I will forever remember as though we were standing there now, as you read these words.
The place: The walking bridge connecting the student parking lot to the bustling campus of Oral Roberts University, where the grandiose buildings and space age architecture were a daily reminder to the thousands of us students of Dr. Oral Roberts' charge to “Make no small plans here.”
The time: 25 years ago.
The experience: A life-changing encounter that would set the course for my spiritual future in ways I would never have imagined when I woke up almost late for class that beautiful spring morning in Tulsa.
With a mere six weeks remaining before graduation, and with a dream in my heart far bigger than myself, I was ready to go from this incredible place of preparation to be used by God to fulfill the Great Commission and reach our world for Christ.
Serving as a youth pastor in a local church, as a worship leader in another, carrying a 10-foot cross and sharing the gospel with whomever would listen across Tulsa, preaching on the streets, outside bars, leading evangelistic teams to Florida’s beaches during Spring break to witness to the masses of college students that swarm there from across the country—now coupled with my ORU experience—I was ready to spread my wings and take the next exciting step in God’s unfolding plan.
I drove my old car from the student apartments to campus, parked in the lot outside the Mabee Center and began my trek to class. I had done it hundreds of times. Grab my books, slam the car door closed and begin my brisk walk with a spring in my step to be sure I get to the first class of the day on time.
Connecting the parking lot and the campus is a simple white cement walking bridge spanning across a creek that divides the lot from the ORU campus, a well-traveled daily route. But I was soon to find out that this day would be unlike any other.
As I set foot on the bridge, I encountered a tangible presence and heard a voice that I knew only too well—and it stopped me in my tracks. Students scurrying to class by the scores walked past me as I stood still at the midpoint of this small bridge. Perhaps a minute passed, and now I was standing alone on the bridge.
I was unexpectedly stopped by a wonderful presence and challenged by the unmistakable voice of the Holy Spirit. The words are as fresh today as they were 25 years ago:
“Greg, what would you think if I called you to serve another man’s ministry that had the same vision that I have put in your heart, and by doing so, you would reach more people for My kingdom than if you did so on your own?”
I stood motionless pondering this heavenly proposition. A few straggling students passed by on the bridge, I’m sure wondering if this skinny 6-foot-9 motionless statue of a fellow student had lost his marbles!
Knowing how I responded to this divine moment would surely set the course for God’s future plans for my life. And marveling what a gentleman our God is. To present a “what would you think?” question, and not some “thus saith the Lord, you will do such and such …” command! I stood there and pondered.
Give up the idea of launching “my own” ministry … Serve someone else’s ministry that had the same heart as I do; reach more people; be more effective for the Kingdom of God. The more I mulled it over, it was a clear no-brainer!
“Sure, Lord. If I can be more fruitful and reach more for You by helping someone else who is already doing what You have put in my heart to do, then count me in!”
Two weeks later, the ORU chapel service guest minister—worldwide evangelist, apostle and prophet Dr. Morris Cerullo—was introduced to the students. Another life-changing encounter. As this servant of God spoke from the words of John 6:28, “What must we do that we might work the works of God,”the Mabee Center chapel shook as the anointing of the Holy Spirit was poured out mightily upon the students.
Soon all were out of their seats, dropped to their knees, and crying out for God to use their lives; as was I. As I slowly began to stand after this season of prayer and communion with God on my knees in this powerful chapel service, that same voice I encountered on the bridge spoke again.
“Greg, I am calling you to stand by Morris’ side and help him in the ministry.”
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
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