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Sunday Evening Sermon March 22, 1970
"You Don't Have to Tell God How to Do It"
By Dr. Jack Hyles
"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give
thee the desires of thine heart." Psalms 37:4
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that
men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" Luke 18:1
I guess each of us has had this experience. We have
prayed for something to happen, for the Lord to do something for us,
something we wanted very badly. After we prayed, we figured out exactly how
God was going to do it for us. Then, God didn't do it that way so we said,
"Well, I guess the prayer is not going to be answered."
Did you ever pray and then figure out for God exactly
how He was going to do it or get your prayer answered? Then the time came
when the way you had it figured out was all past, and you said, "Well, that
does it. That does it. I'm not going to get it." Anybody here like me? I've
done that. Anybody else? Well, the rest of you are the liars here in this
service tonight. I just feel we all have done that.
God has promised us, "The effectual fervent prayer of
a righteous man availeth much." "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He
shall give thee the desires of thine heart." "Call unto me, and I will
answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you," (and you'll undo your collar
while you preach,) "ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto
God has given us promises all through the Bible.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor
standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But
his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day
and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not with; and
whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." There it is—"Whatsoever he doeth shall
The Bible is full of God's promises to us. If we will
call, he will answer. If we delight in him, He will give us the desires of
our heart. Again and again and again we are reminded. So, we say, "Lord,"
I've done it time and time again. "Lord, here's the way I want it." And lo
and behold, it didn't come the way I thought.
I just remembered something. Sandy, remember that time
that I needed some money? Brother Terry, you remember that time, I know. It
was a big sum of money for the broadcast. I prayed one day for the money and
an old fellow came in. I never will forget it. I had prayed for the Lord to
give me the money. I had to have it by about 4:30, or we were going to drop
(You see, we don't go in the red on our broadcasts. If
we don't have the money, we just drop the stations. I've told Brother Terry
the first day we get one penny in the red, we'll drop a station and we'll
stay in the black.)
So I was praying for some money, and it was after 4:00
in the afternoon and the office closes at 4:30. I said, "Now, Lord, if we
don't get the money by 4:30, we're going to drop some stations." Isn't that
terrible? I asked the Lord for the money and then said, "if we don't."
Anybody else ever pray for something and doubt you'd get it besides me? All
right. We have a lot of liars still here, I see. Anyway, I said, "Now Lord,
I'll pray for it, but if I don't get it by 4:30, we will drop some
Shortly after 4:00, Mrs. Plopper buzzed me and said,
"There's an old man in the hall. He wants to see you." I said, "Look, I'm
too busy. I'm too busy praying for the money." She said, "But this man wants
to see you. He has driven all the way from Joliet to see you." Well, I
though, "Goodnight! I am too busy praying for the money. That old man is
bothering me here." Whether she persuaded me or what happened—probably it
was me that decided to do it, because I am the more spiritual of the two.
Buy anyway, whatever it was, I let him in.
To be quite frank with you, I fussed all the time he
was in there. I said, "Now Lord, here we are. We need the money, and You've
got this old man bothering me in here. I need the money. I have to talk to
this fellow, and I haven't got time to talk to you. I've got to figure out
some way to get the money."
So the fellow said, "My wife died. I live near Joliet.
For three months, I have just been absolutely about to go crazy. Somebody in
Joliet told me there was a preacher over in Hammond that could help me. And
I came here to ask you if you could help me."
I told him about Christ and we knelt and prayed. The
man was baptized the next Sunday morning. I don't guess I've ever been so
unhappy about a man getting saved in all my life. I needed some money for
the broadcast. God forgive me. The old man left and it was 4:25, nearly
4:30. I said, "That does it. That does it! I'm glad he got saved, but there
it goes. That does it!" And so the old man went out and got in his car. Do
you know what he did? He turned around and came back in the church and said,
"By the way, I want to leave something with you." It was, to the penny, what
I had been praying for. To the penny! I told the Lord how to do it, but He
did it in His own way.
Remember that day, Meredith, when the snow came?
Forty-five inches of snow and minus 27; and we couldn't get out, and our
Sunday School attendance dropped that morning to five hundred and something.
Anyway, we only had a $700 offering. The next Sunday, eleven more inches
came and we were down. On two Sundays, almost to the penny, we were $5,000
below our budget. I prayed about it and prayed about it and told God exactly
how to do it. Now God didn't mind me. I told Him exactly how to do it, but
He didn't do it.
So I prayed on the airplane going down to
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I said, "Lord, goodnight! You just goofed up
again. What in the world?" I wanted the money. Five thousand dollars! Look,
we don't get it back. When folks are gone, they come back; but sometimes
they don't bring their money back with them. "So, Lord, $5,000, we've got to
I got to Winston-Salem. I didn't call you, Brother
Terry, when I got there, because I wanted to study and work awhile. I got
there early. I set up a desk in the airport. I got my briefcase and emptied
it on one of the chairs. I got another chair and put it back-to-back and put
the briefcase up across the back. Well, it's none of your business how I did
it, but I set up an office there. I worked a couple of hours.
I called home and dictated some letters to Mrs.
Plopper. She said, "Meredith wants to talk to you." I said, "All right."
Meredith said, "Brother Hyles," how many of you remember Mr. Smith who used
to live down here on Michigan Street? Many of you do. She said, "Mr. Smith
has died and the attorney called and said he left us $5,000." Well, I'll
tell you what. There was some shouting going on in a telephone booth in
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I'll tell you for sure. I said, "Lord, you
didn't do it like I had in mind; but you did it."
Now, look. God is obligated to answer our prayers.
"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of
thine heart." But he is not obligated to do it like we tell Him to do it. He
can give us what we want, but don't tell God how to do it. So I think I've
learned to say, "Lord, now give me $5,000. If you want to, send it by an old
man, or if you want to, send it by Mr. Smith dying and willing it to us."
I've got to the place where I say, "Lord, just give it
to me." That's all. Don't tell God how to do it.
Now, the first thing I want to say is if there's
something you want, ask for it. Ask. Just ask for it. By the way, in the
Bible when the Lord talks about praying, it is always in the linear tense.
Ask, seek, knock. Now in the Greek it says, "Keep on seeking." Seek and seek
and seek and seek. Knock and knock and knock. Is there something you want?
Keep on asking. Is there something you want? Keep on seeking. Is there
something you want? Keep on knocking. That's God's plan.
I don't have time to go through the stories. We've
been through them over and over again. I'll simply remind you of them. The
time when Jacob wrestled with God all night. The angel said, "I've got to go
back to heaven." And Jacob said, "No, you're not. No, you're not." Jacob
wrestled with God and prevailed, and the angel blessed him because Jacob
prevailed with God.
You recall the story in Luke 18:1. It starts off with
this verse, "Men ought always to pray and not to faint." Then it talks about
this unjust judge and this widow that hounded him and hounded him. He said,
"No, don't bother me." She said, "But you've got to." He said, "No, leave me
alone." She said, "I'm not going to do it." He said, "Get out of my way."
She said, "I'm not going to do it." He said, "Get out of my hair." She said,
"I'm going to stay right where I am until you give me what I ask." And the
old wicked judge said, "If you'll leave me alone, I'll give it to you." The
parable teaching is, we are supposed to keep on asking, keep on seeking,
keep on knocking, keep on begging God.
The same thing is taught in Luke 11. A man had a
friend who came to him at midnight. The man went to another friend and said,
"Lend me three loaves. A friend of mine on a journey has come to me and I
have nothing to set before him." And the fellow said, "No, I'm not going to
let you borrow any bread. It's too late. My family is asleep."
You've heard me say this again and again. In those
days, they all slept on the same bed—mother, father, son, daughter, grandma,
granddad. One big bed across half the room and all of them were awakened.
The fellow said, "I can't do it, we're all asleep." And he said, "I'm not
going to quit crying. I'm just going to keep hollering, begging. Len me
three loaves. Lend me three loaves. Lend me three loaves. Lend me three
loaves. I'm going to keep on."
That's what God wants you to do. Is there something
you want? Is there something that you think would please God if you had it?
Keep on knocking. Keep on seeking. Keep on asking. Keep on praying. Just
keep on praying until light breaks through. The Lord will answer. He will
answer you. God keeps His promise. His word is true. Just keep on praying
until light breaks through. Have you got rivers that seem to be uncrossable?
Have you got so many tunnels you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in
things that seem impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you.
So, keep on and keep on. But, you say, "Brother Hyles, I did. I prayed and
God didn't answer. I prayed and God didn't give it to me." Don't despair.
I am thinking now of a great preacher. One of the
greatest writers this country has ever known. He went to God one day. He
drove out in the country. It was a rainy day, so he says. He went to God and
asked God to give him a worldwide ministry, to let him reach thousands of
preachers and millions of people for Christ. He begged God to give him a
worldwide ministry. He kept on praying. He kept on praying. Do you know what
happened? The fellow contracted tuberculosis.
There was a day when TB was rough. I can recall every
time I coughed I thought I had TB. Mother just knew I was going to die with
TB. We had an aunt, fourteen generations away, that had a mild case of TB
one time. My mother just knew that I was going to get it. I can recall
writing out my will when I was a boy saying I would give a quarter to
so-and-so and so forth. But there was a day when TB was rough.
I call recall when a person had TB. They didn't have
sanitariums where I lived. They would build a little shack out behind the
house. They would put a fellow that had TB out in the shack. Does anybody
remember those days? Well, good. It is not the fact that the days were a
long way back; it is the fact that we were a long way out in the country,
isn't it! But I can recall people living out in little shacks somewhere. I'm
probably catching it now.
This preacher contracted tuberculosis. He became
embittered about it. He said, "Dear Lord, I prayed and prayed and prayed for
years for you to give me a worldwide ministry." The doctor said he couldn't
live very long. For three and one-half years he was laid up. He had surgery
after surgery. He had one lung removed. He had many ribs removed. He wilted
away almost to nothing. One day while he was in despair, he got out his pen
and began to write. And he wrote.
Someone came to his room and said, "That's beautiful.
That's good writing. You ought to write some more." He wrote some more, and
then he had a book written from his bed. Somebody said, "You ought to get
that published." He said, "Well, I never thought I could write." "Well, you
could. You can." He had the book published. It went around the world. He had
other books published, and they went around the world. One book sold over
The fellow became renowned as a great Christian writer
and people around the world were blessed by the fellow. You see, he didn't
tell God how to make him a blessing to the world, did he? He just said,
"Lord, make me a blessing to the whole world." The Lord answered his prayer.
You know, it is a strange thing. When I was in Texas
at Miller Road Baptist Church, I just knew I would be there for a lifetime.
I just knew. I said, "Dear God, I want you to build here." Well, I didn't
say it at first. We started off with 44 in Sunday School the first Sunday. A
year later we had 617 on our first anniversary. The second anniversary, we
had 1,180. The third anniversary, we had 2,212 in Sunday School. The fourth
anniversary, we had 3,363. So I got the idea. We're going to build one of
the biggest Sunday schools in the world. We just are.
We got up to where we were averaging around 2,000 and
big days up to 3,000. I said, "Dear Lord, I pray that you will help us to
have a church that will influence the whole world!" Well, I didn't know what
I was praying. The Lord came to me one night and said, "I want you to go to
Hammond, Indiana." He said, "I want you to go to Hammond, Indiana." And I
said, "Where's that?" Why I'd rather go to Baghdad than Hammond, Indiana.
I went to Chicago one time in 1957. As I left that
place, I told Mrs. Hyles, "That's the last place in the world I would ever
go!" Here I am. Last place in the world I will ever go, I guess. But I made
a mistake. I didn't tell the Lord that I want that big church to be the
Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland. I just said, "I want a church that
will influence the whole world!" So, lo and behold, the Lord called me up
I said, "Well, You goofed again. I'll declare, You
have pulled a boo boo." I didn't think we would have a church here. I just
wanted to stay alive when I first came here. That's all. Just be able to
keep breathing and stay alive. Little did we know in those days what God had
When I was a kid preacher in East Texas, I prayed for
God to help me influence preachers. The time came when I felt God wanted me
to head a school. There was no doubt in my mind. Well, one day, I preached
at a convention in Denver, Colorado. Four fellows said, "We would like to
fly to Hammond to talk to you about being president of our school." They
flew here and said, "We'd like for you to be president of the Baptist Bible
College in Denver, Colorado." I accepted the job. Do you recall those days?
Many folks don't remember.
I would spend one week a month out there and three
weeks a month here. I would go out there and spend five days and run the
college, come back here for the rest of the month and take care of the
church, and go out there to spend five days and run the college. The day
came when I felt like I should not stay. I said, "Lord, I though you wanted
me to have a school that would influence the whole world. Here we are. You
A pulpit committee wrote me from Springfield,
Missouri. The Baptist Bible College is there; a big school with 1,500
students and about 700 or 800 preachers. I thought, "Well, this is it. I'll
go to Springfield, Missouri. I will pastor the church there and these
preachers will come, and I'll influence these preachers."
I had not yet walked on the platform in that church
when I went down to visit the church several years ago, but what I said was,
"I know this is not it. I know this is not it." I couldn't understand it.
Dr. John Rice and Dr. Bill Rice came to me and said,
"Brother Hyles, we want you to come to Murfreesboro and start a seminary." I
said, "Well, that may be it." They said, "You have got the ear of preachers
in America, especially young preachers. You ought to have a seminary." I
said, "The Lord did tell me I would have a school that was going to
influence the whole world." But I prayed about it and the Lord said, "You
can't go." I said, "Lord, I'll declare, I'm worried about you. It just seems
like you are not going to do what you say."
Little did I know that what He had in mind was one
week a year. Don't tell Bob Jones III this, especially Bob Jr., and don't
tell Lee Roberson or Bedvchamp Vick this or I'll kill you and tell God it
was an accidental death. I will. Don't you do it. I have no doubt in my mind
that the greatest school influencing preachers in the world is this little
five-day school we have here every year. Now, I just didn't tell God how to
answer my prayer.
Philip, the deacon, was preaching a great revival in
Samaria. Suddenly God led him to go down to the desert in Gaza, and I'm sure
Philip was like most deacons, if he was like me, he said, "Lord, goodnight!
Here I am at the top of my ministry. I am preaching the greatest revivals in
all Samaria, and hundreds are being saved. Now you want me to go down to the
desert on the road to Gaza?" And the Lord said, "Yes." Philip said, "Okay,
have it Your way." That's always a good idea, by the way, to say, "Have it
So he went down to the desert. Here was a fellow
riding in his chariot, an Ethiopian eunuch, head of all the treasure of
Queen Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. Philip said, "What are you reading?" The
fellow said, "Isaiah 53." "Understandest thou what thou readest?" He said,
"How can I, except some man should guide me." He got up in his chariot and
preached Jesus to him. That Ethiopian eunuch got converted and went back to
Africa, and no doubt in my mind, started something that was bigger than
anything Philip could have ever started in Samaria. Don't tell God how to do
it. Just keep on praying until light breaks through. Just keep on praying
and He will answer you. God keeps His promise. His word is true. Just keep
on praying until light breaks through.
What is the lady's name that wrote, "Brighten the
Corner?" Ogden? I think it is Ogden. One day she got on her knees and she
said, "Dear Lord, give me a world-wide ministry." And it wasn't long before
she though the Lord opened up an opportunity to sing around the world. She
signed a contract to go around the world singing and having influence on the
entire world with song.
Just shortly before she was to leave, her father
became seriously ill. She was the only person who could care for her father.
Would you believe it? The contract was cancelled. She couldn't go. She had
to stay home with her father. She became embittered. The Lord had told her
she could bless the whole world with song. But now the contract was
One day, she sat in her home discouraged and defeated,
just in one little room with her father. She got to thinking, "Well, I can't
go around the world. All I can do is brighten the corner where I am." She
picked up her pen and she wrote that song, Brighten the Corner Where You
Are. "Brighten the corner, where you are, Brighten the corner where you are,
Someone far from harbor, you may guide across the bar, if you'll brighten
the corner where you are."
That song went around the world. She did bless the
world in song. She asked God to give her a worldwide ministry, but she
didn't tell God how to do it. God did give her a worldwide ministry.
When I was a kid preacher, I started preaching when I
was 19. I got my license when I was 19. I asked God to fill me with the Holy
Spirit. I knew there was something I needed that I didn't have. You see, I
believe every word in the Bible. That is one of the good things. Do you know
that? The more I see of these preachers that come around here, the happier I
am that I'm free. Man, I am just so glad that I am not tied down to anybody
but Jesus. The more I see of these fellows who say, "Well, I've got to call
Dr. So-and-So and get his approval." Well, blessed be God, I don't have to
call Dr. Anybody to get his approval. In fact, if I called and got his
approval, I'd probably do just the opposite just because I'm stubborn and
mean. But, there's nothing, nothing to me better than being free. There's
nothing freer than a Baptist preacher who is not tied down to anybody but
But anyway, I said, "Now, Lord, I want the power of
God." Well, one day a fellow came by my office and said, "Look, what you
need is to talk in tongues." I said, "Okay. If that's what I need, that's
what I'll do." So I got a book on talking in tongues. By the way, be
careful. The Jehovah's Witnesses are in town and they're going around
knocking on doors. They are a cult. They are false teachers; they are false
II John says you're not to let them in your house nor
bid them God speed, "for if you bid them God speed, you are a partaker of
their evil deeds." Anybody that does not preach that Jesus is the Christ is
anti-Christ, you see. So the thing to do is very courteously and kindly—as
the Quaker said, "I would not hurt thee. I would not harm thee. I would not
lift up my hand against thee, but thou art standing where I am about to
shoot." So, very courteously and kindly tell them that you are a born again
One of them came to my house one time. No, it was a
Seventh Day Adventist who came to my house one time. By the way, two people
came the same night. One fellow came selling cemetery lots. He said, "I'd
like to sell a cemetery lot to you." I said, "I'm sorry, I won't need one."
He said, "What?" I said, "I won't need one." He said, "Why?" I said, "I'm
not going to die." "Boy, that's something," he said, "You're not going to
die?" I said, "No, I won't need one. I'm planning on getting raptured." He
said, "You must be Hyles." And I said, "Yes, I'm Hyles."
But the same night, there came a little person by, a
witness by my house. They said almost the same thing. I said, "Who are you
with?" They said, "Non-denominational Bible Course, Twentieth Century from
Nashville, Tennessee." I said, "No, you are not. You're a Seventh Day
Adventist, and you're ashamed of it and you're trying to deceive yourself.
You haven't got your name on the bottle and I don't take any kind of
medicine unless the name is on the bottle. I'm sorry."
That person said, the same night, almost in the same
words, "You must be Brother Hyles from Miller Road Baptist Church." I was in
Garland at the time. But, don't let them in your house.
You talk about a fellow who can get so far off the
subject and still get back on it. I still know where I was. Where was I? But
I said, "Okay, if we are supposed to talk in tongues, I will talk in
tongues." I read the book and got on my knees at the altar and said, "Look,
I haven't got anything to lose, I'm free as a bird.' So I tried to jabber
and it wouldn't come out.
I checked my Bible and found it unscriptural anyway.
Completely unscriptural. And don't come by talking that you have got
something I have, unless you've got more fish on your string than I've got
on mine. I tried. I begged for the power of God. I've told you how I used to
walk beneath the pine thickets of Texas night after night. I would cry,
"Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" I would say, "Dear Lord, fill me. Fill
me. Give me the power of God." I didn't know what it would take.
I didn't know that my Dad would die a drunkard's
death. I didn't know that my father would be buried in an alcoholic's grave,
and that I would go to his grave after he died and throw my face on the
grave and stay there and pray. I didn't know that God would fill me with the
Holy Spirit on the grave of my Dad. You see, I didn't know what it would
take. I didn't know what it would take.
By the way, remember the sermon I preached on "My Dad
Died For You?" You'd be surprised what that one sermon has done to preachers
across the country. So many people told me that they got that tape, and so
many folks have even heard one or two tapes, but I didn't know. I just said,
"Lord, fill me." But the Lord answered. I have learned not to tell God how
to do it.
John Milton was blind and wanted so much to do
something great, and in his blindness he wrote, "Paradise Lost." John Bunyan
was in the Bedford jail and wondered how he could bless the world being in
the Bedford jail, except on milk bottle stoppers he wrote the great
Pilgrim's Progress, second only to the Bible, as far as sales are concerned,
in the history of the world. It looks like when John Bunyan went to jail
that was it. No, it's not it either.
"Got any rivers that seem to be uncrossable? Got any
mountains you cannot funnel through? God specializes in things that seem
impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you. Just keep on
praying until light breaks through. Just keep on praying. He will answer
you. God keeps His promise. His word is true. Just keep on praying until
light breaks through."
Martin Luther was in prison. Well, what can he do? He
can translate the entire New Testament into the German language. That is
what he did. Robert Lewis Stevenson had tuberculosis and one arm in a sling.
What can he do with TB and one arm in a sling? He wrote The New Children's
Garden of Verses. You see, God can do it if you won't try to tell Him how to
I heard Vance Havner tell an interesting story one
time. Maybe I told it to you or maybe you heard him tell it. He was going
from somewhere in the West to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, back during the war,
to preach. He was late and couldn't make it. Not a way in this world could
he make it. He got on his knees and said, "Lord, get me there to preach. Get
me there to preach on time to Pittsburgh tonight!"
He went up and talked to the conductor. The conductor
said, "No. We will be several hours late. There is no way in the world you
can make it on time because we will be several hours late." Lo and behold,
would you know who got on the train? Secretary of War Patterson. How many of
you remember Secretary of War Patterson? He got on the train. He went to
whoever was in charge—the engineer or conductor, Pullman, somebody—and he
said, "Get me to Washington, D.C.!" Washington D.C. is on the other side of
Pittsburgh. He said, "Get me there. Pull out the stops!" They said, "Okay,
we'll only stop in Pittsburgh."
They pulled out the throttle, and took off for
Pittsburgh as fast as they could. Vance Havner said he laughed all the way.
One of the men came back and said, "What are you laughing about?" He said he
just sat up there and laughed and laughed and laughed. He said, "What are
you laughing about, passenger?" "The Secretary of War thinks that you
fellows are getting him on time for his engagement, and it's just the Holy
Spirit getting a Baptist preacher on time to preach tonight." He laughed all
God has His ways. God has His ways. Just keep on
praying until light breaks through. Just keep on praying; He will answer
you. God keeps His promise. His word is true. Just keep on praying until the
light breaks through.
Now, first ask. Then don't despair. If the time
passes, and you say oh, oh, my, my, my, I just knew that was it. Just keep
on praying! Just keep on praying! Tonight I could tell you story after
story. I am thinking about Dutch Schultz. I love to think about old Dutch.
Dutch Schultz. Who here remembers Dutch Schultz? Remember him? Meanest man I
ever met in my life. Mrs. Schultz, I hope you are not here tonight. But if
you are, your husband was the meanest man I ever met in my life. He was,
I went over here on Columbia. I better not tell you
the address; I may get in trouble. But, I am in trouble anyhow so I'll tell
you—5015 Columbia, in the trailer courts over there. I drove my little
Renault car in the trailer court. I parked out in front of the trailer and
knocked on the door. Old Dutch came to the door. I had never met him before.
I said, "Mr. Schultz, my name is Jack Hyles." He said, "Yeah. You're that
Reverend, aren't you?" I said, "I'm a preacher at First Baptist Church." He
said, "Come on in, I want to show you something, Reverend." So I went in.
He opened the icebox. Now, no joke, I am not
exaggerating. I am not lying. He opened the refrigerator, pardon me. I'm
dating myself again. He pulled out a bottle of beer. He said, "Reverend,
look here. You're not so hot. You're a fake. Everybody knows it." He said,
"Jesus is a fake. The Bible isn't the gospel and I'll show you." And Dutch
Schultz said, "I'll toast your Jesus with a can of beer." He took that can
of beer and said, "I toast your Jesus." You never give me anything when I
need it. Just when I need something the most.
He drank the whole can in my presence. If I had been
God, I would have killed him. In fact, I asked God to do it then. And then
he said, "What do you think about that?" I said, I didn't like it. He said,
"Okay, maybe you won't like this either." He went back into the refrigerator
and got another can of beer, opened it, looked to heaven and said, "Jesus, I
toast you!" If I had been God, I would have killed him! But God loved him
and God didn't. And he drank the beer. Then he looked at me and said, "Now
get out!" I felt led to leave, so I got out. Before I got out, I told him,
"God will see to it that you are paid for. You better get converted."
I went back again and he kicked me out. Again, he
kicked me out. I got burdened for Dutch because Dutch looked so much like my
dad. I got real burdened about him, and I went back again and again and
again. Finally, he got sick. He went to St. Catherine's Hospital. I went by
to see him one day. Dutch was in the hospital and said, "Get out." He
cursed. He swore. He came home. He went to St. Margaret's Hospital. I went
to see him. He cursed. He swore. He said Jesus was a fake. But he was
getting to where he liked me a little bit. And he said, "I would like you if
you wouldn't talk about Jesus."
One day in the hospital at St. Margaret's, I looked at
him and said, "Now, look, Dutch. You are a sick man. You believe that there
is no God, no Heaven, no Hell, no eternity; Christ is not the Son of God.
And I believe there is a heaven." I said, "Dutch, let's suppose that you are
right and I am wrong, that when you die, you go to the grave, your body
turns to dust and that's it. Suppose that's right. Now what have I lost? You
and I both would just turn to dust." And he said, "You have lost nothing."
I said, "Dutch, suppose I'm right and you're wrong."
He said, "I'd be in a fix, wouldn’t I?" I said, "Yes." Then he shook himself
and said, "Get out, get out, get out." So I got out. Within a few days he
called the church office and said, "Send the preacher by." Jim Lyons went by
his house and talked to him. Dutch Schultz was saved. Now that man toasted
Jesus, but I claimed him for God.
I see Mrs. Merran back here shaking her head and I
just happened to think about her husband. I have not thought about it in a
long time. They said nobody could reach Mr. Merran. He had cancer. Walt
Rokalski went by to see him. He had just a few days to live and he insulted
him. We prayed. Mrs. Merran would not let loose of God, and I went by one
night and he was saved. What a time we had! What a time we had!
Back to Dutch Schultz. Dutch got well. He walked down
the aisle in this building, professed his faith in Christ, walked up these
stairs, and got ready for baptism. So, Mr. Gifford, by the way, he's the one
who told me this—and he's in heaven now. Mr. Gifford was working in the
baptistry. Dutch got baptized, but after he got baptized he put his shorts
on. Now forgive me, but that is what we do up there. He put his shorts and
undershirt on and went over and sat down, looking at the baptistry just like
this. He started mumbling.
Mr. Gifford came over and said, "Shh. Listen. Do you
know what he is saying?" And I said, "No." And Mr. Gifford said, "Old Dutch
Schultz, who just got baptized, was sitting there in his underwear, looking
down at the water, saying, 'You ole baptistry. You think you're big, don't
you? You're not so big. I've drunk enough liquor to fill you twice.'" And
then his voice started quivering, and Dutch said, "Oh baptistry, I ain't
never gotten as much fun out of all that liquor as I did getting in you just
a while ago."
Got any rivers that seem to be uncrossable? Got any
mountains you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in things that seem
impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you. Why the sermon
tonight? Because you have some loved ones that ought to be here next Sunday
morning and Sunday night. Why the sermon tonight? You have some loved ones
you ought to get here every service that you can during this five-week
period of evangelistic crusade. We will spend ourselves to get them saved!
We will preach Heaven. We will preach Hell. We will preach born again. We
will preach the unpardonable sin. Get them here! Just keep on praying until
light breaks through. Just keep on praying. He will answer you. God keeps
His promise. His word is true. Just keep on praying until light breaks
I was thinking tonight about Mr. Adams, Jeanne's
uncle. Mrs. Adams, faithful member of our church here for many years. We
prayed that God would save Mr. Adams. Oh, how we prayed. He came and he
came. We couldn't reach him. We couldn't reach him. And I prayed and prayed
and prayed for that man! Then one Sunday—what a great hour we had when he
There is Paul O'Brien, one of our deacons now. If
there's any man in this town I gave up hope on, I gave up hope on Paul
O'Brien. When I left your house that Saturday, I almost hoped you would not
go to Heaven, because I didn't want to have to put up with you. Not quite.
But he got saved.
There is Dick Wilson back there, one of our deacons.
Who would have ever thought it? Peggy prayed and kept praying and kept
praying and kept praying! And as sure as I am standing here right now, God
has some great miracles in store for us in 1970 of some tough cases, if we
will just keep on praying.
You know one thing I miss? Now hold it. Don't
misunderstand me. I want to see a lot of folks saved. There is one thing
that we used to have in the country that you don't get in the city in big
churches, and that is you just single shoot a guy. In our little country
church in East Texas, we didn't have any lost people to pray for, so we
would just get a guy that was lost, and we would just keep on. The poor guy
would come to church. It's like this preacher in Texas. I've forgotten his
name now—Bill Harrod. Oh, he was a mean rascal. He used slang and almost
cussed in his sermons, you know. He was mean. He had a revival one time and
was praying for one particular fellow, and Bill Harrod baptized his wife.
The guy came down to the church to whip Bill Harrod and somebody came and
said, "A fellow's out here to whip you. You baptized his wife." And Bill
Harrod went outside and whipped the fellow. He got on top of him and just
beat him to a pulp. Don't mess with me and Bill Harrod, boy! But anyway,
they had a tent revival during the summertime. The guy drove the next night
to the tent and sat in his truck. Bill Harrod preached on this subject, "Why
men that beat their wives and starve their kids and get drunk and come to
revivals and sit in trucks are going to hell when they die." Sort of a
subtle kind of fellow. The next night—would you believe it—the fellow came
back. He got out of his truck and sat on the fender. Bill Harrod preached
on, "Why men (this was the subject of his sermon, no joke) that beat their
wives, starve their kids, get drunk, and come to revivals one night and sit
in their truck and the next night on the fender are going to hell if they
don't get born again."
The next night, he came in and sat down on the back
row of the tent. Bill Harrod got up and said, "I am preaching tonight on,
'Why men that beat their wives and starve their kids and get drunk and came
two nights ago and sat in the truck and the next night on the fender and
tonight are on the back row are going to hell if they don't get born
The next night he was sitting down here. As we used to
say where I came from, smack-dab on the front row. Bill Harrod got up and
said, "I am preaching tonight on 'Why men who beat their wives and starve
their kids and drink their liquor and sat in the truck three nights ago and
the next night on the fender and the next night on the back row and tonight
right there are going to Hell if they don't get born again!'" The buy got
born again that night! I know the guy. I preached at Bill Harrod's church
several years after that, and that fellow was a deacon in the church then.
I remember in the country churches where you would get
a guy on the hook, boy. Did you ever go fishing and see one you wanted? You
got him about that high and he got off the hook, and you cast out there
again? The fish bit on it and you lost it? Well, we used to just get a
sinner and stay after him and stay after him and stay after him.
I have told you about Mrs. Jim Ford who had prayed for
her husband down in East Texas. She would pray. She was a Nazarene that
couldn't find a good Nazarene church there. She came out and joined our
church, but she never did lose her Nazarene blood. She would shout and
praise the Lord. She would pray for her husband, Jim. My, my, my, she would
pray for Jim night after night. She would say, "Please, Jesus, save Jim!"
And she would crawl while she prayed. She'd pray and crawl on her knees up
and down the aisles and say, "Please save Jim! Please save Jim!" I have
heard her at three o'clock in the morning pray for Jim. She just kept on and
kept on. Jim would come and sit back in the back.
Now, I can recall days when sinners would come to
church and just sit back in the back and grit their teeth and claw the pews.
And he did. Every time he would come, I would preach to Jim. Now, I can
recall preaching entire sermons to him. Why? He was the only sinner we had!
May as well call the fellow's name. One Christmas night, Jim came to church.
Christmas was on Sunday. That night I was preaching. We had prayed for him.
We had all night prayer meetings for him. I had preached enough—listen, I
had shot enough shells into him to have won the world if they'd bee there.
Right in the middle of my sermon, Jim jumped up and
said, "I can wait no longer!" And he came down the aisle and got saved in
the middle of the sermon. When he did that, Mrs. Ford came unscrewed. I want
you to know, she jumped three feet in the air and said, "Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you!" She weighed about 250 pounds and I weighed 135. She came down
this center aisle and everybody next to the aisle here, she picked them up
and hugged them like that. Men, women, boys, girls, beasts—it didn't make
any difference. Hugged them all. Picked them up and shook them. She came up
on the platform and grabbed me around the stomach—and she weighed almost
twice what I did. She shook me up and down and said, "Thank you, Jesus, for
saving Jim!" And Jim became a fine, great Christian.
Look, we don't do much of that anymore. We have so
many prospects, so many folks that if we don't get this one, we can get
another one. What I would like to see in these next five weeks is the
old-time Holy Ghost power where the hard cases get saved. Bring them! Bring
them! Just keep on praying until light breaks through. The Lord will answer;
He'll answer you. God keeps His promise; His word is true. Just keep on
praying until light breaks through.
I could go on and on and on. Jim Clement is a good
example. Two years he came—I guess two years—he came. Jim, are you here
tonight? He's usually here, an attorney over in Gary, and came for a couple
of years and we couldn't reach him. We tried and tried. One day Brother Hand
got his Bible and decided to go through the scripture and mark every prayer
promise that he could find and write Jim Clement's name beside it. And he
I recall praying for Jim, and I came back here one
night and said, "Jim, you ought to get saved." He said, "I don't believe
that. I don't believe that stuff." So Brother Hand prayed. And, lo and
behold, I stood up here and I looked down there, and there stood Jim
Clement. I had lost faith. The invitation was going on and I said, "What do
you want, Jim?" Well, man, what does anybody want coming down the aisle
during the invitation. I couldn't feature it that he came—I thought he came
to give me a subpoena or something for court. Jim was saved. Well, just keep
You see, we come to God and say, "Dear God, I want
something." And this is the way I want it done. "I want to be a blessing for
the whole world," said Paul, "But I want to go to Mysia and Bithynia." And
the Lord said, "No. I don't want you to go to Mysia or Bithynia. I've got a
Philippian jailer over there. I want you to go over there and get in jail.
Get put down on the bottom, in a damp place."
"I want you to pray and sing at midnight. I want to
send an earthquake. I want the jailer to get scared he is going to lose his
job. I want him to cry out and say, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved!' I
want you to say, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved
and thy house.' I want you to go home with him. Let him wash your stripes.
Get his family saved and get them all baptized the same night. Then I want
you to go to Thessalonica. I want you to go to Athens. I want you to cover
that whole area over there in Macedonia. I want you to get folks saved and
bless the whole world. I want you to circle the Mediterranean Sea with the
The Lord has His way. You just find out what you want
and what you think God ought to do, and ask God for it. God will do it, but
don't tell Him how to do it.
I came here to this church in 1959, eleven years ago
this August. I had never in my life had as hard a job getting a church off
the ground as I did this one. I thought his church would never get going.
When I went to little country churches, they would double in a matter of
months. I was at one church only eight months, and it quadrupled in
attendance. I came here, and a year later we had some problems. We lost a
bunch of people. We were running less in Sunday School after a year than we
were when I first came. After a couple of years, it was still the same way.
I can recall Saturday night, every Saturday night, I
would walk in that auditorium over there, get out my Bible, turn to the 1st
Psalm, get on my knees at the altar in that old building over there, and
look at the 1st Psalm. I said, "Lord, there it is. 'Blessed is the man that
walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.'"
"Now you know I don't run with the ungodly. You know I
don't run with wicked people. You know I don't run with the liberals. 'Nor
standeth in the way of sinners.' You know I try to get people saved. 'Nor
sitteth in the seat of the scornful.' You know I don't criticize my
brethren. 'But his delight is in the law of the Lord.' Now, Lord, you know I
read my Bible and I enjoy it! 'And in His law doth he meditate day and
night.' Lord, you know I think about the Bible day and night! And You said,
'He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he
doeth shall prosper.'"
And I would claim it. I'd say, "There it is! What are
You going to do about it?" Then I'd get up off my knees and walk around that
building. I'd get up in those dark places in that old balcony over there.
I'd sing all over that building. I am, at best, a lousy singer. I'd sing,
"Lord, sent the old time power, the Pentecostal power. Thy floodgates of
blessing on us throw open wide. Lord, send the old time power, the
Pentecostal power. Let sinners be converted and Thy name glorified."
You know what I would do? I would have big days. I'd
have "Old-Fashioned Day." I'd have "Beat the Devil Day." I'd have "Civil War
Sunday." Boy, we had a civil war over that one! Remember that? We put the
rebel flag up on one side in the auditorium and the American flag on the
other. Boy, that's when I became a Northerner. We had everything, and
nothing seemed to work.
One day a call came to the church office, and the
Steffys said, "We have $6,000 that we would like to invest in the Lord's
work. What can we do?" I didn't know where to put it. Finally I said, "Let's
try some buses. Let's try some buses." We bought six second-hand buses with
that $6,000 and started our bus ministry. It wasn't long until we had a
thousand in Sunday School. Then, after we got to a thousand, folks started
hearing about us growing. Then folks started driving in. The church started
growing and growing and growing and growing. The mistake I made was I just
didn't let God do it like He wanted to do it. Just keep on praying until
light breaks through. The Lord will answer. He will answer you. God keeps
His promise. His word is true. Just keep on praying until light breaks
Have you got any rivers that seem to be uncrossable?
Got any mountains you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in this that
seems impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you. Why don't
you claim that husband? Why don't you claim that son? Why don't you claim
that daughter? Why don't you claim that neighbor? Why don't you claim that
As the colored fellow said—Lester Roloff was praying
with him, and I am sure that I told you about it. Brother Roloff was praying
for $2,000 with a colored fellow. And the colored fellow said, "Dear Lord,
would you give us the $2,000?"
And suddenly, while he was praying, somebody tapped
Brother Roloff on the shoulder and said, "Brother Roloff, you just got a
check for $2,000 in the mail." The colored fellow's eyes got big and he
said, "Lawdy mercy! Reverend Roloff, this is one of them there supernatural
miracles, ain't it?" Yeah, it was.
Why don't you pray for some supernatural miracles? Why
don't you pray to God—Why don't you say, "I'm going to get him here! I'm
going to get him here Sunday morning, Sunday night, Sunday morning, Sunday
night—all the way through. And pray and pray and pray! Who knows, God may do
it. Don't tell God how to do it, just ask God to do it! Keep on and keep on
and keep on!
How many tonight have prayed for something, and you
just knew how God was going to do it? You gave up, almost. Peggy, where are
you? Did you ever think about giving up on Dick? She decided she wouldn't
give up. She kept on and kept on and kept on. Your husband is no harder to
win over than Dick was. Rose, did you ever think about giving up on Paul?
Ever thought about giving up? Just keep on praying!
Like my aunt I told you about so often. She prayed for
Uncle Roy, one of the finest men that ever lived that wasn't saved. She
prayed for him and prayed for him and prayed for him and prayed for him. He
didn't get saved. One day he decided that he would go to baptism with her
out in the creek. Remember the old creek baptizing? He went to baptism with
her. My Aunt Octa—she doesn’t like your name either, by the way. But my
Uncle Roy did go to baptizing with her. He wouldn't get saved, wouldn't get
saved. But he said, "I'll go to baptizing with you."
So one Sunday afternoon he went out to baptizing with
her, and Uncle Roy was watching them get baptized. He said to my Aunt, "Do
you know, I would get saved and baptized if I had my clothes here?" And she
said, "Roy, I brought some clothes along just in case." And he said, "You
did?" And she said, "Yes." She'd brought clothes along. And he got saved and
baptized. Just keep on praying until light breaks through. The Lord will
answer. He will answer you. God keeps His promise. His word is true. Just
keep on praying until light breaks through.
Let us pray.
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