“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:” (Eph. 2:21)
There was a prayer mountain in east Texas where we would sometimes go to fast and pray.
The ministry that owned the land had built the prayer chapel as their first project after purchasing the property.
Ministers and others who needed a place to fast and pray were welcome to reserve the prayer chapel in advance. I would often go there and seek the Lord when I needed direction or a particular answer from God.
We all know that we don’t have to go to a particular place to meet with God, but there is just something special about setting aside and sanctifying a certain time to seek Him alone.
For me, this was the prayer chapel in east Texas.
I had felt for a while that the Lord was beginning to change the direction of our ministry. Bro. Allen had felt led to leave the Servants of the Lord, and one of the radio stations had gone out of business.
I saw the Lord beginning to close doors and I had gone to the prayer mountain to seek Him about what He would have me to do.
I had been there for about a day, when the Lord directed me to leave the chapel and go out into the woods. I began walking down a path, when I found myself standing at the top of a deep valley.
As I was wondering what to do next, the Lord spoke to me.
“See that rock down to your left, go there.” I made it down to the rock, and the Lord spoke again, “See the little tree down to your right, go there.” Then the Lord said, “See the bush down to your left, now go there.”
This continued on until I found myself at the bottom of the valley. The Lord then spoke and said, “Now look back to the top and see where you have come from.”
I turned and looked back up to the top. It was only then that I realized He had directed me in a zigzag direction down the side of the mountain.
There was no path down that I could see from the top, and looking from the bottom, I could see no path back to the top: only the landmarks that He had directed me to go to.
“What did I do?” the Lord said. “You brought me down the mountain” I replied. “And I will take you up again.” He said, “You may not see the path that I will take you down, but I will lead you every step of the way”.
Suddenly, I was in the Spirit and began to have a vision from God. In the vision, I saw a white haired craftsman in a workshop and he was building what appeared to be a very detailed and intricate miniature house.
He would take the particular tool that he needed down from the shelf and very carefully use it to form part of the house, and then he would return it to the shelf and pick up another tool and use it.
Occasionally, he would pick up a tool he had previously used and use it again on another part of the house.
The Lord then spoke to me and said, “You are a tool in my hand. I will use you in building my house, and then I will place you back on the shelf.”
Then the vision was over and I followed the directions of the Lord back up the mountain. I then realized that God was not going to put me in one ministry and leave me there, but rather He had called me to be a vessel that He would use throughout the body of Christ to perform His will.
Not long after this vision that God had given me on Prayer Mountain, He called me to begin and Pastor a church to be called “Faith Tabernacle”.
We started as a house church and later moved to a building. While pastoring this small church, I came to know and empathize with other pastors in the same situation.
Many pastors of small congregations are not only the preacher, but also the janitor, the Sunday school teacher, the worship leader, the marriage and family counselor, the bus driver, and any other position that others in the church cannot or will not fill.
Sometimes he may even work a full time job. He’s tired and worn out, unable to study as he should, and both he and his congregation need reviving.
However, for whatever reason, he feels that he cannot have an evangelist come to hold a revival. He feels that either the church can’t afford it or the offerings will be too small to support the evangelist.
God began to give me a great burden for these faithful pastors.
God had also given me a great gift. Not long after I had first started preaching in nursing homes, I realized that something was not quite right.
God had given me an anointing to lead people to Christ on a one-to-one basis. It was nothing of me; it was a gift from God.
I would see others go up to someone and talk to them about salvation, share with them the way to be saved, explain to them there need and even show them in Scripture; only to have them nod in agreement and say that they would think about it.
I could go up to that same person, and after a few moments and a few words, they would be praying with me to accept Christ into their heart.
Again, it was not any special “talent” that I had or method; it was the anointing of God for salvation. I couldn’t explain it, it just seemed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to not only bring someone to the point of salvation, but also help them cross over into it.
But preaching in front of a group of people was different. The Bible says in Romans chapter 12, that God gives different gifts according to the grace that is given.
When I first started in the nursing homes, I would preach from the Bible the message that I knew God had given me, yet there would be no visible response to that message.
There was a powerful evangelist in the same home church that we attended, and he had a mighty anointing upon his life. He would preach as a “flaming fire” (Psalms 104:4), and afterwards people would line up for prayer, for salvation, or to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
He and I had a chance to talk one day, and I shared with him the lack of response that I would have when I would preach. He said that he was going to be preaching at a nearby Church and invited me to come to the service.
At the end of the service, I entered the line of people that had come down for prayer, and when he laid his hands on me, I felt a mighty power come into my body.
At the next nursing home service, when I opened my mouth to preach, it was as if I became another person.
I couldn’t stand in one spot; I couldn’t keep my arms still; and the words flowed from me like an unstoppable river. When I did stop preaching, hands went up all over the room wanting to accept Christ.
I could hardly believe the difference.
I shared with the evangelist what had happened, and he told me that he knew when he laid his hands upon me that God was giving me the gift of preaching. From that point on, we began to see the great revival atmosphere in the nursing homes.
And now, years later, I was sensing that God wanted to use me as a tool in His hand to bring that same anointing and revival to the smaller churches that He had given me a burden for.
I let the President of our Ministry Fellowship know that I believed God was calling me to hold revivals in other churches.
Not long after, I was working to help build a Christian School building on the Fellowship property when a pastor from Red River County near Oklahoma, who had come to see the Fellowship President, came in where I was working to see me.
We talked for a few moments, and I sensed from God that this was not a chance meeting. I told him that I would love to come and preach a revival at his church.
He said that he would love to have me come, but that his church was a very poor church near the Red River; that some of his people did not even have shoes to wear to church. He said that they didn’t have the money to pay an evangelist, and that whatever offerings they received, would probably not be enough to supply our needs.
I told him that money would not even be mentioned, and that I had learned if I would just do the will of God, then God would supply all of our needs. He said, “Well, I know that you’ll be fed well. The ladies in our church sure know how to cook.”
He agreed to have me come for a weeklong revival. In the meantime, the Pastor of a small church in Mt. Vernon, Texas had heard me preach at a Fellowship meeting, and had asked me to come and hold a weeklong revival there also.
We scheduled for us to come to his church first, and then straight to Oklahoma. God was beginning to open doors.
We started the revival meetings in Mt. Vernon, and God gave us a tremendous outpouring of His Holy Spirit. I found out that this pastor had been praying for some time for a spiritual breakthrough.
There were some individuals in the church that had undergone abuse in their lives and needed the Lord to heal their hearts and minds.
The Lord did a great work that week and the altars were filled each night. People heard of the work God was doing and came even from other towns. Many were healed, saved, and filled with the Holy Ghost.
There was also a man in the church who had been praying that God would send someone to show them how to win souls to Christ. While I was there, he and I were able to go to the local jail and minister to the prisoners. He went on to have a great ministry winning souls to Jesus in the Texas prisons.
I would hold more revivals for this pastor in the future and would eventually return to start and principal a Christian School.
We finished that week of services by preaching the Sunday morning service, and left that afternoon to begin the revival in Red River County with their Sunday evening service.
My wife was exhausted, but I assured her that we would arrive early enough to freshen up at the church. As we pulled into the parking lot, my wife pointed over to a little building.
“Is that what I think it is?” she said. She was right: it was an outhouse. There was no running water in the church.
The Pastor arrived and suggested that I take off my coat and tie because I might feel uncomfortable being the only one there with one on. No one that attended his congregation could afford a coat and tie. Many of them lived in the woods along the Red River.
The people began to arrive, and by the time the service started, there was standing room only.
This church made me think of the Church in Smyrna written about in the Book of Revelation chapter 2. The Lord said that he knew their works, and tribulation, and poverty, but they were rich.
What this church by the Red River lacked in finances, they more than made up for in Spirit and in love. I don’t believe that I have ever been in a church that loved the Lord more than the people of this church.
When the preaching was over, and the people lined up for prayer, the line stretched out the back door. Again, the Lord poured out His Spirit, and we saw many accept Christ and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
People began to come from all over, and the Pastor asked if we could extend the revival for another week. We returned home to get fresh clothes and then came back.
By the way, the Pastor was right: those ladies could cook. They fed us and treated us like kings. It was there that I first tasted fried rabbit (tastes like chicken).
We would return there also and hold future revivals. After their building burned down from an electrical fire, we held a revival under a brush arbor in a field by the Red River. What the devil meant for evil, God turned around for good.
These precious saints of God would not give up, and they rebuilt their Church building. This time it was a beautiful building made of brick with some fine indoor restrooms.
We went on to hold revival services in churches throughout east Texas and southeast Oklahoma. We would also return and help pastors to start three Christian schools and ourselves to pastor two churches.
God fulfilled the vision that He had given me: He used me as a tool in building His house in many different areas, and then returned me to the shelf.
(TO BE CONTINUED)