Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

Want to receive Fire in My Bones by email? Sign up here

Many healing evangelists have fallen from grace. This humble giant, at age 88, is finishing well.

I heard T.L. Osborn preach when I was a college student, and at the time I thought, That guy looks pretty good for an old man. That was 31 years ago. I sat down with this spiritual giant for an hour in his office in Tulsa, Okla., two weeks ago, and I thought, I hope I can keep up this guy’s pace when I’m his age.

Osborn, who is 88, was born 29 years before the first commercial airliner took flight. Yet he and his immediate family have preached in 90 nations, and he took a trip to India last January. He is remarkably agile (he is strict about a healthy diet), his intellect is still sharp (he spoke fluent French and Spanish to international guests when I was with him) and he is as spiritually intense as ever.

At a time when so many charismatic and Pentecostal ministers are going down in the flames of financial or moral scandal, T.L. Osborn gives me hope that I don’t have to end up in failure.”

“I once had a vision of the Lord,” Osborn told me, leaning over in his chair to look into my eyes. “But in the vision, God didn’t have any hands. Then He looked at me and said, ‘You are my hands.’” Throughout his worldwide ministry—which has never been well-known in the United States—he reminds Christians that God is waiting on us to obey the Great Commission.

I was thrilled to hear stories of this man’s missionary ventures. But what encouraged me most about our hour-long visit was seeing a man who is finishing well. At a time when so many charismatic and Pentecostal ministers are going down in the flames of financial or moral scandal, Osborn gives me hope that I don’t have to end up a casualty. I noticed five distinct qualities about this man that I admire:

His primary passion is evangelism. We charismatics are easily fascinated with exotic teachings, and this has led us down a path to weirdness or downright deception. Osborn prefers to keep it simple. He believes in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit (and sees them manifest regularly), but he teaches that the secret to living a vibrant Christian life is fully understanding what Jesus did on the cross to redeem us. This has fueled his desire to take the gospel to every nation—especially in print so people in the developing world can have the gospel in a format they can read over and over. (In one of his overseas campaigns, Osborn shipped and distributed 56 tons of literature!)

He expects the supernatural. After T.L. and his wife, Daisy, watched God perform healings in meetings with Gordon Lindsay, founder of the Christ for the Nations Institute, they became convinced that the Lord wanted them to take the supernatural power of Jesus to the world. Wherever they went—especially throughout Africa—the Osborns saw the Lord heal blindness, leprosy and dozens of other diseases. Yet Osborn never sensationalized the gift of healing, marketed it with a price tag or cheapened it with exaggerations.

He’s radically committed to gender equality. Osborn says he was called into missions after hearing a sermon by a female missionary who was working in India. Later, he and his wife were powerfully touched by the ministry of a woman named Hattie Hammond, an Assemblies of God preacher. This may explain why T.L. and Daisy were so radical in their insistence that the Holy Spirit empowers women to work in the harvest. Daisy was a founding voice in the organization known as Christians for Biblical Equality, and today T.L. and Daisy’s daughter, LaDonna, provides oversight to an international network of churches.

He has a global focus. Many faith preachers in the 1970s and 1980s focused their efforts on the saved—and they ended up developing a message of prosperity that pumped up Americans but didn’t relate to the poor in Nairobi, Jakarta or Dakar. Osborn refused to preach to the choir. He had to go—and he didn’t carry an American gospel. His international evangelistic campaigns typically attracted 250,000 to 500,000 people, but he never came home to brag about his accomplishments. Many Americans, even those living in Tulsa, still aren’t aware of the impact this man has made on the world.

He exudes Christlike humility. Success can destroy people, especially if they let fame and money corrupt them. But Osborn has never been a showman, and he doesn’t exude even a hint of aloofness. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that T.L. (his full name is Tommy Lee) grew up on a potato farm in the tiny town of Skedee, Okla.

During the hour I spent with him, Osborn gave me his full attention as he shared insights from the Bible, his missionary trips and his marriage. (Daisy died in 1995.) Then I asked him to pray for me. I fell to my knees and expected him to pray from his chair. But when I opened my eyes he was struggling to kneel on the floor with me.

His prayer was powerful, but his posture spoke even louder. I’m grateful we still have this humble giant with us for a while longer. He’s modeling what it means to be a true Jesus follower.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His most recent book is 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House).

T. L. Osborn with J. Lee Grady


Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this blog? Click here to receive it by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit