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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SUNDAY NIGHT CHURCH?


Let’s Hear It for Sunday Night Church



I feel sorry for Sunday night church. It has been cut back, cut out, moved forward, redefined, replaced by some groups and just about every other thing that could be done to something, which at one time was so precious to us all. I grew up going to church on Sunday night and not once did we think about its inconvenience to us or how we can make it adjust to our lives to make them a little easier. 

Canceling Sunday night would have been akin to canceling Sunday dinner or even worse for that matter. It had almost an equal billing with Sunday morning church. It was the costar of a good Sunday. It was the desert of the Lord’s day. The question “are we going to church tonight?” didn’t exist in our lives.




However, the mighty often fall and Sunday night church is no longer the glamorous costar of Sunday morning. It has been relegated to optional and asked to adjust itself so as to make our lives more convenient. No longer do we build our lives around the Sunday night church service, but we ask that it build its life around us. I miss Sunday night the way it used to be and I long for a day when it returns to its glory. 

Why was Sunday night so special? It was special because it was another time to meet with the church family. Unlike Sunday morning when we had visitors sit at the table with us. Sunday night was just dinner for the family for the most part. An occasional guest would join us, but mostly it was the family enjoying a time of hearing the preaching together.


It was special because it concluded the Lord’s day with the Lord. Sunday night we would go to church and arrive home just in time to eat a snack and go to bed. It was usually too late to turn on the television or watch a ballgame. No, it was the end of the Lord's day, it was dark outside, and we went to bed with the fresh thought of the preaching of God’s word in our minds.




It was special because we were able to hear the preacher again. Sunday night wasn’t like Sunday morning. The preacher cut loose a little bit more on Sunday night than he did Sunday morning. He spoke directly to us. He challenged us more. He exhorted a bit more. Sometimes he even scolded a little bit more. 

It was a family meeting where he could be more candid with the members of the family. We laughed more, cried more, shouted more, loved more, relaxed more, listened more, responded more, hugged more, sang more, fellowshipped more, shook hands more, etc.


It was another chance to become closer to one another. It was another chance to shake hands. I love the old gospel songs we sang in church. Sunday mornings we sang pretty good, but Sunday nights...well we cut loose on Sunday nights. After all there was no one there that we were trying to impress.


It puts sports, football in particular, in its place. Never saw the ending of the second football game or golf tournament on Sundays because we had to leave for church. As far as we were concerned the second game on Sunday night football didn’t exist, but if it had we would have missed it, because we were in church.




It gave us another chance to do something for the Lord. A group that couldn’t sing on Sunday morning could sing on Sunday night. Soloists who couldn’t sing Sunday morning preformed Sunday night. People that were working during the service in other services Sunday morning finally were able to come and be with the rest of the church family on Sunday night. Just more chances we all had to do something special for the Lord, made Sunday night important to us.





We knew we were different. Lots of cars were pulling out of their driveways on Sunday mornings, but not too many cars were going anywhere on Sunday nights, unless they were going to church. We walked out to the car looking like most people looked on Sunday morning when they went out to their car. People stared at us wondering if that’s all we ever did was go to church. We were peculiar in our neighborhood, because we were one of the few that went back on Sunday nights, in fact we were one of the few that had services that we could go back too on Sunday nights.

Oh, how lonely Sunday night church must feel even in some fundamental circles. Constantly being changed to accommodate, constantly being altered, constantly being shut down for Christmas, feeling like a red headed step child, shut down for New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day, and lately the Super Bowl. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..." has a big hole left in it's nuance meaning nowadays with Sunday night church being disrespected and in some cases vacated. I can almost see a tear leaving the corner of the eye of Sunday night when the preacher announces there will be no Sunday night service this week.

JUST A THOUGHT!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DR. STODDARD'S 30th ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY

Sunday Morning

I was invited to teach and preach the 30th Anniversary Sunday for my good friend of 3 decades Dr. Michael Stoddard.  He and his dear wife 30 years ago started the NEW TESTAMENT BAPTIST CHURCH.  After 30 years of faithfulness God has given them a vibrant spirit-filled fruitful Baptist Church.

They purchased a beautiful facility just off of one of the main thoroughfares  in East Hartford, CT., and converted it to a wonderful church facility.  You must visit this church if you are in the area.
Sunday morning the Sunday school classes were bulging at the seams.  There was electricity in the air as I took the elevator to the 3rd floor to teach the Pastor's Sunday school class.  The room was full not only of people, but the spirit of God had liberty.



I taught my Sunday school lesson for Dr. Stoddard's Sundays school class from Proverbs chapter 26 on "10 REASONS FOR FAILURE."
  • Lack of Restraint - verse 3
  • Wrong Associations - verses 4-11
  • A Know It All Attitude - verse 12
  • Laziness - verses 13-15
  • Excuses - verse 16
  • Meddling In Others Business - verses 17-18
  • Gossip - verses 20-23
  • Hatred - verse 24
  • Inability To Face Your Own Faults - verses 24-26
  • Hoping Others Will Fail - verses 27-28

Dr. Stoddard honored
Dr. Stoddard and his dear wife were honored by the church for their 30 years of faithful service.  Imagine he and his family started with nothing - no building and no people.  Today they have wonderful first class facilities just off one of the main thorough fares in East Hartford, CT.

This is an old time religion church.  Yes, you read it correctly.  King James only, independent Baptist, soul winning, separated, old time preaching, old time singing, and they even have an antiquated Bus Ministry.  

Dr. Stoddard attended almost every NATIONAL SOUL WINNING CLINIC conducted for 29 years in Longview, TX.   He was and is a very teachable man.   I have been invited to preach for him almost from the very beginning of this dear church.  I have observed their growth throughout these 3 decades and it is a miracle in this religiously stuffy North East.

I preached Sunday morning my sermon "LONGSUFFERING" and many adults trusted Christ and followed the Lord in baptism.  The altars were filled and the spirit was fantastic.  If you like the old time religion you will love this church.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

THE DEMISE OF LEADERSHIP!

THE LOSS OF LEADERSHIP


  • THE LEADER DISCOVERS A TRUTH

  • THE LEADER IS CAPTURED BY THAT TRUTH

  • THE LEADER BECOMES EXCITED OVER THAT TRUTH

  • THE LEADER DELIVERS THAT TRUTH WITH EXCITEMENT

  • THE LEADER EXCITES OTHERS WITH THAT TRUTH

  • THEY RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH

  • THE LEADER BECOMES EXCITED ABOUT THEIR EXCITEMENT

  • THE LEADER BEGINS TO LIVE OFF OF THEIR EXCITEMENT

  • THE LEADER THEN TRANSFERS LEADERSHIP TO FOLLOWSHIP BASED ON EXCITEMENT AND NOT THE TRUTH

  • THE FOLLOWERS HAVE NO LEADERSHIP AND EVENTUALLY COOLS OFF

  • THEN BOTH LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWSHIP BECOME COLD

  • THE LEADERS RESIGNS INWARDLY

  • EVENTUALLY THE LEADER RESIGNS OUTWARDLY




JUST A THOUGHT!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE DANGER OF BEING TOO CLOSE!


TOO CLOSE




Genesis 9:23, “And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.”

This is an ugly scene! This is a terrible scene! Picture the man who for 120 years had built an Ark, the man who was called the preacher of righteousness, the man who found grace in the eyes and sight of the Lord, the only man whose family was saved from judgment in the flood, a man who never waivered for 120 years, and a man that believed God when it had never rained before and preached that there was going to be a flood! What a man!

Here he is now with a sorted and ugly scene happening in his life. This wonderful man is found drunk. It is so easy after a great victory to stumble. Check the Scriptures and you will see it. 

It was right after the great victory on Mount Carmel that Elijah became scared and ran in a backslidden state. It was after the great victory where we find Job, who had stood the test, becoming proud and God had to bring him back down to his knees. It was right after the great revival in Nineveh when Jonah became backslide and began to pout.

Now the victory is over and the flood is over and we find Noah in this awful gory scene, as he is drunk naked inside of his tent. Yet, there is a beautiful and decent little golden thread that runs through this story, something that you will not see unless someone calls it to your attention.

Here is Ham! He goes inside the tent and there is this awful sorted picture. May I divert just for a moment and address the modern Psychologists who insist that the parents bath with their children - they are nuts! My Bible says that a child is not supposed to see the nakedness of his parents.

Ham goes in and sees the nakedness of his father. He goes out and says to his two brothers, Shem and Japheth, that dad is in the tent drunk and naked. Shem and Japheth don’t want to see the nakedness of their father. They know he is in the tent naked but they do not want to see it. So, they take a garment and they go backwards into the tent and place that garment over their father.

Think about this! They knew their dad was not perfect but they did not want to see the imperfection of their dad. These boys did not have the Scriptures, the written Word, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Numbers, or Leviticus where God taught they were not to see the nakedness of their parents.

They knew their father was not perfect. They knew their father was a sinner, drunk, and naked in that tent but they did not want to see it even though they knew it was true. Any one who is over you is there because God placed them there in your life and if you are not careful you will miss the fact that God put them there and you will end up excusing your rebellion because of their imperfection. Here are some sons who said, “We know it’s true, but we don’t want to see it.”




I had the wonderful honor of preaching with Dr. Jack Hyles at least once a month for 22 years. Wait a minute, I knew he was not perfect because he was a human being like me but I did not want to see his imperfection. I needed a hero. You need a hero. I knew he had weaknesses, but I did not want to see them. I knew he had sins, but I did not want to see them. I refused to allow myself to get that close!




Most divorces are caused because there is no mystique between husbands and wives anymore. Wives ought to dress up for your husband like you would for guests in your home. Most church splits are cause because people become too close to each other. They begin to see all the warts. They see all the imperfections. They see all of the sins and here comes trouble in that church. You may call this "old school" but I remind you the greatest churches were of that "old school" era.

If you become too close to a staff member let me tell you what you will find! As it is written he is not righteous, he does not understand, and he does not seek after God. Let me tell you what you will find if you get too close to any one. 

Romans 3:10-18 describes what you will find. Paul is speaking here about the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews thought they were better than the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul is saying you are no better than the Gentiles. He describes every human in these verses! This is the biography of Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Curtis Hutson, Evangelist B. R. Lakin, Evangelist Lester Roloff, Dr. Lee Roberson, and the Dr. Tom Malone’s of this world.

We have lost our allure! You are going to find that your wife has the poison of asps under her lips, she is unprofitable, a throat that’s an open sepulcher, a tongue that uses deceit, her mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, her feet are swift to shed blood, and wives who become too close to their husbands will find the same thing out about them.

Let me see the beautiful forests, but do not let me become too close to see the knots, broken branches, dead branches, serpents, insects, or the spiders. Let me stay at a distance and let me see the autumn time as the forest puts her coat of many colors on like Joseph of old. Let me step back and see it! Don’t let me become too close to see the diseased tree and the dying tree. These two boys said, “We know daddy is a sinner, but we do not want to be reminded that daddy is a sinner.”

Tell me of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, the 3,000 souls saved and baptized. Tell me of Peter saying in Matthew chapter 16 when Jesus asked, “Whom say ye that I am?” and Peter rose to his eloquence and replied, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” Tell me about Peter when he saw 3,000 saved. Tell me about Peter as history says he was crucified upside down. Tell me about that, but don’t let me get so close that I see him cursing and denying the Lord. Don’t major on that!

Tell me about David defeating Goliath, taking his own hands and killing a bear, and his killing of a lion. Tell me about David who was forgiving Shimei for hurling stones at him and cursing him. Tell me about David when he knew that King Saul was attempting to kill him and he found Saul at the opening of his cave. He pulled his sword out of its sheath could have pierced the heart of Saul but he did not do it. Tell me about David when he wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” 

Tell me about David when he wrote the Psalms. Tell me about David when he was so happy when the Ark came back but don’t tell me and don’t major on what happened with Bathsheba and Uriah. Please allow me to go backwards and place the garment over the Bathsheba and Uriah incident. I know he did it but I don’t want to see it. I do want to think about David with the slingshot and the felling of the giant.

Tell me about Moses going to Pharaoh and telling him, “Let my people go…” Tell me about Moses coming to the people and explaining to them the Passover Lamb. Tell me about Moses when he led those people out of Egypt. Tell me about Moses when he took the rod and smote the waters of the Red Sea and the waters parted. Tell me about Moses when he walked over and led the Israelites over on dry ground with those waters being parted by God Himself. 

Tell me about Moses when he prayed to God and God gave them manna from Heaven. Tell me about Moses when he smote the water in Horeb and water gushed out to feed three million plus Jews for forty years. Tell me about Moses that led three plus million Jews for forty years in the wilderness. Tell me about the great Moses that followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

However, please let me back up and cover that which caused Moses to have to go to Mount Nebo. Please let me back up and cover up that which caused Moses not to be able to go into the Promised Land.

Ladies and gentlemen the reason it seems we do not have any heroes today is because we are more interested in publishing weaknesses rather than strengths. Our society of Christians, as well as our societies in America, needs the assets of leaders and less talk about their liabilities. Don’t tell me what happened at Mount Nebo. I don’t want to know!

Please tell me about John Marks’ book the Gospel of Mark. Please tell me about how he went to Paul when he was in prison in the last days of Paul’s life when Demas left John Mark stayed beside Paul. 

Don’t magnify what happened at Pamphylia. I don’t want to hear what caused him to go back home. I’m going to back up with a garment and cover it up because I don’t want to know. Let God take care of the punishment and let me not see it. Too close!

Tell me about Abraham leaving the Ur of the Chaldees. Tell me about Abraham and Sarah packing up and leaving there home, their neighborhood, their town, with no car, no train, no bus, and no airplanes to follow God by faith. Tell me about Abraham and Sarah’s faith. 

Tell me about Abraham going up to Mount Moriah after a three-day journey he put his own son Isaac on an altar, but please don’t tell me and please don’t major on what happened in Egypt. I want to back up and put the cover over Abraham like Shem and Japheth did for their father. Please do not tell me what happened with Abraham in his backslidden state!

There is not a man or woman reading this article that can withstand close scrutiny. None of us have a right to look down on some one else and when we become too close we expose our critical minds too destroy relationships that ought to be a blessing instead of a curse. Every one has their own pet convictions that nobody else has but that does not make you any better of a person than those who do not hold to your convictions. 




The poison of asps is still under your lips and with your tongue you have used deceit. Your heart is desperately wicked. No sinner has a right to sit in judgment on another sinner! Romans chapter 3 describes you as well as me.

Tell me about John leaning on Jesus’ chest, being in the inner circle, being the disciple whom Jesus loved, going with Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration, standing by Jesus while others forsook him and fled. Tell me about John being one of those that turned the world upside down for God, but don’t tell me what ever happened when his mother wanted him to have seats at the right hand of God the Father. I want to back up and cover it up! Please don’t major on the bad qualities. Major on the good qualities.

Shem and Japheth were not covering up sin. That is impossible to do. They knew he was a sinner and that he had sinned but they did not want to see it! He still was dad! He still was their father! He still had a life to live! They knew he was not perfect but they did not want to see it!

That is why couples end up in divorce court. That is why churches split. That is why preachers leave churches. That is why church members keep changing churches. That is why churches keep changing pastors. If you do not watch it some one will end up doing to you what you are doing to others.

Tell me about the 120 years of preaching and building! Please do not misunderstand me Noah was wrong. He should not have gotten drunk. He should not have been naked but how about the 120 years of preaching and building. 

Think about it! Who is hurt the most over this drunkenness and nakedness? Noah who did it or those who talk about it? It was Noah and his family that paid the price. Then why ruin your life by not learning from the 120 years of preaching and building. How about looking at the whole picture.

Pause for minute and consider this if Noah had been drunk for 120 years his sons would not have tried to back up and cover up his nakedness. The fact that they were shocked and did what they did was because of 120 years of serving God faithfully. Tell me about Noah a preacher of righteousness. Tell me about Noah who was blessed of God and found grace in the sight of God but don’t let me see his naked body lying drunk in the tent.




Tell me about Lester Roloff’s walk with God, his faith, the battle for troubled children, and going to jail for fallen young people but don’t tell me his faults. I don’t want to know! I didn’t want to get too close!




Tell me about Dr. John Rice and his great prayer life and his Sword of The Lord paper. Tell me about his books that sold millions and his influence on preachers around America. Tell me about Dr. Rice and his bringing back revivals to America. Tell me about his emphasis on the doctrine of the fullness of the Holy Spirit to Baptist churches. Tell me about his bringing the prayer closet back to America but don’t tell me his weaknesses I do not want to see them. I know they are there but I don’t want to see them.


Tell me about Dr. Bob Jones Sr. and his great campaigns, his wisdom, and his citywide campaigns but don’t tell me about his weaknesses. I know he had them but don’t tell me about them.


You are married to the love of your life and then you become too close to her. You have a new pastor and then you become too close to him. You have a friend and then you become too close to them. You have a child and become too close to the child. 

Don’t tell me about my daddy’s failures. Don’t tell me about my mama’s weaknesses. Talk to me about their successes.  The word "honor" in the Scriptures simply means to put your weight down on the good.  A child who leaves home is not honoring their parents by speaking of their parents failures, but they do "honor" them by speaking of their parents successes. Yes, it is true they are too no longer "obey" but certainly they are commanded to "honor."  By the way, this is the part where God promises long life and not the "obey" part. Interesting!


THINGS TO DO

·      Realize people were human before you noticed their humanity
·      Do not be shocked by what people do
·      Be close to every one and not too close to any one
·      Be quick too forgive
·     When you find yourself becoming critical realize it is because you are getting too close
·      Focus on the assets of people and not their liabilities
·      Pray for those involved in your world
·      Let the mind of Christ rule your mind

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I WAS ALMOST IN ALL EVIL IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION...

Fallen in Paradise




Genesis 4:1, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.”

I am thinking of a man whose father is a nationally known preacher.  This man went to a Christian school and grew up in a Christian home.  He had all the love of a mom and dad that a boy could receive.  He sang songs such as Jesus Loves Me, and The B-I-B-L-E, and Zacheaus Was a Wee Little Man. He participated in all of the teen activities.  He went soul winning.  In spite of this, today he is living a wild, ungodly lifestyle.  He is involved with liquor, the Hollywood lifestyle, and illicit sex. He even burned down his parents’ house, trying to kill them.

There is a well-known pastor who has preached behind my pulpit.  If I were to list the ten most popular preachers of our generation, he would be on that list.  He loves God, and he and his wife had a great marriage.  However, his daughter was loose. She thought she could go to Lovers Lane, neck and pet, and not be affected.  Soon, she became pregnant out of wedlock, and her dad’s heart was broken. His second daughter followed the same path.  

Billy Sunday was one of the greatest evangelists who preached across this nation.  He fought the liquor crowd. He went to his pulpit one day, and someone handed him a newspaper. The headlines announced that Billy Sunday’s own son had been involved in a drunk-driving accident.

Dr. Hyles told me the story of one of the men who drove him around. This man was a graduate of Tennessee Temple Schools. His dad was a well-known pastor, and this man became a popular evangelist.  One day, the evangelist went into a bar to collect a debt.  He took his first drink and walked out drunk. He was married 7 times, and his life was ruined.  He ended up in the Hammond Rescue Mission.

There are teenagers sitting in churches all over the country who are sold out soul winners.  They think they can live for God while they fool around with the world, but they cannot do both.  Before long, their lives will be wrecked and ruined, and they will be looking for help and advice from their preacher.

Maybe you visited a church and found it was different from any other church. The pastor preached strong convictions and soul winning. People were saved and baptized. You sensed the Spirit of God working. You laughed at the jokes, cried, and went to the altar. You even found yourself saying “Amen.” 

You joined the church, thinking you would have it made.  You thought things would go well for you if you had that particular pastor—a pastor who preached separation from sin, who had a bus ministry, who preached Hell-fire damnation, who held standards and never changed. You thought your children would automatically turn out right if you put them in the Christian school. You thought your sons and daughters would turn out right in that college with an electrifying soul-winning atmosphere. 

Now something has happened to you. You discovered the preacher and the staff members were human. You discovered the members had faults. You discovered the members gossiped at that church, just as they gossip in every church. It did not bother you until you were the target of the sermon or the target of the gossip. It did not bother you until your child received demerits you thought he did not deserve. 

Suddenly, you find that you are backslidden.  Your children are backslidden. You do not understand how it could happen in such a great church. 

I believe “influence does influence,” and that is why it is called “influence.”  A Christian school pushes for right.  It helps those who want to be right with God.  On the other hand, it hardens those who do not want to be right with God.  If you want to serve God, it will help you be above average; but if you want to be average, it will be a thorn in the flesh to you."  No amount of influence and environment can ever make you spiritual or make you do right; it simply makes it easier to do right and be spiritual.

Think about Cain.  Both of his parents were saved.  God had given both of them coats of skin; they were washed in the blood and born again.  When Cain was born, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.”  Cain’s name means acquisition.  He was cradled in a lullaby of love and faith from infancy.  He worshipped with his parents at the gate of Paradise. Every Sabbath day his dad killed a lamb, placed his hands of faith on its head, and sacrificed it on an altar. He saw the cherubim and the flaming torch.  He actually heard the voice of God.

Cain’s parents probably showed him the results of sin.  They made him feel the thorns on the plants, and then they showed him the poisonous snakes that had once been peaceful.  They showed him the weeds in their gardens.  They warned him that sin would ruin his life, just as it did the rose, the wild beasts, and the serpent.  They showed him their wrinkled brows and stooped shoulders, caused by sin.  They explained that their fatigue at the end of the day was caused by sin. 

There were no dirty magazines in Cain’s home.  No flashing lights lured him to watch a dirty movie.  No wrong crowd led him astray, and no fallen woman lured him to sin through lust. There were no atheistic professors to ruin his mind.  No slum area caused his fall, and no ghetto pushed him to dope.  There were no adult bookstores, no profanity, no television, no bars, no rock music, and no Playboy magazine.  There were no disco joints, no country and western music, no miniskirts, no drug dealers, no pimps, and no red-light districts. There were no Kennedys, and no John MacArthur’s.  There was no NIV, ASV, or RSV.

Cain lived where it was easiest to serve God.  He lived in a utopian place. Yet, he disobeyed God by bringing the wrong sacrifice, and then he murdered his own brother.

If you had been in the Garden of Eden, you would have blamed God for your fall. You would have blamed Paradise.  Yet, it is no more the church’s fault that you are not right with God than it was God’s fault that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. You have no one to blame but yourself. 

Church is a marvelous place, but it will not make you spiritual. Members come and go. They become upset with the preacher when they quit reading their Bibles and going soul winning. They quit going to Sunday school and start working on Sundays, and then they wonder why their children turn out wrong.  They quit tithing and giving offerings. They blame the preacher because he did not keep them right with God.

God did not give you a preacher and a church to keep you right with Him.  It is your job to stay right with God.  If you do not read your Bible for the entire week, you cannot expect the preacher to keep you right with God.  Pray and read the Bible for yourself.

The youth pastor only has your children one hour on Sunday morning and one hour on Sunday afternoon, so it is not his fault if your children turn out wrong.  There are 168 hours in a week, and the pastor only has you three of those hours.  It is your responsibility to keep yourself right with God. 
A dad once said to me, “I gave my kids to fundamentalism, and look what happened.  I replied, “You should have kept them.”  It is your responsibility to raise your children. 

If you are backslidden, you have two choices.  First, you can look for another church that matches your spiritual condition. You can justify your backslidden condition by gathering other backsliders around you. 

Second, you can face the fact that the atmosphere cannot keep you right. It can only point out your backslidden condition. Even though you are backslidden, stay in your church.  Then, get right with God.  When your child gets some sense, he will have a place to come home. 

If you backslide at church, you cannot go to a better place to get right with God, so stay and get right with God.  There is no better Book to help you get right with God than the King James Bible. All the other “bibles” are simply perversions. There are no better truths to give you. There is no better cause than keeping people out of Hell.  What else will motivate you and keep you right with God?  It is your responsibility to keep yourself right with God. 

The greatest tragedy is when a Christian goes to church, hears the great music, sees the salvations and baptisms, hears great guest preachers, hears Bible studies and sermons, and goes to summer camp, yet backslides and longs to return to Egypt. You walk sacred halls, sacred buildings, and sacred classes every day, but you are not right with God. You go to chapel and hear men of God preach, but you are not right with God. You are in a spiritual utopia, yet you are backslidden. Your church preaches the King James Bible is the only Word of God, and you are backslidden.  Instead of realizing it is your fault you are backslidden, you blame the pastor. 

It is easier to lose your temper with the principal or youth pastor because your child was supposedly wronged than it is to lose your temper at the child for doing wrong.  No, it is not the preacher’s fault, the church’s fault, or the school’s fault; it is the home’s fault.  You have no one to blame but yourself.  We can make it more conducive for you to be spiritual and for you to raise your children right, but you have to choose to do right.

Parents do not let your guard down.  Students do not let your guard down.  The preacher will not make you spiritual. The church and school will not make you spiritual. Throw away the TV Guide, brush the dust off your Bible, and read it.  Spend time with God.  Being around spiritual people will not take the place of your personal walk with God.




You were attracted to the church and people because you were spiritual.  You loved to see people saved. You were the best producer at your church. You loved the singing and the preaching.  They used the right Bible. You loved the bus routes. You went to that church because you were on a spiritual high.
 
The church became unattractive because you became unspiritual.  The people did not change; you became unspiritual. If you had been spiritual, you would have forgiven.w"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."  Now you are cold and backslidden, and the church is unattractive.  The preacher is unattractive. 

God puts imperfect people in perfect positions on purpose. The pastor is an imperfect man preaching a perfect Book to imperfect people, trying to perfect them. The pastor’s imperfection is used by God to help you become more spiritual and forgiving. 
  
You became unspiritual because you depended on the church to make you spiritual. 
I was in a Question and Answer session once with Dr. Jack Hyles when a man asked him, “Dr. Hyles, how do you keep Mrs. Hyles right with God?”

Dr. Hyles replied, “It is not my job to keep Mrs. Hyles right with God.  That is her job.”

If you are very irritated by the preacher, you are unspiritual. When you depend on the church to keep you spiritual, you will be unspiritual.  Did you read your Bible this morning?  Did you pray?

If you joined a church because of right, you will not allow your wife or child to make you leave.  

However, if you joined the church because of your wife or children, you will leave because of them. 

One man said, “You did not get the heart of my son.”  The Bible says, “My son, give me thine heart.”  It does not say, “My church member, my youth member….”  Dad, go home and claim your child’s heart.  Quit blaming the church because your children are not doing right. 

Why did you choose your church?  Why did you choose that particular church over another church in town?  The answer will determine how long you stay at your church. Our church has great benefits. However, you should not join a church because of its great youth program, its music, its preaching, its college, its fame, or even its soul winning.  You should join a church because it is the right church for you to attend. 

As father and priest of your home, if you do not believe your church is the right one, neither will your children. They will believe and act what your heart believes.  If you believe in your church, your children will believe in it, too.   No youth activity or school will induce your children to love Jesus and serve God. 

If you believe in your church, you will stay in it even if your children go to the devil.  You will not be affected by the emotions of your wife or the rebellious behavior of your children. You will not be prodded, coerced, tormented, or manipulated into leaving it. 

Your wife will be secure and happy, knowing that you will not move when times are tough, when friends leave, when the children do wrong, or when she has a bad day at church.  Your children will be happy and secure because you support the preacher, the principal, the teacher, and the youth director.  In fact, if your wife and children think they can sway you or change your mind in such a weighty decision, they will lose confidence in you as a leader.  If you leave for the sake of their happiness, they will actually be less happy. 

This unwavering determination to stay because it is right for you and your family has two benefits.  First, your choice to stay where God wants you gives your marriage stability. My wife is happy and secure because she cannot change my mind.  Second, this decision to stay gives my children the confidence to stand for right and the example to follow to turn out right.  

Too often parents change, trying to salvage their marriage or their teenager, and actually end up destroying what they were attempting to salvage. If you tell them you were lying about the church being right, they will wonder what else you lied about. You will become merely a politician who takes a poll before making a decision or giving a speech.

When your child is a college student trying to decide what is right for him, your stability and confidence will make it easier for him to decide the same. He may not decide the same, but it will be easier for him to do right if he knows Mom and Dad are staying, regardless of his choice. 

The church will not make you spiritual.  It cannot make you do right.  You must be responsible for your own spirituality.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

SUCCESS OR GOOD SUCCESS?

GOOD SUCCESS



Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Several men were talking about why they had achieved success. One man said the recession did not bother him for he said he was a flop during the boom!

Joshua 1:8 is the only time in the Scriptures where the word “success” is mentioned. Please take note of this? The Bible does not say if you do these things you will be successful. Read verse 8 again. It does not say that you will have success. It says that you will have “good success.” There is a difference between “success” and “good success.”


Good success is man doing what God made him to do

Madonna has sold her soul to the devil and some call her a success. Britney Spears has sold her body and soul to the devil. Some call her a success. Clint Eastwood is called a success, but that is not “good success.” Some call Donald Trump a success, but that is not “good success.” People called Michael Jackson a success, but that was not “good success.” On and on I could go with Kobe Bryant, Lebran James, Patten Manning, etc., but "good success" is the only success mentioned by God as acceptable to God according to the Scriptures for His children.

When you as a child of God run to Satan’s world to find success you will fail at finding “good success” while finding “success.” God wants for his people not to be a success but rather God wants his people to have “good success.”

I do not want to be a success! I want to have “good success.” What is “good success?” Good success is one doing what God made him or her to do. Good success is not in having but being. If you are born, live, die, and do not the thing or things that God put you here on earth to do you are a miserable flop. God did not put His people here to win basketball, football, or baseball championships especially those whom He has called into His service.

You may flop with millions of dollars in the bank, but you are still a flop. You may flop as a king of a nation, as a movie star, as a NFL hall of famer, or as an inductee into Cooperstown Hall of Fame for baseball players or win the NCAA Division I basketball championship.

God had a reason for your birth, life, and even death. You, my friend, are no uh oh with God. God made you, my friend, on purpose. He has a reason for your existence. God had a job for you to do and God made you for that job.


Good success is doing it where God made man to do it

Hold it! Please do not misunderstand me. The “what” takes precedence over the “where” of the will of God, but no one should negate the “where.” I would rather a person be doing the “what” in the wrong “where” than doing the wrong “what” in the right “where.” If I am to be a “good success” I must do “what” God made me to do “where” God made me to do it.


Good success is doing how God made me to do it

If a pastor were to take a poll of what people would like in a church in the town where he pastors and then made a church like what they wanted. He may be doing what God made him to do, doing it where God made him to do it, but not “how” God made him to do it. That would not be “good success.”

Those who are giving to the people what they want in a church in order to build a big church may find success but they will not find “good success.” They may have success without being a success.

Marriages that are built on doing the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Child rearing that is built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Finances built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Businesses, families, and education built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.”

I may do “what” God wants me to do “where” he wants me to do it, but if it is not “how” God wanted me to do it then I cannot have “good success.” A well-known pastor who spoke many times at Sword of the Lord Conferences for Dr. John R. Rice years ago stood before his people one Sunday and said he was wrong about standards and dropped all standards at his church. His offerings went up. His drive-in attendance went up. Some called him a success, but my friend that may be success, but it is not “good success.”

There are two twin doctrines. Soul winning and standards are those twins. I meet Liberty University graduates all over America who know nothing of aggressive personal soul winning who beg me for help. This is the same University founded by a soul winner in Dr. Jerry Falwell. He was an aggressive soul winner and produced personally on a regular basis. However, when the standards started to drop at the University so did the aggressive soul winning.

Standards are the vehicle that will carry aggressive personal soul winning to the next generation. If you cannot say no to the Hollywood and have enough character and discipline to guard your eye gate then you will not stay out on a bus route for 8 hours on a Saturday.

So to have success without being a success is in essence failure. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. would call it destroying the orchard! We are to keep the orchard healthy and it will continue to produce fruit for years to come. If a big church can be built on no standards and no convictions then it may be a success, but it will not be “good success.”

Dr. Bob Jones Sr years ago dropped the University's intercollegiate sports program because he saw carnality growing in his students and not spirituality.  But, this generation appears to think they are a whole lot smarter than Bob Jones Sr., and Jack Hyles.

Good success is doing “what” God put me here to do, “where” God put me to do it, and “how” God meant for me to do it. The question begs to be answered how may then someone have “good success.”