“My son, attend to my words;
incline your ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from your eyes;
keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life unto those that find them,
and health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from you a froward mouth,
perverse lips put far from you.”
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth;
but you shall meditate therein day and night,
that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein:
for then you shall make your way prosperous,
and then you shall have good success.
In this week’s and next week’s teachings Dr. Don G. Pickney is celebrating the 41 year anniversary of entering fulltime ministry.
On April 18, 19, 20, 1974, he was invited to attend a “Faith Teaching Seminar” in Jonesboro, Arkansas where he resided. It was conducted by Jerry Savelle and Charles Capps ministries. Charles Capps later stated that he was so compelled to do this meeting that he tried for several months to find someone interested in having him as a special speaker, but to no avail.
Finally he called Jerry Savelle, who had only recently left his position with Kenneth Copeland Ministries to begin his own ministry, and asked if he would be willing to share expenses of a meeting. They agreed, and found a church who was willing to rent them their facility for 3 days of meetings.
The meetings were held at the First Assembly of God Church each day 10AM, 2PM and 7PM. It was in this meeting that Pastor Don heard his first “word of faith” teaching. It was so revolutionary for him that, following each service, he would go home to try and find in his Bible evidence to repudiate the claims made in their teachings. Leaving each service, certain that what they were saying was scriptural heresy, he would only find compelling evidence of its truth, then each service he would return just to hear other things that were strange and (he thought) erroneous. Between each service he labored to disprove their teachings just to return to the next service convinced that the last prior service was actually according to the Bible. Brother Capps was the speaker for the first morning’s service, followed by Brother Savelle in the 2PM service. Each service, as the seminar continued, they took turns every other service bring forth a revelation of the “word of faith.” Their foundational scriptures (our two key scripture texts above), Charles Capps took Proverbs 4 as his foundational text each service, while Jerry Savelle used Joshua 1:8 for his text. Each service they began with those scriptures to launch their teaching.
By the end of the last service on Saturday evening, April 20, 1974, he left with the full conviction that what he had heard was life-changing, and a decision would have to be made to make those changes necessary if he was going to live the life they had called for him to live – a life of walking by faith and patience utilizing God’s great promises as if God has spoken them directly to him.
When he went home that Saturday evening, he went into his home office where he remained all night. Before the sun rose the next morning, he wrestled with his choice, he reckoned the obvious challenges he might face for his new-found beliefs.
There was the tightknit church congregation where he belonged, who were not practicing the principles set forth in these newly found faith teachings. He knew that some of them were not accepted in his home church.
Then there were his own family members who belonged to the denominational church where he was raised. On both sides of his paternal and maternal family, this was the denomination of choice for over three generations since the early days when the revivals of “Pentecostalism” spread throughout the country. How would they respond to his possible need to depart the church with these new beliefs?
He also wondered about the challenges that faith itself would present to him. Could he face the same tests that faith would present, the ones faced by those in the scriptures who persevered and found faith’s manifestations.
Would I have the courage to follow in the footsteps of my faith heroes of the Bible. Could I face the same challenges as Abraham, as Joseph, or as David and receive the rewards of my faith? Patience and endurance, with the same temporary contradictions would need to be addressed. And what if it wasn’t really as they had convinced me concerning the certainty of God’s willingness to perform His Word as promised. They had refuted the notion that God’s sovereignty gave Him the right to deny His promise if, in His omniscience, he judged me unworthy of keeping His Word to me individually. My Church had taught me that when you pray, “sometimes God says ‘Yes,’ sometimes He says ‘No.’"