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Sunday, January 29, 2017

SLOW GROWTH

LITTLE BY LITTLE

Exodus 23:30, “By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”

Deuteronomy 7:22, “And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.”


May I point out why come leaders face problems and stumbling blocks and give up. May I explain why some leaders give up on their followers? May I detail why some leaders feel like their followers will never become what they envisioned them becoming. May I take liberty and tell you why many churches fail and why some preachers have given up and resigned. This of which I am about to speak of is why Sunday school teachers, bus captains, and many volunteer leaders falter and end up throwing the towel in and quitting.

In our two Scripture references God lays out his great plan for the future of the nation Israel. He tells them that as they go toward the Promised Land he is going to help them drive out their enemies. God tells them he is going to give hem the Land of Canaan, which was from the Nile River on one side to the Tigris and Euphrates River to the East side. This is much bigger than we all the Land of Canaan today.

God said not only am I going to bless you, drive out your enemies, and give you that land forever I am going to make you more blessed than all the people of the world. However, God startles them when he said this would not happen all at once. God tells them it will not happen in one year. God says yes I’ll give you the victory, but it’ll not be in one year. Then God uses a little term twice in the Scriptures. God says in our language, “little by little” I’ll give you the victory. Not all at one time, but “little by little.”

ALL REAL GROWTH IS OF GOD

If there is to be real growth it will have to come from God himself and not man. Jesus said he would build his local church and not on a cursing preacher named Peter. God is the Lord of the harvest.

I Corinthians 3:6-8, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planted anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”

Why should God reward man for what God does? God will reward each of his children for their “own labor.” God brings about the increase. All real growth is of God.


GOD’S CHILDREN SIMPLY PROVIDE THE PROPER MATERIAL

We are to go deputize, organize, and evangelize. The pattern is simple we obey God’s commands and provide not just exhortation but example via our laboring in God’s field and he will bring about the increase and the harvest.

Every leader is to provide the material for himself and those who follow him. If there is no spiritual labor there is in essence no labor. All work is spiritual work for the child of God. Marital responsibility is spiritual responsibility, parenting responsibility is spiritual responsibility, financial responsibility is spiritual responsibility, job responsibility is spiritual responsibility, and everything the child of God does is for God. Jesus was a carpenter and that was spiritual work for the Son of God and so is your daily labor.

A church goes soul winning and leads a soul to Christ, brings that person to church, the convert follows the Lord in baptism, joins the church, and hopefully will go soul winning himself. God decides where each person fits into the local body, but we decide if there is going to be material for God to build with. Local churches that do not provide the material of souls are not providing material for God to use in his local church. Failure is the result not by God, but by his children.


GOD’S CHILDREN OBEY THE RULES OF GROWTH AND GOD PROVIDES THE GROWTH

Whether it be a crop, a nation, a marriage, child rearing, finances, business, church, Sunday school class, bus ministry, missions, or a bus route when we obey the rules given in God’s Word we are placing ourselves in the position of blessing.

One can choose to disobey God’s rules and borrow the rules of the ruler of this world and have numerical success, but that is far different than spiritual success. This emerging church movement led by Southern Baptist Convention is infiltrating independent Baptist churches. They may find numerical success, but they will end up at the end of the day like Evangelical Bill Hybels whose own internal study reported they produced the crowds, but failed to produce Christians.

When I came to pastor the Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, I was asked if a great church could be built here? I said I did not know, but I will give it my all to built great Christians! You see it is really up to God to give the growth.


GOD’S CHILDREN GIVE THE INPUT AND GOD GIVES A PROPORTIONATE OUTPUT

It is up to God to provide the increase, thus God’s children must be satisfied with whatever God gives while pressing to grow as a leader and to win souls and teaching them so they will grow. The growth of a church is measured by the growth of the Pastor and leadership and God does the measuring. God is giving you what in essence is equivalent to your spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of those whom you have chosen as leaders.


VISIBLE GROWTH IS NOT AN INDICATION OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE

Lack of visible growth is not an indication of failure or the presence of visible growth is likewise an indication of success. Ask famous missionary Adoniram Judson for he faithfully went soul winning for 7 long years in his field of service with not one convert among the Burmese people. Yet his name is on the lips of every soul-winning missionary on planet earth to this day.

REAL GROWTH IS NOT USUALLY SEEN

A parent does not notice the growth of his or her child. The movement of the hand of a clock is a refection of life. You cannot see the day develop. The great churches of the 60’s and 70’s grew on an average of 1 ½ per Sunday over a span of 30 to 40 years.

Dr. Wendell Evans, Chancellor Emeritus of Hyles-Anderson College, used to call it “decade growth.” He would often tell the students you do the right thing long enough and one day you will see the fruit of your labor. Do not measure it by your attendance, but rather measure what it takes to win people to Christ. The same is true for every field of endeavor for a leader whether it be parenting or a business venture.

Dr. John R. Rice while preaching at Hyles-Anderson College gave me a rare opportunity to speak with him and his advice was this. “Son, every preacher wants a 1,000 on Sunday without paying attention to what it takes to have a 1,000 on Sunday. Tell me how many you have on soul winning night and I’ll tell you how many you’ll end up on Sunday in attendance. Everyone counts and publishes the Sunday attendance, but rarely do they publish or emphasis the soul winning night numbers. Give me 10 on soul winning night and you will run 100 on Sunday. If you want more than put more into it.”

·      All real growth is of God
·      God’s growth, which is real growth, is slow growth
·      God’s children provide the material for God to use
·      God’s children obey the rules of growth and God provides the growth
·      God’s children provide the input and God then gives the output
·      Visible growth is not an indication of success or failure
·      Real growth is not usually seen

Whether it is the growth of a local church, a business, a ministry, marriage, or child rearing it will be slow growth and it is usually things that went unseen that pleased God so he felt he could trust you to help others. All growth is of God for no man can decide to grow. Man cannot decide to grow a crop, rear a child, grow yourself, grow a bus route, or a church. Why, because all growth is of God and it is slow. All God’s children can do is provide the input of material or the proper ingredients.

God’s children must obey the rules of growth realizing that visible growth is not an indication of success for real growth is usually unseen.


PRUNING IS NECESSARY FOR GROWTH


I returned from a trip of preaching out of town one time. I went to the church and pulled up to find the shrubs out front seemingly chopped up. I went to Jeff Walters, our resident horticulturalist, and asked what he was doing to the shrubs. He said preacher this is the time for them to be pruned in order for them to have healthy future growth. The shrubs looked terrible, but he was right and after a few months they looked bigger, fuller, and better than ever before.

Such is the work of God on his work when he prunes. It is not without pain, but it is necessary.

John 15:2, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring for more fruit.”

If you run away from Christ you will be punished and if you run toward Christ you will find yourself being pruned. WOW! It looks to me like we are going to get it one way or the other. I would rather suffer fruitfully than fruitlessly. Pruning is necessary!

The truth is we should not think more about God’s growth than we do about our work. Leaders should think more about the input than the output, the ingredients more than the outcome, and focus on responsibility more than the results and God would respond by giving the results.

Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build my church…”

It is not my business to build a local church it is Jesus’ business. Our job is bringing the material to him so he has someone to build with. Within that you will find the pruning process at work. God gives the increase while our job is to plant and to water what has been planted. That is the secret to child rearing, health, marriages, businesses, ministries, and churches.

Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect…”

God is saying be ye therefore on your way to perfection, or be ye be becoming perfect. This is a future perfect tense! Be on your way. Thus, our part is to be on our way while God’s part is the perfecting. You see God is the one who makes you a better wife, husband, pastor, bus captain, Sunday school teacher, Sunday school Superintendent, or staff member. You put the ingredients in and God is allowed to respond to your ingredients with growth.

II Peter 3:18, “Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

It does not say be grown in grace. It says simply “grow” which is in the linear or “grow and grow and grow and grow” or be on your way to becoming grown.

The Israelites became discouraged in waiting. When God told them as they were leaving Egypt when you arrive at Canaan I’m going to drive out the people, but I’ll not do it in one day or one year. It will be little by little.

Later on when they arrived at the door of the Promised Land God said the same thing once again. He said yes I’ll help you drive them out, but it will not be in one day nor in one year for it will be little and little.

Maybe you are a new Christian. You used to say some bad words. You vowed you’d never do it again, but all of a sudden you hit the wrong nail with your hammer and you swore. All of a sudden it dawned on you what you just said. Wait a minute; you’ll not grow up over night physically or spiritually. Little by little! Don’t give up and do not become discouraged.

But I’m an alcoholic and I never thought I would take another drink. Yet, I did it again! Wait a minute God said little by little. You growth will be little by little. Now as leaders this must be applied to others and cause us to be patient with each other. Christian growth is little by little. Businesses grow little by little. Child rearing is little by little. Ministries grow little by little.

Some of you reading this who are frustrated with people it is ironic to me that it took some of you 20 years to give up cigarettes and yet you want your converts to give them up in 20 days. Growth is little by little.

Many a young pastor has ruined his church by expecting more growth than God is giving through his people.  It is always little by little and is a reflection of the leaders own spiritual growth. This is the only way God will work for in every area it will be little by little.

Married couples need to quit expecting an A+ on their marriage when it’s been a D+ for years, by letting it be a D-, C-, C+, B-, B, A-, and then someday an A. This improvement does not occur overnight.

If those who follow you do 2 out of the 10 things you desire that is 2 more than they did before. Becoming a good staff member comes little by little, or a pastor, or a husband, or a wife, or as parents, or as employees. Growth is little by little whether it be a pastor, staff member, church member, Sunday school teacher, bus captain, school administrator, husband, wife, or as a parent.

A ministry that grows on an average of one more a week than last year is growth. The great churches over 30 to 40 years only grow by 1, 1 ½, or 2 per Sunday. Keep on praying, keep on soul winning, keep in your Bible daily, keep on learning, keep on loving, keep on reaching people, and keep on teaching by example and exhortation.

It is dangerous ground when you begin comparing results with the Scripture declaring we are unwise when we do so. Quit comparing your husband to other husbands, your wife to other wives, your children to other children, and your church to other churches.

Pruning is not very pretty, but it is necessary. The chart of the growth of any aggressive soul winning local church has always been up and down, up and down, up and down. It is two steps forward, one step backwards, three steps forward, two steps backwards, etc.

The secret and a valuable principle to growth is in the little statement little by little for little by little will build a church, a bus route, a Sunday school class, a marriage, a business, in rearing children, being a good husband, being a good wife, and being a good leader.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

LOOK AT WHOM GOD CHOOSES TO USE!

TOO MUCH FOR GOD



Judges 7:2, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”

Have you like me ever noticed the testimony of the giants of the faith? They were born in poverty, dad an alcoholic, and mom the spiritual leader, struggled in their youth, or a tragedy early in their lives. I do not know of a great man of God who has built something for God that was born into wealth with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Get the picture! Gideon was chosen by God to lead the people of God against the Midianites. He called for a volunteer army and 32,000 men showed up and we read how God responded in Judges 7:2. God is saying, “I will give you the victory and not you.

The main thing in this story is this: too many men, too much strength, too much prowess, too much ability, and God said to them you are not going to win the battle with those 32,000 men with their strength, their prowess, and their ability. God then instructed them to trim it down to 300. God is saying you have too much strength to win and you must become weak to win. God is saying I must get you where you will start depending on me again.

The truth is an army of 300 men going to war would have to depend on God. These 32,000 men did not need God, but those 300 did. The reason a lot of people are never used in roles of leadership by God is because they have too much going for them. 

Young people do not become too excited about your pretty face or your handsome looks because it does not impress God at all. Do not become to wrapped up with your youthful figures young ladies. It won’t help you at all in God’s work. After 19 children I bet Susanna Wesley did not have much of a girlish figure left. 

There is nothing as ugly as a female who has a pretty face and knows it. There is nothing as ugly as a handsome male and he knows it. Sometimes God has to trim a man down to size so God can give the victory and other times he chooses the base and foolish, the inadequate, and the weak in order to give the victory.

I Corinthians 1:26-29, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

God is saying I cannot give wisdom to those who are wise, but I can give wisdom to a foolish man. That is why we need Bible college students to be under a local church attending their services rather than attending vesper services, Shakespearean theatre, and Art Museums on campus.

Zechariah 4:6, “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”

It is not by looks, nor by intellect, nor by talent, nor by genius, nor by ability, nor by heritage, nor by a deep mind, nor by personality, but by my Spirit saith the Lord. God is saying to us, “I have to do one of two things…

·      Trim down to size those who have it all so I can use them
·      Build up the base, the foolish, and the weak so I can use them

Some of you reading this as leaders have too much going for you and some of you have nothing going for you. God wants to use both of you. How in the world will God do his work?


GOD ALLOWS US TO FAIL SOMETIMES

Why would God allow that? The reason is so that we will through ourselves at his feet and beg for God’s help when we fail without God’s help. God said, “I will bless the weak and not the strong. If you are strong you will have to become weak.” God wants to cause you to become strong with his strength. If one is weak all they have to do is yield themselves to God.

Sometimes God allows the strong to fail. I can preach a sermon around the country and feel like I just touched Heaven and then next time feel like an absolute flop. God wants you and I to empty ourselves and become a nobody, base, foolish, and weak. God wants us to trim ourselves of our own wisdom, intellect, knowledge, abilities, talent; human might, and fall down at the feet of Jesus begging for his help while baring our soul to him. God then can use that person.

32,000 men are too many God says, 20,000 is too many, 10,000 is too many, and Gideon is down to 300 with God giving the victory.  That is what God did with a Tom Malone, John R. Rice, Carl Hatch, Curtis Hutson, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles, Kevin Wynn, Rick Martin, Hugh Pyle, and Billy Sunday. Great God…little me! That is the formula.

John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” Sometimes, God comes along and says you have too much going for you. Sometimes, God comes along and allows us to be born into poverty, a broken home, or a financial struggle. Why, because God wants us to see that we cannot do it without him.

God sometimes says I want to us a certain man, but he is too smart, too talented, too much of a Mr. personality, or a pretty boy type. God says I believe I could use this girl, but she is too pretty or too stuck on herself.

SOMETIMES GOD CHOOSES THE ONE WHO SINS

Why, because he is base, weak, and a nothing to the world, vulnerable and he needs God. There is no one who has sinned that God cannot use.

Jesus is at the head of the table. The twelve are sitting around the table. Our Lord said, “Someone sitting at this table is going to deny me.” Peter said, “Not me Lord! It may be John, but it will never be me. Maybe Thomas, or Philip, or James, but not me.” However, God had a Pentecost for Peter to preach and God had a local church for Peter to pastor and God had a world for Peter to reach so God said, “I’ve got to get that pharisaical attitude out of him. Peter you have too much going for you.”

God waited for Peter to fall in order to pick him back up. Peter was too much of a leader, public speaker, leader, and too talented for God to use. There is no doubt about his having too much going for him. There was no leader like Peter. God allowed him to fall so God could pick him back up so he could be used to preach on the day of Pentecost, pastor a church, and reach the known world.

God seems to never choose the obvious one or the one men would choose. God is going to choose someone whose not so smart, so talented, so strong, or so attractive. That way God will receive the glory. God is saying to the high and mighty come down from your high horse. God is saying to the down and out come to me trusting me and let me use you to confound the high and mighty. Hey, Mr. Pharisee come down off of your high horse. Hey, you who are down and some have counted you out rise up and trust God to use you.

Peter cussed, cursed, denied the Lord, denied his faith, denied his church, denied his brethren, and ran with the wrong crowd. Peter had too much going for him, but now he is down and out so God can finally use him.

Gideon had too much going for him with 32,000, or 20,000, or 10,000, but 300 was just right not for Gideon but just right for God.
  
SOMETIMES GOD CHOOSES TO USE THOSE WHO ARE AFFLICTED

Sometimes God chooses to use whose who fail, sin, or are living in affliction. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Charles Spurgeon and his dear wife had fifteen years of physical affliction yet the Christian world has never forgotten what God did with them.

Russell Anderson born in Kentucky, raised in poverty, a coal mine worker as a teen, wild youth, and yet God saved him and used him to give 35 million dollars to God’s work while making him a multi-millionaire. Jack Hyles was born in poverty, alcoholic dad, and single mother, raised in poverty, most unlikely to be called to preach in his church, and later kicked out of his own Baptist denomination. Dr. Lee Roberson for one long year he could not preach because of vocal chord problems yet he ran 10,000 in attendance while baptizing a 1,000 converts that same year. Dr. John R. Rice anointed him with oil and God gave his voice back to him.

God allowed affliction to come to Evangelist Joe Boy in his 90’s yet he had some of his greatest campaigns in his later years. Evangelist Lester Roloff had such a severe boil problem that he would have to sit in a hot tub for hours to get any relief. He became one of the greatest examples of living by faith the world has ever known.


GOD CHOOSES TO USE THE UNKNOWN

God is not interested in using the most popular one he is interested in using the one no one notices much. A David working it the field caring for his dad’s sheep, a zealot like Saul of Tarsus, a fisherman like Peter, an orphan like Moses, a second man like Joshua, a woman like Deborah, a maiden like Mary, sisters like Mary and Martha, a brother by the name of Lazarus, a young captive like Joseph, a little lad with his lunch, an exile on the isle of Patmos by the name of John, or a young preacher by the name of Timothy. God is looking for the one is unknown so that he may make him known for God’s glory.











Wednesday, January 11, 2017

INFLUENCE TRUMPS CONTROL

Don’t Sacrifice Your Influence In Order to Have Control


There is a trend I have noticed taking place in the independent Baptist world that concerns me. I am seeing it in many pastors of independent Baptist churches. Let me preface this by saying that these are good men and sincere in their motives. They love their people and only want what they think is best for them. However, in their desire to help their people in some cases they try to control their people. They are not tyrants nor are they dictators. However, they have taken their desire for what is best for their people a bit too far.


I have four children. When my children were very young they needed Mrs. Gray and I to exercise control over them. However, as time went by we began to release our control a little bit at a time. Today I have no control over my children. What I hope that I have is influence.


Dr. Hyles taught a very important principle. He said, “Do not allow your desire to control your people to cause you to lose your influence over them.” Dr. Hyles believed the power of influence was the greatest power a pastor could have. Unfortunately many pastors with a sincere desire to influence their people feel that it is their duty to control them. When someone in the church does not follow their advice, a sermon follows. Maybe no one else knows to whom that sermon is being addressed, but they know. They feel that passion/anger that is being directed towards them. Often their confidence is shaken in their pastor. When we demand people to do what we think they should do we often damage our ability to influence them in the future.


When the prodigal son demanded that his father give him the portion that was his, the father could have easily refused. When the son left to go to the far country there is no indication that the father preached a sermon to him. He let him go. Perhaps the greatest reason the son returned to his father is because the father did not sacrifice his influence by trying to take control.




Allow me to share some principles I learned from listening to and watching Dr. Hyles.


1. You can't control people. Pastor, parent, teacher, hear me, you cannot control people. As much as I told our newborn babies not to cry and make messes in their diapers I learned very quickly I had no control. What you can do is control the environment. You see a good leader understands that a controlled environment is more important than trying to control people. Dr. Hyles understood that fact. He knew that no matter how many rules they had in the schools it would never be enough to control the students.


Let me share something that burdened Dr. Hyles. Although he trusted the leaders of his schools, I heard him say on more than one occasion that it concerned him how many who worked in the schools tried to control the students by making up new rules. He had no part in some of the things for which he has been blamed. They were instituted by people who were really not leaders, but merely held a position. The only way they could handle many situations was by trying to use control. That was not Dr. Hyles method. Study the way he handled his church staff and his Sunday school teachers and you will see the difference. He knew he could not control those people so he attempted to create an environment to inspire people


2. Creating the right environment is harder than trying to control people. Controlling people is forcing them to do what you could have done had you created the right environment to lead them. There are three elements necessary to create the right kind of environment that prevents you from needing to control people.


Instruction

Instructing people as to how to make the right decision will prevent the need of having to control them. Instruction is an important element for a good leader. When Dr. Hyles recruited a Sunday school teacher he instructed them as to what their responsibilities and expectations were. One reason he did not have to control those who worked on his church staff is because he gave good instructions to them and then gave them freedom to carry out those instructions.


Inspiration 

Dr. Hyles once said, “We often force what we cannot inspire.” Do not miss that truth. Leaders who must force people to do what they should do are often too lazy to inspire them to do what they should do. How did Dr. Hyles lead hundreds of Sunday school teachers to follow the instructions given to them? He inspired them. The root word is for inspiration is spirit. I am not talking about rah-rah spirit. I am not even speaking about an emotional rousing of people to follow your instructions. I am talking about something that every pastor, parent and Christian leader should understand. The Holy Spirit lives within you. When you ask God to give you wisdom for your teaching, preaching and counselling, your Spirit speaks to their Spirit and inspires them from within. Emotion is a response to the working of the Spirit, not the cause for inspiration. Being Spirit filled as a leader removes the need to be in control of people. Why do we ignore the power of the Holy Spirit in our leadership? Why do we think we have to control our people rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to control them. Perhaps it is because it is easier to force people to do what they should do than to pray for God to give us wisdom to inspire them to do what they should do.


Influence 

A healthy environment will build in people a trust to allow their leader to influence them. Why did hundreds of people line up each week at Dr. Hyles’ office door to ask him a question? It is because he had earned the right to influence them. How do you earn that right? It is certainly not by using your title or position. And it is not by calling yourself “the man of God” and whipping your people with that title. It comes from seeking wisdom from God that leads people to make good decisions causing them to want to return for advice with future decisions. Trust causes influence. Trust cannot be forced. It must be earned.


3. Trust your people to make decisions and accept the fact that sometimes they will make a decision contrary to what you wish they would have made. This is so important. Do you know how you learn in life? You learn by making mistakes. Part of leadership is allowing people to make mistakes, then as a leader guiding them through the mistake. However if you try to control a person, it is more than likely they will not come back and allow you help them. You have crushed their pride. Many pastors have lost their influence with people because they were not willing to let people make decisions that are not best. Give your people room to make wrong decisions.


4. Warn your people principally but not personally. Preacher, please hear me because I am sure we have all made this mistake. Dr. Hyles said many times, “I never have anyone in mind when I am scolding my people.” He may have had someone in mind when he was trying to comfort but not when he was scolding. The moment you have one person in mind when you scold you are risking your influence with that person. People need preaching that is principled. The Holy Spirit makes it personal. However when we direct a sermon at an individual, it has gone from being principled to being personal, and that often quenches the work of the Spirit.


5. You are not the Holy Spirit. Now I understand that we like to call ourselves the man of God, and well we should be. However, there is a vast difference between a man of God and the Spirit of God. Be careful that you do not become the conscience of your people. Do not try to be the Holy Spirit to them. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, and it is more likely they will make even better decisions than you would have made for them.


6. Look ahead to the future. This is a lesson that Dr. Hyles emphasized strongly. If we send someone away feeling our disfavor over a decision they made, it is likely they will not return to us. Dr. Hyles taught to not sacrifice the possibility of helping someone in the future by beating them up over the mistakes they make today. I am certain that is why the prodigal returned to his father. When he left he felt the acceptance and the love of his father in spite of the fact that he was making the wrong choice.


7. Find something with which to agree when someone makes a decision you do not like. This could be revolutionary if you will apply to it. Dr. Hyles was counseling a young man about what college he should attend. He chose to attend a college that was not even on the radar of Dr. Hyles. In fact, it was a liberal college. Immediately Dr. Hyles changed directions by helping the young man find a good church in the city where he had chosen to go to college. Rather than berating the young man for choosing the wrong college, he found something with which he could agree that would help the young man. That young man did go to that college. He attended the church that they found together. To this day, that man is still in church, serving God, and fondly remembers and loves his pastor, Brother Hyles.


Sometimes people would come to Dr. Hyles and tell them they were going to buy a house. In his heart he did not think it was the right time. However, instead of telling them they should not buy a house he set out to help them find the right house. That leads me to the next point.


8. Do not give advice unless you are asked. Teach good principles in the pulpit but do not meddle in your people’s lives. Dr. Hyles pastored thousands of people. Tens of thousands of decisions were made by those he pastored. There was no way he could have monitored all those decisions, nor did he want to. He was there to teach his people and hope that they would make the right decisions. They did not have to have his permission. They did not have to seek his counsel. When asked he gave counsel, but it was not given as law. Of course he hoped people would make the right decisions but he did not meddle in their business.


9. Learn to accept good even when it is not the best. I think I should repeat that statement. Learn to accept good even when it is not best. If someone does not make the decision you think they should make, don't get upset if the decision they make is still good. Maybe they should wait until they graduate to get married, but if they are marrying a good Christian learn to rejoice in the good rather than being disturbed by the fact they didn't do what you thought was best. Aren’t you glad God isn't like you? Aren't you happy that he does not turn on you because you do not always do what is best? Many times by rejoicing over a good decision I have salvaged my relationship with someone in spite of the fact that they did not make what I thought was the best decision.


10. Learn to give general warnings when you see a trend. This is what good pastors do. If they see a trend of bad decisions in certain areas they Scripturally deal with it from the pulpit. If one person made a bad decision Dr. Hyles did not preach at everyone. He watched for trends. Just because a person makes a bad decision does not mean that everyone is about to make that same decision. However when several people make poor decisions it may be time to deal with it from a Scriptural and principled point of view. Be careful pastor that you are not picking on individuals rather than instructing your flock.


11. Trust God. Pastor, you are going to lose people because of wrong choices. Let me give you two warnings. First, do not chase them away because you disagree with something that they have decided to do. Secondly do not forfeit your right to help them in the future by making them feel they disappointed you. If you learn those two things it you can help more people in the long run.



People often called Dr. Hyles a control freak. If what they mean is that he carefully controlled his environment than they are right. However most people are not discerning enough to understand that. He was not a man who tried to control people. Make no mistake about it, there were those who did try to control people. That is true in any institution, whether it be Christian or secular. They are always going to be weak leaders who feel that controlling people is the only way to get them to do what they think they should do. However, do not mistake what others did as being what he believed. Study how he led at the church and you will understand that he did not ever seek to be in control of people because he was more concerned with preserving his influence.

Monday, January 9, 2017

NEW BOOK COMING SOON!



INTRODUCING JACK HYLES TO A NEW GENERATION

A 53 chapter hard back book coming soon!


In just a few weeks you will be able to pre-order this 53 chapter book providing insights into the Biblical principles and philosophies of the man whom God used to invigorate soul winning and Sunday school in not only America, but around the world.

This project has taken two years to complete and I am confident it will help a generation that never heard Dr. Hyles teach or preach. The truth is there is an entire new generation that their only opinion of his ministry is what they have been told. 

I have done my best to ensure the reader of the foundational Bible principles that helped this man of God used of God to do what no one had accomplished inside a local church. 

You will read some things that will surprise you. You will read some things that you may quickly recognize. You will read some things that will cause you to re-think some areas. All in all it is 53 chapters of thought provoking material.

Please take advantage of this book! Somewhere in this world is a young man of God whom God is grooming to do greater works. He doesn't even know it, but hopefully books like this will help shape and provide construct for a ministry that will touch the world.  

A man's contemporaries can only see so far. It is those who have preceded us that provide an opportunity to supplement not substitute Biblical concepts. Contemporaries teach you what to think while mentors teach you how to think inside the boundaries of the Word of God.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

THE MISTAKE OF MEASURING MEN AND MINISTRIES

The Measure of a Man/Ministry

I never met a man who accomplished more in his life and ministry than did Dr. Jack Hyles. Yet, I never met a man less pretentious about all that he accomplished than Dr. Hyles. In all the years I knew him I never once felt that he was measuring anyone else's ministry by his own. In fact he often elevated other ministries above his own because he saw in them greatness that others might have not seen.

In a world where it seems everything must be measured, it is sometimes difficult for us to realize the importance of those people whose works cannot be measured. For example, let me tell you about Bucky Buchanan. Who is Bucky Buchanan you ask? Let me tell you.

Bucky Buchanan is an important member of the Dallas Cowboys organization. What has Bucky Buchanan ever done? Well first of all let me tell you how how not to measure him. Do not measure him by rushing yards gained because he never took a handoff from a quarterback. Do not measure him by tackles made because he never played on the defense. Do not measure him by completions thrown because he never threw a single pass. Do not measure him by interceptions made because he never played as a past defender. Do not measure him by field goals made because he never attempted a field goal. I could go on and list so many different measuring sticks by which we can not measure Bucky Buchanan.

So how do we measure Bucky Buchanan? Well, we don’t. However, we value him based upon what he has been chosen to do. Bucky Buchanan is the second-generation equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys. He followed in the footsteps of his father who endeared himself to the organization. Bucky Buchanan now carries on the work his father once did of handling the equipment for the players. His name is never found in sports headlines. We never read about his stats. He is one of those individuals whose value cannot be measured.



Recently a Pastor friend, a good man, criticized another preacher to me by comparing the other man's accomplishments to his own. In others words he measured the other man’s success by himself. This is a teachable moment for all of us! 

My friend, nothing can be more dangerous than measuring someone by you because that borders on pride. To measure anyone by you is to say that you are the standard by which people can be measured. Do you measure your ushers by you? Do you measure your nursery workers by you? Yet you would measure another man of God by you?

I never knew Dr. Hyles to do that. I never knew him to measure anyone to himself. He never measured other preachers by his own preaching. He never measured other men's soul winning by his own converts. He never measured another man's ability to pastor by his own attendance. To him a man's value was not found by measuring him against another. His value was in fulfilling the purpose for which God called him, which sometimes could not be measured.

Rudy Atwood could never have measured up to Jack Hyles but Rudy Atwood could do something Jack Hyles couldn't do. He could sit at the piano with a glorious smile on his face and play Heavenly Sunlight, lifting our hearts heavenward. You cannot measure that.

Ford Porter never built a giant church, yet Dr. Hyles never measured Ford Porter by that yardstick. He valued him by his unmeasurable power in prayer and his ability to write one of the great gospel tracks of all time, used to point untold numbers of people to Christ.

Bill Burr built a good church in Beckley, West Virginia, but it was never a giant church by any means. Yet Dr. Hyles never measured Bro. Burr by that measuring stick. He valued him by his ability to prepare our hearts for a message with a great song of the faith with his beautiful baritone voice.

The value of a man was not in comparison to himself, but by that which God made that man to be. He was more impressed by others than he was by himself. He valued their gifts. He valued what they brought to the cause of Christ. He could preach for a man running 200 in Sunday school and marvel that someone could build a church running 200 in a difficult place like that.

He valued Joe Boyd for the tent revivals he preached. He valued CW Fisk for the souls he brought down the aisle that he personally won to Christ. He valued Ray Boardway for the steady job he did leading the choir and the congregational singing. He valued people based upon what God used them to do not by comparing them to himself.

I would say that Dr. Hyles valued the little people, but to him there were no little people. I would say that he valued those who did the little jobs, but to him there were no little jobs. You see he knew that everyone's value was different and he was not the measuring stick for anyone else. Make no mistake about it, he challenged us to do more, but he never measured us by what he did.

Let me tell the rest of the story about the man who was being measured by my dear brother who was being critical. He measured a man who at one time built a thriving Sunday school and church, but through great difficulties lost his buildings and had to start all over again. He could have quit. He could have made excuses, but instead he started afresh against great odds. He measured a man who for twenty years has faithfully gone to the nursing homes and jails in his town, not occasionally, but every Sunday. He has won literally thousands of people to Christ, many who would soon enter eternity and others who were at the lowest points of their lives. Week after week after week he faithfully has gone to those jails and those nursing homes like few other pastors I have ever known.

He was measuring a man who has been involved in restoring as many preachers as any man I know, other than Dr. Hyles. He has given himself to salvage ministries of men for whom he would never receive credit publicly. I know the man he was measuring and I see in him qualities that I seldom see in other men. Dr. Hyles would have valued him. He would never have measured that man against himself. He would have found what that man was made to do and recognized his value based on that. Not only that, he would have encouraged him and made him feel valued. I saw him do that time and time again. Many men were used more because Dr. Hyles valued them instead of measuring them.

Yes, there are those who are great quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, blockers, tacklers, defensive backs, and other positions who will gain recognition from accomplishments which can be measured. But a good team cannot function without men like Bucky Buchanan. Greatness is in valuing Bucky Buchanan’s for what they bring to their position. It is not in measuring them to others to whose stats they can never attain. May God help all of us to stop measuring others by ourselves, or to ourselves by others for that matter. Value them based upon what God made them to do and to be.