Drum Roll, Please!!!!
And now for the message that stands out to me as the best message that I have ever heard. . . . It is "You Have a High and Holy Calling, Take Heed" by Anthony Mangun.
Anthony Mangun literally came roaring into my life in February 1988. I really had no clue who he was at that point but that would not last for long. I can remember going to D. L. Welch's church in the '70's to a "Go to Heaven America" Rally and Bro. Mangun preached with Kenneth Phillips. Since he was not the main attraction, they gave him about 20 minutes, and then Kenneth Phillips preached. Honestly, I have to confess that I do not remember what either one of them preached that night.
I cannot understate the fact that Bro. Mangun come roaring into my life at Because of the Times '88. I had never seen anyone so passionate about evangelism and preaching. During that conference, the "hook" literally was set in my life that would put me to the place that I am now.
In February 1993, I noticed over in White Steeple that there was a sign about cassette tape subscriptions for their services. At that point, I started getting tapes in '93 and have only in the last few years swapped over to CD's. I have hundreds of cassette tapes of Bro. Mangun and there is only one man who has preached to me more than he has and that is my pastor, Joe Patterson.
So many times, I have had to travel alone on different trips for church and business. I would take a sack of tapes with me. Alone in the car a holy convocation would take place. I have driven thousands of miles with God and Bro. Mangun. I have been encouraged, excited, convicted, motivated, and incredibly changed by all of those times that I spent in my car.
Some of the messages that stand out to me are:
- Passion In Your Prayers
- Finishing Strong
- What Is Holiness and Righteousness?
- Seven Day Series (Easter)
- Straight Talk to Men
- A Sacred Place
- You Are Not In Control, I Am
- Redigging The Wells Series
- You Can't Count On Tomorrow
- The Three Crossings
- Come To the Gate (General Conference)
- A Nail In A Sure Place
- The Young Preachers Shouted While the Old Preachers Wept (A Classic!)
- All Because of the Times Keynote Messages
It was the message that was preached at a music conference that was hosted by POA. Although there were music people present, Bro. Mangun directed a lot of his message toward those who were in leadership positions.
The Man: After I had been going to BOTT for eight years, I thought I really needed to meet Bro. Mangun. So I took the opportunity to meet him officially in 1996 and at that time, I asked him if I could come and see him. It was as one of the night services at BOTT. It was winding down, so I walked up on the platform and introduced myself and asked him if I could spend just an hour with him. He told me to contact his secretary and she would give me an appointment to meet him. Since it is 600 miles from my place to their place, I told his secretary that I would like to come through Alex during a vacation and see him on Saturday night and then attend church the next morning.
So it was planned that I would come on a Saturday evening in August 1996. Leading up to that week, my wife and kids all had the flu and the "vacation" was wasted. As a matter of fact, I thought that my luck was going to really help and I was going to get sick too! As the week drug on, I begin to think that my trip was going to have to be cancelled. Although, my home gang was sick, my wife knew how much this trip meant to me personally and she wanted me to go. So after we had talked it over, I decided that I would make the trip alone. On Saturday morning, I got up and started the journey and even to this day, that trip became and is a lifetime memory for me.
I rolled into Alex at 6:30 PM and began the countdown. I was supposed to be there at 7:00 PM. and I did not want to be late. I sat there in the parking lot and since February of that year, I had been gathering questions that I wanted to ask Bro. Mangun. So in the parking lot, I started going over the questions. They were things that even to this day have continued to guide me in some of the approaches that I take with ministry and revival.
I am very time conscious and I was certain that Bro. Mangun was too and therefore I determined that I would not waste his time with the frivilous and unimportant. As 7:00 got closer and closer, I started getting more tense and more nervous. There were two 900 pound butterflies in my gut and they were determined to get out.
I think that at that point, I would have been more at ease around the President. All of that was so unnecessary. . . . I walked into his office and he immediately conveyed something to me that was shocking. He was treating me as a peer!!!! Here was a man who had the second greatest church in the world (sorry Bro. Mangun, the greatest church is right here where I am) and it had bells, whistles, and was generally light years ahead of anything that I knew about or had ever been to. Yet, his manner would have never let on to the fact that I was way, way down on the totem pole and that he was Mr. Revival. Before the night was over, I was absolutely convinced that he wanted me to have the same success in ministry that he had come to experience. He was a very big man and yet he never let that keep him from contributing to my life. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to meet some "big" men who are actually very "small." I have prayed more than once that whatever success that God brought into my life for it not to turn me into a "small" man.
He then said, "What would bring you out here to talk to me?" I said, "I have a hundred and one questions to ask." So we took off. . . .
I asked him about preaching first. I wanted to know where the passion came from. He told me that he felt that you always needed to understand two things about preaching: (1) Study gives you content and (2) prayer gives you passion. He told me that he kept in front of him that there very well could be someone on the pews that this would be their last opportunity to hear him preach. He also told me to take all liberty with anything that I ever heard him preach and use it for myself. He said, "You can transcribe it off of the tape or better yet, if you will call my secretary, she can send you the notes of the message."
I asked him who his friends were and how they had influenced him. He mentioned the name of two men who are on opposite ends of the spectrum. He told me that he respected and loved both of those men and that he did not agree with them on every issue but they helped him to keep a balance in his life. He told me to develop friendships (both on the right and left of me) so that they could help open my mind to issues that would face me in life.
He also mentioned G. A. Mangun and T. F. Tenney (in the context of friends and more as mentors) and said that he kept both of those men over him. He said that he never made a decision without consulting them and asking them to pray for the decision that he was about to make. He also brought up the fact that any decision that you make cannot so much be evaluated by what happens tomorrow or three months from now, but what is this decision going to do this church ten years from now.
Since my preoccupation with time and it's value is what it is, at 7:30 PM, and I can remember looking at my watch and saying that I needed to go. Bro. Mangun said, "I thought you had 101 questions?" I told him that I did and he said, "Next question!"
At 8:00 PM, I told him that I needed to go and then the entire world stopped on this next little parlay. He asked, "How far did you drive?" I said, "Six hundred miles." He then told me rather emphatically but kindly, "So you think that I am going to let you drive 600 miles and only spend an hour with me? Not on your life, we still have about 80 questions to go!!!!" At that point, my whole concept of this man changed. I suddenly realized that this really was a man who had the kingdom of God at heart. Not only did he have the kingdom of God at his heart but he really was interested in helping me too!
At 8:15 PM, Bro. G. A. Mangun came rambling through the office. I mean, he didn't knock, call out, he just opened the door and walked in. Later, Bro. Anthony told me that was an accountability thing. His dad, his mother, and his wife could all come into his office at any time unannounced and without warning. He recommended that I do the same thing. He told me that the Gift and calling that we both had was far too valuable to be wasted on "stupid" stuff. I wholeheartedly agreed then and to this day still agree. I need accountability and you do to. It summons us to greatness.
Anyway, Bro. Anthony told Bro. Mangun that I had driven all day long, 600 miles, just to come and see him and that he wanted him to pray for me. At that time, Bro. Anthony and Bro. G. A. Mangun both laid their hands on me in that study and prayed fervently for me, for my family, and for a ministry and anointing of God in my life. I have to confess that I did not do much praying but a lot of crying that night. I walked away from that room totally overwhelmed with their kindness, their interest in my personal ministry, and a faith that I could continue to follow a long path and faithfully discharge my calling and duty to God.
Much more of this conversation, I covered in a Barnabas Letter in the past and may place it here at some point in the future. Suffice it to say that this night is one that I occasionally go back to and find encouragement from in a great way. I ended up leaving around 8:35 PM and am convinced that they would have stayed as long as I kept asking questions. My last question was, "Can I come back?" This request was met very positively and although I have never gone back to Alex in that capacity, I am convinced that if I were to pick up the phone right now and call his secretary that he would make arrangements to talk to me, spend time with me, and help me.
We need people like Bro. Mangun to help us and we also need to pray for men like him. It is unbelieveable how much they have to deal with. I have come to understand that they take a lot of fire and a lot of unnecessary criticism.
The Message: You Have A High and Holy Calling, So Take Heed; Hebrews 3:1; 2 Peter 1:10; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13; Psalm 19:12-13. This message was a call for personal responsibility for the ministry that God has granted to you. This message was a call for personal prayer and a hunger for revival. This message was a call for personal purity. This message was a call for you to make your marriage better.
It was classic Anthony Mangun. Passionate, heart-felt, and life-changing preaching. I have to say that this is not the greatest message that I have ever heard him preach for there are many others that would probably be deemed as "greatest." However, for me, this message is the "best" because it never fails that when I listen to this sermon, I always end up somewhere afterwards in a place of very productive prayer.
Some comments from earlier posts have requested some of these messages on MP3 and I am investigating about how to do that.
Thanks for making the "Top Ten" journey with me!!!