The Man Who Would Not Quit

This article is part 7 of 7 in the series I Quit

   All hail to the boy who raised his eyes,
And saw the greatness of the skies,
   Who grabbed a fist of polluted air,
And began his walk up the stairs,
   Even with braces that did not fit,
He was the boy that would not quit!

   Like a shot of a gun, others passed by on a dead run,
They would say to the boy, as they passed him by,
   You’ll never make it to the skies,
But in his slow pace, he just walked on,
   He never stopped to rest or sit,
But with a smile on his face – in his heart a great song,
   He was the boy who would not quit,

   Graduation day came as he stood in the crowd,
Many were not there who had spoken so loud,
   Yet the tassel and gown were a perfect fit,
For that crippled boy, who never did quit.

   A simple poem, found in dad’s old papers… One that shares a simple thought… Needed by Christians far and wide… Winston Churchill was invited to speak for a prestigious university in England, and as he rose to speak, all were silent.  Slowly he approached the platform, and he looked at the young faces. He simply said, “NEVER! NEVER! NEVER QUIT!” With these words, he sat down. Speeches and sermons do not have to be ‘everlasting’ to have ‘eternal impact’.

   Christians get discouraged with life and circumstances. Yet it is the attitude you bring to life and meet life’s challenges, that is most important. “Brothers, it is clear to me that I have not come to that knowledge; but one thing I do, letting go those things which are past, and stretching out to the things which are before,
14  I go forward to the mark, even the reward of the high purpose of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14)(BBE).

Wherever you are in your Christian walk, whatever has happened… NEVER QUIT! Don’t worry about the judgment which comes from others… You just stand in the grace of God and move forward. One day there will be a ‘graduation’ and because Jesus is faithful… your reward in heaven is just waiting…

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“I Quit” – (Solutions) – (Conclusion)

This article is part 6 of 7 in the series I Quit

   We began this series with Jesus and we end it with Jesus. When tempted to quit, throw in the towel… think of Jesus. Those ‘big’ problems that are causing you such a ‘head-ache’, put them at the foot of the cross… picture Jesus looking down, bleeding from his head, his hands and feet, exhausted, thirsty, exposed and mocked.

W.W.J.S. (What would Jesus say?) Is this problem a big deal? If Jesus had this problem, would he quit?

“Not fair!” you say? Well, someone needs to say it! He is our example, our pattern in life. As Paul said, “It’s no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me.” It’s when problems come, our pride, feelings, ‘rights, desires, flesh, take over. Yet on Sunday morning we go and meet with the saints, and sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy…” “Lord make me a servant”, etc… Somehow, we have managed to divorce our life and our religion. We are good at quoting scriptures about most everything, but poor at applying the principles of scripture to our self, our situation.

What are some things we need to keep from quitting?

We have mentioned:

  1. Prayer (Help me Lord!!)
  2. Commitment (make it to each other)
  3. Patience (endurance / stick-to-it-ive-ness)
  4. Forgiveness (‘first stone’) What else?
  5. Love (agape style). What does love do/not do? Read I Cor. 13; Romans 12:9-21. This love is not mushy, emotional, ‘up/down’, ‘on/off’. It is a constant, deliberate thing that lasts and lasts. It is specifically, the type of love that is Christ-like. It will sacrifice itself and tough it out. It never quits. This love has perspective, and can discern what is and what is not a big deal.
  6. The Holy Spirit, our continuing Helper. He is there to help us, encourage us to keep on keeping on. The one who quits, is one who is not listening to God’s Spirit. Could Jesus have quit (rebelled against) going through 40 days in the wilderness? Sure! Could Jesus have refused to wash the feet of Judas? Sure! But He didn’t. The Spirit of God was with Jesus, and is with us. In the words or Winston Churchill, “Never, Never, Never… QUIT.”
  7. Disagree if you must, BUT… But what?! Well, Don’t quit! Learn to disagree without getting fed up and disgusted, offended, and walking out. How many times have brethren walked out of services or classes, because they don’t agree with a song used or a statement made, or something done. You say. “Well, I disagreed!” “I felt this or that! “Ok, so why not get with the person after service and ask about it? Why not find out more information? why not sit and talk about it? Problem is we don’t know how to “argue”, “disagree” or communicate and work things out. Principle: PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, GOD IS GOD. People are not perfect. They make mistakes. That’s why forgiveness is so important in the church. Gossip, back biting, politicking, etc… have no place in the body of Christ. (Someone has to say this!)
  8. Practical suggestions:
    a.) Things change”. “I hate change!” “When will we quit changing things?” Well, there is nothing wrong with ‘change’ per se. We live in a world that changes fast. and the church can change in some areas too. “Progress” does not necessarily mean one is a “Progressive”. There are things that can be changed and some cannot. The gospel, Lord’s Supper, Baptism for remission of sins, are a few of the things which are ‘core’ issues and foundational. These are tied to our salvation. There are many things where we are free to use our good sense in deciding what is best for us or any local work. Every congregation does not have to ‘goose-step’ to be a part of the body of Christ.
    b.) “No Big Deal” It is surprising at the things we get upset over. Things that are “NBD”, but we make them Big.
    c.) “Compromise” It is not wrong to give and take, compromise, look for a ‘middle ground’ over things that are no big deal. Things where we are at liberty to act on behalf of what is best for the work here.
    d.) “Autonomy” Each congregation determines its own direction and method of outreach and operation under Christ.
    e.) “Consensus is good” i.e. “majority rules” In the absence of elders, we have to take a vote on things. Do it right the first time. Majority rules. That’s it. Don’t pout and quit if you don’t get your way. Personal preference and opinion is never congregational rule.

BOTTOM LINE- DON’T QUIT, Jesus didn’t quit on you.

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“I Quit” – (Part Five)

This article is part 5 of 7 in the series I Quit

The temptation to just throw up your hands and quit, is common to everyone trying to do something.

Obstacles can either make or break a persons deliberation to “go the distance”.

When I was a teenager, in Northern Ireland, going to the equivalent of our high school, (Methodist College Belfast)… I joined the track and field team. Our training in everything from high jump, to javelin throwing, was easy for me. The hardest was the running… Now I could run! Endurance was the problem. Run a short distance… no problem. Run a mile or two… now that was another question. The first quarter mile was no problem, only I had not learned the idea of pacing myself. I was ‘all out’ in the first quarter mile. Then something happened. The lead I had developed, slowly began to diminish. Not because the other kids we faster, but because they knew something about ‘pacing’ themselves. Soon the rest of the ‘field’ caught up with me, and passed me. I was ‘winded’ and had to slow down more. I was in trouble. Well, I ended up walking or slow jogging the rest of the way… but I finished.

I remember what dad said so often, “Finish what you start.” This is so important in the work of the family of God.
There was a congregation in the South where I was minister for a short time. Next to their building was a foundation, with some plumbing sticking up. It was for a new auditorium. Problem… THEY HAD NOT FINISHED IT. They started, but something happened, and they quit and left the project just like that. Problem… it was on a main road in town, and everyone drove by and saw this embarrassment.
Nothing wrong with planning, having a big challenging vision… just FINISH IT. GO THE DISTANCE.

Some things to help along the way:

  1. Prayer: Have time to get before God and pour out your hearts. When you have the ‘foundation’ laid, get together ‘on the foundation’, and pour out your hearts to God and pray some more. Pray for help, vision, strength to finish the journey.
  2. Commitment: I’m sorry, but many times commitments are short lived. We are committed till we have a problem, or obstacle. When we back out of a commitment, it shows something is mission. Perhaps we have been short sighted. Perhaps the planning has been weak. But when you commit yourself… finish the job.
  3. Patience: This is invaluable. The ability to go through the tough times, the times when things don’t go as smoothly as you would like. The ability to wait, and have a half way decent attitude about it. Read James letter chapter one. Patience. Whatever it is, you commit yourself to, understand and try and see and plan for obstacles that are coming up. But there is no crystal ball, or magic to let you know all the bends and turns in the road… Do the best you can… and finish.
  4. Forgiveness: The ability to forgive is so important when it comes to this subject. We have been forgiven. There is no way we can afford to allow someone to drag us back into the past, and once again feel unforgiven. But we have to be able to forgive ourselves and others along the way as well.

In order to ‘go the distance’ and not walk out, not quit… takes a determination that is solidly founded in the belief that the journey you are on, is worth it… Carrying the ‘baggage’ of the past will only weigh you down.

Don’t quit!!!


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“I Quit” – (Part Four) (Solutions)

This article is part 4 of 7 in the series I Quit

   Obviously, as long as a husband or wife or church member has in their minds, a ‘way of escape’ when the ‘hard times’ come… the probability of taking that way out is great. The ‘bigger’ Jesus is in your life, the less likely you are to ‘bail out’! We have to get this settled. We just don’t quit! Well, saying it, ‘don’t make it so!’ So how can we ‘make it so’?

In this and the next few articles we will be looking at: Prayer (Help me Lord!!), Commitment (we are ‘glued’ to each other), Patience (endurance / giving each other ‘elbow room’), Forgiveness (‘first stone’), Love (agape style), The Holy Spirit (Our Helper), Disagree if you must, BUT…, Practical suggestions like: “Things change”. Why? well, hopefully, these will give us at least some ideas on how to be stronger, “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding” in living the Christian life.

When dealing with each other, with all our differences and ‘baggage’, weakness, and weird ways, we need help. Sometimes we just can’t figure someone out.

Starting place should be prayer. Why?
1. Because of the example of Jesus, (Lk. 6:12; 11:1; 18:1; 22:32)
2. Because of the example of the Pentecost disciples, (Acts 1:14)
3. Because of the example of the early church, (Acts 4:23-31)
4. Because of the example of Paul, Col. 1:9-11

Prayer, has been and still is the great privilege and pathway to the Throne of God, through our Master, Jesus Christ. Does it work?! Absolutely! Can we pray enough? Well, what is enough?
Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.” Why? Because WE NEED TO. Come on, we are human, with failures, weakness, imperfection, needs, and not only us, but we also pray for others. James says, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray…. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him…
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick… and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him … pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah… prayed earnestly, that it might not rain: and it rained not by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain… ” James 5:13-18
How can prayer help us not quit? Well, when you think of what goes on when you pray there are some things to keep in mind.
Prayer time is a time for you and God. A time when humility is a must. A time when you need not hide anything from Him. (He knows your hurts and secrets anyway.) Usually it is most helpful when you are alone and can simply pour out your heart to Him. If you are struggling with bitterness, and hate, or jealousy, or perhaps just upset over brother or sister ______, or the leadership… Pray for them. This is much better than gossiping about them. Ask God to bless them because they are your brother and sister. Ask God to help you to understand their situation or problem. Ask God to guard your own heart from bitterness and hate. ASK HIM ANYTHING… BUT ASK!
Prayer is a positive move, a cry in faith. Somehow, when you are genuine and real in your prayers, it helps you. It lightens the ‘load’ you have been carrying. However, you have to trust Him. Know for sure, He will do something. It may not be in your time frame (like NOW), BUT He will act. He is just waiting for you to ask. To trust. To lean on him. To humble yourself.
Prayer can help you not quit. But you have to trust Him, and try not to rush into something you may regret. Prayer slows down reactions, and helps us wait on the Lord, and He will show you the right time, and give you the right words. A quick explosive temper, NEVER… NEVER… has good results.

It usually results in hurt feelings… and regrets….


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“I Quit” – (Part Three)

This article is part 3 of 7 in the series I Quit

Why do people quit, in homes and in church families? Whatever the reason for walking out or quitting, IT HURTS. In homes, everyone gets hurt. In church families, everyone gets hurt. This in itself should be a deterrent, but still in the USA, the divorce rate is still 50%, and in church families, well just look at the situation with congregations you know.

Now NOT ALL church families ‘divorce’, some happily grow and decide that they want to further their outreach by establishing another congregation across town. Praise God for this. They have learned, to accept each other, and that differences are ok. They have learned that opinions are just not worth a ‘fight’. They have learned to focus on the WHAT, that Jesus commands, instead of the HOW, that He does not specify.

THE WORLD IS LOST. Jesus weeps over this. However, too many have lost sight of this, and have gotten caught up in church family squabbles.

Another reason people quit… is the break down of COMMUNICATION. (There should be a loud AMEN to this.) Both in out homes, and church families, there should be great COMMUNICATION. People want to feel they are important, and their opinion counts. This does NOT mean they should expect to get their way. “People should have a say, but they cannot always have their way.”

Thus we come to the point that someone has to make a decision. Hopefully due to COMMUNICATION, the best decision will be made. “Two heads are better than one” and this is why there should always be a plurality of elders or leaders. This is why before one gets married or before a congregation selects leaders, good communication is in order, and must continue.

What causes COMMUNICATION to break down? Pride (“I am right all the time” “My way or the hi-way” idea.) Gossip (whether it be by email or by mouth), Lack of listening on the part of either ‘side’ (loss of objectivity), (openness), fear of sitting face to face and talking, hot tempers (impatience). There are other things I am sure that can be listed.

COMMUNICATION is invaluable to the survival of our homes and church family. COMMUNICATING is critical…

When COMMUNICATION breaks down what should we do? Well, first of all, look at ourselves. How have I contributed to the problem? Am I being proud, selfish, UNAPPROACHABLE BECAUSE OF MY TEMPER, afraid to sit and talk? Am I open to some other view point, and humble enough to accept the fact that I may not get my way? Do I walk out? Quit? Why?

Having done this, spend time in prayer, and try and gain proper perspective on the situation. With a humble spirit, just go and speak to the person, or people you need to.

Re: Leadership…

1. Encourage people to say what’s on their mind.
2. Treat their opinions with respect.
3. Be open to these opinions (APPROACHABLE) and weigh them against the will of God, and pray about it.
4. Decide whether something is
a.) No Big Deal … compromise is ok
b.) A BIG deal… compromise may not be ok.
c.) Biblical, Un-Biblical, Non-Biblical

(Biblical: Good! follow scriptures.)

(UN BIBLICAL: Bad! follow the scriptures.)

(NON BIBLICAL: MAYBE! freedom to do what is best for us).

5. Be patient and remember, THINGS CHANGE…

6. Don’t be in a hurry…

All in all, we must always be careful to guard our lifeline, major life giving artery of being able and willing to have open and free, Christian communication. Being mindful of each others feelings. The idea, “We don’t need him/her”, has NO PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST. Paul spoke about the body of Christ in I Cor. 12… “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I DON’T NEED YOU!”, And the head (leadership) cannot say to the feet, “I DON’T NEED YOU!” On the contrary, those parts which SEEM to be weaker are INDISPENSABLE…” vss 21-26.

“What would Jesus do?” This will answer all questions on communication. DON’T QUIT


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“I Quit” – (Part Two)

This article is part 2 of 7 in the series I Quit

Why do people quit on each other and on church? Last week we began by looking at the loss of PERSPECTIVE. When we loose perspective, our problems become larger than they really are. It’s similar to holding a quarter up to your eye, and not being able to see past it. But if you hold it at arms length, it’s not so big.

Perspective, the ability to see things as they really are in relation to other things. It is the ability to discern, really see the IMPORTANT as opposed to the NOT SO IMPORTANT. When we QUIT over something, we are saying that this issue, this problem is SO IMPORTANT, that our family here at New Horizon, the unity we have, IS NOT WORTH IT. The next time you are tempted to walk away, TRY praying for proper PERSPECTIVE of the cross. The problem may be truly, NO BIG DEAL. (Read Ephesians 4:3 “Make EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.” Question: Are you really doing that or not?)

People quit, walk away because of PRIDE. Some wise man said, “Pride goes before a fall”. PRIDE shows itself in many ways. (Pride is not always bad. We should have some pride in ourselves, and what we do, to have a quality in life or work.) However, when a person has too much of it, it leads to a fall.

PRIDE keeps one from admitting a mistake, it inhibits making a change to a better way or path of action.
PRIDE keeps one from trying to communicate and correct.
PRIDE keeps one from listening, and considering another way, another thought.
PRIDE keeps you from growing. It will destroy a family and result in divorce, and will destroy a congregation.
PRIDE will seek to have ITS OWN WAY AND LEAVE WHEN NOT SATIFIED. Paul said in I Corinthians 13:4-8 about real love, that it “… is NOT PROUD, RUDE, SELF SEEKING, EASILY ANGERED…”

Man’s PRIDE put Jesus on the cross, real love FOR MANKIND kept Him there.

It is hard for God to fill a cup with His humility and power when it is full of self.
We are in dire need of humble hearts. Hearts that are truly seeking God. Humility that surrenders, bends the knee, raises the hands, cries out to Him. ‘Hearts’ that won’t quit.

Adelaide Pollard wrote that in 1902!
“Have thine own way Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me, after thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.”

Perhaps Adelaide understood more than we do where the real power is. Until we understand it, growth is but a dream at best! “I QUIT” will continue to be a ‘tool’ to use to get ‘our way’. Instead of letting the Lord have His own way.

Dear Lord, I pray that You will help us to rid our lives of PRIDE that leads to division and strife. Help us Lord, help us! Help us run to You and with humility of heart, cry for You to fill us, make us, mould us, guide us in your ways. We praise You, in Jesus name, Amen.


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“I Quit” – (Part One)

This article is part 1 of 7 in the series I Quit

Jesus On The CrossHave you ever wondered what Jesus thought when things got difficult? What about when the critics came at him from everywhere? What about when his own disciples complained and argued? What about when His disciples were filled more with fear and doubt, than they were with faith?

What about when people were crying out for his own death, when he had done nothing but good for people?

Well I guess I could go on, but I think the point is made. Obviously, Jesus was not a quitter. He was quite the opposite, he persisted to the completion of his mission, no matter what. Sometimes he had to be blunt with people, (“…get behind me satan…” he said to Peter).

Jesus had to have a special focus about him to deal with everything he had to deal with. He invested time with his disciples, teaching them, correcting them, but never quitting on them. Why? obviously he loved them “to the end”. His eternal mission depended on them as much as it depended on himself. Without his disciples, what would happen to the church after he ascended to be with his Father?

His disciples likewise, had to learn to, ‘not quit’, even to the point of giving their lives for their Master. They had to grow, and mature. They needed some things… let’s take a look at some of these things briefly…

Why do people quit? Various and sundry things happen I suppose. One thing seems to stand out. Loosing perspective.

We surely get discouraged now, just as the disciples did then. Life is hard for sure. Quitting becomes easier when one gets tired, discouraged, upset.

When you consider marriage, it is much the same. Divorce (quitting) seems to come to people’s minds too quickly nowadays because people lose perspective. Little things become ‘big’ and big things become little without perspective.

How can we gain perspective? Well, life has taught (continues to teach) me, that some (perhaps many) things are NO BIG DEAL (NBD). The key is figuring which is a BIG DEAL and which is a BIG DEAL, and worthy of stopping everything, and dealing with it (ie confrontation). How do Christians gain perspective, and the discernment needed to see what is a BIG DEAL? I think, if we will learn to see things from the cross it will really help.

What happened on the cross? Well, Jesus, having been nailed to it, was then raised up, and the cross went into a hole with a sickening thud! Already he was beaten half to death, and mocked, and spit on, and slapped, and was so weak that he could not carry his own cross piece. Now he hangs there. Dying. In deep pain, exposed to the elements, thirsty, and every thing in his body writhing in anguish. Picture this and see him looking at you. Going through this just for you. Through his suffering and stripes, ‘you are healed’. Blood is flowing. He is getting weaker and weaker. All for you and I.

Having this picture in your mind… lay your issue at the foot of the cross. Now, what would he say to you? Answer that, and you are gaining perspective.

Somehow, our problem doesn’t seem so big a deal anymore. Maybe we even feel ashamed for getting so upset, or discouraged over it.

My encouragement is, before saying, “I quit”, think of Jesus on the cross, just you and the Master. Leave the scene with a renewed determination that you will not quit. Determine that foolish pride, petty disagreements, will not ever drive you away from Jesus or His people. Surely, this is part of growing in Jesus. Quitting and divorce should be forever put out of our minds, and has to be in order that we can grow.



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