Monday, June 29, 2009

A Miracle, Thanks to Twitter Followers

I'm a little stunned this morning at a miracle that occurred this weekend, all because a bunch of people I don't know personally around the world prayed.

How do they know me?

Well, they follow me on Twitter.

Saturday started out normally, with one exception. Our little boy Neil was exceptionally grumpy. He fussed. He yelled at us when we asked him simple questions like, "Neil, what would you like for breakfast?" In short, the kid was out of control.

After about two hours of this, it occurred to me that this was out-of-ordinary behavior for the little guy, especially on a sunny summer weekend morning. I put the back of my hand to his forehead. He was poker-iron hot.

For the rest of the day, we cuddled in the recliner, ate Popsicles, drank a lot of fluids, pumped in children's Tylenol and watched DVDs.

But by Saturday night, Neil was as limp as a yarn doll and hotter than ever.

"Let's take him to the E.R.," I said to Brent.

"He'll be uncomfortable at the E.R. We'll sit for hours, and they'll tell us to go home and give him fluids."

"But what if he really needs to go?"

Brent was worried, too. He gazed at Neil, who was by now sleeping in my arms on the sofa. "Let's give it a couple more hours. If we get up in the middle of the night, or if we make it through the night and he's still the same, we'll go."

In my angst, I put out a few updates on Twitter, saying that Neil was sick and that we were considering going to the E.R.

I started getting responses from people. They were concerned. They said they were praying for Neil.

It was a simple thing, really, just a bunch of strangers expressing sympathy, I thought.

We stayed awake with Neil until 3 a.m. He woke, slept, woke. He chatted languidly as we surfed the Web and looked at photos of Disney World and played games on Pogo. The people on Twitter continued to send me little words of encouragement and notes about prayer.

And then ... Neil just fell asleep.

I put my hand to his forehead.

It was cool.

The next morning ... it was cool.

Maybe it was just a passing virus, you might say.

If I weren't a believer, I would say the same thing.

But if you had been holding this sick child, fretting as I was, you most likely would agree that a small miracle had taken place.

Neil is up and around this morning, doing his boy stuff, eating Eggo's waffles and bananas and talking to himself as he makes up stories with his stuffed animals who are his pals.

And as a mother, I thank everyone on Twitter who prayed in the depths of the night on Saturday for my little boy.


I think not.

I think your prayers made a difference.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Story Series Begins Tonight on Other Blog

Hi Regulars!

This week I'm taking a break from Priscilla's and Aquila's Place and will be posting a new story series on Kingdom Treasures (

Hope you'll visit there and weigh in ... I promise it's a good tale you won't want to miss reading.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Print This For Your Fridge

Ever have a day when you feel totally unloved and forgotten, beaten down, ridiculed, exhausted, unappreciated ... alone?

Sometimes I need to be reminded just how much Someone loves me. So here's a little "Priscilla's and Aquila's Place" reminder for you, too.

Print these out and put them on your fridge or your bathroom mirror where you brush your teeth. Then memorize them. Recall them to mind when you feel under attack.

Here we go ...

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand (Ps 121:5)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matt 10: 29-31)

Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders. (Deut. 33:12)

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Ps. 36:7)

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. (Ex. 15:2)

You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me. (Ps. 139:5)

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" (John 11: 35-36)

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22: 1-5)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Enthusiasm = "God in You"

Do you live in such a way that the world runs to find out Who is in your life?

Check out the guy in this video ... Then decide if your joy is as contagious as his.

Thanks to Twitterer Rev. Bosco Peters of New Zealand for this! He notes, "enthusiasm literally means, 'God in you.'"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Prophecy about The Others

Last part of this week's series ...

I credit my pastor, Pete Hise of Quest Community Church in Lexington, KY, with the idea for this blog entry.


I love white.

Crisp white hotel sheets, beckoning me to an indulgent night's sleep.

Starched white blouse, paired with khakis and ballet flats, make me feel soooo Jackie-O.

Plush white towels comfort my taut skin after deep cleansing.

White wax candles flicker, whispering romance.

And my Eskimo dog's soft white fur ... just another reason to bury my face and cuddle and feel happy.


But there's actually another reason I love white -- the top reason.

White is in a prophecy, a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled.

About whom is the prophecy?

It's about The Others.

If you have trouble with one group of people, if you shudder when they enter the doors of your church, if you gain certain pleasure in snubbing them, judging them, feeling superior to them ... it might behoove you to take a second look at those feelings.

Because when all is said and done, The Others will be together, as one, worshiping.

Here's what Revelation 7: 9-17 says:

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
'Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.'
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?'
I answered, 'Sir, you know.'
And he said, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
'they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"

So how do you feel about your group of Others?

What are you going to do about it?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Litmus Test for Prejudice

Part 4 of this week's series ...

How do you know if you are really prejudiced against a group of people?

Our pastor, Pete Hise at Quest Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky, offered us this litmus test, and when I took it, I knew it was hands-down the best prejudice barometer.

Parents: Ask yourselves, "If my son or daughter brought home a person from this particular group and said they were going to get married, how would I feel?"

When I posed the question with Neil in mind, I came up with surprising results.

I discovered that I felt no prejudice against the usual groups -- people of other races. (I was relieved about that!)

I'd be okay with people from other Christian denominations, but I would worry if Neil brought home a girl from another faith, like Buddhism. The only reason is that I feel so strongly that Jesus is the Son of God and that they should be on the same page.

I'd be fine with a girl with tattoos and piercings, but I wouldn't be okay with a girl who actively deals drugs on street corners -- or a lifestyle that hurts other people.

I discovered, though, that I would struggle against a girl whose family might be like those families my parents helped in The Salvation Army. This really bothered me. It's an uncomfortable truth for me to face and for which I must repent.

See how this test works? It's a simple question but has very clear-cut, profound results. Personally, I was fascinated by the emotions I felt, or did not feel, as I examined each group of people.

Ask yourself ... Who are your "Others?"

Do you harbor ill will against a race, a nationality, a socio-economic group, a group defined by what they wear or how they express themselves? If that person came to your church, how would you react? Would you treat them the same way you might treat a favorite celebrity? Would you even notice them?

Guess what: If you love Jesus -- really love Jesus -- you're going to have to examine this, not only for this life but for the life to come.

Tune in for the last part of the story. You'll be surprised at where this all leads.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Brent & I Debate: Who are "the Others?"

Part 3 of this week's series.

Sunday one week ago.
Somewhere along Route 68.
Central Kentucky.

Brent and I are driving home from Sunday services at Quest Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

We've just heard a very challenging sermon from our pastor, Pete Hise.

Pete asserts that most of us have our own list of "Others," or, people who we consider beneath us or from whom we separate ourselves.

Like many other times after one of these Pete Hise sermons, we are silent, each mulling the points of the talk, each trying to decide if we fit into any category, each questioning whether we need forgiveness for a weakness we have overlooked in our innermost souls.

Brent surprises me by being the first to speak.

"So. That was interesting."

"Yeah. Really something."


"So." He pauses. "I know who your 'Others' are."

I glance over at him. He's wearing a knowing grin, that one that says, "I've been married to you for 8 years now and I have you pegged."

"OK, I'll bite. Who do you think my 'Others' are?"

"It's easy." Pause. He's waiting for me to nudge him but I just sit still, waiting for his pronouncement. I'm sure he doesn't have it right, because I have never brought up my "Others" to him, not in all of these years of knowing him. But I allow him this chance to one-up me, if he can.

"They are ... baby Christians."

Baby Christians. He's referring to people who have recently made a commitment to Jesus and who are very assertive in their faith but are still floundering in their quest for basic Biblical knowledge.

"Huh. Interesting you would say that. But no. Not in the least. Why do you think I don't like baby Christians?"

"Because you're always putting them down."

"I am not. I just get frustrated sometimes, like when you're in a prayer circle and someone tells the group that their cat is having surgery in the morning and please pray for it. Or someone else brings up that they need prayer on their decision for a new car. Yes, that agitates me, but I don't dislike baby Christians. I like them a lot. They are not my 'Others.'"

He is clearly chagrined. "OK," he says, "so who are they?"

"I'll tell you, but you won't believe it: They are women with low IQs who are obese and never take baths."


"But I have a reason: They're the women who my parents used to help in the Salvation Army, and we always had to give one a ride home, and she would always smell so bad that all of us would have to take showers to wash off the odor, and we'd leave the car windows open all night long to get rid of the stench inside the vehicle. So those are my 'Others.'"

"Huh. I never knew that."

I smile. "I know you didn't. So ... OK ... who are your 'Others?'"

He smiles back. "I don't have any."

"Come on!"

"Seriously, I don't."

"You do, too."

"No, I don't. I'm a perfect person."

Knowing this has as much truth as the legend of Santa Claus, I drop the discussion, and we continue to drive, lost in our own thoughts about the people we consider to be of low esteem.

Two nights later.
A Mexican restaurant.
Danville, Kentucky.

Brent and I are out for our wedding anniversary, and we've hit a nice cheap Mexican restaurant next to the movie theater where we will see Star Trek.

I grab a tortilla chip and dunk it into a chunky salsa, then pause before I pop it into my mouth.

"So. Have you thought about the big question?" I ask.

"What big question?"

"Who are your 'Others?'"

"Oh, we're back to that again. I told you, I don't have any 'Others.'"

"That's B.S. and you know it. Who are they? Immigrants? Black people?"

"None of the above. I don't have any 'Others,' because everyone on the planet is an 'Other.' Everyone falls into that category. I don't like people. Period. I don't like anyone. So, I don't have any 'Others.'"


We continue to crunch the tortillas, staring into each other's eyes, not out of romantic compulsion but because we're trying to wear the other person down on this argument.

I change the subject. "Oh, I forgot to tell you. Our babysitter wants to take Neil to her church's Vacation Bible School. I thought it sounded fun for him, so I said yes."

"You did? What kind of church?"

"I don't know ... I think she said they go to a Baptist church."

"Baptists." He spits the word out with a certain level of venom. "I can't stand Baptists."

"A HA!" I shout so loud that the other diners turn to look at our table. "Those are your 'Others!'"

"They are not!"

"Sure they are. You talk about Baptists all the time like that."

"Well of course I do. They're the most divisive denomination in Christianity."

"How can you say that"

"They are."

"Well don't you think everyone can be divisive?"

"Sure, but the Baptists are the worst."

"Geez." I shake my head. "You are so full of it. Those are your 'Others.'"

"Oh yeah? Well I still say that baby Christians are yours."

The fajitas arrive. We focus on the sizzling beef and creamy guacamole. Discussion shifts to the Star Trek movie we're about to see.

The Others are forgotten ... for now ...

Want to know more? Tune in tomorrow for the next part of the story and to see how all of this ties together.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"On Pain of Death"

I credit my pastor, Pete Hise of Quest Community Church in Lexington, KY, with the idea for this blog entry ...

Part 2 of this week's series.

Two-thousand years ago.
The Roman Empire.

They were the outsiders.

If they were not born to one of the 12 tribes of Israel, they were impure, unclean, unworthy, detestable, enemies.



Should they find themselves in Jerusalem, should they find themselves in the vicinity of the Jewish Temple, they would get a sharp taste of their status in the spiritual realms.

The Temple was made of walls.

The innermost wall separated the Holy of Holies, the place where God met with the High Priest, from the rest of mankind.

The Court of the Priests was the next walled-off section. Here, the spiritual leaders sacrificed animals on behalf of the people.

The next wall partitioned an area for Jewish men, or, the Court of the Israelites. Men were able to observe the priests at work.

Next came the Court of the Women. All Jews, men and women, were permitted here. Even the lowest of Israelite society were allowed entrance -- the lepers and other ritually unclean people. This was the largest court of the Temple, and it was filled with music -- singing and dancing -- at all times.

Finally ... if you did not fall into any of the above listed categories ... you were allowed into the Court of the Gentiles -- a bazaar where animals could be purchased, tours were given and souvenirs were available. This area, also called "The Outer Court," or "The Lower Court," was paved with marble and was made up of a series of porches. Corinthian pillars ran through each porch area.

And what was written on the pillars?

A death threat.

"No foreigner is to enter," it said, "If caught, he has himself to blame for his subsequent death."

The outsiders knew where they stood.

And it was nowhere near the God who loved them, who wanted to reach them.

But now. Now, these people ... Syrians, Egyptians, Persians ... had received hope.

Many of them lived in a large Roman Empire city -- Ephesus -- which was the cross-roads of trade, one in which many nationalities lived in harmony.

Ten years earlier, they had received the Gospel from a man named Paul. Their church was flourishing. They communed as one, recognizing no difference between themselves, no distinction of class or nationality.

One day, they received a letter from Paul, who was in a prison cell and writing to encourage them.

Encourage them he did.

Here's what he wrote:

"The Messiah has made things up between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody."

Paul knew the power of exclusion.

He also knew that the teaching of Jesus was a kick to the face of discrimination.

Few things have the power that disunity has over the church, and Paul wanted to drive that point home.

Can you remember a time when you felt like an outsider, a time when you knew that you were not wanted in a group of people?

This was never the plan, Paul says.

Who are "the outsiders" to you?

Who are "the outsiders" to me?

Tune in tomorrow for the next part of the story on what I learned about myself, about outsiders and about what God has to say about all of it.