Testimony/God Stories

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I figured I had about twenty seconds to live…
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William B. Price, Esq.

William B. Price, P.A.

When all seems lost, God will show you the way. It was February, 1995, I was training in the middle of the Mojave Desert. My artillery battalion pulled into our position around midnight and expected a mock attack moments before dawn. So, we started digging fox holes. We used sand bags and built bunkers, and coordinated with the rest of the gun line to interlock our lanes of fire. As dawn approached, my squad was ready for the attack. Everyone down the heavily armed gun line was ready. And then the order came to open fire.

It was a sight to behold! We had 9mm handguns, M-16 rifles, M-60 machine guns, Mark-19 grenade launchers (basically shooting grenades as fast as a machine gun), 50 caliber machine guns, and 155mm cannons with high explosive rounds being shot right in front of us. We called in air strikes from A-10 Warthogs and had other artillery units dropping explosives right over our heads. It was loud and impressive until one or two of the artillery rounds landed extremely close to our bunker. It rattled the walls of the subterranean fighting position, which began to collapse. There was a Lieutenant and a mechanic in the bunker with me shooting an M-60 machine gun. As the roof of sandbags began to sag I grabbed the Lieutenant and pushed him to the exit. The mechanic was still shooting the machine gun and could not hear what was happening. Before the roof collapsed I pushed back on the roof of the bunker. Fortunately, the gun jammed and the mechanic could finally hear me frantically yelling for him to exit. He got out. But now what? I was stuck. If I let go and tried to exit thousands of pounds of sandbags might fall on me. If I didn’t move, there would be no way to hold up the tonnage that would invariably crush me below the weight. So I prayed, closed my eyes, and jumped toward the bunker exit. As I stretched my body and leaped, the bunker collapsed. The roof fell in and just missed my legs as I lunged to safety. What seemed hopeless was just another funny story from the National Training Center. But as my friends reflect and laugh about it, I recall my prayer and a divine hand delivering me from certain death.

April 20, 2019No comments
Who? Me?
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Gary D. Stringfellow, Pastor

Parker United Methodist Church

An active teenager in church, I had never given thought to entering the ministry. A Week after my high school graduation in 1973, I attended a “Youth Revival” with our church group. That night the guest evangelist spoke about what we “young people” would do with our lives. I remember going forward and asking for prayer. Shocked as I was to hear it, I knew that God was calling me to enter into full-time ministry. Guess what? I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. I ran away from that calling and avoided doing anything very spiritual for a number of years.

God blessed me anyway with a good paying job at the Postal Service, a great marriage, and 2 healthy kids. Later, when I got involved in my local church and recommitted my life to Christ, God started calling me again. I realized that things I was doing to find fulfillment in life were making me miserable because I was not in the center of God’s will for my life. In 1995, I reluctantly went on a Mission Trip to Mexico. The whole time there, God kept whispering that he was still calling me to ministry after 22 years of running away. At home, I told my wife what had happened and she said, “What took you so long? I recognized your calling many years ago.”

We started life over in 1996 by quitting our jobs, selling our home, and moving to another state for me to attend College and then Seminary. Now, after having served 13 years as a pastor, I know that God “allowed” me to run from Him those years for a reason. He knew I was not quite ready to serve Him yet. In seminary, I felt guilty for wasting years I could have been serving my Lord, but God has since affirmed that my life experiences during those years of “testing” has made me more compassionate to peoples’ needs, and more ready to serve God’s purposes not my own. I, for one, am proud that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29), and that God equips and uses those whom He calls in His timing.

April 20, 2019No comments
A Miracle A Day? No Way! YES, WAY!!!
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Bubba Hill

Bubba Hill Auto Plaza, Inc.

Windell-Holley

Windell Holley

The Center of Hope

Publisher’s Note: When I asked Bubba Hill if he would like to share a miracle with the Cross Reference, he readily agreed. He explained that there was a place at the corner of West Hwy 98 and 17th St. where miracles happened on almost a daily basis. Naturally, Bubba had my attention.

He suggested I call Windell Holley, director of St. Andrew Christian Care Center (SCCC Inc.) located in the Center of Hope building. Windell is someone that I could have listened to all day. I’m pretty sure that every word that came out of his mouth was inspired by God. I won’t be able to get close to how he explained the Center of Hope to me, but with God’s help, maybe you’ll get the idea.”

bobby weaver

 

At the Center of Hope, we share the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) to each and every person that comes to the center. Our motto is “meeting needs and sharing Christ.”

The Center of Hope located at 3101 W Hwy 98 lives up to its name every day…to the world, the word ‘hope” has a lottery flavor; to the believer, it is absolute assurance in both God and His Word! The Center of Hope started out in 1998 as a vision for one local church, St. Andrew Baptist. Today, a total of 12 churches across Bay County combine to minister hand and heart each day to spread the gospel, meet basic needs and be “Jesus” giving hope. As we reach out to the less fortunate, unforeseen miracles occur daily. Read below several examples of those miracles: Miracle One: She needed food & clothing but who could concentrate…her husband was missing, he had wandered off due to medical issues. She had looked, called, seeking help everywhere for the past 2 weeks…no luck, no hope. She had come to our COH burdened beyond measure…and found people that cared. Meeting privately with a godly volunteer of faith, she poured out her heart. As they prayed, the God of Hope heard. She left our “prayer closet” with a ting of faith and hope as she made her way to the clothing section. Her cell phone rang; it was her husband! He was safe! God had answered! Miracle Two: Two men entered the COH for last minute help with food and clothes. In just a day or so they were leaving PC for Los Angeles. One began sharing his thoughts with a counselor on Jesus, salvation and how a person could be saved. He had quite a mixture of thoughts not rooted in God’s Word. Then his friend joined in and declared, “I’m demon-possessed!” Unshaken by this brash statement, Hugo (counselor and man of great faith) began to share that Jesus could and would replace those demons with the Holy Spirit IF he so desired. The Holy Spirit fell on the young man in power, conviction and love. The demons had to go, no room for both. As they prayed, the young man cried out, “I see the demons leaving, going right through the roof of this room!” He stood on his feet and began to praise God. His friend who was watching declared, “Whatever just happened to my friend, I want it! He too was gloriously saved. LA would soon have 2 God-changed men! Miracle Three: Bill, one of our most godly counselors, a chaplain of several decades, parked his car and made his way to the COH. Another day to share Jesus with those God had so brought to the Center. As he approached the entrance door, suddenly he fell on his face to the concrete pavement. George, another counselor, rushed to Bill’s aid. Checking, he found no pulse! Starting CPR, someone called 911 and when E-T’s arrived, things did not look good. Using all their expertise, knowledge and training, Bill was quickly placed in the ambulance. Then it happened, Jehovah Rophe, Giver of all life, brought Bill back! Bill now comes every week using a walker to steady his steps and with his strong faith anchored in God alone, still shares a message of healing and hope…giving God all the glory! AND LET’S NOT FORGET THESE MIRACLES: At our pregnancy center, “The Sheltering Tree,” 843 women were ministered to in 2015, 3 known babies were saved from abortion and 14 women prayed to receive Jesus. In Conclusion These stories are not the Center of Hope’s stories, they are God’s stories about his story: Redemption, made possible only through the shed-blood of Jesus Christ. In 2015, 235 such stories of lost Bay Countians led to the COH by a sovereign God prayed to receive Jesus. There is no greater miracle! “Coming to COH for bread, they left with the Bread of Life!” Below are the 12 churches that combine efforts to support the Center Of Hope: Emerald Coast Fellowship, Northstar, Lynn Haven United Methodist, Cornerstone Family Fellowship, First Baptist of Panama City, Woodlawn United Methodist, Woodstock Baptist PCB, Living Spirit Community Church, Youngstown, Northside Baptist, Forest Park United Methodist Church, St. Andrew Baptist Publisher’s Note: We would like to thank Mr. Bubba Hill and Mr Windell Holley for this remarkable story of God’s love and His power

April 20, 2019No comments
Building the Kingdom One Person at a Time
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Randy McInvale

Certified Public Accountant

I have had the privilege and honor to work with many Godly men in my life. One particular man that I became friends with was Henry Pulsifer. Henry was a missionary that preached the gospel as he walked with a cross.

The first trip that I made with Henry was to Bombay India (Mumbai) sharing the gospel with the untouchables in the slums.

The biggest slum that we visited had over 1 million people in an area of less than a square mile, the most populated in the world. What a contrast the poorest people in the world being touched by the Glory of God Himself –when they heard who we were, they flocked to have us pray for them.

The second trip that we made was to Tanzania, Africa not to soon after the bombing of the U.S. Embassy. We worked with a missionary that had been in Africa for over a year –Steve Grey. In Dar-as-Salem we each preached in a Church, gave a seminar for three days to teach pastors, and walked with a cross around the capital buildings as we prayed for the nation. After loading up a four-wheeler Jeep we went to the bush, to share the message of Jesus Christ to tribes that never had heard his name. After spending a week at four different villages along the Rufiji river one hundred and sixty people came to the LORD and many were baptized in the crocodile filled river.

The story of Gods work did not stop here but continued in the other side of the Africa continent, and many other countries. Being in the will of the LORD never has its ends but it is a continuous journey.

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus” Col.1:3,4a

April 20, 2019No comments
The Miracle of Creation
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Cory Colravy, Pastor

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Many are looking today for evidence of the supernatural. Consider this: you have about 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body, enough to circle the globe twice and then some. The surface area of your lungs is big enough to cover a tennis court. You have 600 muscles and 206 bones, movements all smoothly coordinated by your brain. Stanford professor Stephen Smith points out, “A single human brain has more [synapse] switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.” The human eye is a marvel, with more than 2 million working parts. And when sound enters your inner ear, it moves into liquid and the hair cells there discharge chemicals that carry messages to the brain’s auditory nerves. Psalm 139 says, I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Science speaks of two universal laws: the law of conservation and the law of decay. The first law reminds us that the total mass and energy going into something will remain the same, even if the form is changed. This means, therefore, that “something cannot come from nothing.” So our Milky Way Galaxy’s 100 billion stars and our Universe’s 200 billion galaxies didn’t create themselves. The second law reminds us that in this world there is always a loss in any process, such as a loss of heat or information. The usefulness of everything decreases over time. Simply put, this means that this world cannot be eternal or it would have “burned out” long ago. Psalm 19 says, The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork! Although the sovereign Lord does what He pleases, you may not ever see in this life an axe head float on water, the Red Sea part or a friend raised from the dead, but God’s supernatural works are all around you. To God be the glory!

April 20, 2019No comments
All Ten Toes
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Henry Hazard, Pastor

Heritage Bible Church

“Pastor, please pray for healing for my grandmother,” Mark requested at a Sunday evening service. “Tomorrow she is scheduled to have some toes removed because they are turning black.” Mark’s grandmother had poor circulation to her feet brought on by diabetes.

“Mark,” I responded. “Ask God to give you a rhema and then we’ll talk.” (Logos is used in the Greek New Testament to refer to the written word, the Bible, or to the Living Word, Christ. Rhema, on the other hand, means “spoken word.” Romans 10:17 states, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the spoken word (rhema) of God.” I knew that if God gave Mark a rhema about healing, I could pray in faith that He would heal his grandmother.

After church I asked Mark if God had given him a rhema. He told me, “Yes,” and shared with me a portion from James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another so that you may be healed.” Then Mark said, “I like the last part about healing but I don’t like the first part about confessing. I told him that if he expected God to do the last part, he would have to do the first part.

Mark then confessed some sins. When he finished, I then asked God to heal his grandmother’s toes. She did not have surgery the next day because she ate the breakfast that was mistakenly brought to her. The following day the surgeon and his assistant came into her room to talk about rescheduling the surgery. When they examined her toes, they were turning pink! Eighteen months later, God took Mark’s grandmother Home to be with Him. But she still had all ten toes.

April 20, 2019No comments
Just Because
Kenneth Finch

Kenneth A. Finch, Ph.D. L.M.H.C.

Counseling

“JUST BECAUSE things are the way they are, it is not necessarily the way things ought to be.”  I heard Dr. David Mendez say those words while I was working towards my B.A. in ministerial studies at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Having experienced life as a pastor and also as a mental health clinician, I have noticed often that Christians seem to feel as though they should not experience anything like depression or have “issues.” That if they are praying as they should or living as they should, they should not need therapy for any reason. DO CHRISTIANS get depressed? Experience trauma or burnout? Have anxiety, compulsive behaviors, marital discord, family dysfunction, and addiction? Yes and more! Christians are not immune to having “issues.” However, we do have hope under the “umbrella” of God’s grace. God’s Grace, plus transition, plus cognitive and behavioral change equals recovery. As a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist, certified traumatologist, EMDR certified, associate member of American Society for Bariatric Surgery, and board diplomatic clinical sexologist, I am equipped to add tools for change, and with God’s help, bring back significance and purpose to many who have experienced difficulty on life’s journey. My other providers, Dallas Finch, LCSW, Meredith Finch Thurlow, LCSW are trained in EMDR and, as a team we offer individual, marital, and family therapy. Individual sessions are available for general therapeutic growth, and for dealing with specific issues, such as anger management, communication skills, anxiety/panic, and other stressors.

Finch & Finch Consulting Group, L.L.C. also offers executive coaching services. We offer speaking and workshops to provide effective team communication and structure that is important for forging relationships, equipping your team with proper attitudes to develop your team leadership. Dallas Finch, LCSW, Meredith Finch Thurlow, LCSW and Kenneth A. Finch, Ph.D., L.M.H.C. are intentional about adding value to our clients in the context of faith with individual, marital, and family therapy as well as executive coaching and team building.

April 20, 2019No comments
Miracle of Giving
Christopher Dowling

Christopher Dowling

Inner Space of Bay County

It was my first year in the shelving business and I had plenty of inventory but few customers, no operating capital, and no advertising budget other than word of mouth and phone listing in the white pages. I was getting to the point of having to look for a job when the phone rang. The person calling was currently building a new house for the Taunton Family Children’s Home to accommodate their needs as their adoptive family continued to grow both in age and in size.

The builder was asking for assistance with closet and storage shelving. Immediately I was convicted that not only was I to help but I was to take care of mirror and bath accessory needs also. When I met Abigail and Judge Taunton and experienced how the Lord was working through them I was convinced to follow through with extravagant generosity from that day forward. Besides that, I was keenly aware I could not eat my inventory, so why not give it to an amazing cause! Within the next few days I took care of the closets and baths. At the end of each day I was invited to join one of the families for supper. Unbeknownst to them they were feeding me both physically and spiritually at a time when my needs were known only to God.

So now for the rest of the story …. The following week my phone began to ring….. and it was customers, both home owners and home builders. For the next three months I was booked continually with work. That was twenty-three years ago and even though I have failed God numerous times God has never failed me or you!

Everything I have I have to credit to God. So, remember you cannot out give the Giver of all Eternity.

IT IS HIS ANYWAY!

April 20, 2019No comments
My Favorite God Story
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Dr. Wade Rinehart

First Choice Physical Therapy

In 1999, the Physical Therapy market was so saturated that it was very difficult to find a job. I was a new graduate, married, and had a whole lot of money in school loan debt. I tried to make a deal with God stating that I would work for him if he would help me with my financial situation. He said, “You come work for me first and I will take care of the rest!”

So I went to Hiland Park Baptist Church and offered my musical services to the youth pastor who told me they do not have any money to pay me. I said it was no charge and that I just wanted to serve. The rest was history. God blessed that youth group and made it flourish. He also blessed me with a job that led me to my own Physical Therapy practice by 2002.

By 2006, God built the First Choice Physical Therapy building and by 2007 we won the Jerry Mills Small Business of the Year Award. The list goes on and on as to the many blessings that God has provided me. I am proud to say that Hiland Park Baptist Church still has a flourishing youth ministry and I have since moved on to the Wreck, a youth ministry program at Emerald Coast Fellowship. With God’s help, we were able to take 20 kids and multiply it to over 200 kids every Wednesday night.

I am humbled by the fact that God continues to use me to further his kingdom through youth ministry. My daughters have since joined the youth band and sing with me on stage every Wednesday night. I have come a long way from being broke and in debt. I can truly say that God continues to bless me every day.

April 20, 2019No comments
One Atheist, TWO MIRACLES
Rachel Rice

Rachel Rice, Wife of Associate Pastor

Heritage Bible Church

“We are wasting our time,” I told Brian again. “I am not interested in a long-term relationship with a man who does not believe in Jesus.” In the fall of 2004, I started attending the Florida Institute of Technology, majoring in Forensic Psychology. In January, 2005, I met Brian Rice at a birthday party of a mutual friend. He was a meteorology major but was also a confirmed atheist. I was not interested in him at that time but he was interested in me.

We met again in August of 2005 and dated periodically. Since I went to church and attended a regular Bible study and prayer gathering of Christian friends, Brian came too. He tolerated my faith and listened to our stories but didn’t think there was a God — until he learned about a miracle.

I grew up in Manassas, Virginia. In the summer of 2000, when I was 14 years old, about 30 adults and youth from our church went on a summer missions trip to the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico for 1 ½ weeks. We built a storeroom, conducted a VBS, and did some door-to-door evangelism. On the final evening we had a big tent revival. At the close of the service a frail, arthritic old lady was pushed down the aisle in a wheelchair. She was anointed with oil and the group prayed for her healing. Suddenly, she stood up and started dancing down the aisle, praising Jesus for healing her.

Brian was puzzled. He knew I didn’t lie. If what I said was true, maybe there was a God. He started getting interested in church. In January, 2006, He trusted Jesus as his Savior. One miracle had led to another! This second miracle led to a wedding in December, 2006.

We weren’t wasting our time, after all.

April 20, 2019No comments