Tried By A Committee? Or Tried By Christ?
Pastor Dan Betzer |
2 Cor. 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Let’s think about committees for a moment. Although I am on more committees than I can probably name off the top of my head, I view them all with suspicion. Why? Because committees tend to operate by consensus, which is all-too-often a barrier against inspiration. Let’s face it: committees are known to make mistakes. Case in point: When Oswald J. Smith died in his late 90’s, Billy Graham preached his funeral and told the large, assembled crowd, “We are here to honor the greatest missionary mind of the 20th century.” Yet, when Smith, in his early 20’s, applied to his denomination for missions appointment, that committee rejected him out-of-hand, reporting, “Sorry, you are not missions material!” All of watching Heaven must have greeted that decision with a resounding, “HA!”
Who has ever been a greater preacher than G. Campbell Morgan? Yet, at age 25, when he made application to his denomination for ordination, they denied him, saying, “You show no promise for preaching.” Well, that’s what the committee said. Here’s what history records: Morgan linked arms with D. L. Moody and preached across England. The church he pastored in England, Westminster Chapel, was peerless among congregations of that day. Later, Morgan came to America where he pastored other historic churches. When asked his secret, he replied, “Work. Hard work. And again….hard work.” He was called to his last pastorate when he was 72! He retired at 80. G. Campbell Morgan passed away in 1945. What a preacher! What a man of God! What a powerful force for all eternity! Yet an ecclesiastical committee rejected him completely. You see, he didn’t fit their guidelines.
I have learned in all these decades of ministry not to be too concerned by any critic who doesn’t have nail prints in his hands. When I need mid-course correction, the One with the prints will do it. If He wants to reward me, that will be His option. Not some committee’s prerogative.
Prayer: O God, don’t let pride fill my heart when I am appreciated, but, on the other hand, don’t let me fall apart when I’m not. My allegiance is to You, not some sociological group. I thank You for Your support. Amen.
the joy of music
Pastor Dan Betzer |
December through March is my favorite time to pastor in Florida. Music is the primary reason. We begin the first weekend in December with our annual Christmas Keyboard Festival. Next year will mark the 20th year in a row for this four night event. The platform is filled with four concert grand pianos, the orchestra, the 100-voice choir and guest artists. Our 2,000 seat sanctuary is packed for each presentation. On New Year’s Eve we open our annual Winter Concert Series. So far this year we have enjoyed Dennis Swanberg (The Swan!) and Janet Pascal. On January 17th, our guest will be Lulu Roman of Hee Haw fame. Yes, Virginia, I loved that show. Anything with Buck Owens on it had to be enjoyable! On January 24th, for the 12th year in a row, our guests will be the incredible Ralph Carmichael and his big band. This is not some “pick-me-up” group, good friend. No, no – these are 16 of the best players in the world! In fact, last year, one of the players left here the following day to fly to L.A. to Capital Records to back up Barbra Steisand. That’s pretty tall cotton! On Sunday, January 31, we will again host the Annie Moses Band, maybe the most prolifically-talented family I have ever heard. This will be their third visit with us. On Sunday night, February 14th, it will be Larry Ford and Friends. Larry, a Grammy-award winner, and his wife are members of our church. You see and hear Larry on over 80 of the Bill Gaither videos. On Sunday night, February 21st, our guest will be Florida’s most beloved musician, Paul Todd. On Sunday night, February 28th, Dino makes a return engagement here, his fifth, I believe. And we close the concert series on Sunday night, March 17th, with America’s favorite Gospel Quartet for the past 60 years, the Blackwood Brothers. All of the concerts begin at 7 o’clock and we never make an admission charge. I don’t believe churches should charge admission. We do receive offerings, however.
Music fills the scriptures, and it ought to fill the churches as well. Good music! The best that we can do. Only our best is ever good enough for our Lord.
Love to see you at any or all of these concerts. If you would like group reservations, call the church: 239 936-4420 and ask for the music department.
See you at the concert!