Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Very Blessed Year in Pictures

As I talked about previously Sandra  and I have been in the process of adopting 3 kids. The process started over 8 months ago and was finally finalized about 2 weeks ago. I couldn't post any pictures until after the adoption was final. This is our first family picture from back before Christmas.

 A more recent picture a couple of weeks ago on our first family vacation.

 Then a few months ago we got a little surprise.

 Seth Edward Fowler is due on November 17.

Well with our expanding family our 1600 square foot 3 bedroom home was no longer big enough so we were blessed with this one.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shepherds of Our Families

We had our monthly men's fellowship this past Friday and once again I brought the message.  I guess I'm starting to get used to this teaching thing.  
Sandra and I share the responsibility of teaching the College/Career class at our church.  Right now we doing a study on David loosely based on Beth Moore's book A Heart Like His.  The message I brought to the men at our fellowship was actually based on a study we did on David's shephereds heart making him a good king.  I didn't really think about it, until Sandra mentioned it to me, but it also applies to us as men and fathers as well.  

Shepherds of Our Families
A true shepherd leads the way. He does not merely point the way.
    Author: Leonard Ravenhill

 Psalm 78:70-72

New International Version (NIV)

70 He chose David his servant
   and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
   to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
   of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
   with skillful hands he led them.
So even though he didn’t know it David had been in training to be King his whole life.  The position of shepherd was training David to be the shepherd of his people that God would call him to be. His shepherds heart is what would make him a great king.
Let’s take a look at what the Hebrew word for heart is.
Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings
Heart ~ lev
By Jeff A. Benner

Here is an example of our modern western culture still using a concrete object to express an abstract idea. We often associate the heart with emotions such as love and kindness as in "He has a good heart". This is also true with the Hebrews who saw the heart as the seat of emotion. But unlike us they also saw the heart as the seat of thought whereas we see the brain as the seat of thought. To the ancient Hebrews the heart was the mind including all thoughts including emotions. When we are told to love God with all our heart (Deut 6:5) it is not speaking of an emotional love but to keep our emotions and all our thoughts working for him. The first picture in this Hebrew word is a shepherd staff and represents authority as the shepherd has authority over his flock. The second letter is the picture of the floor plan of the nomadic tent and represents the idea of being inside as the family resides within the tent. When combined they mean "the authority within".

Characteristics of a shepherd that are good for a Man.
A good shepherd always knew the habits and characteristics of his sheep and could predict their behavior and understand their peculiarities. The shepherd knew the characteristics of his sheep so well that he was never surprised or caught off guard by their actions.

John 10:14

New International Version (NIV)
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—

A good shepherd was always at ease with his sheep, comfortable with their company, and enjoyed the responsibility of taking care of them. But, the life of the shepherd was extremely hard; never off duty and never any time off from his shepherd responsibilities.

A good shepherd would sometimes have to discipline his sheep. Because fields of grass were sometimes hard to find, the sheep were prone to wander looking for grazing opportunities.

Therefore, the shepherd had to keep constant watch over his flock. One rebellious sheep could lead the other sheep astray. So the shepherd would break the legs of the wayward sheep to prevent it from straying away from the flock and leading other sheep astray.

Hebrews 12:11

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
11 We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right.

After this disciplining process, the shepherd would then carry the sheep on his own back to teach the sheep that, even though the sheep needed discipline from the shepherd, the shepherd still loved the sheep deeply. Being carried on the back of the shepherd, the sheep developed a more intimate relationship with the shepherd.

The shepherd’s task was not only constant but also dangerous because he had to guard his flock against wild animals and against thieves and robbers. Constant vigilance, fearless, courage, and patient love were necessary characteristics of the shepherd.

Lastly, the shepherd was responsible for taking care of the physical diseases that his sheep might contract.

Ezekiel 34:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

A good shepherd’s responsibility, then, was to provide for all the needs of his sheep. Food, water, direction, protection, and healing were all his responsibility.
How are these good qualities for a Man to have?
A Man who is the shepherd of his family knows his family.  He understands how they act and think.  He knows them so well that he is not caught off guard by their actions.
A Man who is the shepherd of his family loves his family and enjoys leading them. He will discipline them when needed, and protect them at all times.  Constant vigilance, fearless, courage, and patient love are necessary characteristics of a Man who is the shepherd of his family.

Isaiah 40:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 He tends his flock(family) like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young

Friday, March 30, 2012

What Is A Man of Courage?

Tonight was the second men's fellowship that I put together. We had a short study on "What Is A Man of Courage?" that I lead. Teaching is all new to me but I thought it went pretty well. So I thought I would post my outline. It's pretty short and there was a lot of input from the rest of the men, but here is the basics.

What Is A Man Of Courage?

"Courage is not limited to the battlefield or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody's looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood."

— Charles Swindoll

Main Verse
1 Corinthians 16:13
Amplified Bible (AMP)
13Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ([a]your conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!
1. The word "courage" is from the Greek word "tharrhountes". It means to be bold and confident.
2. A very similar word in the Greek is "tharseo". It is translated "take courage" or "be of good cheer"
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
- C.S. Lewis

Virtue- definition

1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
As men of courage we should have moral excellence, righteousness, and goodness. We know that God is goodness itself. So if we have goodness as one of our attributes it can only come from the source of all goodness.
What does God Promise if we are courageous men?
Proverbs 29:18
Amplified Bible (AMP)
18Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.
Replace “these people” with my family.
Joshua 1:3-9
I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you ... No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people(my famlily) to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

God’s promise in these verses.
1. We will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable)
2. We will possess the land
3. We will be successful in everything we do.
4. He will be with us wherever we go.
 Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
- Winston Churchill
 Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.
- Billy Graham
If we are men of courage it will rub off on others. Our kids, grandkids, and the kids at church, look up to us and often want to be just like us. We are always an example to those that look up to us, whether good or bad. When we are living like men of courage we are training the next generation to be courageous.


· I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
· I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
· I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
· I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
· I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
· I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
· I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
· I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
· I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
· I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
· I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
· I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Growing Out of My Comfort Zone

It's been a while since I posted a blog so I guess it's about time.

For anyone that knows me you know that I like to be in the background. I am perfectly happy to be part of the supporting cast. At church Sandra teaches "our" Sunday School class while I sit quietly by. I put together the power points for the worship service and I am the sound guy. I guess you could say these are my comfort zones.

Well I guess that is all about to change. I guess it all started with the movie Courageous. If you haven't seen it yet I can't recommend it highly enough. It's all about us men standing up and doing our part. Anyways I put together a men's fellowship for the guys of our church to come together, eat, and watch the movie. To most that wouldn't sound like much, but like I said I prefer to be in the background. In fact my father in law was really surprised that I stepped out of my "normal" to put the fellowship together. Anyways the plan is now that this will turn into a monthly event that I will be heading up. It will consist of food, fellowship, and a short devotion lead by someone. Well I think the first one I will be doing the devotion and it will be "What is a man of courage?". I don't know if I will be doing the devotion every time, we will just have to see. I have also committed to start sharing the teaching load of our college and career Sunday school class. My first time teaching the class will be coming up in a couple of weeks. At this point I'm clueless on what I will be speaking on but we will see what happens.

Where is all this leading ? I'm not really sure. Am I nervous. Yes, but I know God will lead me into whatever he has for me.