When God’s People Pray He Does Crazy, Amazing Things

When God’s People Pray He Does Crazy, Amazing Things

When God’s people pray He does crazy, amazing things, This was impressed on me when I attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Here’s my story.

When God’s people pray He does crazy, amazing things. Especially when we pray in agreement.

I was a first semester seminary student in a Survey of the New Testament class. The professor was about to start class with a prayer and asked if anyone had a prayer request. A woman raised her hand and requested prayer for a friend. Her friend was married to a man who graduated last year and they had moved to California to plant a church.

The woman said he turned down the opportunity to pastor an established church in Texas to follow this calling and didn’t even have support from the Home Mission Board or other parachurch organizations. His plan was simply to canvass neighborhoods, knock on doors, and build a church from the ground up.

So the woman asked us as followers of Christ and future ministry workers to pray. She didn’t say it, but it was written all over her face. The guy was crazy.

When God’s people pray He does crazy, amazing things. Especially when we follow His leading

I related to the guy and was living it myself. A midwestern boy from Cincinnati, Ohio who had traveled to Fort Worth, Texas to attend seminary. When I felt God calling me to ministry I met with my Southern Baptist church pastor who advised me that seminary was the appropriate step for me to take. Southern Seminary was just down the road in Louisville, Kentucky, but I sensed God leading me to Southwestern.

So here I was staying with the friend of a friend. An outsider in this foreign land of Texas where common wardrobe included cowboy boots and hats. And a new language that called long distance a “fur piece” and a crowd of people “Y’all.”

I think my family and friends thought I was a bit crazy too.

But I’ve learned since then that trusting God and exercising faith often appear that way. Just consider Joshua and the Israelites marching around the walls of Jericho for seven days and Gideon taking on a Midianite army of thousands with 300 men carrying torches and blowing trumpets.

What crazy ways to wage war!

Joshua and Gideon both probably felt a little foolish following God’s direction, but they obeyed anyway. And God amazingly delivered on His promise. If this man was truly following God’s will in this church plant, then I believed God would provide. So I joined with everyone else in the class and prayed for him.

When Christians pray God unleashes His power

It was several years later after I graduated from seminary and began working in church ministry that I heard about a growing church in California that was gaining attention in the Southern Baptist Convention. And the name of the pastor was the guy we prayed for in that seminary class.

The church he planted was thriving and growing like…well, crazy.

I was still in Texas and serving at a church too. Nothing sensational like his ministry, But he had followed God’s leading and so had I and that was the important thing. We both went beyond our comfort zone and responded to God in obedience.

I celebrated what God was doing in his ministry. And I smiled to myself as I remembered the distress in the woman’s voice in that seminary class sharing her prayer request.

I’m sure our class prayer was only one of thousands that was lifted up to God on his behalf.

And I remember how the professor smiled at the woman with love and wisdom. That said he also knew we served an Almighty God.

“What’s your friend’s name?” he asked.

“Her name is Kay,” the woman replied. “And her husband’s name is Rick Warren.”

In case you don’t know, Rick planted Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California and later authored the best seller The Purpose Driven Life. He pastored Saddleback until he retired in 2022. Today it averages over 20,000 people in weekly attendance.

Crazy and amazing, right?

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

When Jesus Healed A Woman’s Blood Disorder

When Jesus Healed A Woman’s Blood Disorder

When Jesus healed a woman’s blood disorder. It’s a story found in Luke 8:43-48 that demonstrates the compassion and care God has for every person.

When Jesus healed a woman’s blood disorder. It was a story within a story.

When Jesus healed a women’s blood disorder, he was actually on his way to heal someone else. He was responding to Jairus who was identified as a ruler of the temple. Jairus implored Jesus to go with him and heal his seriously ill daughter who was at home.

Jesus agreed and followed Jairus, pressed in closely by a crowd. And within that crowd was a woman with an incurable, blood flow condition. Down to her last penny. Her last hope. And final choice. Jesus had healed so many other people, surely he could heal her too.

Her blood flow made her ceremonially unclean. A social outcast. And she shouldn’t even be among people in a public setting. But she was desperate. Probably trying to keep a low profile and avoid calling attention to herself and blend into the crowd. But if only…if only she could get close enough…reach far enough…and just touch his clothes. That was all it would take.

When Jesus healed a woman’s blood disorder. It demonstrated that Jesus gives us his full attention

He felt the power leave him

Likely, Jairus and Jesus were in a hurry. But still, Jesus paused. He felt his divine, healing power flow out of him and wanted to know whose touch caused it. And it raises a question because in such close quarters, many people must have brushed against him. What made this touch different? In other words, why did his healing power not flow out on every random touch?

Of course, the mystery of why God miraculously heals some and not others still puzzles us today. But what is clear from the story is how deeply God individually cares about every person. He didn’t let the social status of Jairus take priority over the woman’s need. He stopped and gave her his full attention.

And it demonstrated something else. Jesus cared about her physical need, but even more about her spiritual need. Because physical healing lasts only for this life while spiritual healing lasts for eternity. So our spiritual need is always God’s greatest priority.

When Jesus healed a woman’s blood disorder. It demonstrated the power of faith

Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace

Jesus says what made the touch different. The woman’s action demonstrated her faith. The Bible has much to say about faith. Especially the importance of putting our faith in action. And the woman did so in a bold and risky manner. Of course, faith doesn’t guarantee a miraculous physical healing in every case. But it does guarantee a spiritual healing.

And notice that Jesus called her “daughter.” A term of endearment. Of intimate, personal relationship. And of complete acceptance and unconditional love.

The word for “peace” is the Greek eirene and primarily communicates the idea of a lack of conflict and hostility. However, the Hebrew word for peace is Shalom and carries the idea of wellbeing and a right relationship. And specifically, a right relationship with God. In other words, peace with God means you are in a right relationship with God.

That is the essence of Biblical faith. The woman’s faith in this story didn’t just heal her physically, but also spiritually in her relationship with God. And is where you experience the most complete sense of peace.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

How Jesus Handled Racism, Women’s Equality, and Sin

How Jesus Handled Racism, Women’s Equality, and Sin

How Jesus handled racism, women’s equality, and sin. It’s all demonstrated in John 4:1-42 when he interacts with a Samaritan woman at a well. She was first a woman, second a Samaritan and lastly a sinner. But Jesus invited her into a life changing redemptive relationship.

How Jesus handled racism, women’s equality, and sin. He treated a Samaritan as a person rather than an ethnic group

Racism is not new. Samaritan’s and Jews were two ancient, ethnic groups with a long history of animosity for one another. Although they had a common heritage, Jews considered Samaritans unclean because they were interracially mixed. In fact, some Jewish religious leaders traveled roads that went around Samaria even when the road through it was shorter.

But not Jesus.

He acted like he expected to meet the Samaritan women at the well and was keeping an appointment. And when she arrived with her water container, he initiated the conversation.

She acted surprised in her response that pointed out their differences in gender and race. But Jesus had another conversation in mind. Because his interest went beyond the barriers of race and gender to the barrier that separated her from God.

“If you knew who was asking you, you would ask for living water.”

Now Jesus moves into a spiritual conversation that takes a personal interest in her. Not that racism and women’s equality weren’t important. But that her eternal destination was more important. And it required addressing the condition of her heart.

How Jesus handled racism, women’s equality, and sin. He didn’t address women’s rights, he addressed women with individual respect

Women’s rights were also restricted during the time of Jesus. Women were separated from men in private, public, and religious life. And denied many of the privileges afforded to men. For example, when out in public during the day, women were expected to wear a veil and refrain from talking to men.

 It was also common for women to draw water during the morning in groups. Part work, part social time. The fact this woman was alone at midday suggests she was probably a social outcast. But Jesus didn’t let any of that deter him. Because he cared more about the woman’s soul.

And now he had her attention. She’s intrigued but still challenges him. Living water? He has nothing to even draw water from this well. And she steers the conversation back to race by pointing out their common ancestry in Jacob. Although Jesus steers back to the spiritual.

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

And now, the woman’s deep, spiritual thirst is exposed.

“Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

She’s ready to accept Jesus’ offer. But first she must confront her spiritual barrier.

Jesus didn’t overlook sin but offered something better

Jesus told her to get her husband and now she must admit the truth. She’s living in a sinful relationship. And while Jesus does not condemn her sin, he makes her confront it. Because sin was the barrier that separated her from God. And the same is true for you and me.

As Paul points out in Romans 3:23, we are all guilty of it. But Jesus is the solution and the one who presents a better offer. And that is forgiveness and eternal life for all who ask for it.

It’s not specifically stated, but it’s clear the woman was changed by her encounter with Jesus. She excitedly told all the people in town and brought them out to meet Jesus. And many of them believed in him too.

So while racism and women’s equality are both issues that need to be addressed among a long list of others. The one few people want to address but Jesus does is sin. It is the source where everything that’s wrong in the world comes from. And we are all guilty. But will experience forgiveness. When you humble yourself, confess your sin, and ask for it from Jesus.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Rahab The Hooker Who Got Hooked On God

Rahab The Hooker Who Got Hooked On God

Rahab the hooker. She played a minor role in a Bible story recorded in Joshua chapter two. But a major role in Christian history. Here’s her story.

Rahab the hooker turned from her old life to follow God

As Israel prepared to capture the city of Jericho, Joshua sent two men to spy out it out. And there, the two spies met Rahab, a prostitute. She told them she believed in the almighty power of Israel’s God, and Israel’s certain victory over Jericho. And she strikes a bargain. She will help them if they spare the life of her and her family when they captured the city.

Was this simply about self-preservation or something more? Because Rahab took a big chance in hiding the spies and even lying to the king of Jericho about it. Which presents an interesting moral dilemma about truth telling in God’s service.

However, one thing is clear. Rahab made a full commitment to God. Her actions were treasonous to Jericho and would have cost her dearly if discovered. But Jesus demands a full commitment and warns that following him may come with a cost.

Rahab the hooker was saved by faith

Faith is the foundation in Christianity. It’s where God’s grace and salvation are experienced. And how you live as a disciple of Jesus.

Both James 2:25 and Hebrews 11:31 commend Rahab for her faith. They confirm her genuine declaration of faith in God that she demonstrated by her actions. Something Jesus also consistently taught.

Nor did Rahab have any guarantee the spies would keep their promise. It was another exercise of faith, although thankfully, Israel kept its end of the deal.

But wait. That’s still not the end of the story.

Rahab was redeemed and given a new purpose

After the fall of Jericho, Rahab didn’t return to her life as a prostitute.

Instead, her life changed with new purpose.

We don’t know all the details, but we do know she remained with the nation of Israel. She eventually married a Jewish man and Matthew 1:5 says she bore a son named Boaz, who married Ruth a Moabite. Another outsider who joined Israel’s community because of her faith in God. It was through this lineage that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born.

In other words, Rahab was redeemed both physically and spiritually as a follower of God and became a great great grandmother of the Messiah.

It’s a story of hope for all of us. You can leave your past behind through the transforming and redeeming power of God. When you follow him and live according to His purpose.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Four Steps to Self-Discipline

Four Steps to Self-Discipline

Four steps to self-discipline. They are principles that help create a structured lifestyle. And this leads to positive habits and routines that benefit every area of your life.

Four steps to self-discipline involve making one-time decisions

When I was a young seminary student, the pastor of the church I attended frequently encouraged us with these words: “Learn to make one-time decisions.” In other words, make a decision about a regular routine or habit you want to maintain and stick with it. He often used career as an example. Few people wake up on Monday morning and decide if they will go to work. Why? Because it’s one decision they’ve already made. This simple principle can be applied to many areas of your life.

And now, over three decades later, I can say this principle works. I’ve successfully applied one-time decisions in disciplines that have benefited me physically, spiritually and vocationally among others. It’s a simple, yet powerful formula that provides multiple benefits.

Four steps to self-discipline involve taking small steps rather than big steps

This last year I watched a miracle take place. A friend of mind lost 125 pounds by implementing two simple steps of self-discipline.

  • Intentionally changing her diet
  • Routine exercise that included weight lifting

She will also tell you her faith and the power of God were a huge part of the victory. Because her journey was not just a physical battle but a spiritual one too.

The point here, however, is that she made incremental changes. Small, slow, but steadily over time. Big changes at once are harder to maintain. But gradual, little changes, smoothly integrate into a new lifestyle.

Four steps to self-discipline involve eliminating old things by adding new things

I enjoy eating cold cereal. And for years, consumed large, multiple bowls of popular brands every morning. But when I reached midlife, I began to feel and see the effect on my physique and alertness during the day. And decided high level physical and mental functioning required premium fuel in my body.

But quitting cold turkey was not a good approach. So rather than eliminate it, I replaced it slowly. I started by reducing the number of bowls and replacing it with fruit. And then replacing some days of cereal with eggs and bacon or oatmeal. And eventually reached a point of eating cereal a few times a month. What? You didn’t think I was going to eliminate the breakfast of champions completely did you?

The point is, don’t think in negative terms of what you must quit. But think in positive terms of replacing it with something better.

Self-discipline involves leaning on the power of God

You have an individual will. And self-discipline requires exercising that will. But I reject the claim you have a power within. Because as a Christ-follower, the power that fills me is the presence of the Almighty God.

It’s a counter cultural approach. And begins by recognizing your human weakness rather than your inner strength. Your dependence on God rather than self-reliance. Your sin rather than your virtue. And the presence and power of God is available to all who respond to and follow Jesus Christ.

So, I unapologetically lean on God for strength. Because he faithfully demonstrates his strength in my weakness. And for that I give him the glory.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.