Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bruce Wilkinson


Last week God set up an unexpected lunch with Bruce Wilkinson. He is the author of the best selling book, THE PRAYER OF JABEZ. This book sold 9 million copies and is estimated to have been read by 30 million people.

I first heard of Bruce Wilkinson while a student attending High Street. He was a guest speaker on Sunday and preached the sermon THE THREE CHAIRS. I can still remember the point of that message many years later. I also remember going through the Bible program, WALK THROUGH THE BIBLE. So you can see that for me it was quite an unexpected gift to be able to spend some 3 hours over lunch with this man.

It all started when he was the guest speaker at the radio stations Pastors Appreciation Lunch at Bass Pro Shop. His message was both thought provoking and compelling and focused on the need for the church to return to and emphasis on small groups and away from the once a week service focus. During his talk he stopped and said that he felt like God wanted him to come back to Springfield to talk further with pastors if there was any interest. He pulled out his calendar and said, I have one date left this month, October 23. If there are any pastors interested let me know. Many pastors indicated that they wanted him to return. When he sat down I felt led to offer to pay for his room if he came back. I took out a business card and quietly approached his table just before we were dismissed. I handed it to him and said that if he would come back, High Street would pay for his room. He whispered to me, "High Street. I remember being there with David Cavin."

We exchanged a few emails mostly with his assistant to arrange accommodations when he decided he was in fact coming. On the 23rd about 90 pastors got together at the Holiday Inn North for what was a 10-11 hour day with him. It was a very interesting and thought provoking day. At the end of the day he graciously handed out copies of his books. The group crowded around him waiting for his to sign a book. I only decided to approach him because Cindy was talking and the room had pretty much emptied. When I asked for the signature his assistant mentioned that High Street had taken care of their rooms. He thanked me, continued to sign and then looked at me and said, "I think we are suppose to talk. Can you talk tomorrow. I feel like we are suppose to spend time together." And so that is how it happened. We met at 11 and for 3 hours it was like having a special time with a mentor. He asked penetrating questions about myself, my family and ministry. At one point he asked if he could go to the church. We did go and he looked around and he prayed for me and the church standing in front of the auditorium. it was a special time.

I left the experience having received some personal instruction and some powerful encouragement. It was a great day. He is a man of faith. He asked God for some very difficult things and is not afraid to move in faith and try to do the impossible. He told me that he felt like God was going to bless High Street and said we would be one of those TURNAROUND CHURCHES. His faith was catching. It was a great and unexpected gift.