"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is the Iron Still Swimming? Part 2

A couple of audio clips of Homer Lindsay, Jr. as I share my last thoughts on Mac's remix of "And the Iron Did Swim":

"Jesus be Glorified"

"Its a Miracle"

- Mac is stuck on this "cutting edge" theme. Its the buzzword amongst his staff. Our communications director says on her blog that our new logo is "cutting edge". Well, we might be trying to be "cutting edge", what ever that is, but contrary to what Mac says our church was not cutting edge. We just looked for ways to teach the bible, and proclaim Jesus, and get people saved. That's all. The secret is there was no secret. What God did in "the miracle of downtown Jacksonville" was not manufactured by man trying to be cutting edge. God did a miracle in Jacksonville as we were led by called preachers who just preached the Bible, with people not having any seminary training or "certificates" but love for Jesus and knowledge of the Bible teaching and applying the Bible in Sunday School. Our "cutting edge" was people devoted not to a preacher, not to a program, and not even to the church (no need for calls for the "churchmen" to rise up) - but people devoted to Jesus Christ.

- I don't fault Mac for starting certificate programs at our church, or desiring for Sunday School teachers to have more Bible knowledge through formal training. But those who sat under the preaching of Vines and Lindsay where the Bible was preached Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and on Sunday morning in Sunday School - after a year or so people HAD MORE BIBLE KNOWLEDGE THAN MOST PEOPLE COMING OUT OF SEMINARY!!! The people of FBC Jax had so much knowledge of the Bible because our preachers weren't giving us history lessons - they really did preach the Bible every single Sunday. And our Sunday School teachers taught us lessons that WERE application...we didn't need to huddle in small groups and ask each other how a verse made us feel.

- Homer Jr. was a called preacher. Never said he wanted to be a lawyer, or that he was smart enough and had the drive and ambition to be successful outside the ministry as Mac as proclaimed of himself. He was a preacher in North Miami when his dad asked him to pray about coming to serve as co-pastor. Homer at first refused, but eventually he did come. Not to a $300k piece of land and 5000+ square foot home in Deerwood, not to have a huge pastor's office suite built, not to put Ms. Shirley on staff. Not to preach sporadically to finish his book manuscript (unlike the millionaire preachers today, Homer declared that nothing he ever said or did or wrote was copyright worthy, since God can't be copyrighted). He didn't come to raise money to put himself on national TV or hold "Time to Stand for Israel" events. He didn't come either to advertise in our bulletin "Holy Land Trips" for the very rich to travel to Israel. He came to get busy in doing local ministry, and in the first 3 years of his ministry the Sunday School attendance doubled. And Homer doesn't brag, he acknowledged over and over: it was all God's doing, nothing manufactured by man, no "theology driven ministry"...no dynamic preacher, no history-laced sermons - all a miracle of God.

- Quite interesting that Mac mentioned that the first building program after our church got out of debt in 1943 was what is now the 6th Grade Building. Mac says that Homer Lindsay, Sr. borrowed $350,000 to build that building. Why bring that up? Because I predict this is Mac signaling that he will be leading us to go into debt again. What Mac doesn't understand is that for the past 60 years God's people built the buildings at FBC Jax as they saw God moving, and space was needed. And the church used the moving through the people giving as a sign it was time to build. And the people's tithes and offerings were used to maintain our facilities. We didn't spend money on high-priced preachers and national TV time and then took special offerings for maintenance of the facilities.

- Mac again couldn't help but to continue his abusive preaching. Had to knock us for not amening enough on one of his excellent points. And he has never yelled at us more forcefully than he did Sunday about older men helping younger men see what God has done in the past. Only problem is that Mac spent his first two years telling us to NOT dwell on the past, that successes in the past have nothing to do with successes in the future - but now he screamed at the top of his lungs that we should help younger people look to the past...followed with a "Did you hear me? Is that clear? All right." as though he were talking to a rebellious teenager. That is abusive preaching. Enough to scare little kids causing them to ask "why is that guy so mad, Mommy?".

From this sermon I get the sense that Mac views himself to be another Homer Lindsay, Sr. Now that I have learned Homer, Sr. was going to be a lawyer until he was called to preach, it makes sense that Mac is saying that now too! Mac views himself in the same position as Homer Sr. in 1940: he has come to save a dying church as Homer Lindsay, Sr did in 1940. That Mac sees a parallel between the $1 million in needed repairs and the debt Homer, Sr. had to retire in 1943. And that Mac will have to start a building program, perhaps borrowing money, just like Homer, Sr. did in 1943. To quote Lloyd Benson in 1988: "I knew Dr. Lindsay, Dr. Lindsay was a friend of mine..."

Lastly, at the end of Mac's sermon, a glimmer of light. Mac let's us know the Lord spoke to him that he needs to let God handle the needs for the money - what a novel thought - how 'bout if Mac trusts God, trusts the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of people, instead of beating people up with guilt and fear to motivate them to give. Its a little too late...after beating us up and not even bothering to mention the New Testament plan for Christian giving or calling on people to give out of love for Jesus, its just a little too late.

Mac will be on vacation for a couple of weeks. Let's see what the Lord does with him while he's away.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

As information: a cutting edge definition is "the position of greatest advancement or importance, the forefront". You can find this under definition cutting edge on the internet. Just put that phrase in the search block. What is ironic is that Rick Warren comes up over and over again as "cutting edge".

This buzz phrase is always about a person or group of people like a football team that really get their act together or a manufacturing plant that is outfront with it's product.

Any way you "slice it" cutting edge is more in tune with the business or world view not a proper methodology for a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was a servant he came to minister. It was He that washed the disciples feet not the reverse. What some of these Mega church preachers have gotten themselves into is a style where they themselves are the issue or byproduct of the organization. All of this planning and organization are to hold themselves up as some great entity. Thats why they say cutting edge it makes THEM look important not the Son of God. Its all about them.

They are not to be an issue at all. Jesus told His disciples to go out and preach the gospel and win the lost. Its that simple. Just like John 3:16. JESUS knew then and knows now what constitutes a church...its all about HIM. This modern theology is another attempt by man to exalt himself above the average pastor. They want to leave their mark or brand where everyone will give honor and obedience to them rather than the Savior. Its sort of like the Pope allowing you to kiss his ring.

How pitiful. That moment in time which Watchdog discussed can never be recovered. We are on the way down spiritually and its just a matter of time before Jesus returns. HE is our refuge and strength.

Where is there strong preaching against sin, hell or the Devil now? In the book of Jude we read of their (sinners) blood being on our hands. Imagining those sinners flung into the pit of hell should make us all and especially preachers more willing to preach to those who are lost rather than worrying about such things as Cutting Edge, Purpose Driven, Theology Driven, Pastor Driven, etc, etc, etc.

The second greatest man in history was John the Baptist. We can still learn from his statement " HE must increase and I must decrease".

Thy Peace said...

I am sorry this subject is off topic.

There is an important discussion taking place on Pastor Wade Burleson blog:

My Prayer For Miss Courtney Tarter: "That One Day, by God's Grace, You May Recover from Your Recovery"

---------------------------------
Here are some of Pastor Wade comments in the comments section:
The beating that African-American seamstress took for her "rebelling" against male authority is different from the beatings SBC Hebrew Professor Sheri Klouda, IMB Vice-President Wendy Norvelle, and a host of other SBC women in leadership positions have taken only in the kind of whip used.

I, for one, see the connection clearly. Maybe it is because I know the SBC ladies who have experienced the full effects of implementing the "male" authority viewpoint in SBC agencies.

I have sworn to not stand by silently while it happens, I plan on continuing to keep my vow.

-----------------------------------

Good job Pastor Wade. Keep up the good fight.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - thanks, but I'm aware of what "cutting edge" is in the general sense...I'm being a bit sarcastic in saying "whatever that is" as in whatever someome could possibly mean about cutting edge for a church whose mission is to reach the lost and disciple believers at a church that never sought to be "cutting edge". And its just so non-specific that you wonder why the pastor is using the word, and why he would tell us to "pray that we get our spiritual edge back"..."Dear Lord Jesus, thank for your filling me with your spiritual edge".

Your assessment I think is right on about most mega church pastors. Guys like Lindsay and even Vines didn't start out to achieve "mega church" status...they actually just started out preaching and trusted God with the results. But today we have guys like Brunson and now Smyrl who think they are so smart that they can come up with some catchy phrase, introduce some new lingo, mixed with business marketing strategies, and can build the church and expand it geographically and build their empire....and you have well meaning guys like Maurilio who get a little piece of the action by helping come up with the new lingo and marketing strategies and sermon series names and artwork...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling it like it is watchdog!! Have you noticed how convenient it is for us to give our money online now?? OUT OF CONTROL! And with all of the new pastors we have on staff, why cant one of them be black?? I know there are some African-Americans in the southern baptist convention. What do you think?

Thy Peace said...

I did hear the two audio clips of Lindsay Jr. He sounded genuinely humble, contrite, loving of Jesus as the Source of all things and enthusiastic of leading people to Jesus, especially young people.

Contrast this with what's going on today at fbcjax.

The world has entered the church at fbcjax and it's turning it inside out. I have so many thoughts that are running through my head, this blog's comments will not be enough. Sad.

Firstly, let's examine the role of education in a seminary. The impression I am getting is lot of the people graduating from the seminaries are feeling like the law students, MBA's and doctors graduating from their schools. They need to make all this money to pay for their tution, boarding all the years of education, money lost while being educated. So they have to make the money now. They are behaving almost like the certified professionals ... They need to make money.

This is almost like the burden you have when you borrow. You become a slave. To meet obligations to the world, you are forever trying to raise money to satisfy the lenders, marketers, and paper pushers.

Watchdog, your articles have answered my question to you on 9/1/08.
"Watchdog, can you do an article in the future (if you have not done this already), comparing the preaching styles of Dr. Brunson Vs. Dr. Vines Vs. Dr. Lindsay Jr."

Thanks for answering the question in the past 3 weeks. This has been a true learning experience for me.

This current article is very good. I know in the past some of your articles were little raw with anger and bitterness against Mac. But in the past month, your articles are full of love and caring and genuine puzzlement with what happened at fbcjax.

Good job Watchdog. Keep up the good work.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thy Peace - you have to remember: 99% of the SBC pastors pastor small churches, membership 200 or less. Most pastors reading this blog, reading about the $300k land gift, Mac's hundreds of thousands per year salary, wife on staff, the abusive yelling at his congregation, the $100k 3000+ sf office suite and year's stay at an ocean front condo for a year free...the average pastor CANNOT EVEN RELATE TO WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. They are mostly very humble men who are called by God to serve the sheep in their church, earning meager salaries, driving modest cars, struggling to pay their bills and raise their families. So this blog is not meant to cast a negative light on preachers in general.

Now for the other side: it is a bit disturbing at the pastor's conferences and the SBC national convention to see these average pastors lining up to shake the hand of the "rock star" mega church pastors, to get them to sign their books for them, like they are celebrities - which I guess they are.

I hope this blog serves to shine a light for these pastors serving in smaller churches just what a mega church pastor like Mac Brunson is actually doing to his congregation, how the money is being spent, and how the sheep are being abused.

Thy Peace said...

Watchdog, you are correct about your assessment of the 99% of pastors at SBC. What I meant to say is that mostly a seminary education is overrated. I am sure it benefits some people. My firm conviction is like the early apostles and saints, you do not need a formal education to preach about Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit, the Word, genuine love of God and people.

From my perspective, there are some important battles being waged now in the SBC. In the end, simplicity of Jesus, love of Jesus and peace of Jesus will win in the end.

Anonymous said...

I thought some of you might find this interesting. I live in the Dallas area and as you know the A Group is the marketing firm of FBC Dallas, they have billboards all over Dallas asking the question, "Looking for a church you can believe in?" and then the First Baptist Dallas tag.

I just find it disappointing that we are now calling people to church instead of to Jesus. I'm not trusting nor believing in a church, not even the one to which I belong, I'm trusting in Jesus.

Thanks Maurillio(sp?) you are doing a great job, taking the glory from Jesus and giving it to your clients. God help us!

Kyle

Anonymous said...

WD-
I have heard from several long time members at FBC who knew Dr. Lindsay, SR and many, many of them comment on "the end of a perfect day". I was wondering if you could describe that or if you have an audio copy of that to share with us? I've been told it was just a wonderful cap to each Sunday, that so many anticipated it and it brought them back on Sunday nights.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Kyle: this is exactly the point. Churches have become business opportunitites!! Preachers are fast talking CEO's. Unfortunately ,for the CEO's they must deal with the "slow to get it" people who still think they are in a church. It's those dummies who want church to be church, that are a pain to the "cutting edge" preachers. Who ever heard of a church NEEDING a marketing group!!!! What we need are preachers that are actually CALLED to preach by God. Not by a convention which is part of the problem. The preachers MUST be sold out totally to JESUS, not to a program, a group of people, or the "bottom line" of the financial report.

Your comment is correct. People have helped turn "church" into a social function, where they go for their various reasons: social, networking their businesses, entertainment etc. And, the preachers know and count on this to help keep them in business.

This is why the Lord speaks so disparagingly of the church of Laodicea (which we are now in). Jesus has taken a back seat in the churches of today. That's why you don't have the hard preaching that got people saved. We must be inoffensive, politically correct, warm and fuzzy etc. But for goodness sake don't preach about sin. Let's make everyone comfortable while they slide into hell. It's the preachers that have failed the Lord and have failed us. But many must share in the blame, as many have allowed them to do it. The church is now a commodity where some can make money!!!! How sad.

In speaking to the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2:vs.4: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

This is not to condemn all churches and all preachers. Many, most smaller in size, are still faithful to the Lord and to HIS word. God bless them. They will hear, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Anonymous said...

From http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8591&Itemid=53:


". . . [Jack] Ridlehoover [retired Texas pastor] identified 13 habits most commonly practiced by ministers who have had effective ministries based on his observations, conversations, and studies. He insisted effective ministers:

• Maintain closeness to God through consistent Bible study and prayer. “Not only the prayers we have prayed, but also the prayers we have not prayed and the time we have not spent in God’s word have also changed our lives,” Ridlehoover pointed out.

• Develop and follow good time management habits. He suggested charting for a couple of months how time is spent, show it to someone else and together decide what changes might be made to use time more effectively. He recalled one pastor who attended a time management seminar and discovered he the only person there who was not a businessman. “I realized my bottom line was more important than theirs,” the pastor said. While they were there to make a profit, he was there to better lead people into the kingdom of God.

Pastors also need to analyze themselves to see what time of day they are most effective. “We need to analyze what time we are most alive and give that time to the Lord,” he said.

• Habitually do common duties uncommonly well. Ridlehoover identified the common tasks of ministry as people ministry and servant submission; biblical teaching and preaching; problem solving and listening skills; open, honest communication; and hard work and presenting a good example.

“Few ministers can do all the duties of ministry with exceptional excellence. Most of us have limited talents and abilities, but if you have a particular gift , you can grow in the other areas,” Ridlehoover counseled. He also said, “Doing common things uncommonly well is not a matter of education, training, knowledge or experience but rather a sincere, dedicated willingness to be usable.”

• Consider and devote loving attention to spouse, family and personal life. He reminded the ministers that being a minister’s spouse or child also has its challenges. “Let me say how blessed you are if you have a wife and family who support your ministry. If you have that support, recognize them for it, thank them for it, thank God for it,” Ridlehoover said.

• Continue study habits and education in order to remain fresh and current. He said that while it is estimated that only 20 percent of ministers have a planned, systematic approach to continuing education, that often leads to pastors who have to move every three years or so because preaching, teaching and leadership become stale without the influx of new ideas. “The average tenure of a pastor in a Baptist church is three years—you can’t become the pastor of a church in three years,” he warned.

• Seek the help, advice, counsel and experience of mentors in various fields— especially other experienced ministers. He offered a good definition he had read elsewhere: “A good definition of a mentor is someone who offers a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on and a kick in the pants when you need it.”

All of us need mentors, he suggested. “Problems abound in the work of ministry. No minister, however educated or experienced, can or should solve all these problems without assistance.”

Those mentors should come from both the laity and from other ministers. “We all need someone to push us,” Ridlehoover said.

The biggest obstacle in the area is breaking through the barrier of pride to ask for help, he said. Also, just as every minister needs a mentor, he also needs to be a mentor to someone else, Ridlehoover continued.

• Remain open, available and accessible. “Ministry is a people-centered occupation. You earn the right to be their pastor when you are there when they need you. If you have a man seriously ill in the hospital and you go there and hold his hand, he’ll never forget it. If you have a man seriously ill in the hospital and don’t go there and hold his hand, he’ll never forget it,” Ridlehoover warned.

A pastor must maintain a balance between ministry and study and neither can be neglected, he said, but it is impossible to effectively preach each week to people you don’t know. “Get out among the people, go back to the study and open God’s word, and then get in the pulpit and weld them together,” he said.

• Dream the dream, see the vision and lead their people to see the dream and the vision. Dreaming is essential, he said. “Someone said that a person who does not dream is like an oak tree planted in a flower pot—they are never capable or reaching their full potential,” Ridlehoover said. “A minister without a personal vision and a vision for where he serves is destined to dull, drab, routine activity which fails to fulfill his need for inner satisfaction in his ministry.

“Divinely inspired vision is the key to inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm and the personal spark needed to excite and ignite people to follow Jesus.”

• Lead with confidence, integrity and authentic spiritual ownership. “You don’t own the place, but you need to feel you’re responsible for it,” he said.

Authentic spiritual ownership as a leader does not mean autocratic dictatorship, Ridlehoover clarified, “but it does mean the minister accepts the personal burden, responsibility and accountability for being called God’s servant-leader in that church.”

• Guard reputation, influence and image. This covers a wide swath of areas of responsibility, he pointed out—sexual indiscretion, financial matters, laziness and professionalism to start. “Your people like to be proud of you. We need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and in our grooming so that when they introduce you to a prospect they can do it proudly. That means we have to be on constant guard so the we can serve faithfully,” Ridlehoover said.

• Communicate positively, clearly, honestly and scripturally to their people. “We are in the communicating business—say it clearly, say it plainly and stay with the subject,” he instructed. “My sermons are 23 minutes long, and it’s harder to preach a 23-minute sermon than it is to preach a 35-minute sermon.”

It is important for ministers to analyze their communication skills and also to ask for others to do the same. They also should welcome unsolicited feedback.

“Effective ministers say what they mean, say it lovingly, say it firmly, say it candidly, say it attractively, say it prayerfully and say it with conviction,” Ridlehoover summed up.

• Follow excellent money management practices. It is not only important for ministers to use their influence to keep the church’s finances in line, it is just as important for his personal and family finances to be in good condition, he said. And a part of that is to plan financially for retirement, Ridlehoover added.

• Practice conflict resolution on a win/win basis. While conflict is an inevitable part of ministry, it is possible to sometimes anticipate its arrival and practice conflict prevention. Also, ministers should not allow small ripples of conflict to blind them to waves of support, he said.

But when conflict does arise, a win/win solution should be sought if possible. “Sometimes when you resolve conflict on a win/win basis, you eat crow. And in my ministry, sometimes I had to eat crow feet, feathers and all,” Ridlehoover said . . ."

Anonymous said...

Well, that (the posting above) ought to get it for every senior pastor serious about the Savior, and for every church member serious about his pastor and can understand his part in relation to his pastor's part.

Case closed?