I didn’t want to do it. I had been working all day in the hot Dallas sun. I was tired. Exhausted. Cranky. There was a fellowship meeting at a small Pentecostal church that evening that I didn’t want to go to. And I wasn’t going. I had made up my mind. I was going to take a hot bath, wash off the sweat, lay around and watch television. Then my mother said, “You need to go.”
You don’t realize the significance of that. It was during the interim time that I had an uneasy truce with my father and worked for him if I didn’t have a preaching engagement. My mother wanted to keep the household peace and when I did get an invitation to speak at some small church the peace was broken. So when she said, “You need to go,” I grumbled, bathed, put on my dollar twenty-five Goodwill sport coat matched to my K-Mart slacks (genuine polyester!), and went. It was a set up.
When I arrived at the fellowship meeting the host pastor met me at the door and said, “we decided last night to have a revival and that if you showed up tonight you were to be the evangelist.” W-O-W! The revival went two weeks. People were saved. Believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit. And miracles happened! The pastor also took forty-five minutes before I spoke on the last night to tell everyone everything that I had preached that he didn’t agree with! Those were the days!
It was a set up.
It is a popular message—God has a set up for your step up; that everything that you’re going through is just God getting you ready for your step up and if you just hold on it will happen. But it’s a little more complicated than that.
Fast forward thirty years. The Evangelical Broadcasters Association was having their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. I didn’t want to go. Not my crowd. Expensive. Didn’t know anyone. But something said, “Go.” I did. Grumbling all the way. I remember checking into the hotel, calling Pastor Connie and saying, “I’m going down to the exhibit area and if nothing is happening I’m coming home.” As I walked through the area I came across a booth that said “Liberty Temple.” I stopped and said, “That’s the name of our church in Lima!” They said, “Are you Apostle Leon Stutzman?” I said, “Yes.” They said, “Stay here, our Apostle will want to meet you!” They went off and found Cliff Turner. It seemed that he had read my first book, “From The Ground Up” and felt a connection. We made the connection and for the next ten years I always spoke on the first Friday of December at Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church in Chicago, Illinois. It was a set up.
Being the astute reader that you are you’ve probably noticed a few similarities in the two stories.
First—I didn’t want to go. It was inconvenient. I had other plans. Didn’t want to be around that group of people. And was generally cranky and resistant. But I went.
That’s the second thing. I did something and God moved through serendipitous circumstances to make something happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It wasn’t that God did something—it was that I put myself in the right place, at the right time, for something Divine to happen.
The third similarity that I will point out is that one thing led to another, and each step caused me to step up a little further.
I’m writing this because we are approaching a set up that will bring a step up. The beginning of a thing determines the end of a thing. We begin with the New Years Eve Miracle Blessing Service—thus called because A) I have Holy Ghost Miracle Revival Roots and B) that’s just what it is. Then we proceed and progress through January as the foundation is laid for your step up in 2019. It promises to be a powerful year. If you show up for you set up. That’s on you.