Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A WORD FOR JOSH - A Mission House Church Update

“A WORD FOR JOSH” by Keith Giles


A few weeks ago I had the honor of welcoming my friend John and his wife Lisa into our house church meeting. They were both in Orange County to play as part of the band “West Of Verona” during the weekend conference I was overseeing for Soul Survivor called “Momentum ‘06”.

John and Lisa are dear friends that my wife and I have known for many years. To see them again was a blessing, but to have them join us in our house church was an even greater one. So, when they arrived that Thursday evening, (all the way from Washington), they brought along the rest of the band, including the drummer’s wife, Angela.

As usual, we opened in prayer, filled our plates with food and sat around sharing together. I discovered that Josh, their bassist, was a huge fan of “The Lost Dogs” and we shared our love for this band over dinner, swapping stories about live shows, favorite songs and personal encounters with band members.

Afterwards we moved into the den and everyone sat around on the sofas while John and his band lead us in a time of worship. It was a bit of a divine appointment for them to be there on that specific evening because it was the first night we were missing our regular worship leader, Mike Yang, who had been sent overseas to serve in Iraq that same week.

After worship time, as usual, we asked if anyone had any words of encouragement to share with the group, or if God had given anyone a scripture or a word during the week to encourage us. One person read a scripture verse from 1 Peter about how God wants us to “cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you”. I asked if anyone felt that this verse was encouraging to them and everyone in the band raised their hands. So, I asked if we could pray over them and encourage them and they said “sure”.

Several of us gathered around John and Lisa, and the others and began to pray over them. Eventually one of the women in our group, who name is Lo, began to have a prophetic word for the drummer and his wife about their marriage and about their ministry together. We prayed for them about this, and later learned that they are both involved in counseling others in the area of marriage and that they once nearly got divorced before reconciling and then responded to God’s call to minister to other couples.

As we continued to pray, a few other words of encouragement and prophetic blessing were spoken over my friends John and Lisa about writing songs and being parents to their children.

Soon I started to realize that everyone was receiving a special word from God, except for Josh, their bassist, whom I was standing behind. With my hand on his shoulder I silently prayed and asked if God would please provide a word of encouragement for Josh, since he had been left out up to this point. What I meant by praying this was that I wanted God to give a word through one of our more prophetically gifted members so that Josh could be blessed. I didn’t expect what happened next.

Almost as soon as I prayed this, a verse of scripture came to my mind where Jesus tells the disciples to allow the little children to come to him and then says that, unless we also come to him as little children, we cannot see the Kingdom of God. With one hand on Josh’s back and the other flipping pages in my Bible, I began searching for this passage until I found it.

As soon as there was a break in the prayer going on, I explained to everyone what had just happened as I was praying. I warned Josh ahead of time that I didn’t know if this was from me or from God, but that I had noticed everyone was receiving a word of encouragement except him and that this verse had come to my mind as I was asking God to give us something for him. With that disclaimer, I began to read the passage of scripture out loud. Immediately I was overcome with emotion. I could barely even speak the words of scripture out loud. I had to read very, very slowly and force each word and syllable out of my mouth because of the incredible sorrow I felt at reading these words.

Before I could finish the first verse the drummer’s wife, Angela, began to sob out loud. As I continued to read this verse, I could feel Josh sobbing also as my hand was on his shoulder. I continued to read the passage and Angela began to cry uncontrollably. I had no clue what was happening, or why Angela was sobbing, or for that matter why even I felt such sorrow as I was trying to read this simple passage of scripture.

When I was done reading everyone was silent, except for Angela’s sobbing and the sniffling of noses from Josh and myself and several others in the room who were also now in tears.

I prayed for Josh, honestly having no clue what specifically to pray for, but knowing in general that he needed some comfort from God at this time.

Afterwards I sat down next to Josh and said, “Well, you don’t have to share with any of us what that was all about if you don’t want to, but obviously something was going on there.” Josh nodded and then explained to all of us that his youngest son had died in his sleep a few years earlier. When he came in to wake up his son they found him dead. “His heart just stopped,” said Josh, “No one knew why.”

Josh began to tell us about how his heart had really been tightened up towards God because of this. He had two other sons who were older, but losing his youngest had been a devastating blow to his faith. He thanked me for sharing that scripture and thanked all of us for encouraging him in this way.

After Josh shared his story, another man in our house church, Bryan, began to share his own pain at losing custody of his only son several years earlier. Because Josh has been so open in sharing his pain, Bryan now felt free to share his anger at God, and at himself, for not doing everything in his power to fight for his son. Now our attention shifted to Bryan and several of us gathered around him to lay hands on him and pray for God’s healing in his heart about this incident.

At the end of the night, Josh and the other members of the band stayed late to talk about their first experience at a house church. They were each amazed that God had spoken to them through this group of strangers in such specific ways, for healing, encouragement and direction. Truth be told, no one was more amazed than I was. Especially that God had spoken something through me to bless this man Josh who I had never met before in my life.

Time and again God has surprised me with His presence in our house church. When we invite Him to come and to lead us, (and then when we actually get out of the way and allow Him to lead us), He is faithful to do so.

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