Friday, April 25, 2008

DISCOURAGEMENT IS A CHOICE....RATS!

I'm letting you into my private secret thinking. I am so tempted to drive into the ditch of discouragement. The pull is strong at times; especially lately. In the past few days since the workshop, stressful arrows have been shot. In addition to having the funeral of the 18 year old who had no church, the workshop wind-down is in play.

One brother wrote that unless we do something about the dull evening worship assemblies regarding upgrading the singing, a huge portion of the younger generation will stay away. His letter was quite lengthy. The next day I got a note from an older brother so angered over the workshop being liberal that he told me I was killing the workshop and he would be praying for its death. And yet another has written twice of his disagreement over my comments on the Holy Spirit working in a Christian's life. In the midst of that a mass mail out comes saying the brotherhood is in a mess and the tip of the problem is failure in our a cappella singing. Yesterday a note came in suggesting I need to run the workshop the way Marvin did.

Honestly? This chatter gives my brain arthritis. It's very dangerous. If I'm not careful I will let the negative comments begin to roost. But I have a choice and I must not let my mind go there. First, I thanked God again this morning for the stress and complimented Him that He would count me useful in the Kingdom. Second, I will continue to evaluate what each critic offered. Third, I will not let the unnecessarily hurtful comments roost in my rafters.

I will do again what He said to do. I will choose to think on the workshop attendance being up. I will choose to ponder the workshop CD sales were at record high over the past five years. I will select to review the hundreds of comments from the workshoppers pleading for more of what they got this year. I will treasure the grateful hug offered me yesterday when I delivered a DVD of their friend's funeral. I choose to be in awe of how many 100% Natural Evangelism tapes are selling and the regions they are covering.

I will remember that while discouragement surely has strong pull, God gives me a way to avoid its pitiful and even imprisoning moods. ....whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.....practice these things (Terry); and the God of peace shall be with you. What shall we do to be saved from this stress? We shall think on the good stuff!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terry,

Hang in there. Many of us feel the same stresses btwn what was (the CoC of the early 20th century) and what should be (the CoC of the 21st century). I have yet to be able to get to the workshop, but I hear much good about it. I love acappella singing and don't want to change that, but it is not about our singing for one hour on Sunday.

David

Jason Reeves said...

Terry,

You just keep doing what your doing brother.

For every critic, there are a thousand others of us who are screaming at the top of our lungs, "Go, Terry, Go!"

Jason Reeves

Anonymous said...

Brother,
Thanks for sharing your heart.
Thanks for keeping the focus on being filled with the Spirit of Jesus regardless of the pain.
"Rejoice and Leap for joy if someone insults you for standing with Jesus." Easier to write for you to do than for me to do.
Love,
Larry W.

Sir Straw said...

Terry,

I see the situation as when you see an Eagle flying, its going about its own business. Then out of no where a little bird starts swooping and trying to get the Eagle to stop doing what it is doing. The Eagle just carries on with what it does best soaring.

So you "Go Terry Go!" I thank you for the possitive influence that you are in our lives. Those watching from outside the fish bowl of Tulsa.

PS.
We have those same type birds in our neck of the woods. Thank you for sharing the attitude that Christ showed when He recieved the attacks from the little birds in His life. He still went about doing exactly what He came to do. He flew the life that He was sent here to do.

Thanks,
Paul

chris said...

Terry,

I have only been reading this blog a short time but i truly appreciate your willingness to bear your soul and your struggles in this way. I pray that some of the detractors may also be reading this and that their hearts will be pierced by your love for them even when they cause you heartache and doubt. I know there are so many who love the workshop and will continue to work to accomplish its intent which is saving souls. If we could all be more about saving souls, we will be conquerors.

Keith Roberts said...

I thought of that line from Kipling's poem "If"...

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;... then you'll be a man, my son."

It's a struggle to keep from overemphasizing the negative attacks we get and forgetting the positive feedback.

In the end, none of it matters as much as we think.

"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." (2 Cor. 5:9).

To see Him face to face will make it all worthwhile.

JudyMAR said...

God BLESS and BLESS and BLESS you and the whole crew working on the workshop!!! Since when is the workshop and any worship assembly all about "ME". Too many want it all there way. When I get to a group assembly of any kind, the devil can always help me to find something to criticize. However, the Lord has brought me to where I am for a purpose. I can choose to be negative or choose to worship God and let HIM bless me in some way. There are always blessings in being together and praising(out of tune or with the most magnificient voices and leading ever)! I am so glad discouragement is a choice. The more I put in to worship no matter what the setting, God will magnify abundantly more. James 1:2, "Count it all Joy", came to mind as I read your blog today. Thank you, Terry, for being positive and uplifting. I am so thankful for your wonderful spirit.
At Calhoun Church of Christ we have seen all 4 DVD's of 100% Natural Evangelism. They are wonderful and you know we are not prejudice.
We love you, Terry and the gang. Keep up the good work.
JudyR

Greg said...

Your friend, Chuck Swindoll, wrote: No one ever erected a statue to a critic! I know the sting of those letters and I also know that the real battle is on a spiritual plane. Those people are hurting and their letters reflect their pain. They only know how to express themselves toward you or the workshop but if you can see their pain then it's easier to deal with the barbs. At least that's what my wife always told me when I was blown away by a critical letter! Did it help much? Not at the time, but in retrospect I realized just how right (and perceptive) she was. Love you, brother!!

Wes said...

I enjoyed it a lot and will be back next year.

You can't please everyone, though. Don't worry about it!

Tammy said...

Satan invites us to a Pity Party with just us and him in attendance talking and thinking about all the stuff that is wrong in our lives.

But God invites us to a Banquet with all the garb of the Saints to wear and all the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworth eats we could stuff into ourselves. I am glad you chose the banquet!

And personally, I think the workshop is just a little snack before the real banquet starts.

Darrel M said...

sMy Dear Friend,
You had to remind me just before this years workshop that it had been going on for over 30 years now. Sounds like the same letter writers are still around that we heard when it started.

Dogs will always bark at freight trains.