Recently I spent a week in Nigeria at the Nigerian National Convention of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship with Doug Raine and Nathan Cole, one of our young Joshua’s.
Each day we would leave the hotel at 4-pm in the afternoon for the evening meeting, arriving back at the hotel after midnight.
During the first several days of the Convention Doug Raine would arise early in an effort to meet with the Fireteam outreach team operating in the city. While Doug was gone Nathan and I would meet for breakfast and afterwards spend time writing an email report of the previous day’s convention events to publish on our FGBMFA and FG-GF Websites.
At breakfast one morning I shared a short testimony with Nathan concerning an event I had experienced on an airlift to Japan many years earlier. Nathan found it quite interesting and as we met for each subsequent breakfast or luncheon he would request me to share another story from my past experiences, sometimes I would share several of these experiences at a breakfast or luncheon with him.
On my long trip back to America I was thinking about the hunger that these stories had apparently awaked in my young friend Nathan. I began to realize that my experiences which were like an old book to me were fresh and exciting to Nathan, in fact they were no doubt very instructive to him. It also occurred to me that these stories which had caught Nathan’s attention would provide a great learning experience to all our Joshua’s. Not just my own experiences but also those of all the other Moses’ in the Fellowship.
Testimonies are great teachers because it is easy to remember them and that makes it easy to apply them when they are needed… As I contemplated Nathan’s interest in these testimonies I began to realize that these learning experiences that I and other members of the Moses Generation have gained while starting the Fellowship in other nations must be passed on to the Joshua Generation. Why should they have to start all over again? By learning vicariously from our experiences, these young Joshua’s will begin their spiritual journeys far ahead of where we started off. Many of the experiences that we Moses’ have had over the years that have instructed us in the faith are unfamiliar to the Joshua Generation and should be shared with them. As a result of my interaction with Nathan in Nigeria I have decided to write a series of short stories to help train our Joshua’s; stories that are easy to read and easy to remember and something our Joshua’s can use to jump-start their spiritual Journey.
In the first few years of our spiritual lives, we tend to increase in spiritual knowledge and experience much more rapidly than in our later years. This was certainly true in my own experience.
In the first dozen years after I was “born again” and “baptized in the Holy Spirit” I was so excited about the Lord that I would often read several new spiritual books every week. I would on occasion stay home from the office and read a particularly interesting book in a single day. But you must understand that I was not born again until I was 43 years old, so I had a lot of catching up to do. In fact my spiritual journey started while reading a book.
When my wife Barbara and I returned from our honeymoon I found a book, lying on the living room table which had been left there by my new Methodist mother-in-law. The book was written by Merlin Carothers, a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army. Colonel Carothers had served with the famous 82nd Airborne; he was a master parachutist with over 90 jumps. He was my type of man. When I first picked up the book and began to read it, I thought the book which was entitled Power in Praise, was a secular success motivation book.
But as I read Colonel Carothers book I soon came to realize that he was not talking about success motivation principles in a conventional sense; he was talking about God’s gift of eternal life. As I read and reread Power in Praise, it began to change the way I thought. And soon faith in God’s word began to develop in my heart. Then on March 8, 1976, I asked Jesus Christ to become my Lord and Savior. Seven months later after reading and re-reading the same book I received the Baptism in the Spirit which put me on an accelerated path to Christian maturity.
After I was baptized in the Holy Spirit I had such a spiritual hunger that I began to read every Christian spiritual book I could get my hands on. Like natural growth I found that spiritual growth can be painful because it stretches us. But it is through these stretching exercises that we develop our spiritual muscles. One such experience in my life occurred shortly after I began attending a Full Gospel Business Men’s chapter in my home town of Seattle. Several years prior to becoming a Christian I was injured in a skiing accident which left my left hip in continual pain. After a series of X-rays my doctor told me that my left leg was about 5/8 – 3/4 inches shorter than the right leg which prevented my back from healing properly.
The doctor attempted to correct the problem by fitting me with a lift in the sole and heel of my left shoe, but the pain continued to plague me.
Three months after attending my first Full Gospel Business Men’s meeting I heard about a convention that the Fellowship was planning in British Columbia, Canada, and Barbara and I decided to attend. As we looked over the convention brochure, we decided that on Thursday afternoon, we would attend a teaching session taught by a man by the name of Joe Poppel. He was scheduled to speak and pray for people to be healed. When Joe Poppel finished speaking I could hardly believe my ears, he said, “Is there anyone in this meeting who has a clinically short leg? Come up here and God will heal you.” Wow! That was me! I immediately ran to the front of the room and up on the stage, but a man who had been setting near the front of the meeting room got ahead of me. This man had a really short leg; so short that he had a three and a half inch lift built into the soul of his shoe. Joe Poppel calmly sat the man down in a chair, and held up his legs in front of the audience, so that they could see the three and a half inch lift in the sole of the shoe. Then Joe Poppel prayed a simple prayer and asked God to lengthen the short leg so that each leg was equal. But now the man had to take off his shoes in order to walk off the stage because with the lift he was so lop-sided.
Next Joe turned to me and prayed the same prayer, asking God to lengthen my leg. As he prayed my leg extended to the proper length and I was healed! Now I had to buy a new pair of shoes so I could walk evenly. What happened that day was exciting but it was not nearly as exciting as what was about to happen.
When I returned home to Seattle I told everyone I met how God had lengthened my leg and healed me. I remember that one of my former partners, a non-believer upon hearing my testimony said, “Aw that’s just psychosomatic“, I said “big deal, who cares”.
At next month’s Seattle Chapter meeting I was excitingly telling everyone at my table what God was doing in my life. A man at my table, who was an usher in the meeting named Gene Williams, also had a Sunday Morning Ministry to the prisoners in the local King County Jail. Upon hearing my excitedly fresh testimony, Gene asked me to go with him to the jail the next day and share the same testimony; I had just been sharing with the other table guests, with the prisoners in the jail. This would be the first time I had ever shared my testimony publically. I agreed to do so and met Gene at the County Jail the next morning.
I told the prisoners how God had saved me, how he had baptized me in the Holy Spirit, and about my newest experience, of how God had lengthen my left leg and healed me. As soon as I finished telling the Prisoners how God had lengthened my short leg, a big six foot six inch tall black man jumped up and said, “Man I wish that guy who prayed for you were here. I have one leg that is over three inches shorter than the other.” I thought to myself, “I wish he were here too, I would like to see this guy get healed.” Gene Williams, the man who had invited me to give my testimony set the man down in a chair and measured his legs. Sure enough one leg was 3-3-1/2 inches longer than the other. Then Gene said to me, “Bob, come here and pray for this man!” The first thing I thought of was where is the restroom? I was looking for a way to avoid praying for this man but all eyes were upon me now. I had just told these prisoners that God was our Healer. There was no way to gracefully get out of praying for this man. I had to pray. The man’s I was a bit nervous, and I prayed a rather long prayer, more or less stalling for time. But nothing happened. Then I said to the Lord very quietly, it was almost a silent prayer, I don’t think the others could have possibly heard what I prayed… “Now Lord you told me in your word that if I prayed for the sick that you would heal them,” then I said rather boldly in the name of Jesus, leg be lengthened.” All at once that leg shot out, all three and one half inches of it, the man jumped up and began to jump around the room where we were meeting and exclaiming, “I am healed! I am healed! I am healed!” And I tried to look like that just happened all the time! But inwardly I was so excited I could hardly wait to get home and tell Barbara.
That experience stretched me considerably…it was somewhat painful at the time but it gave me real confidence in the word of God, it caused my faith to be strengthen, and it opened up a whole new world of healing and miracles in my life.
Aging is the process of dying. In the natural, when we stop growing we begin the process of dying. First we realize that our muscles are getting tired more quickly, then we notice that they get sore with exercise. This causes us to resist difficult or painful exercise, which caused our muscles to begin to atrophy.
Spiritually, however, we never need to begin the aging process, though many older Christians do. We should continue to feed on the word of faith, growing in vision and in spiritual strength as long as we live on this earth. There is no limit to how much you can grow spiritually.
If you ever stop growing spiritually you will begin to lose the spiritual ground you have already taken.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and people should go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them whether or not they will walk in My instructions” (Exodus 16:4).
The Old Testament is a type and shadow of the New Testament but Exodus 16:4 still remains the daily test for us Christians.
It is a test to determine whether we will get up first thing in the morning and seek fresh manna from the Lord for our soul. We need to daily feed on the Word of God just to maintain our spiritual edge.
But you young men need to do more than to maintain your faith. You need more than just a daily reading of the Bible. You need to understand the basic rules of the Kingdom of God and know how to walk in them.
Recently I ran across a Bible study guide entitled “An Enduring Vision: A Fifty Day Journey” by Rick Joyner that I found quite enlightening. It may be purchased from www.destinyimage.com.
Barbara and I will be glad to provide any of you Joshua men a copy of “An Enduring Vision: A Fifty Day Journey” if you simply email me your mailing address to email@example.com.
You might also wish to download the following chapters from my online e-book for free at www.businessbythespirit.org : Chapter 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17: and the Introduction to Part III: Understanding the laws of the Kingdom. While the whole book would be helpful to you, these chapters should be particularly helpful to you in establishing your Foundation.
In Jesus Name,
Robert W. Bignold
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America