I clearly remember the day I was sitting on my couch panicking and praying that God would give me a clever and eloquent sermon for an upcoming speaking engagement. I would be speaking to thousands of people—many of them pastors themselves. Fear began to creep in, and I was afraid I would not measure up.
As I sat there with my nerves frazzled and my mind going in every direction imaginable something wonderful happened. The sweet and precious voice of the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear something that would change my whole outlook. He simply asked, “Are you willing to look foolish for Me?” I hesitated for a moment wondering exactly what that would entail. It’s not a popular thing to look foolish.
As I looked down at the Bible laying open in my lap, these two highlighted passages leapt off the page at me.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:25-29 NIV
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV
After reading those words a definitive “Yes,” arose in my heart! I declared, “Yes Jesus, I am willing to look foolish for You!” As I went on to prepare my sermon, God gave me one of the simplest messages I have ever received for that congregation. It certainly wasn’t clever or eloquent. But, the Holy Spirit moved in power like I had never witnessed before. I stood in awe as the Holy Spirit swept through the congregation and performed absolute miracles. Out of a simple message devoid of human wisdom—one that many would consider foolish—God’s power was displayed.
There are still times that I long to come up with an earth shattering intellectual sermon that will amaze the hearers. I have to battle with my flesh often. I have to realize that being obedient is far more important than sounding like a famous theologian. I have to remind myself to be obedient to speak what God wants me to speak no matter how simple I might think it sounds. I would much rather speak with the Holy Spirit’s anointing and see a demonstration of the Spirit’s power than to rely on my own human wisdom.
As we move into the New Year, I have one question for you. Are you willing to look foolish? Are you willing to speak Truth when it’s not popular? Are you willing to totally rely on the Holy Spirit and rest in His wisdom rather than trying to prove your own intellect? Are you willing to lunge out in faith when it would be much easier to play it safe and save face? Are you willing to look foolish for Jesus?
I’m ready to see God move in power like He longs to! I believe 2020 will be a year of miracles for those who dedicate themselves to studying the Word and praying like they never have before. I’m not making a New Year’s resolution, but I’m making a promise to God to seek His face more than ever before; to look foolish and to do whatever it takes to see the lost and broken come to Him. I’m ready for an end-time revival of epic proportions. Jesus is coming soon. It’s not time to merely step out in faith, its time to leap out in faith! What will your 2020 look like?
I’ve always heard about Christmas miracles, and after watching many Hallmark Christmas movies I’ve seen countless fictional Christmas miracles. But, what happens when you really experience a Christmas miracle of your own—like I did today. Let me explain.
Rev. David Wilkerson has always been one of my favorite Evangelists. I’ve listened to his recorded sermons, and read some of his books. I always aspired to be a powerful evangelist like him and to always speak the truth with boldness like he did. He passed away in 2011, and I never had the opportunity to meet him or hear him speak in person.
However, I was extremely blessed to meet and become friends with his niece Julie Wilkerson Klose. And his brother, Pastor Don Wilkerson Co-founder of Teen Challenge, blessed me tremendously by writing the Foreword for my last book.
But, today something incredibly unusual happened. I received a phone call from Des Moines, Iowa. I assumed it was a telemarketer and didn’t answer. A bit later I noticed the caller had left a voicemail message. I was shocked to hear these words on the other end of the line.
“Hi, this is Steven. I have a bit of an interesting story for you. I found a book on a park bench and didn’t realize the meaning of it until I opened it and realized it is signed over to you from David Wilkerson, who is a famous evangelist. God told me to pick this book up personally. I found it on a park bench in Des Moines, Iowa, and I’d love to give it back, and maybe talk to you about a few things. I thought this was just amazing that I was told to pick this book up by God, and I would like you to contact me back.”
I can’t begin to tell you how puzzled I was. I’ve never had a book signed to me by Rev. David Wilkerson. And, honestly, if it had been any other author I probably wouldn’t have even returned the call. But, curiosity got the best of me and it wasn't long until I realized God was doing something miraculous.
When I called Steven back, we discussed a few things. He told me that after he found the book he looked up David Wilkerson on the internet and listened to some of his sermons. Then he looked me up and listened to some of my sermons.
Seeing we were both evangelists he assumed Rev. David had just signed the book and presented it to me as a friend. Little did Steven know, I had never met Rev. David Wilkerson. As our conversation continued, it was obvious that Steven was looking for something more.
As the Holy Spirit led me, I asked Steven if he wanted to give his life to Jesus. In the next few moments Steven prayed and surrendered his life to Jesus, and re-dedicated his life to following Him as his Savior.
But that was just the beginning. As we continued to talk it became obvious that God had also placed the desire to be an evangelist in Steven’s heart. We rejoiced together in what we believe God is leading Steven into next. I know God is working all things together for Steven’s good!
Steven texted me a picture of the book (you can see it in the picture above) and it is indeed signed to Rev. Donna Sparks along with the date January 26, 2008. I know for sure I never met Rev. David, and he never signed a book for me.
I tried to figure out if there was any significance to the date Jan. 26, 2008. Well, the date is my mother’s birthday, but the year, 2008, was the year God called me to be an evangelist. I didn’t even become Reverend Donna Sparks until 2014. Coincidence? Maybe.
I also wondered who this other Rev. Donna Sparks could be. And the more I thought about it, the more puzzling it seemed to become. This was surely a miracle! I don’t think the miracle in this story is that Rev. David Wilkerson signed a book to a lady named Rev. Donna Sparks in 2008.
No, the miracle of this story is that God led a young man to a book on a park bench in Des Moines, Iowa to learn of two evangelists—one of whom he was able to contact. And when Jesus led him to me, I was able to lead Steven to Him in turn. Salvation is always the greatest miracle.
Steven offered to send me the book signed to me by David Wilkerson, and I’m sending him my two books in return. I’m anxious to see what God has in store for Steven. And, I never cease to be amazed at the lengths our God will go to when it comes to reaching those who need Him. There truly are no limits to His love and grace.
Steven got his Christmas miracle. He is a brand new creation with a call to share Jesus with the world. And I got a book signed to me by Rev. David Wilkerson (ha ha ha). I think we both have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas!
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.