Monday, October 09, 2006


I think the SBC is getting old. I say that because, as I've gotten old, I've noticed that one of the commodities I'm short on, is attention. I can only seem to focus on one or two things at once.

There goes my life-long ambition to be a juggler.

There's been a lot of ink, and more verbal adjectives, about wine than the subject (in and of itself) warrants IMO. But not a lot about "WHINE".

Whining ... pity parties ... lamenting the events of one's own life ... has been in abundant supply across blogdom. We wring hands and wail when kids are flunked for taking a stand ... when we cannot serve in a particular place we want to be .. often couched in the frame of where God has burdened us to serve ... when higher-ups make pronouncements we disagree with ... when the SBC moves in a direction we don't like.

All this because things don't go the way (a) we want (b) we said they would (c) we understand (d) will "benefit" us.

Can you think of any "hand wringing" in the New Testament? Where was the wailing & moaning about Stephen's murder? How about Paul's pitiful cries when he knew he was about to bite the big one? Maybe you've seen some stuff I haven't, but I simply do not recall seeing that in the Bible. What I do remember is rejoicing and victory.

Some years ago, a friend of mine had a particularly hard time with something that happened to her, in connection with her education. It was understandably very upsetting to her, and I could not blame her for how she felt. But my mouth opened and I said "What if what has happened to you in this is exactly what God has in mind for you?" That question seemed to have a positive reaction in her.

Same question ought to be asked now. What if the narrowing of the parameters ... seeming negative effect on missions ... the disqualification of missionaries for not signing the BF&M ... the threats to missionaries who "cooperate" with some non-SBC group in starting a church ... what if all that is EXACTLY what God has in mind for the SBC and the IMB?

Oh, we're big to espouse that God is omnipotent (and all the other om's) ... that He is sovereign ... but we're less apt to state that when things don't go the way we thought/expected/predicted. We need to get our head around the thought that God is Who He says He is and that all this stuff is NOT going to stop Jesus from building His church. Goodness gracious, didn't we learn anything from Job's trials?

If my supposition is correct, man wouldn't like that as we would be forced to admit we'd run our agenda in, replacing God's agenda. I have no idea why we'd do that, but I do know that God would've told us that was happening if we'd been asking Him all along. And I don't mean just the usual opening and closing prayers that seem oriented at getting God's blessings on what we do. Asking HIM to "AMEN" our decision.

Wow. I never thought of it that way. I seem to've said something I never thought of, again. Hmm....

Let me state specifically that we ought to point out what we see are ungodly, or misguided, or self-centered decisions, to the appropriate people. Those things need to be brought to their attention. But when we do that, we need to understand that our victory is in the telling, not in the results. And only then if God has placed us in a position where it is appropriate for us to do so. When conviction falls on us and we cannot rest until we obey.

Right here and now I am asking God to keep me from ever asking Him to "Amen" what I simply decide on my own. I want nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, than God telling me what He wants me to do.

Nothing else will do.

ps: I apologize here if this seems to be oriented at any one person. It's not. Except maybe at me.


At 10:08 AM, October 09, 2006, Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Ouch! Well said and convicting.

At 4:08 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger Matt Knight said...

Wow, I second what Kevin said. This is a hard pill to swallow, but one that we must be willing to take. Too often we say we want God's will to be done, but aren't willing to do it when the time comes. I know I've been guilty of such in the past. May we all be willing to submit our plans to what God has, and never try to force our way on Him.

At 4:52 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Kev and Welcome, Matt. Thanks for looking in.

You said "...and may we never try to force our way in Him". You hold that thought and you're going to see God do some stuff. As long as you agree to do whatever He says before He says it (one of my pet theories).

Thanks for your encouraging words.

At 1:54 AM, October 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God tells us to be thankful in all things for this is His will for us. So, you are right on. We also are told not to grumble and murmur. To be content. To delight in Him. All the whining that you describe and the bases therefor seem to result from a self-centered focus, rather than a God-centered focus. When we submit to the fact that God is in control and that His plan is always the best one, then we can be thankful and rest in Him. Great post.

At 1:52 PM, October 12, 2006, Blogger IN HIS NAME said...


I sure do 100% agree with you about what is happening. I think we can see it because of Been There, Done That, and Seen That. Its called having Faith in Our Almighty God and to have experienced 71 yrs of seeing God’s Hand in all things.
Thank you my Brother for Sharing this.

Love In His Name
Wayne Smith

At 2:24 PM, October 12, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Wayne: Thanks.

There's another factor that sets up apart from the kids of blogdom that I'd like to share with you, via email. Give me a few minutes and check your email.

It's something that explains a lot.

At 9:36 PM, October 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Good reminder that our disappointments or anger at certain circumstances may be exactly what God wants to use in our lives to mature us. In some cases, maybe He designed them to happen, in others I believe He merely allows them to happen and then works them for our good, if we cooperate.

I wouldn't be where I am if the IMB hadn't closed a door for us; and that decision caused great disappointment, even anger, at the time!

I appreciate your experience and insights. We may share a similar "pet theory". Mine is: Father often waits on us to give Him a blank check before He gives us clear guidance.


At 10:20 PM, October 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, with age comes wisdom. Thanks for being so old. ;)

At 10:31 PM, October 12, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks, sonny. I appreciate the kind words.

As I posted somewhere yesterday, I brought pond scum to my meeting with Jesus; whatever else you see is His.


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