God Strikes the Match
1 -- AN ORDINARY MIRACLE
(click for sample online chapter)
Chapter 2 -- A STIRRING IN THE NEST
Chapter 3 -- STEPPING OUT; STEPPING UP
Chapter 4 -- LIKE A MOTH DRAWN TO FLAME
Chapter 5 -- SEEING THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
Chapter 6 -- A GROWING HUNGER
Chapter 7 -- WHEN GOD STRIKES THE MATCH
Chapter 8 -- DANCING IN THE FIRE
Chapter 9 -- TELLING ALL THE WORLD
Chapter 10 - -NO RESERVE, NO RETREAT, NO REGRET
Chapter 11 -- IN THE SHADOW OF GOLIATH
Chapter 12 -- FINAL EXAM AT ASBURY COLLEGE
Chapter 13 -- MINISTRY WITH MAXIMUM IMPACT
EPILOGUE -- SIR, DO I PERCEIVE A SPECK IN YOUR EYE?
IF YOU NEED HELP
Chapter 1 -- AN ORDINARY MIRACLE
The anguish was evident in Renee's eyes as she began to answer my
question. I was sitting in her office in response to a message I
retrieved from my voice-mail. A prayer request had been left asking
that prayers be lifted up for Renee's husband, Bud. I was not prepared
for the full force of the news she had to share.
Like many staff members working either for the College or Seminary
in our town, Renee Jenness was helping to put hubby through school.
I had come to know Renee because my job as a college administrator
frequently brought me through her office. Her husband was a student
at Asbury Theological Seminary across the street. He had been having
digestive problems, and physician tests revealed the presence of
a mass in his colon.
I adjusted my chair so that I could speak privately with Renee.
"Tell me what's going on," I gently probed. "What are the doctors
telling you all?"
"I am so scared," Renee replied in hesitant tones. "Bud has been
sick off and on, and we haven't been able to get anything concrete.
Then come the alarming results of these tests. . ."
"You're really scared, aren't you.?"
"I'm terrified. Bud's father died of cancer, and his older brother
has already had a colostomy because of Crohns Disease. It's like
this stuff," -- she waived her hand in the air -- ". . . is running
through his family. And now. . .," her voice dropped off. "It's
"Renee," I asked, "Do you think that Bud would like for me to pray
with him, and anoint him for healing?"
My mind was running a hundred miles an hour as my heart reached
out to this young wife. Bud needed a miracle, and I sensed that
it had to be now. People around campus were beginning to pray in
response to the widely circulated voice-mail request, but I felt
like I was to be involved by praying personally for Bud -- anointing
him with oil and praying in faith for his healing.
"Oh yes!," she replied with a sigh. "I really think that he would
want you to do that."
Renee agreed to call Bud and see if he could come to my office the
next day after his classes were finished. We said a brief prayer
asking God to begin a miracle process in Bud's life, and I gently
squeezed her hand as if to say "Father has everything under control."
As I left her office, I had a rushing awareness of the presence
of the Holy Spirit. "Thank you, Father, for your grace," I thought.
"Manifest your glory through these things, in Jesus' name."
This all seemed so natural to me now. Less than a week before I
had been preaching in Salem, Massachusetts over Halloween and had
witnessed Father manifesting Himself in healings, salvations, and
deliverance. If the Holy Spirit was released through the prayers
of the saints to work so powerfully in a city where darkness was
reigning, how much more could He be released in a city where the
Word of God was honored and the power of the Spirit proclaimed from
both church pulpit and classroom lectern.
The phone rang shortly after I returned to my desk. It was Renee.
"How about three o'clock tomorrow?" she asked.
"Looks good," I replied.
After we hung up the phone I penciled into my Day-Timer beside three
o'clock on Friday "Bud Jenness -- healing." I had this sensing.
. . .
The next day was filled with the kind of normal Friday events that
regularly fill a college administrator's routine -- an early morning
coordination meeting, chapel service at ten, a luncheon appointment
with a faculty member, returning phone calls. Yet in each of these
activities I was feeling an underlying current of prayerfulness
running just below the surface of the outward event. I found myself
almost groaning in inward prayer -- intercession -- for the ministry
to Bud that would come in the afternoon.
I did not then, nor do I now, see myself as a healer. But I had
become convinced that it is Father's heart to heal His children.
Through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, which include
healings and miracles, Father uses the Church to bless those who
need His touch. I was beginning to see recurring instances of Father's
miraculous intervention on behalf of his needy kids, and this intervention
was beginning to flow through me as I became open to the active
presence of the Holy Spirit working through my life. The miraculous
intervention of God was becoming a regular occurrence in my life.
I was now getting to do the stuff that was in the Book.
In my study of Acts 19, I had begun to see that Luke differentiated
between two different kinds of divine intervention -- miracles and
extraordinary miracles. There would be times when God would choose
to act outside of direct human agency or touch. "Extraordinary miracles"
would be those healings and divine interventions that were accomplished
beyond the mechanism of direct human instrumentality. The healings
and deliverance that resulted from distributing Paul's sweat rags
(handkerchiefs) and aprons (Acts 19:11-12), as well as people being
healed by having contact with Peter's shadow (Acts 5:15) are two
Yet the scriptural record is clearly weighted toward God's choosing
to work primarily through people, through the "ordinary" miracles,
to accomplish His will. These were those healings and activities
of divine intervention that were accomplished by the power of the
Holy Spirit operating through human instrumentality. God has chosen
to use the weakness of human flesh in order that the glory of his
divine majesty might be revealed. This was to be the ordinary, or
"normal" way that Father would do his work through members of Christ's
Body here on earth. The human touch would, in the mystery of His
sovereign plan, be the conveyance for the impartation of the divine
This is why I felt that it was so important to touch Bud when I
prayed for him, not just offer prayers from a distance. My faith,
through experience, had been boosted to a new level. Not only could
I conceptualize healing, I had seen it done. I had been used by
God in this way already. I was fully prepared for Father to continue
in the present the work that was accomplished by the stripes laid
on the back of His Son. So by the time that my secretary announced
that Bud and Renee were in the outer office, I had a confidence
welling up inside of me that this prayer appointment would clearly
be a visitation of the manifest presence of God.
I introduced myself to Bud and invited them to have a seat so that
we could visit together before we prayed. It seemed important to
me that we enter into relationship prior to praying so that Bud
could be at ease and relax in the flow of the Holy Spirit.
As we shared together I could see in Bud's face, and hear in his
words, the fear that something had gone terribly wrong in the genetic
make-up of the men in his family. And now, at his young age, a specter
of death was peering over his shoulder and glaring frightfully into
his life. Renee's face reflected the same apprehension.
I shared with them the powerful healings that I had seen in the
last three weeks, and we reviewed together some promises from the
scriptures concerning healing, healing prayer, and anointing. With
each word spoken I felt an incre asing compassion -- what I believed
Father was feeling -- for this young couple.
"Bud, I believe with all my heart that Father wants to heal you
. With your permission and agreement, I want to pray for you now,
anointing you with oil, and believe for you a healing directly from
As we stood in a small circle facing one another, I carefully opened
the little vial of perfumed anointing oil that I had retrieved from
my pocket. Moistening my finger with the glistening liquid, I carefully
traced the pattern of a cross on Bud's forehead. A sweet and pungent
odor filled the office. I began to quietly groan in my spirit.
"Father, oh Father," I prayed. "You know every thing about us. You
know how we are made. You were with us when we were formed in the
secret place of our Mother's womb. And you know everything about
my brother, Bud."
Tears were beginning to form under my eyelids. I blinked my eyes
as droplets puddled up and began to run down my cheeks. The compassion
of the Lord was rising up within and beginning to overwhelm me.
I began to pray the Word. "For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans
to give you hope and a future." Bud took a deep, halting breath.
"And I speak life to you, Bud, and not death. I take authority,
in the name of Jesus, over this mass in your colon. I curse it,
in the name of Jesus, and I COMMAND it to leave. You, O lord, have
given me this authority, and I exercise it not in my strength but
in the strength and power of the name that is above all other names,
the name of Jesus. And I ask one other thing, Father. Let the doctors
and all who attend to Bud know conclusively that you, and you alone,
have done a mighty miracle in his body. Get great glory because
of your great love and power, in Jesus' name."
There was a feeling like fire in my hands as they rested on his
head. I knew that something very important was happening -- we were
being visited by the manifest presence of the God of the universe.
His holiness filled the room. Faith filled my heart.
"Bud, I believe that when you get 'scoped' on Monday, the mass will
be completely gone. I look forward to hearing a good report."
We embraced just before they walked out the office door. "Father
is with you, Bud. I believe you are going to see his glory."
I continued to think of Bud and Renee as the weekend progressed,
and prayed for any remaining anxiety they might be feeling as they
faced Monday's medical tests.
Late Monday afternoon I received a call from Renee. Her voice was
almost giddy with excitement.
"You'll never believe what happened!" she said. I had a feeling
that I would.
"They prepped Bud for the test and inserted the scope. The doctor
had a puzzled look on his face as the test progressed. He continued
to manipulate that scope through the colon as he searched and searched
for the mass. There was nothing! Absolutely nothing!" Renee was
beginning to sob as she spoke.
"The mass was completely gone! Praise the Lord! The mass was COMPLETELY
We rejoiced together and praised Father over the phone.
"Bud is a new man. He told me that he felt like he just received
a reprieve from a death sentence and has been given his life back
For a moment I pondered her words. Indeed, I believed that he had.