A
woman walked into the huge mega church.  The friendly usher greeted her at the
door and led her up the flight of steps.  “Where would you like to sit?”
he asked politely.  “The front row please,” she answered.   “You
really don’t want to do that,” the usher said.  “The preacher is really
boring.”   “Do you happen to know who I am?” the woman inquired.
“No.” he said. “I’m the preacher’s wife,” she replied indignantly.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked.  “No.” she said.  “Good,”
he answered and turned around and left.

 

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

Even
those who accomplish great things and receive great recognition also have to endure harsh criticism.  The Book of Poisonous Quotes by Colin Jarman
records the following assessments:  Tchaikovsky said of Handel, “Handel is only
fourth rate.  He is not even interesting.”  Anthony Trollop said of Charles
Dickens, “Of Dickens’ style it is impossible to speak praise.”  El Greco said
of Michelangelo, “He was a good man but he did not know how to paint.”  If these
artists listened to their critics, the world would be a poorer place.

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

The Chinese Christian,
Watchman Nee, died in a Communist prison for his faith. During his lifetime,
he was roundly criticized by the government. Smear campaigns were employed to
discredit him, but he never responded to critics and never defended himself.
Asked about it, he said, “Brothers, if people trust us there is no need
to explain; and if they don’t trust us, there is no use in explaining.”

The apostle Paul said about his critics: “It matters very little to me
what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even
rank myself…The Master makes that judgment” (I Corinthians 4:3-4 The
Message).

David Jeremiah asks, “How do we respond to unfair criticism and unkind
words? Our natural reaction is to feel indignant and defensive, to try to straighten
everyone out. But we need thick skin, soft hearts, and an absolute trust in
the Lord to give us favor in the sight of God and man as He chooses. There may
be times to defend ourselves or offer an explanation, but we must guard against
taking criticism too seriously. We’re responsible for our character, but we
can leave our reputation in His hands.”

 – from Turning Point Daily Devotional,
7/17/03

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

I like the story of the young man whose habit of criticizing backfired on him.

One evening, while waiting for a bus, he was standing with a crowd of people looking in the window of the taxidermist shop. In the center of the window was a large owl that attracted the attention of all who passed by. The self-appointed expert began to criticize the job done on it. “If I couldn’t do better than that,” he said pompously, “I’d find another business. Just look at it. The head is out of proportion, the pose of the body is unnatural, and the feet are pointed in the wrong direction.” Just then the owl turned his head and gave the fellow a broad wink. The crowd laughed as the critic slinked away.

 

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

The story is told of a man in China who raised horses for a living. When one of his prized stallions ran away, his friends gathered at his home to mourn his great loss. After they had expressed their concern, the man raised this question: “How do I know whether what happened is bad or good?” A couple days later the runaway horse returned with several strays following close behind. The same acquaintances again came to his house – this time to celebrate his good fortune. “But how do I know whether it’s good or bad?” the old gentleman asked them. That very afternoon the horse kicked the owner’s son and broke the young man’s leg. Once more the crowd assembled – now to express their sorrow over the incident. “But how do I know if this is bad or good?” the father asked again. Well only a few days later, war broke out. The man’s son, however, was exempted from the military service because of his broken leg. Yes, you guessed it, the friends again gathered – but we’ll stop the story there. You can easily see how it could go on and on. This tale points out that from our limited human perspective, it’s impossible to know with certainty how to interpret the experiences of life.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

Haddon Robinson tells about the young musician’s concert which was poorly received by the critics. The famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius consoled him by patting him on the shoulder and saying, “Remember, son, there is no city in the world where they have a statue to a critic.”

 

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

An article from a church bulletin taught such a good lesson about criticizing that I thought I should pass it along. It begins with this poem:

A little seed lay in the ground, and soon began to sprout;
Now, which of all the flowers around, shall I, it mused, come out?

The seed then could be heard saying, “I don’t care to be a rose. It has thorns. I have no desire to be a lily. It’s too colorless. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be a violet. It’s too small, and furthermore, it grows too close to the ground.”

The story concludes with the verse about that fault finding seed:

And so it criticized each flower, that supercilious seed,
Until it woke on summer hour and found itself a weed!

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

There is an old tale, attributed to Aesop, concerning a man who had two wives,
one old and one young. The man was getting gray. His younger wife did not want
to be confused for his daughter, so when he was with her, while he was
sleeping, she would pluck out his gray hairs. The older wife welcomed the gray
hairs. She was tired of being confused for his mother, so when he was with her,
while he was sleeping, she would pluck out his dark hairs. Soon, he was
completely bald. It proves that if you try to please everyone, you will please
no one.

___________________________
Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible
College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

These are actual quotes taken from Job Performance Reviews:

– I would not allow this employee to breed.
– This associate is really not so much of a has-been but a won’t be.
– Works well under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.
– This young lady has delusions of adequacy.
– Sets low personal standards and consistently fails to achieve them.
– This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
– Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
– Got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn’t watching.
– Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it together
– Fell out of the family tree.
– Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.
– If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you’ll get change.
– If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.
– Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.

______________________
Illustration submitted by: Tom
Niemann

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.