Oral Roberts University- The Rest Of The Story
Featuring Dennis Jernigan Posted on March 16, 2011
On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the Lord fulfilled a decades old vision of mine. In 1977, the Lord allowed me to experience the ministry of Keith Green while I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University. This was a life-altering event for me. God used the music of Keith Green to save my life – literally – on more than one occasion. But why and where does Keith Green fit into this story?
The night after the OBU concert, Keith moved the ministry to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa...and revival broke out! People began to repent and confess sins to one another. At one point, Keith opened the microphone up for any who wanted to share something…and people began to confess sin. Melody Green writes about it in her book on Keith’s life, “No Compromise”, saying, “Over and above all this, though, it felt like the Spirit of God had settled on us like a thick cloud. It was a brightness you could almost see – something gentle and tender, yet infinite. I knew something powerful was taking place.”1
This cloud was only thickened when one young man went to the mic and said, “I’ve been involved in homosexuality here on campus…and God has broken my heart tonight. I see how much I’ve been hurting Him, hurting you, and hurting the school. I really need God to forgive me. With His help I’m going to change.”1
Shock waves went through the arena. Brokenness began to occur as a deeper level of repentance and a greater awareness of God’s presence began to issue forth. Soon that shock wave was dampened when one of the pastoral leaders from ORU went to the mic and gave guidelines for further sharing saying, “We feel things like this are to be confessed privately, and we don’t think it’s a good idea for any of you to share personal sins openly.”
The anointing was lifted and the meetings discontinued after that night…and after my own deliverance and subsequent launch into ministry, I have held a vision for continuing the work that Keith and Melody helped usher in at ORU.
On March 9, 2011, ORU President, Dr. Mark Rutland, allowed me the opportunity to share my story. Leading in worship to begin the chapel service, I then sang “Passionate Obsession” over the student body before launching into my story. After sharing, I invited students to get honest about hidden things, regardless of what they are…and hundreds stood for ministry! Brokenness and weeping began to flow as hearts received the ministry from Father’s heart as I sang “It’s Gonna Be Allright” over them.
It had not fully dawned on me concerning the Keith Green connection until I got to the story of Keith’s place in my life…and then was brought home fully as I ended the service. Dr. Rutland addressed the students after I stepped down. With tears in his eyes and a tremble in his voice, he told the students, “Dennis’s story was not one of deliverance from same sex attraction. His was a story of freedom and honesty. It does not matter what your sin is. What matters is that you have a place to be honest and find freedom.”
He went on to say that he had decided to bring a new day to ORU in this sense: where formally students were simply categorically dismissed from school if certain sins were confessed, from now on the university would have a policy of amnesty. His reasoning? If students are not allowed honest confession, how can they find true freedom?
After Dr. Rutland dismissed the students to lunch and class, I met with many students who were so ministered to by the day’s events. Some could only cry. Some could hardly get the words of gratitude out. One even told me what I shared had literally saved his life from suicide. And then I remembered Keith’s ministry there…how I had been just a small part of seeing freedom ushered into the heart of this world-changing university that Keith had helped begin some 33 years before!
I had all but given up on ever seeing this vision fulfilled…but 30 years later, I am utterly stunned at the big-picture God we serve. There is so much more I want to say…but you get the idea. God is amazingly good…
1 From the book No Compromise by Melody Green.
© 2008 Melody Green
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.