Praying for our First Miracle

Yesterday was a mixture of joy and sorrow for Redeemer Church.  Have we changed our name to Ultimate Power? No. That’s just the name of our new location. Who would have ever thought of checking at marital arts studios to see about renting space for a church? We’re glad someone did. It’s a great situation for us, and gives us room to grow. We’re grateful.

Watching everyone enjoying food before the meeting; setting up chairs, sound equipment and children’s ministry items which were all donated to us; and seeing a large, open space turn into a place for our meeting was humbling and fun. Yet looming in my mind was my expected arrival of my dear friends, Frank and Liz. You see, they found out on Friday that Liz’s cancer has returned with force.

I kept looking toward the door.  Frank and their son, Nathan, arrived looking tired.  My heart went out to them. When did little Nathan get so tall? How much sleep had Frank gotten the night before? Where was Liz?

Frank pulled Benny and me aside and said  that Liz was unable to make it, but that he had something he wanted to share with the church.  They were both eager for the church to hear some things on their hearts.  Since Liz started anticipating the the possible return of her cancer, her thoughts have been consistently focused on others. So it was no surprise that this godly couple is thinking about their new little church on the first Sunday morning after such hard news.

When Frank stood before us during worship, he opened his Bible to Philippians 1 and read these words:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two.”

With tears welling and his voice cracking, Frank shared that Liz’s most recent thoughts of regret surrounded her sadness that she may not be able to be here to be a part of Redeemer Church. In our short history we have had our first baby born and our first engagement. He and Liz have wondered if hers will be either our first funeral…or our first miracle?

He further communicated his and Liz’s desire to see her illness used to advance the gospel. Looking further up into Philippians 1 he read:

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

With some typical-Frank attempts at humor to keep the sobs from hindering him, he exhorted us to preach the gospel. Liz wants to do that. He wants to do that. God has sent us on a church plant and we need to do that, too. As I sat there listening to our friend of three decades who has been through “many dangers, toil and snares” — and who just learned that his wife and best friend needs a miracle to live — I realized I was on holy ground. Like our Savior when facing His own death, others are on their hearts.

We gathered around Frank and Nathan for our first opportunity as a church family to pray together.

Will you join us in praying that our first miracle is about to happen?

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13 thoughts on “Praying for our First Miracle

  1. We will be praying for a miracle! We love you all and our hearts hurts we have seen others that we love in the battle for their life with cancer. We have seen miracles in own family in this battle against cancer. We will be praying and believing for this miracle right alone side of you! We love you all!
    Bob and Juanita

  2. Definitely will lift up Frank and Liz and will mention it to others here in St. Pete – praying for a miracle. Thank you for sharing this testimony. Already, our Savior is being glorified through their faithful willingness to be used to advance the gospel….such an encouragement to me

  3. After all these years I still feel so connected to you all from our early days as believers and being such youngins in the Lord. I am blessed beyond words to see how the new church is linking hands and faith to hold up our dear friends. The Lord Jesus is truly being glorified through this. You all are living the Gospel, the Good News, and Jesus is with you. I am joining my faith with yours for a miracle. God is able and He is near. Love you all, Kim

  4. I will be praying for a miracle as well. I don’t know any of, except Paula, but I saw this on Facebook. God is being glorified right now by the church’s response to this family’s struggles. Thank you for sharing this. I will pass this on to my St. Pete friends as well.

  5. I am joining you all in the prayer for complete healing for my sister in Christ, Lizanne, and trusting God for His Holy will in all the lives that this journey for her touches.

  6. I am praying for Liz and all the Ecelbargers, and for your new church. My heart was so full of joy when I first heard that Benny would be leading a church again, and I am so glad that your family can be there for the Ecelbargers during this time.

    — Joy (Coda) Burnett

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