My Favorite Story

Luther Stanford, Pastor
City Church at Northside
"Norman Jackson Can’t Stand Us
And We Can’t Stand Him!

I was 22 years old and pastoring my first church in a rural farming community in the backwoods of Louisiana. I knew one of the first things I had to do was get to know the people, so I solicited a couple of ladies in the church to walk me through the church directory and give me everyone’s family history. Those ladies told me about everyone within 3 miles of the church and nearly everything admirable or shameful thing they had ever...

done. They went through dozens of names and then they came to the name “Norman Jackson.” And they said, “We won’t even bother with Norman. He doesn’t like us and we don’t like him.”

I spent every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the next 6 months visiting nearly everyone in the community. And then one cold December morning, I couldn’t think of anyone to visit, so I decided to drop by and see Norman Jackson. I drove up to his house; smoke was pouring out of the chimney. I stepped onto the porch and knocked on the door. He answered and I introduced myself. It was the first time in all of those visits that I didn’t get invited inside (Southern folks always have a pot of coffee and a slice of cake or pie ready). But not Norman. And not for the pastor of the church he hated so much. He let me know real quick he wouldn’t be stepping foot inside our church. I got back in my truck and left. But I didn’t stop. I continued to stop by and see Norman every so often. I eventually got invited inside. Drank coffee with him. He even gave me some deer sausage. He still couldn’t stand our church.

Then tragedy hit. His father was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. After some ineffective treatments, his dad was moved home. Hospice moved in. So did our church. Whether Norman liked it or not, our ladies started bringing food daily. The men of our church stopped in to pray for his dad. When I got the call that death was imminent, I drove to Norman’s house. The house was full of members of our church. Everyone was weeping. It was about 72 hours before Mr. Jackson would pass into eternity, but our people never left Norman’s side. Some of our people even spent the night, sleeping on the floor or on the couch, so Norman wouldn’t have to care for his father alone.

About a month later, I was in the middle of my sermon, when the rear doors of the church cracked open and in walked Norman Jackson, who sat down quietly on the last pew. I don’t think he ever missed another Sunday.

Only A God like ours could take a man who didn’t want anything to do with a church, and take that same church who didn’t want anything to do with that man, and bring them both together in His love.

Dr. Kenny Payne, Minister
Palo Alto Church of Christ
"I Want More Jesus!"

Dr. Sergei Korotya sat behind his desk and said to me with a slight smile, “I know why you are providing humanitarian aid to my hospital. You want people to become Christians.” I was in Gorlovka, Ukraine at a hospital that had received a significant amount of humanitarian aid. “You’re right” I responded. Dr. Korotya continued, “Well, I want to keep getting the aid, but I do not want to hear about Jesus.” He was quite surprised when I said, “Deal. I will keep giving you humanitarian aid and I ...

won’t say anything about Jesus unless you ask me to.” It was about four years later when Sergei, (whose wife had begun attending worship services) asked if we could start talking about Jesus and studying the Bible. He added, “But don’t push!” We set up the time and agreed to meet at our home once a week. My wife prepared a great meal and we hosted Dr. Korotya and his family. After studying in Mark for about an hour, my wife interrupted and said, “It is time to eat, the food will get cold.” Sergei did not want to stop. After supper he suggested that we not wait until next week to study more, “Let’s meet again this week.” I told him, “Sergei, you are pushing!” He replied, “It’s okay if I push!” Not long after that he and his wife were baptized into Christ.

We were sitting in a small apartment in the Qvartal region of Gorlovka with several babushkas (grandmother in Russian) singing hymns, having a Bible lesson and taking the Lord’s supper. Babushka Anya was nearly deaf and almost blind. When the tray for the bread was handed to her she took a large piece of the bread and passed it on. Those around her noticed her and one even scolded her for taking such a large piece of the bread. Then when the juice was passed around she wanted to take more than one cup. The babushka beside her said loudly (they may have thought they were whispering), “you can only have one of the cups!” In reply, Babushka Anya said, “Isn’t the bread and the wine supposed to be the body and blood of Jesus? Well, I want more Jesus!”

When people live out their faith, and tell the story of Jesus well, the end result is always the same: People fall in love with Jesus, they commit to become his students, they tell the story. “I want more Jesus, too!” Don’t you?

Dr. Michael Claunch, Pastor
St. Andrew Baptist Church
"One Incredible Story!"

I was pastoring First Baptist Church, Slidell, LA when Hurricane Katrina devastated our city. Every building of our church was inundated. With a certainty of divine direction, the staff and I concluded that God wanted us to minister to the hurting people of our community even while we rebuilt our own facilities. We decided we would open up a Disaster Relief Center on the parking lot of the church the next morning. We didn’t know what we would give folks who came, maybe some canned food ...

not ruined in the storm; but we knew God was telling us to do it.

The next morning we arrived to witness the first of many miracles God would do as He proved Himself strong and faithful day by day, sometimes hour by hour. During the night, some large truck had dumped its load of food, water, and cleaning supplies right where we planned to start doing disaster relief. We had no idea where it came from. I still don’t, except I know God sent it.

Daily God began to send at least one semi-truck of supplies to be distributed to people in need. We never called to request a single one. Everything we needed, God supplied. We borrowed a big tent for the clothes and supplies we were giving away. I said, “We need another tent, but none are available for sale or rent.” My cell phone rang. “Pastor, I live in Texas, and we make tents for a living. If you could use another big tent, my crew will bring it tomorrow and set it up.”

Debris cleared from the interior of the church was all around the building and needed to be moved. I was sitting on the blade of a little bobcat and said, “What we need is a big tractor to move all this junk.” My cell phone rang. “Say pastor, we’re coming down from Minnesota to help you guys. Do you need for us to bring our big front end loader?” We progressed to the point of hanging sheetrock in the building, but we could not find any insulation to buy for the outside walls. I went to my office, which was the front seat of my truck, and prayed, “Lord, remind me of some friend in North Louisiana that I can ask to buy insulation and bring it to us in a U-Haul truck.” I no more then said “Amen,” and my cell phone rang. It was a pastor, not from Louisiana but from Georgia. He said, “Pastor, I’m bringing a work team down tomorrow. We have a big empty U-Haul trailer. What can we bring you?”

In those days, weeks, months my faith grew leaps and bounds as I saw God do time and time again more than we could ask or think. Even now, I often say to the Lord, “God, I’m not saying I want to go through something like Katrina again, but I’m so grateful You didn’t let me miss that.”

Dr. Craig Conner,
Senior Pastor

First Baptist Church
"Read The Instructions"

Legend has it that there was a man who was lost in the desert. He was dying for a drink of water. He stumbled upon an old run down shack, a windowless, weather beaten shack. He walked inside and noticed a rusty old pump in the corner. He walked over to the pump and began to move it up and down in hopes that some water would trickle out. After several minutes nothing came out.

He then noticed a jug, a dirty dusty jug sitting beside the ...

pump. He picked it up and noticed it was filled with water. He wiped the dirt away and saw a note that was attached to the jug that read, “You have to prime the pump with all the water in the jug and you will have all the water you want.” There was a P.S. at the bottom of the note: “Be sure and fill the jug before you leave for the next weary traveler.”

He was faced with a decision. If he drank the water that was in the jug, even though it was murky, he would live. But if he poured the water into the old rusty pump, perhaps it would yield all the cool fresh water he could possibly drink.

The crisis point for the traveler was would he believe and obey the instructions on the jug? He weighed his options carefully and reluctantly picked up the jug and began pouring the water into the pump. As he began to pump the handle nothing was heard back but a few squeaks, then a little trickle of water, and finally a stream of cool fresh water, as much as he wanted! After drinking all the water he could hold he filled up the jug for the next weary traveler. He added his own P.S. at the bottom of the note that read, “It really does work!” When we believe and obey the instructions in our Bibles, those instructions really do work! I challenge you to read your Bible and obey the instructions.

Eddie Pitts
of Pitts Lawn Service
"Doggie Bag"

One of my favorite stories is of a lady in my church and her husband who made a trip to Florida from up north. They had a friend in her earlier eighties living in a city that was on their itinerary to visit. They contacted her to let her know they would be in town. She sounded delighted and said she would make plans for their arrival.

They were welcomed with gladness and spent some time ...

chatting of old friends and old times. They had eaten an early breakfast and it was well past lunch time and were getting hungry. They made their way to the kitchen and their friend pulled 3 brown bags out of the refrigerator and pointed to the microwave with this explanation. “I met this little man in my neighborhood and he has been taking me out to dinner. He has real good dentures and can chew most anything, but I have a problem with mine. I usually order something easy to chew but I only take a few bites, and then I ask for a doggie bag so I can bring it home. Here are two hamburgers and a piece of chicken, and they have only a couple bites taken out of them. They are still good, so I thought y’all could have the hamburgers and I’ll take the chicken.” My church friends tried to act nonchalant about it and keep a straight face, just as though this is the way we all serve our out of town guests. If they had been given fresh buns they could have camouflaged the nibbled-on hamburger patties. But it’s next to impossible to make a second time around bun with teeth marks in it look fresh from the pack!

My church friend said as she was musing over the matter when the Lord spoke to her and said, “This, so often, is My reward from you! I get the leftovers—a doggie bag for Jesus!” She knew what the Lord was saying, loud and clear. If we have any leftover time we give it to Him; any leftover cash, we might give it to Him; any leftover clothes, we very graciously give them to His people; and fill the goodie box with the bent cans and the food we don’t want. Our thoughts rise up to say “Why, I would never give a partially eaten anything to Jesus!” Perhaps we should stop and consider what we offer our Lord. We may be giving Him the doggie bag!

Tom Daniel, Pastor
First Baptist Church of
Lynn Haven
"Open My Eyes, Lord"

One of my favorite stories comes from the Bible in the book of Second Kings. The prophet Elisha had been a thorn in the flesh of the nation of Aram and they devised a plot to take his life. They gathered a great Army with horses and chariots and went by night and surrounded the city of Dothan where Elisha was staying. When Elisha’s young attendant arose in the morning and went outside he saw the army that had surrounded the city. In despair he went to Elisha and said, “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” From his perspective, he saw their situation as being hopeless. ...

Note Elisha’s response, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Elisha understood a great truth: With God there are no hopeless situations. WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! But who were the people Elisha was talking about? Who made up this host of allies? Notice what he prayed. “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man. He saw an amazing sight. “When he looked up, he saw the hillside around Elisha filled with horses and chariots of fire.” The Lord allowed the young man to see the vast army of heaven that was about to bring victory for Elisha. God opened the young man’s eyes to be able to see in the spiritual realm and from that perspective things looked totally different!

There are times in my life that I feel like Elisha’s attendant. As I look around, it seems that the enemy has surrounded me on every side. I feel outnumbered and overpowered. Discouragement sets in as I ponder, from my perspective, sure spiritual defeat. It is then that I consider the words of Elisha: “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs.” As God opens my heart to the spiritual realm, my faith and confidence are increased as I claim the reality that there is a vast heavenly army that surrounds me! With that assurance, I can face any situation with the confidence that God will bring about victory on my behalf. I pray that God would give you a glimpse of the heavenly realm so you can see those who are fighting spiritual battles on your behalf!

(This incident in the life of Elisha the prophet is taken from 2nd Kings 6: 8 – 23. The selected quotations are from the New Living Translation of the Bible.)

Rev. Fr. Wesley Tetsuji Kan,

Redemption Lutheran Church
"Betting A Horse On A Prayer"

Philip Melanchthon found his colleague, Martin Luther, kneeling alone in the chapel, muttering bitterly to himself. When he asked why Luther was muttering, the Reformer answered, “Ach, Philip, I lack supplicatory concentration. I cannot get through the Lord’s Prayer without getting hung up by some petition or another before I finish the prayer. Today, it is, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ I know the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant requires us to forgive when those who hurt us ask our forgiveness, but what if they don’t repent or refuse to...

repent or suddenly die before they can repent.”

Melanchthon responded, “Brother Martin, you afflict yourself needlessly. I can get through the whole prayer without any problems by just concentrating on the words the dear Lord gave us. Luther expressed doubt, saying, “Dear Philip, forgive me, but I find this hard to believe. In fact, I’ll bet my horse that you cannot get through the Lord’s Prayer without diverging.”

Melanchthon immediately knelt next to Luther and said, “you’re on.” He started praying out loud, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed. . . Oh, by the way brother Martin, is that with or without the saddle.”

Rev. Cory D. Colravy, Pastor
Covenant Presbyterian
Church (PCA)
"Here I Stand. So Help Me God."

On October 31, 1517, a spunky German Roman Catholic priest, monk and professor named Dr. Martin Luther posted his now famous 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. He had pastoral concerns about the Roman Catholic practice of issuing indulgences. As the 95 Theses were soon translated into German they struck a deep cord in the hearts of the common people of Germany. It was these 95 Theses (or statements for discussion), along with Luther’s study and expositions of Romans, Galatians, and Psalms, that would set ...

in motion. “the Protestant Reformation.”

Questioning the pope’s infallibility he was threatened with excommunication but burned the paper in a public bonfire and received the papal bull excommunicating him in January of 1521. He was called before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms that Spring. Entering Worms to the cheering German crowds, the day for Luther to appear had arrived on April 17th. 4:00 pm came but he was made to wait outside until about 6:00 pm, when entered a tension filled room of silence before Charles V and “all the king’s men.”

To Luther’s surprise there would be no debate; only his books spread on a table and two questions for him. “Are these your books?” “Yes.” “Will you recant?” Luther knew the king’s grandfather had burned John Huss at the stake about 100 years before for similar statements and so he asked for time to consider the matter and was granted 24 hours. He spent the night in prayer.

The next day Luther was again made to wait outside for two hours, then asked, “Will you recant?” This time Luther answered, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by clear reason (for I trust neither pope nor councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have cited, for my conscience is held captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since to act against one’s conscience is neither safe nor right. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. So help me God. Amen.”

Luther was condemned to death but “kidnapped” and swept safely into hiding as “Junker Jorg” in a castle for a year, where he translated the Greek NT into German in only 11 weeks and later translated the OT so every German home could have a Bible in their own language. This inspired William Tyndale to translate the Bible into English at the cost of his life.

On this 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, let us give thanks to God that we don’t have to know Latin, Greek or Hebrew to read and hear that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15), and that even though “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” those who have faith in Jesus “are justified by his grace as a gift” (Rom. 3:23-24)

Craig Carter, Pastor
Lynn Haven United
Methodist Church
"Hair Dryer"

The psalmist says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.” (Psalm 33:8) The “fear of the Lord” seems to have fallen on hard times in the modern world. It sounds a bit harsh as we prefer to view God in loving, compassionate ways. But the two views are not necessarily incongruent. Fear, in the biblical sense, involves “reverential awe” that gives God His rightful place in our lives. It is a proper understanding of who the Lord is and what He can do. So the psalmist also says, “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who ...

fear him.” (Psalm 103:13) Most of us can relate to that tension which is felt by a child who views his parents with both love and fear. Put another way, I prefer to call it a “healthy respect,” as opposed to “sheer terror.” On one occasion, my dad, whom I feared and respected in the very best sense, taught me a valuable lesson on the subject.

Growing up in the 1960’s, we had a hair dryer in our home. Rather than a handheld blow dryer that is common today, it was of the beauty shop variety. My parents had purchased it from a salon when the owners upgraded their equipment. It consisted of a large chair covered in turquoise vinyl with a large metal, not plastic, cone attached. Only truly brave souls were courageous enough to stick their wet heads under the hood that blew with an intensity normally reserved for jet engines.

One day it ceased working and my dad decided to fix it. Please keep in mind, my father was a master carpenter and “jack of all trades,” but he was not a trained electrician, as you’re about to find out. He disassembled the dryer that consisted of miles of copper wiring which served as the heating element. After replacing several broken parts, rather than putting it all back together, he wanted to test it first. So he put the spring-loaded mechanism that housed the coil of wiring in place and asked me, about ten years old at the time, to hold it down while he plugged it in. When I protested, he told me to do it and mumbled something like, “I know what I’m doing and I’d never do anything to hurt you.”

Dad proceeded to plug in the device and flipped the switch. When he did, the electrical current flowed in one of my arms, crossed my chest, and then shot out the other arm, catapulting me several feet backward onto a nearby bed. With my arms tingling, my chest pounding, and my heart beating like a rabbit, my dad rushed over to check on me. But rather than ask if I was okay, I’ll never forget the question he posed to his beloved son: “You’re not going to tell your mom about this, are you?” My dad obviously had a “fear” of his wife, while I learned that day to have a “healthy respect” for electricity and have used it carefully ever since.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

Dr. Steven Kyle, Pastor
Hiland Park Baptist Church
"...A Little Closer To The Shephard Than Most."

One of my favorite stories that tells of the power of prayer comes from Duncan Campbell’s Biography: Channel of Revival. Duncan Campbell was a pastor in Scotland in a little island off the west coast called The Hebrones. From 1949 to the 1970’s, wave after wave of revival hit the Hebrones. When God moves in mighty revival, some of those who oppose the work are those who claim to be God’s own people. Sadly enough, that was happening in the Hebrones. ...

In the city of Arnauld, the preachers were inviting preachers from the mainland of Scotland to help “resist” this plague. Duncan Campbell preached in Arnauld and said, “Oh, it was cold, the service was just motions.” An older man in the church finally said, “We should give ourselves to prayer.” So they met in a farmhouse on the outside of town at 11:30 p.m. Six preachers were there, but even they lacked fervor and fire. When it came time for this older man to pray, he prayed for thirty minutes. When is the last time you were in a small group prayer meeting and someone was so filled with God that they prayed for thirty minutes? He stopped and then said, “Lord, there are a half dozen preachers in this house and I don’t know how it is with them, not even the Rev. Campbell, but Lord, if I know my heart, I am thirsty. I am thirsty for revival! In Isaiah 40:4, You said You would pour out water on him that is thirsty and Lord I am thirsty and You are not pouring it out! Lord, do You realize Your honor and Your integrity are at stake? You said You would pour out water on him who is thirsty and I am thirsty and there is no water! There is no revival!”

He then turned his face toward heaven and said, “Lord, on the basis of Your covenant promise to Your people and on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work on Your behalf, I challenge You to come to the rescue of Your honor and Your integrity and do it now!” Some of you might say, “Oh to talk to God like that. How terribly audacious, arrogant.” No, just a lamb a little closer to the Shepherd than most.

Duncan tells, the old man said, “Lord, Come rescue!” And do you know what happened then? That huge farmhouse shook like a leaf. Dishes fell and broke. And a huge clock that hung over the fireplace fell off. That prayer meeting broke up at 1:30 a.m. and when they left to go into the city, the city was alive. And the people met Duncan and the others and cried, “Preach to us!”

Now, not every time the church meets will the place be shaken, but there will be times God touches down and there is no question that He is here and it is something that only God can do.

William & Donna Pfeffer,

The Tabernacle
"A Valuable Lesson From The Moon & Stars"

When I was a young boy I loved to lay outside a gaze at the moon and stars. I was fascinated by the movement of them and longed to get a closure look. When I was older I had the opportunity to purchase a telescope. I soon discovered that in order for the me to focus on the moon or a distant star it was more work than just pointing the telescope at the object and viewing. It required skill in tracking the object across the night sky will focusing the ...

telescope. Once I mastered the skill I soon began to see more clearly the objects in the sky. The moon was amazing, I could see mountains and craters and formations that I could never see with my plain eyesight. I was even able to view the planet Mars. It was exciting.

Our worship of Jesus is the same way. The more we master the ability to focus on Him, the more we seek Him through praise, worship, dance, singing or just putting our love and devotion on display, the clearer the view we get of Him...and the more focused He becomes in our life. Worship takes work and worship requires active engagement. And the good news?...worship will lead you closer to Him!

Dr. John C. Friedman, Pastor
Forest Park United
Methodist Church
"A Lesson in Humility"

Dr. Tony Campolo tells about an experience in humility during his seminary days. Tony had to take a preaching course under Dr. Albert Williams. Dr. Williams required each student to prepare and deliver a sermon. The professor and the rest of the class would evaluate each student’s sermon. Tony, who is a very gifted writer and speaker today, said he knew his sermon was perfectly prepared. He knew he had delivered it well. And when he got to the conclusion, he knew that he had preached to their hearts. He was proud of himself. Tony said that his sermon was wonderful and powerful, and he knew that he was good! ....

His classmates heaped on the praise. Tony was beaming from ear to ear. He couldn’t wait for Dr. Williams’ evaluation. That would just make his day. He flipped through all the evaluation papers he received. Dr. Williams’ evaluation was the last one. Dr. Williams had written just a single line. It didn’t mention the content of Tony’s message or Tony’s delivery. It just said: “Tony, you can’t convince people that you are wonderful and that Jesus is wonderful in the same sermon.”

In Luke, chapter 18, verses 9-14, Jesus tells a parable about humility: (9) He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: (10) “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ (13) But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus condemned the Pharisee for his self-righteous pride. The Pharisee didn’t really go to the temple to pray, he went to parade his piety, and to inform God how good he was! On the other hand, the tax collector humbled himself and cried out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

We need to understand, that as sinners, we should have humility not pride. As Christians, we can’t convince people that we are wonderful and that Jesus is wonderful at the same time

Rev. Phil F. Edwards
First Assembly of God
"Don’t Be Sloppy"

“I want you back here in two weeks for more medical tests. There’s got to be something wrong with you; I just haven’t found it yet. Somebody up there likes you.” The doctor’s words brought grateful tears to Floyd’s family standing around his hospital bed.

At 15, Floyd started working for his father, climbing telephone poles installing cable TV. His dad said, “If you keep making the grades you have in science and math, you can easily earn an engineering degree. With your degree and my experience, ...

we’ll build a great cable company.” That year, Floyd accepted Christ and became active in a church youth group and 2 years later he felt the call to become a minister. Floyd then excitedly told his father the news. “Son, that’s what men do who can’t do anything else. Don’t waste your talent and your life,” was his dad’s response.

One month after graduating high school, Floyd became extremely ill and fell into a coma on a Sunday afternoon. Monday evening, his doctor told his family, “It’s viral encephalitis, also known as sleeping sickness. His chance of living is 20%. If he lives, he’ll be in a coma indefinitely. If he wakes up, he’ll positively have brain damage of some sort; no question. He could be paralyzed, blind, deaf, mute, or suffer memory loss. He might not even know you, or anything else.”

The doctor’s prognosis sent Floyd’s younger brother, Doug, straight to the hospital prayer chapel. That night, Doug told their mother, “God said, ‘Your brother will sleep 3 days, then wake up.’” All of Floyd’s friends and family prayed & fasted for a miracle. Wednesday, Floyd’s eyes opened; he recognized his grandmother at his bedside. Nurses cried as they removed the breathing and feeding tubes, as well as the four straps tying him to the bed. After two days of extensive testing, he was moved to a private room.

Saturday, Floyd and his family heard the doctor explain the nature of his illness. “The encephalitis caused high fevers which swelled the lining of your brain. It’s like putting the brain in a pressure cooker, which causes frequent convulsions. Usually, brain damage ensues in multiple places. Know this: we didn’t cure you. We just kept you from dehydrating and watched you. I want you back here in two weeks... Somebody up there likes you.”

After thankful, emotional prayers, everyone left the room – except Floyd’s father. Slowly, deliberately, my dad spoke to me: “God’s hand is clearly on your life. I won’t interfere. Be a minister. But, be a good one. Don’t be sloppy.”

Through 42 years of ministry, I’ve often heard my dad’s voice repeated when I read Colossians 3:23 (Amplified Bible), “Whatever you from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.”

Dr. Wade Rinehart
First Choice Physical
"Rolled Up Magazine Vs. 85 Pound, Rabid Bullbat"

It was a steamy summer morning and I had just arrived at my therapy clinic. I was getting a cup of coffee in our breakroom when I was summoned to the front office to help exterminate, what I thought was, a very scary and potentially deadly vermin. One of my office managers scurried to the break room and told me in an emphatic voice, “thar’s a bullbat over the copying machine and I need you to get it!” Now this employee was from Mississippi and not knowing her lexicon of critters, a bullbat sounds both scary and big. ....

As I hurried to the front office I grabbed a magazine and began rolling it up as I crept in staring intently at the ceiling to locate this “Bullbat”. Not knowing it was a bug, a bat, or some ungodly hybrid in-between I shouted out “Where is this bullbat… I don’t see it?” My manager replied in a very calm and bewildered voice “it’s right thar over the copying machine.” I replied, “I don’t see it! Where is it?” She replied again, “right above you-over the copying machine!” I was in a bit of a panic now because I began to think this bullbat had a special cloaking feature that I have never heard of in any animal species, but only in Star Trek Klingon spaceships.

As my mind raced and a bit of panic set in, my manager said, “why are you scared and have a rolled up magazine in your hand?” I responded “I have never heard of a bullbat and if I am to face this evil, unknown, invisible thing I want to be able to defend myself!” She chuckled in that kind of confused way when someone is not making any sense. My entire conversation with her had taken place with her and the entire front office staff watching me as I continually stared at the ceiling so as not to be blind-sided by this evil creation of satan himself.

“Show me where this thing is! I don’t see it!” She replied again in her Mississippi draw, “right above the copying machine! The bulb is out! I need you to change it!” Somehow, in my early morning, pre-first cup of coffee, stupor I heard “Bullbat” when in actuality she was saying “Bulb Out” with a Mississippi twang. I don’t think I have laughed so hard at myself as the entire front office erupted in laughter as well

Billy Melvin
Calvary Christian Baptist
"God, Missionaries & The Paper Mill Smell"

The story I am about to share is so amazing because when I look back I see the foreknowledge and the Devine providence of God.

My father, like my grandfather, worked for the international paper company in Millville, FL or as the old timers call it Bay Harbor. My grandparents lived at 135 Everett Ave. — just a rocks throw from the mill. So, when my parents got married, they wanted to get as far from the mill as they could. They bought a house on the water in Lynn haven. Neither one of my parents were saved at the time they bought their new home for $6,500 (including furniture, pots & ...

pans, and dishes in the cabinets).

The little house had no air conditioning and was very hot in the summer. But, being hot was not the worst of it, there were two other problems: being on the water with the windows open, the sand gnats (or no-see-ums) would eat you alive AND their new neighbors were Nazarene missionaries. Those Christians next door had loud prayer meetings that would keep my dad awake at night. He really didn’t want to hear their prayers. To remedy the problem, he went and bought the biggest window unit air conditioner that Sears sold. That fixed the gnats and the loud prayers.

At those prayer meetings at Brother and Sister Talbert home were brother Gene Calloway and his wife Mitt, brother Trogdon and brother Joseph Anderson and his wife Alberta to name a few. The Anderson’s were prison missionaries from Minneapolis, Minnesota and would come every winter, parking their travel trailer in the Talbert’s front yard for a couple of weeks. They would preach at the prison on Hwy 390 and our local jail with bro C.E. Gibson. After five or six years of us living beside the missionaries, we became friends with all the people that would come to the prayer meetings. Eventually my mom got saved and began going next door to the prayer meetings.

One day while on a mission trip, tragedy struck our missionary neighbors. The Talberts they were both killed in an automobile accident. That same year the prison missionaries brother and sister Anderson came down for the winter. My dad said they should just park their travel trailer in our yard. Now keep in mind my dad was still not saved, but the Holy Ghost was working in his heart bringing conviction and drawing him to the Saviour. The prayer meetings that were next door moved over to our house. I can still hear those ole prayer warriors calling out my name as I was just a small boy at the time.

Eventually, my dad received Christ as his Lord and Savior and by God’s grace he saved me and called me to preach his glorious Gospel. All of those old saints that came to our house are with the Lord now, but their ministry lives on because God answers prayer! Aren’t the workings of a sovereign God amazing. My dad was just trying to get away from the smell of the paper mill and God did all this to PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME.

F. Nolan Ball, Apostle
The Rock of Panama City
"Thanks, Mother Goose"

In July 1960, Shirley and I and our four children moved to Talladega, Alabama where we had been invited to pastor the small group there who comprised First Assembly of God. We spent six years there, coming to love those people and the little white wooden building on North Court Street very much. Our time there provided us with many wonderful and pleasant memories.

We lived in a little four room house (not four bedrooms, but four rooms total), with no central heat and no air-conditioning. ....

Because of necessity, I had two full-time jobs: preaching at First Assembly of God and teaching at the Alabama School for the Deaf. I preached, because that was my calling and my life’s love. I taught, because for whatever reason, I could not attract enough people to support my preaching! I had and still have this conviction that any man who will not care for his own, is worse than an unbeliever. So, in order to provide for Shirley and our children– Donna, Cheryl, Kathryn, and Mark–I did what I had to do.

At our house, in those days, preparation for Sunday began on Saturday evening. Sunday School lessons were studied, Shirley would prepare for the cooking of a full Sunday dinner, and my main job was to clean and polish all of our shoes. After an early Sunday morning breakfast, I would leave Shirley to get everyone dressed, and made my way to the Alabama School for the Deaf where I would teach a Sunday School lesson to my students. Then it was back to the house to load up all of us and head for our small church building and our small congregation. On one particular Sunday, the song service was first, with Shirley playing piano and me leading the singing. After the offering had been received, it was time for the preacher (me again) to preach. By that time each of the children had stretched out on a pew and had drifted off to sleep...or so I thought.

Good sermons were sometimes difficult to come by in those days; no Google (no internet!), no ready-made sermon-in-a-book from the local Christian Bookstore. I had gotten creative and had reached into an obscure ministry resource: Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes, for my message. As I began with, “Once upon a time, there were three little pigs,” suddenly, all of the children sat upright and gazed at me with rapt attention as I began to exhort the people to learn a lesson from the three pigs: Choose carefully the stuff with which you build your life. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, leaving only that which cannot be shaken.

To this day, that is the only sermon my children ever asked me to preach again

Randy Kuhn, Pastor
Carlisle Baptist Church
"God at Work"

We think God is only at work where there is health and wealth and prosperity, when, in fact, God is most often at work where there is disease and hurt and pain. He is most often at work there, because that is where He is needed most.

Diane Rayner can tell you about that. She and her husband and children had moved one year to Richmond, Virginia. There her youngest son, Marty, had quickly become best friends with the little boy next door named Kenny. Marty was deaf in one ear, but ....

it made no difference to Kenny. Every afternoon after school, one or the other one of them would slip under the electric fence around the horse pasture that separated their homes and run to play with the other one until supper time.

That year as Christmas approached, Diane noticed that Marty seemed to be acting strange. He did his chores with unusual willingness and speed. He counted his allowance money with extra care. Then just a few days before Christmas, she learned the secret. Marty had saved up all his allowance and had bought his friend Kenny a beautiful compass. Diane was touched, but she was also afraid. Kenny’s family was very poor, and Diane doubted that Kenny’s mother would allow him to keep the gift since they could never afford one for Marty. When Diane told Marty about this, he suggested that He could give the gift in secret. On Christmas Eve, he would sneak over to Kenny’s front door, and put the gift on the front porch, ring the doorbell, and then run away before anybody came. It was a touching idea.

And so on Christmas Eve, Diane opened the door, and watched as Marty slipped across the horse pasture and up on the front porch. He placed the gift down, rang the doorbell, and ran fast. Unfortunately, in his hurry, he forgot about the electric fence around the horse pasture. He ran into it, and it hit him across the face, leaving a nasty red burn from his mouth to his ear. Diane went to bed that night troubled. It seemed such a cruel thing to happen to a little boy who was doing what the Lord wants us to do at Christmas, to give to others, and giving in secret at that. Diane confesses that she was disappointed and hurt with God. But she was wrong. The next morning when Kenny came over to show Mary his new compass, as the boys were talking, Diane noticed that Marty was not cocking his head as he usually did. He seemed to be hearing out of his deaf ear! A check with the doctor proved it was true. Marty’s hearing had somehow been strangely restored by the shock of the electric fence. What Diane thought was a terrible bad thing, God was using to make Marty hear again. God was at work in a way she did not see. And in the same way, God is present in His world at work all over the place, we just don’t have eyes to see it

Jeff Scalf, Lead Pastor
St. Andrew Assembly of God
"Prayer Times Can Be Funny"

In my earlier years when I was a morning person, I would arise at 5am for prayer. From time to time I would mix it up and pray in a different location. Sometimes in a closet, the living room or outside. This particular time I was praying outside. In front of the townhouses I lived in was a patch of brush with a little pig trail that looped off the end of the townhouse’s driveway. Hardly anyone used that pig trail to loop or exit the townhouse driveway. So I chose that area for my pre-dawn prayer time. ...

I slept in “jogging shorts” that were mainly white with some designs on it and a sleeping t-shirt. Many times I would just roll out of bed, slip on my tennis shoes and head outside to pray. So get this image in your mind. In the pre-dawn hours of the morning, white jogging shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes.

This particular morning as I am praying I heard a car speeding down the dirt road by our townhouses. It then slid sideways into the townhouse parking lot, raced to the end of the driveway and stopped. I froze in the middle of the pig trail and watched. After a second or two the car started speeding off but made its way onto the pig trail. “Yikes”, I thought to myself and was high steeping it through the headlight beams across the pig trail into the brush to escape the madman in the car. The car never slowed down but zoomed past the brush I had dove into. “What in the world was that”, I said to myself as I emerged from the brush, unharmed but shaken.

The next morning the same scene, me praying, insane driver stopping at the end of the driveway and me high stepping through the headlight beams as I dove into the underbrush again.

The third morning, I hear yet again the now familiar sound of that car racing down the dirt road. I was sure that this was a demon possessed individual sent on a mission from the devil himself to disrupt my prayer time. This time however I hurried to the underbrush to get not only ahead of the driver but to see if could catch a glimpse of his face. This time when he stopped I saw him throw something out the window. He then put the pedal to metal and tore through the pig trail.

Once the demoniac was gone I cautiously approached the object that he threw out the window. What could it be? It was still rather dark but it seemed to white. My heart is racing as my mind races through the possibilities a demonic could throw out the window. To my bewildered amazement, it was…..the newspaper.

There’s some poor newspaper delivery person out there who has an odd story about some crazy person running around in what he assumed was his underwear.

Steve Irwin, Executive Pastor
Woodlawn United Methodist Church
"A Busted Up Matchbox Car"

Years ago I was part of a mission team leading a pastor’s conference in Hyderbad, India. Hundreds of pastors came from remote villages and tribal areas to attend the week long training event.

At the same location was a boarding school for tribal children. They were brought to the school to be nursed back to health and educated. They were very poor. The majority of them only had two sets of clothing, a pair of ...

sandals, a pencil, a sleeping mat and maybe, if they were lucky…a toy.

The weekend before the conference began we interacted with the children a lot. They were learning English so we talked, played and laughed together. One of the children, a boy name Subru, wanted to know my name. To him, I became “Uncle Steve.”

On Monday the children were back into their normal routine of school, chores and activities. Our “friendships” were reduced to waving to each other from a distance. Each time Subru saw me, his face would explode into a smile and he would loudly shout his greeting, “Good morning, Steve…Uncle!” or “Good afternoon, Steve…Uncle!”

Every day I eagerly anticipated this little boost of encouragement and sunshine. As the week neared its end I believe Subru started skipping some chores, activities and perhaps even some classes to make sure he was able to greet me numerous times a day.

On our last day at that location, Subru became my shadow. Wherever I went…he was there. I could tell he was saddened by the thought of never seeing me again. He was on the verge of tears all morning long.

When the time came to leave, Subru looked at me with those big brown eyes and stammered in broken English, “I…….you.” My heart broke because I literally had nothing to offer a little Indian boy. I had given everything I had to the schoolmaster to distribute to all of the children. Good thing I did that or Subru would’ve gotten it all! But I had nothing to offer my Indian ‘nephew.’ After a moment I realized he wasn’t asking for a gift. He wanted to give me a gift! He had shoved his hand into the pocket of his trousers and was struggling to remove my gift…his only toy, a little (broken) Matchbox car. His hands trembled as he reassembled the car as best he could. And with crocodile tears streaming down his cheeks he handed me the best gift I’ve ever received.

In that one week and in one brief exchange…a little Indian boy taught me more about love than I had ever known. Even though I was the American missionary…he taught me that real love is sacrificial. His gift helped me understand John 3:16 in a new light. When someone gives you the best (and perhaps the only) thing they have to offer…there is no question about their love.

I will never forget Subru and his lesson of loving sacrifice. And I will forever cherish that busted up Matchbox car.

Paul McComack, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
"The Luther-ran Story"

As a Lutheran pastor, certainly one of my favorite stories is the story of Martin Luther. And since 2017 marks the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, I am really going to enjoy telling the story throughout this year to our community! It was October 31, 1517 when a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, or statements for debate, to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. But it’s not so much a Lutheran story as it is a “Luther-ran” story and it’s still all about Jesus! Let me share what I mean. ...

Luther was in his early 20’s when he ran to God during a frightening storm. He struck a bargain with God that if He would save him from the lightning strikes nearby, he would become a monk. As a monk, Luther ran through countless days of guilt and fear of God. Fearing God’s punishment in eternity, he tried his best to punish himself in the here and now, hoping that God would have mercy on his soul. But then God set him to running on a different course.

Led by the spirit while teaching scripture and theology at the University in Wittenberg, Luther ran into a God of grace. He found that the God of the Bible is not just a God of laws, but he uses his terrifying Law as a way to make sinners aware that they needed a Savior, and then he uses sweet, sweet Gospel to make those same sinners aware that the Savior had been provided for them in Jesus.

Luther ran to tell others through his 95 theses and many other writings. He ran to make use of the latest technology available, the movable-type printing press invented by Guttenberg, to spread this rediscovered good news. And when Rome demanded that he recant his teachings, Luther ran to the Word of God. As he stood before the most powerful man in the Western world, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, he said, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from scripture or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”

Many do not realize that when Luther was ordered to recant he did not immediately respond with those courageous words, but requested time to think it over. He came back with that prayerful and courageous response the next day. You see, Luther ran to his Mighty Fortress, the God of the Bible, and there he found not only safety, but also true freedom in Christ Jesus.

Luther’s refuge and strength is also yours. For God ran to you in Christ to show you mercy and give you all the forgiveness you would ever need. This year, I hope you will join me in running, as Luther ran, to tell others about a God who would rather die than live without us!

Henry Hazard, Pastor
Heritage Bible Church
"How Was He to Know?"

Henry S. served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II with the U.S. Navy. He was part of the crew unloading the USS Mt. Hood, an ammunition ship, when it was struck by a kamikaze plane. In the explosion that followed, Henry sustained severe injuries to his back and legs which ultimately resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee.

After 18 months in hospitals and rehabilitation, Henry returned home to try to rebuild his life. His disability hindered him from ...

doing some things but it didn’t stop him from one of his favorite hobbies – fishing!

While fishing one day Henry stopped his boat near a log to get out. How was he to know that there was a large rattlesnake on the other side of the log, coiled and ready to strike? As Henry stepped over the log, the rattlesnake viciously attacked. Its fangs pierced through the pants and into the leg. How was the snake to know that it was an artificial leg, and that its venom would have no effect? The yellow poison stained Henry’s pants leg. The snake had broken a tooth on the wooden leg. As Henry pulled his leg back into the boat, the snake slithered off. Possibly for the first time since he was injured, Henry was grateful that he had an artificial leg that substituted for his real one.

There is another snake slithering around, ready to strike unexpectedly. He is the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan (Rev. 12:9). He is vicious and shows no mercy. His desire is to kill, to steal, and to destroy (Jn. 10:10). He deceives the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He is ready to strike you if you come into his territory.

We are living in this world. How can we avoid being struck? We can’t. But we don’t have to experience the devastating effects of the serpent’s bite. Henry’s tragic wound forced him to have an artificial leg that substituted for the real one. That tragedy turned into triumph for him when he was bitten. The snakebite had no effect on Henry’s body, in spite of the fact that venom was released. We too have a Substitute that has taken the serpent’s bite on our behalf. He received the full force of Satan’s venom and died on the cross. That tragedy has turned into triumph because now we can have eternal life by accepting Jesus as the Substitute for our sins.

Is Jesus your Substitute? That old serpent Satan has struck you and his venom has brought sin into your life. Your sins will bring eternal death to you unless you have a Substitute that removes them from you. Invite Jesus Christ to come into your life today and forgive you of your sins. Don’t let the serpent’s venom kill you.

Robert Gay
High Praise Worship Center
"Going To War... And A Smashing Victory!"

In February of 1988, my wife and I were ordained with Christian International Ministries. At our ordination, we received a prophesy that we would have a daughter who would be a “dancer in the house of the Lord.” We rejoiced in the prophetic word because my wife was desirous of another child. At the time, we only had our oldest son, Joshua. However, because of financial situations at the time, I was still hesitant concerning having another baby.

The following month, we were participating in a Holy Spirit ...

conference. Before the conference began, my wife prayed that we would receive another prophetic confirmation concerning having another child. There were three different times within that conference that participants could share with others what they sensed the Holy Spirit was saying. My wife never received any prophetic word concerning a baby. However, on three separate occasions from three different people I received a word concerning having a baby.

At the end of that month (March 1988) we discovered that my wife was pregnant. We were very thrilled and excited. However, the thrill and excitement turned to alarm and concern quickly. Shortly after we found out my wife was pregnant, she began to bleed heavily. She went to the doctor who conducted numerous tests. The results were that she had a “blighted ovum”. Basically, they could see a sac present where pregnancy had taken place, but the embryo had died. There was no heartbeat or sign of life. The doctor recommended a D&C procedure.

My wife and I discussed these findings as she wept aloud wondering what to do. Should we heed the doctor’s recommendation or do something different? I said, “We are going to stand and believe the word of the Lord.” We had received numerous prophetic words concerning having a baby (one even saying that it would happen before the end of the year). I told my wife, “We are going to war a good warfare with the prophecies that have come over our lives.”

Our church body began to pray and intercede. Daily I would lay my hands on her stomach and declare, “You will live and not die.” She continued to bleed for another month despite the prayers and declarations. Finally, all the bleeding stopped. She then went to see the doctor once again where he performed another sonogram. As he began to listen, he literally jumped back in astonishment as the sound of a baby’s heartbeat echoed through the examination room. Once again, we rejoiced! God had performed a miracle and brought forth a resurrection in her womb.

Later that year, on December 6th, our daughter, Kayla Denise Gay was born. She became a “dancer in the house of the Lord.” Today, she is our arts team director and is a dance instructor at Audience of One dance studio. God is faithful and He will perform what He has promised!

Scott Roberts, Pastor
Panama City 1st Church
of the Nazarene
"Lemons Sweetened: A Series of Unforeseen Events"

Joseph’s whole life was marked with sour episodes not unlike the Baudelaire children in the story Leminy Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events. He was sold by his brothers into slavery. He was wrongly accused of rape by the wife of his master in Egypt and thrown into prison where he lived several years. He was forgotten for 2 years by the cupbearer after Joseph interpreted his dream for him. And Joseph was never able to return home to settle once he left his homeland for Egypt. He married and had kids, but he remained the servant of Pharaoh to his dying day. Really unfortunate. ...

Joseph was also marked by the Lord’s favor as well. His father Jacob had a special love for Joseph that he expressed in gifts and trust. Even though Joseph became a slave in Egypt, the Lord made Joseph prosper under his master Potiphar who entrusted Joseph with his entire household. Joseph was thrown into prison, but the Lord made Joseph successful under the warden who put him in charge of running the whole prison. And when Pharaoh had some dreams no one else could interpret, the Lord gave Joseph the meaning. Because of this, Pharaoh set Joseph to run the whole empire, second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt. Truly unexpected.

Joseph remembered his pain when his 10 older brothers came looking for food during the 7 years of famine which Joseph predicted from Pharaoh’s dream. The sting of their betrayal was enough that Joseph, who had kept his identity hidden for a time, wept so bitterly that the sound was heard by the household of Pharaoh. Although Joseph had played a few tortuous tricks on the brothers (probably to give them a taste of their own betrayal) Joseph finally revealed himself to them. Laying out the whole story, Joseph invited the brothers to return to father Jacob. They could bring the whole family back to Egypt where they could live under the provision of Joseph and the Egyptians. When the family arrived in Egypt, it was a moving reunion of father and son and a remarkable story of God’s provision during a time of great famine.

Still, the story doesn’t end there. Over time father Jacob died while the family remained in Egypt. Because the 10 older brothers believed Joseph only prevented their destruction out of respect for father Jacob, they fabricated a story about Jacob’s final wishes for their forgiveness. Joseph, who saw right through their desperate attempts to save their own lives, reassured them. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” These words gave comfort that Joseph’s suffering was the Lord’s plan to save many lives through His provision and forgiveness. Very sweet!

Dr. Bruce Barton, Pastor
Central Baptist Church

Some have no vision. They are negative, pessimistic folks who tell you why it can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. They often think of themselves as “realistic”, but God wants to take us far beyond reality and the natural to the supernatural!

When the steamboat was invented it was set for a first trial in the Hudson River, and they say a man on the banks stood there saying, “They’ll never get it going.” Over and again he repeated this, until it started moving, at which time he promptly changed his tune to, “They’ll never get it stopped!” ...

Helen Keller, “Worse than being blind would be to see, yet have no vision.”

Some have lost their vision. They once had it, but they let it go. Maybe they were hurt, discouraged, or grew too comfortable.

I hear all the time from pastors and leaders who have lost their vision. They say things like, you can’t get people in our area to go to church, you can’t get people to come to evening services or special revival meetings, you can’t get people to give to missions anymore. They’ve lost their vision!

A serviceman in a foreign country took a local bride, and they lived abroad together for years, all the while he told her about his home church back in the states, and how grand it was. He bragged and bragged until years later when they made a trip to the states.

He was so excited to show her his home church. They pulled up to a parking lot of weeds and potholes. All the exterior was broken down, and the door was ajar. They entered to a looted mess. The place was stripped and peeled of all value, and cob webs were everywhere.

He approached the altar at the front. Then he saw it, still there on the wall behind the pastor’s podium for all to see, a wood carving placed there years ago by one of the deacons he had fashioned himself, this verse of Proverbs 29:18, except the “W” of the first word had fallen off.

It now read, “Here there is no vision, the people perish.”

Only one thing is worse than having less, and that is settling for less as the norm. Apathy is a killer. And they say ignorance is bliss. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for less. Don’t settle for less than God’s best!

And don’t give up. If something in your life isn’t what it used to be, don’t give in and forget about the fact of what it ought to be, which is probably even better than how it used to be!

A farmer dug a well, but his mule fell into it. He rushed over and peered inside, and much to his surprise the mule was alive and standing on all 4’s! He thought, well, it’s too expensive to haul him out, and he’s so old, he’ll die soon anyway, I’ll just bury him!

He began to throw in shovelfuls of dirt. But each time he did the old mule would shake the dirt off of his back, and then stomp on that dirt! Over and again the dirt would fall upon him, and each time he’d just shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up! Eventually he had risen high enough to walk right out!

We need to be stubborn as a mule with our vision, and no matter what life throws on us or what others may heap upon our backs, just shake it off and step up and out! ...

conference. Before the conference began, my wife prayed that we would receive another prophetic confirmation concerning having another child. There were three different times within that conference that participants could share with others what they sensed the Holy Spirit was saying. My wife never received any prophetic word concerning a baby. However, on three separate occasions from three different people I received a word concerning having a baby.

At the end of that month (March 1988) we discovered that my wife was pregnant. We were very thrilled and excited. However, the thrill and excitement turned to alarm and concern quickly. Shortly after we found out my wife was pregnant, she began to bleed heavily. She went to the doctor who conducted numerous tests. The results were that she had a “blighted ovum”. Basically, they could see a sac present where pregnancy had taken place, but the embryo had died. There was no heartbeat or sign of life. The doctor recommended a D&C procedure.

My wife and I discussed these findings as she wept aloud wondering what to do. Should we heed the doctor’s recommendation or do something different? I said, “We are going to stand and believe the word of the Lord.” We had received numerous prophetic words concerning having a baby (one even saying that it would happen before the end of the year). I told my wife, “We are going to war a good warfare with the prophecies that have come over our lives.”

Our church body began to pray and intercede. Daily I would lay my hands on her stomach and declare, “You will live and not die.” She continued to bleed for another month despite the prayers and declarations. Finally, all the bleeding stopped. She then went to see the doctor once again where he performed another sonogram. As he began to listen, he literally jumped back in astonishment as the sound of a baby’s heartbeat echoed through the examination room. Once again, we rejoiced! God had performed a miracle and brought forth a resurrection in her womb.

Later that year, on December 6th, our daughter, Kayla Denise Gay was born. She became a “dancer in the house of the Lord.” Today, she is our arts team director and is a dance instructor at Audience of One dance studio. God is faithful and He will perform what He has promised!