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 barnabas14@graceba.net 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. . . . .

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bro. Harrelson,

As has been expressed probably countless times, your gift of writing has blessed me through the reflection of your time with Bro. Haney. I so very much enjoyed coming "home" to spend this past weekend with the Dothan church.

God Bless,

Chris Buie

Scott Phillips said...

another Homerun!

Tell us more,

Scott Phillips

Bethel said...

Thanks for sharing... It's always a blessing... Always has been... I'm sure it will continue...

Love & Appreciation,
Mark McCool

PS... tell the wife and kids we said hello...

Olmsted said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful entries with the world. Keep up the great work!

"Phoebe's Sister" (a.k.a. mjk to my friends) said...

I enjoyed being able to read both segments of Bro. Haney's visit to Dothan in one sitting. You've done an excellent job in making the man, who is to many a distant "leadership" figure, more human and "us" like. Yet in so doing, you presented his vision and personna in an ennobling light.

Your writing skills are always good, but I believe this is one of your high-water marks.

You do good work! Jesus bless your endeavors to do more.

Marjorie Kinnee
"The Apostolic Writers' Digest"