By Del Duduit
Jacob Berry amazes me.
The 28-year-old preacher from Oklahoma considers a rare form of muscular dystrophy a gift from God. He has lived with this condition his entire life. He maintains an incredible attitude, displays a charming sense of humor and is armed with a quick wit despite being confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a breathing machine.
He has been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ since he was 12. It was then he placed in the top 20 in a national preaching competition with the Assemblies of God denomination. He has preached all over the country, but in November 2016, he had the honor of delivering a sermon to members of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C.
Jacob was invited through a friend to preach at the Jefferson Gathering – which is an assembly of pastors and members of Congress and staffers each Wednesday evening – just like a mid-week prayer service. Such events commonly took place in the Capitol Building back in the 1800s. It has been making a gradual comeback over the past several months.
Jacob didn’t know what to expect when he drove his wheelchair into the House Ways and Means Committee room to preach to about 75-100 people.
“The spirit of God was there,” Jacob told me last week before service at the Spring Jubilee in Lucasville, Ohio. “I could tell people were hungry for God and hungry for revival.” He said he felt a spirit of conviction inside the walls of the Capitol. It was an incredible feeling — one he has never felt before.
But something happened that caught Jacob by surprise. Several in the audience began shouting and praising God during the sermon. “I didn’t expect that from lawmakers and people there,” he said. “It encouraged me and gave me hope for our nation.”
Jacob has a way of preaching that makes you pay attention. He knows scripture so well and doesn’t mince words. He tells you the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. He paints a magnificent picture when he preaches and often peppers in some funny one-liners. You simply must hear him in order to appreciate his style. It can be difficult for some to understand him when he speaks, so his mother Yvonne interprets what he says to the crowd, but I honestly feel it adds something special to his sermons. And you get to hear it twice that way.
Jacob, who has a keen eye for fashion and wears colorful, flamboyant suits, has a simple message for President Donald Trump – who did not attend the Congressional service.
“The only way to ‘Make American Great Again’ is through Jesus Christ,” Jacob stated. “America must live according to the Word of God. That is our only hope.”
Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
I was excited to hear Jacob’s story of his trip to Washington DC. I love going there and feeling the excitement. I was there in December at Christmas time, and I was there again in January for President Trump’s Inauguration. I anxiously anticipated hearing Franklin Graham give the prayer after Trump’s address but was pulled aside and interviewed by a pesky news reporter and missed the entire prayer.
Jacob, however, was privileged to meet Franklin Graham in Columbus, Ohio in 2016. That was a highlight of his ministry.
“That was a big honor for me,” Jacob said. “He is a great man of God, and I was so happy to meet him.”
Jacob’s attitude is remarkable and inspiring. He does more with his restrictions than most people do who are not confined to a wheelchair. He lives his calling and makes the most of what God has given to him.
In fact, he jokes about the advantages of being in a wheelchair. One of the best perks is he gets to go to the front of the line at Disney World. In addition, he recently announced he is engaged to be married.
Jacob’s parents, Joe and Yvonne, are remarkable people. This ministry is their life. Joe knows his Bible inside and out and has a genuine compassion for people. Plus, he knows his sports and Jacob, Joe and me talk about them when we get together.
I am praying Jacob converts to become a Buckeye fan soon and leaves his Sooners behind. But that prayer sadly may never be answered.
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Please make it a point to hear him preach. Your life will be impacted by hearing what he has to say.
You can read more about Jacob and his family and see his upcoming schedule at:
What is your gift? Could you accept God’s plan for you if you had to live with a medical condition? Would you blame God or thank Him? Let me know your thoughts.