Shoveling Neighbors


(I wrote this story for my Sunday school class of younger children. It’s meant to be acted out.) 

“The Two Neighbors That Needed to Shovel”

Once upon a time there were two neighbors, Harry and Joe.  Harry loved to take care of his yard and never let his grass get too long or the snow get too deep.  On the other hand, Joe was a “get around to it” kind of guy.  He never quite “got around” to mowing until the grass was very long and never got around to shoveling until he couldn’t get out of the driveway with his car.

(Ask for two volunteers to be “Harry” and “Joe”.)

One winter morning, Harry looked out his window… (Tell “Harry” to pretend to look out the window.), and said to his wife, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  I had better go shovel.”  And shovel he did!  (Have Harry pretend to shovel.)  There was very little snow, so in no time at all, he was stepping back into the house again saying to his wife, “Ah!  It feels good out there!  That fresh air really woke me up!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe put his feet up on the couch… (Have Joe put his feet up.), and his hands behind his head (Have Joe put his hands behind his head.) and said, “Nah.  It will melt before long.”  Then Joe went back to drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.

Sure enough, Joe was right.  The sun came out and the snow melted before the day was out.  Joe’s drive and sidewalk had some puddles, but the snow was gone.

A week or so later, Harry got up in the morning and looked out the window again.  (Remind “Harry” he is supposed to pretend he is looking out the window.)  He said, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  I had better go shovel!”  True to his word, he put his coat on and out he went and shoveled.  (“Harry” should have it down by now, but if he forgets to pretend to shovel, remind him.)  It took Harry just slightly longer than the time before since there was a little more snow on the ground.  Soon he was stamping the snow off of his boots and stepping back into the house.  “Hoo-ee!”  He exclaimed!  There’s a little bite in the air today!  Winter is here to stay!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe got up from the couch and looked out the window, (Remind “Joe” to look out of the window.), and said, “Hmmm.  There can’t be more than an inch out there.  I think I can wait until I have more time.”  Then Joe went back to the couch, put his feet up and finished reading his newspaper.

Well, Joe was right in a way.  There wasn’t more than about an inch of snow on the drive, but when they drove their car over the snow, it packed it down until it made a hard, slippery surface that Joe’s wife slipped on a couple of times walking out to get the mail.

This is the way it went for the next three snowfalls.  As soon as it snowed, Harry would go outside and shovel.  Harry’s drive and sidewalk looked the same as ever.  It was clean and dry enough to ride a bike on, and Harry was getting stronger and stronger because of the shoveling.  On the other hand, Joe’s drive and sidewalks were slippery and rutted with dirty, hard, slippery snow.  Joe’s wife said, “Honey, if you don’t shovel soon, someone is going to fall!”  Joe answered his wife, “Dear, I am having no trouble getting out of the driveway and people should be careful walking in the winter anyway.”  Then he went back to the couch with a fresh cup of coffee and put his feet up.

It was just after Christmas, when the radio and television began to issue this warning.  “We have a Winter Storm Warning in effect.  We are expected to get up to 6 inches of snow by midnight and another 4-6 inches by morning. ”

Harry reached over and shut the radio off and said to his wife.  I had better get to bed.  I will need to be up early to get the drive and the sidewalk shoveled before I go to work.”

Joe turned off the radio and said to his wife.  “There is a really good program on tonight.  It will keep me up late, but that won’t be a problem.”  Joe’s wife just rolled her eyes.

The next morning, Harry was up by 5:00 am, had a good breakfast, bundled up and went out into the blowing snow and cleared away the snow they had gotten overnight.  (Harry shovel)  He was huffing and puffing a bit, and it took him 45 minutes to do it, but he was finished in plenty of time to pack his lunch and head for work.

Joe overslept.  His wife shook him awake and said, “Joe!  I don’t know if you will be able to get out of the driveway! We got a lot of snow last night and it has piled up on top of the old snow.”  Joe jumped out of bed and quickly dressed.  “No time to worry about it.  I’ll be late as it is!”  Joe threw his coat on without buttoning it, grabbed his cup of coffee and a cookie and ran to his car.  (‘Joe’ can pretend to run.)  Joe opened the garage door and the drifting snow blew in.  He threw the car onto reverse and roared down the drive, through the snow and slid out into the street.  Off to work he went.

It continued snowing throughout the day and by the time Joe got home from work; he got stuck over and over trying to get down his driveway and into the garage.  He said to his wife, “Honey, where is the shovel?”

Harry was already out shoveling the snow that had fallen throughout the day from his driveway when Joe came spinning his tires down his own driveway.  Harry just shook his head and kept on shoveling.  It was hard work, but Harry had gotten strong and had gotten used to the cold weather.  He didn’t mind the way the full shovel pulled on his back and he could throw each shovel of snow a long distance.

Joe was finally worried about the deep snow in his driveway.  Later, after much searching for a shovel, Joe went out into the freezing cold air and stood shivering, dreading the job ahead.  What he had failed to notice until now, was that his driveway was layered with hard packed snow that had been covered with heavy, fresh, deep snow.  It made him long for his warm house with its comfortable couch. He wanted nothing to do with shoveling.  He only wanted to go back inside and drink a cup of coffee and read his newspaper.  He sighed and stuck his shovel into the deep snow.  (‘Joe’ may be too interested in the story to pretend anymore, so just let him listen.)  “Ugh!” he grunted with each little shovel full.  He had gotten out of shape through the winter, so he could barely throw the snow far enough to get it to the side of the driveway.  “Ugh!” he grunted again and again as he struggled through the deep snow.  He just wasn’t getting enough shoveled to even make a path for the tires of his car.  His arms were getting heavy and burned with each shovel full.  His breath was getting shorter and he was gasping for air.  He started to feel weak in his knees and they began to wobble.  His ears and nose were getting frostbitten and his hands were cold and raw from the rough handle of the shovel.  He stuck his shovel deep into the snow again, but this time, when he threw the shovel full of snow, the shovel flew out of his hands and he fell face first into the snow and lay there.  His wife and his neighbor Harry came running to see if he was all right.  They helped him to roll onto his back, but he couldn’t get up!  He had thrown his back out with the shovel!  His wife had to call an ambulance and Joe was laid up for the rest of the winter. Not only that, but he also had to pay $100.00 to a man to plow his driveway; all because he had let the snow pile up deeper and deeper until it was more than he could handle.

The snow is a lot like the times we get angry with someone or sad or hurt.  If we don’t forgive whoever has hurt us right away, it piles up in our hearts like deep snow. Our hurts and anger get bigger and deeper and harder to get rid of until we are no longer able to be happy.  Just like Harry, every time we have a snowfall of a hurt or anger or sadness come into our heart, we must immediately forgive whoever has hurt us so that our heart can be clean and happy again. Some hurts are heavy, like a very deep snowfall and we need Jesus to help us to forgive the one that hurt us. Just ask Jesus to help you to forgive and he will and you can have a light, happy heart again. Remember, each of us has caused Jesus hurts, but he forgives us, so we need to forgive others the hurts they cause us. You will never regret forgiving someone, but you will always regret not forgiving, especially when the time comes that Jesus looks you in the eyes and shows you His nail scarred hands. Hands that were nailed to a cross for the forgiveness of the hurts you and I caused Him.

Nancy

Matthew 6:14,15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Excuse Me??


Deer in the headlights… I’m sure that’s what my eyes must have looked like to my pastor…

It was the end of our Wednesday night service, and we were all standing. We had just watched the sixth installment of “Heaven to Earth: The Tabernacle Today” DVD series by Anthony Mangun, pastor of The Pentecostals of Alexandria. I had told my pastor earlier that I had picked up a large packet of prayer guides at our UPCI general conference that went with the series and I wanted to share them with the church, so when he started to say, “Sister Watrud, do you have…” I immediately swung around to my seat to pick up the packet, but before I could, the rest of what he said registered. He had said, “Sister Watrud, do you have…a word for us?” That’s when the “deer in the headlights” look manifested.

I wanted to say, “I got nothin’ Brother!”, but instead I thought, “Don’t panic, just think for a minute.” I settled myself…looked at the carpet for a few seconds…and still had nothing. I breathed a quick…Jesus… then went into testimony mode. I started to say that, like Pastor had said earlier, I too had been thinking for the last couple of days how evangelizing our city was going to cost me something. I said that my take-away from our UPCI General Conference had been that there was nothing wrong with the precious seed we were casting out over the city, but we were casting it on fallow (hard) ground. I said the ground needs to be broken up with prayer and fasting and then watered with tears of travailing prayer. I went on to say that this kind of prayer takes consecration.  I said let’s do like we’ve been learning and go to the brazen altar of repentance and consecrate there. I said, “It’s going to take a little time. Consecration takes time.”

Up until this point I had been speaking in a normal tone, conversationally, then; from somewhere deep within me, I declared, “Put away your entertainments!” When I said, “Put away your entertainments!”, something rose up in me and I spoke the words as they came to my mouth with an authority and a boldness that wasn’t my own.  “Put Away Your Entertainments!” I said again, much louder. Then, one more time, as a shout that I could not contain, “PUT AWAY YOUR ENTERTAINMENTS!!!” I continued, knowing I was speaking under the unction of the Holy Ghost. One of the things I said was, “If you carry resentment in your heart, you will NEVER be able to go forward in God!” Once again, I found myself repeating the exhortation, but this time, like a dance in the Holy Ghost, I found myself taking two steps toward the platform and saying loudly, “If you carry resentment in your heart, you will NEVER go forward in God!!” Then, still as a dance in the Holy Ghost, I turned, stepped toward the congregation and said again, “IF YOU CARRY RESENTMENT IN YOUR HEART, YOU WILL NEVER GO FORWARD IN GOD!!!” Finally, I said to step into the fire of the Brazen Altar (I stepped like stepping into the fire of the altar) and spend some time there until the resentment was burned to ashes.

I had never heard of “praying through the tabernacle” plan before. My church had gone through this series one other time before I was a member, but I, personally, had never heard of it until we started the series some weeks back. I didn’t think I would probably change what I was doing because I liked my prayer time the way it was.  I enjoyed my long talks with God and I  didn’t want to change anything about it. I thought this would probably be a helpful tool for those learning to pray or struggling to pray.  All that being said, I was still looking forward to the series and hearing more about prayer because (I think those who love to pray will agree) if you love to pray, you can never get enough of hearing about prayer. The first lesson was an introduction to the series and if I had been on my own, I maybe would have never of even played it, thinking it was superfluous, but I thank my mighty God that I wasn’t on my own and my pastor had the wisdom to play it. Anthony Mangun had barely begun his background and introduction to the series, when there was a tongues and interpretation that went forth. The interpretation was, (as best as I can transcribe by listening) “I have given your pastor specific instructions of what to teach and how to teach. I am asking you as your God, to hear me tonight and my voice. Pay attention to what your pastor is speaking for I have given it to him specifically and I want you to take this and learn this. Put this in your life. Let this become the marrow of your bones, for I have given you specific instructions and I want you to heed these words, I want you to understand and I want you to follow them diligently for I have called you unto this time and I need you to follow my instructions.”

Needless to say, after hearing the tongues and interpretation, I became deadly serious about learning how God would have us to pray. I have discovered that there is an appropriate way to approach our Almighty God and though it is a process and does take some time, it is golden time and is more effective than jumping in with many words, but little awe and respect. I have found that every time I pray through the tabernacle (building week after week on what I have learned so far) that I have more and more interaction with God and more and more of His presence. I also often feel the presence of angels while I pray this prayer. This tabernacle prayer is becoming the “marrow of my bones” and I haven’t even gotten all the way through the series yet!

Like Anthony Mangun says at the end of the service:

“It’s gonna change your life…It’s gonna change your life…It’s gonna change your life.”…and it truly has………

Nancy

Rise Up Oh Army Of God!


I was walking back to my car after work, thinking on the amazing journey of prayer I have been on over the past few months and the amazing things I was starting to experience. I said to Jesus, “I may be crazy, but it’s the best kind of crazy!”

That was the conclusion I reached after thinking on the changes taking place in my life and the new relationship with Jesus I was developing. I had been a little concerned about myself because I seemed to have become pretty radical in my prayer life and walk with God and I just didn’t know what to think of it because it was so different than ever before!

I had done everything in my power before my daughter graduated from Bible college to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Ghost at her commencement. It had occurred to me that her graduation ceremony could be the “perfect storm”. It had everything going for it! It would have a church full of powerful believers, Br. Lee Stoneking preaching and  my family present! I was determined to knock and push at the gates of heaven until Jesus just could NOT say no to an outpouring of His Spirit and I was NOT disappointed! I went home from graduation weekend with a very grateful heart.

Br. Stoneking preached a message that day that I couldn’t get out of my head. He preached from Isaiah 35:1 “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” He told us about a man named Martin Buber, believed to be a modern prophet of the Jews who emphatically stated, speaking of Israel, “We Know that the Bible is true! We Know the prophets spoke directly from God!. We Know that the desert will blossom as the rose! …But the Spirit moves SO slow! So we will do things that will MAKE the scriptures come to pass! We Know the Bible is true! We will MAKE the desert blossom as a rose! We will dig ditches, we will carry water, we will plant trees, we will plant all kinds of flora, and we will MAKE the desert blossom as a rose, we will Force as it were, the hand of God, We will do the things that will force His hand! Because His Word is true, we’ll Make it happen, we’ll Make this thing happen!” Br. Stoneking went on to say that if the Jews could Make the scripture come to pass, what could he be doing with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, baptised in Jesus Name, and knowing who Jesus is, the revelation of the Oneness of God, been to water in Jesus Name and spoken in tongues when the Holy Ghost came!  He said if we would preach the miraculous, signs, wonders and miracles, we will get exactly what we preach! He said, “In this place is a miracle, in this place is a miracle, it’s a miracle every time you come to church, this is the most miraculous thing in the world,  we serve a living God, He is alive!  The tomb is empty, the cross is empty but the sanctuary is filled, my heart is filled, my life is filled, with the presence and power of the Living God!”

Br. Stoneking went on to tell of a man in his church that came up to him after a glorious service where there had been two or three filled with the Holy Ghost and tongues and prophecy gone forth and said to him, “Br. Stoneking, I am sick of promises! I want to see some action!” He said, “You may think he was being disrespectful, but I don’t think so. I’m sick of promises, I want to see some action.” Br. Stoneking then said, “I’m right with him. I want to see some action too! In fact, I am sick of Church, I’m sick of camp meetings, I’m sick of conferences, I’m sick of it all! And I’ll tell you why I’m sick of it,  I don’t need another meeting, I’m sick of meetings, but when I get there, I want something to happen! and I can tell you the entirety of the United Pentecostal church is in that same state of  mind! We are sick of promises, we want some action! We want something to happen! I want to know when I get to church, somebody’s going to be healed! Somebody’s going to be delivered! Something is going to happen, because it’s written where two or three are gathered together in His Name, there He is in the midst of them! Something is supposed to happen! Something is supposed to happen! Jesus is in this house! Anything can happen, anything can happen! Anything can happen here, because He is in this house!”

So he said to himself, “I’ll Make this thing happen!” “I’ll do the things that will Make this thing happen! Because Jesus said, If you go I will go with you! If you will lay hands on, I will heal! If you will preach it, I’ll back you! If you will pray, I will answer!” Then he went on to say that the trouble was, every time we come to church we start at zero, no matter how tremendous the service before was and that’s a bunch of nonsense! He said, “If you’ve got the Holy Ghost and He’s alive in you, you ought to come through those doors praising God! You ought to come through those doors worshipping God, EXPECTING something to happen!” He said if just one person “gets” it, it will change your whole church! It will change the whole assembly! It will change everything, if just ONE of you gets ahold of what I’m talking about!” “You are never going to build a building big enough to house what is coming. If you get signs, wonders and miracles going on in your church, you are never going to build a building big enough to house it, because people in this country are sick of religion but they’ve never seen anyone leap out of a wheelchair, they’ve never seen someone throw down crutches, that is the Jesus I preach! That’s the only Jesus I’m going to preach…if Jesus will use me He will use you!”

I took this home with me. I wanted it. Badly. I made up my mind that I was going to MAKE it happen! My prayer became radical! It became crazy! God crazy! Heaven crazy! And it hasn’t let up yet! I’m going to MAKE this thing happen! I’m going to FORCE the desert in me to blossom like a rose! Yes, this is the best kind of crazy!

One last thing before I call it a night. I remembered what Brother Stoneking said about wanting to SEE something happen and I prayed. “Lord, cause your army of believers, just like me who took this truth home with them and were changed and made this a part of them; cause them to rise up and prepare themselves! Prepare themselves with prayer and fasting. Prayer that knocks at and shakes the gates of heaven! Prayer that calls the Holy Ghost down! Prayer that FORCES signs and miracles to follow! Prayer that causes that rolling, thundering  river of the Holy Ghost to flow over the church and causes us to see something happen!

Oh, Jesus let your anointing fall!

Rise Up Oh Army of God! Prepare yourselves with prayer and fasting, and we will NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!

Isaiah 35

 1.  The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
 2.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.
 3.  Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
 4.  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
 5.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
 6.  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
 7.  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
 8.  And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
 9.  No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
 10.  And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

It’s time to pray.

Be sober, Be vigilant!

Nancy

The Blessing


I was praying this morning, taking my time, like I enjoy doing on my day off. I love sipping on my coffee and talking to Jesus about whatever is on my heart, then I put my coffee down and have that deep communion with the Lord where intercession happens and answers are given and the back-slid are restored and needs are met. What I found myself praying about this morning was; what does my church need to be to cause the hungry soul to be drawn to enter? This got me thinking about the first time I found myself in a Pentecostal church some 35 years ago.  I had come to my first Apostolic service straight from the hippy culture, a single mother with frayed blue jeans, flip-flops and a lot of baggage. I do not remember feeling out-of-place or even wondering about all of the dresses and long hair, but what I do remember is hearing the Word of God preached for the first time. I had always gone to church and had always felt a deep drawing to God. I don’t remember being discontented in the church I was raised in, that is, until I heard the Word of God preached. To make a long story short, I came because I was hungry for God and the anointed preaching of the Word of God made me stay.

I also got thinking about my slow metamorphosis after being filled with the Holy Ghost and baptised in Jesus Name to taking on more and more of the Apostolic look and way of  life. You see, I didn’t care if I blended in or not in those days and I definitely wasn’t going to buy into something without a solid case for it. In other words, I was a hard sell. If I didn’t see it, it wasn’t happening. Slowly though, as I became more Apostolic on the inside, the more I became Apostolic on the outside.

All of this got me thinking about the church today. Time doesn’t stand still and with the increase in our electronic environment and devices, our exposure and our children’s exposure to entertainments and it’s influence has increased. I didn’t have a TV in my home from 1983 until the day 911 happened. That day I went out and got a TV to see what was happening. Then my son, who was a Marine went to Iraq and I watched all the news I could get to follow the war my son was fighting in. One thing led to another and when the cable company came to my rural neighborhood offering free installation, I figured it was time to get off of modem internet service to cable internet. I found it was cheaper to bundle my landline phone and my computer with TV than it was to just have internet and landline, so I ended up with cable TV. I was also given a Kindle for Christmas this last year and started reading more books and got hooked on old detective shows. In other words, when my pastor announced he could not in good conscience sign the UPCI membership card he was required to sign saying he fully believed and preached against worldly entertainments,  I had no words, nor defence. I was deeply troubled. I was Apostolic to the core and love the UPCI church but how could I expect something of my pastor that I had let slip in my own life?  This started a soul-searching in me that went deep. I had to know what and why and how I believed. Every holiness standard I held dear was looked at and inspected and searched out in my heart. I prayed deeply and sought God for myself and my pastor and my church. Then something began to happen. The more I prayed, the more satisfying prayer was and the more I wanted to pray and the more I found time to pray. Then, I discovered a web site called apostoliclive.com where I found I could watch or just listen to the best preaching known to this generation. I developed a new evening routine. I would read my Bible, then watch or listen to anointed preaching on my Kindle and then pray.  I found a place in prayer I had never experienced or known to exist. I described it in my post, “Deep Calleth Unto Deep”. The more I pray in this deep place of prayer, the more I want to pray and the less time I want to give to entertainments. I got rid of my cable TV hookup and put the TV in my storage room.

This brings me back to my prayer this morning. As I thought about the church and what we should be to draw the hungry soul, I realized I’ve come full circle. This way of life isn’t just a list of dos and don’ts, it’s a great blessing!  Those that hunger and thirst for God, will want what we’ve got and we need to lead them to the water and tell them to drink freely!

John 7: “37.  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

As Rev Lee Stoneking would say, “T.P. Tried and Proven”.

Meet you in the prayer room!

Nancy

%d bloggers like this: