Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I had an opportunity a few years back to join area pastors in a special meeting with Jim Cymbala who had flown in from New York. Jim is the pastor of the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle; a church he began with 25 members thirty-five years ago and today reaches the 10,000 number. His three books Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and Fresh Power and Fresh Faith may have crossed your desk over the past ten years. Under his wife's leadership the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has gained world fame.

What kind of person and personality would you assume Cymbala (pronounced Sim'-ball-a) to be? From his writings I felt I would meet one special servant of God. I was right on target. It was a joy to interact with him.

After a few of us had waited about twenty minutes, two or three men entered a small hall adjacent to a huge sanctuary in Broken Arrow. Two entered crisply dressed and with flambouyant cadence. The third entered in a drab suit, white shirt, and plain tie. I was correct. The latter was the man of the hour. If Cymbala appeared reserved he was even more shy. As he spoke to us about leadership, he was soft spoken; yet direct. He had strong marks of being a vessel but not a star. He was a bright light with zero glare.

However when he addressed a packed house of thousands some two hours later, again he was as I had envisioned. When this nobody special stepped up to the mic he still was not a yeller nor a star, but he surely had profound command of our attention because he spoke as if he had spent time with God. His message was simple, basic, and biblical. He mixed mild humor with compassionate pleas for us to adhere to the heart of the one Lord Jesus.

The special part I got from that evening was not what I heard Jim Cymbala voice. It's what I saw his demeanor say. It said, Whether famous or common, the Spirit of God will work from the hearts of men and women who will trust Him over themselves. It's been nearly four years now since that evening. I've not forgotten the message of hope I saw in a man who began ministry spooked and scared to hardly try.

God works. He uses people just like you; like me. We live a most privileged life. Don't faint at the task ahead. God isn't looking for conquerers. He's looking for any who believe He's already conquered....Romans 8:37. I give you a vote of confidence today. You are special. Spend time with God. We have a world to reach.


TCS said...

great post, thanks for sharing that experience.

Greg said...

Cymbala's books have been a great blessing to me ... as have Terry Rush's books. I regret never taking the time to attend one of the several events where I could have heard him speak.

Dusty Rush said...

It's always good for me to hear a story like that. Even though I know those things about greatness and humility, for some reason I sometimes forget them. Lucky for me, God usually takes care of things if I get too big for my khakis!