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Reeder on church leaders not meeting privately with the other sex: ‘I’ll take the criticism….I learned it from Billy Graham’


 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min. audio:

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, November 7th, 1918, Billy Graham was born and, a week ago today, Billy Graham turned 99. A survey was done of great preachers, pastors, priests and evangelists over the last 150 years and no one was found to have lived as long as Mr. Graham has. James Kennedy passed away at 76, Adrian Rogers, 74, Jerry Falwell, 73, Billy Sunday, 72, and even Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” passed away at 57. 99 years old?

DR. REEDER: Yeah, it’s amazing. They’re actually using this year to celebrate his 100th birthday so, now that this one is over, this whole year is going to be a 100th year celebration.

Back in the 19th Century, there was a shoe salesman in Chicago who had a young clerk that was working with him that he mustered up the courage to invite him to his Sunday School class. The young clerk went and the young clerk was converted. The shoe salesman’s name was Edward Kimball and the young clerk was a guy named D.L. Moody.

D.L. Moody, everyone knows, became this great preacher, pastor and evangelist. He did some of his evangelistic work in England, where God used him to reclaim, motivate and encourage an English theologian and pastor who also now would become an evangelist. His name was F.B. Meyer.

And F.B. Meyer, then, would have a significant impact back over here in America in the life of a man by the name of Wilbur Chapman. So, if you know of Youth for Christ, Wilbur Chapman was instrumental in that. And then Wilbur Chapman, in his ministry, had an effect on a baseball player who became a great evangelist by the name of Billy Sunday.

And then Billy Sunday had an effect on a man who became a great evangelist by the name of Mordacai Ham. And, when Mordacai Ham began his ministry, at this same time, there was this group of people that would meet at a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina in prayer. My grandfather and his brothers were involved in that movement and they were meeting in prayer, asking God to bring revival to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Through those prayers came the invitation to Mordacai Ham to come, which he did, and a little boy that had been playing in the next room at the dairy farm – that little boy that was in the next room went to the meetings and was converted and his name was Billy Franklin Graham.

And he was converted and he went off to college and became an evangelist and one of his first meetings was back in Charlotte at the invitation of what was my family’s home church, Calvary Independent Presbyterian Church in 1948. And, in those meetings an 18 year old boy with his 18 year old wife went forward, holding their baby boy in their arms and gave their life to Christ. And that was my dad and mom.

My grandfather had been part of bringing in Mordacai Ham where Billy Graham was converted, and now Billy Graham came back to preach in 1948 and then my dad and mom were converted, holding me in their arms. And then, in 1958, he came back and preached again and there I was, having the opportunity to be in that crusade in 1958. And then, in 1998, we brought Billy Graham back and I was now a pastor in Charlotte on the committee that invited Mr. Graham back for what we thought would be one of his closing crusades but he went on to preach for another three or four years after that.

I have a letter here where he would listen to the radio program that you and I do and he complimented the radio program. He said, “The guy that’s speaking is great but, the guy who puts this program together, I’m not sure about him.” So, Tom, I hope you didn’t take that personally.

No, he loved the program and they carried it on the radio station in Montreat and Black Mountain. And the relationship goes on and I was on the committee here in Birmingham where we invited Franklin Graham here to do the crusade so we greatly appreciate the family.

Now, the Billy Graham saga, it overlaps with what we do here in this sense. People will hear us talk about a Christian world and life view with Gospel solutions and we keep driving home that Christians ought to be engaged in the public square because we bring salt and light: salt that restrains sin, and purifies and penetrates and then light that lifts up Christ so that you have both common grace and redeeming grace at work.

Mr. Graham, early on in his ministry, was very much committed to speaking to matters of public policy and being engaged in politics. One of the men that he supported very heavily was Richard Nixon and, when the Watergate fiasco and the tapes and the language of all of that became obvious the way Christians were being manipulated, that became a line of demarcation for Mr. Graham.

And, from then on, instead of, “I’m going to preach the Gospel and be engaged in politics,” from then on, he pulled out completely in the field of politics other than being available pastorally to assist presidents, speak with them, give counsel to them and pray with them, but he no longer would be engaged in political statements or any partisanship.

That reflects the way we do this. We don’t endorse candidates or parties – we just try to speak to issues from a Biblical world and life view – but we’re always emphasizing the real solution is the Gospel solution and that’s what Mr. Graham has long believed.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we did a program a few months ago on Mike Pence’s “putting a hedge” around his life and around his marriage by not dining with another woman in public or private unless it was his wife. When we were doing that program, I couldn’t help but think of Billy Graham, who also always “put a hedge” around his marriage and he did that back in an era back when we didn’t have the Harvey Weinstein moments of life.

DR. REEDER: We actually call that the “Billy Graham Rule” in the ministry and some people set it aside – I don’t. I embrace it. If you come to Briarwood Presbyterian Church, you will find every pastor’s office has a window that cannot be covered. We have the rule that you cannot have private meetings or public meetings with another person of the opposite sex by yourself and there must be others that are there.

And we’re criticized for it, but we will continue to do it. I’ll take the criticism because the testimony, and the witness, and fleeing temptation and all the things that are so important, not only for the staff, but for myself and for the leaders of Briarwood. I learned it from Mr. Graham and I think that was very encouraging.

Can I, maybe, end with a little bit of a funny story? Billy’s brother, Melvin Graham, helped us secure a property at the church that I had the privilege to pastor. I got to know him and he told me this story.

One time, when they were building The Cove, which is the retreat center that the Billy Graham Association has put together in Asheville – it’s beautiful, a wonderful place – he said, “When we put it together, we set aside a place for Billy and his wife, Ruth, to be buried there.” It’s right outside the chapel.

Melvin said, “Well, Billy,” – you know, that Charlotte accent we all have – and he said, “Well, Billy, you need to lie down and let us see it and see if it fits, Billy.” And so, Mr. Graham, he laid himself down on the plot where it was marked out and, as he laid there, Melvin looked at him and he said, “Billy, how is the view from that place?” and he said, “It’s great. I can see all the way into eternity. Praise God for the glories of a new heavens and a new earth.”

Thank the Lord for Mr. Graham. We’ve been grateful for the time we’ve had him and his principal effective ministries. It’s been wonderful to have a servant of the Lord that I didn’t have to worry about if I was going to read something in the paper about a secret life exposed. I thank God for his transparency, his faithfulness, and his singular commitment to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone.

Billy broke down the segregation right here in Birmingham when he had his crusade. He insisted, not only freely invite everyone, but there would be open seating and, of course, the City of Birmingham went along with it as well as the clergy. That was repeated and he was very instrumental in knocking down barriers in so many areas, even as he lifted up the name of Jesus in word and deed.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

3 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

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First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

3 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

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That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

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“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

5 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

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According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

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To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.