What Would You Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?

Me and Jamie Buckingham in 1985

In 1978, Jamie Buckingham asked me a vital question: "What great things would you attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?"

At 27, I was struggling and nearly failing to make my fledgling magazine succeed when I had no experience in business, no money and a wife and son to support.

That question changed my life. It made me realize I was thinking too small and had no clear vision. It broadened my thinking and narrowed my focus.

This question is one each of us should ask. I pose it to you, hoping it will make you think. Isn't this what the Bible refers to when it says we can do all things through Christ, and that by faith we can speak to mountains and watch them move?

I decided then what I wanted more than anything was to impact the world and leave my mark through publications and journalism. To this day, I am fulfilling that dream. 

I remember Jamie Buckingham because it was 25 years ago today—Feb. 17, 1992—that he died, only weeks before his 60th birthday.

For 25 years, he had been the heart and conscience of the charismatic movement. In his day, he was one of the most outspoken charismatic leaders during an era that gave us the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals as well as flamboyant "leaders" such as Bob Tilton and Larry Lea, whose ministries exploded and then imploded.

Jamie always told it like it was. Yet he often did it with humor. He made many pompous Christians uncomfortable but was widely respected by his legion of readers.

If you've read my column for long, you know the enormous impact Jamie had on my life. He was the first major national leader to encourage a fledgling magazine publisher—me. His endorsement gave us credibility in those important early years. He wrote a column in Charisma magazine for 13 years. Even now, his columns represent some of the best writing we've ever had. Today on Charismamag.com, we will feature several of his best articles online as if they were written yesterday.

I also recorded a podcast where I talk about Jamie's extraordinary life and ministry. You can listen to it here or below.

As enormous as his influence was, most of today's generation does not remember him. Unless you are nearly 50 or older, it's likely you won't. However, his enormous impact continues today through the books he wrote, his wonderful family and the lives of young leaders he knew and mentored.

Many of today's leaders such as Pat Robertson, Nicky Cruz, Mike Evans, Pastor John Hagee and me were deeply impacted by him. In addition, many leaders who experienced moral failure were encouraged and often restored by him. He could relate to them because he fell twice morally as a Southern Baptist pastor. It was actually the crushing of those experiences that made him open to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a Full Gospel Businessmen's meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1967.

I pulled out some of Jamie's columns this week and reread them in order to post them today on our website. It was like opening a time capsule and remembering what it was like when Ronald Reagan was president and when Bill Clinton was elected. (Jamie died a year after Clinton took office.) You can read them here, here, here, here and here.

I wondered how Jamie would react to some of the things happening today such as the tension between the races, the political polarization that has become a part of the national landscape and also the continuing moral decline we see in an increasingly secular and wicked culture.

Many of these ungodly trends had already begun in Jamie's time, and he spoke up for righteousness and biblical thinking. He also called out mean-spirited, small-minded and hypocritical Christians. Of course, we still deal with the same mindsets in Christians today.

Like Jamie, everyone reading my words will be gone someday. Hopefully, the people whose lives we touch will remember us as I am remembering him today. Actually, we honored him by naming our large multi-purpose meeting room at our headquarters building Buckingham Hall, which we use every day.

In these tumultuous times, I think it is good for us to thank God for Jamie's life and legacy and to be faithful to speak up and speak out against hypocrisy and unrighteousness as Jamie did.

Jamie wrote more than 45 books that have impacted countless lives and influenced Christians around the world. Until recently, most of his books were out of print and difficult to find. Risky Living Ministries, Inc. has undertaken the task of digitizing his works and making many of his popular books available again—for this generation and generations to come.

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As a way of honoring Jamie Buckingham on this 25th anniversary, RLM is making three of his most popular books available for FREE as e-books. This offer will last only from February 17-19.

Please click on the links below to get your free e-book:

Risky Living

Where Eagles Soar

A Way Through the Wilderness

In addition, several booklets based on some of Jamie's most popular sermons are also available as free e-books:

A Spirit-led Life

Senior Saints

Unproductive Seasons

When You are Born Ugly

Laughing at Life

The Weights of Life

For the paperback versions of these and other books by Jamie Buckingham, please visit Jamie's book page

To learn more and to support the ongoing legacy of this great man, visit JamieBuckinghamMinistries.com

If Jamie impacted your life, please share this with friends, read his articles we post online and leave your comments on our website.


Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma Media and president of Christian Life Missions. He is also the author of the best-seller God and Donald Trump. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to subscribe to the Strang Report podcast, and here to sign up for the Strang Report newsletter.

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