Thursday, May 22, 2008
On February 26, McCain appeared at a campaign rally in Cincinnati with the Reverend Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, a supersize Pentecostal institution that features a 5,200-seat sanctuary, a television studio (where Parsley tapes a weekly show), and a 122,000-square-foot Ministry Activity Center. That day, a week before the Ohio primary, Parsley praised the Republican presidential front-runner as a "strong, true, consistent conservative." The endorsement was important for McCain, who at the time was trying to put an end to the lingering challenge from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite among Christian evangelicals.
A politically influential figure in Ohio, Parsley could also play a key role in McCain's effort to win this bellwether state in the general election. McCain, with Parsley by his side at the Cincinnati rally, called the evangelical minister a "spiritual guide."
The leader of a 12,000-member congregation, Parsley has written several books outlining his fundamentalist religious outlook, including the 2005 Silent No More. In this work, Parsley decries the "spiritual desperation" of the United States, and he blasts away at the usual suspects: activist judges, civil libertarians who advocate the separation of church and state, the homosexual "culture" ("homosexuals are anything but happy and carefree"), the "abortion industry," and the crass and profane entertainment industry. And Parsley targets another profound threat to the United States: the religion of Islam.
In a chapter titled "Islam: The Deception of Allah," Parsley warns there is a "war between Islam and Christian civilization." He continues: "I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."
Pastor Parsley, who refers to himself as a "Christocrat," is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, the grassroots organization he founded, the Center for Moral Clarity, called for prosecuting people who commit adultery. In January, he compared Planned Parenthood to Nazis. In the past Parsley's church has been accused of engaging in pro-Republican partisan activities in violation of its tax-exempt status.
This really upsets liberal extremists. So, they go after anything Christian and cast an accusing light on all religious conservatives. There is an attempt here to create an embarrassment because of what happened to Obama and his pastor.
McCain issued a statement which said, "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."
Pastor Hagee also issued a statement saying he was tired of baseless attacks and he was removing himself from any active role in the 2008 campaign.
Theologically, Pastor Hagee believes that one of the greatest sins a Christian can commit is anti-Semitism — hence the reference in the video to the drinking of the blood of the Jews. He was reminding Christians, as he often does, of the long history of Christian anti-Semitism. He wastes no opportunity to teach Christians that one of the surest ways for a Christian to become a member of the "apostate church" is to engage in anti-Semitism.
For decades, John Hagee has easily been one of the most prominent Christian leaders fighting anti-Semitism. To him, loving Jews as much as one's Christian neighbors is a core tenet of his faith. In his book "In Defense of Israel," Pastor Hagee wrote, "Show me an anti-Semitic Christian, and I'll show you a spiritually dead Christian whose hatred for other human beings has strangled his faith." If anything, Mr. Hagee is obsessed with purging anti-Semitism from Christendom.
Thus, the book contains a lengthy discussion of the history of Christian anti-Semitism. (It is from this section that his critics have pulled quotes to argue that John Hagee is anti-Catholic. The leading critic, though, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, this week announced a truce with Mr. Hagee.)
If only Mr. Rich had spent roughly 20 minutes to peruse the relevant chapter, he would have learned two important tidbits:
- Pastor Hagee's criticism was directed solely at the Catholic Church's past deeds, and
- Pastor Hagee also attacked Protestant anti-Semitism, with an in-depth exploration of Martin Luther's considerable influence on Nazi ideology.
Throwing stones from inside his glass house, Mr. Rich wrote, "Any 12-year-old with a laptop could have vetted this preacher in 30 seconds, tops."
Given how far off the mark he was, it is only fair to ask of Mr. Rich: Could he not find a "12-year-old with a laptop"?
Last summer, 71 members of Two Rivers Baptist Church began raising concerns over alleged mishandling of church finance by senior pastor Jerry Sutton and other church leaders. A church trustee, who was part of the "dissident group," as it was called, was removed from membership. The group sought access to financial records, such as air travel, personal expenses that were allegedly paid for with church credit cards, and other information. In September, a lawsuit was filed against the church, seeking access to the financial records, along with the removal of Sutton and other directors and officers in the church. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Pastor Sutton received a vote of confidence by the congregation. And early this year, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying she did not have jurisdiction in the case.
This month, during a hastily called business meeting, the church voted to remove the 71 dissident members from the congregation's rolls. Larry Crain, an attorney for the church, says the main issue was never financial records. In fact, he says thousands of pages of financial records were made available. The attorney believes the root cause of the dispute stems from a decision by Two Rivers last year to go to a contemporary worship service while also offering a traditional service. "It was a service called the 'eleVen:01' service that offered a different style of worship," Crain explains. "The music was more contemporary -- and virtually every one of the members who filed this lawsuit was upset [about that decision]. All of these were members who had attended the church over a number of years and felt that this change in the service, this going to a contemporary style of worship, was a wrong move."
But a spokesman for the plaintiffs sees things differently. Dennis Shipp, who has been a Two Rivers member since the early 1980s, says legal action was the only way to uncover the truth about the alleged financial improprieties. Shipp says the biblical admonition against believers taking each other to court is taken out of context by the other side. "That's what they keep using against us -- but First Peter also says that you obey the governor of your country, or whatever," he shares. "You can't just take one scripture out of the Bible and use that; that's not right." Continuing, Shipp says, "I think God's told us to stand up. Every time we've needed money for the lawsuit, and say we ask for a thousand dollars, we get two thousand dollars. You think God's not in that? People have given about $50,000 so far, and have no regrets about it." Shipp, who still considers himself a member of Two Rivers, believes there is only one way for Pastor Sutton to settle the matter. "I don't think the issue is going to be over until he steps down -- I really don't," he states. "Because I think he has lied from our pulpit time and time again, and that's just not what a pastor's supposed to do. He's supposed to be above reproach. And if he's violated one of the Ten Commandments, I think he needs to step down."
Two Rivers is one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in Nashville, which is also home to the denomination's headquarters. In fact, a number of high-profile Southern Baptist officials are members of the church.
As for church leaders, attorney Larry Crain says they can now put behind them what he says has been a major distraction. "This is an exciting time for the church," says the attorney. "They're now in a position, having put this behind them, to move forward and do what they were called to do." And there are signs that may be happening. In a letter dated May 12 and posted on the church's website, Pastor Sutton said his church would accept the 71 members back who were recently ousted. In the letter, Sutton said the dissidents must agree not to sue the church anymore, admit their behavior was wrong, and handle any concerns in an appropriate, Christ-like manner.
[Things are seldom about what people say they are about. Deeper issues are usually the case. Frequently pastors must deal with dissenting members who disagree with leadership style, worship style, or power/control issues. A balance must be found between overbearing leadership and members refusing to submit. A church split breaks a pastor's heart. The easiest thing to do in most cases is for the pastor to step down to save the church any further hardship. However, in the long run, members who sow discord will find another axe to grind. They live from one complaint to another. This same type of church disruption has happened in at least 52 other churches this year. What does it say about a group of people who would rather spend $50,000 on legal action than in the Harvest? Pastors need to be accountable. But when a faction of dissenting members disrupt the church, they must be dealt with.]
William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli were two of the fiercest political rivals of the 19th century. Their epic battles for control of the British Empire were marked by intense animosity that spilled over from the public arena into their personal lives. Ambitious, powerful, and politically astute, both men were spirited competitors and masterful politicians.
Though each man achieved impressive accomplishments for Britain, the quality that separated them as leaders was their approach to people. The difference is best illustrated by the account of a young woman who dined with the men on consecutive nights. When asked about her impression of the rival statesmen, she said, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."
What distinguished Disraeli from Gladstone was charisma. Disraeli possessed a personal charm sorely lacking in the leadership style of his rival. His personal appeal attracted friends and created favorable impressions among acquaintances. Throughout his career, Disraeli's charisma gave him an edge over Gladstone.
Read the full article...
What a celebration is was! Bill Gaither was a big part of "gathering" the singers. It was a true send off for the "Queen of Gospel Music."
The Lee Singers from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee sang "He Looked Beyond My Faults." They were positioned in the center of all the singers present. Their rendition of Dottie's song was a Capella.
Many letters were presented from people who could not be present. President George Bush said that her music had helped him during his struggles with alcohol. President Bush also sent the flag that flew over the White House on mother's day.
As a grand finale, Sandi Patti sang "We Shall Behold Him." The entire congregation was moved.
About 2,500 people gathered for the farewell. They sang "I go to the Rock" more than once.
Entombment was at the mausoleum at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Memorial Park which immediately followed her Home-going Celebration.
The amazing technology of Conference Channel will allow you to watch the conference, catch behind the scene video interviews, twitter and interact with people while sitting in front of your computer in your underwear.
So, click HERE and enjoy!
- Understand that releasing control empowers others.
- Intentionally back off from time to time to see how people respond without you.
- Stop doing things others can be doing.
- Don’t manage the “how.” Evaluate the outcome.
- After releasing responsibility to someone else, don’t re-assume responsibility because you didn’t like the outcome on their first attempt.
- Do not permit inflexibility to have a foothold in your world or in the lives of people you lead.
- As you release responsibility, be there for people like a father would be there for his child learning to ride a bike. But, don’t become obsessed with holding on to the bike. If my dad tried to run down the street with me for safety now as a 34 year old man, we’d both look foolish.
- Teach people to do the same. If you’re a control freak. The people you work with will be as well. Empower your people and they’ll do the same.
- Finally, understand that by choosing not to control, you will experience waves of creativity and high productivity. But, things will not look like you would imagine them to look. This is a good thing.
Always ask: WHAT’S THE BEST USE OF MY TIME RIGHT NOW?
This nine word question can change everything. When you get up in the morning, ask: What’s the BEST use of my time right now? (Devotions anyone?)
When you first arrive in the office, ask: What’s the best use of my time right now? This question should help you focus on your most important project and get it done straight away.
When it’s date night with your spouse, ask: What’s the best use of my time right now? (Hint: Put away the iphone and give your spouse your undivided attention.)
Get the idea? For me, this question has become a prayer. I’m constantly asking God to show me: What’s the best use of my time right now? This gives me focus and helps me prioritize.
In real estate, they will often say that the value of a property is determined by "its highest and best use." Its the same way with your time. The value of your time is measured by "its highest and best use." Make the decision this week to make the BEST use of your time on every occasion!
Click here to order Time Management for Busy Pastors