This book comes in at the Number 2 spot of the books that I read in 2012. I have known Ken Raggio for close to 20 years now. My first interaction with him was when we were both on the working staff at the Alabama Crusader Camp many summers ago. We would sit up long after all the kids had been secured for the night and talk about the Bible, preaching, and various other aspects of the ministry. Some aspects of this book, I already knew because of our past conversations.
I would also add that his wife, Dixie, who passed away in 2003 after a prolonged battle with cancer, was one of the noblest Christians that I have ever met. I don’t know of any lady whose Bible was as well-used as hers was. When I would go preach in Birmingham, the Saturday nights would often be spent at their kitchen table with Bibles open and discussion would be long into the night. It was there that I was exposed to her Thompson Chain Reference that had multiple notes in the margins and so forth.
Author: Ken Raggio
Publisher: Ken Raggio
While much of the book is anecdotal in telling a story of how that Brother Raggio came into the truth of the apostolic message, there is much encouragement for prayer, holiness, and solid biblical preaching throughout the book. There were times that I found as I read it, just sitting back and mulling over some of the things that he would write about devotion to God and being entirely sold-out to the cause of Jesus Christ.
Some of the chapter titles are as follow:
- What's A Life For: Describes what our real purpose as preachers ought to be.
- A Word, A Dream, A Miracle: A chapter that deals with the important aspect of hearing the voice of God as He actively speaks to us.
- Beware The Leavening of Hypocrisy: It is crucial of have a clean, godly life to really do the will of God!
- Purge Out the Old Leaven: The price necessary to give yourself entirely to doing the will of God in a messed up world.
He writes about the great revival that was going on in the Port Arthur UPC when J. T. Pugh was the pastor there. There was a change that began to be set about when his aunt was fully converted and begin to attend. She would be a major key to his embracing the Oneness message and Jesus-Name baptism at a later point. Brother Raggio writes about attending the dedication service and at the request of Brother Pugh was invited to sing and play. He was only eleven years old and accompanied by his six-year old brother they sang “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now” and “It’s Different Now.” Despite the fact that he was just eleven, Brother Raggio played the Hammond organ that night.
Throughout the book, there is a clarion call to biblical preaching as he tells his story. Because of his initial charismatic leanings, he was exposed to some of the by-gone names that have become the movers and shakers of the charismatics in the ‘70’s. The Happy Hunters, the Crouches of TBN fame, and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were some of the people they were associated with. In fact, they made an appearance on the PTL club when it was run by Jim Bakker. You will find that interaction with Jim Bakker to be very interesting. However, as Brother Raggio began to experience some of the behind the scenes antics, he realized that there was some much more authentic necessary than what was being demonstrated. The money was flowing and it had a corrupting influence on what these “prophets” were trying to do. All of that began to contribute to his turn toward the apostolic message.
On the other hand, he came into contact with two men who marched to a different drummer. He worked some with David Wilkerson and Pastor Clendennen in Beaumont who both was men who were calling for revival, renewal, and holiness. He also did a stint at Central Bible College which was the flagship college for the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri.
Since I enjoy reading about the previous revivals of both near and distant generations, much of the things written in this book will inspire every preacher who longs for revival today. I will also add that in one of my recent trips to Gainesville with Jeff Arnold, that he mentioned how much inspiration and encouragement he had gained from Brother Raggio’s book.
Every apostolic preacher ought to read this book if not for the encouragement then certainly for the fact of seeing the drift that his taken place in our ranks. It is clear that we need praying and preaching men to rise to the challenge! I would recommend that you add this book to your list to read in 2013.
Thanks for reading. . .