"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
I think the greatness of the man must always begin and end here; Preaching or leading or ministry of any kind, is simply Christ imparted, and that is impossible without living a crucified life; It is the only life that exudes true holy power.
This scripture below describes the Apostolic command recieved, and shows what an Apostolic Preacher really does. It seems to be a far cry from what the more modern, pulpit based preachers of the this age do.
"And as ye go, PREACH!, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
True great preaching is always accompanied by true and undeniable power; in the New Testament, they are inseparable, dynamic, and apparent. The local assemblies seem to abide in this consciousness as the norm.
In 1996 I travelled to India with a 5 man team doing platform evangelism, with crowds of 1500-5000 all across the south of that country. It was a lot of fun, along with the usual warfare, and we were victorious wherever we went.
After the preaching, we had great buckets of olive oil, and we sloshed our arms and hands in it,and we travelled into the crowds and laid hands for healing on whoever wanted it. These were always the poorest of people, and they received and believed us.
Here, I experienced "the press", where people would literally mob you, and carry you along to the left or the right. You just had to go with the flow. and also witnessed the demon possessed, the lepers, and the weirdest diseases I could imagine. We preached, then prayed according to the above command, and saw limited success. We had some power.
Because of our associations with some more famous organizations, I was allowed to attend a huge Reinhard Bonnke Meeting at the old Polo Grounds at Madras, and sit on the stage about six feet away from where Bonnke preached. The crowds were without number to me; maybe a quarter million, maybe more, but I could not see the end of it; a literal sea of people, and the ladies there in there most colorful dress.
Bonnke preached a Gospel message of God's grace and love. It did not seem to me, particularly, in style at least, powerful or interesting. But I got the unexpected; God came down and showed Himself.
I saw from afar a "splash" of activity and heard some shouting and laughter, and then saw a small round object being passed up above the heads of the crowd....from perhaps 1000 yard back. As it drew closer, you could see that a young girl was sitting in it. Nobody knew what had happened to her, until she came up front to the stage.
She was born lame, and her legs never developed. They literally looked like skeleton legs, with massive bony knee-bones. She had never walked one step in her life, and the basket was her vehicle, as someone carried her on their back, wherever she went.
While sitting in this crowd, with her family , she felt tingling and an electric feeling, where their was none before. she could move her feet.
She was about 12, I suppose, and very beautiful, and somewhat glorified with joy. Bonnke greeted her in English; "Come on up here honey!", and grabbed her by the hand, and pulled her up on the stage. She then took her first step, but she walked like a spider, crooked and wobbly. The entire crowd was speechless; stunned and awed.
Bonnke had been here before, and knew what to do. It was like the second prayer of Jesus when the blind man saw blurry. He knew he must pray again, and I think that Jesus had it planned this way, to show to all His limitless power. Bonnke commanded everyone to close their eyes...a form of focusing on Jesus I think...and prayed a very simple prayer for a complete healing.
I did not close my eyes. I wanted to watch this one. After he prayed, more glory appeared on this girls face, while Bonnke began to dance with her, spontaneously, and with one hand led her skipping around the stage, and she began to leap with Gazelle like strides. She reminded me of the famous Russian Ballet...long, leaping strides, with perfect balance and grace.
Then, the second act of God. While hundreds and thousands watched, the Lord formed perfect legs on her, with strong muscle mass, like the legs and feet of a female athlete. It was then that everyone really broke out in WONDER! I watched this event, and could not believe it. Something impossible happened while i watched, and my faith refused to catch up with my mind. I had just witnessed a true Creative miracle up close, and did not believe it. I was shocked.
Bonnke knew when to strike. He immediately called for heads bowed, and prayer, and that all who wanted to serve this Jesus, God almighty, to come forward and believe! At least 5000 came rushing up, terrified and joyful, to receive Jesus. He had teams waiting to see them, instructing them, and assuring future contact to see them established in the local church.
Bonnke was whisked away, for many Hindu's wanted him dead.
I remained for the "After-glow", and was allowed by the Lord to pray and preach for everyone who needed it; about 1500 people, until 3 or 4 AM. It was a lot of fun.
One other foot note: I hesitated to share this, but I will.
When this young girl; was healed, I was very close to her. I saw an orb, Like a halo but in another dimension. I saw around her face, a MAN....with a beard and Jewish features. I saw the resurrected Lamb of God around her being. Quite a day for me.
Jesus is the healer, and it is He who is great. Fame has nothing to do with "great" preaching. It has everything to do with Him being exalted within you to give life to who He chooses. Most of these men will be obscure, and hidden, and will defer greatness like the plague.
Also, just because God uses you greatly, does not mean He always will. I have seen "great" men fall away, or become so absorbed with themselves that they lose the only "greatness" that MATTERS.
"Power belongs unto God."