I had to write a manuscript of the sermon I was to preach in my Preaching (homiletics) class. I had never written a manuscript of word for word what I would proclaim. I didn’t think I had the ability to write a sermon. I knew how to write an outline, and go over it and think the thoughts of what I would preach as I studied the Bible. I prayed earnestly. I got to the point where I told God that whether or not I could ever write a manuscript that all I wanted to know was whether or not He had called me to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I did finish my sermon and typed it on a portable typewriter. In fact, I memorized it. I was required to give a copy to Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger and to Dr. James D. Robertson, a Scottish Presbyterian, my professor.
The morning I was to preach, I was reading through the Gospel of John for my personal edification. That particular day I was reading John 15. Verse 16 leaped out at me like golden letters that touched me to the core of my being. I quickly memorized it and claimed it as my own.
This Scripture goes like this:
You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you.
What a glorious Word, a Rhema Word, from the Logos Word of God. It came just a few hours before I had to preach in Estes Chapel. God has chosen me, and ordained me to go and bring forth fruit, fruit that will remain. That Word that Jesus spoke to His disciples became a personal Word for me and I received it as if Jesus were there speaking directly to me. In fact, I believe He was.
Immediately, after I had preached that sermon, Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger, President Elect of Asbury Theological Seminary, stood to critique my sermon. The first thing he said that day was, “Can anyone doubt that Hugh Morgan is called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
I was so overwhelmed with by what Dr. Stanger said, I wanted to jump up and shout and run the aisles of that chapel. I knew that wouldn’t do for I was the only Pentecostal in the seminary. I knew I would be instantly expelled from seminary. I had to sign a document that I would not propagate the doctrines of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, namely speaking in tongues, interpretations, and prophecy. I wrote an addendum to the letter that went like this: “Should you accept me as a student, I will be coming as a student to learn, and not a teacher. However, if anyone privately asks me about my faith, I reserve the right to share what I believe to that person.” Well, they accepted me.
However, that day I could not keep back the tears, a flood of tears flowed down my face on to my white shirt and tie. We were expected to wear a business suit, shirt and tie. But that requirement is still my belief today when I stand to proclaim God’s Word to the people of God.
Years later when I was the pastor Good Shepherd Pentecostal Holiness Church in Birmingham, Alabama, I invited Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger to conduct a three-day healing mission. God had miraculously healed him, and had given him a ministry of healing. He became a prolific writer on the subject of healing. One night when Melvine and I took Dr. and Mrs. Stanger to dinner at a nice restaurant, I told him the story. He immediately said, “Hugh, why didn’t you tell me then that the words I spoke to affirm your calling as a preacher of the Gospel meant so much to you? I needed to be equally affirmed in that what I said came from the Holy Spirit.” I told him I thought that I could say a word I was so filled with deep emotions, and that I was a Pentecostal student. I apologized to him. What I learned that night was that it is important for me to affirm those whom I consider to be my superior or in position of authority over me, as well as those who are my peers, and younger men and women beginning their ministry and walk with the Lord. So, my life since then has been one of encouragement and affirmation to others. In closing my letters and emails, I usually write, “Your friend in all seasons, Hugh H. Morgan.”
God did answer my prayer about my calling and the devil has never tried to tempt me to think otherwise. My calling is settled. With His help I will proclaim the full Gospel to people wherever the Lord may send me.
You will notice there is a colon (:) that separates the first part of this Scripture verse from the second part. I think I would have used a semi colon (;), but what do I know about the English language?
I was not able to apprehend the latter part of this sixteen verse until years later. It has to do with prayer. Jesus is giving instructions to His disciples on how to pray. He adds this to His call and choosing His disciples that they could pray for whatever they needed in His Name. Here it is once again: ”that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you.”
What a gracious offer. The word “whatsoever” is all inclusive and covers the waterfront. However, those of us who have been Christians most of our lives and know the Word of God, we never want to ask for anything outside of God’s Will for our lives. I always end my prayers in the Name of Jesus. I did it in the Air Force when I was a chaplain, and also, when I was asked to give a devotion and pray at the first plenary session of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces in December of 2006, where endorsers were present from many faith groups and some non-Christian organizations. I sought the Lord about how to pray in the Name of Jesus, and He gave me His plan. It was successful and I received two standing ovations. God honored my faith and moral courage to pray in the Name of Jesus. It can be done.
It is interesting to note the carefully crafted words of Jesus when He said that “the Father may give it you.” As I have meditated on that word “may” I have come to realize that Jesus was using a very polite and tempered word to remind us that God is Sovereign and that He alone has the final Word on every situation. This is where and when our faith becomes trust. We trust Almighty God to answer our prayers according to His divine purposes and will. We leave it there with Him.
My father, Hugh Henry Morgan, lived to be 94. In the providence of God, I was allowed to become his pastor when I was called to Birmingham to become the pastor of Good Shepherd Church. Charles Eugene Brown had resigned as our pastor of my home church. He had done a phenomenal job in mobilizing our church to get involved in Sunday School Bus Ministry. We had a fleet of buses and many people actively involved In recruiting children and youth, as well as adults for Sunday school and church. Brother Brown left the church is good shape. My father had great faith. He would often talk about how many Christians tend to limit God and His ability to meet their needs. He would tell them in a very kind way, “Your God is too small.” Then, he would tell them faith building stories to encourage them, and he was a fantastic story teller. People tend to look only at the resources they have and focus on the little, and not the rich resources God has.
In closing, let me tell you of King Jehoshaphat and the Israelites when faced with unbelievable armed forces arrayed against them. Three strong armies joined their forces to defeat and destroy the people of God. King Jehoshaphat knew that only God could defend and deliver them. He led them in worship and praise to God. They did not deny their weakness, but instead prayed to God for His help. They did not focus on what little they had, but looked to God and trusted His divine intervention.
It is interesting to note that they didn’t have to do anything. Their limited resources were no match for what was arrayed against them. God instructed them to do nothing. They prepared themselves spiritually through worship and were able to go against human reasoning and obey the commands of God. It was God’s battle and not theirs. God intervened amid the praises and worship of His people, and the enemy was sorely defeated. God gave the deliverance.
You and I can learn many valuable lessons and principles to use as we face overwhelming difficulties in our lives and in the lives of our children.
Always pray according to the Will of God and in the Name of Jesus Who is the Word of God. Then, trust Him to act or answer you prayers according to His sovereign will in the matter at hand. He will provide for you.