Jim Bakker and I have been friends for years. While I was still at Westminster Chapel he wrote me from prison. He claimed that my book God Meant it for Good “not only changed my life, it saved my life”. After he got out of prison I took him bonefishing. Later I performed the wedding of Jim and his lovely wife Lori. Some will recall that Tammy Faye Bakker divorced him while he was in prison. He and Lori have now been married nineteen years and have a regular TV show that originates in the area of Branson, Missouri.
Many know that Jim Bakker spent five years in prison. Many sadly don’t want to know that he was unjustly imprisoned. There was so much hatred toward him that it was impossible for him to get a fair trial. But a law professor, James Albert of Drake University and the famous attorney Alan Dershowitz – without Jim knowing it – convinced the courts that Jim should never have been imprisoned in the first place. Not that Jim did not make some mistakes; but he did nothing that warranted time in prison. That said, Jim believes that God put him in prison! He has no bitterness and learned to forgive – totally – during this time when his life was changed.
Our paths had not crossed in years. It was wonderful to see him again. He had me on his show with Lori, featuring my current book The Presence of God. Jim kindly thinks this is my second best book!
Jim Bakker has made an amazing come back. He is now 77 years old, and yet he has managed to do an incredible work in a little town near Branson, called Blue Eye, right in the middle of the Ozarks. Approximately 165 families have bought homes in a project called Morningside. It is worth seeing and you can also attend live sessions of Jim’s TV show. Lori has provided a home for pregnant single women who have chosen not to have abortions. Lori herself had five abortions when she was very young. Jim and Lori have adopted several homeless children, some of them Mexicans. I was deeply moved by this ministry.
The God of the Bible is the God of the Second Chance. In fact I have written a book God Gives Second Chances which has blessed not a few people who thought that their failure had disqualified them forever. We serve a gracious God.