Every night of the Revival I’ve been sharing with you one of the elements of our Code—our 12 Core Values at Elevation Church—except tonight. I’m not gonna do it tonight. I had something written tonight (pauses) but our preacher for tonight is (pauses and audience cheers)—sitting on the front row. And he [T.D. Jakes] makes me so nervous that I don’t think I’d want to read a nursery rhyme in front of him because—if you’ve never heard T.D. Jakes preach; listen, you have heard Bishop T.D. Jakes preach. Let me explain that. Every preacher who has anything to say rips off Bishop T.D. Jakes. Bishop T.D. Jakes is the preacher—if you attend this church—who feeds your soul every single week.

And you didn’t even ever know to write him a thank you note. Most of us quit apologising for how much we ripped-off Bishop T.D. Jakes a long time ago, because we were taking more time in our sermons attributing the credit to him for the way he fed our souls than we were actually preaching. So when Bishop Jakes said that he would be with us at Code Orange Revival (audience cheers), I just made up my mind, that we would sing just enough to get you ready; and not show any videos or anything like that. And that I would sit down on my orange chair on the stage, and have the best night of my life listening to my favorite preacher in the world. (enthusiastic applause)

Now, there are a lot of introductions that you could give for Bishop Jakes. There are a lot of things you could say about him, in regards to his influence, in regards to his success. It’s pretty obvious, though, how successful he is when you look at the way that God has used him to impact—not only Christian culture—but he’s found a way to break out of the sub-cultural Christian ghetto, where we just all sing songs to each other, and preach sermons to each other. And he literally impacts the world.

That inspires me as a young preacher. I hope that one day I can have a fraction of his influence. And I pray that God will give me wisdom but. One of the things that I wanted you to know—as I’ve tried a personal introduction for each speaker each night—is what Bishop Jakes sermons have meant to me. And I’m gonna try and do this without acting stupid—they made me cry on Tuesday night—Apostle Ron—and I made up mind to hold it together the rest of the time. (audience member calls to Futrtick) I love you. But—(pauses)

Bishop—Bishop Jakes doesn’t know this but there was a sermon that he preached one time—right when we were starting the church—on The Ten Commandments Of Christian Leadership. I’ll never forget it because I was at this conference, sitting in the back of the room. And, when he got to preach I was so excited—I love his preaching. I was telling everyone that was with us, this is gonna be the best, um, 40-50 minutes of your life—it’s all downhill from here. This is gonna be th-the apex.

And it was at that time when we were stepping out in faith to start Elevation, and we had just a few families committed. And were wondering, “Is this gonna work? Can we really reach people?” It was only 6 years ago. We just had 7 families; that’s it. And, in the middle of that (audience applauds), I got to hear Bishop Jakes preach a sermon; and, it meant so much to me—this is no exaggeration, the Holly spirit’s on the front row—she can verify the words that I’m about to say to you. That I listened to it—I listened to the sermon—for a year and a half; every Sunday, before I came to preach—the same sermon.

Tha’s all—I couldn’t—I couldn’t preach—I couldn’t even say an opening prayer without listening to that sermon. And we’re meeting in the senior center at that time. A lot of you won’t remember those days, but—we used to meet in a senior center and they had a little closet where I would go pray in between the services. And I’d listen to that sermon on my ipod. And, uh—I memorized it. Uh, I could probably preach it verbatim right now.

But the thing about it is that, when someone has touched your soul, and been an instrument of God, to speak so deeply to you, and then, he agrees to come and share with your church, and help build your church, that’s gotta be one of the most meaningful moments of your life. I want my Amen Corner to get ready; and then (to audience) I want you to get ready, because we’re about to welcome this man; ah, who could have been anywhere in the world, but chose to be with us tonight.

I want you to know, Bishop Jakes that, there’s a whole generation of younger pastors who—because you’ve been a pioneer to stay faithful to God’s Word—and to preach with such power, that we’re now charging forward in the name of Jesus. And I wanna let you know personally, that I’m gonna do my best to make you proud.

An’ I appreciate the fact that you would come and be with us tonight. But, more importantly, I appreciate the fact that you’ve got a bunch of hungry people in here (audience cheers), who are about to lose their minds. Elevation Church, at every location, I want you to stand up on your feet right now, and let’s welcome to the stage, the Greatest Preacher of Our Time—Bishop T.D. Jakes. Come on, let’s show him some embarrassing love.

Steven Furtick

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