Why Dave Ramsey Was Not a Waste of Time at the SBC

My wife and I made sure we made it back into the convention hall Tuesday afternoon to hear Dave Ramsey speak.  When we came in, he had already begun speaking.  I was excited to hear him.  I’m always excited to hear Dave speak; I’ll admit I see him as a bit of a hero.  My wife and I are Dave Ramsey fans and as soon as we get our house paid off, we’re going to Nashville to do our debt-free scream.  My kids even have the introduction to his radio show memorized.

I was disappointed to hear grumbling in my section, and then murmurings afterward about his appearance.  There were those who thought his speech was a waste of time.  I’d like to give a few reasons as to why his speech was not a waste of time and some benefits to partnering with Ramsey Solutions.

  1. He spoke God’s Word: As far as I know, Dave confines his thoughts on scripture to those passages having to do with money and stewardship.  He does not try to be an evangelist or a preacher.  Any time we hear God’s Word, we are not wasting our time.
  2. He speaks on a difficult subject: He’s not afraid to speak on one of the most difficult topics in scripture.  He’s not afraid to kick our behinds in the right direction when we need it, and let’s face it, with so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, many of us need our behinds kicked in the right direction.  I know I did.  I suspect that some of those who think hearing from him was a waste of time think so because he spoke uncomfortable truths.  He makes us squirm, and we need to squirm.
  3. His program benefits our churches: When pastors and members learn to handle God’s money God’s way, then they have more money to give.  Dave teaches the tithe, and he also teaches generous giving.  How much money would we have for missions if we taught our people to tithe, get out of debt, and give generously?

What are the possible benefits of partnering with Ramsey Solutions?

  1. Financial health: A pastor once told me when I was negotiating salary with a search committee to tell them, “You don’t want me sitting at my desk every Monday morning wondering about how the bills are going to get paid.”  That statement could not be more true.  How many pastors out there go to the office on Monday morning wondering how they’re going to pay their bills?  Financial health allows a pastor to focus on his job.
  2. Fewer funds needed for Mission Dignity: I love Mission Dignity.  I think it’s a great program.  Some of you are going to think that I’m accusing all recipients of Mission Dignity funds of bad financial management.  I am not doing that.  Some of the Mission Dignity participants are victims of churches that did not steward God’s money God’s way and thus could not provide adequately for their pastor and his family.  Mission Dignity is a great safety net, but what if we could move that safety net up 20 or 30 years?  What if we could save pastors and their wives from having to use Mission Dignity funds?  There would be more money for missions.

The Ramsey Solutions group is very open to working with churches.  I hope more leaders use their programs because we have an opportunity to intentionally move the safety net forward for our brothers and sisters in Christ — our pastors and our members.  If more members of the SBC had financial peace, how much more could we do with the Cooperative Program? How many more missionaries could we support? How many pastors could devote their time and mental energy completely to prayer and ministry of the word?

Why Dave Ramsey Was Not a Waste of Time at the SBC

My wife and I made sure we made it back into the convention hall Tuesday afternoon to hear Dave Ramsey speak.  When we came in, he had already begun speaking.  I was excited to hear him.  I’m always excited to hear Dave speak; I’ll admit I see him as a bit of a hero.  My wife and I are Dave Ramsey fans and as soon as we get our house paid off, we’re going to Nashville to do our debt-free scream.  My kids even have the introduction to his radio show memorized.

I was disappointed to hear grumbling in my section, and then murmurings afterward about his appearance.  There were those who thought his speech was a waste of time.  I’d like to give a few reasons as to why his speech was not a waste of time and some benefits to partnering with Ramsey Solutions.

  1. He spoke God’s Word: As far as I know, Dave confines his thoughts on scripture to those passages having to do with money and stewardship.  He does not try to be an evangelist or a preacher.  Any time we hear God’s Word, we are not wasting our time.
  2. He speaks on a difficult subject: He’s not afraid to speak on one of the most difficult topics in scripture.  He’s not afraid to kick our behinds in the right direction when we need it, and let’s face it, with so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, many of us need our behinds kicked in the right direction.  I know I did.  I suspect that some of those who think hearing from him was a waste of time think so because he spoke uncomfortable truths.  He makes us squirm, and we need to squirm.
  3. His program benefits our churches: When pastors and members learn to handle God’s money God’s way, then they have more money to give.  Dave teaches the tithe, and he also teaches generous giving.  How much money would we have for missions if we taught our people to tithe, get out of debt, and give generously?

What are the possible benefits of partnering with Ramsey Solutions?

  1. Financial health: A pastor once told me when I was negotiating salary with a search committee to tell them, “You don’t want me sitting at my desk every Monday morning wondering about how the bills are going to get paid.”  That statement could not be more true.  How many pastors out there go to the office on Monday morning wondering how they’re going to pay their bills?  Financial health allows a pastor to focus on his job.
  2. Fewer funds needed for Mission Dignity: I love Mission Dignity.  I think it’s a great program.  Some of you are going to think that I’m accusing all recipients of Mission Dignity funds of bad financial management.  I am not doing that.  Some of the Mission Dignity participants are victims of churches that did not steward God’s money God’s way and thus could not provide adequately for their pastor and his family.  Mission Dignity is a great safety net, but what if we could move that safety net up 20 or 30 years?  What if we could save pastors and their wives from having to use Mission Dignity funds?  There would be more money for missions.

The Ramsey Solutions group is very open to working with churches.  I hope more leaders use their programs because we have an opportunity to intentionally move the safety net forward for our brothers and sisters in Christ — our pastors and our members.  If more members of the SBC had financial peace, how much more could we do with the Cooperative Program? How many more missionaries could we support? How many pastors could devote their time and mental energy completely to prayer and ministry of the word?

Thoughts on J.D. Greear’s Comments on Homosexuality

I was once asked to officiate a wedding for a young couple that had been attending our church.  The young man had waited for me outside the building and he was very nervous.  I knew the couple had been living together, and when he asked, I looked into his face and said, “I don’t normally marry couples who are living together.  That’s against what God’s Word says, so we’ll have to talk about that.”  I’ll never forget that conversation. I was right. However, I did a poor job of loving my neighbor.  I loved being right more than I loved that young man, and it cost me the opportunity to influence a young couple with the gospel.

J.D. Greear has been accused by American family Radio of jettisoning gospel truth in favor of loving his neighbor, particularly those neighbors who happen to be homosexuals.  If you haven’t read the accusations, you can read them right here.  The statement that prompted these accusations seems to have been “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on homosexuality.”  Greear went on to say, “We say yes, this issue is important.  I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right.

I’d like to give a few thoughts on this article:

  1. The author says that the number one cultural and social issue of the day is homosexuality.  I respectfully disagree and believe that the number one social and cultural issue of our day is the tribal nature and labeling so prevalent in our culture.  If we could find our identity in Christ rather than a political party or a certain moral position, then, as Dr. Tony Evans said at the 2018 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference, “Two hundred year problems would become two-minute problems.”
  2. Loving our neighbor does not mean we have to jettison Biblical truth.  we need only to look at the example set by our Savior to see an example of loving they neighbor and standing for truth.  In the eighth chapter of John, Jesus is confronted with a woman caught in adultery.  Did He shame her for her adultery?  Did he tell her that adultery was against God’s plan for her life?  Did he tell her that she would need to repent of her evil before He could offer His help?  No, He saved her life!  think about that for a minute.  Jesus, who could have rightly condemned this woman for her evil act, saved her life first from the hypocritical religious leaders of her day.  He loved her.  Did he let her sin slide?  No, he instructed her to go and sin no more.  He both loved her and stood for Biblical truth.
  3. We have to learn to live with those who have specks in their eyes.  The author of this attack on Dr. Greear seems to assert that we cannot live with those who are living homosexual lifestyles.  How exactly is Christ supposed to use us to draw others to Himself if we have to live separate from them?  We can live with sinners and not participate in their sins.  We do it all the time.  If we knew everyone in our communities who had been convicted of a crime or spent time in jail, we would understand that we’ve always lived among sinners without participating in or endorsing their sins.
  4. What about millennials?  The author says something about millennials and the election of Greear as SBC President.  I’m not sure what that has to do with Greear’s election other than I guess the author is blaming our generation for the future demise of the SBC.  I’ve been a Southern Baptist since I was born, and if our convention is advocating showing more love to those who do not know Christ, then I will continue to be a Southern Baptist.

Let me be clear, I believe sin is clearly defined in God’s Word.  God has shown us what is right and what is wrong, and we are responsible for communicating God’s truth to the unbelieving world.  We’re also responsible for loving the unbelieving world.  I would be willing to bet that the man who had been beaten and left for dead in Luke 10 was glad that the Samaritan man didn’t read him a list of all his sins before he bandaged his wounds. I’d bet Matthew was glad that Jesus didn’t condemn him for being a cheating tax collector before He asked Him to come follow.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a ringing brass gong or a clashing cymbal.”  What good does it do us to have knowledge of everyone’s sin yet fail to show them love?  I’m afraid AFR is becoming a clanging gong or a clanging cymbal.

SBC 2018–Thankful

This post was originally posted at hiswordhisglory.wordpress.com

I am a proud Southern Baptist and have spent the last 3 days at our annual meeting.  There’s been plenty of negativity surrounding our annual meeting, but I’m going to stick those aspects of the annual meeting for which I am thankful.  Here are my top ten reasons to be thankful for SBC2018

  1. We continue our belief in the inerrancy of scripture–There was no debate over Biblical interpretation, and there was nothing done that moved us towards a more liberal theology.  while other denominations continue their liberal slide, we stand firmly rooted in the Word of God.
  2. We saw a generational leadership change–I believe we saw the beginnings of a generational leadership change which was overwhelmingly supported by the messengers.  The election of JD Grear as our president, the restoration of Mr. Anderson to the board of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, and the refusal to dismiss the executive committee of the board of trustees of SWBTS were all votes that fell along generational lines.  What I mean by generational lines is that votes to dismiss Mr. Anderson, and dismiss the executive committee of the SWBTS trustees seem to come from older messengers.  I am thankful there were plenty of older messengers who restored Mr. Anderson and defeated the SWBTS trustees motion.  I do believe this was the beginning of a generational leadership change.
  3. My parents and in-laws kept our children–I am grateful that our parents, all four of them, kept our children, giving my wife and I some needed time to ourselves.
  4. I’m thankful for Mike Pence–No, I did not hear his speech, and I do not think he should have been allowed to address our meeting, but what’s done is done, and I am thankful we have a man of faith in his position.
  5. I’m thankful for JD Greear–I believe JD Greear will be a great president for our convention.  I have nothing but respect for Ken Hemphill, and the work he has done on behalf of Southern Baptists, but I’m thankful JD Greear was elected by an overwhelming majority.
  6. I’m thankful I got to spend time with my wife–My wife and I are annual meeting geeks.  We go every year and plan to continue going as long as we can.  I love spending time alone with my wife.  We saw an old friend of mine at the convention and he said we should rethink our definition of vacation, but we love Southern Baptists and we love spending time together.  The annual meeting is our definition of a vacation.  The only request I have is that we have a convention on the beach sometime in the future.
  7. I’m thankful for the works MBTS is doing–We went to the “For the Church” luncheon and the “Midwestern Seminary Friends and Alumni” luncheon.  In both luncheons we heard about the incredible work Midwestern is doing, and we also heard men of character stand strong in their beliefs.  I’m sure the other seminaries are excellent, but if I had to recommend a seminary, MBTS would be at the top of my list.  They are strengthening our local churches.
  8. I’m thankful for Bart Barber–I didn’t think anyone could steal MVP of the convention from the red-haired boy who made the motion Tuesday afternoon, but Bart Barber showed everyone why we call the governing bodies of our institutions trustees.  It may be early, but can you say Bart Barber for SBC President in 2020?  We need to make this happen.  Integrity and character matter in our leaders and Bart showed himself to be a man of immense integrity and sterling character and gave us an appropriate ending to the business proceedings of our convention.
  9. I’m thankful the drama was at a minimum–There were some tense moments, but social media overhyped everything prior to the meeting.  I am thankful the drama was kept to a minimum and the spirit of unity pervaded our deliberations.  There will always be grown men who act foolish both behind the scenes and at the microphones, but thankfully, those instances, at least at the microphones, were kept to a minimum.
  10. I got to meet William Thornton–I’m thankful I got to meet one of my favorite blog writers, and Voices realist on all things SBC, William Thornton.  I really was in awe of the man, the myth, the legend.  In all seriousness, I am thankful for Dave Miller, Brent Hobbs, Jay Adkins, Scott Gordon and others who made this new contributor feel welcome.

There’s much work to be done, but I encourage all of us to step back and thank God for our blessings.  god has lavished His grace on our convention, and we move forward in a spirit of humility and thankfulness.  To God be the glory.