How does one know that they're being called to full-time ministry?
Hebrews 10:25 says, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." That verse makes it clear that there are signs that we are to watch out for that will identify the season of the return of Jesus Christ. I've asked my old friend and Bible prophecy expert Gary Fisher of Lion of Judah Ministry if he believes that the signs of the times indicate that the season of the Lord's return is upon us.
Leap of Faith
Dr. Reagan: Gary you have been preaching and teaching Bible prophecy full-time ever since 1994 and before that you were an electronic technician for Radio Shack. You had a great career going. When I first meet you back in Lexington many years ago, you were a Bible prophecy teacher at a local church. I encouraged you to take that step of faith and get out there and go full-time, and you did. And, Brother, that was a big step to resign your career and step out in faith not knowing where the next dime was going to come from. I know because I have been there. Tell us about it. What motivated you to take such a tremendous leap of faith?
Gary Fisher: A call. In 1974, I was stationed in Udorn, Thailand in the Air Force. I had just gotten saved and was reading everything I could about Bible prophecy. I knew Bible prophecy had made me come to that place where I wanted to make a decision. I knew there were some other people like me out there, so I was studying everything I could to give them an answer. While I was studying up on that God put deep in my spirit that when I got back to the United States I should start a ministry that focuses on the soon return of Jesus and make myself available for speaking engagements.
I ran from God's calling for 20 years. In 1994, I was just miserable inside. I felt like I jumped ship. I felt like Jonah in the whale. I had my Jonah and the whale experience, but I finally in 1994 surrendered to that call. I told God I was miserable doing for what I was doing, so how could I be more miserable serving the Lord? So, I finally stepped out in faith.
Dr. Reagan: You had a burning message in your heart?
Gary Fisher: Absolutely. It made me step out.
Dr. Reagan: And, you know that when you run from the Lord, and I know about this, you can have a lot of success in the world, but you are always miserable because you are out of the center of God's will.
Gary Fisher: That was it.
Dr. Reagan: So, you stepped out in faith to form this ministry. What have you learned about walking by faith with God?
Gary Fisher: Well, it wasn't a bravado move with God. It was just an, "Okay, Lord, I'm ready to accept whatever you have to offer." So, in 1994 I made that step of faith and I found out that God knows exactly what He is doing. I certainly didn't know what I was doing in the slightest, but God knew.
I found something out, something that came from one of my favorite teachers Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapels. He used to say this, "Where God guides, God provides." I had no clue when I stepped out that I was going to ever make another dime, but it didn't matter the day that I finally did it. Since then the Lord hasn't missed a single paycheck, Brother, and the family hasn't missed any meals.
Dr. Reagan: Often those donations come from the strangest places.
Gary Fisher: They do. We opened in 1994 and I didn't have a clue as to where it was all going to come from, but money just started coming in to cover expenses. I didn't do it for money, of course. We did it for the purpose of serving Him, and the Lord was behind us.
Dr. Reagan: You have learned how to take greater steps of faith as you go along, and you learn to trust the Lord more and more, right?
Gary Fisher: Yes. After the first few months of our ministry we had gotten down to just a couple hundred dollars. I just thought it was over. I was going to come down here and visit you. I didn't have the money for a plane fare. You called me up all joyfully and gleefully and said, "Oh, come on down anyway." And so, I came down to Texas. When I got home from that meeting I went to my P.O. box thinking I was ready to go back and get me another job. I opened my P.O. box and went in there and found one of these Priority Mail folders in there. Well, I opened it up and there was a $10,000 check in there. I couldn't even, well I... I went back to my car. My knees were shaking and my voice was quivering. I handed the check to my wife Pam and I said, "Look at that." She started with the same reaction that I did. A voice down deep inside of me spoke to me and said, "You think I can handle this?"
Dr. Reagan: You know, I found that out when I started walking by faith, too. The Lord would take you right down to the very end where you didn't have a dime left and you just didn't know what you were going to do. The only thing you could do was get on your knees and pray like mad. God would always come through.
I've found out the Lord has His own timing. He is never late, but He is very rarely early. I can remember a time a few years ago when George the Financial Director of this ministry came to me and said, "Man, we need to pray like we've never prayed before, because if I figured it right by the end of November we will have nothing in the bank." So, we prayed and prayed and prayed. By the end of November, George came in and exclaimed, "David, the Lord's answered our prayers. We've got $7.50 in the bank!" Well, I replied, "We need to pray some more."
Do you know that a week later a a retired dentist called and said he wanted to come out here and visit? He came out and he told me something like, "I've been watching the TV program. I just love it. I want to get a copy of all the programs." This was about the second year we were broadcasting on television. He asked, "Could I see Dave Reagan?" So, I sat down and I talked with him for a little while, and he turned to his wife and said, "Why don't we give a donation." She replied, "Fine." He said is, "20-25 right?" She said, "Well, 25 is okay." So, he wrote that down, handed me the check, and they left. I thought that was wonderful of them. I went back into the office and put it on the desk and I said to my staffer, "Here is a check for $25 from the dentist." She came back a minute later and said, "Did you look at this check?" I answered, "No." Well, it wasn't written for $25 dollars, but $25,000!
I could tell stories like that all day long. It is exciting to live by faith, though sometimes it is sort of nerve wracking.
Gary Fisher: It is indeed sobering. Boy, you've got that right.
Dr. Reagan: What would you say to somebody who is thinking right this moment about going into ministry?
Gary Fisher: I would say make sure they have a calling. Make sure you have a call. What does that mean in real terms? Well, with a calling it will just not go away. It's an urging way down in your spirit that will not be satisfied unless you are doing what that calling voice says to do. Today is not the place for ministry where there is no call. So, I would say first of all you make sure there is a call.
After your call is assured, do not enter the ministry thinking that life is going to be easy. It's not going to be a bed of roses. Ministry is not the place where you are going to just sit back in the easy chair and expect everything to go well. The average American I believe right now thinks that Church ministry is the Lord arranging for a Rolls Royce to drive them up to the front of the church, and a flower-laden cart to pick them up, roll them in, situate them on a feather cushion pew, and fan them while God blesses them. No, it doesn't work that way in ministry. You cannot believe that ministry is going to be easy.
In the next part of my interview with Gary Fisher concerning Hebrews 10:25, Gary will share why to him it's such an important verse related to Bible prophecy.