Aug 25, 2011

Miracle At JFK

I was traveling with a ministry team of seventeen people from Minnesota on a mission trip to Guyana, South America. The trip to Guyana was not a direct flight, so several different airplanes and airports were involved. Twelve of the seventeen people were going from Minnesota to JFK in New York City via Chicago with a change of planes in Chicago. And, for some reason, five of the seventeen’s flight itinerary had them scheduled to take a completely different route going from Minnesota to JFK via Atlanta. This, along with stormy weather, provided the perfect storm for a miracle at JFK.

After arriving at JFK in NY, the twelve members (via Chicago) were told that the flight from Atlanta had run into some bad weather and was running behind schedule. “Not a big deal”, we thought to ourselves; planes always have the potential of running off schedule. In fact, the team arriving from Chicago had also run into some bad weather and was held in the air in a holding pattern until JFK cleared the plane to land. When our plane arrived at JFK, it was held on the tarmac for ten to twenty minutes as the extremely busy airport gave our plane the OK to unload its passengers and luggage.

In time, we discovered that the plane from Atlanta was not only running late,  but we were told that mathematically there was not enough time to make the next flight out of JFK even if they would arrive “on time”. You see, once the plane from Atlanta arrived, it too would need to sit on the tarmac for a period of time, then it needed to have both people and luggage unloaded. The luggage would need to go into a cart and be transported across the airport to another plane. The people would need to be unloaded, put on a bus, and transported across the airport to another plane. Mathematically there simply was not enough time.

I should also state that there are only two flights to Guyana out of JFK; both leave at 1:00 am. One is a direct flight and the other goes via Jamaica. Practically, what that means is that the five coming from Atlanta would need to stay in the airport for twenty four hours and then fly out the next day. Oh yeah, another missing piece; once we arrived in Guyana, we had another four to five hour trip to reach our final destination in Corriverton, Guyana. If the team flying from Atlanta didn’t make the flight, the soonest we could expect to have them arrive to join us would be around thirty hours later.

The twelve team members who were already at JFK went into prayer to ask for a miracle. Why not, we had nothing to lose. In time, one of the team members took out her I-Pod and turned on some worship music. Other members of the team were witnessing to a man and spent some time praying with him. As the team was worshipping the Lord at JFK, I saw a man in a safety vest slowly approaching the group. When the man was next to the group, the I-Pod was turned off. At once the man in the safety vest told them, “Don’t turn that music OFF, leave it on!” It turns out the man was a Christian. The team told the man of the situation and how we needed a miracle.

Periodically, Pastor Ben (the team leader) and I would check on the status the counter, and it each time it seemed to be even bleaker as the Delta workers explained that there was nothing that they could do. And yet, the team still pressed on in prayer, asking the Lord to intervene.

When we explained at the counter why we needed to get the whole team on the same plane to Guyana, compassion rose up on the whole Delta staff and phone calls were made. What little power this devoted staff had, they were trying to use it to get somebody to listen; kind of like what we were doing in prayer. They said that they would delay the bus ride to the next terminal by fifteen minutes. One Delta worker made a call to a manager at Delta to ask for an intervention.

As the clock moved closer to the flight departure schedule, the twelve team members were told that they would need to get on the bus or miss their flight. There is a fine line between walking out your faith and standing firm in your faith. The apostle Paul wrote; “Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV). This would be our moment of seeing God come through; or else He wouldn’t and we would have to still trust Him.

The man in the safety vest, it turns out, was the driver of the bus that would take us to the next plane. He committed to us to do all in his power to make sure that the rest of the team got to where they needed to be. When Pastor Ben and I got off the bus, he turned to the two of us and lovingly exhorted us to not give up. He said; “You will see the God of the impossible come through! Don’t quit! Don’t give up! Keep praying! Keep your faith in God! Nothing is impossible with God! Don’t lose hope! I too will be praying for you” It was a much needed exhortation/rebuke.

When we arrived in the next terminal, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of a verse that one of the team members had received in prayer a week before at a team meeting. The verse said; “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.” (Isaiah 7:9b NKJV).  The NIV puts it this way;If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Once again, we were exhorted to not give up.

Something went off in my spirit that said; “I’m not getting on that plane without the rest of the team. I'm not going to wimp out on this opportunity to trust the Lord; even if mathematically there isn’t enough time!’

The other ten members were boarded on the plane as Pastor Ben and I went to the counter to get an update and keep praying. The clock was now 12:45 am. The flight to Guyana was scheduled to leave at 1:00 am.

A compassionate phone call from the first terminal had come to the attention of the top person at Delta who was working at JFK that night. This man was at the counter and we heard him talk to the tower at JFK telling that the plane arriving from Atlanta was to be given priority one; both for landing and taxiing in to the awaiting terminal. The bus driver was standing by his bus, ready to drive the five from Atlanta over as fast as possible.

The top man from Delta continued to make phone calls and also communicated to the plane from Atlanta that ONLY the five members of our team and their luggage were to get off that plane. A card that my wife Cathy wrote to me for the trip came to mind. It said; “Remember I’m praying for you” Cathy wrote in the card two passages of scripture; “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV) and “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12 NKJV).

At 12:50 am, we received word that the plane had arrived from Atlanta. At 12:57 am the five members from Atlanta came through the tunnel and up the stairs to the counter escorted by the man in the safety vest and the Delta crew from the other terminal. Spontaneous praise and thanksgiving broke out as the five were quickly checked in and ushered to the awaiting plane.

As Pastor Ben and I were leaving the counter I looked at the clock; it was now 12:59 am. God had come through with a miracle at JFK with one minute to spare!  This would probably be a good time to interject that JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America! Talk about favor!

This would set the course on how we would see God working miracles of salvation, physical healing, and deliverance on that mission trip to Guyana, South America.

Aug 18, 2011


By Misty Edwards from the live album "Fling Wide"

Come as close as You want,
Consume this heart that longs to burn
I know Your fire can hurt,
But I would be worse here without You

For I was made to dwell with You,
And how I ache until I do

Holy God, Take my heart,
Purge with flame and truth!
Holy heart is all I want,
That I may live with You!

Come and take all this chains
That get in the way of what You want
And as I stand in the flame
Still I will say, “I trust You God!”

Aug 11, 2011

All Things Must Come to an End

Summer is on its way out; fall will soon be here. It’s the ebb and flow of life. Eventually, all good things must come to an end. We all know this, and yet we live our lives as though they won’t ever end. And so, I believe, we have seasons to remind us that change is coming. One of my children reminded me that since June 21st, the days have been getting shorter. And soon it will be once again winter.  

Eventually, all good things must come to an end. This past spring I said “good bye” to an old friend, my Bauer Supreme Custom 100’s hockey skates. I replaced them with a new pair of Bauer Vapor X30.   
I had my Bauer Supreme Custom 100’s a long time; these skates had replaced my old tube-style skates that had served so faithfully over the previous years. I kept my Bauer Supreme Custom 100’s sharp, polished, replaced the laces, and even had the blades replaced with new ones when they were worn down past the point of sharpening. And now it was time to say goodbye.  

When I was getting the NEW Bauer Vapor X30 sharpened at the place I had gone to for so many years, the owners told me that I couldn’t throw the old Bauer Supreme Custom 100’s out because they were classics. (They were always nostalgic regarding my old skates because the same store had hooked Phil Housley up with his first pair of Bauer Supreme Custom 100’s back in 1980). So I took my old skates home and set them in a place of “honor” on a shelf in my office instead of in my hockey bag. 

Eventually, all good things must come to an end; I remember, many years ago when our children were younger and still lived at home, many nights that were spent preparing the outdoor ice in our backyard. Time spent installing boards to surround and frame our outdoor ice rink. I remember cold; bitterly cold nights when would hook up a garden hose to our bathtub and run it out the bathroom window and hook the other end of the hose to my Tomzonie. A “Tomzonie” is a hand-held mini “Zamboni” that I made to resurface our rink each night (and several times between skating).  

But, eventually, winter would give way to spring; the boards would be taken down and along with the nets put away in storage, as our ice rink would melt and turn to water that would flood our driveway. And once again spring would arrive with the hope of another summer. 

Eventually, all good things must come to an end; even the life we live here on the earth. So today, I point us to eternity; my friends, this is not all there is.

Enjoy the moments; cherish every one of them for soon we will be on to the next season of the year as well as the next season of life. The Bible tells us:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.”

Revelation 21:1-3 "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

IMPORTANT NOTE: Zamboni is a registered trademark of the Frank Zamboni Corporation, manufacturer of ice resurfacer machines

Aug 4, 2011

Wasted Spaces

I noticed today that I don’t sit on my front porch very often; even though it is filled with wicker furniture. I thought about the patio furniture; when was the last time that I sat down and ate outside on the patio? Oh, yeah, Cathy and I ate outside last week; although we don’t eat outside as often as we should since we have a patio and furniture on it. 

As I continued with my pondering, I looked around my house and realized there are rooms throughout my house that have in them furniture that I have not sat on in a long while. After a recent sleepless night due to heat, it occurred to me that we have a hide-a-bed couch in one area of our basement that I could’ve slept on. I mentioned this to some of my family members and they responded with; “Where do we have a hide-a-bed couch in the basement?” 

Defending myself, some of the unused spaces are due to the fact that we have been transitioning into becoming “empty nesters” and haven’t prayerfully figured out what we are to do with our house (and the rooms and furniture that we really don’t sit on but need to have just in case we or others want to use).

What are we to do with the extra clothing, jackets, furniture, tools, dishes, paintings, jewelry, books, toys, beds, bikes, cans of food (shoved in the back of the cabinet), suitcases, scraps of wood, sports and fishing equipment (including golf clubs given to me but I haven’t ever used), and used motor oil that is sitting in containers in our garage? Oh yeah, and the multitude of hockey pucks picked up over the years.

We have a problem to sort through. We need to continue to seek God to find out what we are to do with what we have; one day we will give an account with what we did with what we were given. And I want to give the correct response to the One who has provided so much to me. I want to fill my life with Him; not with stuff that I don’t need or want or even use.

"Speaking to the people, He went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." 16-19Then he told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!' 20"Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?' 21"That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God." (Luke 12:15-21 From “The Message” Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)