The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
So Peter’s Shadow Might Fall on Them
Have you ever read that passage and considered how amazing it would have been to witness that? The presence of Jesus and Holy Spirit in the apostles’ lives was so strong and so evident that other people carried their sick into the streets hoping that even the shadow of Peter would fail on them for healing. They literally left their friends there on beds and mats just hoping he would come down their street. Hoping beyond hope. There wasn’t any social media for him to check-in with his location, but people saw and craved the presence of the Lord. I do believe we are on the verge of those days again.
You Will Get Wet
Last January I wrote about unlocking people’s hurts and that it seemed to be on the rise for me, for Barb, and even for the boys. Those types of interactions seem to have increased exponentially this past year in both church settings and in the world. So buckle up and let’s dive in.
This Fall I was teaching at a Leadership Retreat for a church in the area when all of a sudden I was off my agenda and began sharing about our Splash Zone. It wasn’t in my notes nor had I planned anything about it, but all of a sudden that’s where the group and I were going even as God was directing my speech in that moment. I literally asked them to be patient with me at one point so I could jot down a few notes knowing that it was being divinely inspired and would be shared again.
At the heart of it, the message was that our lives should be so full of God that a Splash Zone would exist around us and anyone … I mean anyone… coming into that area would get wet. Wet in a good way. Wet with Jesus. Wet with love. Wet with caring. Maybe we should even wear a T-shirt with a warning. It was just recently that I saw the connection between that illustration and the story of Peter’s shadow. So think about it for a minute… isn’t that the way it should be? Everyone should see the overflow of God’s presence in our lives that they want even just a splash!
You Could Go Blind
That’s a rough segue, but those are the words I heard from my ophthalmologist in July when I was diagnosed with a retinal occlusion. “You could lose your sight in your right eye and it could spread to the left.” I won’t go into great detail, but it was an incredibly sobering moment. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I really couldn’t. I had no words, just tears, and some faith. I did text a few, but it was just an intense time.
Now this doctor and I had a previous encounter about a year earlier that left me a bit salty – not proud of it – just being real. And I was so salty that I referred to her as “that woman you gave me” taking a cue from Adam I guess. Then the new issue surfaced. My right eye began to get blurry and got worse to the point that it was like trying to read a newspaper on the bottom of a tote filled with filmy water It was pretty bad, but I did not want to go back to “that woman” … that is, until it became clear that the Lord’s plan was exactly the opposite of mine. I had a peace that I was to go to her and follow her instructions exactly.
Keep in mind that the doctor seemed to have very little faith background, if any. So sometimes, maybe all the time, it felt like we were speaking different languages. She spoke so much death and risk over me at the start, it was overwhelming. But I followed her instructions. She had the family doctor do bloodwork and then an ultrasound and a few minor requests. Results came back normal every time.
Splash Zone Time
Separately she started to give me an injection in my eye on about a 6 week pace. Apparently some people receive these shots for years with little to no improvement. After the first one, “remarkable” was the word she used to describe my improvement. After the 2nd shot, “miraculous” was her adjective of choice, and she encouraged us to keep doing “that praying thing because it seems to be helping” as well.
[By the way, I did a lot of worship during that time… even more than usual… and usual is a lot normally … “Praise Your Name” by Corey Voss became my testimony song beginning on the day of the diagnosis (and continuing today). It’s worth a listen (or a thousand listens) if you’re not familiar with it. My one friend refers to it as “Paul’s song”]
So then after my 3rd (and what would become my final shot), this doctor – who by now I have begun to pray for by name – gave me a clean bill of health and release. She was stunned at how quickly it turned around for me. So why did I need to go on that roller coaster of 3-4 months? I’m not sure, but I do know that my heart changed toward her, and I believe that our faith discussions had an impact on her, too.
All the Time Everywhere
So please realize that you have a Splash Zone. Jesus, not sewer water, should overflow out of your lives. We want people to get wet with Him. Whether it’s the clerk at Wendy’s who was nearly in tears from being asked how she was doing, or the dude who chooses to come unpack life with you rather than smoke weed that night, or the young lady that spends the night on your couch because ministry from your wife went late into the night, and she didn’t want to send her home, or the young man (and his mom) who comments about how peace-filled he is after spending time with you…they all should get wet with Jesus.
And yes, those are a handful of our real-life examples over the last few months. There are more. And we encourage you to be aware of the Lord’s presence in You and allow others to see He cares for them (and that you do, too). Let them want to even just touch your shadow to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Beyond that, my part-time job at Woodstream (supplementing our income) ended last year due to a corporate decision, but Barb had already started a part-time job which covers some of that gap. God was in the midst of both changes. We are also pleased to introduce you to Kammi, who married Andrew in August; they are living in Greensboro, NC. It’s great to have another smiling lady in our pic. Josiah is working full-time at Elevate Church in Erie, PA with Communication and Student Ministries. Daniel is now in high school and has a full and diverse set of activities from youth group to mock trial to theater and recently adding football. We miss you all so come visit!
Splashing all the time,
Paul, Barb, Andrew, Kammi, Josiah, & Daniel Malinich