was changing.
So I looked to the one source of truth about the matter to find an answer; The Bible.
Here are some things I found.
Heaven is going to be a noisy place. Revelation 4:8, Each of the four living creatures had six wings and were covered with eyes, inside and out. Without stopping day or night they were singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.” Some of us are going to get there and have a hard time arguing that worship is silent reverence. Yes there is a time to be still and quiet and hear from God, but there will be lots of noise in heaven.
Old Testament saints had no problem making some noise. Ezra 3:13, No one could distinguish between the joyful shouts and the loud sobbing because the people were shouting so loudly. The noise was heard from far away. This happened when they had finished laying just the foundation of the temple. We have a completed building with heat and AC!
In the New Testament Jesus said that his followers would shout out to him or else the rocks would. Luke 19:39-40, Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet.”
40 Jesus replied, “I can guarantee that if they are quiet, the stones will cry out.”
I think Jesus has some rocks warming up to take a few people’s places.
I never will encourage worship to be fake. But we praise that which we love. I would encourage you to fall madly, passionately, fanatically, in love with Jesus. As this happens, we will feel a desire to show that love to him and to others. Worship will be less about what others think and more about what God thinks.
The Bible is very clear that those who love the Lord will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. If our worship in church is a true reflection of our love for God, what is it saying right now?
Think about it.

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