GCx Web Library
Resources on the Great Commission church movement
aka Great Commission Churches, Great Commission Ministries, Great Commission Association of Churches, Great Commission International, Great Commission Students, The Blitz Movement
Resources on the Great Commission church movement
aka Great Commission Churches, Great Commission Ministries, Great Commission Association of Churches, Great Commission International, Great Commission Students, The Blitz Movement
Never. Not saying it's wrong. I just say I never do it. [audience laughs] Well I mean that, it's not wrong. It is not wrong. But I'm just saying, my reading, if it's in that area- it's just the- the world's reading it, and I figure I gotta know what they're reading. If it- if I can keep up with that then every other book I read, if it's outside of the Bible itself, is Biographies, Testimonies, men..
And all of you that are not elders, I'd suggest you don't have to know what's going on. You read the Bible, read biographies. And obey what you read.. in the scriptures. But I'm convinced, and some of the brothers are - that were sharing today - is all I trust.. that God is doing a new thing. No man has a monopoly on the market with God. But I'll tell you we'll have a share in it if God can do something in us. If God can make us men that we've never been. You see, we've got the flesh throbbing in us. Thoughts that we have ingrained and programmed in our mind, for ten, twenty, thirty- some longer.. many years longer. And this is why you need to take and get alone with God! It's not wrong to hear teachers, it's not wrong to hear me, it's not wrong to hear other elders- other brothers. And I heard men and I listened and I learned from men. But I began a practice in my life, hearing from the man, himself. The Lord Jesus. More than from men.
Have you had a conference alone with God as much as you've had conferences with me? If- I'd rather you start having more conferences with Christ. It wouldn't bother me a bit if you went alone, and got ten hours alone with God this weekend and didn't hear me at all. That wouldn't bother me a bit. And if you've never done it, do it before the next one. You need it. To take a weekend.. One thing that's been built up, with a lot of the elders- and examples, many of them are- sc- amazing examples and challenges in my own life. Is taking regularily, days to pray and fast. Some of the leaders do it - some of them I know, privately I know they get in, slip away.. once a month. For one, two, three.. four days every month. Some I know have done it for like once a week for a day. Alone in prayer.. fasting. Some once a quarter, once a semester, the issue isn't the timing. It- God will use you, regularily getting alone in his word.
And as a young kid, God began to, just say- uh- I'm gonna do what you say. If I see him do it I'm gonna do it. It's either all or nothing. And why do we- what do we quote the words - and I used to hear these.. I knew all this, the Husdon Taylor sermons, you know Lord Of All Or Not Lord At All - and I was just young enough to believe it! And I just happened to be unprogrammed to sit through it and think you're not supposed to do it. I thought you we're to do it! I remember.. singing the song I'd Rather Have Jesus Than Silver Or Gold, and here an- I believed it!
And God finally got ahold of my life and - all the way I didn't tell anybody why I was going up to Greeley Colorado. Where Colo- now Northern Colorado University was. But I was going to do what Paul did. I was going up to start a church.. [laughs] And my family knew I had spiritual motivation as well. In fact that's what concerned my father a little bit. And my family. And I waited, and God grew- my- training me in those days to learn to honor my folks more and more. I'm still growing. It's so exciting, it's so exciting. You can honor your parents when you're older, anytime in your life you can honor your parents. You should be growing in honor for your folks.
But I waited, even in those days, even though I hadn't had- don't know if I'd anybody ever share in the subject, but I knew enough. And God was working some of those things, even in those days, in my life. I honored my family. But the Lord tested me in that area too, just like he did his own son. And.. I waited and waited and waited to get their consent, one place.. another.. never could. And it got to a crossroads. To pay the price and do what I say, Jim, or to do what your Earthy father says. And I finally went, and my father, my family, and my background - if you knew my family, a few of you do - we were unbelievably close. Our family was known for that.
But I left. My father, in an emotional state, finally said, "If you leave, don't ever expect anything from me again." And as I waited months and- even- into a year or more, I can't remember how long it was, it might've even been up to two years. I won't take time to share all the verses, but God finally made it clear that I had to decide who's my father. "And Jesus' mother and brothers and sisters came to him, his mother was outside and said she wants to see- and Jesus said 'Who's my father? Who's my mother?'" - or rather he said, "Who's my mother? Who's my brother? Who's my sister?" Well it's real easy. Whoever your father is, that's how you know relationships, and responsibilities. And Jesus said, "Whoever does my will- or whoever does the will of my father- is my mother, my brother, my sister. "And for this cause, a man will leave.. father and mother and be joined to another." And that was my cause, I was joined to Christ.
Thinking His Father Was Dying
And I went finally. As my father was in bed for a whole month, so the report came back to me- all communication had been stopped. And unlike many of the happy-go-lucky fleshly Christians who use the Bible as a license to rebel against their parents, I wasn't doing that. Not one inch. My father had given his whole life to build up a.. material kingdom, and he wanted me to give my life for that. And.. and the report was that he was- had been in bed- bed- and the thought just came - for a whole month - my father had never been in bed in his life, that I knew, and.. I thought he was dying.. and I was gonna kill 'em.
And I tell ya' God tested me. And I remember being all alone, an' I didn't have a team, I didn't have a.. church.. I was all alone. I didn't even have a friend. I didn't know anybody. I talked to a few that were in Colorado Springs, as God was growing, but- in my life- that I'd been with- but.. I hadn't developed enough and I'd - didn't know how to develop them enough to.. go all the way I guess you might say. And.. I didn't even- maybe know enough to.. that- should keep working with them until I did, so I wouldn't be by myself. But I did the best I knew. And what I understood. And I was all by myself and I remember just weeping.. thinking, "God, it's gonna kill my father." And I remember it as if the Lord Jesus was in the room with me, and indeed he was in spirit, and his heart- my heart as he spoke to me and said, "Jim, I just want to ask you. Who do you love more? Your father, mother, or me? Just wanna ask you that. Who do you love more?" And I'd burst out weeping, I'd say, "You." Thinking my father was gonna die anyday.. and I would have killed him.
And then the Lord would say to me, "Jim, who do you love- who loves your father more? You, or me?" Cause I'd never thought of that part. What do you mean who loves him more? "Who loves him more, Jim? You, or me? Do you think you love your father more than me, Jim? If I tell you to do something, will you depart? Who's smarter Jim, you or me?" Well, you.. "Who knows what's best for your father, Jim? You or me?" Well.. you. [laughs] God worked me over, one night, two nights.. day after day.. week after week.. God refined me.. nothing could be like Abraham who was willing to kill his son - and probably the only other hardest thing would be - willing to kill your father. And I thought it was gonna happen. And.. God saw that I was willing- that I - thought that was gonna happen.
And God began to turn the table. It's always nice to hear it in a story, isn't it? [laughs] But then, I didn't know that this was gonna be the outcome. God began to- my father - started to be able to get out and function again. He's not emotionally an unstable man, if any of you know him. It's just that he lived, for me. And.. uh.. and after a while communication started to be restored. And I'll zip way ahead in my story, at least with my father, today we're closer than we've ever been. And I remember, some years after that, as there were some things that were really rough when he wanted me to help follow in his steps and advance- kinda, further building and multiplying his - the - world that he'd built up, in many different businesses. And I was really getting his advice in a certain area and- and- questioning in certain areas.
This was some time ago now. Quite a long time ago, but I was asking him, you know, "What- What do you think I should do dad?" I was- wondering, even though I was really loving the Lord and wanting to go all out, I- I wanted to really see - really get his advice and, think- you know I'd be open to anything, and uh.. He was so strong. He knew I was really - uh - open, and he said, "No Jim," he said, "Boy, you should never stop doing what you're doing." And the whole family, its my folks, my brother and sister, real effect- God is- somewhat- has been a result of my following the Lord all out. Not out of rebellion, but out of submission, to my heavenly father.
Beginning In Greeley (1965-1967)
And there I was in Greeley, and that was some of the test I went through, all by myself up there.. I left and, miracle- just there's miracles that happened one after another. I didn't have a car, I didn't have anything. Before then I had any car I wanted. I'd saved up 400 dollars mowing lawns when I was a little kid. I never really had much of a bank account because if I needed something my father would give it to me. I had one suitcase, and over- a hangup bag, and 400 dollars in my pocket, and that was all I started with back in 1965.
My father, really I- maybe partly for the testimony of the ministry, he's never given me - even though he has a fair amount of money, he's never- he's never underwritten anything. In fact I told him, he outta give his money to the Lord before he.. passes away.. instead of passing it on to me and me giving it to the Lord, [laughter] recently. And, uh, [clears throat] but I had 400 dollars and- suitcase and got started right there in that was it. I didn't even have a way to get out of Colorado Springs. Never felt so alone.. with the Lord. Never in my life!
I never knew what it was to experience the promise. Some of you, of course, this is- you've experienced, you've learned in these areas, and I've- many- hundreds of times over- but in those days, I'd never in my life, ah- been able to apply Philepeans 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in Christ Jesus." I knew that verse, many others.. Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God in his righteous[ness]- and all these things will be added to you." But I never could- I never could apply that verse if I wanted to, God- you know my daddy'd give - beaten him to the punch. [laughs] I had all my needs met already. And- not that we would try to be self imposed martyrs, but when I started following the Lord all out I saw, I really did have to trust in the Lord. And I didn't know a lot of those verses, but I can remember..
God, that day.. the day I needed to be at the school.. God provided a ride by a man I've never seen before, never seen since, and he dropped me off.. When he dropped me off I- I didn't have any friends or anybody up there, but I did know a couple of people. Two or three, total. Or two.. maybe. And, uh- one was a fella.. I knew one guy that was there. This fellow dropped me off and it was sunset and he went on and there I was. Sitting on my suitcase, right next to the curb. And my hangup bag and I had 400 dollars in my pocket, and I was thinking of the Book of Acts.
And I said, Lord, this is really something. If you're not alive I've had it. [laughter] If I have not interpretted this thing right, I'm a goner. [laughter] It's you, and me, and here we are. You did one miracle, I never knew I'd get up here today. I met the guy, one hour before he said he was going to Greeley, I said, "You got be kidding." He said, "I got an empty car, come on." I said, "Okay." You see my father wouldn't have taken me then. Everything was cut off. He could've given me a car. He could've given me a bunch of em'. But everything was cut off. I didn't have a thing. I didn't have anybody.
And I thought to myself, "Boy, if I ever went back.. that would shame Christ. To my father, to my family - if I ever - to people, to others that knew.. God, if you can't provide, if you're not the God of the supernatural, if you're not just a God that's in heaven - that waits for us up there, if you're not alive and well here on planet Earth.. here's your opportunity God.. Philipeans 4:19.. as I was praying and the son was setting and I can't tell you how- just like, almost, the movies you know, it's the most.. emotional time at night! There I was, it was getting dark.. And I lifted my head in prayer, "Where do I go?" And I saw, these high rise buildings.. I didn't know what they were, apartments what- I'd never been in the city before in my life. [laughs] I didn't know where I was in the city - the guy said it was Greeley, I took his word. [laughter]
I picked up my suitcase, my.. hangup bag - all that I had in my life, that I owned. I started walking towards the nearest building, said, "God, it's time.. to act." And the first automobile I came to was this fellow that I knew. It was his car. I opened up the door and - you knew it'd be unlocked didn't you? - I put my brief- my suitcase, hangup bag in it, cause I didn't know where he was. Put it in the car, shut the door, locked it, went in to the [laughter] went in to a building.. didn't see anybody around. I was just praying, went into this one building, never will forget it.. I could trace my steps to this day, as I was just- it was just.. you know, like Jacob who was on the rock. And he didn't know- and God said, uh, that he was in this place, and Jacob didn't know it. And that's the way it was.
It's- it was brick and mortar and sidewalks and- but God was in the place and I didn't know it, and I remember walking in, and I was just thinking, "God is leading." And I walked up, one flight, two flights, I don't know why I walked up those flights, but I went to the very top flight, leaned up against the wall, waited for a fellow to come down the hall. When he got there I said, "Hi Bruce" [laughter] "to my friend." He didn't know what had happened at that point, he says, "Hey Jim, uh- move against- move away from the door I'm trying to get into my room. Come on in here and spend the night with me." I walked right to his room. And then his roommate - actually it was a dormatory, I didn't know that at the time, his roommate and come- came in, and so I wasn't able to end up spending the night.
He says, "Look, spend the night with a buddy of mine next door. He's a Christian." First guy that God raised up. Fellow that got going.. on fire for Christ. Didn't know it at the time. He was a drummer. Kind of like Rob Lamp. And, uh, God started raising up man after man. And uh- and we- at the end of that year we had 12 of us. Mostly brothers, a few sisters. And, uh- most of them we just- I just- witnessed and seen them saved. And, some were some that were already saved, and young Christians, and got witness- and we began to evangalized, and we began to witness..
And I remember the lessons that God began to teach, and- and train in my own life. I remember God speaking to me about several things - especially when I was in Greeley - and I remember, as I was in prayer, those days.. Second year I took- tho- the twe- that summer I took the 12 and I said, "Look, men, we gotta stay together. Cause we gotta reach the whole world." [laughs] I didn't know any others that had that vision. And, uh, they were stupid enough to believe it, like me. And, uh- and we, I tell ya', we were reaching our world.
We would go out, a lot of times after tests and blitz little towns nearby, and run, going door to door, I was sharing the story, I- not long ago with some and - did it more than once, and I remember one town running through after we studied at 10 o' clock at night, or 11 or 12, and it was too late, people were already in bed, so we thought we'd just put a tract under every door in the- in the town. About 6 or 8 of us guys, we piled in the car, we took off.. nearby little town, and about 11 or 12 at night we started running from house to house.
And it- about 2 or 3 am in the next morning, while we were running from house to house, a car- a cop car came up. [laughter] They'd been called, we weren't making any noise, but I think they wondered if we were robbers or something, and- and the cop says, "What are you doing out here?" I say this is- this is- "Sir, we're just, uh, well.. giving this to people." [laughs] He put his light on it, and looked at it, and uh- read it. Folded it up, a grin came to his face, "Well I'm a Christian too." [laughter, clapping] He said that. He said "Well, well just be real quiet." [laughter] Keep- [We?] keep on going, and he kind of drove off and- [I] picked up my box of stuff and, kept taking, leaving- I don't know what time it was, 2.. 3.. 4 in the morning. We finished, that town, literally running from house to house, all over the town that night. Got in our car, went back to Greeley, went to bed. Took a final the next day. [laughter] Probably didn't do to good! [laughs]
But, uh, but we reached another city for Christ. We reached another city for Christ. In a little way, in our way. We did what we could do. We got the Gospel out, a little more. Now I remember when we start- first started bapizing guys, and- remember I's, you know- we'd- I saw we were supposed to do that, and I saw, that happened, and I thought, "Okay." So, took him- you know, I thought, gotta find a lake way out away from where no people are. Was a little embarassed to be around people.
Remember driving out in the country, and- took a lot of courage, there was a fisherman about mile down the pond there, down the [laughter].. Was hoping he wouldn't see us but I- but I'm gonna be real bold and just go right in here. [laughter] And he might've heard us, this brother was kind of loud.. when he shared his testimony, about six other brothers [on] shore.. and I think the fisherman wondered a little bit, cause, out of the corner of my eye I was wondering if he could see us there, but that gave me a little courage, so next time we went a little closer, where, a little more fisherman were. And after about, two or three times, God convicted me, "Look, what's baptism all about anyhow Jim? You see that pond in the center of campus? You go there." [laughs] [laughter]
It's really right on the edge of campus, and lotta students were around, and- well, I never will forget that day. We went there. And some of those that followed in our example, I mean, they were even more radical. I mean when they got saved they had to baptized - and in January in Greeley there's a foot of ice.. they're out there strong! They take this sweet little sister, in the name of the father and son and Holy Spirit.. [laughter] [undecipherable] through the ice, pull her back out.. and I want to tell you.. you get tough real quick! [laughter] You're no longer worried about the people that are watching, wondering if you're insane or not. [laughter] You're just hoping you come back up again. [laughter]
And after the two years- by the time the two years were up, we're out witnessing and preaching and- and God just raised us up. So that it got so that, every person I was talking to, they'd heard, either I or someone else, they had heard, directly, indirectly, about the Gospel, about the Christians. I remember my psychology teacher, he was- he need some psycho-therapy - anyhow [laughter] we talked often. And he was amazed at the- the character and the constitution that we had. The fearless and the freeness and the joy, and everything else. He just, he was messed up, and he'd see us- all the time, he'd go out of his way, "Jim, how you doing?"
Across the campus, he'd hollar and say hi to me, and- sometimes he'd say, ah- "How are the Christians doing?" [laughter] I'd tell him, "Great," and we'd- class - I'd go into classes, and, lecture classes like this, and come in and know that this class was appointed of God for me to be in it. Not- look around, cause I knew that I was gonna sit next to someone that God had assigned me to sit next to. We'd win guys. We'd- men and women.. got saved. And- we didn't see, really a lot happen- we made more stir than we saw productivity, but we did all we knew. We had about 30 faithful, we saw more than that happen- but it took a lot of- you had to really be faithful to be with us. [laughter]
Second year we had 30. We doubled- or tripled- again, and.. I was so excited, I thought, "Boy, this is it." It's- bound to be time to leave, we got 30, there's no more need for me around here.. [laughs] so I thought, and in some ways, there wasn't. In the campus, at least. There were - we'd heard - and younger men, other guys were raising up, and- so I was praying, and I dropped out of school the last quarter, just so I could get full time to be with these men, cause I figured I wouldn't be with them again. To get in the Word, to pour in the Word, day and night, to pray day and night, to- share with these, handful- there's about 30, and about a dozen, or 15 or 20 men, and- uh, and in doing that, that's- that was during the Vietnam days. This was in '65.. 6.. 7.. That was about '67. 6.. '67.. '68.. that summer.
Drafted Into Vietnam
And in those days, if you weren't in school, you would get drafted. Well I was going the next fall, I was already accepted, in the next city, Pueblo. Was heading- I was already enrolled, I was already accepted, I was already in. And my enrollment pap- my papers came to- have me drafted, and again, another thing that was just- miraculous- was I found out later, by four days - if our school would've started four days earlier, they'd of proc'd me four days later, I wouldn't have been drafted. I'd have been in school. And the president, even of the, Uni- the college there, wrote a personal letter to even try to get me out.
When I went to the board to appeal it, it was my old junior high basetball coach. [laughter] And we hit it off great, and he said, "Jim, I feel so bad - we'd get you out like that but we've already sent the- your papers on up to ah- ah-" Not that he looked at it and saw my name, but it- through the process - on up to uh- Denver. I went up to Denver, and it was too late. It'd gone from there to Washington, around, it was just passed, and I said, "Oh God." I remembered though that verse in Proverbs, when they were drawing, you know, their lots, and Proberbs, I think it's 16, where it says, "The lots are cast into the lap, but the whole choosing, the whole choosing is from the Lord." I couldn't figure it out, God, we're- we're out to reach the world, nobody knows it yet, but- we're out to reach the world and you're stopping the program here! [laughter] We're going to our next city! [laughs] South. And- uh- something's wrong.
It took faith at that point in time. To believe that. And as I was in the army I began to remember a verse that I claimed, in Luke 16, I believe it's Luke 16, there's one in 19, it's one of those chapters.. You can read em' both, they're both good. [laughter] And uh, where Jesus said, "The one that is faithful" - and I think it may be a parable that he was relating to heaven or something - I don't remember all that.. But I got the principle from it. For my life, when I was back in Greeley that last year. As I was praying, and I remember the railroad tracks, I used to walk down railroad tracks. I tell ya, I think I went further than the trains did sometimes, walking. And so I was afraid I'd be in a trance in prayer and a train would wipe me out [laughter] and I'd never hear the whistle, ya know.. [laughter]
Many times when I was really getting praying hard, I'd always get off the track, I just felt I was in such- rapture with God. I- honestly thought it could run me over and I wouldn't know it. And I'd get off the tracks to the side and walk [laughs] and sometimes I did get scared when they'd come charging down- but I'd walk and pray down those tracks.. miles.. and I'd claim that verse, in Luke, where Jesus said, "If you're faithful with the very little.." he said, "I'll give you authority over five cities." And I applied that to spiritual authority, and taking it for Christ, and taking cities for Christ, and setting up churches. And I remember claiming that early in Greeley, and boy that was a- "God, I can be faithful! I'm gonna be faithful!" Cause we got one, and I'm gonna get five, and you promised here, with this principle, and I'm gonna claim it for this.
And I never will forget, and at the end of those two years, I remember, before I left and- when I was drafted, I remember walking down those railroad tracks, before I went in the army, weeping for miles. Cause I knew God didn't have to answer that. Cause I could think of times, that I'd missed. And I didn't think I could really said, "God, you've gotta come through. I've been faithful, I've never missed a lick." [end of tape]
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