Tuesday, October 31, 2006


[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: The Follower

The Follower

And He said to them all,
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” -- Luke 9:23; King James Version

Recently my family purchased a digital camera. The disc that would allow the camera and the computer to communicate and cooperate was not included in the package. There was an internet address that I assessed to download the needed software. Before I was allowed to download the program I needed I was REQUIRED to join this company’s product owner member group. The requirements for joining were simple, but they were still required. There was an open invitation to LOOK at anything on the site, but to take advantage of any part of it required membership. Beside many of the areas allotted for information were red asterisks. Every where there was an asterisk the information requested was NOT OPTIONAL. For example, I did not WANT to give them my email address, but it was a requirement. What it boiled down to was whether I wanted what they had to offer bad enough to abide by their requirements.

That’s what this verse is about to me. There are three proverbial red asterisks in this verse that mark the REQUIREMENTS for being a follower of Jesus Christ. The choices are simple; if we want to be identified with Jesus, we must follow His requirements. They are as follows.

The first requirement is that one must
“deny himself”. Quite simply one must say an emphatic “NO!” to one’s old self. There can be no fence riding! This in an all or nothing venture. There can be no reliance on whatever one may be by their own nature. For example, one cannot depend on their own goodness; case in point being the popular saying “Well, I’ve never killed anyone.” Part of denying self is casting off every attempt to reach up to God through self produced or imagined goodness (religion) and simply trust in His grace by faith for salvation. It means taking off the old self and being clothed with Christ. It means counting every thing we once thought our gain as loss for Christ (See Philippians 3:7-11).

Secondly, it is required that one
“take up his cross daily”. This means that the one who will “come after” Jesus must see themselves as a condemned man who is carrying his own cross to the place of execution. This is voluntary, yet it is necessary to follow Jesus. It means that one who will follow Christ should expect, and willingly receive, pain, shame, and persecution that comes with loyalty to Christ. It is the continual dying to self and living to Christ and WHATEVER that may cost. The word “daily” is clearly indicative that Jesus expected this to be a continually renewed commitment.

Third and lastly, to follow Christ one must
“follow” Him. This means that HE dictates the path! This means that one must trust Christ’s means and methods. The follower must go where the Master goes as He goes and that following is to be in complete obedience. It does not mean it is for a set time; rather, this is to follow and keep following. It is not an on again off again venture, but a continual putting of our spiritual feet in His prints. We are to be hard on His heels, not diverting from the path nor seeking to command the method and direction of the trip.

Any persons that do not meet Jesus’ stated requirements are spectators and are NOT followers. Like getting software for my camera from the company’s online source, there is the simple matter of whether we are willing to follow Jesus’ requirements to take advantage of what He offers. How about you friend? Are you a spectator or a follower of Christ?




Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Monday, October 30, 2006

A Poem by one of my Friends

I'm reading Revelation, and was really quite surprised
At all the names of Jesus that I read and recognized.
"The Alpha and Omega", "the Beginning and the End,"
"The one who was and is to come." He's a forever friend.
'The First and the Last." "The Living One who died."
It was for you and I that He was crucified.
"The one who holds the seven stars in His right hand."
"The one who walks among the seven gold lampstands."
He also is "the one who has a sharp two-edged sword.
"We know Him as our Savior and should serve Him as our Lord.
"The Son of God, whose eyes are bright like flames of fire."
He's worthy of our worship and of our heart's desire.
"The one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars."
"The one who has the key of David" to open and shut doors.
"The one who is holy", the one who is true.
The one who died on the cross for me and for you.
"The faithful and true witness"--"who is the Amen."
Who forgives us for our sins - again and again.
"The ruler of God's creation;" "the worthy Lamb of God.
"A gentle Shepherd who leads us by His staff and rod.
Search the Scriptures for yourself, and you'll find, as I do...
The Author of The Book will show up to meet with you.

-- Pam Cagle

About Giving

The Bible teaches Christians to:

Give – Willingly
For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. – 2 Corinthians 8:3-4

Give – Sacrificially
He called his disciples to him and said, "I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has." – Mark 12:43-44

Give -- Purposefully
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" – Luke 19:8

Give – Increasingly
Since you excel in so many ways – you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us – now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving. – 2 Corinthians 8:7

Give – Liberally
Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

Give – Faithfully
Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. On every Lord's Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering… – 1 Corinthians 4:2 & 16:2a

Give – Compassionately
But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help – how can God's love be in that person? – 1 John 3:17

Give – Gladly
You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

(The above is based on a SBC Stewardship Committee pamphlet. All Scripture taken from New Living Translation.)
Martha was cumbered about much serving.

Her fault was not that she served: the condition of a servant well becomes every Christian. "I serve," should be the motto of all the princes of the royal family of heaven. Nor was it her fault that she had "much serving." We cannot do too much. Let us do all that we possibly can; let head, and heart, and hands, be engaged in the Master's service. It was no fault of hers that she was busy preparing a feast for the Master. Happy Martha, to have an opportunity of entertaining so blessed a guest; and happy, too, to have the spirit to throw her whole soul so heartily into the engagement. Her fault was that she grew "cumbered with much serving," so that she forgot Him, and only remembered the service. She allowed service to override communion, and so presented one duty stained with the blood of another. We ought to be Martha and Mary in one: we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time. For this we need great grace. It is easier to serve than to commune. Joshua never grew weary in fighting with the Amalekites; but Moses, on the top of the mountain in prayer, needed two helpers to sustain his hands. The more spiritual the exercise, the sooner we tire in it. The choicest fruits are the hardest to rear: the most heavenly graces are the most difficult to cultivate. Beloved, while we do not neglect external things, which are good enough in themselves, we ought also to see to it that we enjoy living, personal fellowship with Jesus. See to it that sitting at the Saviour's feet is not neglected, even though it be under the specious pretext of doing Him service. The first thing for our soul's health, the first thing for His glory, and the first thing for our own usefulness, is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus, and to see that the vital spirituality of our religion is maintained over and above everything else in the world.

– Charles H. Spurgeon
Six Areas that Reveal our True Values and Commitments

1. What we want most.
2. What we think about most.
3. How we use our money.
4. The company we enjoy.
5. Whom and what we admire.
6. What we laugh at.


-- A. W. Tozer

We need volunteers for Tuesday, October 31st at The Warehouse. Please call the office or email me (twbowes@charter.net) if you can volunteer that day. Our usual volunteer team for that day has a ministry event at their church.

We also need volunteers for November 3 and 4. Right now, we have ONE volunteer for those TWO days. If we do not get more volunteers we will close for the weekend.

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion from the Archives: An Adjusted Sighting

An Adjusted Sighting

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. -- Psalm 119:11; King James Version

I know I have shared this story before, but today's devotion calls for this exact illustration.

My brother, Stuart, had purchased a new rifle. We went together into our yard and painted a target on a barrel, so that Stuart could test his new gun. Stuart leaned across the top of his car to steady himself and took careful aim. BOOM! That .247 caliber rifle sounded like a cannon! When the smoke cleared I began to laugh hysterically. Stuart had shot a hole through the roof of his car!

There was a problem. Stuart looked through the scope of his new rifle, aligned the cross-hairs on his target and pulled the trigger, but he missed the mark. The scope needed adjustment.

How many times does that happen in life? Sure, it's funny that my brother shot a hole through the top of his car, but how many times is our ethical and moral scope out of adjustment? The word for sin in Psalm 119:11 is "chata", and it literally means "to miss", as in "to miss the mark".

Herein lies another important reason to hide God's word in our heart, namely that we HIT the mark God has for us. I know this...God's will for our lives is fellowship with Him. He tells us to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11, 19, 20; 1 Peter 1). I believe there are a great many people who live frustrated lives because they are "missing the mark." Many do not know what God would have them do or think or feel because their spiritual scopes are out of adjustment.

There's a little more to the illustration. Stuart made an adjustment to his scope, took aim and fired again. He didn't hit his car, but he didn't hit the target either. Another adjustment, another shot and he finally hit the barrel, but not the target. Another adjustment, another shot and he HIT THE TARGET, but he didn't hit the bulls-eye. After several more adjustments Stuart finally hit the target dead center.

You see, dear friends, that's the way of learning God's heart with His word. We get in the general area at first--we stop many of the obvious things--but we need to continually adjust our scopes, always seeking to hit the mark as near to the bulls-eye as possible. This continual seeking of God's heart is our navigational guide through life. As we do this even "gray areas" of ethics and morality will become less gray and more clear.

I will guarantee you this...the closer we get to God's heart the more all of life will make sense to us. The closer we get to God's heart the clearer we will "see" the way we are to go and the things we are to do.

All of us need an adjusted sighting to determine God's will...ALL OF US. Sadly the AVERAGE person is satisfied in just shooting. As for me, and I hope for you, I am not. I want to aim for, shoot at, and HIT God's heart! I want to hit the bulls-eye of fellowship with Him! I want to walk with God and am not satisfied with being in the general area of His presence.

Many of us are still shooting our lives WAY off the mark and many of us need to continue to make smaller adjustments, but all of us have the same goal. We are all trying to hit the mark! Let's hide God's word in our hearts that we might find our way to HIS heart.




Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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We need volunteers for Tuesday, October 31st at The Warehouse. Please call the office or email me (twbowes@charter.net) if you can volunteer that day. Our usual volunteer team for that day has a ministry event at their church.

We also need volunteers for November 3 and 4. Right now, we have ONE volunteer for those TWO days. If we do not get more volunteers we will close for the weekend.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I love this cartoon!

This cartoon tells a great truth. Look at it carefully and you will find it's chocked with stuff. I eagerly await comments!

Interesting article

I know that all of the people that take a peek at this blog are not Baptist, but this article, from some Baptist scholars, is worth reading.

Scholars: Baptists must reclaim church discipline
Oct 27, 2006
By Benjamin Hawkins
Baptist Press
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=24277


FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Southern Baptist scholars gathered at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to assess and discuss the core doctrines of church discipline, baptism and the Lord’s Supper during the second conference in the seminary’s Baptist Distinctives Series.

The Sept 29-30 conference was titled “Maintaining the Integrity of a Local Church in a Seeker Sensitive World: The Baptist Perspective on Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Church Discipline.”

In his presentation of “The Historical Development and Loss of Church Discipline in Baptist Churches,” presenter Gregory Wills said the degree to which churches implement church discipline is a predictor of whether the church is safe from disaster.

“[Church discipline] is the canary in a coal mine,” said Wills, who is professor of church history and director of the Center for the Study of the Southern Baptist Convention at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. “When the canary in a coal mine keels over, catastrophe impends. When church discipline is lost, catastrophe impends.”

According to Wills, church discipline among Baptists began to decline in the late-19th century and early-20th century. He attributed the decline to the rise of pragmatism, individualism and secularization in the culture at large. This decline in discipline also permitted liberalism to make crucial inroads into many Baptist churches, he said.

Lax discipline was a new development among Baptists. Earlier Baptist churches had a strong commitment to church discipline in earlier centuries, Wills said.

Baptist churches stood for proper discipline “because they feared God more than men; because Christ commanded it,” Wills said. “They had no more freedom to neglect church discipline than they had to neglect baptism, communion or preaching faith in the name of Christ. They believed that Christ commanded a specific church order, and they pressed themselves to carry it out no matter how impractical or ineffective it might appear.”

Early Baptists, Wills said, were confident that God would bless the faithful practice of church discipline.

“Church discipline was a Gospel remedy for sin and temptation. It was an essential part of the means that God gave for sanctifying believers,” Wills said.


Another presenter was Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Dever said churches could not effectively reinstitute biblical church discipline until the meaning of church membership is renewed.

Dever has written and spoken extensively on the subject of church polity. Developing a plan for church discipline was the 11th step of a 12-step plan Dever proposed for a renewed commitment to local church membership. A system for church discipline came after other steps such as consistently proclaiming and applying the Gospel message, writing a church confession and instituting a membership class.

“We should realize that our immediate assurance to someone else of their salvation based merely upon their verbal profession of faith in Christ may not be the most loving thing we can do,” Dever said. “Joining the church is joining an assurance of salvation cooperative. We are to observe evidences of God’s grace in each other’s lives and to encourage one another by them. And we are supposed to correct one another when occasion requires.”

Dever said that a thoughtfully implemented approach to church membership should foster evangelism, love among Christians and submission to God and church leaders. Meaningful church membership helps Christians display the character of God, he said.

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., discussed the meaning of believer’s baptism. David Allen, dean of the school of theology and professor of expository preaching at Southwestern, outlined the biblical basis for the traditional Baptist mode of baptism by immersion.

Stanton Norman, associate professor of theology and chair of the Cooperative Program of Southern Baptist Studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, discussed biblical standards for the reestablishment of church discipline. John Hammett, professor of systematic theology at Southeastern Seminary, submitted a paper titled, “Regenerate Church Membership.”

Jason Lee, Southwestern Seminary associate professor of historical theology, demonstrated that baptism is a believer’s covenant with the local church. Emir Caner, dean of The College at Southwestern, and Thomas White, interim vice president of student services, examined the nature of the Lord’s Supper. Malcolm Yarnell, director of the seminary’s Center for Theological Research and of one of the conference’s organizers, presented a paper on the priesthood of all believers.

The scholarly papers presented at the conference are being bound and printed into a single paperback volume that will be available at a reasonable cost. For information about registering for the 2007 conference or purchasing the book from the 2006 conference, e-mail Kelly King at kaking@swbts.edu.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Want to witness, but are unsure of your ability?

Friends, let me tell you about something that I think is VERY SPECIAL. It is witnessing the way it should be done...biblically, lovingly, and effectively. It's not so much a new strategy as it is a way of simply tapping into Scripture. It's called "The Way of the Master". That is also the name of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's ministry (http://www.wayofthemaster.com/index.shtml).

You can buy the book for about $15.00 or you can enroll in their online school of evangelism for $150.00 (a great bargain). Check these things out.

If you have ever been timid about sharing or simply unsure of yourself or your ability this ministry and training CAN and WILL help you. Yes, I am endorsing it. Yes, I am advertising for them. Yes, I believe EVERY DIME you might spend in equipping yourself through this ministry will be worth it.

Do me the favor of looking over the site. Check out the book or the course under "Get Equipped". If you have high speed, look at a couple of the videos of Ray or Kirk sharing on the street (http://www.wayofthemaster.com/watchwitnessing.shtml).

I have read the book. Honestly, God has given me a generous portion of Himself when it comes to witnessing, so I've never "struggled" to share. However, I WANT TO BE BETTER EQUIPPED myself, so I plan on taking the course myself as soon as I have the extra cash. There are scholarships available if money is between you and the course.

Again, with my endorsement (for what that's worth), check it out!

Volunteers Needed

We need volunteers for Tuesday, October 31st at The Warehouse. Please call the office or email me (twbowes@charter.net) if you can volunteer that day.

Our usual volunteer team for that day has a ministry event at their church.

Another test...

I'll give you all another little tidbit about October 31...a horrific law was put into effect on that date in 1913. Can you tell me what it was?

I'd rather celebrate this!


Tell me what this is about and you'll get a cookie! At any rate, Halloween take a long jump off a tall cliff as far as I'm concerned. The event depicted above is more important to me than dressing up and begging for candy.
Dateline 27 Octbober 2006: Brian knew what it was, and quick too! And, because Brian was so smart, here is his cookie -- http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/web/ninetyfive.html -- Brian, and all of you, get a link to Martin Luther's 95 Theses in English. Nice!

Volunteers Needed

We need volunteers for Tuesday, October 31st at The Warehouse. Please call the office or email me (twbowes@charter.net) if you can volunteer that day.

Our usual volunteer team for that day has a ministry event at their church.

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Mourn Until He Moves

Mourn Until He Moves

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. -- Nehemiah 2:1-2; English Standard Version

I have, in past times, let some really silly things bother me. My wife could, but better not, tell you stories of the times that I've been totally despondent after losing a softball game. Isn't that ridiculous? We've driven home and I have sat on the steps, and no one dare speak to me. Isn't it ridiculous to get worked up over so much over things like that?

There have been other times that I have heard or experienced some really sad situations and forgot about it in a few minutes. I remember a young man that I spoke with at the youth center one time that I knew did not know the Lord. I shared with him, sure, I did that, but I walked away from that experience and did not give the young man another thought until I read in the local paper that he had died in an auto accident. It occurred to me, in that moment, that I COULD have prayed more for that young man; I could have pursued that a little more.

Here's a little something else I've learned from Nehemiah...don't give up till God moves. We find Nehemiah, MONTHS later, still grieving about the state of Jerusalem and the people there. Nehemiah was waiting, prayerfully for God to move.

Now, wait...before you think I am telling you to go about life like someone stole your cookies every day, all day...that's not what I am saying. What I am saying is that we should NOT give up praying for things and people so quickly. We should indeed be more committed.

I read a story once about a famous rock star (I don't remember his name) whose parents went to their church's altar to pray for him (and asked the church to do the same) EVERY SUNDAY FOR 25 YEARS! That man got saved! His parents didn't give up. His parents' church didn't give up. Those folks mourned for the soul of that man until God moved. All of a sudden, Nehemiah's few months seems small!

Time is not really the point. I'm talking about an attitude; the attitude that doesn't give up; the attitude that continues to ask and expect God to do something.

AGAIN, do not hear me saying that we should walk around wearing black and pouting all the time. I'm just trying to get us all to think a little more about our prayer lives and how we petition God and wait for Him. I've been known to give up too soon. I don't want to be that way!

Take abortion for example, I think it is a hateful sin. It breaks my heart. It has been 33 years since the Roe v. Wade case paved the way for abortion to become "legal" in the US. I am more committed than ever to pray EVERY DAY that God do SOMETHING to end this! I'm not giving up! Another example; I have many lost loved ones with whom I've shared the Gospel MANY times...I'm NOT giving up! I have a vision to reach the lost of my area; I'm NOT giving up! I'm going to keep praying, keep fasting, and keep working. I am not giving up!

God has used Nehemiah to reignite me! I WILL be most concerned about the most important things and I WILL keep pleading with the Lord...I WILL NOT QUIT until He moves!

You all know that God has placed me in the Baptist thread of Christian life. I've often joked that when you ask a Baptist to do something and they respond with "Let me pray about it" that what they really mean is "NO!" It's funny, and has often been true. Here's what I want to mean when I say "Let me pray about it"...I want to mean "Yes, I WILL pray about that and I won't stop until God moves in that situation."

Whatever is appropriate, I am more sure than ever that I will pray, I will mourn, I will do whatever needs to be done until He moves, even if the ONLY thing God moves is me. How about you?


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Volunteers Needed

We need volunteers for Tuesday, October 31st at The Warehouse. Please call the office or email me (twbowes@charter.net) if you can volunteer that day.

Our usual volunteer team for that day has a ministry event at their church.

Bragging about population...


I'm tired of hearing it: "United States Population Tops the 300 Million Mark!" Do you want to know why I'm tired of hearing it? Read on.

We hit 100 million in 1915. We hit 200 million in 1967. We hit 300 million in 2006. We have more births than deaths (that's cool, but something is left out of that...). We are the third largest country in the world with regards to population, following only China and India who both have over 1 billion each. That's cool. Of our 300 million, 35 million were born some where besides the United States. That's cool.

Since Roe v. Wade, OVER 45 MILLION BABIES HAVE BEEN "LEGALLY" ABORTED IN THE UNITED STATES. Give me a break! I think the number is around 47 million, and that's just "legal" abortions.

We would have hit 300 million a LONG time ago; stop bragging America!

Listen to me church...we'd better stand up and be heard. This will be on our heads.

I AM SICK to death of hearing about our population milestone, all the while knowing that we have, as a nation, allowed nearly 50 million VOICELESS, STRENGTHLESS babies to be aborted.

It's hypocritical to brag about the one when we aren't weeping about the other.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: This Can't be the End of the Story!

This Can't be the End of the Story!

They are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. -- Nehemiah 1:10; English Standard Version

Have you ever seen a movie or read a book and thought, "This can't be the end of the story!" I know you have. It's frustrating. It makes me most angry when I've paid $7.00+ to see a movie in a theater and it ends with a stinky ending. That's why I always take note of who wrote a book or those responsible for the production of a movie. If I find them consistently doing that, I'll stop patronizing their work. After all, it just ticks me off when the ending isn't satisfying!

Nehemiah would have known how I felt. Instead of letting things frustrate him, Nehemiah turned the uncertain ending into a prayer request.

Here, in today's verse, is something God is using to teach me how to pray for my Christian brothers and sister in a more meaningful way.

Nehemiah takes a very simple thought and issues a powerful prayer dart. Nehemiah reminds God that the people--Israel--are the same people that God had saved out of Egypt. Let me, if you will, put this thought into terms that we can understand in today's language: "Lord, certainly You would not have gone through so much trouble to save these people out of Egypt, keep them through the Wilderness wondering, give them great victories in Canaan, and call them aside to be Your special people only to watch them wither and fade away!"

There is great logic and great passion in this. It would seem, from Nehemiah's standpoint, that Israel was fading into the sunset of their days. But--and here's a big "but"--Nehemiah knew God enough to know that THIS could NOT be the end of the story! He knew God had something else in mind!

God had stirred Pharaoh's hardened heart and Nehemiah knew that God would stir the heart of Cyrus too.

What has this taught me about prayer? When I learn of a Brother or Sister in ANY kind of trouble or despair I begin to pray for them KNOWING that God has done too much to save them to leave them in despair forever.

For example, I have a friend that is going through some personal struggles right now; here's how I've been praying for my friend: "Lord, You have done great things to save this man's soul. You have stretched forth Your arm of salvation. You have preserved this man through many trials. You plan to make my friend into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I know that the trouble he is going through is not the end of the story. Please bless my friend and glorify Yourself through him."

In my talking with God of His great and precious promises I remind myself that, though circumstances seem difficult, God has further plans to finish the work He started in my friend. That's comforting. It's also plainly recognizing that God's story never ends with despair. It always ends with His glory!

Jesus told His disciples that He would never leave nor forsake them. I need to remember that for myself and for those I pray for. I also know that whatever good work God begins in someone He will be faithful to complete it.

As you pray for those in the Family of Faith, remember, as Nehemiah did, that God will always finish what He starts. He is faithful. Pray for the Family knowing that God is at work for His glory. Whenever the ending seems unsatisfying know that just when we think it's all over that's the very moment that God really gets to work! Don't believe me? Remember the Cross! When hell's fire was about to consume mankind God defeated death! Need further proof? When the stone sealed the tomb and all of Jesus' followers thought all was undone, God rolled it away and the tomb was found EMPTY! Why? Because not even death can end God's story! He's got plans EVEN BEYOND the grave!

Doom? No. Despair? Nope. Even in the hardest of trials, if we belong to the Lord, these things WON'T be the end of the story!

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Friends,

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

On November 7th, for the first time since Roe Vs. Wade, a small group of American citizens will have the opportunity to vote on the legality of abortion.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The South Dakota state legislature has passed landmark abortion legislation...the Governor has signed it...Planned Parenthood has forced it to the ballot on November 7th.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

There are roughly 58,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial, resulting in a total length of 493 feet. If we were to build a memorial honoring the 47 million babies that have been killed since Roe, how long do you think it would be?

60 miles
..at an average pace of 2 mph, it would take you 30 hours to walk its length.

In a state with a total population that is less than the Triangle's, the future of abortion in America is on trial. The legislation, if passed, will outlaw nearly 98% of all abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in the case of rape/incest). Ben Bull, Senior legal counsel with The Alliance Defense Fund, has stated that this is the best chance in 20 years to reverse Roe vs. Wade.

Perhaps you are wondering, "What does this have to do with us in North Carolina?".

If this passes on November 7th, it will be on a fast track to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Roberts has said publicly that the only way he believes Roe can be overturned is if it comes to the highest court as a "states right" case.
This law is just that.
Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the walls and remove our disgrace. - Nehemiah 2:17

Every member of the Family of Faith has a place on that wall. Here is what I believe ours is:

We must all call God's people to vote. Like the Apostle Paul, who demanded his rights as a Roman citizen while being beaten in Jerusalem, we too must utilize our God-given rights, in this case as citizens of a democratic republic, to be agents for Truth & Righteousness.
Please pray for me as I will be speaking at a Pastor's Rally on the South Dakota State Capitol steps this Thursday evening at 6:00pm central time.
Please offer personal prayers for the Pastors of SD to call their flocks to this battle.
Please pray for the voters of SD to do what is right & just...and for God's people to throw off their "religious neutrality" on this subject and vote this legislation into law.
Please share this information with your congregation and call them to join this fight on their knees in prayer.
Please visit http://www.voteyesforlife.com/ to learn more and to donate.
Beginning in 1832, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville began a tour of the United States in order to come to an understanding of her culture and heart. In a famous passage from his book based on that tour, he spoke about all the places he went looking for "the greatness and genius of America". He came to this conclusion:

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

The time is now for America to return to her goodness, and the time is now to once again hear her pulpits aflame with righteousness...the time is now to "rebuild the walls and remove our disgrace".

The time is now, and the place is South Dakota.

May God grant us, and the tiniest of His children, this victory.

In His Service,

Steve Noble
Chairman
Called2Action

Don't Say I'm Not Sensitive to Women

One for the ladies ...

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

"It depends," I replied. "What does it say on your shirt?"

He yelled back, " University of Oklahoma ."

And they say blondes are dumb...
-----------------------------------------------------------

A couple is lying in bed. The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world." The woman replies, "I'll miss you..."
-----------------------------------------------------------

"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, "honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?" "Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor

-----------------------------------------------------------

A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been so good that each one of them could have one wish.

The wife wished for a trip around the world with her husband.Whoosh! Immediately she had airline/cruise tickets in her hands.

The man wished for a female companion 30 years younger... Whoosh...immediately he turned ninety!!! Gotta love that fairy!

-----------------------------------------------------------

Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death. AMEN

-------------------------------------------------------------

Q: Why do little boys whine?
A: They are practicing to be men.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Q: What do you call a handcuffed man?
A: Trustworthy.

---------------------------------------------------------

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the mail folder "Instruction Manuals"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Willing to do the Big Stuff

Willing to do the Big Stuff

And I said, "O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant that I now pray before You day and night for the people of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make My name dwell there.' They are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fear Your name, and give success to Your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." Now I was cupbearer to the king. -- Nehemiah 1:5-11; English Standard Version (emphasis mine)

I like people who think big. Have you ever thought about the person that came up with the first plan to build a bridge across a river or a canyon? Every body, to that point, had always traveled around things, but then some person says, "I'm going OVER it!" All their friends said, "You are a nut! It's impossible!" Some way, some how, it was accomplished.

I'd have to imagine, and there is NO proof, that this person's first bridge was a log or a rock thrown across a creek. Perhaps it's the idea of I CAN DO SOMETHING that begins the thought, "If I can do that, I can do more!" I don't know, but I think about it a lot.

I'm a big idea guy. I like big ideas. I chase after them. Do you?

When I was a little baby Christian God used Nehemiah to teach me how to REALIZE big dreams. Before I just thought them. Now, I do them! Here's what I learned.

The first thing I learned was actually the last thing in the passage above; Nehemiah says, I was cupbearer to the king. What's the big deal with that? In context, Nehemiah is simply saying that he had opportunity to be in the presence of the king and may have opportunity to speak to him. It's an honest admission from Nehemiah that he is nothing particularly special, but he's around special people and he is asking God to let him tap into other people's influence. It's Nehemiah saying, "Help me have opportunity and to have the wisdom and Your favor to take advantage of those opportunities." It's as if Nehemiah was saying he couldn't do it, but if God would use him then he would be willing. So, that's the first thing I learned; God, I am willing to be used, even if I am only a country boy from Podunk, NC.

The second, and MOST important, thing I learned was that Nehemiah KNEW it all depended on God. Take a slow read back through that passage and do your best to notice how many time Nehemiah evoked God's name, His history with Israel, His power, and His plans. Nehemiah was calling, pleading, begging God to become involved again. The restoration of Jerusalem and the people would be a gargantuan task. Nehemiah KNEW he would need God. That's key to doing anything big, or anything big that is actually worthwhile. We need God to actually do it; we simply have to be willing to be used and let Him have His way.

The third thing that smacked me upside my head was the reason Nehemiah wanted to do something big; it's motive that I'm talking about. His motive was selfless. Nehemiah says, "Give me success that YOUR name may dwell in Jerusalem again" (my paraphrase of parts of verses 11 and 9). That's brave, but that's right. It's all about God. Doing IMPORTANT big stuff isn't about us. The moment it becomes about us it is immediately a failure.

The fourth, and final, thing I noticed was Nehemiah quoting of Moses' words in his prayer. In that quotation Nehemiah was recognizing that Israel had broken the charge to keep My commandments and do them. Here is a big thing to do big stuff; OBEY GOD! Know AND live His commands.

So, yes, I like big ideas. I'm after them too. I've learned a lot from Nehemiah, and today's examples are the tip of the iceberg. Recap: (1) be willing, no matter how small I am; (2) let God do it through me and trust God to do it; (3) the big thing has to be about HIS glory; (4) obey Him. That's good stuff.

For His glory. That's it.

Lord, give ME success for YOUR glory. I AM willing to tackle the big stuff. Help me depend on You. Help me be obedient. I am not afraid; You are with me. Thanks.


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Monday, October 23, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: You're Right. I'm Wrong. I'm Sorry

You're Right. I'm Wrong. I'm Sorry.

And I said, "O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.' They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." Now I was cupbearer to the king. -- Nehemiah 1:5-11; English Standard Version (emphasis mine)

I love my dad. I think he's funny, even when he's not trying to be funny. Here's an illustration: Dad gave me bad directions while we were traveling through Richmond, VA once. He never would admit he was wrong, even though the other two people in the car with us clearly saw he was wrong and so did I. We bantered back and forth a little (actually, nearly two hours). Finally, I said, "Daddy, you've got 'Fonzieitis'." He said, "What in the world are you talking about?" I reminded him of the character from Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli, who could never say "I'm wrong" or "I'm sorry". The words would always get jumbled up in his mouth and refuse to come out.

We all had a good laugh at my father. He never said he was wrong. He continued to say I had been wrong. So, irregardless of what he would even START to say I would immediately retort with "You're right. I'm wrong. I'm sorry."

Nehemiah gives us another great example in how to respond to something. His response isn't all that funny though. His is too convicting to be funny.

When Nehemiah heard of the plight of the people he did not begin to rant and rave and stomp around like a fool. He began to confess. He confessed the sins of his people.

Then we can see something very interesting in Nehemiah's response. Nehemiah confesses HIS own sin! Amazing! Nehemiah did not play the denial game or the blame game; he saw his part in Israel's disobedience and confessed it.

Today's passage is chocked full golden nuggets of learning, but this one really jumps out at me. I think of the plight of the church in America; I think of the plight of our nation; I think of the plight of our world at large. After much thought, I come to the following conclusion:

Lord, You are right. Lord, I am wrong. Lord, I am sorry. Please heal our churches. Please heal our nation. Please heal our world. Thank You for listening.


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Sunday, October 22, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Let's Give Them Something to Think About

Let's Give Them Something to Think About

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. -- Philippians 4:8; King James Version

There is a song by Bonnie Raitt called "Let's Give Them Something To Talk About". It is basically a love song. Ms. Raitt contends, in the song, that their actions would give people something to talk about, so she wanted actions that would cause people to understand she was in love. The hook of the song went like this: "Let's give em something talk about; a little mystery to figure out. Let's give em something to talk about; how about love?"

Last week we talked about how to handle troubling situations and being curious about the right kind of stuff. Today is an extension of that.

I've said it a million times...what's in the well comes up in the bucket. The wells of our lives are our minds and our hearts. If we ever hope to consistently handle situations properly or consistently think about the right stuff we have got to have the right kind of stuff in the well. That takes transformation. Now, I am assuming that I am speaking to the "choir". I am assuming that I am speaking to an audience of the redeemed.

One of the first devotions I ever sent out on email dealt with being a wasp or crow type of Christian. A wasp, from the time it is "birthed" from the nest, never grows. A crow, on the other hand, grows until the day it dies. The problem with many Christians is that they are like a wasp. They just don't grow! (I also did a whole series on "Growing in Grace"; let me know if you would like to see it.)

How is any of this related? Glad you asked.

If we ever hope to grow; if we ever hope to handle situations properly; if we ever hope to care about the right stuff, we MUST have our minds set right! Again, I am assuming that I am talking to a Christian audience that already belongs to the Lord. What we need to do is to PRAYERFULLY discipline our minds to CONSISTENTLY think about the right stuff. Where does the "right stuff" come from?

Another good question! A lot of good stuff comes from every day life, but so does a lot of bad stuff and also things that are often relegated to "gray areas". So, where we need to start is in the Bible. It is there we discover the nature of God, His will for mankind, and His idea of what things are worth our attention.

In Paul's letter to the Philippian believers he urged them to follow his teaching and example (Philippians 4:9). Paul was definitely a man who sought to please God and he certainly was a man who knew the Word of God inside out.

God changed Paul's motives and desires, but one thing stuck, namely Paul's desire to know the Word. The difference was that Paul had been interpreting the Word based on Jewish traditions and teaching rather than on understanding through the Holy Spirit. That all changed when Paul encountered the Living Savior on the road to Damascus. Paul began to understand things in a whole new way. His response to the Spirit's working was to train himself and to discipline himself.

If we ever hope to have minds and hearts that are tuned into God we have to have minds that are tuned to His holy Word.

Bonnie Raitt wanted people to know she was in love with whoever she was singing that song about. We want people to know that we are in love with God. What better way than to seek to know and emulate the thoughts of God? The added benefit to showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness and into light are that AS our minds and hearts are changed so will our behavior and demeanor. Furthermore, as we find out what's important to God HOPEFULLY the same things will become important to us. (By the way, if the things of God never become important to someone that is a good indication that they do not belong to Him!)

What's the ultimate point to all of this? Another good question; glad you asked. The point is as long as we keep doing every thing like we've always done them, we can fully expect to get the same results. As long as we think and live in the flesh we will only have actions and thoughts of the flesh.

Join me. Let's discipline our minds! Let's think on good things! In the process our actions will change (because belief ALWAYS affects behavior) and others will see radically different people where the same old us used to be. To the point, they'll see Jesus. Let's give them something to think about...how about Jesus?



Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Challenge for YFC Supporters

Challenge for YFC Supporters

October is "Pastor (or Staff) Appreciation" month. Berry's Grove Church honored their secretary, Mrs. Lynn Brown, for her 25 years of service with a gift of $500.00 to the cause of her choice. She chose Youth For Christ Roxboro. Furthermore, a challenge was issued for that amount to be matched by individuals or churches seeking to honor their own pastor or staff.

If you would like to honor your pastor or staff by helping to match Berry's Grove's gift simply contact our office or email me for more information.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Want a reason to rejoice?


The other day I had an opportunity to sing at the local "Christian Women's Club" meeting. I sang a song the Gaithers made popular called "Because He Lives". Every since that day I have been rejoicing in that fact. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! What a joy to know and serve a risen Savior. He, unlike any other "god", defeated death and rose from the grave. He is alive!

YOUTH FOR CHRIST HOLDS FIRST ANNUAL GOLF BIRDIE CHALLENGE



















































2006 YOUTH FOR CHRIST GOLF BIRDIE CHALLENGE

Youth for Christ Roxboro held their first annual Birdie Challenge on Monday with 19 teams and 75 participants. Tim Bowes YFC executive director said; “I am so encouraged by the number of golfers that participated and raised funds for the challenge!” Tournament director Ben Wilson said; “We met almost all of our goals for fundraising and did meet our goals of having the funnest tournament of the year.”

The Birdie Bashers team of Gerald and Brad Hodges, Jason Webster and Terry Kirby won the Grand Prize by raising the most dollars, closely followed by Scott Hurdle, Kevin Shepherd, Brian Rimmer and Tommy Winstead of the Hurdle’s Millers team from Berry’s Grove Church in second and Carter’s (Lewis) Angels, the Rotary Roosters team, and Iron Sharpens Iron in third fourth and fifth place.

Retrac’s (Lewis) Royals won the low gross with a score of 13 birdies and (Craig) Willingham’s Wahoos won the low net with an adjusted score of 54. The individual awards went to Carter Lewis for the longest drive, Rick Sampson for the senior longest drive, and Craig Willingham, Jimmy Ray Perkins, Retrac Lewis and Brian Woods for closets to the pins on the par threes.

Of particular interest was the longest marshmallow drive contest which was won by Brian Woods with a monstrous marshmallow mashing whack of 32 yards!!!!




YOUTH FOR CHRIST WANTS TO THANK OUR CORPORATE SPONSORS FOR MAKING OUR FIRST ANNUAL GOLF BIRDIE CHALLENGE A ROUSING SUCCESS


GOLD SPONSORS

Berry's Grove Baptist Church
Clayton Home Improvement and Construction, Inc.
Sherry Clayton Broker - Keller-Williams Realty
Huff's Insurance & Reality
Ricky Humphries Tire & Brake Alignment Inc.
Primary Energy
Garrett Optometry
ATC Associates
Subway Sandwiches
MASTEC
Bradsher for District Attorney




SILVER SPONSORS


Camp Chemical Corp
Dr. Gary J. Sullivan D.C.C.C.S.P.
Ace Home & Building Center, Inc.
Community Pharmacy
Anthony And Company
IN MEMORY OF:
Gifts given in memory of James Brooks, Glenn Burch, Buck Sherman, and Ila Milam by Mary Lee Whitt and Sandra Whitt. Gift given in memory of Glenn Burch by Lucille Whitt


IN HONOR OF:
Gifts given by Lynn Brown in honor of Craig Willingham and Brian Johnson for Berry’s Grove staff appreciation. Gifts given by Tim Bowes in honor of Lynn Brown, Craig Willingham, Eric Rimmer, Brian Johnson, Pam Cagle, and Mary Lou Henning for Berry’s Grove staff appreciation. In honor of the Montoya family from the Carl V. and Teddy B. Carney Fund of the Community Foundation of Davie County.

From the Director's Chair

From the Director's Chair

Tragedy seems to haunt this generation we call “teenagers”. In the past two months we have seen school shootings in Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, Colorado and in NEARBY Orange County, NC. It’s sad to say this seems to be becoming a regular occurrence.

I have been looking over some of the “myspace” sites in recent weeks as well. If you ever want a wake up call about youth culture in America (or just in Person County) spend some time perusing these sites that teens create for themselves. There you will find pornography, illicit relationships, drug and alcohol use and a host of other physically and spiritually hazardous activities, not only displayed, but glorified on a daily basis.

So, it seems that teens are living from constant cultural fears AND are constantly exposing themselves to dangerous things.

That’s why I love working for and personally supporting Youth For Christ Roxboro. Part of our mission is to provide safe activities for teens; valid activities, not just busy time.

More so, we hope to lead students to Christ. In discipling them it is our earnest prayer to help them gain the very thing that Paul prayed for the Philippians, namely that they would “approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:10a; ESV). That’s our hope and desire and what we work for...we want students to know the Lord and to learn to prayerfully and wisely navigate the rough waters of life.

It hard work, but it’s good work. All of YOUR prayers and your support put people on the street and in the schools that care enough to confront kids. All of the hours volunteers sacrifice to love students and exemplify biblical ideals are worth it if only we see the future of one student reversed or improved. We ARE seeing lives change. I am more encouraged than ever. In recent weeks we have seen 17 students commit their lives and eternities to Christ. Still, the work is abundant. Don’t let up. As a matter of fact, I beg you to become more involved.

As I’ve said before, we need more volunteers. We need financial support to rise. We need to all pull together to push the mission further and deeper. Thank you for what you do already. Thank you for what you’re going to do. Thank you for serving God in Kingdom work with us. Together...we’re going to see God change our community!

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes, Executive Director
Romans 12:1-2

Volunteers Needed


Friends, we need volunteers in The Warehouse for Monday, October 23. We also need more volunteers in general.
Also, the Campus Life Club at Northern Middle School needs volunteers. CL meets at NMS every Tuesday afternoon right after school.
Please consider filling out a volunteer application. No volunteers will be allowed without application approval.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Curious About the Right Stuff

Curious About the Right Stuff

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire." As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
-- Nehemiah 1:1-4: English Standard Version; emphasis mine

Have you noticed the JUNK on the news these days? I watch very little "television news", because most of it is about stuff that does not and will not make a hill of beans in life. The most disturbing (and this will sound weird) stuff on the news is that people actually think following the lives of celebrities is NEWS. HA! Then, as if the TV isn't enough, I walk through the checkout line of the local grocery store only to be buffeted by magazines that are based around following the lives of celebrities. HA! It's junk! Then, as if all of that isn't enough, I work with teenagers who not only follow the lives of celebrities, but seem to try to emulate them. It's nerve racking!

My wife says I am no good at small talk. I try. But, the line is drawn when it comes to caring what Brittany Spears or any one else is doing on or off the stage or screen. I don't care how many times who's been married to who and whether they fell in love with one another while shooting a movie. I don't care if they love horses and hang gliding. I don't care if the rock star drives a Hummer or lives in a house with seven bathrooms.

Do you know why? (Because, I am a jerk.) No...well sort of...seriously, I don't care because it's all meaningless at the end of the day.

What I want to know about is the deep water stuff of life. There are too many people walking around me that I want to know to become star struck by people who live in a dream world of facades.

That's another thing I like about Nehemiah; another thing that inspires me. Some of his Jewish brethren come to see him and he asked them an important question. He doesn't ask them about the theater in Jerusalem. He asked them about the people of God and the city of God. He was curious about important things.

Honestly (and this part of my attempt at being real) I hate most small talk. Sure, it's fun, but does whether or not Booger McDoodle wins American Idol really matter? Do the happenings of a few nuts who eat bugs on Fear Factor really matter? Does whether or not what's-her-name's baby on General Hospital belong to Lucky or Jason have any REAL bearing on life? Will Detroit or St. Louis or New York winning the World Series slow down the AIDS epidemic in Africa? Will Rachel Ray cook any meals for the starving children of North Korea? Can the folks at Trick My Truck fix up a ride for the president of Iraq that will stop their civil war? Will Steven Spielberg's next movie stop the slaughter of children in the Sudan? Will Tommy Hillfiger's next line of clothing be given to poor children in Mexico? Will Puff Daddy's next record cause people to turn from sin and into the marvelous light of Christ Jesus? (If it does let me know and I'll become a fan.)

Do you think it will though?

Yeah, I doubt it too.

I know, I know...we all need to relax. We all need to unwind. We all need to recreate. Yes, I know. I agree too.

I'm just saying...

You know what I'm saying...

I'm challenging all of us to consider for ourselves how much we actually care about stuff that REALLY MATTERS. I honestly think if we care more about important things we would feel more fulfilled. In caring about the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS FIRST AND MOST we would put life into proper perspective more. In doing that we might culture within ourselves the right response to the right stuff; namely, we would fast and pray more.

I know...I'm a religious nut. I know. I'm not where I want to be either though. I still get mad when the Dallas Cowboys lose. Does THAT really matter? Nope.

I want to care about the most important stuff more. How about you?



Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A nice photo and a prayer request



I am praying for the people of Ukraine today. Here is a picture I took in the mountains above Boraslav. Please join me in praying for them too. They are a people plagued by religion and custom, but I've found few who enjoy a Spirit filled relationship with Jesus.

Another racist cracker...

I bet that title got your attention! Yep, Cracker Barrel is being accused of racism yet again. It may or may not be true, BUT IT IS NOT RIGHT that racism is so alive in America. I can't speak of the validity to the report (linked bel0w), but I can say racism is alive an well in America.

The thing that most breaks my heart, and I'll leave it alone for today after this, is the way supposed Christians (of EVERY color) do not seem to differ much from the rest of the world. Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in the nation.

Now, back to Cracker Barrel...I love eating there and will continue. That's one store. If it is revealed that Cracker Barrel in general is a racist company, I'll ban the joint.

IF you read the article you will find the woman plans on suing. I do think she should speak up, but suing has become so reflexive in our country that it sickens me. I guess I'll hit that subject another day...

Link to story I read: http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/18/chrisrockmom.discrimin.ap/index.html?section=cnn_topstories

"Tim, is celibacy the same as abstinence?"

Did you see the question above? While I was at The Warehouse tonight a student stopped me, as I was walking by, and asked me that question. It led to a spontaneous time of wonderful Bible teaching about what both words mean from God's perspective.

I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work with teens. The world is so confusing and they are finding little guidance any where.

I was saddened that ONLY ONE young lady (of seven teens) had learned the importance of abstinence from HER OWN PARENTS. However, that's not the point of this thought.

There seems to be a desire, at least a verbally expressed desire, of every church to reach people for the Lord. The only way we are going to do that is to "get amongst them." It reminded me of a story...there was a young man that came into a local country store while I was there. An older man asked him had he found a job yet. The young man said, "I've been trying." The older man asked him had he been to the Employment [Commission]. The younger man said something like, "Every time I go by there are too many people inside." The older man said, "I reckon you ought to get amongst them!"

I think we pass by a lot of lost people on a regular basis and our first instinct is to find some reason to NOT share with them. You never know how the situation may arise to share the truth or to share your story with them. You ain't going to find out unless you "get amongst them."

Buckle up if you are a "church controller"


With respects to Karl Zorowski and christiancartoons.com
Our mission may not involve hanging on a cross, being jailed or being burned at the stake here in America, but we have other, more invisible obstacles. Ours is a society built by pride, materialism and dedication to the status quo. In a world built on free will instead of God's will, we must be the Freaks. While we may not be called to martyr our lives, we must martyr our way of life. We must put our selfish ways to death and march to a different beat. Then the world will see Jesus.
Michael Tait, Jesus Freaks

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Right Response to Difficult Times




Right Response to Difficult Times

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire." As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. -- Nehemiah 1:1-4: English Standard Version; emphasis mine

This is a true story. It will almost sound funny, but it's not at all that. It's really an admission of exactly how backwards I can be.

A few years ago a person came to me, obviously deeply troubled. They informed me of some horrible news; a young girl that we both cared about was found to have been sexually abused by someone very close to her. I was enraged! My first thought was to search out the house for my shotgun. After all, I thought, isn't that justice?

Before I go any further, let me say there IS a place for rigteous anger. There IS a place for the strong to defend the weak. There IS a time when it is appropriate for physical action to be employed. Don't believe me? Let someone, in a moment of rash behavior, attempt to hurt one's child. Would that not be a moment when decisive action would be required?

In this case, when the wrong had already occurred and nothing could REVERSE it, my response was utterly wrong. My anger was justified, but my actions only spoke of immaturity.

Nehemiah gives a good lesson in the godly response to a difficult situation. Nehemiah heard the horrible news about the condition of Jerusalem; it was in ruins. Nehemiah heard that the remnant of people in Judah were "in great trouble and shame". Nehemiah's response to that very difficult news was to fast and pray.

How often do we do that? As for me, not enough. I think our first response is to react with whatever emotion the news causes in us, using action that is CUSTOMARY or ACCEPTABLE to our social "norm".

When we fast and pray we are laying ourselves bare before the Lord and seeking His direction and solution.

Friends, we live in perilous times. We live in times that find us constantly hearing about troubling things -- school shootings, thousands of abortions every day, world hunger of phenomenal proportions -- none of this mentions the personal problems we ALL have. The best, and most appropriate response, would be fasting and prayer. After all, and here's a zinger, refer to Jesus' words in Matthew 6:2,5, and 16 -- there you will find Jesus saying "WHEN you give...WHEN you pray...WHEN you fast" (my translation; emphasis mine). It's as if these disciplines are EXPECTED of Christians. So, fasting and prayer SHOULD be our natural response to much of life.

Let me pull the Christian leaders to the side for a moment --- does the news you hear from your congregants immediately evoke prayer and fasting in you? I'll be honest if you will -- it doesn't always get that response from me. We SHOULD LEAD the way in these things! We often offer advice and try to solve things for people when what is MOST NEEDED is prayer and fasting.

I don't want anyone to read this and think, "Man, I ought to be more spiritual!" I am simply presenting Nehemiah's response and saying we should recognize a good example and DESIRE to emulate it. I don't want any of you (or myself) to grit our teeth and grudgingly pursue spiritual things. Perhaps we all need to admit our weakness and beg God to help us in this area. I do WANT to respond to things in the BEST and most HELPFUL way I can.

I leave this subject with a prayer...

Father, I often react in the flesh. I often try to solve things. Lord, help me surrender to You more. Help me bare my soul to You. Lord, give me a desire to practice spiritual disciplines and help me to allow You to do Your perfect work in my inner man so that my outer man may show forth Your Spirit at work in me. Honestly Father, I want to solve things. I recognize that actions of the flesh produce results of the flesh. I do not want what I can do, but prefer what You can do. I have faith; give me more. You alone are God. Help me. Help me do only that that would manifest Your presence in every situation. Amen.


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2
http://twbowes.blogspot.com/




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Another good one...



Making Sin Acceptable

By Al Menconi

Al Menconi Ministries

October 16, 2006

Again...with appreciation and courtesy to Agape Press

http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/10/162006gst.asp


(AgapePress) - Politicians are asking the entertainment industry to be more responsible with what they are producing. Responses have been mixed. Many agree, but others say the responsibility lies solely with parents to supervise their family's entertainment. As a parent, I know that's easier said than done. These days there is so much garbage to supervise, that it's become a full-time job. And when you think about the single parents who are just trying to hold their families together, the job becomes almost impossible.


What makes this issue even more difficult for Christians is that we're being asked to evaluate immorality that has become commonplace in today's society. There was a time when we would not have tolerated some of the filth that passes for entertainment today, but now it has become commonplace. How did this happen? It starts when a musician, movie, or TV program "boldly pushes the envelope" of acceptable morals and good taste. They usually do this to get noticed -- and it usually works. Then someone else goes further so they can get noticed. And then another goes a little further than the last guy. Before we realize it, those immoral borders we thought would never be crossed now have become the "norm."


Most people don't want to be labeled old-fashioned censors. Eventually, people get tired of being a "stick-in-the-mud" and quit resisting. After all, we don't want to isolate our family from what "everybody else" is doing. Over time, people resign themselves to what was considered unacceptable, and soon it is commonplace and normal. When something becomes Commonplace, it is perceived as being acceptable. When something is Acceptable, the perception is that it is good. When something is good, the perception is that it is Normal. And we all want to be normal, don't we? CAN - Common, Acceptable, Normal. (Emphasis added by blog owner)


Need proof? Think back. Do you remember when the TV program Three's Company was considered risqué because two young women had a man as a roommate? They had to pretend that he was a homosexual so the landlord would accept their situation. When kids watch this program on reruns, they don't even get the "joke" because living together is an accepted practice on television. We've come a long way since 1977, haven't we?


Think about the first time you heard profanity in a movie. It shocked you, didn't it? Now we hear worse every night on television and justify it by saying "all the shows have it." Do you remember the first time you saw a sex scene in a movie? Were you offended and embarrassed? If not, you were probably surprised. Now, we're surprised if a movie doesn't have a sex scene -- even a TV movie. I'm sure you could think of hundreds of similar examples.


So should we just give in and give up? What can Christian parents do? The big job for us isn't filtering through all the world's garbage. Our job is to teach Christian values to our children. Helping parents understand the influence the media has on our families, helping them set guidelines in the home, and encouraging them to teach their children how to think biblically are some of the reasons we developed the FullTilt Media Challenge. In other words, the FullTilt Media Challenge devotional is designed to be your ammunition in the spiritual war for the hearts and minds of your family.

Read this...if you dare!


America's Moral Katrina
By Don Wildmon
October 17, 2006
Taken with courtesy and respect from Agape Press

(AgapePress) - Child pornography arrests have been in the news now nearly every day for the past couple of months. Having been in the battle against pornography for the past 30 years, I cannot remember when there have been so many arrests of individuals charged with either possession of child pornography or molesting children.

In the entertainment industry, pornography continues to gain ground, with almost every medium pushing the envelope, trying to out-do what someone else has already gotten away with. Consider the various avenues through which this generation is being assaulted:

Passing through the channels on TV, the scenes and language are much more explicit than ever before. If the rate of decline continues, it will not be long until we see hard-core pornography on the networks.

While I haven't been to any movies in a couple of years, judging by promos on TV they are much more explicit and raunchier than ever. Restraint and reason are passé.

Popular music is also getting much more explicit, with studies showing that the more of this music the kids listen to, the more likely they are to abandon the values of their parents.

A recent report said the amount of alcohol and drugs being used by youth is growing by leaps and bounds, with the age of alcohol and drug use getting younger and younger.

Abortions continue unabated. We have killed over 40,000,000 of our unborn since 1973.
With the exception of Fox News, the bias in the news against conservatives and Christians is becoming bolder and bolder.

Nearly every day we hear of progress being made to legalize homosexual "marriage," with companies such as Ford and Wal-Mart giving their blessings and monetary support to the homosexual agenda.

In California, a new law now requires Christian and other faith-based colleges and childcare centers that accept students with state financial aid (Cal grants and CalWorks vouchers) to sacrifice their biblical values in hiring and admissions and support transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality. Truth doesn't matter anymore. Only what is politically correct.

Meanwhile, most Americans go on with their day-to-day lives raising children, meeting family needs, working, etc. Millions sit in their houses of worship on Sunday morning, and see no connection with the moral decay around them.

The new law in California clearly shows that what is at stake in the culture war is the very survival of Western Civilization -- which came from the mind of Christ. Those whom Bill O'Reilly calls the "progressive secularists" will not be satisfied until all influence of the Christian faith is removed from the public arena. Our religious freedom, which helped make this country the greatest ever known, is being stripped away.

There is a moral Katrina coming, and millions of Americans are ignoring it.

A Good Thing

Do you know about YG? It stands for "Youth Guidance". It is one of the ministries of Youth For Christ Roxboro. It's intention is to identify and work with "at risk" students by meeting with them in small groups and helping them with life. It's that simple. A church or an individual can sponsor a group. If you have a few hours a week that you can sacrifice to love on a SMALL GROUP of students, this is the ministry for you. Think about it.