Recently, there have been
a lot of stirrings over the restoration of the Tent Anointing. That is
especially so from Kenneth Copeland's and other allied ministries. It
does not surprise me, and I fully embrace that anointing and
ministry. Since the early 1970s, I never ceased hoping and praying for
its return and
restoration. And now is the time!
If you read my
article entitled “The
Twenty Year Cycle”,
you'll see what I mean.
Brother Branham had a
vision about a revived tent ministry. I do not believe that has been
fulfilled, yet. Some Message followers have attempted explain it
allegorically. But I believe it was an actual real tangible tent, and
a last days revival to prepare the Bride of Jesus Christ. In my mind it
foolish to ignore what a prophet has spoken, especially one who was
so vindicated by God as Brother Branham.
All my life I have felt
drawn to the tent ministry. I've made many failed attempts in the
Tent Ministry. Due to those repeated failures, at times I thought maybe
it was just because I first
witnessed the power of God demonstrated in an old fashion Pentecostal
tent meeting. I remember when Jack Coe came to town, June of 1955.
The whole region was electrified with anticipation. I was there! My
little four year old eyes saw things I will NEVER forget! I became a
believer in Jesus Christ in one of those meetings. And I've never
stopped believing since. My first recollection of "The Stigmata" was
soon after Jack Coe's Miami Campaign. But this drawing toward the
tent ministry was something way more powerful than nostalgia.
Over the years I would be
drawn to every tent meeting that came to town. I remember one night
during my rebellious years, I wasn't even old enough to drive yet. But
was out doing some underage drinking with my school buddies. When we
passed a tent meeting, something rose up in me and I demanded they
stop. We went in, sat on the
back row. I saw a young man I knew from
the old Pentecostal church. He had been stricken with polio in his
youth. I knew him when my age was still in single digits. And I knew
his affliction was real. Then the power of God fell. I watched that brother tear his braces
begin to hobble around by faith. Suddenly, the power hit him
and he began to run through that ten like an Olympic sprinter. A
presence filled to tent. I was instantly sober! It seems one of my
buddies may have said something like, “I'm getting' the hell
here!” Then we left. That experience nearly totally occupied
my mind for days.
Another memory is of old
family friend and successful entrepreneur, who was more like family.
His name was Tommy Northcutt, "Uncle Tommy" to my cousins and
me. One of his enterprises was to sell Christmas
trees each year. Spread all over Dade County, you could find huge
canvas tents with the famous brand “Northcutt
Sons” written across the top. I
couldn't pass one
those tents without counting the poles, calculating how many people
it would hold. I would daydream of holding meetings in one of
them. Back then I knew the formula for how many people would fit per
square foot. His largest was a nine pole tent. I would find myself
being tempted to call Uncle Tommy. I imagined myself asking him if he'd
allow me to
hold meetings in one of them; just for a couple of weeks, before he
the tents down. The phrase that rolled over and over in my mind was, “Lord,
what a waste of a tent!”
A Nine Pole
There were times when I
was in my twenties, that I used to say aloud, “...if
just had a fully outfitted nine pole tent, I'd have it made....”
All I can say about that today is, “...when
I was a
child I spake as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish
things....” It takes way more
than just a tent!
Over the years I would be drawn to
nearly every tent
ministry that came to town. I worked many roles with tent preachers
from stake driver, to gopher, to stacking chairs; and I was always
a supporting minister sitting on the platform. Not the least of these
were Bob Schambach, and Dave Epley.
Most tent preachers were legit. In my
small few were frauds, possibly ignorant frauds. But I learned a lot
from them all. I value what I learned, even from distasteful and
unpleasant ministries. As one of the older brothers in the Branham
says of his similar experiences, “...it
was all part
of God's plan for my preparation....”
I do not
give my critics such power
Critics railed against my dreams, saying
days of the tent ministry were over. They said it was antiquated,
impractical, expensive, and it was definitely never gonna happen for
me. My response was "yeah, some
say the days of
miracles are over too, but we know they're wrong...and what's
impractical is, NOT doing what God puts in your heart to do...that's
not just impractical, that's insane...."
was not deterred by the unbelief of others, nor would I give their
words the power to confine me to the prison of their
over the years, any demonstration of unshakable faith was confused with
and having the courage to be different, when it was appropriate to be
different, was misinterpreted as
stubbornness and rebellion. I was often viewed as some ecclesiastical
hood, a spiritual rabble rouser, and in some circles, an unmitigated
and the Tent Ministry
the old saying goes, I try to put my money where my mouth is. My dad
served in War 2 in Patton's Division. He revered General Patton.
Countless times he reflected on Patton's willingness to do "un-general"
like things like to swim the Rhine to lead his men across. That was
ingrained in me to practice what I preach. I've tried diligently, to
never teach people
to do anything I was not willing to do myself.
So the year after we were
married, we drove to Warner Robbins, Georgia to a military auction.
They were auctioning some old Command Post Tents. Everything I saw in
life was through the lens of ministry. I thought, a CP tent is large
enough for at least 40-50 people to meet in. I can start with that and
on it. But the tents were in rough shape, so I didn't bid on them.
But when we developed the
photos we took on that trip, some were filled with streaks of light,
similar to what we have seen in the past in photos of Brother
Branham. I took it as God being pleased that we had hearts to serve
Him. At the time I thought nothing of driving a thousand-and-a-half
miles, just to have a chance to buy a tent. I was excited at the
On our way home, we
stopped in Valdosta, Georgia and contacted Gordon Shaw, at Valdosta
Tent Company. We asked him if he had any used canvas tents for sale. He
but nothing we could afford. Several times I contacted David Wine, in
Bartow, Florida, inquiring about used tents. David manufactured vinyl
tents, which had numerous advantages over canvas, and was my
Through the years and to this day, I
a tent without thinking of how it could be used for holding old
fashion revival meetings. Last month, prior to July 4th, there were a
couple of tents set up locally to sell fireworks. As they began
tearing them down, I thought, “boy I wish I had that
fill it up with people, and we'd pray down the power and glory of God!”
I cannot say for sure what I would've done with it, had they given one
of them to
me. But I know I'd be on my face seeking God's direction.
Nothing in my
life has immunity
For the past decade, even my desktop
wallpaper/background, or whatever it's called has not been immune from
The Tent Ministry influence. Below is an old
photograph I found online of an actual pre-WWII tent meeting. That has
been my wallpaper/background for several years.
So after all these
decades, it's still there. Just like when I couldn't ride past one of
Uncle Tommy's Christmas tree tents; without seeing it filled with
people, praising God, sinners being saved, oppressed being set free,
and sick and lame being healed; and the dead (actual and proverbial)
being raised. Even after every July 4th, as the fireworks merchants "strike the tents",
I feel something inside screaming that phrase again “Lord,
what a waste of a tent!”
But the old fire needs to be
re-stoked. Only God can do that. We can stir up the gift that is in
us; but only His Holy Spirit can provide the true fire.
I might be
getting older, but
I ain't done yet!
I am forty some
years older now, that feeling has never left me. Yet in spite of
several failed attempts over several decades, the critics still have
Still, I have never gotten that tent ministry off the ground; yet!
But like old Caleb, if God
gives me the green light, I will take that mountain, by God!
In closing, all my life I've been
different. I don't
try to be different. Sometimes, I just see things from a different
perspective. Often God has led me to do things in an illogical and
unorthodox way. He did that with most of the people He anointed
throughout history. And I've dared to obey Him, sometimes at a very
high price. Human nature is to
view anything abnormal and unconventional as wrong. A vast majority
in first century Israel espoused such a view about our Lord Jesus
was in fact very different, and in their eyes very unconventional for
what they expected of God's Messiah. But history has proven which
side was right, and which side was wrong.
As a side note, recently,
I've wondered whether a tent might be the answer to the venue
question for “The
would certainly draw people who might never set foot in a church
auditorium. It is definitely something worth praying about.
take more than just a Tent
If I had the tent, that alone
doesn't guarantee success. It's only an opportunity for success. The
prerequisite for success is something only He can provide. Just like
I stated in my article entitled “My
what matters are those things only He can do; that is what bring
glory to Him alone.
Recently, I heard Kenneth
Copeland deliver one of the most practical messages I've heard in a
long time regarding ministry. He gave four principles necessary to
carry out a ministry/mission for God. Midway in the sermon he shifted
into another gear as he told those four things: first,
you have to
know God's plan for the mission; second,
you must have a strong
spirit, soul, and body, sufficient to carry out the mission; third,
you must have people to be a part of your life and ministry, to come
along side you and help you, as well as have people to minister to; fourth,
you must have the money. You cannot be seeking God, doing warfare, and
chasing down money. God has people anointed to support the
mission with their time, their labor, and their money.
I would only add to
that, we also need for God to open a door that no man can shut, and
to know His voice and hear His voice to be led through that door. But
technically, I suppose that would naturally come under item one,
knowing His plan.
I apologize for the length of this
article. We covet
your prayers for every ministry endeavor we face today.