Your Voice

Could Enterprise’s boll weevil help the Church?

By Paul Fries
DOM, Salem Baptist Association, Liberty, Tenn.

In Enterprise, at the corner of College and Main Streets, stands a 13-foot tall monument to the boll weevil. The inscription reads:

“In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity. This monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama.”

The back story to this monument is the arrival of the boll weevil from Mexico (to Texas in 1892, entering Alabama in 1910 and infesting the entire state by 1916). In a few short years, farmers were losing their entire crop of cotton to the boll weevil.

An area businessman saw this as an opportunity and convinced a local farmer to convert his farm to peanut farming. The first year, this change paid off the farmer’s debts and ultimately led to great prosperity for Enterprise-area farmers.

Today, if you travel to the Enterprise area you will see large fields of both cotton and peanuts. It took a disaster to cause the farmers to change and to diversify.

This begs the question: Is it possible that God is attempting to get His people and His church to make some changes through our current COVID-19 pandemic?

Most of us don’t like change. In my opinion, the single most prominent reason we see so many churches having to close is the inability or unwillingness to change.

The Bible is replete with examples of God bringing pandemics, floods and other natural disasters upon His people to change their direction.

I believe we would do well to quit looking at media, politicians and others to place blame and instead let us begin to look to God and ask, “How do You want me/us to change?”

Had the good people of Enterprise rejected a businessman’s suggestion to diversify, they might not exist today or they could be another small town that is slowly drying up.

If we, the people of God, are not willing to look inward and seek the face of God asking how we might change, we too could see churches closing and our effectiveness continue to diminish.

I have been a Christ follower for over 40 years now, and I have often heard the statement, “The message never changes, but the methods must change.” We are in a crisis in our country and we, the people of God, have the only hope for a nation. We have the gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ!

The question is, are our current methods getting the gospel to the people that need it the most?

EDITOR’S NOTE — This opinion piece first appeared in Tennessee’s Baptist & Reflector. It is reprinted with permission.

Disasters and blessings

By Bob Cosby
Birmingham, Ala.

God has many attributes, which He employs at His pleasure from His eternal perspective for our best good.

He incorporates both good and evil in His perfect plans for us.

With His omniscience and omnipotence, not a blade of grass moves without His sovereign knowledge, permission and control.

It’s easy for us to selfishly accept His blessings as being good but find it a challenge to accept His disciplines and disasters as also being good.

Why allow pain?

You might ask, “If God is good, loves us and is in full control of everything, why doesn’t He remove all the terrible evils from the world and spare us all this horrible pain and sorrow?”

The answer is that He allows evil to remain on earth for the present because of His patience and love for us.

If God removed all sin and evil from the earth, He would have to begin by removing you and me, great sinners that we are.

God patiently delays removing all evil and sinners from the earth to give people more time to process the truth about Him and reverently respond to it.

Understanding Truth

Truth is being displayed before us all, day after day, on a huge worldwide screen.

Truth is given to lead us to humble ourselves before Him, to pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.

Time is given to beg for His forgiveness through accepting the death of His only Son Jesus Christ on the cross as the only possible acceptable payment for all our sins.

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Several days ago, while teasing me about how old I am, one of my less than noble friends sarcastically asked me, “Preacher, now that you are so old, how does it feel to be a ‘has been’?”

While I did not respond to his strange analogy, I was thinking, “Well, I imagine I am a ‘has been,’ but it sure is better than being a ‘never been’!”

What an older servant of God can no longer do today must never be allowed to demean or discredit what he did yesterday.

Evangelist Junior Hill

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The battle is upon us now in America. Bayonet close. It is a titanic struggle for Life and Liberty. It is more. It is War between Good and Evil, begun in the shrouded past of Eternal mystery, being played out in the Here and Now on the stage of history. …

Casualties are high. And getting higher. See the mounting murdered millions piled high in Plutus’ silver-plated wagons; innocent babies slaughtered at the altar of Aphrodite, sacrifices that forever scar the psyche of Eve’s daughters, that disgrace the name of Hippocrates and grieve the heart of God. …

Wake up! Wake up! For God’s sake, don’t sleep now.

The hour is late America. Death is fast approaching! …

Will you join God’s militia for Truth and Freedom? For Justice and Righteousness?

Written in 2004 by pastor and ministry leader Robert H. “Bob” Jackson (1936–2012)

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Letter to the editor

After your usual words of wisdom in the editorial on page 3 of the Sept. 10 issue, the layout of comments from the grandchildren of TAB team members represents a refreshing portrait which could not have been achieved otherwise.

The additional follow-up (of sorts), regarding the Nigerian persecution and violence by Martha Simmons, was another twist of spectacular thinking.

TAB is somewhat like a figurative buffet at a cafeteria: so many good choices by which the mind is fed, the emotions are stirred and optional considerations are evaluated in ways perhaps not previously imagined.

Refreshing, informative, diversified and always on point with regard to challenges and inspiring stories, some of which bring both sadness and gladness.

Just knowing your openness and willingness to do more than mere commonplace reporting brings gladness to many. Your objective to meet needs and bring healing is transparent.

Fortunate indeed are the readers of this resourceful paper.

Morris Murray
Jasper, Ala.

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My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

I’m really grateful to belong to an SBC full of people who disagree with me. A convention where everyone agreed with me would be very small and ineffective. I don’t want to draw lines in the sand that are really just a circle around me and everyone who agrees with me.

Cooperation presumes disagreement. The miracle of Baptist work is that people who disagree on countless things have agreed to rally around the essential things for the advance of the gospel. Sign me up for that and count me out for any new inquisitions of nonessentials.

Griffin Gulledge
via Twitter

As vital as the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is, so is the demonstration of personal integrity. It is not enough to affirm that the Bible is true if one does not actually do what the Bible requires.

That is to say, claiming to believe in inerrancy does not have true meaning in mere affirmation; it must be backed up with a life of integrity lived out in humble submission and surrender to all that the inerrant Scriptures call me to be and to do as a disciple of Jesus and minister of the gospel.

What is needed is not just our verbal allegiance to an inerrant Bible, but a vivid and visceral commitment to a life of integrity, lived out in keeping with the ethical and moral teachings of our Lord. To that end, I challenge all of us to consider these questions:

  • By our actions, is it evident that we love one another?
  • Do we treat one another with Christian dignity and respect?
  • Do we seek to believe the best about each other, rather than assume the worst?
  • Do we truly work to find ways to come together rather than to tear each other apart?

False and inaccurate claims about fellow Southern Baptists, sister churches or our Southern Baptist entities are far too often made by those who have never asked the brother, pastor or leader about the matter in question.

Adam Greenway
President, Southwestern Seminary

(Read Greenway’s full first-person article at baptistpress.com)

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From the Twitterverse

@garyfenton07
To love is to desire God’s best for people and then work to make that happen.

@timkellernyc
Unless the world sees people getting along inside the churches and between the churches, who out in the world don’t get along, why won’t they just think we’re just like any other cultural or political group?

@DannyAkin
People may not always like what the Bible says but the Bible always tells the truth! No other book does that!

@richardblackaby
Warning! You’ll never have the mind of Christ if you only fill it with the thoughts of people.
(1 Cor. 2:16)

@ricklance
Guiding leadership is directional leadership. Not only pointing people in a direction but leading people through the transformation by making the transformation yourself. You cannot lead people to a place you are not willing to go personally.

@JackieHillPerry
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His loving arms around me
And you don’t know the cost
Of the oil in my Alabaster box…

@bigvox (Rick Burgess)
If we want revival in this country, we must understand that it will never come through the government. Revival only comes through the Church. As followers of Christ we must be careful of being more concerned with the issues of government than apostasy in the Church.

@ThomasSKidd
Beware the cultural commentator whose livelihood depends on things never getting better.

@jjdison
“When God is about to do something, He always reveals it to His people.” Lord, show me what You are doing in our community.

@CSLewisDaily
“Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.”
— C.S. Lewis

@TimTebow
Trust God. Trust His character. Trust that He loves you. Trust that He has a plan for your life.