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STUDY THE SPIRITUAL HERITAGE OF A FATHER BEFORE FOLLOWING HIM

“Where is he from?”


“What has he done?”


“Does he like to have fun?”


“Can he run?”


These four questions were posed by the late T. L. Osborn, a wordsmith, as a litmus test for a minister or a leader. He did not really expound on them, but I will as I understand them.


WHERE IS HE FROM?


This doesn’t mean geographically, but what is his spiritual pedigree? Where did he receive his faith? Who mentored him and discipled him? In ancient Israel their lineage was important. This is one of the reasons for all the begats.


As a personal example, I was a student and disciple of the late Kenneth Hagin and Lester Sumrall, although I didn’t know either of them personally. But I received more of the Word and the Spirit from these two godly men than any other. They both fit the characteristics of a spiritual father that I followed closely. My spiritual life and ministry would’ve never progressed so quickly without the example and teachings of these two men. Hagin was greatly influenced by the life and ministry of the Goodwins, affectionately called Mom and Dad Goodwin, pastors of a great Spirit-filled church in the 1950s and 60s.


Sumrall traveled for some years and was mentored by the late Pentecostal pioneer, Howard Carter, and was privileged to have spent some time with Smith Wigglesworth, that great apostle of faith, and so many others. He received a tremendous impartation from him. What a rich spiritual pedigree the Lord afforded Sumrall! One of the richest I know.


I was pastored and learned much about church life from my pastor Jerry Zirkle, now with the Lord.


Finally, I learned more about leadership and missionary principles from a young apostolic leader and colleague Russ Tatro with whom I labored on the field together for several years.


Of course, biologically, as a child and young teenager, I gleaned much from my parents and my daddy, although they were not saved then.


WHAT HAS HE DONE?


This means to measure the fruit of his life, work, and/or ministry. What has he sown in the earth that is growing and multiplying and helping people? Even in the world this is true. Great contributions have been made to mankind by so many men and women. But it’s the works that are eternal that really count. It’s people, not wealth and possessions, that are eternal.


“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)


“To rephrase, we could say, “what does it profit to give people good gifts and make valuable contributions to mankind, if in the end, they all perish?”


The greatest contributions we make to mankind are eternal.


To measure what a man has done you must look at his life, marriage, and children first. Then his work and/or ministry or profession. Who are his biological and spiritual offspring? Who has he mentored, discipled, and fathered? And what have they become? Or what have they done or are doing?


And let’s not forget that the effects of the prayer lives of many are not easily seen or accurately measured. How can they? Only eternity will tell of those who changed the course of history and nations through prayer. They will receive the greatest honor and rewards.


DOES HE LIKE TO HAVE FUN?


Who likes and enjoys a stone-faced Scrooge? A man full of life, laughter, and joy exudes a fine spirit and affects so many just by his happy disposition.


The world is full of cynics and critics, mockers and maligners, scorners and scoffers. But happy are the people whose God is the Lord! Life is much more enjoyable with men who laugh and know how to have good clean fun.


Last year my wife and I went on a 3-week trip to minister in Colombia. While there I went to preach in a church several hours from where we were lodging. It was one of the most fun trips I’ve ever had. Our host and I laughed so much at so many things. God used that time to bond us into a father/son team. A few months later he and his family were sent as missionaries to Spain. A ministry was birthed. Nations are inside this man and his family. Who knows what the Lord will do with their lives?


But I know that ministry trip and the fun we had and laughter we shared was a key to the friendship we enjoy today. At his request we are overseeing the work he has started in Spain. We communicate all the time. It’s fun to plan conquests together.


CAN HE RUN?


This last question has to do with the man’s spirit and purpose in life. Is he running with a heavenly all-consuming vision from God?


What are the passions of his life the man is running with? What are his priorities? Where are most of his energies spent?


The apostles were consumed with advancing the kingdom of God! They were burning with the high calling of God to know Him and to make Him known. Eternity had been stamped on their hearts. They were possessed with another spirit. And it caused them to run right into martyrdom. Most all of them were killed for the things they believed, lived, and preached. The world was not worthy of them.


When measuring the weight of any man, especially fathers, whom you will submit your life and/or ministry to, these four questions can help determine your course.


I hope this post has been a blessing to you and inspired you to be a good son and eventually a good father.






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