Heaven will be filled with surprises!  Mankind generally wants to be recognized for our role in anything which becomes successful.  What if God chooses to use us in a dramatic manner and our part in one of His successful ventures remains anonymous to others and perhaps even to ourself?

Just under two years ago, I began to see a neurologist at the referral of my family care physician.  One of the symptoms associated with my situation is neuropathic pain in both of my feet.  The pain, though not debilitating, was nevertheless a chronic nuisance.  I have been faithfully following the subscribed medication to curb my symptoms.  However, I have been praying personally and have submitted directly and intentionally to the laying on of hands of believers in prayer for my healing.

Last summer, I took a group of leaders from my church to the Voice of the Apostles (VOA) Conference in Nashville, TN.  The year before I flew to Orlando for the annual conference of the VOA in order to experience the ministry there and determine whether I should pursue a closer relationship with them for myself and our congregation.  Both meetings were powerful and I felt confirmation of the Holy Spirit to “swim” in this stream of ministry.

On the last day of the conference in Nashville, Dr. Randy Clark felt directed of the Spirit to have members of the conference team to form a line across the front and up the sides of that great assembly hall in order to be available for the laying on of hands and prayers of faith for those with physical needs.

I am not one to jump at every suggestion or activity presented at any conference or spiritual meeting.  That having been said, I did feel the guidance of the Spirit to willingly avail myself to prayer as the Lord would guide me.  After Dr. Clark released the congregation to go to one of the team members and receive ministry, I prepared myself to respond.  However, I waited until prompted by the Holy Spirit regarding who to have pray for me.  I stayed steadily seeking and waiting for “God’s  who” for almost thirty minutes. Members of our group who knew of my need were watching me intermittently, wondering if I was going to step forward to receive.

Finally, I saw a brother (name unknown) to whom I was being drawn.  I briefly shared my need.  He asked for more understanding of my condition and then he prayed a simple and genuinely sincere blessing over my life and a petition to Father God that I may be tangibly healed.  Nothing melodramatic happened at that moment.  However, over the last few months, I have prayed, believed, thanked God and experienced slow, gradual but only partial improvement.

At the first of this year, my wife and I were in Tulsa helping to move her parents from their home into a new and smaller place.  I inadvertently left my prescription for pain management at home.  For two weeks we worked tirelessly, moving furniture, boxes, etc.  I also continued my daily four- mile walks outdoors at a local park and my intense workouts at a local YMCA.

I can testify that my feet were fine (no pain) through all of the above.  I’m now home and they are still fine and I am medication free!  God used somebody I do not know, whose name I do not remember and who has no national reputation as a “healing” specialist – to lay hands on me, pray the prayer of faith and impart the healing grace of God to me. Let me further declare, many others have prayed for me over this condition.  Though the healing wasn’t manifest soon after they prayed, their prayers were among the seeds sown which produced God’s handiwork in my life.  We have but ONE hero.  HIS name is JESUS!


Leadership in the Crosshairs

To be placed in leadership is an awesome honor. As a bit of an understatement, may I also say, leadership is also a sober responsibility. With an appointment to lead, at any level in any organization, comes accountability. With healthy respect for the integrity of the organization or group you have been appointed to lead comes the expectation of trustworthiness, stewardship, and respect for the authority who has empowered and trusted you.

I am currently out of town for two weeks. My wife’s parents are downsizing, requiring a move from the spacious two-story home they have occupied for more than two decades, into a much smaller domicile within a senior living community. As the “chief” servant of my household and our marriage, it would be a shame for me to be less than attentive to the process going on with my wife’s parents. She and they need my help during this time. Being a faithful husband is one thing that just might trump the importance of being a faithful pastor.

As a leader of a local New Testament Church, it is imperative that while I am away, I have trustworthy leaders around me who will faithfully tend to the needs of the church body that I lead. They are to be capable, willing and accountable to do what I do—care for the “sheep” (see John 10).

To put it simply, my two staff partners are responsible to diligently and faithfully feed, guide, guard and serve the sheep who are under my care and oversight. I have no doubt that they will do so because we share that joyful burden day in and day out. Though I am the “senior” leader, we all work together complimenting one another in ministering to the saints at Open Bible Fellowship.

If I were to discover that my team shirked their responsibility and used my absence to be idle, to redefine the job they have been equipped and trained to do, or revolt in an effort to usurp my authority—that would mean they were wolves among the sheep rather than co-laboring shepherds. The discipline of the Lord would come swiftly and definitively—as it should. All that is written above simply points to the nature of what true leadership requires. Here is a short list of what is expected of my team both when I am on duty and on call as well as when I am away. My team and I are to always be:

o Responsible
o Faithful
o Dutiful
o Loving
o Honorable
o Trustworthy
o Accessible
o Accountable

When called upon to lead, lead by example. When offered a chance to stand in for a leader temporarily, stand with faithfulness. When selecting someone to stand in for you—wait, watch, test and empower them appropriately!

Pastor Chris Byrd