“Doctor, he’s gone into convulsions!”
That’s what any nurse worth her stethoscope would have said if she’d taken one look at me spasming on my bed this last Friday evening. Chalk it up to a fever and chills so bad I thought I’d dislocate a joint or two in places I didn’t even know I had joints. I haven’t been sick in almost two years, so I guess I had it coming.
My wife (who got the crud a day before I did) and I both agree that the sore throat that accompanied this mess was about as bad as we’d ever had in our lives, like trying to swallow a cocktail of acid, pins, razor wire, and shards of glass. And no, it wasn’t strep, either. Strep is like gargling with mineral oil compared to the nightmare this thing was.
The fever passed fast, though. By Saturday morning I was back to normal temps. Tired, but I’d live. Wasn’t sure I would make my commitment to playing drums at church, but I did. I must say though, by the time we got to the end of the set (a slightly more drummer-intensive one than usual), I was totally spent. When they passed me the communion plate, my hand shook so much I thought I’d spill the cup contents all over myself. (Thank heavens I’m not Catholic! That would’ve meant a hundred years in purgatory if I had.)
Today meant doing all the things I was supposed to do over the weekend. Yeah, right. I spent most of the day updating my Web sites, tracking down official village papers to get to the heart of this Wal-Mart fiasco soon to descend on my quiet life, weedwhacking (don’t ask), praying over all the things I don’t want to see happen but are happening just the same, and watching a cold front steamroll into town with whatever the complete opposite of steam is. Hello, winter.
If you had to color today, it would’ve been blue. Not cerulean, all bright and cheery, but Prussian blue, Prussian sounding ominously like a clipped version of depression.
Not that there aren’t good things going on! A couple weeks ago I mentioned a teen at our church who was staring into the face of a probable lymphoma diagnosis. Thank God, the young man’s tests came back negative for cancer. Docs don’t know exactly what he has, but I had a weird “mononucleosis that wasn’t mononucleosis, so what is it?” affliction when I was about his age that sounds a lot like what he has. Took me months to get over it.
But hey, that’s REALLY GOOD NEWS.
In an age when the news always seems to be bad (on top of the horrid news of Wal-Mart and a possible casino coming to our area, the empty shop down the road from us just unveiled its new occupant: a tattoo parlor), I think the Church more than ever needs to start having people stand up and share their good news. We need to hear more good news of God working good things in the lives of His people. What we need is a good witness to the faithfulness of God.
Can I get a witness?!
Of course, I can!
And that’s where y’all come in. I’m not in the mood to feel like the title of a classic Miles Davis album. I want to hear some good news.
So have at it readers! Share us some of your good news of what God is doing in your lives and the lives of people you know.
And hey, if spontaneous dancing and shouts of “Hallelujah!” break out, it’s okay. This here’s one of them Holy Ghost-filled blogs! 😉
27 thoughts on “Can I Get a Good Witness?”
Now, Dan, just be grateful that you’ve made it through “The Curse of the Wet Tribbles” and are back on the road to Alpha Centuri. Surely that horrible, yet thankfully fleeting bug had something to do with making light of tribbles! BTW, you wouldn’t happen to be a Klingon, would you? 😉
BTW, Prussian Blue happens to be the stage name used by a Neo-Nazi female singing duo. Such fun!
Glad to hear the young man doe NOT have Leukemia. Always glad to hear good news!
Oh, btw, I happened to see an L.A. Ink Halloween costume in our local Meijers last week. NOT adult size either. (EEEK!) I don’t get permament tattoos. Even if I used to tease my husband about getting one just to annoy him.
Say Amen, brothers and sisters!
Me, a Klingon? Hardly. I married an Orion slave girl, though. 😉
I used to know everything there was to know about music, both secular and sacred. Now I can’t tell you hardly anything about music after 1996.
I googled L.A. Ink, though I figured it had to be something like Orange County Choppers, and I was right. Although, I’ll tell you what: I don’t like tattoos at all. Oh well.
Ya know I”m working on another tat… *ducks dan throwing something *
Okay you want a Hallelujah moment/ Remember me telling you about the blessings this new church has been? My husband, who I have been praying God would nail (he IS a Christian, just was kinda lukewarmish) ended up on his KNEES and weeping on Sunday morning at the altar of our church. He was in tears all the way home and said he felt like he finally let go of so many things, and that the only way to describe how he felt was he just ate about 20 peppermint patties and drank a large glass if ice water immediately. He has a totally different spirit now, and just over the past few weeks, our entire relationship has shifted. It’s been glorious!
Hallelujah #2. My husband was in a motorcycle accident today. (wait for it…) This morning as I hear him pulling out I realize he is taking the bike to work instead of my car. I had a bad feeling about it and tried to yell at him before he pulled out to take the car… he didn’t hear me so I started praying for protection over him (which is odd for me because he rides all the time and is a really good driver). The day passes. At 6pm (he usually doesn’t leave work until 6:30) I get a phone call. He came home early because he didn’t want to ride in that storm coming through. On the way home, a van pulled out in front of him. He is sore, but not seriously injured and the only things wrong with the bike is the one fork is a little bent, some scratches and a busted turn signal. He said he felt something hold him TO THE BIKE so he wouldn’t flip off of it and just tipped over. At about 40mph. Angels Dan. So THAT has been MY week!
OH! another thing… after having been refused to be allowed to serve, someone at my church came to me telling me God told them to ask me to do something. I can’t say what yet, but things are moving along… and that is a HUGE hallelujah moment!
That’s wonderful news about your husband—on both fronts!
Years ago, I was hanging out with friends laughing and joking around when I sat on an acquaintance’s motorcycle and was instantly shocked to feel…well, doom. Seriously, I was so spooked I jumped right off and said to him, “Man, you’ve got to get rid of this bike. Now.” A couple weeks later, he sold the bike. A month after that, the guy who bought it suffered a horrible accident on the highway at 70 mph when the entire steering assembly suffered a massive metal fatigue failure and literally came loose from the bike.
I’ve never gotten a negative vibe from an inanimate object since, but I will never forget sitting on that motorcycle and having a tidal wave of bad mojo wash over me like that. I’m not even sure it was God speaking to me, just an ominous, unshakable darkness. To this day, I can’t tell you what that was all about.
The weather in SW Florida has become tolerable again!
My wife’s health continues to improve!
A co-worker of my wife’s and her family visited church for the first time on Sunday!
A member of my church told me that they were “floating” during the worship service! I lead the worship and we very rarely hear comments like that!
My church had two wonderful evangelistic opportunities last week with opportunities to share the gospel and with people making professions of faith!
What was going on in Florida? Have you been under the drought like the rest of the South? Glad to hear it’s better down there!
Good news about the wife. Good news about the co-worker. Co-workers are the right kind of folks to evangelize.
I had no idea you were a worship leader. Tell me more.
Always good to hear about professions of faith!
Here’s some good news from Peru,
My wife and I moved to Peru a little over 9 years ago as church planters. So far the Lord has allowed us to participate in planting 3 churches and this past week we started our 4th plant. God has been so good. A few months ago we sent out our first peruvian as an international missionary. She’s serving in Bombay ministering to prostitutes and abandoned children. Several prostitutes have given their lives to the Lord here in Peru in the last 10 months and are being used in awesome ways.
A young woman that is an economist has been attending the church here for several years and informed us this last week that she wishes to leave her job in January and begin to serve the Lord full-time, living by faith.
One of our churches has tripled in size in the last 4 months. One of the young women in that church is a nurse and is praying to go as a missionary to Africa. I love the fact that God is raising up christians in Peru, a developing country as missionaries to areas that are equally as bad off or even worse. No more dreams of the materialistic life. We want to be Jesus hands and feet in this world.
God is good.
Making disciples in Peru,
Brian Vander Kodde
p.s. Thanks for your writing Dan. You are a big encouragement to all of us. God bless you today.
I’m extremely intrigued by your work leading prostitutes to Christ. Would you be willing to answer some burning questions I have about that work?
My questions: Many of the young people who become prostitutes, especially women, do so because they are unable to find other ways to support themselves. What are you doing with your new converts to help them find legitimate work? Do you have some kind of ministry you run where they can work for the ministry until they develop skills they can use elsewhere? Or are you using a different means to help them get work?
Please let me know what you are doing to meet the financial needs of these ex-prostitutes. This is a very important issue for me as I try to work out how we Christians can meet both spiritual and physical needs in today’s world.
Blessings on you and your work.
(BTW, I have a dedicated reader who is from Peru. Would you like me to hook you up with him?)
Yes, you can hook up the reader from Peru. No problem.
Regarding the work with the prostitutes… We don´t really have one. We just preach the gospel to everyone and three of the women who have been saved happen to have been prostitutes. It´s something that God has done.
When it comes to finding them work we have found that prayer is the key. I don´t want to over-simplify things but we really don´t know what we´re doing so we pray a lot.
One of the ladies got a job at a doctors office after we prayed. Another one got a job selling food at a little kiosk with a christian boss. Her boss wanted her to work Sundays but she felt that she needed to be in church. She made a deal with her boss that if she sold double the normal amount of food on Saturday they would both take Sundays off. That Saturday it was already 3:00 p.m. and she hadn´t sold any food yet! She prayed and said, “Lord, you`ve got to come through for me”. A few minutes later a lot of people showed up and ate. She´s had Sundays off ever since.
We live in a third world country where unemployment is terrible. We pray and have found that God always takes care of His children. Everyone in our church that needs a job has one at the present time. That is unheard of here.
We have two groups that meet for prayer everyday. One group meets at 5:00 a.m. and the other at 5:30 a.m. In addition we have prayer on Tuesday evenings in two locations and on Sunday mornings an hour before service. Maybe people in the States have not seen the Lord work as much as they would like because they haven´t cultivated their prayer life?
Making disciples in Peru,
Brian Vander Kodde
This is so encouraging! Thanks for sharing.
I believe the answer to your question is yes. Prayer for most churches is a minute or two a few times during the worship service, a minute at the start and end of other meetings, and a weekly prayer meeting that few attend, most of them being older women.
I’m particularly interested in your prayer meeting that happens an hour before the Sunday morning service. What arrangements, if any, are made for children?
The people that come to pray take turns watching the children. That way people can still pray and the children are taken care of.
Making disciples in Peru,
Brian Vander Kodde
I learned last night that December is going to be an “outside the camp” kind of month for our fellowship.
—We will not be going all out with Christmas decor – just simple. I like that.
—One Sunday, we will be going, as a church, to downtown Atlanta to feed the homeless. We will worship there with the homeless. One of the LifeGroups minister in this way one or two Sundays per month.
—One Saturday, we will go, as a church, to an abortion clinic to pray. We will later come back to the church for fellowship and supper. God has closed down at least one clinic through these means. We will not meet on that next day but will encourage everyone to visit other churches.
Maybe these aren’t hallelujah events, but they sure have got me excited about going out into the world as the Body of Christ.
All that sounds like a true blessing. It seems like your church gets it. God bless you and them.
I’ll be short and to the point with my hallelujah, I’m getting married to a woman whose primary goal in life is to glorify Jesus Christ! (As a bonus, she’s drop-dead gorgeous!)
Funny, but true story (according to the pastor I heard it from), about Ruth & Billy Graham. (I’ll paraphrase here since the gist is more important than the exact words Ruth said. Billy’s are just how he responded.)
Billy and Ruth were being interviewed a number of years ago, and the interviewer asked Ruth what she was thinking as she was standing at the altar with Billy, taking their vows.
Ruth: “I thought about the children we would one day raise, and filling their lives with love for each other and for the Savior. I thought about making a home for us, and about the friends we would share our lives with in that home. And I thought about the ministry we would have together, the lives that would be brought to Jesus, and the people who would be changed forever. That’s what I was thinking about right then.”
The interviewer then asked, “Billy, what were you thinking about while standing at the altar?”
Billy: “I was thinking that I can’t wait to get her into bed.”
There you have it! That’s about all you need to know about the two sexes right there, boys and girls.
We have had many problems with adjusting to the newest member of our family who is a 15 year old international adoptee who joined our family earlier this year. We were at the place where we thought we would have to find her a different family because she was so unhappy and uncooperative. People unaware of our daily struggle kept asking if the honeymoon is over yet; I kept asking “What honeymoon?” Three Sundays ago my aunt’s SS class felt a burden to pray for our situation (as many dear friends around us have been doing since we decided to pursue this adoption). That day we experienced a dramatic crisis brought on by her extreme behavior followed by a visit to the ER. Despite the fact she was behaving so badly, we assured her that we still love her no matter what. From that very moment our child has changed to a smiling, sweet thing who wants to please and who is now interacting with our family. She even goes to bed on time now.
Praise God! He does answer prayer!
That’s great news! Thanks for sharing it. I wondered what was going on.
14 years of wedded bliss today
A Cerulean sky
Rain last night!
The colors of fall
Joy with the morning, peace with the setting sun
For all this, and most of all, for being in His hands.
All good things you mentioned, too.
I find satan often has certain periods of time where he goes on certain “kicks.” This past week must have been the “sickness kick” week because so many people I know, including myself, have had physical problems. Thank goodness that week has finished and everyone seems to be getting back to normal again. And now…we wait for the “next kick.”
I don’t need anymore kicks!
On the good news front: Our church had been inward-focused in the more than dozen years I attended. It’s been a year-plus that our wonderful associate pastor became senior pastor, and things have turned around. We have a strong ministry to the homeless and outreach to the county prison, as well as smaller initiatives. Our pastor is challenging us greatly with, among other things, becoming a redemptive community. I spoke with our head elder and he says that he gets virtually no complaints about anything anymore, a marked change. And he left a job that was consuming him for a more family-friendly teaching position.
Our church has grown, and the positive part of that is that some of the growth stems from people who were not attending church anywhere regularly.
Our church had a big plan to construct a large building in the suburbs where lots of new homes are coming in. Now instead of an “attractional” approach, as our pastor calls it, we’re using a (I cringe at the hip buzzword) missional approach. We’re likely going to buy an existing church building very soon to help deal with our growth in the short term, and while the suburbia idea has not been discarded altogether (the land’s already purchased), a strong alternative has emerged in a government building that could be sold in three years or so. We’re keeping our roots in the city, ministry wise and planning wise.
Personally, my wife and I had a neighbor over for the first time, and he opened up to us incredibly over four hours about the pain he’s suffered and continues to suffer on many fronts. We are excited about continuing this relationship as we seek to share God’s love and truth with him. We also are strengthening our relationship with a couple from church — an non-believing husband and committed Christian wife. We’re hoping God will use us to have an impact on him.
And I’m doing a bit better with spending time reading the Bible.
That’s all wonderful to hear! Sounds like things are happening in your church. You’re there at a great time. Ride the wave and hang on tight to Jesus.
My Hallalujah Moment is that I have survived forty-six years. Praise Be!
Each day is significant and blessed.
This weekend- I am going out with someone that is dear to me. On Sunday- I will go to my churches conference- which is going to be interesting and exciting. Then, I will practice the new Church music for Christmas- with the chor.
The wonderful thing about this chor- is that they may not be professional, but their hearts are in what they are doing. They are good people who like to serve. We have a good director- who knows how to lead, and is professional. This- I consider a miracle.
My wife is leading a newly formed choir at our church. Sounds much like the choir at your church!
You’ve got me by a year plus probably a little. I suspect we could share similar stories even though you came here as a youth. The world is a small place.
I have directed chors before, and can tell you- it is hard work. Many people- including the ministry, do not take it seriously or are not grateful for it. Your wife has my prayers-it is my hope, that her music/praise ministry turns out to be a grand calling. This is- in my opinion, one of the hardest callings in the Church. In my situation- it was the Tridentine Masse-in Latin, that I had to wrestle with. Introducing proper music to people who really had no idea what their catholic heritage was-which is sad. It was an up hill battle. One, that I lost. Later, I worked in Doms, and other Churches and Chapels- and had better success. One of my happiest times- was playing a Large Bach orgel in a Lutheran Church. I loved the Cantatas- and reveled in the fact- that they actually played the music of the church -funny, they played the music of the Catholic Church masters, more than the RC church itself did. 🙂
Well- I have many memories- and now just desire to be a part of the church-instead of ministering to it. I know it will change- it always does, but in the meantime- I am happy- just singing, and occaisionally being asked to play. My calling right now is to learn and devour his word and spirit. Its like, all the years that I have been in Church- and that has been alot of years, I have been literally sucked dry spiritually. Now- I am healing, and refilling.
Its hard work leading a chor- and as I said- your wife has my prayers.
I am sure there are similar stories we can share- being a youth here really isn’t any different than anywhere else in the western world. There was a lot of good in the sixties and seventies-and also alot of bad. I look back on them now- and realize how different things really are now. We had more freedom as children ,to run around and play- to be outside, to explore the woods safely, and all the other kid things. Kids today just don’t live that way- they live in great fear- just for their own lives. Today- I read about the young Teens in Finland who were attacked by their own classmate. Some died. Makes we wonder- what have we done?
Well- I will look forward to future discussions.
No we haven’t been in a drought. But it is just the beginning of the “fall” weather–highs in the 70’s, lows in the 50’s. Finally able to turn the AC off and open the windows.
As an associate pastor I oversee worship and discipleship. Which means I lead the worship service and the choir. General oversight of all things musical. I am not a great musician, but the best available for the time being. I love to worship, but leading worship isn’t my passion. But things are improving and it has been a lot more fun lately. My strength and passion is teaching and I get to do that every Sunday, which is why I enjoy all of your posts on CE, small groups, youth ministry, etc.
Thanks again for the wonderful blog!