During this season
let us walk humbly
The writer, 46 years old, attended Ambassador College from 1981 to 1983. He and his wife are parents of three adult children. See additional personal information about Mr. Haney at the end of his article.
By Don E. Haney
GOLD HILL, Ore.--Special thanks to our friends at The Journal for providing me this opportunity to address you! Also, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those around the world--the many hundreds of brethren and fellow ministers in various fellowships of God's church--who have expressed their appreciation for the content of the open letter "A Wakeup Call to a House in Mourning." Many commented that it put into words many of their own thoughts and deep concerns.
The immense and positive response was astonishing in light of the fact that the letter was sent to relatively few people, mostly in the congregations I have served as pastor in the Living Church of God, along with a few leading ministers of the LCG.
Indeed, during the Passover season we all need to examine ourselves and walk humbly with our God.
Solomon said, "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth" (Proverbs 27:2).
The important thing for us all to remember now--before and after Passover--is to keep the focus off ourselves and onto God's Word. Let's each share God's positive, loving words of hope with His people, like apples of gold in settings of silver.
God's Word is more important than the messenger (John 3:30). Surely all of us will do well to consider Ezekiel 34 as God's warning to us, then try to do our part to show humble love and respect to our brothers and sisters in God's fold, to help heal the widening breach.
Can we learn to hold onto our personal doctrinal convictions without repelling each other with ungodly hurtful words and comparisons, lest we consume one another? (Galatians 5:15).
The focus of the work that God is doing on earth is to teach the truth in order to help lead people to salvation, and to teach us all to practice those two greatest statutes: loving God with all our heart and loving our fellowman as ourself (Mark 12:28-34).
Jesus Christ says that it is our godly love toward each other that is the primary identifying sign of His true disciples (John 13:35), for love is the fulfilling of God's law (Romans 13:8-10).
Do we often only talk about "love," or do we show it by our words and actions?
Paul said love is forgiving and does not parade itself or put itself forward (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). That's why Paul humbly put the primary focus squarely upon God's message and bringing believers to the Lord, not on those preaching the message.
1 Corinthians 15:9-11: "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach. The important thing is that you believed what we preached to you."
Paul didn't boast (Psalm 5:5). Paul humbly declared that he was the "least" of all the apostles! He said his abundant labor was God's grace making up for the lost time of his being called later than the other apostles (1 Corinthians 15:8). His focus was on the believers, not preachers ("whether I preach or they preach").
Please do not focus on me at all, because such focus could be divisive (1 Corinthians 3:3-7). I'm not important, and my words are not important except as they concur with God's Word--which is truth (Romans 3:4).
Christ died to save sinners: us! He is our Passover so that we can live. Through His Holy Spirit we can obey God and grow in both His grace and in the precious knowledge of His way of life (2 Peter 3:18).
His statutes teach us wisdom, and they light our path so we don't stumble or lose our way (Psalm 119:97-112). He gave us the ministry to be helpers of our joy (2 Corinthians 1:24). It will not always be so difficult, as it is in Satan's world today.
A time of full light is coming. Now things seem dark, but God is sending His Son to take away all darkness. Our wonderful, awesome "Daddy" Father and His Son Jesus Christ are preparing a beautiful mansion for each of us to live in with Them (John 14:1-3).
They love us dearly. Jesus is returning to save us, not to destroy us (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9).
So do not be troubled, but be believing. Be encouraged! The time is coming when there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain. These shall all pass away. In God's house there will be love, joy and peace (Galatians 5:22).
Brethren, are we part of God's house? Let's be joyful in this hope and love one another in peace.
Here is some additional information about myself: My wife and I went to Ambassador College as married students from 1981 to 1983. I am the happily married father of three beautiful children (adults now), of whom we are very proud.
The many changes in the WCG in the late '80s and early '90s had caused many of us to band together, encouraging one another to hold onto true doctrine. The day after his employment with the WCG came to an end [in 1992], Mr. Meredith called me at 8 a.m. and said he wanted to "revive the work" and asked if I would help him. After discussion and agreement that we not compare ourselves to, or attack and condescend, other COG groups, I agreed to help Mr. Meredith.
I began serving as a host in Medford, Ore., on Jan. 16, 1993, for what became the Global Church of God. Soon we were "hosting" four churches in the Northwest. I was ordained an elder in Global in February 1995 and a pastor in July 1997.
Sometime around 1996 Carl McNair asked if I could afford to divest myself of some of my business obligations so I could serve more in the ministry. After careful, prayerful consideration, my wife and I agreed. I sold one business and reduced the other to a part-time venture and agreed to temporarily go onto the church payroll.
I pastored in Northern California, Oregon and western Washington to the Canadian border. I also used to pastor the Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev., churches. Now we're trying to put the pieces back together after the recent surprise developments, but we intend to continue serving God's people and hope to work in a peaceful and harmonious way with as many of God's scattered flock and fellowships as is reasonable and possible.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God