When Dad first went into the ministry, the teaching ministry of Kenneth E. Hagin had a great impact on him. He went to great lengths to get a set of Brother Hagin’s tapes, even offering his car as collateral until he could pay for them.
These tapes were not cassettes, but the old reel-to-reel tapes. Dad would put a reel-to-reel player in the front seat of the car, along with a big sack of D-cell batteries, and listen to the messages as he drove from one preaching engagement to the next. There, he would re-preach the truths he had just heard.
He tells how he kept those tapes going day and night. The heavy 7-inch reel-to-reel players were cumbersome, and seemed to eat batteries. But what he was hearing was revolutionizing his life and shaking up everyone who heard him preach those messages!
As a child, I had my own experience with reel-to-reel tape players, only it was my dad I was listening to. As a sixth-grader, I would put a tape on at night, fall asleep and barely waken enough to turn it over and rethread it in the dark.
When I was in ninth grade, I encountered my first technology revolution: the cassette tape. It was awesome! You could carry a message in your pocket and then play it wherever you went (as long as you had a cassette player). Talk about a revolution! People were so eager to share this fresh message of faith, it spread like wildfire, stirring every corner of the Church world.
Then along came the explosion of Christian radio, and tape sales skyrocketed. It still wasn’t enough. Now Christians from every denomination were seeking out meetings where they could hear more. The hunger was intense and the numbers were growing. Before radio, our meeting attendance might have been a few hundred, but now people were flocking to hear the Word. Ballrooms and auditoriums packed out until there were no seats left. Sometimes people sat on the floor so close to the preacher he could hardly move. The word of faith was preached and God confirmed it with miracles and demonstrations of the Spirit. The effect of being trained and developed in faith began to define our future.
By now, George and I were married. Like many thousands of other believers, we understood that the Word in us and in our mouths will change anything. Enthusiastically, we became “doers of the Word.” We made scripture cards and put them on the refrigerator, the mirror and in the car—careful to say only what the Word said.
It was so energizing!
Christian Television Gets the Word Out
In 1979, the Believer’s Voice of Victory television broadcast began. Christian television wasn’t very common and neither was such an uncompromised word of faith. A new avenue to get the Word out had opened. Now, millions were hearing all across America and soon in other nations. They were hungry, too. Our meetings had to move to convention centers to accommodate all the people. Some even slept on the sidewalk to be sure they got seats up close. It looked like a 100-yard dash every time the doors opened.
Just like Acts says, “The Word multiplied,” and it was glorious!
Praise God, the Word continued to multiply. “Word” churches sprang up everywhere and Christian television soon was available 24/7. Now, with CDs, Internet, MP3s and 4s, smart phones, etc., we have more access today to the Word than at any other time in history.
But something has been seriously missing. I don’t see that same passionate love for the Word. We’re not hungry like we used to be.
Jesus said to those who are hungry, “Come!” He didn’t quit feeding, we just stopped coming.
Maybe because of the accessibility of the Word, the Word has lost its value to some. Too many Christians are looking for the church with the shortest service while others say, “Well, I can always watch on the Internet.” True, but is that really “coming”? The problem is, that means they’re getting very little Word. That won’t cut it, especially in today’s world. God’s desire is that we stir ourselves up to be hungry for Him. And, regardless of popular opinion, that can’t be satisfied apart from His Word. Jesus said we are fed spiritually by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Luke 4:4).
When you truly value the Word, you value and esteem God. “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself” (John 1:1, The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition). God and His Word are one. All things began with the Word.
Think about the actual words, spoken first and now printed on the page: Those words are God. They are absolutely God in every regard, fully exemplifying the character and nature of God. To reject His Word is to reject Him. The Word is as alive as any person (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC), and this person is God Himself. Jesus is one with God, isn’t He? John 1:14 says that He is the Word made flesh.
Putting the Word First
Deuteronomy 6:6 (AMPC) says, “These words…shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts.” Notice it says the Word shall be first. What does it mean to put the Word first? Well, first, by definition means: “preceding all others in time, order or importance.” Putting the Word first is not just reading it first in the morning, but making it the filter through which you see everything. It is having the Word as the highest and most prominent authority in your life, preferring it over everything else.
You’re going to have to invest your life into the Word by listening to and doing whatever it says to do. Proverbs 4:20-21 (AMPC) instructs us to “attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.” The Message Bible says, “Wrap yourself in them from head to foot; wear them like a scarf around your neck” (Proverbs 6:21). Simply put, keep the Word going in your eyes and ears, and out of your mouth all the time. If you do this, Proverbs 6:22 (AMPC) promises His Words “shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.” And since the Word is alive, it knows exactly what to say to you! How? By the Holy Spirit who causes us to hear the sound of His voice (John 16:13).
The great thing is, it’s not hard to become hungry. What you give your attention to, you will desire. For example, new cars and fashions may be ugly to you at first, but after you see them over and again, you want two of each!
Here’s a good place to start: The Bible tells us, “He is faithful that promised…” (Hebrews 10:23) and, “[His words] are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:5). Give some special time to stop and think about God’s faithfulness to His Word. If you read Psalm 119 you will catch a glimpse of David’s love affair with the Word in every verse. Because the Word is supernatural, it will begin to impart life into your spirit and soul.
Crossing into 2013, I sensed the early stirring of the same amazing hunger I witnessed in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. George and I both began preaching with a renewed hunger and passion ourselves. It’s true! What you look at, say and act on is what you will hunger for. From 2014 to now, the hunger is still growing and so are the results. God is helping us!
With just a little cooperation on our part, all of us will quickly find ourselves in the midst of the most stunning streams of His glory as He satisfies the hungry, confirming His glorious Word among us.
by Terri Copeland Pearsons