Friday, August 24, 2007

A Ride With UPCI General Superintendent Kenneth Haney - Part 2

Thanks to all who have come by and read and commented on Part 1 about riding with the UPCI General Superintendent Kenneth Haney. I trust that I have not added to anything Brother Haney might have said to us to give you an unfair representation of him. Furthermore please understand that what you are reading has to come through the reflections of my own thoughts and any misquotes or misrepresentation is not the fault of Brother Haney.

I have two regrets (sort of) with Brother Haney being with us this past weekend. First, I put my mother through untold anxiety and worry by telling her that I was going to bring Brother Haney to her and my dad’s house to eat on Sunday after the service. The reason that I did so was because we have had numerous missionaries to come through our church (my father-in-law has been the district Foreign Missions director for 20+ years) and the large majority of them always say that they get very tired of “eating out” and would like some real home cooking. So I figured if they were tired of all the chain restaurants then Brother Haney probably was too, therefore that is why we went.

My second regret is that Brother Haney could not go home with us on Sunday night after church and load up on the “leftovers.” Numerous times Mark and I would bring some of our Bible college “buddies” home on Sunday nights after church and sit up until 1:30 AM or so, eating and swapping sermons and stories. I wish that Brother Haney would have been able to help us knock down some more dumplings, butterbeans, cornbread, and pecan pie (among many other things) on that Sunday night after he preached. Now that I can say that I know him, I have no doubt that he would have piled up in the car and went with us. . . . . Just to make sure that this doesn’t slip through the cracks in these two blogs, Brother Haney is very, very interested in the success of all of those who have been called into the ministry. Furthermore, it appeared to me that he was willing to do everything he possibly could to ensure that success!

On the way back, Brother Haney was triple-teamed by Mark Harrelson (my brother, who serves with Brother Roger Lewis in Mobile, AL), Mike Patterson (UPCI Foreign Missionary to Romania), and myself.

Before getting fully cleared of Dothan, we presented Brother Haney with a book about the Bear. For all of the uninitiated, the Bear was the famous Alabama coach who trashed your college football team back in the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, and early ‘80’s. The biography particularly focuses in on how the Bear had the willingness and ability to pull the best out of the players that came through Tuscaloosa during his tenure there. I felt like that since Brother Haney had said he liked biographies that he might find some inspiration to continue to help the numerous men whom he is trying to help.

We had not gone very far before the conversation again turned to ministry and letting God determine the direction of your life. He revisited something with us again that he had mentioned to me on Saturday that purposely left out in the previous blog. He said that the anointing that we experience hinges hugely on the personal sacrifices that we are willing to make for the Kingdom of God. Yet our times challenge our ability to sacrifice because of the nature of our society. Much spiritual lethargy in ministers and in churches is created by the velvet charms that affluence brings to us. To remember our roots, the storefronts, the brush arbors, and the disdain that society had for us at large in the early days will do much for us. Sometimes the biggest cursing can come from the biggest blessings. Brother Haney told us about his father’s (Clyde Haney) association with George Studd who was an early Pentecostal pioneer and the tremendous sacrifice that this man went through to give money to support missionaries and the cause of the Cross. I related to Brother Haney that last year after the ’06 Columbus General conference that I used much of the inspiration and challenge from his Thursday night message to preach a message about the Cross to our Dothan folks (You can read it here. . . or send me an e-mail to and I will send you a copy that is not edited by SermonCentral.).

Brother Haney related that our real passion can only come when we are in the sacrificing mode. The reason that very little passion is reflected in the evangelistic efforts of some is because there is no real sacrifice in their lives. Passionless preaching, praying, worship, and churches are all related to the lack of sacrifice in our lives. If you want a powerful anointing and a church that will constantly have a revival spirit then sacrifice is going to play a crucial role in that. To lose touch with those giants of the past who sacrificed everything they had to push the message forward will not be a wise choice. The modern church must pick up that same level of sacrifice as did those pioneers.

Can we survive as an organization? We were asked this question! Brother Haney assured us that we will survive as an organization and perhaps even become a denomination that warrants some respect in the evangelical world. However simply being an organization or a denomination is not the goal! We must have the passion and fire of revival! We must press until we are stretched out on our faces toward God! We must be establishing churches that produce daughter works. We must have churches that do more than serve as social outlets for people to hang around! We must experience prevailing and powerful growth as did the early church. But all of this comes with a price. Brother Haney challenged us to reach as high as we could through these venues of sacrifice. I felt the Spirit very thick in the car as we trekked toward Montgomery, in fact I wanted to slow down to about 30 mph to buy us some more time!

As I listened to Brother Haney, I became aware of one thing: The United Pentecostal Church does not belong to Brother Haney or Brother Jerry Jones or to St. Louis. . . The UPCI belongs literally to me and to you. What I do with my part of the UPCI is going to be very crucial to its future. Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote a poem a long time ago entitled “Lifters or Leaners” and our age caters to those in her poem who become “leaners” and expect someone else to pull them along when in reality life and success comes to those who are “lifters.” Brothers, We Must Pray!

We asked Brother Haney about those who had shaped his life in his early years. He listed off five men. Clyde Haney, J. T. Pugh (another blog about Brother Pugh), V. A. Guidroz, James Kilgore, and David Gray. He told us about his father, Clyde Haney, of how that he constantly was trying to build a church building or to build men who would help to build the church. Clyde Haney was a church builder and a man builder. In 1949 (I think) is when Brother Clyde Haney opened the Bible College in Stockton. He faced huge financial hardship in trying to accomplish this but somehow managed to bring it to bear. In additional to building the Bible school, he was also working to build the church. Many saints and alumni are scattered around the world today because of the efforts of Clyde Haney. What Brother Haney did not say but the principle again prevailed. . . We can let such a choke-hold of materialism drag us down until we are just like Isachaar was in Genesis 49 who was enslaved to a burden. The achievements (burden???) of materialism and stuff-itis will ultimately find that moth, rust, and robbers will devour it. However, men like Clyde Haney who have passed on to their reward are still living much through their efforts of advancing the Kingdom of God.

J. T. Pugh had a large impact on Brother Haney also. Brother Pugh would come to Stockton and preach revivals for Clyde Haney. Brother Haney said that as a young man (in his teens) he would listen to the passionate preaching of Brother Pugh and then spend much time lingering in the altars praying long after the preaching had been completed. Brother Haney told us that all through the years that he kept up the friendship and there were times that the wisdom and confidence of Brother Pugh encouraged him greatly.

V. A. Guidroz affected Brother Haney as a preacher. He said that he could have listened to Brother Guidroz preach for hours because he was a masterful orator. The preaching of Brother Guidroz motivated Brother Haney toward study and the discipline of learning. He told us that Brother Guidroz was a self-educated man who spent much time reading encyclopedias and books about the Bible. Then when he began to preach, his wealth of knowledge paid off for him.

James Kilgore had much to contribute to Brother Haney’s life. He said that Brother Kilgore really came into his life after his own father had passed away. As the years went by Brother Kilgore apparently served almost as a second father to Brother Haney.

David Gray, who is Brother Haney’s uncle, also had much influence in his life. Brother Gray promoted a great love for the Apostolic doctrine and for holiness in his life. Again, the encouragement came to us that we should not minimize doctrine or holiness in our modern times. They are crucial to our existence. He told us that Brother Gray was a very excellent Bible teacher and could expound and bring out Scripture through a sermon or though a Bible study like very few are capable of doing. Brother Gray was a preacher of the Word.

Mike Patterson asked Brother Haney about facing spiritual opposition and burnout. Brother Haney related to us a very dark trial that he had to face at one point in his life. He told us that prayer and sweat is crucial to navigating your way through a trial. The prayer part is praying things down from God and into our spirit. Prayer is a very powerful weapon and there are even times that we have to pray things out of our spirit to maintain the presence and approval of God. He told us that this is where the “sweat” part comes in. For a number of years, Brother Haney has been a jogger, although he said now that he is more of a fast walker than jogger. But he did say that during those times of physical exercise that he would deal with frustrations in his mind and heart and would be able to let them go. He told us that every Pentecostal preacher needs an outlet of prayer and sweat in their lives.

By this time we had gotten to Montgomery and the trip had ended far too quickly for me and those with me. I trust that through this blog that you have been challenged by what has been written that Brother Haney said to us. Again, as a writer I take full responsibility if Brother Haney has been cast in a light that does not fully portray him. Furthermore having spent a weekend with Brother Haney has shown me an authentic, warm Christian elder and brother.

Until the next time. . . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Ride With UPCI General Superintendent Kenneth Haney - Part 1

This past weekend (August 18-19, 2007) the Apostolic Faith UPC celebrated its fortieth anniversary. We had a tremendous time of worship, fellowship, blessing, and many memories came flooding back to us from the past.

The high watermark for our church was having the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International to preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning. On Saturday night, Brother Haney preached about “The Heelgrabber.” He started his message about Jacob grabbing the heel of Esau and having the tenacity and vision to get the birthright. He then went on to challenge our church to further pursue our mission of revival, growth, and progress. On Sunday morning, Brother Haney preached on “Spiritual Perception” and how important it was to see things from a spiritual sense and not miss the times that God was speaking directly to our lives through some of the circumstances and trials of life.

In addition to Brother Haney preaching, I was able to spend in the neighborhood of 220 miles driving him from Montgomery to Dothan and then back to the airport. As the mileage flew by, Brother Haney was extremely personable and warm to me and had much to say and I intend on sharing some of that in this blog.

A couple of weeks prior to his arrival, I had spoken to his secretary, Joy Hudspeth, a couple of times about travel arrangements. During one of the conversations, I expressed to her that we were a bit nervous about Brother Haney coming to Dothan as we had never entertained a UPCI General Superintendent. She assured me that I had nothing to worry about because Brother Haney was extremely easy to take care of. Joy’s statement about Brother Haney is going to end up being the classic understatement of 2007. She was more than right!

Pastor Larry McEndarfer, along with his son, Anthony, and I took Brother Haney to the Rosa Parks museum and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church on Saturday morning. This is the birthplace of the civil rights movement where Rosa Parks refused to get up from her seat that started the ball rolling. Montgomery is also the place where Martin Luther King Jr. pastored his first church that would propel him to the national scene.

After this tour Brother Haney and I headed for Dothan. Because I am always curious about the reading patterns of leaders, I asked him about the particular kinds of books that he read. He told me that he had read a lot of church history, particularly that which focused in on the 1st-3rd centuries. The reason was to gain an understanding of things that the early church had to deal with as they rose from the foundational level. The same kinds of difficulties the early church faced mirror similarly those that we are facing even today and gaining an insight of how the apostles reacted can be very helpful to us.

Brother Haney also related to me that he enjoyed reading biographies of great men. He talked for a bit about Richard Nixon and his great abilities with foreign policy (especially with China).

Brother Haney spoke about the huge challenge of materialism and spiritual lethargy facing the American church currently. It is very easy for us to relax in our society today and think that the mission has been accomplished. However, much work is still necessary to reach the world with the message of Jesus Christ. Brother Haney is very passionate about the Global Conquest mission which is going to be unveiled at General Conference in Tampa. In a ten year time frame, the UPCI is seeking to double everything! We must double our attendance in the local church and every church needs to get involved in a daughter work to double the amount of churches. Furthermore there needs to be a doubling of ministers in the UPCI. We will do this by tapping into our young men and women in the local church.

There was much encouragement from Brother Haney about this venue. He spoke of the local church in every city becoming a training ground for the apostolic message. The plan will include involvement not only from pastors but also from the constituents in every church. There will be a focus to assist pastors with tools to help accomplish this purpose and there will be a focus on how that saints in a church can help that pastor to see the vision accomplished.

Brother Haney related that he had just returned from a missions conference in central America. The missionaries in that region are having some good success with converting ministers and congregations to the message of Jesus Name baptism and the revelation of the oneness of God. In our day, we are becoming increasingly aware of missionaries from major evangelical denominations who are beginning to convert to the Pentecostal message.

Because of this shift in the Spirit, it is very crucial for the Apostolic doctrine not to be compromised. There are many shifting trends that are constantly trying to water down the American church that we must be very vigilant. Brother Haney and I discussed the fad of all the Purpose-Driven concepts that reached into the evangelical world in the mid-90’s. We are now beginning to see that this fad is going to have to be replaced with something new to hold on to the crowd. Yet in Apostolic churches where there is a true move of the Spirit, an experience of heart-felt worship, and a process of spiritual growth, congregations are thriving. For this reason we cannot allow a laissez-faire attitude to overtake us. Part of that fight is the constant battle with materialism and abundance.

Brother Haney spoke to me about the value of having elders in your life. The elders have the ability to bring a voice of reason into your life. He had recently finished a meeting with Brothers James Kilgore, J. T. Pugh, C. M. Becton, and T. F. Tenney at WEC in St. Louis. He said that he told them that they really did not need him but that he really needed them. He told me that having elders does two things for you. First, they will allow you to speak out frustrations that come about in trying to serve the church. They can listen to the frustrations and then they can assist you in making adjustments either in your personal life or in what you are trying to accomplish. Secondly, the value of elders allows you to see further with the eyes of their experiences. The experience of the elders can help prevent history from recycling itself again in negative ways.

After the service on Saturday night, we took Brother Haney out to eat. When we arrived at the tables, my brother-in-law told all the young men to sit across from Brother Haney so that he could address them. So my two boys and my nephew had a lifetime memory with Brother Haney. He told them that the most important thing in their life was The Call. As with all young men and women, Brother Haney believed that if they have the Holy Ghost that an incredible opportunity is in them to advance the Gospel. He told the fellows that there are enough physicians and lawyers but not nearly enough ministers, missionaries, and evangelists in our generation. Our young men and women need to fight against the tide to seek conquests in a very rapidly passing material world.

The next blog post I will give you a truckload of things that Brother Haney passed along to us on the return trip. He was triple-teamed on the journey back as I had my brother, Mark Harrelson, and brother-in-law, Mike Patterson with me. When Sunday night had finally closed down, I felt as if I had made another friend in Brother Haney. In fact on Saturday, he gave me his cell phone number to keep up with him while he was in Dothan. I told him that I would “lose” the cell number when he left for St. Louis. He told me that I could keep it and that I needed to call him later on in the year.

Joy Hudspeth was right! . . . . . Not only was Brother Haney a warm, down-to-earth leader, I also felt like that he was extremely interested in me as a person and wanted to see the success of our church in Dothan. . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NAYC '07 -- Charlotte, NC -- Wednesday -- To Be Continued

We left Dothan shortly after 7:00 AM on Wednesday morning heading to Charlotte, North Carolina for the North American Youth Congress which is conducted by the General Youth Division of the United Pentecostal Church, International.

Our van was fully loaded and our trailer was ¾’s loaded with our luggage. Our first stop was in Phenix City, Alabama around 9:20 AM to gas up the van and then we stopped at McDonald’s (the same one we stopped at on the way to Atlanta for the flight to Romania). We did not stop again until we reached Spartanburg, South Carolina around 12:30 PM. I realize that some might think that the guys were the ones who were pushing not to stop but we asked the girls on a regular basis if they needed to stop to which they would decline.

We made it to Charlotte around 3:30 PM and it did not take long before we decided that history was repeating itself. Just as two years ago, we took a long scenic route around Columbus, Ohio for our NAYC ’05, looking for our motel. . . . well, we did it again. The problem was that some of the exits were not clearly marked and we did find a Super 8 but it was two exits down and we had to backtrack it.

Once we arrived at the right Super 8, as usual, the huge language barrier presented some great challenges. Furthermore to complicate matters, it was 104 degrees and the humidity was stifling which helped to wilt so our patience. So the scenic route, the heat, and the language barrier compounded matters. Although I did try to maintain some sense of composure when the fellow told me that an additional $90 charge was needed, I had a momentary flashback. This flashback took me back 12 years or so to a 2:00 AM meeting in Gastonia, NC to when this fellow told me, “I gi’e you good deal, mon!” The “good deal, mon!” was an incredible rip-off for a room that was built in the early 1900’s, had dim bulb lights in the ceiling, and an accompanying smell of some toxic bug spray. So my nerves started jangling.

Then when we get checked in, the folks would not give any extra towels to Caleb Stark. So I ended up having to go down and work through a language barrier and do a math lesson for the fellow to get more towels. . . . This was successful.

In addition to all of this we were trying to find Jeff Sully but my phone battery had died and I was unable to reach him in the van. So we started playing phone tag until finally we managed to get through and we decided that we would meet him at the registration desk at the Bobcat Arena.

We quickly changed and ducked out in the heat and wilted down again. In transit to the Arena, I told our bunch that obviously the frustrations and aggravations that we had encountered meant that we were going to get a whole lot out of it. As the night developed, I realized this was definitely the case.

When we arrived, there was a huge crowd waiting to get in. The reason that the crowd was so backed up was because of security checks to get everyone into the building. It was almost like the security checks at the airports that we “enjoyed” on the missions trip to Romania. For one brief moment, I thought that I was not going to be able to get in with a digital camera and video. However, the security lady was very kind and told me to go on through although she did caution me to watch out for “mean” security folks who might try and confiscate my cameras. But we found out that there were no “mean” security folks here tonight. In fact, the Arena staff and security have been extremely courteous and very helpful to our group as we have tried to navigate through the masses at NAYC.

Once we got in the doors, Mark Aplin saved the day for us. He had ten lanyards and badges that he did not need so we managed to purchase all ten from him for $30 instead of $50 dollars. This was fantastic! Also, I forgot in the rush this morning to get our V.I.P. stickers for our Top Twenty SFC giver (we were 16th) and I managed to get them from the registration desk and we had good seats for the night.

We are looking from the side at mid-court or so and we are fairly close the platform as you will see in the video clips. I just thought we were loud in Dothan. . . we pale in comparison to NAYC! The theme this year is “To Be Continued. . .”

The night opened up with a fellow encouraging prayer and overall he did a pretty good job with a very challenging job. His job was to get all the folks toward their seats and to get those who were milling around to find somewhere to go. After about seven or eight minutes of focused prayer the majority of the crowd had settled into their seats. I would think that probably ¾’s of the lower three levels of the Arena were filled.

Jonathon Dean, who works with the Pentecostals of Alexandria, is responsible for the music this year. All-in-all, he did well with leading worship tonight (Part Two is here). I can tell that I am aging because about ½ or more of the songs, I was clueless as to the words. However, it doesn’t take long to get a grip on the 7-11 choruses and I recovered nicely although I am not sure if Wayne Worley (who was on my left) and Jeremy McCoy (who was on my right) appreciated my recovery. The good thing is that they did not tell me what my wife tells me, “Don’t sing in the mic!”

The offering was taken up by Simeon Young who obviously works well with Adobe Photoshop (or knows someone who does) because he managed to put Wayne Francis’, Shay Mann, and Todd Gaddy’s faces on the bills. Pretty nifty stuff!

After the offering, Jonathon Dean pulled off an incredible feat. He pulled an old hymn out of his hat and took the roof off with it. After one of the early verses in the song, a large cross started descending from the ceiling which added to the effect of the song. Pretty powerful stuff!

Then to follow up this powerful time of worship, Joel Urshan (grandson of the former General Superintendent of UPCI, N. A. Urshan) preached an incredible message. He caused me to reminisce some of the times that I heard Brother Urshan preach. He was always very doctrinal and very biblical in his delivery. His grandson was no less. He preached on “Living Stones Ready to Rock My World.” He took his text from 1 Peter 2:1-9. It was an excellent message that Power Supply will probably get to see later on this year. One of the thrilling things to see was a lingering altar service that occurred at the end of Brother Urshan’s preaching. He also told a very powerful story about his great-grandfather, A. D. Urshan (Part 1, Part 2). God also spends time "carving" things into our lives. Furthermore, we are the people of the Name!

On our way out of the Arena, I ran into Jeremy Price, who is a class-act (even if his brother-in-law is a little suspect [Joel Mitchell]) and his wife who pastor in Polkville, MS. In fact, he is the pastor of the church that the Hales’ family attends.

We also collected our notebooks for tomorrow on our way out. When we finally cleared the Arena and made it back to our exit, all of the fast-food places were closed. So we went to a Walmart SuperCenter. Justin and Jeremy had some excitement her as you will see on their video presentation.

Once we returned to the motel, Jeremy and Justin decide they will attempt to get some more towels. This activity was video-ed and I will let you determine if they were successful or not!

Until tomorrow. . . To Be Continued! . . . . . .

A Prayer Pouring Out of Psalm 119

--> I am presently preaching through the stanzas of Psalm 119 and it has been a spiritually enriching exercise.   Toda...