Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .


What I shall write today has been a force gathering in my soul for several days now. I have watched and listened with dismay and horror for a little over a year at what is happening to some of my brothers in ministry. We stand at the precipice of a huge cliff and one way or another, it appears that we are going to either leap over the edge or be pushed over the edge, whatever design suits your will.

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

I am watching some of my brothers on both sides of this issue drop down into the mud and it is soiling everything that God has accomplished in your life to this point. It is not so much the direction of the decision as it is the way that the direction is being promoted. The penalties are huge. There has been an incredible loss of focus, a very fractious division is brewing, and brothers are going down in “friendly” fire. Friendships that have spanned decades are now dissolving.

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

I am watching a few on either side un-sheath swords that when the work of the battle has been completed, there will be awesome carnage on both sides. Ministries will be stunted and spirits will be wounded. Another thing that you can factor into the equation is that there will be prodigals caused by our actions. Some of those prodigals will never recover from the hog-pen. Brothers, the greatest question is this: What shall become of the saints?

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

I have entertained another question in my mind: What if as much energy was expended on the Kingdom in prayer, fasting, and ministry of the Word? I dare say that there are some (on both sides) who have spent far more time researching and gathering data for their position than they ever spend studying and putting messages together to feed the flock. Brothers, that is damning. . . furthermore it is unacceptable. Brothers, what if we were to spend as much time cultivating our churches with the same amount of energy that we are working the phones and pulling on our connections? We are spending our lives with the precious few minutes that God has given to us, fighting the tanks of the enemy with mere peashooters of human opinion. If prayer, fasting, and the ministry of the Word works, then brothers we must do it!

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

Some would boil down the matter into a holiness matter. . . . there are others who want to equate it with an evangelism matter. . . Brothers, sadly it fits into neither. Whether we believe it or not, the “holiness” side wants evangelism, and the “evangelism” side wants holiness. More than anything this whole thing has become a masterful distraction of the church that when it is said and done, the bramble will be the king. When the bramble becomes the king the whole forest will be destroyed.

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

Brothers, it is numbing to my spirit to watch both sides pour out vitriol and angst on internet forums and message boards. Some say that it is nothing more than Peter enjoying a ham sandwich with his Gentile buddies and then coming under the rebuke of Paul for it. I have an idea that Paul was confronting Peter’s hypocrisy more than his choice of Sunnyland sausage. It is deadening to watch the circling of the wagons into different camps. Diversity is critical but not at the expense of unity.

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

Brothers, this will be the most difficult of all the words to write. It is utterly depressing for me to have to pick up great men out of the mud and wash them off with a water hose in the eyes of my two teen-age boys. It is not just one side but both sides that I am having to do this with. I have greatly encouraged my boys to look at your sterling example that has been set over the years. I have learned that men are human but I am an adult and have much more spiritual and mental resources to work with. But in the tender growing process of young minds it is much more difficult to deal with these blows. I might add that after I have pulled you out of the mud and washed you off, your polish is gone, and instead of looking like a great man of God, you have taken the look of a sheepish little boy that has been caught.

Brothers. . . . We Must Pray. . .


I write this blog post from my study and I look to the wall just to the right of my desk and on the wall is a collection of pictures that I have gathered at conferences here and there. In all of those pictures only one is group shot, the rest are individual pictures of myself with some great men. . . . You are on that wall for a reason. . . The prevailing reason is because you have contributed something to my life in the past but more importantly when I look at those pictures. . . I pray for you. . . . I do not know the pressures that you face, the battles you wage, nor the wisdom that you need, therefore I pray for you. In fact, it is almost daily that I look at you (beside me) and I pray diligently. Oddly enough, I am pictured with some of the biggest “conservatives” and with some of the biggest “liberals” and I love both and right now you look a little less than appealing to me. Spend your time preaching the Word, not your agenda. Ultimately, the agenda is going to betray you . .

Brothers. . . We Must Pray. . .

Brothers. . I am pleading with you to. . . . Pray. . .

Hold court with God in prayer about your perceived “enemies.” Present your plan to God and let Him work out the details.

Brothers. . . What ever side you hold to. . . We Must Pray!

6 comments:

Jay Jones said...

Brother Harrelson... words of humble wisdom. I pray that these words and this spirit will permeate our ranks...

I know you're not looking for this, but I applaud your frankness and passion.

God bless you.

Tim Downs said...

This is an article that should be in the hands of every minister. I truly believe we need to get down to serious prayer and fasting and just forget about this matter! I would even trust that God would lead us into reaching the lost more if we did this! Lets get busy!

God Bless
www.gowinsouls.com

Tim Kelley said...

As a man with a strong opinion, I find myself thankful that I have engaged in niether phone nor email debate on "the issue;" particularly after reading this!

My dear friend, those are words very well spoken. Whether or not my picture is upon the wall of which you speak, I certainly feel that if I had such a pictoral gallery, yours should certainly be upon my wall.

Blessings,

Tim

Barnabas said...

Tim,

You are not on my wall of fame yet. .. but you will be as soon as I run into you and have a chance to get a picture.

You are exactly right, you have not discussed this issue that is confronting us by phone or e-mail.

I also will say this for you, that even though you have a "strong opinion" they have always been communicated (at least to me) with a seasoning of grace and care.

God Bless,
PH

Scott Phillips said...

Barnabas,

Excellent words on prayer. I concur with so much of what you have said.

I would to God it were possible to prevent what seems to be unstoppable. Like two trains who have built up a full of steam, it seems like we will get to see a train wreck of some sort.

I was looking for the one about your grandmother... can you email that to me?

God Bless You,

Scott Phillips

Donald said...

Well said my friend. I have committed this year to restrict my conflict to the devil, the world, and my flesh and only pray for my brother.

As my bishop is prone to say, unity makes little things great.