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The ministry

It was in that time when I was at the lowest ebb of my life, trying desperately to save a university which was failing, trying desperately to save a ministry which was failing—now you should know by now that no individual can do that.  Unless God builds a house, those who labor to build it build it in vain.  There’s no way that I as an individual could have saved ORU from going under, and there’s no way that I as an individual could have saved the ministry from going under.  I’m just a human being.

But, you know, there’s something in us that wants to try everything in our power, do everything that we can so that should the day come that it goes under or something goes under, that we don’t say, “Well, I wish I had done this, you know, to help.”  I wanted to have done everything that I knew to do.

Well, the problem with it is, in all that I was doing in working night and day and going back and forth in those days to see my father, who had had several heart attacks and surgeries and procedures, it wore me out.

And, students, when you get worn out, things begin to happen to you, and they’re not very good.  Sickness and disease have an opportunity to attack your body when you don’t have proper rest, and that’s why from time to time in chapel I’m admonishing you to get sleep and don’t stay up till three o’clock in the morning in the dorms and that kind of thing, because your body has to rest and recuperate.

And I needed to preach a good lesson to that to myself in those days.  I was 44 years old at the time when I was elected President, and I started to slide in my health.  But more than that, I started to slide in my attitude, which is more dangerous sometimes than your health.  And I became an angry man.

Comments Off on The fullness of the ministry

The fullness of the ministry

Now there are many in the Pentecostal and charismatic world who believe that you have to have a secondary experience where the Holy Spirit comes in.  No, that’s not true.  You can’t get saved without the Holy Spirit coming in.  But you can allow Him who is already in you to control your life and to speak through you.  And we’ll get into that later on in this semester, because I want to help bring some balance.

One of the things that the Lord spoke to me years ago as I got into my fifties—and I’m well into my fifties now—as I got into my fifties, I’m 58, and I’m coming in to the fullness of the ministry that God has given me.  He told me when I got into my fifties I would become a minister to ministers and I would help alleviate the tension between denominations over the subject of the Holy Spirit.

And over the past years, especially as I’ve gotten into my fifties, over the last eight years or so, God continues to open doors for me to speak into the lives of ministers who have had a lot of bad teaching by some well-meaning people, who just didn’t have any idea what they were talking about.

And the Lord has shown me that I am to be one of the voices to help clear up the controversy.  Now I’m sure most of you are aware that much of the evangelical world thinks that we who call ourselves Pentecostals and charismatics are a bunch of heretics.  And they think that primarily because of the bad way that many of us have talked and have tried to share what we believe.

And we’ve used some terminology which is not scriptural.  And we have not known how to say what we really believe.  It’s not that we’re wrong.  We just have not known how to say it in a way that wasn’t offensive and in a way that didn’t make it look like we thought we were the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I want to help clear that up in you, and I want to help clear that up in the body of Christ, because we are brothers and sisters in the Lord.  You’re not going to go to heaven because you speak in tongues.  You’re going to go to heaven because you’ve believed on Jesus.  Okay?

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Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness

Well, here I am, yesterday the Lord gives me this prophetic word and shows me that there is a spirit of containment trying to hold me back and keep me from the breakthrough that I know that I’m to have.

So He showed me something personal, as well as something corporate yesterday in the dealing with this nation of Niger.  He told me what to do, and He told me how to break it.  And I’m in the midst of doing that.  I started it yesterday afternoon and last night, and I’ve been on it again this morning.  And by the time I get to Niger, that’s going to be broken.  And it’s also going to be broken off of me.

All right, where was I before I got off on that tangent?  Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”  I was talking about—I’m going to preach a message on, “How to Be in the World But Not of It.”

Notice that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.  “Well, I thought satan led Him out there to tempt Him?”  That’s not what the Bible says.  The Bible doesn’t say that satan led Him out to be tempted.

Sometimes the greatest trouble you face is when you’re right in the middle of God’s will.  But the human mind says, “Well, why did I do this?  The devil must have made me do this.  Or how did the devil get me out in the middle of this jam?”

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God had to send an angel

So God had to send an angel to assure Joseph that everything was going to be all right.  “Yes, she’s pregnant.  Yes, nobody has had sex with her.  The Holy Spirit has overshadowed her and caused her to be pregnant.  And it’s going to be okay.  Don’t freak out, Joseph.  It’s going to be fine.  Your espoused wife is going to give birth to the Christ child.  And you’ll name him Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”  This was the work of the Holy Spirit.

All right, now, secondly, write down Mark 1, Mark 1:9 and 10.  Mark 1:9 and 10.  Now Jesus was a man by this time.  He was prepared to enter into His public ministry at about the age of thirty.

“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth,” which is, of course, where He was raised, “and was baptized by John (His cousin) in the Jordan River.

“And immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens parting, and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.”

Now this, of course, is why in Christianity today that you see the Holy Spirit symbolized as a dove because of this scene.  Now picture this scene for a moment.  Jesus and His cousin John, who was only six months older, probably more than likely grew up together, played together, you know, played basketball together, played football together, whatever.  They did whatever that they did.  They played stickball in the street.  I don’t know, they did whatever kids did.  Okay?

And they were cousins.  They knew each other very well.  John had already entered into his public ministry and was out, you know, there eating grasshoppers and having a great time on the shores of the Jordan River, wearing, you know, his little sackcloth tunic and all that he wore, a burlap sack or whatever.And people would come to have John baptize them.  And John’s out there yelling, “Repent, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  I am going to baptize you in water, but,” he says, “there’s another one coming.  He’s going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

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