I’d like to honor a great friend who went home to be with the Lord too early in 2015. Today (3/3/22)would have been his 66th birthday.
I first met him in Broken Arrow, OK shortly after I graduated from Bible school. Although a little older than me he was still a first year student when we met. I was on on my way to the mission fields of West Africa and needed to train someone to drive the school bus I drove. As God would have it, the divine events of this otherwise very normal day started when I picked him up for this first day of training in my old gold Dodge Catalina, which he eventually inherited when I left for West Africa.
Jeff would later tell me that in the Spirit he saw a bus falling out of the sky in that job hunting season he was in, and he knew he would be working as a bus driver. This is how Jeff lived. The supernatural followed him every day of his life it seemed.
Anyway, I remember backing up the bus into a mailbox after dropping off a student on that first day with Jeff, and after he got to know me, he never did let me forget that. We had great laughs about such things. As a young bachelor, he and his wife Bernie used to invite me over to eat quite often, and he would always tease me about eating them out of house and home—sometimes accusing me falsely of eating an entire loaf of bread. LOL!
THE NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL SIDE OF A MAN
Jeff was funny, and at times a little quirky, and I will always remember him for that auspicious sense of humor. But oh, when the Spirit of God would move on him, he turned into a completely different man. I loved that about him, and it is the reason I enjoyed such rich fellowship with him for many years. I loved being around him because you never knew what was going to happen. I actually think it is the Lord that has a greater sense of humor to put such an anointing on a rather odd looking man that few would even take note of in public.
Jeff was a unique prophet with a great love and compassion for ministers. In fact, his primary calling was to ministers, and I was privileged to be a primary beneficiary of his life and ministry and that powerful anointing that was on him. He had a strong revelatory gift and mantle, with wisdom beyond his years.
REVELATION OF MY LIFE AND CALLING AND THE PURPOSE OF GOD
On our way home from that unforgettable first day of meeting Jeff and orientating him to a bus driving job, apparently he began sensing the Spirit of God moving on him, and he invited me into his house to pray. I must admit at first that I was in a little disbelief at this “wet-behind-the ears” first year Bible school student acting like he was some kind of spiritual advisor! My unspoken thoughts were, “who does this guy think he is? There are no Bible school student prophets.” Boy, was I in for a holy awakening!
As we prayed in his living room he started receiving revelation about what was happening in my life at that time. In the Spirit he saw me walking up God’s pathway for my life and the enemy knocking me off that path. I was going through some hard trials, and the Lord was using His servant- prophet to get me back on track, and save my calling from being aborted so early in my own life and ministry.
Among my troubles at this time, I was seeing a girl I thought I was supposed to marry, and when it didn’t happen I was extremely hurt by it. It crushed my motivation to go on. We were standing in Jeff’s living room, and suddenly he pointed to me and prophesied that it was a test and the Lord wants to know if I’d still serve Him. At that moment I fell back on the couch from a standing position, slain in the Spirit, and began to laugh. I had my answer and the understanding of it totally set me free to move on and obey God.
You see, in my heart I was contemplating if I should wait to be married before obeying God and going on the mission field. Then later on Jeff prophesied that it would be a great move of God when my wife and I came together. Carolyn and I escaped the civil war in Liberia and were married, and as newlyweds we relocated to Sierra Leone, where our apostolic team was engaged in a continuing explosive move of God that started in Liberia. Jeff even said that it would happen in 3 and a half years from the day he spoke it, and it happened exactly as he said. Amazing!
None of these prophecies and revelation were released in a formal church meeting or service. It was mostly when we were together in an informal setting. Always out of the box. It reminds me of how Jesus began his public ministry by ministering supernaturally to Andrew and Simon, and Philip and Nathaniel. In this divine relationship with Jeff, I always felt like Nathaniel whom Jesus saw in the Spirit under the fig tree (John 1:47-48). Jeff always saw into my spirit, and I can honestly say he was the chosen vessel God used to release me into ministry.
A FLAME OF FIRE
He never heard me preach, but again, standing in a house he saw into my spirit, and told me that the anointing the Lord had placed on my life was a flame of fire. I often wondered why I was always so excited and full of zeal and passion and preached fervently. Well, it was Jeff that assured me and confirmed that it was a specific anointing from the Lord of a flame of fire. I could say so much more about this dear brother and friend. He was actually the one who first laid hands on me and released me into my initial calling as a missionary. He was also instrumental in laying hands on Carolyn and I years later when we came off the field and founded Holy Fire Ministries, the name of our current ministry that was birthed in the Spirit.
Jeff Tadlock was a genuine prophet that was sent into my life supernaturally to bless me and continually confirm my calling. He was the one who prophesied to me, that one day I would step off a plane with 20 people and take a nation. At that time I didn’t see how that was possible because I was no longer on the mission field. But here I am with a team of evangelists combining our efforts with CFAN to take an entire nation for Jesus later this year. The word of the Lord Jeff spoke into my life while he was alive is still coming to pass. Like the prophet Samuel, not many of his words fell to the ground.
Carolyn and I have really been spoiled with some gifted ministers, fathers, and generals in the faith. Brother Jeff Tadlock was such a gift to us. He taught me many things about the move of the Spirit and protocols in ministry. Every time we were together I had great expectation that the Lord would move and that I would learn something. Whenever I came to a crossroads in ministry or a situation I wasn’t sure about or needed wisdom, I could always call him, and he would usually always have spiritual insight on it.
LET US HONOR ONE ANOTHER WHILE IT IS STILL DAY
Carolyn and I were stunned when Jeff suddenly left us. Isn’t that how it is with each one of us when we suddenly lose a close friend or a loved one? He’s in glory, but to whom much is given much is required, and so we continue to take these things we’ve learned from faithful men such as Jeff Tadlock, and Russ Tatro, the man below in our apostolic team photo and pass them on to others, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:1-2).
Today I’m remembering brother Jeff Tadlock because it was his birthday, and I can’t help but think how my life could’ve been very different without that divine connection. I miss him but know he is now among the cloud of witnesses cheering us on from the grandstands of heaven.
Let us honor our divine connections in life, especially the ministry gifts and shepherds and fathers in the faith He gives us. Let us do that while they are still alive because soon they will be gone.
What would you have wanted to say to one who has since departed and it’s too late to say it now? Love one another now and voice your appreciation now for those who have been instrumental in helping you fulfill your divine destiny in this life.
As the song says, “Thank you brother Jeff for giving to the Lord! I am a life that was changed!”
PHOTO CAPTIONS First photo (at Top of Blog): A young Jeff Tadlock with an old Lester Sumrall standing between us in Liberia, West Africa. Oh, the memories!
Second photo (to the right): Our young apostolic team in our earliest years in Liberia, featuring another dear apostolic friend, Russ Tatro, who also left us too early. I think I’m about to cry.