A ceiling represents a limitation but it also represents the height of an opportunity and strength of God’s favor, increase, and anointing. The late Lester Sumrall said that the anointing ought to double every generation. One man’s ceiling should be another man’s roof. We should start where the last generation left off. Often we fail to because we don’t pick up what the last generation ran with. We don’t guard the light and walk in the light that our forefathers received from God.

I’ve heard it said that if you put a baby shark in an aquarium it will not grow beyond the size of the aquarium. Sharks belong in the ocean. God has also prepared an ocean of spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus for us according to the riches of His glory and the exceeding greatness of His power. We are to swim in God’s vast ocean and never revert to an aquarium again.

When leadership suppresses the people entrusted to them, when they use them to fulfill their own personal vision, when they keeps things confined, and when the liberty of the Holy Spirit is quenched it produces an aquarium effect. Many people stay in an aquarium all their lives instead of moving out in God’s ocean of abounding grace.


On the other hand, a floor represents a foundation. You can’t have a ceiling without a floor. Furthermore, the higher the ceiling is the stronger and more stable the floor (foundation) should be.

Years ago during an extended time of prayer and fasting I had an experience with the Lord where I kept seeing a glass ceiling. On the other side of the ceiling was increase, favor, opportunity, and anointing. While I was looking at the ceiling, however, God directed me to the floor and to my foundations.

Without a strong foundation of character and stability in your life, the higher you go, the longer and harder the fall will be. A wise man does not reach for the ceiling but is more concerned about the floor. He does not reach for authority and fame, but for responsibility and obscurity.  The wisest of men do not desire the limelight and care not to be seen or heard from except to obey the Master. God furnishes us with favor, anointing, and increase but we furnish ourselves with character.

Here is a marvelous word I received from the Holy Ghost years ago:

Purging and pruning is a work of the Spirit in our lives that is very necessary because the vision we have for our lives and ministry is often ahead of the maturity of our character, the fullness of our calling, and the season of expected harvest.

Mighty men have fallen because they lacked character at the height of their opportunity and calling. This should be a lesson to us to continually work on our character. “Follow after love, and then desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1).  Take heed to yourself and then you shall save yourself and others who hear you (1 Tim. 4:16).


In the Spirit there are also rooms and doors. “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9).

Your prayer life, your associations, and faithfulness to your calling and assignments/seasons in life and ministry is what determines the doors you enter through and the rooms you’re in. The late Kenneth E. Hagin said that the Lord told him that 90% of all ministers live and die without even making it to the first phase of their ministry. That word makes me tremble.

Here is some counsel to help your spiritual progress:

1. Prayer life: The spiritual order and progress of your life begins and moves forward first in prayer, especially as you cultivate your surrender in worship, and in praying in the Holy Ghost. One old definition from an 1800’s Webster dictionary of the word “edify” means to organize or order. Thus one translation of 1 Cor. 14:4 says, “he who speaks in an unknown tongue organizes or orders himself.”

When I began to pray in other tongues at length as a young Bible school student, long before I even understood the depths and full benefits of using my prayer language, I was organizing and ordering my life in the Spirit. I was accessing certain mysteries of my life and calling, and God put me on the fast track because of my prayer life. One of the main ways we make spiritual progress in our lives comes as a result of the leading and direction of the Lord that you receive through prayer especially praying in the Holy Ghost. It is time to double up and triple up in praying in other tongues, and get the order and organization of your life and ministry from the Spirit of God. Let Him speak to you. Let Him give you clarity.

2. Associations/Divine hook-ups: We tend to miss this. Why do we never again hear of Barnabas after he separated from the apostle Paul (Acts 15:36-40)? In a short word, because Paul was Barnabas’ divine connection put together by the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:1-3). Barnabas placed more emphasis on his relative John Mark than he did on his Holy Ghost connection, the apostle Paul. He was guilty of breaking up what God had joined together. You never hear of Barnabas again. That is sad because Barnabas was a good man who was instrumental in helping Paul get started in his Christian life and walk.

I believe the reason Paul did not want to take John Mark was because he was still too young and immature and Paul wanted to protect him. Paul really did have John Mark’s best interests at heart. He didn’t have any personal conflict with him. He was just wanting to protect him. Sometimes we put young ministers in positions that they are not ready for and we set them up for failure, and sometimes they never recover.

What happened soon after Paul chose Silas to replace Barnabas and they moved on? In Acts 16 they suffered great persecution at Philippi and were beaten and thrown in jail. What would’ve happened if John Mark was there? Since John Mark had already deserted Paul once, this experience could’ve ruined him for good. Sometimes older ministers can create unnecessary hardships for young ministers by placing them in positions prematurely.

The main point I’m making, though is that Barnabas missed God by leaving his divine connection and association. Your closest associations need to be guarded. Don’t let the desire for your own ministry pull you away from your spiritual hook-ups and your power supply. What do I mean by power supply? Elijah was Elisha’s power supply. Paul was a power supply for many young sons in the faith. Pastors are power supplies for the sheep and families. When sheep leave their God appointed sheepfold and shepherd and begin to follow others they can be confused and scattered very quickly. I’m not saying you cannot be fed by other ministers; I’m just saying your main supply needs to be from your divine associations. It’s not necessarily about a man but a plan.

Earlier in my Christian life and ministry I would travel a thousand miles to go to a conference where my main supply is. I will still go to great lengths to get in Holy Ghost atmospheres that enhance my own life, calling, and anointing. As a missionary I’ve been to Holy Ghost missions conferences. I go to seminars where the Holy Ghost moves in the demonstration of His gifts. Now I receive much from DVD’s and CD’s and books, but there’s something about that face to face meeting that releases greater impartation.

Rom. 11:1 — For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established.

1 Thes. 3:10 — That we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith.

That are certain impartations that you won’t get until you see someone’s face. Impartations happen mainly through preaching and teaching, conversations, and laying on of hands. For example, I’ve received the most invaluable pieces of wisdom and impartation from just sitting around a table with seasoned pioneers of the faith sharing about the things of God. I’ve driven for miles to spend a day or two in a hotel room with men of God whom I look to for coaching and mentorship. I know of one young prophet who followed the late Kenneth E. Hagin around for one year until his anointing was greatly increased. That’s why Elijah told Elisha that if he saw him go (2 Kings 2:10) he would receive the double portion of his spirit he asked for. If you can get all these things from God alone then why did He give us the fivefold ministry?

I’m talking to you about spiritual things that so few Bible school students understand. This instruction will cause a divine acceleration in your life, ministry, and calling.

3. Faithfulness — This is so basic but so many trip over this point. If you are not faithful in the small things, in the small obediences, how shall the Lord entrust you with more? If you cannot rule over your own house well, how are you fit to rule over the house of God or the people of God? If you’ve not been faithful long enough to another man’s ministry, how can the Lord entrust you with your own? Sit down and take care of the little things before you launch out into your worldwide ministry. In your zeal to have your own ministry make sure you don’t leave the protection and counsel of your divine associations and mentors.

This is one of the biggest reasons why 90% of all ministers never even enter the first phase of their ministry. They are not faithful in the little.

I’ll use my own life as an example. I served in the ministry of helps in the local church for a number of years. If I had not been faithful in that phase of my life and development, I would’ve never entered into the next phase of ministry that God had for me. Most people who know me think I’ve always been a preacher, but I was in the helps ministry for sometime. I swept floors, vacuumed carpets, dusted furniture, dug ditches, mowed lawns, cleaned toilets, drove trucks, set up tents, set up other ministers meetings, etc. etc. etc. That was part of my training ground. I didn’t do this for a few months, but for a few years. And I loved it! It was one of the greatest joys of my life to just serve God in a local church and a ministry. I did it joyfully as a volunteer and then as a paid staff person.

Faithfulness gets you through doors and into other rooms in the Spirit. Faithfulness gets you Holy Ghost promotions. Be willing to serve wherever you find yourself. Think of no duty as to lowly for you. Now in the season of life and phase of ministry I’m presently in it would be disobedience for me to go back into the ministry of helps. I could shorten my life that way. But for some it is a lifelong calling. For others who are called to the preaching/teaching ministry it is a phase.

Guard your prayer life. Stay close to your divine associations. And be faithful. In the end you’ll be glad you did. It will be worth it all when you stand before Jesus and give account.



  1. Brother Bert,
    Great teaching and a wonderful life lesson! I will print it out to read daily for a week and then every month. I, too, heard Brother Hagin tell of His encounter with the Lord and how He spoke of 90% of all ministers never reach the 1st phase of the ministry the Lord called them to. When the Lord told Brother Hagin that he was entering the first phase of his ministry, Bro. Hagin had already been in ministry for years at that point and even he questioned how was it only his first phase!
    This is sobering, sobering, sobering, especially given the day and hour in which we live. I believe your message is a wake up call as much as it is instructive, solid teaching.
    Thank you, Brother Bert, for remaining true to your calling through the many challenges of ministry. You learned early on that your source was the Lord and you took everything to prayer.
    You, your wife, and your son have stayed on course and it’s such a needed witness for the Body of Christ when so many have departed their call.
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you for this teaching, and your points! It makes me think, that the Christian life is not a “walk in the park,” and it’s very possible that everything might not work out ok!

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