Jim Bakker was asked, who was the biggest surprise visitor you had in prison? Here is his response: Billy Graham was the biggest surprise because he is such a busy man. A few days before he arrived he had been voted the most respected man in the world. I heard that on my little radio in prison. He came just a few days before I found out that my wife was divorcing me. So I think it was God preparing me for that moment. When he came to visit me I had the flu. I looked like a man who had slept under a bridge. My hair was a mess and I had my old toilet-cleaning clothes on. My toes were sticking out of my shoes. I had just finished cleaning the toilets, and the guards came to get me. One of the guards led me across the compound, and I thought he was taking me to the lieutenant’s office. I thought maybe I was in trouble. But then they said, “Didn’t they tell you. Billy Graham is here to see you.” So I walked into the room and he had his arms outstretched and he embraced me and told me he loved me. We sat and talked, and when he prayed everyone else in the room prayed. When you feel like you’re worthless, and then somebody like that comes, it’s really shocking.
7 Commitments of a Messenger of Hope:
- Honor without criticism: We honor the measures of fruitfulness, no matter how small, and the budding virtues of others that have not yet fully matured. We honor them regardless of the deficiencies in ministry (lacking prayer, teaching, outreach, youth ministry, etc.). We bless without needing to agree with differences in ministry focus and style.
- Radical Optimism (Walk of Faith): “The triumph of the Gospel is enough to make any man the wildest kind of enthusiastic optimist.” – John G. Lake.
- Practice 10:1 Ratio: Search earnestly for the good and cling to it. Find the treasure in them. Highlight the grace of God already at work in them.
- Hope All Things: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Cor. 13:7. Hope is a Favorable confident expectation; a happy anticipation of good.
- Inclusion without elitism: We set our heart to include others by receiving from them and by using our resources to help others succeed without reference to how it affects us.
- For the good of others: We serve for the success of the people we minister to instead of seeing them as a stepping stone to our future success. Good leaders are focused on helping others succeed in God’s will for their lives, regardless of whether it means joining another ministry. We do not own the people. Jesus does. We must strengthen their loyalty and connection to Jesus.
- Contagious Confidence in Jesus’ Word and Work: We put our confidence in the work of Jesus happening in the hearts of others more than their weaknesses. We speak to that glory abiding in them and call it to manifest or come to the surface. Hebrews 6:18-20 “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”