Benefits of membership – businessmen give experience. God can use these relationships to meet your business needs.
IFCB RoundTables offers fellowship with other businessmen. God can use these relationships to meet your business needs.
By Monte Myrick
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations at work and at home dealing with confusion or frustration. We wonder what is important to God. We ask Him “What do you have for me?” Sometimes we have to deal with health, family or relationship issues. Sometimes we call out “What does the Lord have for me?” or “What is this situation supposed to mean?” We ask the Lord: “What is important to you?”
A verse that is very helpful and the centerpiece of my brief remarks is 3 John 2. The Lord tells us in this verse what he has in mind for us and what is important for each of us. 3 John 2 says “Beloved, I wish above all else that you would prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” My Bible has “even as your soul prospers” highlighted. What are things that we can do that will help our souls prosper? What this message says to us is that the circumstances of our life, the dimensions of our life tend to come up to the level of our soul. So, the stronger and more vibrant our souls are, the stronger the other dimensions of our life will be. The spiritual, relational and financial dimensions of our life become stronger as our souls become stronger. What can we do to help our souls prosper? There are many things we can do but time will only allow me to share one.
I am very comfortable being among the Christian business community. I have spent a great deal of time working with Christian businessmen. My father was a Christian businessman; he raised a Christian businessman. I have been influenced, taught, encouraged, prayed for, and lifted up by Christian businessmen my whole life until this very day. In the most recent past my exposure and experience has been with this IFCB fellowship. My testimony is really about the great vision, value and verity that have come from IFCB. What a profound impact this organization has had on my life.
My father began as a Christian businessman. He was born in 1909. In 1929 (which was not a good year) my father went to college on a football scholarship. That was the first act of God’s grace that he remembered in his life. My father would have never been able to go to college unless it was with a scholarship. His family had nothing. My grandfather was a man of very modest means. When my father got out of college he bought a theater and went into the theater business. He said it was a dollar down and a dollar a month. One day he went down to the train station to pick up the first movie he got for his theater. However, he did not have the money to pay for it. So, he talked the depot agent into letting him have the movie anyway. He played the movie that night and took the box office receipts and paid for the movie the next day. That is how my father began his modest business. He was continually impressed and amazed with the things the Lord did in his life. I remember him talking about the early years and how difficult and painful they were. It seemed like his dream was going to perish. But somehow God always made a way.
My father became a very successful in the theater business. He owned a theater organization that did business in 33 states. Eventually he was elected president of the National Theater Owners Association. During his term in office he spent most of his time in Hollywood. He worked with distributors, agents and business people moving movies from Hollywood out into the marketplace to individual theaters. He negotiated contacts. He made it a smooth process for the independent theater owners to get the movies out in the marketplace and the money back to Hollywood. He took care of the details. This was the peak of his career and he loved every moment of it.
Toward the end of his life he had a stroke. It was not a good situation. At the time my brother was in medical school. So, my brother had him moved to the University hospital. It was my brother’s hope to get my father well. However, the last chapter of the story is that after a couple of months the doctors gathered our family together to tell us he was not going to make it. The blessing is that we had our last few moments together. He wasn’t killed in a car crash. We had an opportunity to talk to him. We tried to interpret that as a blessing. The last conversation I had with my father before he slipped away was about the highlights over his career and the different roles that he played. He talked for 30 minutes with a very quiet and weak voice. He talked about his role as a husband and that he was married to the same woman for 46 years.
He talked about his children and that he was a Christian businessman. I asked him about the memorable and exciting things that he remembered in his business life. He didn’t talk about meeting Rock Hudson or Roy Rogers or even President Reagan. No, he said there were two things that amazed him. One was how God so consistently made a way through a problem when there didn’t seem to be a way through the problem. He never bounced a check during his entire career. He didn’t even know how it was possible because in the beginning there just wasn’t enough money. The second thing my father said was, through his whole career, God never let his dream perish. His dream was to be an entrepreneur and that he would never have to work for anyone else. That’s not necessarily anyone else’s dream. There is nothing wrong with working for someone else. However, the dream that God laid on his heart was to be an entrepreneur.
My father said that he was going to die with gratitude in his heart because during his entire life he never received a paycheck. There was a brief time in college when as he put it he worked in the back kitchen of a greasy spoon café. It was amazing to my father that God not only put the dream in his heart but He always provided a way to have the dream be carried out.
Probably the most profound influence in my life was the teaching and encouragement that I received from my father. I was not in the theater business; I actually was a newspaper publisher. I graduated from the University of Colorado. My business career began in broadcast journalism. I was a co-host of a morning radio show five days a week. I absolutely loved the job. My partner was hysterically funny. We got a lot of positive feedback.
It was exciting and I loved radio. Then I had an opportunity to move into print journalism. I bought weekly newspapers that were struggling and I fixed them up and sold them. Just like buying a house and fixing it up and selling it. I did it with newspapers. I had found a niche in the newspaper business. So, for the next 18 years I worked in publishing and selling newspaper businesses. Towards the end of that time, just before I moved to Nashville, I felt Lord had been dealing with me. I needed to be more serious about my relationship with Christ. He was showing me there was more to business than making money.
My blessing was to be passed on to others. I got more involved and active in my church. That was helpful but in the end I felt the Lord wanted me to go to Bible College. I went to Nashville and I said to the Lord, “if you will make a way to go to Bible College I will go”. However, the sale of the Nashville paper would have to be pretty lucrative in order to take two years off. I would need money for rent and tuition and other expenses. There would need to be a pretty major blessing when I sold this paper. I felt the Lord said, “don’t worry about that. You do your part and I will do Mine”. I tried to remember that my father said, “God never let his dream perish”.
So, I went to Nashville and as that paper began to run down I came across another paper for sale in Las Cruces, New Mexico. As we tend to do sometimes, I started to negotiate with the Lord. I said “let me have one more paper and then I will go to Bible school”. I never heard a response from the Lord, so I to that as an OK to go ahead and buy the paper. So, I sold the Nashville paper and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It’s true that I work at McDonalds now. However, it was not a fluke. It was God’s divine plan. When I went to Tulsa to go to school, I came across a man that owns 21 franchises. We began to talk about what I had done with my newspapers. He suggested that I take a restaurant business and do the same thing that I had done with the newspaper businesses. I said no because I came here to focus on my relationship with the Lord. But he was persistent and eventually I said that I would take one restaurant for six months.
We worked out the business relationship. That was eight McDonalds’ and six years ago and I am still doing it. The Lord holds things for us in our life. It really wasn’t a part of my vision when I came to Bible College. My main point that I want to conclude with is that all along the influences of Christian businessmen in my life have been very powerful and very helpful. This influence has never been stronger than in the last couple of months. When I first started to come to IFCB, I always felt very loved, encouraged and edified. Every time I come, without exception, I leave a better person. I leave with insight and encouragement that I didn’t have before I came. This organization has been very valuable to me. IFCB is an outstanding organization.
I will close with this. I have had some health issues myself also. I have been attending the Tuesday morning breakfasts regularly. However, I missed two because I was in the hospital. I was having trouble with my car the day before the next Tuesday breakfast. So, the neighbor was going to take Sarah my daughter to the Christian school she attends in the morning. I mentioned to Sarah that I was going to be gone to the fellowship breakfast when she got up. She wanted to know how I was going to get there. I said I was going to walk. This concerned her because I just got out of the hospital.
I said it’s only a 2-mile brisk walk and I do not want to miss it. I share that not to glorify myself. However, my whole testimony is to share what a wonderful work God is doing through IFCB. I want to testify that I have experienced it first hand. I want to express gratitude to the gentlemen that I share a table with each week. What is the one thing we can do to prosper our souls? We can fellowship with believers. I am thankful for the encouragement love and wisdom that I have received from this organization. IFCB has prospered my soul.
Benefits of membership in the International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen.
By Gene Dillard
I was raised in a minister’s home. I became very bitter, very cynical, very anti-God and anti-everything until I was 42. At the age of 42, I found God, or God found me, or we found each other I don’t know. I was not the typical person.
I was on an airplane and a gentleman came back to me and I’d never seen the guy before. I was in a pair of blue jeans and a plaid shirt, and I was reading a book. It had the title folded over so he had no idea what I was reading. He came to me and he said, “Sir, you’re going to understand what I have to say to you.” But here’s what I want to say, there was an empty seat in the middle. He said “God told me to come and tell you that my spirit is not going to continue to strive with you and that you need to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. And he said “you’ll know what that means” and he got up and left. That was the whole complete message to me.
I’d been raised in a minister’s home and I knew how to talk the religious language, I was around people, but my life wasn’t; I’d never surrendered my life to him. Because I’d chosen one side, my brother had become a minister, and I became the anti. But when I got to my motel room, I found me a Gideon Bible, and I read it. And I said, “But God, I want to make you a deal. If you’ll come into my life and you’ll forgive me, I am not going to tell anyone. But they will see a difference in my life.” And I went home and 2 weeks later (my both of our parents are deceased) my wife’s aunt came by. And she said, “How are you guys doing? And my wife said, “Great, but Gene’s really weirded out. He is so different”.
I started on a journey, but along the way…, anyone that tells you that money doesn’t change you… it will. It changes some of us for the good, and it changes some of us for the bad. And my hero was a person that was very very very very very wealthy. He was everything that my father wasn’t. I think you saw a picture in the paper, where he just sold his house yesterday for 21.7 million dollars, the Blare mansion over on Riverside. He was my hero. But my mother died, and my hero was too busy to come to the funeral. I had worked for him at that time about 10 years.
My father died, he had been in this gentleman’s nursing home, and the gentleman was too busy to come to my father’s funeral. I started seeing something, but yet, money had control. Our banks always made really good money “Whatsoever your hand find to do, do it with all your heart, soul and mind.” So I literally worked 7 days a week. Last year I had 4 days off including holidays.
But on June the 13th of last year a change came in my life that I never ever wanted to happen in my life. My son was in love and had a beautiful young lady that he was seeing, and he had dated her for 2 years, they were talking about marriage. She worked for Priority Bank. She was a tall gorgeous person. She went to church with us every Sunday morning. I suspected her and my son were doing things that we dad’s don’t approve of; because sometimes I’d go by and her car would be at his house at hours it shouldn’t be at his house. But she went to church every Sunday. And on a Sunday morning when we were sitting at our church, tears were flowing down her eyes. And on Tuesday, June the 13th of last year, she went by my son’s house during her lunch break. And when she did, she went into his house to feed his 2 dogs.
She took 30 pills. Sorry, I am getting emotional here. She went in the kitchen, got a butcher knife, cut both wrists, walked into his bedroom, opened his night stand, and took a little 22 pistol that I had given him. Chambered a bullet, put it in her mouth, and pulled the trigger. Then she went to meet her maker. What could I have done? Success was mine. I made plenty of money. I was the principle share holder in 3 banks.
On June 17th we had a funeral, in my partner’s funeral home. He didn’t come. My son, the only person around turned and said to me, He said, “Dad, Mr. __ didn’t come.” And I said, “I don’t understand”. We’ve been with him 15 years. I reached in my pocket and took out a pen, very similar to this 49 cent pen. And I looked at it, and something in my mind said, that’s all you are. As long as you produce, you’ll keep this pen, but when the pen quits producing, you’ll throw it in the trash and you’ll get another pen.
And on June the 17th my life took a total, total turn. I took a yellow pad, and I wrote down every person that I thought disliked me. And at the top of that list, I wrote down the names of the people, that I disliked. And I have made contact, in person, with everyone of those people. Now if some of you have aught against me, I don’t know that, so that’s why I haven’t come and asked you to forgive me. But I went to each one of those people, and as I did, the things of this earth, starting changing.
My theme song became, be not conformed (Romans 12:2), be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you my prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect. If you go back and look it up in Hebrew, that’s not a continuum. It’s getting to a place of finish. I took it and interpreted it, Gene Dillard practology. I had been in the good will of God, I had been in the acceptable will of God, I want to find the perfect will of God. And I know most ministers will tell you, no, those three words are used interchangeably in the Hebrew. But I chose it not to be that way.
As I walked toward my Father, I walked away from other people. The things that were absolutely important to me having the highest return on equity, having the most growth at work, having the biggest house, having a nicer car, my wife having more jewelry, all this started to change.
But as I changed, (I probably am taking this from Pastor Marvin), this was normal. All of a sudden I was given a new normal. They couldn’t handle my new normal. I said something for the first time in my whole life; I had never said this before. There was something that came up in the board meeting and it was a controversial situation, and when it came time for me to have my opinion as chairman of the board I said those fatal words that you never want to hear said. I said, “I don’t care, do whatever you want to do, I don’t care”. And I really didn’t. But they were still paying me to care.
They were paying me to have a position. They were paying me to be the person they had dealt with for 15 years… 20 plus years. But all of a sudden there was someone different. And the journey that I’m on, it’s a very lonely journey. Because people have a hard time relating to whom I am today. Because they have programmed to how you’ve always been, how they’ve treated you for the last 10 years. So, be careful. Those prayers that you’ve asked for can be answered. The mother of the daughter, we went to her and said, “Did she ever give you any clues?” No clues. My son… no clues. But she was gone. And my hero was not there.
So I started on a quest. I went to my partner and I said, “I will sell you my interest, because we had our buy/sell agreement. And he said, maybe I don’t want to buy it. I don’t want you to leave. And the rest of it is insignificant, but I left. And today, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. I’m an employee, I’m under authority, I’m not in authority. It’s a new role.
Since 1974, I have been in authority. Today, I’m under authority. Yeah, I have a little title called President. But I report to a whole bunch of layers up and it’s OK. I told my partner, even though I didn’t put it in writing, that I would not work in Tulsa for 1 year. I would not solicit 1 customer, for 1 year because wherever you build your foundation, is where you have to occupy. And I have built banks on vendettas. Because somebody didn’t treat us right, we’re going to go over here and destroy them. Don’t to that…don’t build your business on a vendetta. Because wherever you build your foundation is where you have to occupy.
When that vendetta is over, you don’t have anything else to do. There’s plenty of business for everyone. So when you go from job A to job B, don’t try to destroy the person at job A. The bible tells me to pray for those that spitefully use you. And this is a new world for me. It’s an exciting world for me. I love it.
I drive an hour every day to Bartlesville. And I had an attorney call me one day and he says, “I’d like to meet you for breakfast.” And I said “sure”. So I met him for breakfast. And he said, “You know every time I go to Oklahoma City, I write a verse down and I memorize that verse. So I will tell you today that everyday that I drive to Bartlesville, I memorize 2 verses. “Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Thee”. “Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. How are you going to renew your mind? Through His word. Through His word. Heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or title of His word. My wife said, jot and tittle is not in there and I said yes it is. So I went and got the Bible and we found jot and tittle. It’s exciting. I’ve been around the word but I have never been in the word.
The day after the young lady’s funeral, my boss called me and said I need to meet you at the bank at 2 o’clock. And it was a Sunday. So I went, we met, it was 5:30 when we finished. And that’s when it all started coming together. But it came together with the foolishness of man (holding up the ink pen) a little ink pen. When I pulled the pen out of my pocket, I felt that was my significance. And I’m not saying that’s your significance to your corporation, I’m saying that was my significance.
I’m saying that when I started on the journey, it is so exciting. It is so exciting. When Ted met me out here and he said, “Gene, I was a little concerned; I was calling you on your cell phone.” I said Satan did everything under the sun to keep me from getting here today. There was no 1 person, there were not 2, there were not 3, but there were 4 people pulled over and stopped today. The police were everywhere.
Fortunately along with this, I now drive the speed limit. If you’re going to be a Christian be a Christian or if you’re going to be a bear…be a grizzly. Don’t do anything half way. It is so unnatural for me to put my cruise control on 70, because my mind says, 74… 73… ahhh, you know what’s a little fudge. It might be OK for you, I’m just saying when you’re trying to find…, then it drops down to 65, I see that I’m running a little bit late. I don’t’ want to go from 70 to 65. I want to leave it on 70. But I found a scripture. It says the little foxes spoil the vine. So, I’m not going to compromise on the little things.
And I woke up one day and my daughter’s 29, my son’s 26 and my baby’s 19 at ORU. And my son made a statement to me after this calamity. “Dad I never ever ever remember you being at one of my soccer games for the whole game. You’re always there by the 4th quarter.” I was trying to turn another deal. I was trying to inch out just a little bit more. I was trying to always have the number 1 efficiency ratio; I was always trying to have the highest return on equity. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to do all things in moderation and I couldn’t, because a lot of us Pentecost are obsessive compulsive personalities and that’s what I learned.
I learned that from my father. I learned that from my mother. But on June the 17th, let me just tell you a byline, the mother of the daughter, she came to the funeral. She had been married 4 times and 3 ex-husbands showed up. The biological father and the mother were there at the funeral home and funeral home operator called me and she said “Mr. Dillard, I’ve just got to tell you this story, first time it’s ever happened.
The parents have decided that they are going to cremate this young 23 year old lady. And so I brought some urns and said what color of urns would you like to look at?” And the father said, “Urn? We want 2. She gets half the ashes and I get the other half.” All of those send messages to me. You know…hatred, bitterness, cruelty; you know those are not fruits of the spirit.
When I left the bank, I was instructed in my mind, to take the high road, and never ever say a word about the previous bank that I worked at. So I don’t. I give them total permission to say anything they want to about why I left. My God and I know why I left. And that’s a journey I’m taking and it had nothing to do with the bank. Again, neat things are happening.
Have you been to the southern gospel sing? I went to my first one. I’d never had time to go to a Southern gospel sing on Saturday night because I was doing a deal. An eighty-nine year old man called me and says “Gene; brother Ted’s got this southern gospel sing going on at the Assembly of God”. I said, “When is it”? And he said “tonight”. I have now gone 6 Saturdays. I’m not working on Saturday. I have now gone 6 Sundays. This is the first time in 30 years. It’s cool. It’s cool. I am sorry, so sorry, and I can never get it back, but I can tell you one thing, brother Phillips, brother Robertson, and Gene Dillard, when we die, and they put us in the box, we have the same. Nothing. Only what’s done for Christ will last. We can’t write a check, when we’re in the box.
It’s still a very significant part of my life. I never ever want to ever again offend one of my brothers in Christ. “There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. And so I don’t want condemnation in my life. And if I have anger, bitterness or aught, towards you, I apologize and if you have it towards me please forgive me. If you want to hang on to it, that’s your privilege. It’s a lot more fun when you get that baggage off. But if you want to hang on to it, I give you my fullest blessings.
Like me or hate me, but whatever you do, I would that you be not hot or cold but because you’re lukewarm I’ll spew you out. So if you dislike me… dislike me with all your gusto. And if you like me, like me with all your gusto cause don’t be lukewarm. Because the man will spew you out.
Thank you for having me, and allowing me to be here today. I don’t know if I’ve used up my time, but I feel like I have. Let me just quote you some of Scriptures. You hear these all the time. I go to a Holy Roller church, charismatic church. Mark 11:23 Mark 11:24, I’ve heard it every year, but you know I couldn’t quote it word for word. Mark 11:24… when you hear that, Mark 11:23. One says for verily I say whatsoever things you desire, no I’m getting them switched, let me get back. Whatsoever I say unto you… for verily I say unto you that whosoever should say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he desires. Or he shall have what he desires. One says whatsoever… I started putting that back and started listening; you know the Word is exciting. Absolutely, it’s just exciting. And it has an application for everything that you do.
Sometimes we get to believing our business card and we really think we are important. And we’re not. We’re not. We’re just all dirt. I am so thankful that at the age of almost 63, I’ve got this journey that I’m on, and it’s such a good time. I watched a customer of mine, and I hope I’m not divulging something I shouldn’t, but he had cancer. But he never had a down day. He had open heart surgery, but he never had a down day. He said, “Gene; I’ve got to tell you what I did to my elders at my church.” He was the pastor of a large Church of Christ here. He said, “I took a chair and put it on my podium, and I called my elders and I said I want you to do what the scripture says.” It says call the elders and have them anoint you. Now talk about a bold statement for a Church of Christ. We’re used to that.
So, I’ve had some wonderful wonderful people cross my path. But I was always too busy. The only thing I could cram in was a Mazzio’s luncheon, and I made sure it was not more than an hour and 5 minutes. Because I had to get back and do another deal. And it’s OK. But that’s not the spot that I am in life today. I am having just a glorious amount of fun. And I hope that you all have the same amount of fun. We’re going to be around here, a long time. We will be around three score and ten or more. I just, Harold says that was years ago for me. He immediately looked over at Don Hail; I don’t know what that meant. It’s just so much, and in everything give thanks. For this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning Gene Dillard.
Try to tell your son that when he’s burying his loved one. Don’t know. We went thru that with my parents dying and I understood it because they were at the age. But suicide, it’s just, Oh My. You don’t have any answers. They didn’t give you any answers and in the letter she wrote, she said to my son, “Keep a little part of your heart for me.” And the last thing she said was “I will see you in heaven”. Those are things that contradict some of my training. Because I was trained if you commit suicide, you’re going down. I don’t know today, and I’m not challenging anyone’s theory if they believe that. I don’t know. That’s not my point of view. But I serve a God that’s going to give me, mercy and not justice. And that’s the same God that you all serve. He’s going to give us mercy. He’s never going to give us justice. Because if he would have given me justice, you know I would make foolish statements. “Well I pay my tithes.” God’s going to bless me. It rains on the just and it rains on the unjust.
You know, I’m doing this for my family. You know most of us don’t do things for our family. We do it for our own ego needs. We like to see our name in lights. Our family would take a whole lot less. They want you. Now has it created a problem in my home? Sure. My wife’s normal. It’s this. Now I’m there on Saturday and Sunday. I’m underfoot. She has her friends. She has her world. And I want my wife. So, we’ve had to adjust. Those of you who are married know what adjustment means. It’s not all peaches and cream, but boy it’s worth it. It’s just absolutely worth it.