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Monday, February 29, 2016

DO OLD MEN MATTER IN THE MINISTRY?



Have I Outlived My Usefulness?



Mrs. G and myself
50 + years marriage
44 years of ministry

I had the rare privilege of knowing Dr. Hyles in the last years of his life. What most people do not know is that Dr. Hyles fought a battle within himself that was greater than almost any other battle he faced. It was a battle that he spoke of privately. 


Quite frankly it was a battle that surprised me. To me Dr. Hyles was always self-assured and confident so this was a battle this would have seemed the least likely for him to face. What was that battle? He battled a feeling that perhaps he had outlived his usefulness.
Dr. Hyles often wondered if he was truly qualified to preach to teenagers. He would ask out loud why would these teenagers listen to an old man. He wondered if the college really wanted him around. At one point he even said, “It's not my college anymore. If others want it, let them have it.” He wondered if maybe a younger man could come in and take his place and do a better job as pastor. 

For a time he pondered retirement from the pastorate. He told me that he was not the only man that in his later years felt that same insecurity. He spoke of his heroes, many of whom wondered if their ministries were over, which is why so often he promoted those men. 


I will not tell the personal stories he told me that there was a reason why he invited men like Dr. Lee Robertson to spend the week at Hyles-Anderson College every year. He knew these men felt their age. He knew that they wondered if maybe they had lost their touch with the new generation. He felt their insecurities.



Now I know how Dr. Hyles felt. At the age of 70 I sometimes wonder if I am irrelevant. I know the young men have their new methods and their new ways. I wonder if my experience and wisdom even matters anymore. I have fought this more and more as I have grown older. 

As one man said, “The older I get the more insecure I am because I do not know if I matter anymore.” Dr. Hyles taught me with his life how to combat these feelings. He did not teach me how to avoid them, but how to respond to them. If you are out there wondering if you matter anymore allow me to share a few suggestions.
1. Remember that if God was through with you you wouldn't be here. When God is finished with Bob Gray, Sr., he will take me home. Until then I know there's something for me to do so I must do it.
2. Hang around younger men. Some of Dr. Hyles contemporaries resented that they were no longer close to him. Many of them were close buddies with each other, but Dr. Hyles did not stick with them. It was not that he didn't love them, quite the opposite in fact. He not only loved them but he missed them. But, Dr. Hyles did not want to die being apart of a group of good old boys. He knew that he needed young men to keep him vibrant and alive. He brought them into his midst so that he could influence them, but also so they could challenge him.
3. Keep starting new ministries. Dr. Hyles once said, “The way I fight old age is by birthing new ministries.” I have been criticized for starting new ministries by those who have no idea why I have done so. My goal in life is not to outlive my usefulness with mature ministries, but to consistently birth new ones. Independent Baptist Online College, IBOC, is such a ministry. I feel like a young man again. This is something Dr. Hyles did. He birthed new ministries that allowed him to stay alive and vibrant. One of the reasons I know God is in this is because of the opposition.
4. Influence young men as much as you can. There are many young men who see me as a relic, but there are some who see me as someone with experience. I walked with men that they didn't know. I preached with John Rice, Lee Robertson, Tom Malone, Bill Rice, John Rice, Lester Roloff, Jack Hyles, and many more. I got to know them and they got to know me.  I can offer to those young men who are interested a glimpse into those men’s character and ministries.
5. Don't act old. I decided not to be an old man. I decided to stay young. I still try to look good and to be in good physical health. I don't walk like an old man, I don't talk like an old man, I hope I don't dress like an old man. I don't do what a lot of old men do when they are in retirement. I want to stay vibrant until God takes me home.
7. Never retire. In fact, keep re-enlisting. Recently I was ridiculed by a man because I have always said that I never felt the call to preach. That man ridiculed me without understanding what it is I am saying. There were some men who went into the military because they were drafted, but there were others who saw the need and enlisted. 

I was one of those men who chose to enlist. In so doing I gave my life to ministry. God never stopped me. I did not retire from the ministry when I resigned my church. I merely changed my duties. I reenlisted to another area of ministry. Don't retire from the ministry. Find something you can do even if you cannot pastor any longer.
8. Keep learning. I have learned more in the past seven years than I probably learned in the first 63. It is confusing for people to hear me teach things that seem contradictory to the way that I once did them because they do not understand that I’m still learning. 

There are so many things I would’ve done differently.  I have learned what I now know, so I teach in light of now not then. I only hope that men will listen to what I've learned and not just judge me merely by what I did. Don’t misunderstand me God blesses us in spite of us, not because of us. Even if we didn't do it the best way, God sees our hearts and blesses our motives.
9. You knew I was going to say this. Keep winning souls. Do you want to say stay young and relevant? Keep winning people to Christ. I was recently with Dr. Russell Anderson at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Dr. Anderson began to witness to the waitress. In a few moments she bowed her head and asked Christ into her heart. 




Dr. Russell Anderson leading
a young lady to Christ

At the next table there was an older lady who had tears in her eyes. She said, “I was praying for you as you spoke to that young lady.” Dr. Anderson said, “Really, are you a Christian?” She replied, “Yes, and I'm also her grandmother. I've been praying for her salvation.” I think I saw Dr. Anderson walk with a little more lilt in his steps as he left Cracker Barrel than when he came in.
I cannot take away the occasional feelings, but I can determine not to let those feelings affect my behavior. I don’t physically or mentally feel like an old man, but sometimes I feel like an old man. 

Some of the greatest works of God have been done by an old man who decided not to allow the feelings of his age determine his actions.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

FOR PASTORS ONLY!



Pastor, Is It Possible That You Are Abusing Your People?


There is much talk especially on the Internet about pastoral abuse. Unfortunately much of this talk comes from disgruntled church members seeking to justify their leaving the church. Certainly there are cases of pastoral abuse, but in this day and age anything people feel infringes upon them personally is deemed as being pastoral abuse. 

There is far too much being called pastoral abuse, which is nothing more than strong leadership. It is much like parental abuse. What my parents did in raising me would be called abuse today.
I am not justifying any kind of real abuse, but unfortunately the word abuse has been broadened in its meaning beyond reasonability. That said it is possible that sometimes a pastor could inadvertently be guilty of abusing his people. 

Good men sometimes make mistakes that cause them to abuse their position. Pastor, let me give you some warning signs of things you should be careful about in order to avoid as much as possible the accusation.


1. You may be abusing people when you overwork them in ministry. There are times when we work the same people over and over again to the point that they are ineffective in any one ministry. It is wise that a pastor not use the same people too much. 

Willing people are easily abused. They love to serve so they are asked repeatedly to do more and more within the church, often to their own or their families detriment. We had “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” ministries all manned by different people in order to be very careful to respect their time.
2. You may be abusing people if ministry is harming their home life. It is easy for people to become so involved in ministry that they don't have time for the family. Make sure your people have time for their home life. The purpose of the church is to help strengthen the family not cause the family to be split apart.
3. You may be abusing your people if you are pressuring them to give more than they should. It is easy to use the old phrase “you can't out-give God” abusively. It is true you can't out-give God, but you can't bribe God either. God expects us to use common sense in giving. 

A pastor who is more concerned about the finances of the church than his people’s personal finances might be abusing his people without realizing it. I have said a thousand times there is a thin line between faith and foolishness.

I taught every January on finances and many of our people used those teachings to pay off their mortgages and debts. They were freed up to be able to give to missions for example. 


4. You might be abusing your people if they leave your preaching feeling guilty more often than encouraged. Guilting or shaming people into doing things is a short-term way of accomplishing something. It is much wiser for the pastor to encourage and inspire his people rather than to guilt and shame them. 

I taught our TEXAS BAPTIST COLLEGE pastoral students to always leave the people believing they can live what was just preached. Leave them with hope at the end of your preaching.
5. You might be abusing your people by preaching too long. Now no one will ever accuse me of pussyfooting in my preaching. However, there are times when we preach too long and leave our people exhausted rather than refreshed. People should not leave a service feeling worn out from the experience. 

They should leave feeling strengthened and challenged as well as refreshed. Our Sunday morning preaching time was shorter than the baptismal service. 
6. You may be abusing your people by trying to control them. Now many times people are called “control freaks" when reality it is not the case. Often times it is just an excuse that people use for not wanting to do what they should do. I did my best to encourage people to do what they should do, but I knew that I could not control them, nor did I want too. I tried to use my influence the best I could, but I did not want my influence to become control. 

There is a fine line pastor. Many good men joined our church and brought their ministries to our church over the years. These ministries were not ministries born in our church, but they were still ministries. I had no right to stick my nose into their ministries anymore than they had a right to stick their nose in our church ministries.
7. You may be abusing your people if you want to have the final say so in everything in their lives. Your people are not answerable to you in every matter. Be careful not to make it appear as if they are. There are pastors who seem to think it's their job to control what their people do and don't do. Your job is to teach the truth and let them make the decisions they should make. You are there for their benefit not them being there for your benefit.

I love the way my son Bob II puts it when he says I am not going to stick my nose in your family business, but you are also not going to bring your drama down here to God's House either.
8. You might be abusing your people if they are scared to leave your church for fear of repercussion. When people feel you accept their decision to leave the church it is less likely they will attack you. Many people attack their former pastor because of how he handled them leaving the church. 

When a person chooses to leave, let them go with grace and kindness. Defend when attacked, but do not attack just because they left your church. I made it a policy to write a letter thanking them for us having the opportunity to serve together.
9. You may be abusing your people by personally expecting too much from them. I have known pastors who felt their people didn't treat them well enough. Pastor you are not there to be treated well. You are there to serve the people. Do not compare yourself to how other pastors are treated. Love your people and pastor them properly and they will treat you well. 

Some pastors insist that their people do certain things for them because other pastors have received those things. Some pastors insist that their members celebrate their birthdays, their anniversary and even their families birthdays in a big way. You may be abusing your people if you expect special treatment from them. I never asked or demanded such.
10. You may be abusing your people by not warning them of potential dangers. For every pastor who abuses his people by warning them too much, there are multitudes of pastors who abuse their people by not warning them enough. The Bible is full of warnings that we should share with our people. 

Our job is not to scare them but to warn them so that they take heed to avoid certain things. If they choose otherwise that is their business.
11. You may be abusing your people if you feel that your word is always the final word. Pastor you are not a dictator. Most pastors don’t think they are, but often times act like they are. We’re like a child who wants his way and when he doesn’t get it, he will pout and cry. Do not call your people disloyal merely because they disagree with you. Have you ever considered the possibility that you may be wrong? 

The position of pastor is not a papal position nor is the local church infallible. The Word of God is the only infallibility at play here. In my 44 years of ministry I have known many churches to vote to do something that was unscriptural. Yet, if the church decision is questioned the church member is considered disloyal. Allow for dissent, because you could be wrong.
12. You may be abusing your people if you have to constantly tell them that you are the man of God. When you throw that in their faces what it is saying is, do what I say because God said you’re supposed to. When you use the man of God as a tool to manipulate your people you may be abusing them. You do not need to tell them you’re a man of God if you are truly a man of God. When you have to tell people who you are then you are not who you say you are.
13. You may be abusing your people if you're constantly changing things. A frustrated pastor can inadvertently be an abusive pastor. He goes from conference to conference looking for something that works and every time he returns he changes the program of this church again. The people never know what to expect because things change constantly. 

Be careful pastor. Consistency is often times a better tool than change, because no church becomes a great church because of embracing the latest fad. 




CONCLUSION
I did not write this article so that members could use it against the pastor. I wrote this so that pastors could examine themselves and possibly apply it to themselves. This could also be applicable to teachers or school administrators or even parents. Yes, parent you can be abusive too without trying to be. 

It's easy to step over a line from time to time and inadvertently do something that is not in the best interest of your people. A good pastor will realize when he is made a mistake and correct it.
There were times when I, as a parent, inflicted a harsher punishment on my children than they deserved. They were times when I probably was harsher than I should've been. That did not make me an abusive parent. It just meant that in a certain situation I inadvertently miss handled the situation. 

We would be wise as pastors to consider carefully how we treat our people so that we are not guilty of accidentally and even sincerely inflicting abuse upon them. Remember, we are the under shepherd and we are to do our best to protect and care for the sheep properly.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

ELDER ABUSE?

"Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father." 
Paul, speaking to his preacher boy Timothy, said these words, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father.” There is a trend that seems to be prevalent in our Christian circles today. More and more I am seeing young preachers publicly rebuking elder preachers. When Paul exhorted Timothy he wasn’t speaking of publicly, he was speaking in general. 

I seriously doubt Paul was considering the Internet when he wrote these words, however, had the Internet been invented then I am certain Paul would have told Timothy not to write and post articles rebuking his elders. It seems that almost every week another article comes out written by a young man rebuking his elders. 
I want you to notice what Paul said in the preceding verse. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Paul was saying to Timothy mind your own business, and then went on to say in the very next verse, and don't rebuke your elders. Isn’t that interesting? In other words, just mind your business rather than feeling the need to rebuke the older men.
There were times in my ministry as a young preacher I had to take positions contrary to older men. I always did so without referring to them either specifically or even generally. It is a dangerous thing when a young man begins to alienate himself from the older generation. Once you begin taking pot shots it won't stop. Eventually your rebuke will become rebellion. It seldom stops with one rebuke. Once you have violated the Biblical principle, you will find it easier and easier to do so until you have finally become a total rebel and can no longer learn from your elders.
Stop telling the last generation what they did wrong and start asking the last generation what lessons they can help you learn. The young men who love to attack me would be surprised how much I could teach them. I think they would also be surprised at how kind I would be to them as I did so. I would not treat them with condescension as they often do me. I would lovingly instruct them. My problem with many of these young preachers is not that I am closed to their ideas, but I am not open to their rebuke. 
Notice the second half of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy. He said, but intreat him as a father." There is the secret. Come to me kindly like a father and intreat me. How do you treat a father? With honor. When I was a boy there were times that I did not understand things that my daddy did. I thought he was wrong and I was right. I learned that the way to approach him was not in a condescending manner and I never did even after being grown. The way to approach him was to ask questions or intreat him with the honor due to him as a father. 

That’s what is missing in many of these young men. They rebuke disrespectfully rather than intreating with honor. The way to talk to older preachers is with the respect that you are supposed to give to your father. It is not a problem to me when a young man respectfully comes and asks a question because he doesn't understand my position. I have no problem with that at all. 

What I have a problem with is when a young man comes with dishonor and scolds me. That's out of line. That's unscriptural. That's disrespectful. It would shock you how many young men think they have the right to rebuke older preachers. The moment you do that you have withheld the honor due to that man as your elder and will reap such when you become the older preacher.
When you are with your younger friends treat them as your brothers, Paul said. How to brothers act? Well, my boys argued and fought. But, they didn’t fight with me because I was the father. In essence Paul was saying, “Timothy mind your own business and show fatherly respect to the elders and if you want to fight do it with your brothers.” That is a loose paraphrase, but I think you get the idea.


Let me give you an example. A young man respectfully asked, “Dr. Gray, why is it that your generation could disagree and still get along?” He asked it in a way that was honorable and so I answered him. 
I said, “Young man you have no idea the differences the previous generation had with one another. Sitting on the same platform was John R Rice, Lee Robertson, Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff, and Bob Jones Sr. There could not have been five men with more differences than those five men. Lester Roloff renounced television. John Rice vehemently preached against storehouse tithing. Bob Jones Sr. was a Methodist and had vespers for Sunday morning services in his college. 

Yet, these men got along because of their common purpose of winning the lost. Some of Dr. Hyles’ closest preacher friends had totally different convictions than he did, yet they got along quite well.” I said, “Young man, every generation has the same struggles, the same temptations, the same tendencies. It is the same play, different actors.”  
This young man was amazed at things he would never have learned had he chosen to rebuke me. It encouraged his heart and mine, I might add.
Let me give you another example. I have had many young men rebuke me for my position on women wearing pants. Now, I’m quite strong on this issue. But, one young man with honor and respect came to me and said, “Dr. Gray, I'm struggling to understand the position you take against women wearing pants. Would you please explain it to me?”
I did not go on a tirade against women wearing pants. I lovingly and scripturally explained to him that the Bible clearly stated that women's attire should distinctly set them apart from a man and vice versa. I told him that he needed to decide what that meant to him. I didn't berate him. I didn't tell him what he should believe about women wearing pants. I merely stated the Biblical principle and challenged him as to how he was going to make an application. He was surprised.


Paul was telling Timothy that if he wanted to learn from the elder men he needed to question them like they would their father, with honor and respectfulness.  Young men you may be surprised what you could learn from an old codger like me. You may even be shocked how easy it is to sit down and carry on a conversation with an old man like me. But, the way to do it is to intreat me as a father. 
Most of the allegations and accusations made against my generation are inaccuracies, exaggerations and misunderstandings. Often I hear people characterize Dr. Hyles wrongly. That's one reason why I'm writing so much about him. I spent hundreds and thousands of hours asking him questions. Some of my questions were based on things with which I thought I disagreed. I discovered that most of the time we agreed in principle. Where we differed was in application. 

I cannot tell you how many times I asked Dr. Hyles about somebody he was using that I didn't think he should use, but I never told him I thought he was wrong. I merely asked for his reasoning. When he finished explaining it to me, it made perfect sense. He never once said that I had to use that person too. He let me make up my own mind, but he taught me principles that helped me to understand his thinking. Many of those are principles that I still use to this day. 
This young generation is missing an opportunity to learn. Let me make a suggestion to you young men. Stop pointing out the mistakes you think we've made and instead, come to us and ask us what mistakes we think we made. Did you get that? You might be surprised what we would say. 

Rather than disrespecting us and violating a Scriptural principle by telling us what we did wrong, intreat us as fathers and in so doing learn from us. Don't just learn from our mistakes. Learn the lessons we learned from our mistakes. Most of you don't really know the mistakes we made. You may see a byproduct of a mistake but not really see the mistake. If you came to us as fathers and asked us we could give you better insight than you could find yourself.












These young bloggers who like to rebuke us elders remind me of the secular press. The press does a wonderful job of scrutinizing, but a lousy job of understanding the reason behind what was done. They can take a Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, and point out every mistake that was made in a game, but Bill Belichick can explain the reason why the decision was made. I can learn a lot more at the feet of Bill Belichick than at the feet of the critics in the press.
Let me admonish you young men. Stop rebuking us! Look, I can take it. You have no idea how much hatred comes my way. Your little temper tantrum doesn't hurt me. It hurts you. When it hurts you, it hurts your chance to learn for the sake of the cause of Christ. 

Stop the nonsense. Stop telling us what you think and ask us what we think. We don't think we know it all. That may surprise you, but we don't. We want what's right. If you took the time to intreat us as fathers I think you would discover the sincerity of our hearts, our willingness to continue learning and our desire to impart to younger man those lessons we have learned even from our mistakes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

MRS. G IS BACK HOME!



THE WIFE OF MY YOUTH


LEE ANN GRAY


My wife, of 50 years, was rushed to the hospital last Friday. She had extreme difficulty breathing.  She was put into the hospital. After several doctors examined her with multiple tests they said it was Hypertension and pulmonary Hypertension. B/P was 230/179. Heart rate was averaging 144. They gave her a nitro pill and She was placed in a room at the hospital.  When all the vitals came down they let her come home Sunday at 5 pm. 

Sunday night she had a terrible night. Monday morning at 8 am we rushed her to the hospital again. She could hardly breath. Vitals were right back where they were Sunday, extremely high.

They did another Cat Scan and drew some more blood, etc.  They changed meds again. Once again her levels started coming down to safe levels. 5 doctors have been involved with us since last Friday night. 

They came to the conclusion that she had diastolic congestive heart failure, congestive heart failure, two distinct hypertension problems with the right side of her heart being damaged. They came up with a game plan of new meds along with a new diet. She is being placed under the care of a well known heart specialist team here in Longview.  In two weeks they will get with us and determine what further can be done.

She cannot have anything that will cause her stress. That’s what she gets for marrying a preacher, or as my son Scott said in his text, or marrying a Gray. 

It has been a rough week end for her. I know I’m prejudice, but she is the finest Christian I know. If I had to choose just one person to pray for me it would be her.  I have never heard her pray for herself for she is always praying and thinking of others.  

We have, as all those who have fought the fight for Christ, had enemies. I have never heard a single word of hatred against them come from her lips. She would always say when someone attacked us, “I feel sorry for them.” I can still hear her say about an enemy one time; before we went to God in prayer, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”  



Now don't misunderstand, she is just as human as the next person. It's interesting the word "honor" is used in the parent-child relationship. The word is simply defined as putting weight down on the good. A child at home, according to Ephesians chapter 6 is to "obey" and "honor" their parents. 




However, the promise in the book of Exodus about having "long life" is wrapped around the word "honor." The word "obey" is not found as a part of the promise for long life found in Exodus. A grown child not living under the roof of his or her parents is not told by God to "obey" their parents. However, they are commanded to "honor" their parents as well.

With the obedience to that word "honor" comes the promise of a long life.  The wife of my youth and the mother of our children deserves "honor." I'm glad our children put weight down on the good she has done and not those things they thought were not good.  Supposing they were to choose to put emphasis on the bad done by their mother then God's promise would not apply to them.

It would be wise to put your weight down with "honor" even to those who have preceded you and handed you a better life than you had before.  Satan is the "accuser of the brethren" and to join him in dishonoring those who paved the way for you by emphasizing the bad is despicable. 

But preacher, they did me wrong! Then obey the Bible and put your weight down on the good they did and let God sort out the rest.



After 40 plus surgeries I would have been discouraged, but not Mrs. G. She has been under a lot of stress physically through out our ministry in Texas.  I do not know how much more her poor old body can take. Oh, I know she is not perfect, but she has NEVER been upset with God through all of this. To me that is an amazing attribute for anyone to possess. 

I would appreciate your prayers for her and the doctors.

Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
Ps. 84:11

Friday, February 5, 2016

JACK HYLES PLACED PEOPLE BEFORE MONEY

Jack Hyles Chose People Over Money




There is not a day that does not pass that I do not receive a phone call from a young pastor asking for help and wanting to know why he can't get his church to win souls and grow. They always bring up the giants of the faith of the past and ask, "What was the difference?"I am going to give you in this article ONE reason or ONE attribute of these giants of the past generation had that IS MISSING today.

May I please as an old man, whose 44 years of ministry is behind him, help you young leaders? I have done my part and will continue to win souls and help churches. I will finish out my life doing my best to help the next generation to learn from the previous generation. That generation just happened to be the most successful preachers for the cause of Christ of any generation. I have books to write, articles to write, churches to help, and conferences to preach. My desire to teach Biblical principles I learned from the giants of the past. Here is ONE of those Bible principles those men of God possessed.



Many years ago Dr. Hyles began to support and promote a ministry he felt was of great benefit. He raised untold sums of money to help this ministry. In addition, he committed a large sum from his church to support this ministry on a monthly basis. 

There came a time when Dr. Hyles felt he could no longer fully align himself with this man. He did not think it was a bad ministry, but he was concerned about some important matters regarding the leadership. I know. I was there in the meetings when he tried to persuade him to make adjustments that would allow them to continue in their current relationship. 
Dr. Hyles was not angry with him. He was not hateful towards him. He did not threaten him in anyway. He merely discussed with him the concerns that he had. However, I saw the man become indignant and defiant towards Dr. Hyles. 

The conclusion of the meeting was that there should be a certain parting of the ways. Dr. Hyles no longer had him speak for him, nor did he speak with him. The one thing that he did not do was harm the man or his ministry. He did not believe the ministry was a bad thing. He merely had to make the choice that he felt was right. He still deeply loved the man. 
What was interesting to me was the fact that he never told his church nor did he announce it in Pastor school or publicly. He continued to financially support that ministry exactly as he had in the past. Dr. Hyles had given his word and his word he would keep regardless. He did not want to hurt what help that man could be to others. 

That surprised me, so I asked Dr. Hyles his reasons. His answer was fascinating to me. He said, “Dr. Gray, this was my mistake not his. The things that separated us were already there before, but I did not see them. It would be wrong of me to punish him for my mistake. Why should he suffer? That is the reason why I cannot take away the money that I committed to him. I love him. I would rather lose money than break my promise to him.” Amazing!
On another occasion Dr. Hyles promoted a man within his own ministry to an administrative position. With that position came a higher salary, a car and  housing allowance, and a few other financial benefits. The man failed miserably in the position. He was not suited to be an administrator. Dr. Hyles eventually removed him from that position and used him to teach in the college. 

The man had not done anything morally wrong. He simply was not up to the task. Dr. Hyles continue to provide for the man the same as before. He did not take anything away from him. 

Again, his reasoning was that it was his mistake not the man’s. He did not merely do this for six months, a year or even five years. He continued to pay the man an administrator’s salary until Dr. Hyles died. The man nor his family were ever forced to suffer for Dr. Hyles “mistake.”.



This was the way Dr. Hyles lived his life. He lived by principle. He made decisions based upon taking the high road. He took upon himself the responsibility. He did not want to see these men nor their families suffer. He loved them. It did not matter that they had let him down. He was not going to let them down. It did not matter that may have failed him. Dr. Hyles was going to keep his word.

What mattered was that he was not going to fail them. He was to going to break his word no matter how it hurt. He once said, “I would rather sacrifice all my money than to sacrifice a single friendship.” He also said, “I never fight over money with anyone because money doesn’t mean that much to me. I will keep my word.”
There is an important lesson we all need to learn. This is ONE of the reasons God blessed these giants of the faith of the previous generation. Dr. Hyles did not think of, "I could use this money." He thought in terms of "I gave my word." 

Sometimes we must make sacrifices out of character. We must do what is not in our best interest because we made a commitment to someone else that is in their best interest. We may lose something in doing what's right, but we gain so much more because we kept our word and cared about the welfare of another. Don't think for a second that God is not watching. It is how we handle the "least," which is mammon, that God looks at FIRST.
These were not isolated incidents. Dr. Hyles always made decisions that were in the favor of others not himself. I know he could have used those monies for other things. However, he felt that it was more important to do what was right than to do what was beneficial to himself. 
You may argue, “But, that’s the Lord's money.” Exactly my point. The Lord expects us to do what's right and to trust him to make up the difference. That my friend is what we call, “living by faith.” 

We do what's right not based upon the outcome, but based upon the rightness of the decision. We have a God who rewards that kind of behavior. We must trust him to take care of us even when we make a decision that we feel is not in our best interest. However, when you think about it, what is in our best interest is doing right and trusting God to take care of us. A vow or ones’ word is the issue with God not money.



Let me conclude with one last story. When Dr. Hyles came to First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, he followed Dr. Owen Miller an American Baptist pastor. Dr. Miller was a good man, but he was much different than Dr. Hyles. Dr. Hyles transformed the church and many who were loyal to Dr. Miller left the church and caused Dr. Hyles trouble. 

They split the church and started a new church called Meadow Lane Baptist Church. What people do not know is that Dr. Miller was involved in helping those people found that new church. A split had occurred. Yet, Dr. Hyles had given his word to Dr. Miller to financially care for the former pastor. Dr. Hyles would keep his word regardless of the split. 

There are two parts to the story that need to be told 
Knowing all this, Dr. Hyles lead the First Baptist Church in supporting Dr. Miller for the remainder of his ministry and life. After Dr. Miller died they continued to send the same check to Mrs. Miller until the day she died. He never talked about nor did he announce how sacrificial this was for the church to do, for they had given their word. Dr. Hyles and First Baptist Church did it cheerfully. 



But there's more. Dr. Miller's dad lived in a house about five houses down from the church. Dr. Hyles bought that house for “Dad” Miller to live in along with Dr. Miller's sister who cared for “Dad” Miller. They lived in that house for the rest of Dad Miller's life. After he died the aunt was allowed to stay at that house until her death. By the time Dr. Miller’s father and sister had died the only house that still was standing on that block was the house they lived in. 

Even though Owen Miller did not particularly care for the style of ministry of Jack Hyles and even worked against him to a certain degree in helping start another church, Dr. Hyles financially sacrificed to treat those people with love. He knew he was building on another man of God’s labor. However, there’s something even greater about that story. This part we only recently discovered.

The Second Part of the Story
In the past year Mrs. Beverly Hyles received a letter from the pastor of what was once the Meadow Lane Baptist Church. It was a letter that informed her of something she did not know. 
While Dr. Hyles was still living the church, once known as the Meadow Lane Baptist Church, was going to move and needed to sell their building in order to have the money to move to a new location. 

Dr. Hyles did not know anything about this, but one day he contacted the pastor of that church. He asked him if he could come to the church and apologize to the people who were still alive from the split for anything he might have said or done to hurt them those 40 plus years ago. 

He grieved over the losses they experienced after that young Texan had come in and changed so many things. Dr. Hyles was not apologizing for what he did. However, he wanted to apologize because he was a part of what hurt them. 
He then asked the pastor, “What does your church need.” 
He said, “Well we need $30,000 to start the new building.”

Dr. Hyles said, “I will give you that $30,000.” 
A couple of weeks later the pastor called Dr. Hyles and said, “Dr. Hyles, I have bad news. The people have voted that they do not want to accept your apology, but they voted to accept the $30,000.”
Dr. Hyles said, “That's fine, I understand. Pastor, where do I send the check for $30,000.”
The pastor said, “Oh no, I don't expect for you to give that money since the people have rejected your apology.”
Dr. Hyles said, “I didn't offer the money in order to apologize. I offered the money because I want to do something to express my love to those people for the sacrifices they made when Dr. Miller was their pastor.”
The pastor was emotionally moved by this, but he could not change the minds of the people. Dr. Hyles raised the money himself and sent the check. No one knew. 
Are you sitting down? You need to get ready for what I'm about to tell you. 
Last year Mrs. Hyles received a letter from that pastor and told her the story. The letter Said, “Mrs. Hyles, I have felt for a long time that the blessings of God could not be upon us because we rejected the apology of your husband. I know he is in Heaven now. But I went before my church and I said that God could not bless us if we cannot forgive him. This letter is to inform you that we as a church except the apology that your husband offered us.”
At the bottom of that letter in shaky handwriting was the signatures of every living member who had left First Baptist Church some 55 years ago. Well, glory! God is good! 
You know what money meant to Dr. Hyles? Nothing! What meant everything to him was loving people. Money was a tool to love people, not a tool to build a ministry. God always provided what the church needed. He leIft the church debt-free. He left the church with plenty of surplus funds. He never made money the issue. The issue was people because that was what he loved most and the keeping of his word.

Young leader, you have just read ONE of the reasons God blessed Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, Lester Roloff, Curtis Hutson, John R. Rice, and many others. 

If you want to do what the giants of the past did you will have to be what the giants of the past were.