LAVERNE TRIPP: Album with Rex Humbard , T.L. Osborn, Oral Roberts:..."When He Reached Down His Hand For Me"
With Bill and Janae Cooksey
.....You don't have power over alcohol and drugs....You don't have power over anything....I really don't want to perish
Taken From "Cooksey's American Carousel Radio Classics"
TWELVE MEN WITH A PASTOR'S HEART
BILL: Boy, the bases are loaded today. Aren't they, Janae?
JANAE: That's for sure. Three interviews to do in only about an hour and fifteen minutes!
BILL: I didn't dare ask to reschedule any one of these guys. So, we'll take them one by one.
JANAE: Who's first?
BILL: Well, LaVerne was scheduled for 9:45 AM. But Richard Roberts secretary, Gwen, called yesterday and I had suggested that time for him a few weeks back. Richard agreed to do it right before lunchtime in Tulsa.
JANAE: You sure got us in a mess here. Didn't LaVerne call you Monday and ask you to call him at that Lake City, Florida Holiday Inn at 9:45 AM today?
BILL: Yeah. Because they had to leave there by 1:00 PM Eastern time in order to get to Jacksonville for tonight's concert. But, I'd forgotten about telling Richard's secretary last month we could do the interview right before lunch.
JANAE: Listen, Mr. "Cleverness"...you get on that phone and you beg LaVerne to let you call him at 10:15 our time. Maybe he'd be willing to show mercy and wait an extra 30 minutes.
BILL: But, Janae. I......
JANAE: There's no buts about it! We got up at 5:00 AM so we could be here at the station early! Now here's the number of that Holiday Inn and here's the phone.
BILL: Yes, M'am.
JANAE: Wait a minute. Why can't we just do LaVerne at 9:00 AM?
BILL: Have you forgotten we've got Jeff Fenholt booked then? He's harder than the other two to get pinned down.
JANAE: Oh, yeah. That's right. But it doesn't matter. It's about 8:25 AM now and you're calling Florida.
BILL: Alright! I'm dialing it . Back off. I'm under enough pressure already.
JANAE: Just do it!
BILL: Hello. Would you please connect me with LaVerne Tripp's room please? I'm calling from KCBC radio in California and I'm.....uh....
JANAE: What happened?
BILL: The girl just went ahead and rang the room.
BILL: LaVerne, I'm sorry I hope I didn't wake you.
LaVERNE: No. We're just getting ready to leave for Jacksonville.
BILL: Oh, boy...well, this is Bill Cooksey out in California and remember we had a radio interview scheduled for 9:45 our time. That's quarter to one for you. Is there anyway we could move that up to 10:15 AM? Or for you, that would be 1:15 PM.
LaVERNE: Oh, no. We've got to get to Jacksonville. We'd be gone by then.
BILL: Well.....we really appreciate your willingness to do this for us. We've had a last minute change yesterday afternoon and the only time Richard Roberts could do his interview was in the same time slot I'd given you. I'm really sorry about the mixup. It's my fault. And I didn't want to call you at the Holiday Inn last night and wake you up to ask you then.
LaVERNE: Well, I'm sorry. But we do have to leave.
BILL: Wait a minute! If we hooked it all up in the next two minutes, could you give us 10 or 15 minutes right now?
LaVERNE: Well, yeah. But it would have to be fast.
BILL: Oh, we're good at fast. I'm going to hang up. You stand right by that phone. Don't move. That phone will ring in less than 2 minutes and we'll get it done.
LaVERNE: Alright. I'll be right here.
BILL: Just 2 minutes......I'll be right back. Thank you, thank you. Bye!
JANAE: What now?
BILL: We've got a minute, forty-five seconds to get Rich set up, call LaVerne back and be interviewing. Or it won't fly today.
JANAE: Rich! Did you hear that?
RICH: I heard it, Janae. I had the mikes on in your room and I'm putting the fresh reel of tape on the machine as I'm speaking. What's the number of that Holiday Inn?
BILL: Janae, go ahead and give it to him. I have to change headsets with you. You've got the one that only gets sound to the left ear. Go on read that number to him . Hurry! I've got to change the wires to plug into different channels of this mixer.
JANAE: Okay, Rich. Are you ready to write?
JANAE: Area code 904...752...39..01. Got it?
RICH: Got it. Tell Bill I'm still dialing it pronto.
JANAE: Sit down, Sweetheart. Rich said he's dialing the number. He probably has the hotel operator ringing the room by now. Is it ringing, Rich?
RICH: Yeah. I'm punching the line into you guys so you can hear when LaVerne answers.
BILL: Super! We're all set in here.
RICH: It's ringing the Lake City Holiday Inn number you gave me, Janae. But there's no answer.
BILL: Oh, Brother. What a day! It's got to answer.
RICH: The phone has rung 8 or 10 times already. I'm not sure if.......
OPERATOR: Hello. Lake City Holiday Inn. How may I help you?
RICH: Yes, would you ring LaVerne Tripp's room, please?
RICH: LaVerne, this is Rich Woodruff of KCBC and we're all ready for your interview with the Cookseys. Go ahead....they can hear you.
BILL: LaVerne! Thank you so much. We're going to begin right now as the Producer slates the tape. Are you ready?
LaVERNE: We're ready. Let's do it.
RICH: Stand by......Cooksey's American Carousel interview with LaVerne Tripp begins in three...two...one.
COOKSEY: Ladies and Gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce somebody that I've been watching for years and years. My wife and I just love this gentleman and his wife. They're just fantastic. They've effected our lives tremendously. I want to welcome LaVerne Tripp. LaVerne, thank you for joining us today.
TRIPP: Thank you, Bill. It's good to be with you.
COOKSEY: You're down there in sunny Florida?
COOKSEY: You guys work last night?
Yeah. We had a great service. There was about...I think it was...30...about thirty that was saved.
COOKSEY: Praise God! Amen!
TRIPP: Yeah. We enjoy doing what we do. We get on the bus and travel all over to a bunch of little towns, as well as do TV.
COOKSEY: Do you ever miss not having the kids with you all the time?
COOKSEY: I guess you had them carry the equipment in.
TRIPP: No, we do miss them. You know, time goes by so fast. It seems like yesterday and the boys were with us all the time. And Terry's out traveling and he's got his family. And Robbie's traveling and he's got his family.
COOKSEY: I can hardly believe that, Man. These kids were just little tiny kids and now "Boom". Here they are off and running.
TRIPP: Life is but a vapor. That's what the Bible says. It's true.
COOKSEY: Your career has been something. And I don't want anyone to miss any part of it here. This "Heroes" album that you did is just awesome. I want to tell you that we've been blessed the last 4 or 5 months, especially in interviewing different people. But when I heard about you doing this album with Rex and T.L. and so forth, I said if he can get them on a record, I ought to be able to get them on an interview. So we just struck out in faith and you know what? We interviewed in the last 3 or 4 months people like T.L., Brother Schambach and Rex. It's just amazing to us. What really inspired you to do that album with those guys?
TRIPP: Well, I saw Oral Roberts when I was five years old. I went to Portsmouth, Virginia and it was the biggest crowd of people I'd ever seen. The thing that impressed me the most was when he picked up a guitar and sang "When He Reached Down His Hand For Me". And the altars filled up. So, that really made a lasting impression on my life. About a year or so ago, I was out walking one day and I was just thinking about different things. I was thinking about Brother Roberts and praying for him. And this idea hit me. "Why don't you see if he'd sing that song with you?" That would be something that could be kept forever. And then my first thought was, "Aw, he wouldn't do that with me, you know." So, I was telling Robbie about it, my oldest boy. He said, "That's a great idea! Why don't you not just get him, but other people that have had an impact on your life that were in the ministry?" So, I started asking. And everyone said, "Yes." And that shocked me...willing to do it ...just so wonderful. But that's why they have been such a blessing to the Body of Christ. Because these people are true servants.
COOKSEY: When we interview these people, LaVerne...when we interview some of these guys, my mouth is wide open thinking...uhhh...But, you know, when we talk to them, their humility just flows, Man. They've been through it.
TRIPP: Well, can you imagine talking to the Apostle Paul? Or talking to Peter? Or talking to James? See, I guess where we make a mistake...we put people up on pedestals as far as...uh...I mean we look to them for spiritual leadership. And people are "put-overs" for that. But those people in the Bible were men just like us...and women just like us. They're no different. And so, knowing that part, that really encourages me and gives me a greater hunger to seek God. Because, if God will use you, then He'll use me. And that's an encouragement to me.
COOKSEY: And He has a job for each of us. No matter if the person listening right now is the president of the bank or the church janitor...that's what God called them to do. And they've got to do the best job possible. Right?
TRIPP: Well, we all have a place in the Kingdom. Every other Kingdom's coming down. But the government of this Kingdom rests on the Shoulders of Jesus. I am in the Kingdom, because I choose to be in the Kingdom which means...I'm going to obey the King.
COOKSEY: Oh, Man. That's strong!
TRIPP: And if I will obey the King, then everything the King has is mine, now and forever. I don't have to worry about a thing. And I have a place that no one else can fill. I'm unique. I'm special. You know, for years I wanted to copy Brother Roberts...copy different ones. That's just the natural part. But once I come to realize that we came from God. Life comes from Him. We came from Him. And you're unique. He gave you a fingerprint no one's ever had. He gave you a voice pattern no one's ever had. So, there's a place in this Kingdom that only I can fill. So, all I've got to do is fill my place, and I will be prospered, blessed and that's what I enjoy doing.
COOKSEY: That's your job! Right! When did you write that song and what is the history of "We've Got The Power"?
TRIPP: Well, I wish I could tell you there was some super spiritual story behind it. One night...we were living in California at the time, and we were in our bus crossing the desert heading East to hold services. And my driver was kind of tired, so I got behind the wheel. I was driving and I was thinking, "I wish I could...I want a song...some words that would really encourage everybody everywhere I'm going." I was just reading again yesterday where the Scripture says...you know, He's talking about the Gifts. And then, He's talking about, you know, now faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. Those Scriptures I was meditating on yesterday. Then, He said, "Pray that you will prophesy. That you can grow to the place to where you edify the Church." And those were the thoughts I was having. This is years ago. I want to edify the Church. Am I ever going to reach a place that I can be an encourager...to prophesy...to minister to the Church? And it was in those thoughts that I began to think, "What would be something that would edify?" And it was "We've Got The Power". You have power over everything. And we needed to hear that and still need to hear that. There's nothing ...we talk about what the enemy's doing. Man,...he's not doing anything that we don't let him do. Because, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and He accomplished what He came to do. Then, He gave that power to us. Thinking along those lines of wanting to say something to encourage the Body that I began to write "We've Got The Power". "Give me your hand...let's agree together"...you know how it goes.
COOKSEY: Oh, I've heard that song in every kind of church imaginable. And as a songwriter myself, it's interesting to hear how people interpret that. Even from a very conservative, fundamental type church to a real Pentecostal church, it still has that anointing, Brother. And that's what's so strong. You know, you come from a background similar to me. You were raised in North Carolina. What's the name of that town.
COOKSEY: That's right. And I was raised in a town called Ahoskie. So we really have been through it.
TRIPP: Yeah, we used to play Ahoskie in baseball.
COOKSEY: Did you now?
TRIPP: Little League...I played Little League. I did it several times. Yeah.
COOKSEY: You know, when I was still an entertainer in the world and I had gone back home to visit relatives, this man I knew talked me into playing a one-nighter down in Chockowinity at some little bar place there. I was up on the stage doing my show and some big, old boy came in there and about killed me. Those people are mean down there.
TRIPP: Oh, you get down in that country, Buddy...they'll cut you up in a minute.
COOKSEY: They will too. I know! But I think that's the roots of it all. Down there in that small community of Chockowinity, did you find the Lord as a child? Did you go to church? Were you raised in church?
TRIPP: Yes. Oh, yeah! When I heard about Him...you know, how much God loved us and what Jesus did. And then, on that third morning when they went to the tomb, He was alive. He was gone. My thoughts were...anybody loves me that much that they'd lay down their life for me...they didn't take His Life. He laid it down. And then when I heard how while He was hanging on the Cross, you know, He had the power to kill them all. He told Peter, when Peter pulled out the sword and tried to defend Him, "Don't you know I could call right now myriads of angels. I mean, they would wipe out this place if that's what I wanted." And when I heard that, you know,...He could have done it and didn't. He willingly did what He did. My thought was this. Anybody that loves me that much and a God with that kind of power...I want to know Him. And I yielded my heart to Him. I came to the altar. And I had a heart for God. But then I began to ...got into the...what I was supposed to do and what I...
COOKSEY: How old were you when that happened to you? When you gave your heart to...
TRIPP: Oh, I don't know. I really don't know.
TRIPP: I can remember at three years old trying to preach. And so it was our life. We lived on a little farm. My daddy worked. He was service manager for International Harvester Company and we had a little farm and grew our own food and everything. So, all we did was go to church and go to the barber shop on Saturday nights once a month. And that was about it. So, my whole life was wrapped around church. My mother was the cook. Anytime an evangelist came through, they stayed at our home or ate there, you know. So, my heroes and the people I looked up to were ministers.
COOKSEY: So you went on in your career and got the music going. But, did you stay close to God during those years?
COOKSEY: What happened?
TRIPP: Well, I think...well, it was two things. Number one, the flesh. I wanted to try the things of the world. They looked exciting. They looked interesting. They were very enciting. And I wanted the world. And I wanted the praise of the world. I felt defeated in the Church because I didn't understand God like I do now. How good He is. How much He loves me no matter what happens. And that the power He has...He will give that power to me to help me to live the kind of life that's supposed to be lived. I was trying to do it on my own strength and I couldn't do it. But I had to learn all those things.
COOKSEY: So, what happened when you were out playing with groups?
TRIPP: So, anyway, in that period of time when I got discouraged and felt defeated, I just gave up. I said, "Well, I'm not going to be able to make it here anyway. I don't want this kind of surrendering." I really didn't want to obey God. I wanted to obey my flesh and do what the flesh wanted. So, I went for it and wound up in total bondage...just a hopeless situation, seemingly. Then I got sick of sin. I'm an extremist. I go from one extreme to the other. And I did everything there was to do...and...uh.
COOKSEY: Weren't you playing Gospel music during some of this time?
TRIPP: Yes. Oh, yeah.
COOKSEY: And some little lady...I remember your testimony about it. She came up to you after a gig or something or other. What was that that happened?
TRIPP: Yeah. We were in Birmingham, Alabama and I was standing in the lobby talking to a girl. And she said, "Aren't you LaVerne Tripp?" I said, "Yes." She said, "I've got something to tell you." She said that the Lord told her that night . He showed her a dark cloud hanging over the group and she said she started praying. And it centered directly over me. She said that the Lord told her, "I've got My Hand on this boy. He's a chosen vessel. And I have a work for him to do, but he will not surrender to me and do what I want him to. And because of him, thousands of people are going to hell." And I guess for the first time, I realized that my life did affect other people. My philosophy up to that point was "as long as I pay my bills and I take care of my family, it's nobody's business what I do". But I realized that my wife was going to go to hell, because I had gotten her to start drinking and we were going to clubs and partying and stuff. I realized my boys were going to go to hell. And I was the one going to lead them there. So, that was a real eye opener. The second thing was she said that the Lord told her that if I didn't give my heart to Him soon...like NOW!...that the devil had a trap set for me and I was going to fall in it. And chances are, I would never be saved. Well, the thought of never being saved...of eternally being lost...I don't know...that hit me too. Then I began to tell her, "Look! I really don't want to go to hell. And I really don't want to serve the devil. But...I can't get saved, because...see." That's how I felt right then. The Bible says, "Unless the Spirit of God draws us to the Father, we can't come." This is a spiritual thing. It's not physical. It's spiritual. And He had left me alone. I had gone a year and I had shut the Spirit out of my life so many times. I'd turned Him away so many times to where He'd just said, "Okay!" You know, God is a Just God and answers our requests. That's why there has to be a hell. He would not be a Just God if there wasn't a hell. Because He lets one choose. He has shown me what He wants. It is God's Will that everybody be saved. It is God's Will that everybody be blessed...God's Will everybody be healed...God's Will everybody prosper. This is God's Will. Now, I make choices. And if it's my will to serve Him, then He gives me the power to serve Him. If it's my will to not, He let's me alone...let's me do what I want to do. And He had left me alone. And I told her, "I want you to pray that He'll call me again. And when He does, I'll say 'Yes'. Because I really don't want to perish." She prayed and the next morning when I woke up, there was like a voice I heard so strong in me say, "Ask and you shall receive." You know, that's present tense. He didn't say, "If you would have asked, I would have or if you will." It's present. Ask and you shall receive. And I started arguing with the voice. "There's no need for me to ask You. I've asked You so many times ." I started saying, "I can't quit drinking. I can't quit doing drugs. I can't quit doing this." And He just kept saying, "Ask and you shall receive." So finally, I said, "Will you forgive me?" And the only way I know to describe it...it was kind of like uh...chains had me bound. They just fell off. It was like an elephant had his foot on my chest. And I know He had forgiven me instantly of every time I had blasphemed His Name...of every perverted thing I'd ever done. I mean, God had forgiven me. And all I did was ask. And you know, I could stop there. But, I know there are people listening and they've dealt with this. They have asked the Lord to forgive them and had a determination to serve Him. The very next day I got high again. Then I got high on the next day too which is Tuesday. We were living in South Carolina at the time and I went to the office. I had a bottle of sleeping pills. I got them out. I was going to take my life, because these were my thoughts. I didn't really get saved. Because if I really got saved, I wouldn't get high. Then my thoughts changed to ...well, if I did get saved, I'd already gone back. You might as well go ahead and kill yourself. You're a failure. You're never going to make it. So, if you go ahead and kill yourself, at least, you won't have to go through the Tribulation Period. I know how insane that is now. But when you're down, you're down. Then, right at that moment the telephone rang. It was a guy that I used to sing with. And we'd done a lot of bad things together. I hadn't talked to him in a year. He caught me. But the reason I hadn't talked to him was because a year before then, he got saved. He gave his heart to God and I didn't have anything to talk to him about. And he called me right then. He said, "How you doing?" It was Tuesday evening about two or three o'clock. I said, "I'm doing fine." Now, you've got to remember I'm sitting there with the pills, the water and I'm ready to take my life. I said, "I'm doing fine." Because, I wasn't going to tell him. And he said, "Well, I don't understand. I was down here at the church praying and the Lord told me where you were and told me to call you. So, I did what He told me to do." So, when he said that, I felt the Lord speak to my heart and say, "He has the answer. He has the answer." But, I knew in order to get the help I needed, I had to tell the truth. So, I told him. I said, "Man, I got saved Sunday. And I know I did, but I got high yesterday. I got high today. I can't quit. What's wrong with me? Other people give their heart to God. They seem to be so victorious. Why can't I be?" And he said, "You're trying to stand against the devil on your power. And you don't have power over the devil. You don't have power over the flesh. You don't have power over the world. You don't have power over alcohol and drugs. You don't have power over anything. But there is a power greater than you and that power is the Blood of Jesus. And if you will ask Him to cover you with the Blood of Jesus, you'll find the key to victory." So, that's what I did and I found the key to victory. And I'm walking in victory.
COOKSEY: There's somebody listening to us right now, LaVerne. And as our time's running out, I want you right now...because you just presented the whole thing. There's somebody that you probably read their mail right here on the radio. Would you just pray that prayer and tell them how simple it is to receive Jesus wherever they are...in a car, at home, wherever they are. And just lead them in. Let's get 30 more in right now. Let's get 3000 in. Could you do that for us?
TRIPP: I would love to and ...You that's listening and you're hurting so bad and so dark. I know what that darkness is like. I know how hopeless that seems. But, I'm telling you the Light has come. And He's ready to penetrate you right now. And that penetration will take place the moment you ask for it. When you ask, you are recognizing the fact that you cannot save yourself. Your good works won't do it. You've tried. You've failed. Only faith in Jesus Christ. God has provided "The Way". Here's what He says...not man. But this is what God says. That whoever calls on the Name of Jesus shall be saved. And that doesn't just mean we won't go to hell. But it means when we call on His Name right now, we'll be brought out of death into life, out of darkness into light, out of bondage into freedom. So, wherever you are right now...in the car, there in your house, wherever it is, pray this prayer with me. Say it out loud, "Jesus." Just say it. "Jesus,...I need You. I believe You're the Son of God. I cannot save myself. But, I believe the Gift of Life that You have is mine. Give it to me now. I need life. Jesus, You're my Lord and I'm trusting in You. Amen."
COOKSEY: They did it, LaVerne. I know that thousand of people's lives were touched. We don't realize the power God has entrusted to us. Just like when you wrote that song. You asked for it and He gave it to you. The same thing is true with Salvation. Isn't that right?
TRIPP: That's right.
COOKSEY: It's just wonderful. LaVerne, will you promise to come back on this program again if we can catch you somewhere?
TRIPP: We'll do it. I'll get Edith next time. She's in the restaurant.
COOKSEY: We just love her so much. And that duet with Maude Amy...I tell you...we are just so blessed by that album. We want to tell the people to go out and get that. But the main thing is go out and get Jesus and plug Him into your life and it'll change you. Won't it, LaVerne?
TRIPP: That's it.
COOKSEY: It will. We love you, Brother, we're going to let you go, because you've got a service to go to.
TRIPP: God bless you, Bill. Janae, I love you, girl. I didn't get to talk to you much at all.
COOKSEY: Next time, we'll make it a whole hour. I promise.
TRIPP: We'll do it.
COOKSEY: Thanks so much, My Brother.
TRIPP: Uh, huh.
COOKSEY: We'll talk to you later now. Bye-bye.