The Stogie And Division

This article is part 5 of 5 in the series Dealing With Church Issues

   Gerald Wright, who’s web site
( is listed on this site,
sent me a wonderful story about a time when dad
came and helped a congregation where Gerald and his
family were attending. (The reason for putting this story here will be obvious when you read it.)
    Here is the story from Gerald Wright… (Hawaii)
   “Here’s a short story about when I first met Jack in 1966-67 in 
Germany. I was in the USAF and stationed at Ramstein Air Base,  living 
in base housing with my wife and two daughters. The church in that 
area had been split and feuding for about two years when someone 
suggested that Jack Exum — who was in Ireland as a missionary…but 
travelling around Europe preaching — should come and preach at our 
gospel meeting.  He did.    
    “The first night of the meeting, Jack sported a see-through Havana 
style short sleeve shirt and went up to the pulpit with a cigar 
sticking out of his shirt pocked in front.  You could see the whole 
cigar thru the shirt!  He began to introduce himself, looked down at 
the cigar in his pocket as if he had just been caught with his hand in 
the cookie jar, and then looked up and paused. Then he softly said:   
“Brethren, would you sell me down the drain for a five cent cigar?” 
   Jack then presented one of his classic sermons about love and 
brotherhood. IT WORKED! He stayed a week, staying with me in our 
military apt., and healed the church with a week of great lessons. We 
played golf together (I have a two great stories on our sporting 
competitions…if you’d like them.) Ate together, and he fell asleep 
on my couch the very first day he ate with us.  Jack was at home with 
us … kindred spirits … as we were with him….”
   Brethren, with all the discussion on issues like “Divorce and Remarriage” going on, and the much needed efforts to help brethren avoid the break up of homes, ‘stay in the struggle’, and work through family issues…. it seems we are not placing the same, much needed emphasis on how to avoid DIVISION. We are told by Paul, “I …… BESEECH (implore/beg) you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all LOWLINESS AND GENTLENESS, WITH LONGSUFFERING, BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE, ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE….” (Ephesians 4:1-3). 
   Brethren, if there was ever a TIME when we need to follow this… it is now!!! Staying in the struggle, working through problems, loving each other ‘above the fault level’, refusing to be a part of any call to divide… and marking those who call for such. Refusing to listen to those who simply seem to be adding fuel to the fires instead of trying to help brethren put out the fires. We just have too much at stake to ‘give up’ and ‘divorce’ (divide).
   Thanks to Gerald Wright and his memory of dad… Hopefully it will help others.
   I will be putting dad’s thoughts on “Brotherhood and Love” here as well….

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Jack Jr Series
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