Ford and Jean as seen in this photo had only been married about ten years, but they were already immersed into ministry that involved state prisons, schools, outreach meetings such as concerts and street meetings; and of course church gatherings of all sorts.
The Grants' first love was to do the work of an evangelist. Upon the completion of their first album, “Power in Praise,” Ford and Jean made plans to hit the road, travel the land, and share the gospel through the word and song.
At the end of a period of fasting and prayer, the Lord spoke to Ford and asked him if he would be willing to abort the plans he and Jean had made and instead take a church and begin a pastoral ministry. Of course Ford said yes and shared with Jean what the Lord had revealed. Both agreed and began to look to the Lord to fulfill what they had heard and seen.
To this present day, the Grants are still active in their music ministry as psalmists and praise and worship leaders at their church; as well as writing new praise and worship songs. A limited amount of that first album is available on CD.
This wonderful ministry was also designated as minstrel. Minstrels were formerly known as poets as well as musicians, and were held in the highest regard. Such a minstrel was sought out by the prophet Elisha as recorded in II Kings 3:15,16a, “But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.” “And he (Elisha) said, Thus saith the Lord”.
In another instance; David, before taking the office as King of Israel was summoned as a young lad to play before King Saul because “an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” (I Sam16:14). It was known by some that David was “a cunning player on a harp: “and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well” (Verse 16).
The term Psalmist originated with King David. Israel's great king began his ministry of worshiping God as a young boy long before becoming king, in the fields as a shepherd of the sheep of his father Jesse. I believe he was empowered through worship to do the great feats of overcoming the bear and the lion as he protected and delivered his father's sheep. And eventually this same worship empowered David to kill Goliath the great Philistine warrior who defied the armies of God.
These events have inspired many persons for generations to put their trust in God. To sing or play in response to God's goodness, wisdom and His power is an unadulterated expression of faith.
For worship to be beneficial make sure that it is directed toward our Lord and God. And that it speaks back to Him the wonders of His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and many other wonderful attributes that are God's alone.
Father God seeks those that will worship Him in spirit and in truth. When we hear “He seeks worship” I think we believe God needs it to satisfy His longing for attention. While there maybe some truth to that; we will probably never fully comprehend it. You see God is self sufficient, and yet for some strange reason He loves us dearly. Go figure!
He delights in the fact that our hearts are turned toward Him with the intention of keeping Him at the center of our lives. This is where the believer-worshiper benefits most. For sure God has things in mind that need to be accomplished and these can only be done as we agree with His will in the matter; we are His mouthpiece, feet, and hands on this planet; we are the very tools that He uses.
The true worshiper is the prime candidate sought out by God. Remember Abram? In order for God to initiate His program for our salvation; God sought someone who would worship, agree with and obey Him. He found all this is Abram, who is called the father of our faith.
True worship has the affect of destroying doubt and unbelief. So the ministry of Psalmist is very important in that it helps the believer to stay focused on who God is and stay attentive to the very attributes that reveal God to be God.
Play close attention to who has the role of Psalmist in your life or if you have that position, because it is critical that we perceive God as He desires not as our emotions dictate. Let us worship the Lord for He is great and greatly to be praised.
In this scene my wife Jean and I are sharing the gospel with the help of a friend (Donnie) on the public square in a small city not far from the church we attended. This young man was responsible for our joining the church. It was his invitation that God used to get us there.
The church was great for us and taught us to reach out in as many ways as we could imagine. It was exciting to set up services in the various places the Lord led us to, whether that was street meetings, coffee houses, or various institutions that opened their doors as well as the local jails and prisons across our state.
Even today after so many years have passed, I am still thrilled with the opportunity to share the gospel whether that be to prisoners, students, or the local church. Reaching out gives meaning to our faith as Christians. We should be hungry to learn as much as possible to be equipped with what ever is necessary to get this great message of God's love to the world at large.
The Lord's command was to take the gospel to all of the world and to believe the message would bring salvation to everyone who hears and believes and is baptized. And the Lord also stated that certain signs would follow those who believe in the message of Jesus and act in obedience to His command. We will look at these signs in depth a little later in our discussion.
Obviously it is not possible for everyone to become a missionary in the classical sense, or is it? You see when Jesus gave this command I think He was speaking on a much broader scale than we have been thinking.
We in the west have been instrumental in taking the gospel to all of the world and inspired others to follow with great success. But we have also put missions in a religious box. We emphasize sending and supporting and all this is good, but not to the exclusion of “our” going.
What I mean is that when Jesus said to go into all the world, He meant your world as well. That's right, the places that you frequently go. We have jobs; we go to school to get an education; we frequent places to shop, relax and be entertained. As Christians we do not have the luxury of taking time off from our obedience to God.
We must receive fresh vision for evangelism. I am sure some would say that they have tried talking to individuals in these very places. But have you looked for the signs that Jesus promised would follow your obedience?
We get discouraged because people don't want to hear our message. But what of the life of Christ living through you. Jesus not only talked about the kingdom of God; He demonstrated what it consist of. In 1 Cor. 4:20 it says, “For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul)”.
We must allow our souls to satiated with these spiritual truths and beliefs so that it becomes the new norm for us. Identifying with the Lord Jesus in His passion for lost humanity. Our assignment is the field that we frequent so often and not always some distant land with strange people, customs and culture.
“These signs shall follow them that believe.” Jesus said specific things would take place when we believe in what we are sent to do. The very people we are trying to reach have needs, and many times to reach the person Jesus would meet their physical need or answer a haunting question that they may have had.
One thing was said of Jesus that should be said of every believer “I find no fault in the man”. I understand in our society there is this belief that no one can be perfect and no one ever was but Jesus. But is this the way we should perceive perfection? Are we saying that in the eyes of the people Jesus never did anything wrong, never made a mistake or even cursed?
Look a little closer. To most of Jesus' opponents, the kingdom of God came unexpectedly. In other words they were aware that the Messiah was to come; however, they were under the impression that God would surely “text” them first. This put them in a precarious position, and so inspecting and questioning everything Jesus said and did became the norm.
When Pilot said that he found no fault in Him, this was strictly from a legal mind set. It was not possible for Pilot to see through the eyes of the unbelieving High Priest. On the other hand the unbelieving High Priest was accurate from his perception that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath instead of fulfilling it. The High Priest and his comrades thought it blasphemy for Jesus to claim to be the Son of God, thereby making Himself equal to God. In their eyes this would not have made Jesus perfect or without fault.
And what about Jesus cursing? You say Jesus never cursed, sure He did, but it wasn't a person but a fig tree. Perhaps you know the story. The fig tree appeared to have fruit on it but it only had leaves. Which was somewhat freakish because the fig trees fruit and leaves all show up at the same time. It just so happened that Jesus was hungry and went to get something to eat and realized that there was nothing there but leaves. This upset Him and He cursed the tree, which dried up from the roots.
Now if you are judging perfection by the attributes of your intellect, you would think Jesus had dropped the ball. Jesus was not trying to do everything right from a human standpoint, but rather being on point spiritually and to the letter in regards to the written word of God. He said, “I have come to do thy will oh God.”
Just because you haven't matured as a human being, by that I mean learning to cope and respond to situations like jealousy, hatred, prejudice and envy in Christian forgiveness and by turning the cheek, does not disqualify you from sharing the gospel.
The credentials that authenticate your Christian witness is the signs that follow you, like the healing the person receives through “your” faith when you lay hands on them and pray; or the wisdom or word of knowledge that you are able to give them in their personal situation because of the interpretation of the spiritual language of tongues that you exercise to help them.
Want more? Jesus said you would drive out demons. Everyone believes in demons. There are even television shows that depict them. We are quick to say that certain persons act like the devil. But what are we doing about it? That's right we should drive it out. You say, “How? If they don't want to serve God, you can't make them.”
This isn't about making them serve God. It's about removing the clutter so that they can clearly make a choice! Jesus cast the devils out of the man that had a legion of evil spirits in him, but that person clearly “asked” to follow Jesus. When Jesus referred to taking up serpents, it was in this sense that I believe He was speaking.
So my friend, being perceived as perfect or qualified to be a Christian witness from God's perspective includes your human frailty not super human ability. The scripture teaches that all things work together for good to those who are called according to God's purpose. We must never loose sight of the fact that God knew all that we would face in our development as Christians.
“Go into all of your world” with great confidence and when the world points to your weaknesses just tell them that this is where your strength lies. The Apostle Paul said when I am weak then I am strong. He learned that his weaknesses were just a channel through which he could access all the strength Jesus had. Enjoy yours today, there is an never ending supply. We are drawing from a well that will never run dry. We're drinking living water and it's flowing from the Father; we're drinking living water that has an endless supply.
Full Gospel Business Men's Flyer - 1982
During this period of our life and ministry together; Jean and I were being used of the Lord to break down barriers of prejudice in the Church at large. We were asked to become the worship leaders for the local Christian Business Mens Fellowship. We had the wonderful opportunity to minister in music for some of the very best speakers, businessmen of faith, and other notables that were invited to share what God had done and was doing in their lives.
Because we had such a wonderful array of God's front linemen to come, this drew a wide audience of people from various church backgrounds. The Lord used this to cast a light on our ministry in music.
We didn't know it at the time, but God had strategically placed us so that we would be exposed to many lay persons who would in turn pass our names and ministry gifts on to pastors of churches throughout the southeast.
Without advertisement or mailings of any sort, God used this assignment, as worship leaders for the Full Gospel Men's Fellowship, to send us into churches that were open to changing their lily white atmosphere.
We didn't know it at first, but God's plan was to send us to help these congregations open their doors to people of all races. Jean and I always found it odd that no matter where we went, out to eat or shop or even on vacation, we were usually the only blacks around. This didn't make us uncomfortable, just curious; we knew God was up to something.
Invitation after invitation continued to come at the meetings. We found ourselves traveling weekly to a church somewhere that was completely filled with Caucasian worshipers. There were times when some would walk out when they realized the guest speakers were black. You felt this sinking feeling and quietness as people realized what was happening. But God was gracious in that we were equipped to go on ministering and staying on point with what the Lord was doing.
We began to think that surely this was what the Lord had called us to do the rest of our lives so we began to make plans to go on the road permanently. However, this was mostly our zeal for God and not His direction for permanent ministry.
As time went by, the word of the Lord began to come clearly that we were to start a church and serve as pastors. We did not heartily welcome this call. Being on the road was much more appealing.
We accepted the Lord's mandate and began to seek out what steps we should take to bring this about. Interestingly, as soon as we complied with God's vision for our lives, the doors that had previously been open for ministry throughout the southeast closed. It was as though everyone forgot about us. I know now that this was God's way of keeping us from being distracted.
We have gone through many changes since then and grown in ways spiritually that we never dreamed we would or had to. All in all it has been quiet a journey, and yet in many ways it feels as though we've just begun. I guess it is because there is so much that God has for all of us to do. So much is yet to be accomplished with seemingly so little time.
Our lives are not our own. We as well as you, my friend, were born again for the purpose of God. Sure we get to enjoy all the benefits of salvation; but that is not the end of it. We have to find our destiny in God. His word and a prayerful, obedient lifestyle will lead you to God's perfect will for you life.
Whatever the events that lead us to saying yes to Jesus; we must remember that no man or woman can come to Jesus unless he or she is drawn of the Father. In other words God takes advantage of what gets to us in life and whispers love thoughts that changes our hearts. But it is for His purpose.
Have you been romanced by the gentle strokes of the Holy Spirit? If you have, you know what I am saying. Why not say yes to Jesus today and begin to find out what God has in mind for your life?
To pray the prayer of salvation is to acknowledge that you have not been living for God and for that you are sorry and need God's forgiveness. You also make the proclamation that Jesus is Lord over your life; and, therefore, you give Him access to your heart.
When this is done you are in position to allow God to download into your very being all the love He has to give: your sin is washed away, the burden is removed and the yoke of oppression is destroyed. YOU BECOME NEW!
I am praying for you. I know you will make the right decision. Remember God really does love you.