Joseph Herrin (09-09-09)
Bill and Nadine Britton
Bill Britton was one of the first modern day pioneers of the faith whose writings I was blessed to encounter. Although I never met this brother, his teachings challenged me at a time when the Spirit of Christ was opening my eyes to discoveries in the word of God that are seldom taught upon in the churches.
I remember the first encounter I ever had with one of Bill Britton’s writings. I was in a small Southern Baptist church in the 1980s when the pastor read a short writing of Bill’s from the pulpit. The writing was called The Harness of the Lord. I was very moved by the vision that was described in the writing and its interpretation. It can be read online.
After hearing this, I began to encounter other teachings by this man, and later, when the Internet was widely available, I began to search out various teachings that he had posted. There have been a couple of his teachings that I have not found agreement with, but the majority of what I came across has tremendously blessed me. They are filled with spiritual insight, and Bill Britton’s writings both challenged and inspired me, leading me to many new discoveries in my own spiritual walk.
About six years ago I found myself walking in a place that seemed very strange and unusual to most of my brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord had led me out some years earlier from my place of employment as a computer professional, and I found myself ministering through writing. Many trials and tests came my way, as I was looking to the Father to supply all the needs of my family.
During a particularly difficult season of testing a brother in Christ sent me a copy of Bill Britton’s autobiography which is titled Prophet on Wheels. I found encouragement to sustain me in the midst of my trials as I read the accounts of Bill Britton’s own experiences. Our lives were very similar in some ways. We had both received a call from God to teach the saints of God truths that they rarely considered. Our audiences were often those “outside the camp” of mainstream denominationalism. Bill too was led to quit his job selling insurance while he still had young children, and was led to look to the Father for all the needs of his family. He too struggled, yet God sustained him.
The following account from Prophet on Wheels that encouraged me mightily.
After a year with the insurance company, Daddy (Bill Britton) had been promoted to State Trainer. He trained all the new agents that were hired in Kansas. He would teach the men about insurance and then take them with him to show them how to sell. The company decided to enlarge its territory into Oklahoma. Daddy was selected as the man to travel over the state and hire new agents. So along with the manager of the new Oklahoma District, we moved to Oklahoma.
At a fellowship meeting in Wichita, Brother C.L. Moore had prophesied to Daddy that God was changing his ministry, and named the ministry in which God was going to use him. This had been spoken over him just a few months previously by two other preachers, but it was still hard for Daddy to receive. However, he respected Brother Moore as a prophet, and opened his heart for this new work to come to pass. Oklahoma was a preparation time for this new ministry to begin to develop.
Daddy’s job carried him all over the state during the week. It was a good job. He put ads in the newspapers and held interviews in the employment agency of the city he was working in that day. He was instructed to drive a nice car, stay in the best hotels, eat the finest meals in the best restaurants, leave large tips and give the company the appearance of prosperity. They would pay the bill. He had a nice salary and an expense account.
It was during this time that God began to anoint him to write. He took his typewriter along, and in the afternoons and evenings in the hotel he would write about the truths God was revealing. “THE PATTERN SON” book came from the messages written during this time. The prophecy given to him in Memphis in 1950 was coming to pass.
We didn’t like the big city, nor the public schools there. So we found a little house we could buy in Carney, a village about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. It was a small, five room house with three acres of land. There was no water in the house and no bathroom. We had an “outhouse’ in the back, and we carried water from a neighbor until we were able to have a well dug. Mother called it her “five rooms and a path…”
Mother and Daddy had decided that they wanted another baby. But there was one big problem. Daddy’s job in Oklahoma had been completed, and they had promoted him to district manager of Southeast Kansas. He was driving to Kansas every Monday morning, and we didn’t see him until Saturday. With Mother pregnant, the work and pressure at home was too much for her. God gave Daddy a choice… his radio and writing ministry, or his job. Daddy had earned the Bronze award, the Silver Award, and the Gold award for selling, and there was a good future with the company. But he resigned. We were now back to living by faith. The bills kept coming in, but there were no weekly checks to pay them. Daddy was getting a little exasperated with God, and with our situation.
It was right at this time when the bills were piling up that Daddy got a phone call from the Division office of the insurance company in Omaha. Al Davis, the Division Manager, said: “Bill, I’m going to make you a good offer, and I want you to think about it before you give me an answer. If you will come back with the company, I’ll give you the job as State Manager of either Kansas or Nebraska, whichever you want. You can pick any city you want to live in, and I’ll pay all of your moving expenses. Think about this, because this is a really good opportunity.” And it was. It was a good company, and the job was one that men worked for many years to attain, provided that they were qualified. Daddy replied: “Mr. Davis, I’ll have to pray about it, and then I’ll let you know.” Mr. Davis was a Catholic. He knew how to be a success in business, but he didn’t know about praying whether or not to accept a job offer.
Daddy finally called a family counsel. He explained to all of us how this job would make it possible for Mother to have a nice home, plenty of money to spend, and bicycles and other toys for the children. But it would take all his time, and he would have to stop his ministry of preaching, writing, and radio. “Well, what do you say?” he asked. Becky pointed a finger toward the ceiling and said, “What does He say?” Daddy stammered around in embarrassment that he hadn’t yet talked to God, that he wanted their opinion first. But it was obvious that we all knew Daddy couldn’t quit the ministry at any price. So he wrote Mr. Davis a letter, saying that he could not take the job.
However, the finances were not coming in to meet the needs. Daddy would walk around on our three acres, look up at the stars in the clear Oklahoma sky and say: “Lord, I know you own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know you have treasures untold. I know you have millionaires who can hear Your voice and will give as you instruct them. I have no doubt as to your ability to meet our needs. But my question is: why aren’t you? We lost our nice car, and it looks like we may lose our little home, and I want to know why…? He got no answer. One night in a meeting in the City, he was reading chapter three of Hebrews about Israel becoming embittered at God during the 40 years in the wilderness. God spoke: “Son, that is where you are. You are getting bitter against Me.” “Oh no, Lord,” Daddy protested, “I’m Your child, I wouldn’t get bitter at You.” “Oh yes, but you are” the Lord replied. “You are going through a wilderness just like Israel did. They knew I could do better than bread and water. They knew I could feed them with quail if I wanted to. They saw My power, and they knew I was able to take them into the Promised Land in a few days. But I gave them bread and water for forty years, and they became bitter. They could not understand My ways. You know that I can meet all your needs, but I am not doing it. And you are becoming bitter, just like Israel.” Right there in his seat, Daddy made an altar. “Lord, if You forgive me, I promise I’ll never complain again, regardless of my circumstances. If they take everything I own, I’ll be no worse off than when You found me. I’ll take my wife and children by the hand, and we’ll just walk down that old country road singing Your praises.”
There was forgiveness and deliverance. And from that hour the spirit of poverty was broken. God began to meet the needs. One day, with a house payment due and no food, Daddy just put the matter in God’s hands and went squirrel hunting with the boys. When he got home Mother handed him a letter that had arrived that morning. It was from Stanley H. Frodsham, and it had a check in it for $150.00, a fortune at the time. The letter started off with the Scripture: “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour!” (Judges 6:12) What’s this? He must have sent the check to the wrong man! There was Daddy’s name on the check. And from Stanley Frodsham. Talk about a mighty man of God! It was a sign from God. As with Gideon, things began to happen.
Some time later, after God had led Bill Britton and his family to Springfield, Missouri, they had the following experience.
One of the ways God confirmed His presence was in providing for our needs by miracle after miracle. The Plymouth was a fascinating example. God had been providing furniture for the big house, but our old car would hardly run. It was an Oldsmobile, a large family car, but it had a bad motor. Many times it would not start, and sometimes Daddy would go to the post office and not be able to get it started to return home. He was in a travail of prayer, but was sure God would somehow meet the need. One night a visiting preacher talked Daddy into going to a used car lot to see a car. It was a 1956 Plymouth, and good enough to get around town to run errands. Without even looking at our old car, the dealer gave Daddy a price for a trade-in. Daddy agreed to buy it, and shook hands on the deal. So they came home to get the Oldsmobile and finalize the deal. But when they went back to the car dealer, he announced that he would have to have another $25.00 more. As much as we needed another car, $25 did not look like an obstacle at all. But Daddy heard God speaking to him: “This deal is not from Me. You shook hands on the sale, so I am giving you a way out. Since he has changed the deal, you are not obligated. Do not buy the car.” So he came home without the Plymouth. He could not understand why God had said “No.”
The next morning, just before lunch, Daddy had a phone call from California. It was Brother Bert Reed in Costa Mesa. He said, “Brother Bill, God told me sometime back that there was a car for you in Springfield. My brother-in-law has just arrived from Chicago with his wife. He is going to work for me, and I am trying to get him out of debt. He had two cars, and he left one of them in Springfield with his father. I have paid off what he owes on it, and I am sending the title to you. It’s your car, so go out to the house and get it. His father is expecting you.” We went to get the car… and guess what… it was a 1956 Plymouth, and better than the one he had almost bought the night before. Daddy advertised the Oldsmobile for sale, and a man came to see it. It was just what he was looking for to give his wife. Daddy warned him that it had a bad motor. “Oh, that’s okay,” he said “I am a mechanic, and it won’t cost me much to fix it up. It’s just what I want.” So we had a good car, plus $150 from the sale of the Olds, instead of being in debt $700 for the Plymouth. God is gracious, and it is always good to listen to His still, small voice. His way is best.
There are many more accounts of trials and triumphs recorded in the book on Bill Britton’s life.