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Friday, December 9, 2016

IS IT A DISAGREEMENT THAT SEPARATES OR SOMETHING ELSE...

Respecting Our Disagreement

There is a man who I love as dearly as any man in this world. I admire him. I respect him. I love him. Unfortunately, a sharp disagreement has come between us. While it is not a doctrinal disagreement, it is one about which we both strongly believe. He would like nothing more than for me to see it his way so that our relationship can be healed. I would like nothing more than for him to respectfully accept our disagreement so that our relationship can be healed. There is a difference!

Unfortunately these types of disagreements often separate dear friends and brothers in Christ. In our desire to be right we fail to understand that it is possible for two people to sharply disagree, but to respectfully accept their differences.

Back in the 1970's a group of men as diverse as could possibly be decided to join together to conduct a national conference on soul winning and revival. Their planning stage for the meeting was to take place in Los Angeles. Sadly what was intended to be a conference on soul winning and revival led to the separating of friends. 

When the men came together their differences became more obvious. Rather than focusing on the cause for which they had united, they focused on those differences. When the conference had ended, so had some of their friendships. Men who once preached together, separated from one another because they wanted the other to submit to what they believed. They went to their graves without healing what had once been strong friendships.

Most of these men were heroes of Dr. Hyles. He already knew their differences. Long ago he had determined not to allow these differences to put a wedge between himself and the opportunity to be influenced by them. He did not separate from them, but they separated from each other and him.

I decided to write this article hoping that my friend would read it and that it would begin the healing between us. However, I am also writing it in hopes that others could be helped. I have had men cancel meetings with me because they disagreed with something about which I feel strongly and yet we still agree on the things that brought us together in the past. 

That saddens me. If I had strayed from my position on the King James Bible, Bible separation, soul winning, or doctrine it would be different. So what should we do when we disagree with a brother in order not to destroy a friendship?


1. Don't be careless with friendships. I saw men separate from Dr. Hyles over a disagreement. He never stopped loving them. He grieved deeply. He valued the friendship and never wanted to sacrifice it at the altar of a disagreement. He remained a friend to many men who walked away from their friendship over a difference.

2. Don't sacrifice what you could gain over disagreement. Dr. Hyles would have loved for RG Lee to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, but think of what he would have lost had he allowed that to separate their friendship. Dr. Hyles' life was much richer because he refused to let that disagreement separate them. 

Dr. Hyles would have loved for Dr. Rice to agree with him on storehouse tithing. But, he was not willing to sacrifice all the good that he could gain from Dr. Rice's wisdom and influence over that one disagreement. I could go on and speak of Lester Roloff, Bob Jones Sr. and many others with whom he strongly disagreed on an issue, but refused to allow that disagreement to destroy what he considered to be an important friendship.

3. Value people over your own authority. Not everyone has to submit to you, my brother. Not everyone has to do what you say and believe what you believe. When you make being the authority more important than the friendship you are not showing your strength; you are showing weakness. Mrs. Gray and I have strongly disagreed over some things. Rather than letting those things come between us, we chose to respect the disagreement. That is how you spare marriages and friendships.

4. Don't rally people to your side. If you are right, then be right, but you don't need others to validate that. Or do you? Do you really need them to slander that person to make you feel more right? Do you really need to hurt another's ministry to feel more right? Do you really need others to question the other’s spirituality to make you feel more right? 

If Mrs. Gray and I disagree strongly over something you better not take my side against her because my loyalty to Mrs. Gray is more important than your agreement with me. My friend that is deep! Think about what I just said. 

My loyalty to Mrs. Gray is more important than you validating our disagreement on my behalf at her expense. 

If you attack my friend with whom I disagree in an effort to defend me you have not defended me; you have attacked me. I learned that the hard way from Dr. Hyles.

5. I Hope that you never discover all the disagreements you have with all your friends or you will have no more friends. It's interesting how inconsistent we really are. The individual who has allowed our disagreement to harm our relationship remains friends with others with whom I know he has disagreements. However, the closer you are to someone the more obvious a disagreement becomes. 

I know far more things about which Mrs. Gray and I disagree than I do with anyone else in the world because I know Mrs. Gray better. There are preachers who because of their closeness separate over a disagreement, but who at a distance remain friends with others with whom they would also disagree. That is one reason why Dr. Hyles said, “Don't get too close to people you admire. The closer you get, the more likely you will discover your disagreements.” That my friend is deep but important.

6. Don't look for other faults to validate your disagreement. The man who disagrees with me has scrutinized me in other areas and found “fault.” Somehow that validates his side of our disagreement. Really? Sadly he has let others criticize me for other things in defense of his position on our disagreement. That is so unwise. It is also very unChristlike.

7. Learn to separate relationships. Follow me very closely here. This could save friendships. Here are two brothers. Both are strong independent fundamental Baptists. One brother decides that he is going to leave his Independent Baptist Church and join a non-denominational church that does not use the King James Bible. They now have a disagreement. The danger is to confuse the relationship of brother to brother with the relationship of fellow church member to fellow church member. 

These brothers should not allow the relationship as brothers to be damaged by the disagreement over churches. “But how do you avoid it?” you ask. You avoid it. If you value your relationship as brothers enough then you agree to respect the disagreement. Don’t pick at that scab. That is important.

8. Don’t seek concession seek reconciliation. Why is it so important for them to admit they are wrong of for you to admit you are wrong. Why don’t you both admit you disagree and move on? Oh, I know why...PRIDE! Stop it. Let me share something that is quite remarkable. 

The apostle Peter and the Lord Jesus Christ had just had a disagreement. Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times and he knew he would. Peter had just vehemently disagree because he believed he would not. Jesus knew He was right yet never insisted on Peter agreeing with Him. Just a little later, when Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane guess who Jesus took with him. Yes, Peter. 

There is something amazing and sweet about that. Knowing they did not agree, Jesus still valued his relationship with Peter. Even though Peter did not admit that Christ was right our Lord invited Peter to that very important place and hour.

I do not anticipate that this article will mend the rift between the one I love and myself. In fact I fear it may make it worse. However, what I have just shared is so needed. There are lessons here that need to be taught and learned. May God help us to accept disagreement more respectfully and refuse to allow it to ruin friendships.



Thursday, December 8, 2016

THINK BEFORE YOU CANCEL CHURCH FOR CHRISTMAS

Taking Church Out of Christmas



If you do not believe in the importance of the New Testament local church then you need not waste your time reading this article. However, for those of us who believe that God ordained local bodies of believers called the church to carry out his mission in this world there is something I want to say to you. This is not a rant, nor is it an attack against any of my brethren. However it is something that needs to be said. So, here goes.

Pastor, please reconsider taking church out of Christmas this year. How is that different from taking Christ out of Christmas. Christ gave his life for the church. Pastors across America are canceling Sunday morning activities at church because it's Christmas. What kind of signal are we sending when we do this? Let me suggest a few that I think we are sending?

1. It is sending a signal that Christmas is more about family than it is about Christ. I love Christmas. Christmas was always special in our family. But there was never a time where family defined Christmas. Christmas was always defined by Christ. All the sentimental Christmas songs that talk about family are sweet, but do not believe the notion that Christmas is more about family than Christ.

2. It is sending a signal to the world that church is not that important. When people drive by your church on Christmas night and see the parking lot full of cars it is a testimony to putting Christ first in your church. It also reminds them that the people who attend your church are different. Not only should we have our normal schedule on Christmas we should advertise the fact that we do. There are others who attend churches that will cancel services and perhaps this would be an opportunity for them to come to your church.

3. It is sending a signal that church is an inconvenience. To cancel Sunday night church on Christmas Day is to say that church is getting in the way of something more important. Nothing is more important. Church is not an inconvenience. Church is a vital part of life and should never be treated any less than such. What's next? Will you canceled church on Super Bowl Sunday night? How about Easter? That's what churches across America have done. How sad that we would consider our church services as being inconvenient to our celebration.

4. It is sending a signal that you are changing. Men like Dr. Roberson, Dr. Malone, Dr. yiles Dr. Hutson and I could go on and on took a strong position when it comes to maintaining consistency when it comes to church services. Those who have made services less important are those who are not like us in many other ways. Why do we want to be like them? Why are we copying what they do? Really there is no legitimate reason other than either you don't want to have church or you are succumbing to what people are saying.

5. It is sending a signal that people don't want to go to church. I don't buy this. There are people look forward to every service even if it's on Christmas Sunday. Look if they don't want to come on Christmas that's their choice. However give them the choice. Have the service and show them that it's important. Whether they show up is up to them but don't enable them. Have your regular services and let them make their choice.

6. It is sending a signal that church is arbitrary. When the pastor says we are not having certain services he is saying it's not important. Don't you think that's going to make it easier for people to say it's not important to go to church when they are on vacation? Never minimize the importance of church. Satan wants nothing more than to convince people that church is not always important. Cancelling services just plays into his hands.

Pastor it's not too late to reconsider

You don't have to cancel or change your service times. I know Dr. Hyles was old-fashioned. I also know that church was more important to him than Christmas because church was a regular part of Christian life for him. Christmas was a celebration of a day we should celebrate all the time. He never canceled a single thing on Christmas Sunday. The buses ran, Sunday school classes met, the preaching took place at their regularly scheduled times and the doors were open on Sunday night for church.

Pastor, you are not wicked because you canceled your Sunday night service, but I think you are sending some bad signals. Get up in front of your people and admit you were wrong. They may respect you more. It may even give you a chance to make it a teaching moment for your people.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 WAYS TO KEEP SOCIAL MEDIA IN CHECK

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5 Ways To Keep Social Media In Check

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

11 WEEKLY DUTIES OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER

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11 Weekly Duties Of A Sunday School Teacher

Teaching a Sunday school class is more than just a Sunday morning job. It is a seven-day-a-week job. In this chapter we shall discuss at least some of the things that a teacher should do during the weekdays. 1. Continually study the lesson. In nearly every Sunday school what the lessons are to be about […]

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Do you know someone who is a Sunday school teacher?  Dr. Jack Hyles built one of the largest Sunday school classes in the world while at First Baptist Church in Hammond.  If the methods that he used then worked, why wouldn't they work now?
We have a brand new course available at Independent Baptist Online College entitled Sunday School that I'm excited to share with you!  One of the ministries least understood in many churches is the Sunday School. Learn how to pastor and disciple more people and learn how to be an evangelistic as well as a soul winning church. Learn how Dr. Jack Hyles used Sunday School to build his people and thus great churches as well in this 2 credit hour course.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

MEDIA LESSONS FOR CHRISTIANS

The Power of the Mainstream Media in America


Gallup polls reveal that a large percentage of the American public believe that fast food is unhealthy. Likewise Gallup polls reveal that most Americans believe that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. Yet, most Americans still eat fast food on a regular basis and most Americans consume news from the mainstream media on a regular basis. 

The issue is not trust. We do not trust the healthiness of the golden arches and its fellow fast food establishments yet we frequent them. We do not trust the mainstream media yet we still watch and listen to them. It is apparent that trust is not nearly as important as we might think when it comes to deciding what we consume both in the way of food and news.
Perhaps nothing has influenced the thinking of America as much as the mainstream media. Most Americans are influenced in their opinions by what the media says. The liberal media has influenced Christians far more than we realize or will admit. There are reasons why Americans are so prone to violate what they know is good for them and consume what they know is bad for them. Let me give you a few of these.
We are creatures of habit. Most people do not do what they know is right or best but rather what has become a habit to them. Habits control our lives. We get into habits of eating certain foods and it's difficult to break that habit. The same is true about feeding our minds with bad news. We know they are liberals. We know they are anti-Bible and anti-Christian, yet we consume what they feed us, because it has become a habit for us.
It is convenient. For the same reason we go through a drive-through for fast food we watch and listen to news from the mainstream media. It's there and easy to get to. Much of the time we do so without thinking. Just as we go to the cabinet and grab a bag of chips we know we shouldn't eat, we turn on the news and watch news presented by liberals.
It is infiltrating. Almost everywhere you turn you find the influence of the mainstream media. News is everywhere and most of it is not good. Even sportscasting has been infiltrated by the mainstream media's liberal bias. ESPN has become one of the most liberal members of the media, spewing hatred towards a Christian Tim Tebow while defending an anti-American Colin Kaepernick. Almost everywhere you turn you see or hear the news.
It is entertaining. They know how to get our attention. They get us interested in a consumer news report and while we are waiting for that report we are being fed their liberal and biased stories. It is like going to McDonalds for a salad and smelling the fries while we are there. They know how to get our attention and they know how to keep it. The mainstream media are masters at marketing and at mesmerizing our attentions.
They are authoritative. The news is packaged in such a way as to make us believe that these people are authorities. They might be sitting behind a desk with jeans and flip-flops but we see the shirt and tie and the suit coat on camera. They are attractive and well presented. They are packaged in settings which have been tested for their appeal. They deliver the news in a way that best appeals to our senses. People who present the news are well-versed at making a good impression which causes us to believe them even while we claim not to trust them.
So why are we so willing to allow something into our lives that we know is bad? Perhaps the biggest reason is because Americans have forgotten how to think. In the 1920s our educational system changed from teaching children how to think to teaching them what to think. Children are not taught to logic they are taught to memorize. Rather than learning how to calculate they are taught what they should think. 

Our educational system has indoctrinated our minds to accept what we are told as truth. As a result we have inadvertently allowed the mainstream media to tell us what to think. Most Americans know how to listen, but not to logic. That has led to a nation easily influenced by the “truth” presented by the mainstream media.
Why should Christians not allow themselves to be influenced by the mainstream media? If we are aware that they are saying is wrong, why is it such a danger? Knowing something is wrong does not excuse you to allow it into your mind. If you applied the same logic to pornography then you could say it is okay to watch pornography as long as you know it's wrong. What you allow into your mind is having an influence on your thinking. Knowing that it is humanistic and anti-Christian is not enough. 
Even though Christ warned the apostle Peter of Satan's desire to have him Peter was unable to overcome the temptation to deny Christ when confronted three separate times. Satan desires to have each one of us so that he can sift us like wheat and shake our faith. This is often done through the mainstream media. Christians would be wise to guard their minds from the propaganda being spewed by them.
What about alternative media that calls itself conservative? While I am not against some of the conservative media sources I am still leery of the fact that most of these do not come from a Christian or biblical perspective. While their logic is superior to the mainstream media most of them are influenced by some humanistic ideas. A Christian should be careful how much they listen to these alternative sources.
What should a Christian do to stay informed? 

First of all, most news is unnecessary information. We live in an information overload. Our minds are so filled with “news” stories that we have little time to think about the most important things. Let me share with you a couple of simple ways that a Christian can stay informed without being overtly influenced by the news world.
Read the news. When you watch news you are being influenced by visual things over which you have no control. When you read you have more control of the information that is coming to you. I read a few blogs and online newspapers to get most of my news. I am able to decide what I want to read and what is unnecessary. Learn to read the facts and block out the fluff. Get the information you need without being influenced by others opinions. Read the newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps you could read an online paper. Decide what articles to read based upon the subject matter. Do not read opinion articles unless it is someone who has a Christian perspective.
Don't become a news junkie. When you read a story do not overload your mind with useless information. The mainstream media loves to take a story and turn it into a saga. Be careful to avoid the over-consumption of information regarding a particular news event. If we are not careful we will go from being informed to being inundated.
Be prayerful regarding your intake of the news. Christians ought to always pray about anything we do. That would include the news that we allow into our minds. Ask God to give you wisdom before you watch and understanding to know how to respond to that information after you have received it.
Compare news to scripture. When you receive information always put it into the perspective of the Scriptures. Our response to news should always be based upon scriptural principles not our human responses.
Think on these things. Every Christian should consider Philippians 4:8 when they are consuming any kind of news. “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.” If the news you are consuming does not  match up to these requirements, then it's time to stop. Guard your mind lest you become a casualty.
Replace the bad with the good. If you decide not to eat junk food you need to replace that junk food with good food. Instead of eating chips you could eat fruit. The same is true regarding news. When you have been accustomed to filling your mind with the junk of the mainstream media replace that with something which is good.
There is no question that the mainstream media has influenced the direction of our nation. God's people must not allow ourselves to be cast under their spell. We must guard our minds and separate ourselves from their anti-Christian and humanistic teachings. We may not be able to defeat them but we certainly don't have to give them our time or attention.