Discover the “three things”—the three wisdoms—Brother Copeland heard one day that have produced success in his life and ministry against all kinds of impossibilities for the past 55 years.
We’ve all heard it at some point…“You can’t do that!” “That’s never been done!” “That’s not how we do it!”
Hearing those kinds of naysayer words can lead to naysayer thinking, which can leave you discouraged (without courage), second-guessing yourself (and God), and completely diverted from your hopes and dreams.
Granted, it’s harder going upstream. It can be lonely not following the crowd. But imagine if no one ever stood against the naysayers. Think of all the inventions that would never be discovered, diseases never cured, mountains never climbed, records never broken, mysteries never solved, fortunes never made… souls never saved.
Jesus addressed this very issue when He and His disciples were challenged by people who questioned their way of doing things: “No one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins”(Mark 2:22).
That’s essentially what Dr. Oral Roberts told Kenneth Copeland in 1967. As a first-year student at Oral Roberts University, Brother Copeland also worked as a pilot for Dr. Roberts’ ministry. Part of his responsibilities was to drive Dr. Roberts at out-of-town meetings, which gave him the unique opportunity to be discipled by Dr. Roberts.
One day, as Brother Copeland was driving Dr. Roberts to a meeting, Dr. Roberts shouted from the back seat of the car, “Kenneth! People will always tell you, ‘You can’t do it!’ But, if you will do these three things, you will always be a success.’”
Here are the “three things”—the three wisdoms—Brother Copeland heard that day that have produced success in his life and ministry against all kinds of impossibilities for the past 55 years. They are three wisdoms that will work for you, as well.
Wisdom No. 1: Find Out the Will of God
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, ‘That’s how many descendants you will have!’ And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb” –(Romans 4:18-19).
God’s will was for Abraham to become the father of many nations. He told him so. And with that—God’s word on the matter—Abraham’s faith in God’s promise never wavered. In fact, it only grew stronger, with Abraham becoming all the more convinced God would do what He had said (Romans 4:20-21).
Faith begins where the will of God is known. That’s a wisdom Brother Copeland has preached and lived for decades.
“That’s the time when you search your heart and get before God,” Brother Copeland has said. “That’s the time when you ask Him your questions, when you get in the Bible and find out His will. When Gloria and I have needed God’s wisdom on a matter, we set aside three days and not pray about anything else but that one thing.”
Wisdom belongs to us—God has seen to it. We have every right to it. We have unlimited access to it. We just need to press in, at times, to receive it.
- “It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God…” (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV).
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all…” (James 1:5-6, NIV).
- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
- “Don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will” (Ephesians 5:17, TPT).
Brother Copeland gladly reports: “We have never gone three days without finding out exactly what His answer was.”
So, take time to find out God’s will in matters. Seek Him primarily, not people.
Wisdom No. 2: Do Not Confer With Flesh and Blood
“‘But what about you?’ [Jesus] asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the [Christ], the Son of the living God.’
“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven’” (Matthew 16:15-17, NIV).
When Jesus was well into His three-plus years of ministry and asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” He wasn’t conducting a temple exit poll or checking the count of His social media likes.
No, Jesus was getting a pulse on the multitude of people following Him and on His core group of disciples. More importantly, He was opening the door for the revelation Peter was about to receive and blurt out in front of all his co-followers (verse 16).
And Peter nailed it. (So far, so good!)
But it was only “good” in that Peter said what he’d heard from the Holy Spirit—even though he didn’t realize that’s what had happened, because it all happened so quickly.
A few minutes later, Peter went off script, offering his own opinions and commentary on something Jesus had just shared with the group—that He was soon to be crucified— and that’s when the not so good happened.
“Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the [will] of God, but merely human concerns’” (Matthew 16:22-23, NIV).
To Dr. Roberts, to “not confer with flesh and blood” was exactly what happened here.
Once you know the will of God (which Jesus did), don’t ask to other people or go around surveying them about what God has said. They will always tell you that you can’t do it (which Peter did)—just ask Brother Copeland…
“It’s so amazing how people just automatically think it’s their responsibility to point out all the reasons why you can’t do something. They may have good intentions, but they’re still going to tell you all the negatives—as if you had no idea.”
The point is: Guard yourself! Certainly, you may even start out thinking, There’s no way I can do this! But once you discover it’s God’s will for you, you need to guard your eyes, ears, words and thoughts—your heart—from all negativity (Proverbs 4:20-27).
Wisdom No. 3: Get the Job Done at All Costs
“Peter said to [Jesus], ‘We have left all we had to follow you!’” –(Luke 18:28, NIV)
The same year that Brother Copeland started as a student (and pilot) at ORU, he suddenly stopped. Dr. Roberts was fast becoming his “father in the faith” and Brother Copeland imagined being by his side for at least the next 12 years, and then, maybe leaving Tulsa, Okla. But one day the Lord told Brother Copeland, I’m through with you here. I’m ready for you now. I need you to go out into your own ministry.
“So my first day in the ministry,” Brother Copeland recounts, “I got up and put on my suit. I didn’t have a place in the world to go, so I got my Bible and my yellow notepad, walked into the living room, sat down and started studying.”
Prior to that first day of “ministry,” Kenneth and Gloria had taken Communion over three principles, three convictions they committed to concerning following God’s call:
- They would never ask anyone for a place to preach
- They would never preach anywhere based on a financial arrangement
- They would get the job done at all costs.
Based on their list and Dr. Roberts’ list—they had reached the “at all costs” part.
Thankfully, the Copelands learned early on from Dr. Roberts that part of counting the costs of discipleship and ministry was prayer—lots of prayer. He passed along to them what the Lord had told him:
Prayer is the core value of any Christian endeavor. It is the foundation, the most essential part. Regardless of anyone’s ability, the result will be failure if they are not backed by prayer. All Christian failure is a prayer failure.
It was in that season that construction began on the campus of ORU, and the first structure built was the famous Prayer Tower, which was purposely located at the center of campus with an eternal flame at the top representing the prayers going up 24/7 to the Lord. Everything else was built around it.
Taking all this to heart, the Copelands hired their first employee as soon as they could.
Pray—all day, every day!
Then, when the time finally came for them to begin construction on their own miraculously acquired 1500-acre property in Fort Worth, Texas, they built their prayer chapel, located at the heart of the campus—and they did it with a conviction and commitment to:
- Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- Keep asking, seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8)
- Ask whatever you will, in Jesus’ Name, and He will back it (John 16:24-26).
Years later, Brother Copeland still misses his father in the faith. But he continues to practice the three proven wisdoms to success he learned from Dr. Roberts 55 years ago—wisdoms that have produced 55 years of success. You can practice them, too, and see great success in your life and ministry!
3 Words That Will Change Your Life
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