Bud Sparks a man of God

Dearly Beloved,

Greetings in the name of Jesus our precious Lord and Saviour, who baptizes you in the Holy Spirit!

Holly and I have just come from the memorial service of a very dear and precious friend and brother in the Lord, Rev. Bruce "Bud" Sparks, who died Wednesday, February 28th. It was two days of celebration from the moment that folks gathered in church on Sunday morning until around midnight on Monday. Those who truly knew Bud - actually began to praise the Lord from the moment they heard of his passing. At the same time our heart goes out to his very beloved wife, Sandy, and his sons, Mike, Don & Bruce, along with their families.

Many of you who have been receiving email from us have never heard me speak of Bud Sparks until now, and as I write this I am reminded of the words of St. John, when he says, "It would not be possible to write down everything that Jesus did, because there just are not enough books to do so." That is the way we feel about Bud. Our friendship goes back for about 20 years, so that I could fill volumes just outlining how Jesus used him for the sake of the Kingdom.

Bud was by no means the typical Pastor. And it is because of the unusual nature of his ministry that I am writing to you today. I believe that this testimony will change your life, because no one who ever knew Bud and his wife, Sandy, were ever the same afterward.

Bud never went to a seminary, not even a Bible school. He had a high school education and after that, as he told everyone, "I graduated from Holy Ghost University." Holly and I praise the Lord that we got to mentor Bud in the things of the Kingdom. His training came by simply watching us minister. He and I had a saying, "If Richard can do it, I can do it." Later we changed it to, "If Bud can do it, you can do it!" In fact, as time went by Bud was able to minister even more powerfully than we were. He and Sandy could go forth on their own because they were fully equipped to do so.

Holly and I always watched with amazement as we saw Bud step forth in manifesting all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and manifesting each of them as though he had done so all of his life, and doing it better than just about anyone you might think of. The power of the Lord was so great in his life that he tended to walk as though he were drunk. Sometimes he could not walk; he just simply slumped to the floor. And, it did not matter where he was. That anointing flowed through him in the marketplace as well as in church or at home.

When Bud saw signs, wonders and miracles of healing and deliverance in our meetings, he hungered for the same thing in his life, and so it was that he invited me to hold a meeting in his living room for "5 or 6 people." I agreed to go for a weekend driving 200 miles to his place. Friday night the Spirit of the Lord began to move, healings and deliverance flowed through a group made up mostly of Methodists as I laid hands on them and they were slain in the Spirit. Again all day Saturday, the flow of the Spirit increased with an abundance of signs and wonders for almost 14 hours as Bud stood right next to me watching and listening intently to every move I made and every word I spoke hungering all the more for the Lord to use him in the same way. Later we both began to understand that equipping the saints was not so much what people learned in class, as it had to do with learning to imitate others even as Paul had declared.

Sunday morning Bud got his opportunity. Jesus told me, when I called folks up for the laying on of hands, to step aside and let Bud minister to the folks. And, so I did! I stood back and let Bud and the other men lay hands on the folks. Then it happened! Healing and deliverance began to flow with signs and wonders as folks were slain in the Spirit and went down under the anointing.

The most powerful healing on that day was for a young woman who was scheduled to have her joints replaced with plastic because of rheumatoid arthritis. Bud laid hands on her and prayed. No one saw anything and if she felt anything, she never mentioned it. But that week her doctor was absolutely amazed that her healing was complete and total. That was 20 years ago and just this week we saw her again and she is doing just fine and has a ministry of her own.

That is the way it was for several years. Holly and I would go places to minister. Bud and Sandy would tag along. Bud would observe with an intentiveness that reached into the heavenlies and the glory would come down. Soon we were a team. I would minister and Bud would minister. Then others saw what Bud was doing and they wanted to do so - and they did, so that the flow of the Spirit went from person to person inundating meetings with an abundance of healing and deliverances mixed together with signs and wonders as the rains ceased, bread was multiplied, whole rooms went down under the anointing.

Then Bud and Sandy formed their own ministry as they continued to equip people even as we had equipped them. Bud's ministry grew in power and authority. Several other ministries sprang up in the same way. Cancer didn't stand a chance if Bud was there. Aids and leukemia would flee. Curvature of the spine vanished. Warts would fall to the ground. Demons and evil spirits fled. Signs, wonders and miracles flowed in abundance day by day, week after week. And Bud never cared where he was in a market or a restaurant or simply on the sidewalk, at someone's home or in a church.

In his West Salem, Oregon church, drunks and drug addicts came in off the street, were set free, born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and in no time at all they too were setting others free. And this is what made his memorial service so amazing. All day long there was just one testimony after another as dozens of folks spoke of how they were delivered from sickness, and disease, from demons and evil spirits, from anxiety and depression, from every sort of affliction. But, most of all, every person who was set free also had a testimony of how the Lord used them to set others free so that their lives exemplified how Jesus took common, ordinary working folks, fishermen, tax collectors and the like and turned them into powerful men and women of God doing mighty exploits for the Kingdom.

Bud had a church between fifty and a hundred folks. However, during the memorial service over 500 people crowded the auditorium, letters were read from numerous churches from New York to Texas to North Dakota and back to Oregon of how this man of God, a lumberjack in Oregon, had transformed the lives of so many.

But, it wasn't always that way. He never got the Holy Spirit until he was 46 years of age when Ben Kinslow, a black man on the 700 Club, happened to be on the television one day testifying about Jesus. Bud's desire was to watch football so he made an effort to stand up and turn the program off because he never watched Christian TV, and he was not about to watch a black preacher. But, God had other plans. He glued Bud to his seat, and gave Ben a word of knowledge that a lumberjack in Oregon was trying to shut him off and he had better not do so, because God was going to transform him right there. And sure enough Bud was nailed as Ben read his mail and led him to the Lord over television. In just a few weeks a Catholic priest led him to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And shortly after that Holly and I met Bud and Sandy and a great adventure began and it has not ended even yet. Oh yes, at one point the 700 club sent a crew to Oregon to film Bud in action and then featured him on one of their programs. Praise the Lord!

At the center and core of all of this is the Scripture which the Lord set before us in Ephesians 4:11. "And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12. to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." And 2nd Timothy 2:1-4. "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2. and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him."

In closing, I know that Bud would simply say, "Go and do likewise. Heal the sick, cast out demons and evil spirits, raise the dead, and proclaim the Word with power and authority."

Breadsite Editor's note: I personally knew Bud for a number of years and considered him to be one of the best examples of what a man of God should be. The power of the Holy Spirit was very evident in his life, the fruit of the Spirit was in full bloom in his life, especially humility and most of all love. It was incredible to witness the shear number of miracles that Jesus performed through this man.
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