THE BLOG

21
Feb

Does God still perform miracles?

Does God still perform miracles? You would be surprised how many times I’ve been asked this question as a pastor. It is a valid question. Sometimes it feels like we pray and pray and never see anything happen. So we get confused, frustrated, and sometimes even angry at God. It seems that He doesn’t have the time or doesn’t care to take the time to move on our behalf. That’s usually when something tragic happens to most Christians. They simply stop praying. Oh, sure; they may still pray over meals and over the kids, but they stop asking God for anything big at all. So, does God answer prayers?

A couple of months ago, I was headed home from Dallas when I received a call from a member of our congregation. They called because one of their loved ones had been given a grave report by the doctors. Two months prior, the man had had a severe stroke and had been put on life support. The doctors had just called the family together to let them know the situation was indeed hopeless. They had run multiple tests and come to the determination that there wasn’t any brain activity. The only thing keeping this man alive was a breathing machine and a feeding tube. The doctors advised the family that they should say their goodbyes and discontinue life support. The report came in on Friday and the doctors asked the family to have a decision by the following Monday. Of course, the family was devastated! Some immediately started to make funeral arrangements and call family to let them know the time was short. But not all the family reacted this way. Others of this man’s family did exactly the opposite. They called me and asked me to come and pray and believe God for a miracle! I agreed to meet the family at the hospital that afternoon.

When I arrived, the family were standing together in the waiting room awaiting my arrival. When we walked into his hospital room, he was lying in a hospital bed in a coma, a respirator attached to a breathing tube and several IV’s running from his arms to IV poles beside his bed. A nurse was in the room doing paperwork. We asked the nurse if we could come in and pray. She reluctantly agreed. We gathered around him, laid our hands on his, and began to pray for God to work a miracle. It wasn’t a loud prayer. In fact, it was very quiet and simple. But as we prayed the man began to do something he hadn’t done in weeks. He began to move his hand. We finished praying and left the hospital, believing God for a complete recovery.

On Saturday, the family texted me to let me know he had opened his eyes and was looking around. On Sunday, they called to let me know he was trying to speak! On Monday, the family did indeed take him off of life support, but they did so because he was breathing on his on and trying to speak! Sometimes miracles happen immediately. The man was taken out of ICU and is back home doing therapy! I’ve been in ministry a long time. I’ve prayed for people and seen an immediate healing take place. I’ve prayed and seen it happen gradually, like in this man’s case. I’ve also prayed and seen nothing happen at all. I wish I could tell you I understood why sometimes it works and sometimes it seems not to work, but unfortunately I can’t. However, I can tell you this: 100% of the prayers you don’t pray, won’t be answered.

 Never stop asking God for great things! Never stop believing that God can do the impossible! Keep asking! Keep believing! Keep standing and watch what God will do for you!

So, does God still perform miracles?

If you ask this family, if you ask this man, and if you ask me – the answer will be a resounding yes!

-Bryan Sparks

15
Feb

Baby Steps

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. This character trait is a major frustration for my wife. I will talk about how I need to start working out and eating right. She responds by saying, “Let’s do it!” Completely taken off guard by her comment, I respond by letting her know that it’s not that simple. After all, we are usually having this conversation on a Tuesday morning – and everyone knows life changes always start on Monday! I’m pretty sure that’s a law somewhere. I come by it honestly enough. I grew up in a family that lived their lives this way. My nana (grandmother) started every diet on a Monday, and by Tuesday she would have “fallen off the wagon” and would say she was starting again the next Monday. So to me it’s perfectly logical to put off all life changing decisions until the following Monday.

But unfortunately, “Monday” never seems to come around. I know in the natural it comes around, but in the life changing sense, it never seems to. There is always a reason why it’s not a good day to start a life change. For instance: We have a birthday party this Friday and everyone knows you have to eat cake at a birthday party! I’m pretty sure that’s also a law, and if it’s not it should be! The point is there is always a reason you can’t do whatever it is you’ve been putting off for however long you’ve been putting it off.

I’ve found in my life you can’t sit around waiting on the perfect time to make the change you need to make or to do the thing God has been telling you to do for years. You can just make a decision to start.

I love reading stories in the Bible about men and women who took great leaps of faith. They saw giants fall, oceans part, walls come down, blind eyes opened, and the dead brought to life! I also love that God refuses to leave out all the little details of each of their lives. Often, we read these stories of great faith and compare our everyday lives to the climactic points of theirs, and we find ourselves seriously lacking in the “great faith” department. We skim over their everyday lives and fail to realize that the great moments of their lives that we love to read about started out with some small steps. We often forget that great leaps of faith start with small steps of faith. Most of us never start because we buy into the lie that if we can’t go big we might as well stay home.

Zechariah 4:10 says: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”

The truth is you must start somewhere. You may stumble, you may fall, you may fail; but you must always keep taking steps towards your destiny. Refuse to sit on the sidelines watching others accomplish great things. Make a decision that you aren’t going to wait on the perfect scenario to come along before you start taking steps to accomplish all that God has for you. Start today, start now! And along the way, keep reminding yourself that small steps will take you further down the road than no steps at all.

-Bryan Sparks