Tagged in: TL Osborn

Why gospel crusades are a failure

I believe in gospel crusades. I really believe in them alot. However, many times they are a failure.

The reason this is happening is not as simple as many think. It is because of in many cases, pastors lack a vision for the harvest. They see the gospel crusade as a mere excuse to practice personal evangelism. I can not tell you how many planning meetings I have been part of the pastors did nothing but spoke of “local church.” There was very little focus on the harvest, evangelism, and mission. It was just “grow my church.” Continue reading…

Has Brian Zahnd lost the faith?

Brian Zahnd is my former pastor. My father grew up in King City, Missouri and Brian is from Savannah. I spend several years at Word of Life Church in Saint Joseph, Missouri. The pastor I remember was up to his eyeballs in the word of faith movement and the focus was completely focused on “faith, life, victory.” The Church was basically the local version of Victory Christian Center (Billy Joe Daugherty’s church). In fact, Victory’s long time youth pastor came from Word of Life.

Faith was everything at the church. Brian proclaimed often that Acts 16:5 was his key for ministry. He believed that the preaching of faith was critical to the growth of the church. His testimony was “God said to preach faith and the church will grow.” He was amazing at doing two things: preaching faith and doing altar calls. He could not do alot of things in ministry but these he did very, very well.

I look back at many of the services and realize that God did some amazing things. I was there where people like Steve Hage, Jesse Duplantis, and Eastman Curtis came to do ministry. Lives were forever changed in those meetings. It was not just having church, it was about expanding the Kingdom.

Brian Zahnd departs from faith

I do not mean that he lost his salvation or he is a heretic. I am not willing to make that call. What I am willing to say is that he did leave the faith message behind. In his words, “I am packing my bags and leaving the Charismatic movement.” His emphasis on faith became an emphasis on the desert fathers that had mostly views of catholicism. He has a special place in his heart for St. Augustine of Hippo. I am not saying that we should not study history (we should and I encourage it) I am saying things changed.

Word of Life Church saw about a third of the membership leave for other churches. The reason was spiritual. God said to Brian (his own account) that if he preach faith, the church would grow. Now, that he was not preaching faith, it is only natural to assume that he was not doing what God had told him to do. People need faith, not history lessons.

I have been gone from Saint Joseph for many years and when I am in town, I preach in smaller Pentecostal churches. I have not been to Word of Life Church for many years but I do follow them from a distance. I have watch the transformation of the messages from the pulpit and I must say I am surprised at it.

This is a trend that I see with friends in ministry that are dabbling in the writings of NT Wright. I have read his books but it was not anything that I would throw out centuries of revelation and prophetic understanding to embrace. Wright has some good things to say but pastors changing their whole doctrinal statement and focus the Holy Spirit has given them is too much.

Brian Zahnd misses something about history

He loves history. He always has. He used it often in preaching faith. I do not question his study of the history of the church one bit. He probably knows it better than most professors do to be honest.

However, I think he misses something very important: Church history is not the study of names and events but it is the study of mantles and mandates. When we understand this truth, it changes everything that we need see and know about that great cloud of witnesses.

When we realize there is power in the stories; the power of the testimony; then we can respond with our heart positioned to cry, “If you are still God, you can still do it!” History should create in us a desire to see what they saw in our lives in our day in our culture. It is doesn’t, we missed the point of church history.

I find it hard to read the stories of men like Count Zinzendorf, William Seymour and TL Osborn and not be inspired to see what they saw in my life, in my city and through my ministry. It is hard to read it as mere facts. Church history is living and in for us to receive as an impartation. I truly believe in the words that I cried so many times on the floor in Toronto, “There MUST be More!”

Zahnd is still my brother

Even if I am a strong Pentecostal with an emphasis on faith and he does not, he is still my brother and I would still share communion with him as part of the brethen in Christ. Relationship is based on blood (of Jesus), not common  agreement to doctrinal truth. When we rally to doctrines, we form demoninations. When we rally to the blood, we form the Kingdom of God. Personally, I am far more concerned about the Kingdom of God in and through our lives than I am about being part of a “corporate fellowship” that is more dogmatic about a position that dynamic about the gospel of the Kingdom.

We have to be careful to not make theological differences more important than being a brother or sister in Christ. I might not attend Word of Life again (over doctrine) but that does not mean I would not welcome them as my siblings in the Lord. Jesus said whoever believes in Him is my brother and sister in the Lord.

It is impossible for God to raise up fathers in the faith and spiritual sons and daughters when we determine our relationship based on theological statements. I am not sure what we are doing with 1 Corinthians 4:15? Where is the spiritual fathers and mothers that relate to in love, not doctrine? They are few and far between.



TL Osborn: Grandfather of Evangelism

T.L. Osborn was one of the most humble men I know and one of the most anointed I know. He had been all over the world and led more people to Christ than anyone in history but you would not know it chatting with him at a coffeehouse in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was just that humble.

The man is known as the grandfather of mass evangelism for a reason though. He lived for the gospel. He believe the soul winning was the chief calling of every believer. He is right too. We might not like the fact that we are to preach the gospel but that does not change the great commission. Preach the gospel and you must use words!

The purpose of a spirit filled life is to demonstrate the supernatural power of our living God so that the unsaved multitudes will abandon their dead gods to call upon the name of The Lord and be delivered. (T.L. Osborn) 

I remember the last time I saw him before he checked out for his heavenly reward. He was decicidating the new ministry center on Memorial in Tulsa. (The famous old one was part of the new highway project). I was struggling with doing a conference in Congo at the time. I have every reason to go but I also had every reason to not to go. He talked to me and with a smile on his face, “If you do not go, who will? They need the gospel.”  It was the tipping point for me to go to Congo.

TL Osborn was a man of faith & action

We all know that without works, our faith is dead but most of us still have a life void of any real works for the Lord. We do not do the great commission. We do not feed the hungry. We do not see visit those who are locked in their homes or in prisons. We know we should but we don’t.

Brother Osborn was always the sweet, loving, and compassionate guy that would kick up in the backside to remind us what the Bible told us about the gospel. I am not sure I have seen a person with a better grip on the issue on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in my life. He had some serious revelation and it was all scriptural based.

He is the man you could not help but love. He has passion for the things of the Spirit, cared about people and have a devotion to the New Testament. He is everything a man of God should be.

He lived with a deep concern that we have preached faith, destroyed hope and ignore love in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. We pushed faith so much because lost hope if they did not see their naming did not become claiming.

The hallmark of TL Osborn was his commitment to preaching the compassion of Jesus, not the fire of hell. He did not have a problem with people preaching hell, fire, and brimstone but he focused on compassion as his niche of the gospel.

Every time I met him, I walked away with a deeper love for people, a deeper commitment to the great commission, and a deeper understanding of soteriology. That was the TL Osborn that I knew.

He understood the Pentecostal mission

There is only one purpose of pentecost; that is to effectively evangelize lost souls. (TL Osborn)

Those words would give us the heartbeat of Pentecostal ministries from Azusa Street and even since. The problem is many of the Spirit-filled ministries today are worried about everything but actually doing the Great Commission. Pentecost was always about reaching the lost at any cost.  He has a deep conviction that signs and wonders must confirm the gospel. The good news is Jesus had the same view on the subject.

The message was always at the core of anything that he did: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not try and make it creative. He believed the gospel presented just as it was powerful. He led more people to the cross that any man in history, including Billy Graham, in the process as well.

It was the simplicity of the gospel that was his hallmark. He did not live like most of the faith preachers of his era. He put as much money as he could in the gospel work around the nation. Until his day, his publication were made very cheap (and you could tell) so he could give away books to people in Africa.

TL Osborn changed the world

I had the privilege of standing next to him in Manila, Philippines when he came with Mike Francen for a gospel crusade in 2000. I was a young, big, buff guy that told to run “security” for him. I was more interested in impartation than security to be honest. After all, I though the angels were provided a hedge of protection pretty well myself.

The time I spend with him in the Philippines was a great time and it really changed some of my focus in life. It was not until years later that I was freed up to just do evangelism but one of the prophetic moments that made that happen was the four days I worked security for TL Osborn.

The people that he touched are many and I am happy to say I am in that company. I have many friends that also was touched over the years by him. He carried a mantle for evangelism that few have. That mantle has yet to be picked up. I wonder if the burden is too much for one man to bear.

I believe we need a movement of crusade evangelists that will answer the call to preach the gospel from the stadiums of the world and reach the lost at any cost. Men (and women) who will stand up and declare the saving, healing, delivering and touching power of the Holy Spirit to a world that is broken and downcast.

Spirit of Prophecy is the power of testimony

I love the prophetic ministry. I love hearing God speak to us. I love the spirit of prophecy.

I will never get why some people want nothing to do with the prophetic. It just does not make sense to me. Personal prophecy can release destiny over your life. Sometimes, it is just easier for God to use a stranger to read our mail than fight through our insecurities and doubts.

One of the pastors that I love to hear preach on the prophetic is Bill Johnson from Bethel Redding. The reason that I love him is he is not a prophetic person himself but has been the assignment from the Holy Spirit to mentor them and lead a company of prophets.

If you have been around prophets as long as I have, you know this is no easy task. Everything is a prophetic showdown like Elijah had at Mt. Carmel. They can never be, can we say, normal people?

Spirit of Prophecy is a cycle

It starts with God has touched you, you tell your God Story, someone you hardly know grabs hold of your story, applies faith to it, believes God to do in their lives and they are radically touched just like you was. This happens all the time.

The bible calls this an impartation, one of the core values of the first century church. Paul (we believe it was him) called it an elementary teaching of the Church. It was right in the list with repentance, faith, communion, the rapture, and White Throne of Judgement. Can we agree those are pretty important things to be list with?

Now that we can know this is not some crazy idea of a Pentecostal getting too much pizza at Godfather’s or too many shots of espresso at Parena Bread; we can see the biblical release of the spoken word. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God!

Living in Tulsa and going to Oral Roberts University, you are around alot of people that believe in rhema words. That is the Word of God speaking directing to you. Every word from the Lord is prophetic in nature in the way that it can create a miracle in your life. You just have to love the risk that people from Rhema Bible Institute and others will take to do might things to bring glory to Jesus!

Without turning this into an overly complex study of Hebrew, Greek, Arabic and Latin; there is two words in the biblical languages that really are powerful: Rhema and Kairos.

Rhema means the Word of God comes alive. You read that God will supply all your needs and it comes alive as the Word is empowered by your measure of faith.

Kairos means that you receive a word that is for the right person at the right place at the right time.

What we need today in the Church is people who have the Rhema Word in the Kairos moment. That is the times that revival can break out, miracles can become common and the lost will be falling on their faces at McDonalds and Wal-Mart repenting of their sins.

Blood of Jesus- Word of testimony

Spirit of Prophecy makes you an overcomer

Have yo ever thought about Revelation 12:11? What does it really mean? This is a passage I do not hear much of anymore and it bothers me. It has the creative ability to change lives if we let it.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

If you notice the victory was not just the blood of Jesus. The power of Cross is amazing but God wants us to partner with Him as Co-heirs and as co-laborers with Christ. He wants the word of our testimony. It can be noted that it says our testimony, not His.

When you tell of your past victories in the Holy Spirit, you are building your faith for future victories that are better and better. Never discount your God stories. They carry the prophetic word to set the captives free.

Too many believers turn into Calvinists when it comes to the supernatural. God wants to do it but He wants us to be part of His deliverance. We are called by God to be actively involved in our own miracle and provision.

When your will and His will come in agreement, anything can happen and it probably will but you have to release your faith and your testimony so the Holy Spirit can meet you at your point of faith.
Oral Roberts 1970

How to go in the spirit of Prophecy

If you want to grow in your testimony, you need to let the testimony of Jesus grow in you. A great place to start that process (besides the Bible) is reading some of the old books by Dr. Oral Roberts, a pioneer in the Faith movement.

It was listen to the many of the classic message from Oral’s tent days that put the message of Faith in my spirit. God increases our faith for the supernatural. Oral Roberts and Bill Johnson would be on the same page, ” The Holy Spirit is a river, not a lake.”

The other book that I read that just transformed me was a little booklet called Faith’s Testimony by Dr. TL Osborn, a man that saw more people come to Christ in his lifetime than anyone in history, including BIlly Graham. He is known as the Grandfather of mass evangelism.

There is many others that have great bodies of work on growing in faith but that two are a great place to start growing in your faith for miracles.

Of course, I would amiss if I didn’t mention Bill Johnson’s book, Supernatural Power of the Transformed Mind as well. It is a new version of alot of what Oral Roberts taught in the 1960’s. Plus you will probably have a much easier time finding Bill’s book than you would some of Dr. Robert’s and TL Osborn’s stuff.

Good luck in your journey into the spirit of prophecy

Income inequality according to Jesus

Income inequality.

It is a buzzword in American politics right now but what really is and since everyone claims that they have the word of God on the subject what does the gospels actually teach.

This subject like many form a cross in scripture. That is where one major truth appears to be in conflict with another direct truth. This is not true when you look at the deeper meaning of the text and what the lifestyles of the early believers was like. Continue reading…

Healing Ministry & Revival

First of all, before I write any more, let me say this: I move in healing ministry and believe like Jesus did: the power of the Lord is present to heal. Healing is not optional for the believer and every Christian is healed by the same blood that saved them. I know some believer, myself included, that are not walking in the fullness of the price paid for me at Golgotha but truth does not change based on my experince.

We, Christians, have a way of downgrading the truth of God’s word to meet what we experince in our ministries but we should upgrade our experinces to match the Word of God. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God to earth destroying sin, sickness and the curse of them. Satan is under our feet and as Paul said, “the God of peace will soon crush satan under our feet.” (Romans 16:20)

While some are denying the innement return of the Lord in the air; some are teaching what is called “Kingdom Now” theology where basically we are trying to “prepare the earth for the second coming.” However, the truth is God is not interested in saving the world, He is only interested in saving humanity. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying “The heavens and the earth will pass away…” John tells us of the vision where this happened in Revelation. We are to be about saving tree, whales or anything else Al Gore tells us we should. We are to be about four things: preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.

Several years, I was given an opportunity that I will never forget all my days. I had coffee with Dr. Oral Roberts. He told me several things but one of them is worthy of stating here, “Expect a miracle TODAY!” He did not tell me to believe for miracles or pray for miracles but to expect them. Those words live in my life and ministry all my days. When I travel to the nations and pray for the sick and demonized, I do not believe for signs and wonders, I expect them.

Today, after the “Lakeland Outpouring” mess that end in the worse possible way; many are questioning if healing ministry is a valid expression of the Kingdom of God in the 21st century. However, God is not moved from his position during Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or Acts. He is the God of the gospels and He is the God of the Now. If He is God, He still heals. If He still saves, He stills delivers. If He still delivers, He still heals. It is a package deal.

The problem with healing ministry is not on God’s end!