Thousands of hungry, exhausted and frustrated people stretched out their hands only to find one preacher tell them to sit down, shut up and … latch on?
Speaking at the Pastors and Leadership Conference in Orlando, hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Sheryl Brady shared on Friday a powerful message, entitled "Don't stress out … stretch out," with thousands of women attending.
As burdened and overwhelmed church leaders listened on, Brady identified that the real object of ministry was not gathering people to oneself but taking others to Jesus.
Sharing the story found in the Scriptures where Jesus fed the multitudes, the dynamic pastor addressed the desire of Jesus to gather his flock to himself.
Though the Bible estimated that more than 5,000 men alone (not including women and children) were hungry and tired, instead of sending them away to find their own food like the disciples had suggested, Jesus told them to sit them down in groups of 50 or 100 and feed them.
"God sent me here today to tell you what you really need to do in your life is just sit down," Brady stated. "Because if you just sit down and shut up [He is] about to give you a miracle."
Continuing with the story, the pastor expressed, "[The multitude is] hungry and thirsty and they're standing right in the presence of the bread of life. But they're still hungry and stressed out, like a nursing baby."
Relating the hungry crowd found in Scriptures to a nursing baby, Brady asked the mainly black female audience if they had ever nursed a child.
"Anybody who has ever nursed a child before knows that there is a key word – they've got to latch on," she stated. "If you're not careful and you don't latch on and you don't calm down, you're not going to get right to the source, right at the fountain. If you're not careful, you'll be that close and still go home hungry and still go home thirsty because you did not latch on."
"Nursing is a very natural thing, but it ain't easy. To the believer waiting on God, it's a natural thing, but it ain't always easy," she added. "It can leave [both] the mother and the baby highly frustrated because momma needs to get it out just as bad as the baby needs to take it in. If they don't latch on, if there's no proper connection that is made, pretty soon they're both going to be crying."
"When I think about that I understand all of a sudden what the Scripture means … that the eyes of the Lord are looking for anybody he can bless … he is searching the earth because he needs relief."
"He's got some miracles that belong to somebody. He's saying 'I've got blessings, I've got breakthroughs but you've got to draw it out.' And the more you draw it out the more it will flow,'" the speaker emphasized.
Urging the crowd to draw on God's presence rather than people's, Brady assured that God's wisdom and counsel would anoint his believers in their broken homes, in their broken marriages, and in their broken ministries.
She also warned, "If you're not careful, it'll wear you out trying to make something happen [yourself]. You ain't going to make nothing happen."
"You've got to say 'I'm empty, but I'm waiting. I'm lonely, but I'm waiting. I'm in need, but I'm waiting because they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. If you're willing to talk alone, walk alone, sometimes even sleep alone, God says 'if you'll draw on me, I'll be your best friend.'"
Calling God the breasted one, Brady declared that God wanted to flow endlessly into every believer's life.
Relaying her own testimony about clinging to God, the energetic leader remembered times when she had no options, no money, no heat, and no car. She had three daughters whom she clung to every night to keep them warm and carried through the night when they had fevers, unable to afford medicine.
"I'd pick them up and walk through the house saying things like 'You're holy. You're worthy. God, I know you're able, can't nobody do it like you. Can't nobody fix it like you. I need you to break this fever right now."
"I learned through all of that to be a worshipper. When people walked out of my life and left me for dead, that's how I learned to worship," she declared. "I can't teach you to worship. Only life will teach you to worship. You'll never be a worshipper if you've never had a broken heart."
"Sometimes you got to be broke to call him Jehovah, my provider … You got to have radical faith to be in trouble and give God the glory."
Learning from her troubles, Brady detailed that her gifts of preaching and teaching were drawn out because she had let God "sit on her life."
Advising the audience that they too were pregnant with all kinds of gifts they knew nothing about, just like she had not known herself, she exhorted the believers not to let their problems or stress or anxiety or fear talk them out of things that God had already given them permission to have.
Remember, you can't make it happen. But you can just fall in love with God, Brady encouraged. A problem is just a platform for God to stand on and work wonders in your life.
"When you really [want something], something in you wants it with one eye shut and one eye open. You want it, but you don't really want it at the same time."
"You know what that means? It makes you lean on Jesus. It makes you say 'God if you don't help me I can't do anything.' It'll make you fall in love with him every day. It'll make you lean on him. It'll make you stand on his promises. It'll make you calm down and be anxious for nothing. You got to be strong in him, not in you."
Sweating, praising, and shouting to God, Brady asked whoever needed prayer to come up to the front of the auditorium and desperately stretch themselves out upon the altar, upon the Lord.
"It is not about latching on to people, it's about latching on to El Shaddai, the breasted one."
"Let go and let God flow. Give it all to him. All you can do is have clean hands, have a clean heart, and get every ounce of evil in your spirit out."
Concluding by asking all the women in the room to let God be the man in their life, she told them that many years ago the Lord had told her something. "In the middle of worship, God said, 'Sheryl, I'm the man in your life.' And I said 'Yeah, I know.' And he said, 'No, you don't get it. The man will get every door for you.'"
"If you find yourself at a closed door, just stand there and praise God. But whatever you do, get your hand off the knob. He's the man in your life, and he'll open every door that needs to be open – every relationship, every connection. You'll be at the right place, at the right time. Let go and let God."
Themed "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You," this year's leadership conference is taking place at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center and concludes Saturday.
Other speakers include Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Bill Hybels, Dave Ramsey, Pastor Paula White, and Joshua Dubois.
Brady has been speaking extensively all around the world for more than 25 years now. She is also a recording artist, wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband founded The River, a progressive, interdenominational church, and one of the fastest growing churches on the East Coast.