My position and route at Fed Ex was suddenly changed two weeks ago. In one text I was moved from a route that I was familiar with and fast and fluent in to a more random route in which my pick ups and deliveries are unpredictable and constantly changing. I love the relationship building that happens in a regular route. I had customers I cared about and friendships that were emerging. I felt like I went down hard, suddenly offline, stranded in the middle of a lot of stories. This change came without warning, or person to person communication. I was on my way to load up for my route and my Fed Ex phone flashed up something different, and that was the end of that. I do not like surprises of this nature, it felt like sudden death. It still feels out of control. Since then what is emerging is a trend towards downtown Chicago deliveries. This is really hard! I have done a lot of Chicago deliveries, but the ones right in the Loop and in locations like McCormick Place and along Wacker Drive, these are daunting! Making a delivery or two or three in the City is different than spending the majority of the day in the chaos and noise and frenetic buzz of Chicago. Honestly I have felt overwhelmed, overstimulated, and I have been in tears a number of times.

Last Thursday I was pulling out of my driveway heading into work when I felt a strong prompt to park and run inside the house for a little cash. This was frustrating because I was running late and traffic has been getting worse with the warmer weather. I didn’t think I needed it, I had my credit card. I began to ignore the prompt and the instant irritation in my spirit alerted me that Holy Spirit was urgent in this. I stopped ran in and grabbed a 10$ bill out of my desk, then raced off to work. A couple hours later I was downtown again, this time delivering orchids along Lake Shore Drive and other stops too. I will often meet the homeless folks seeking help at intersections I am driving through or stopped in. I routinely ask the Lord, “give some $$, my sandwich, a gift card?” Holy Spirit is consistently clear and directs me. One time last summer I was over by the Museum of Science and Industry and I felt the prompt to give....I searched and had no money on me, so I offered the man a container with pink grapefruit wedges in it. He smiled and touched his stomach while shaking his head “no.” I then offered him a ziplock bag full of shelled peanuts, (this was all I had) he smiled at me, pointed to his mouth where there were zero teeth, and we laughed so hard together! The food, the help this time was the laughter and the joy we shared! A new friend!

Thursday afternoon I began to slow in a long line of traffic waiting for a left turn arrow. I could see a woman up ahead working the intersection. I felt Holy Spirit prompt me to get the $10 ready. I could see from a distance that there was something deformed about her face, her left eye. I didn’t think I was going to be able to interact with her because the traffic began moving, but of course it bottle-necked and left me waiting first in line for a another red light. I could see the woman clearly now and I think she was missing her left eye all together. Her flesh over her eye looked burned or taught somehow. To my surprise I could see that her right eye was also compromised, very cloudy, as if with cataracts. I rolled down my window and called to her, but it was loud and she couldn’t hear me. She was walking away from my van and I felt such urgency in my spirit now to giver her the money, so I honked the horn. She instantly stopped and turned my way, and began to come. A few steps in though she got disoriented and began to stray away from my van. I honked again, and she adjusted and moved towards me, but again hesitated a few steps in. I began to lightly honk my horn over and over, and she followed the sound until she was right at my window. I had just enough time to give her the $10 and take the green left arrow.

As I drove away I began to cry. Ever been trying to tell someone about something your going through or experiencing and it’s not clear if they totally get it. Or it feels like such a lonely place that it’s difficult to believe there’s any way to “feel with?” I had been feeling that way about my situation at home and at work. I am still trembling through the ending of a 28 year marriage. I am writhing as I messily learn resting at work and in these circumstances, but it’s seriously messy. I want an easier job, and an easier life! So I have this experience with the blind woman, and I hear Holy Spirit say, “that’s how you’re feeling isn’t it?” Not really a question...YES!!!! I shout out loud in the van! That’s it, that’s exactly what it’s feeling like to trust You right now! I feel blind, and surrounded by chaos! I feel startled over and over by noise and unexpected traffic and bad weather. I am really tired. I don’t know where I am going or what Your plan is. I feel like You are honking the horn and I take a step or two towards you, because I really only want to follow Your voice and be where You are. I seriously only want this....but it’s really hard. I take a few steps and get stuck or unsure and You honk and I take a few more steps and then I’m not sure again, and You honk some more. I’m certain I am making my way to Your side, I am hearing Your Voice and You haven’t stopped honking. I just wish it didn’t feel so dangerous and exposed. I cry some more. Holy Spirit and I talk about this....I am feeling myself being filled with the empathy of God. He really gets how this is feeling for me....Holy Spirit’s like Jesus.... He’s left Heaven and gotten in my shoes and in my van and under my skin and HE KNOWS!

Next Holy Spirit says, “how did you feel about the woman?” So I being to say things like .....

  • I admire her inconceivable courage ...”Yeah that’s how I am feeling about you..”

  • I am eager to giver her this gift, provision, I want to give her so much more than this...”yeah, that’s what I am feeling about you...”

  • I feel proud of her ...”yeah, Me too, and that’s also how I am feeling about you”

  • I want something better for her, something a little safer, less exposed...”Yeah, Me too”

  • Family Lord, I want her to be able to go home....” I Know”

On and on...we are still in the conversation.......

I AM... HOME this is the Name He said in January would be the theme for this year. So I am declaring HOME over my blind sister, and over Thrive Vineyard Church, and over myself and many others. Risking a rebellious and ridiculous hope because He’s Worthy of the risk, of the danger and of the exposure. I am confident in His voice (honking) and in His Promise to teach rest and peace and perfect love.


In Love...

When I first started attending Thrive, I heard Kevin say that when he came to Christ, he fell in love with God. When I heard this, I thought WOW! What does it mean to be in love with God? I want to feel like that. How can I get that feeling? I want to be in love with God. I thought about this and talked to God about it a lot over the next several months. Then one day God gave me this revelation: I always knew that God is all powerful and all knowing and He is in charge of everything. But I never really knew that God was good to me and cared about me and loved me personally. All of a sudden God made it clear to me that not only is he the God of the universe, He is my God who loves me and cares for me. So now I am in love with God, because I know He loves me. Thank you Lord!! Thank you Kevin for helping me go deeper in my faith walk!


Greatest Learning Through Being

They always say that missions trips are as life-changing for the people serving as they are for the people who are being served. I don't know who “They” are, but they are absolutely right. I learned something incredibly important in Puerto Rico... something I’ve “known” but have not really KNOWN. We each have our own gifts, and while a missions trip is an opportunity to stretch ourselves and serve in ways that are outside our comfort zone (because that is a testimony to God meeting us wherever we are), it is also a chance to take our giftings and let them shine.

I do NOT feel comfortable with street ministry. Never have. The first few days I felt like a failure who wasn’t pulling her weight on the trip. Thank God for the other Thrivers who disabused me of that notion. It wasn’t that I had failed, it’s that I wasn’t giving enough credence to the gifts that I WAS bringing to the table.

Through the gift of the prophetic, using me as a mouthpiece, God was able to touch the lives and hearts of men and women throughout the trip, showing His love and (hopefully) His healing. I am not so proud as to think that if I hadn’t gone, God’s words wouldn’t have made it to His children, but I do think my obedience meant that the recipients got a well-timed word.

My greatest learning is that God loves when we stretch our giftings and offer them to His glory. And whatsoever we have, if we allow Him to work through it, can be a mighty weapon against the enemy.

Again, this wasn’t because of any special talent of mine—it was because I said “OK God, this is what I have to give. Please use me.” And He did.


Still Healed After Prayer!

I am pleased to share some ways that Thrive has blessed me! About 3 weeks ago I went forward for prayer and with the laying on of hands and prayer, the pain in my mid back totally left and it is still gone! I had had pain from a compression fracture in the thoracic area and had taken ibuprofen about 3X that week. NO need for it now!!

I see that God has grown me in several ways at Thrive: through friends He brought into my life, through the small group that meets in my home, and just being in a loving supportive atmosphere at church where I have an opportunity to exercise my gifts. I am super, super blessed!!

I am still needing to see more evidences of healing in my body. I do believe that healing is in the atonement, and I believe that I need to keep speaking the healing scriptures over myself, thanking Him, our Lord and Savior, for his suffering that provided healing for us all.


On & On...

The list of blessing is so long....from my buddy, Mike, showing up with surprise balloons and such for my 70th birthday at restaurant, to unexpected and needed boost to our finances, to amazing moments with my clients, healing of my wife's medical condition, to running into Kevin at Starbucks when I really needed someone to listen to my pain....the list goes on and on!! Praise God!!


Building to a Breakthrough!

As I sat in church today and Kevin talked about making sure we see Jesus in Christmas this time around, I felt like God was saying to me...

Jesus is coming again this Christmas, and again next year, and again after that, and it is building to a breakthrough... each year seems the same, but it’s not... each one is closer to the end, closer to light breaking through the darkness once and for all... like a battering ram through a door, or a cup that goes from filling to overflowing.


(to hear Kevin's message: To Know A King)

“Mom, we should pray for her.”

A few weeks ago, my family was at Target and Walker, our 4-year-old, glanced down an aisle and saw a woman in a wheelchair. He said to me, “Mom, we should pray for her.” I agreed that we should and intended to move out of the main aisle to pray privately for her. Instead, I was nudged by God to tell Walker that we should go up to her to pray for her directly. By then, she had moved to the main aisle and was moving away from us, being pushed by (presumably) her daughter. With a bit of hesitation due to the more public setting, I grabbed Walker and we walked quickly to catch up with them. I told them that my son said we should pray for her and asked if we could do that. She nervously said yes. Meanwhile, another man (son-in-law?) came over too. I began to pray and saw everyone’s posture change from skeptical of what was happening to bowing their heads and settling into the moment. In the end, they all seemed so grateful and my sweet Walker learned how to step out in prayer for others.

I’m so grateful for what God has been teaching us at Thrive and am certain that this moment would not have happened if it weren’t for us leaning into the Spirit as encouraged at our little church.

-Kim Osicka

A Holding Pattern, God & The NFL

A few years ago, my husband and I were looking for a new church home. We visited many churches in the Palatine area and were regularly attending a local church. There is nothing wrong with this church, but I strongly felt that God had something more for us. I didn't know what to do. We had visited so many churches. We didn't think there were any other churches for us to chose from in the Palatine area. Dwight thought we should join the church we were attending, but I just kept saying "I'm not sure we should join this church." I felt like we were in a holding pattern. We would be comfortable at this church, but we wouldn't stretch and grow in our spiritual walks. I wasn't hearing any word from God on what to do.

Then in April of this year I was driving home from work, and I was waiting at the stoplight on Plum Grove and Palatine roads. I saw a sign that said; "Easter Egg Hunt at Thrive Vineyard Church in Palatine." I thought to myself; "WHAT! There is a church in Palatine that we have not visited. I'm going to check it out." When I got home, I looked up the website and read about Thrive Vineyard Church and I knew that I should attend a service. Right from the first service, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and I knew it was the right church for us.

I attended a few more weeks by myself, but I wanted my husband to attend too. He was in the middle of a busy season at work and was working on Sunday mornings. I told him about Thrive and he was ready to attend service with me, because he did not have to work on Sundays any more. But, I was worried that he would not like Thrive, because it is so different from our previous experiences with church. I prayed and asked God to lead us and make our decision clear about a church home.

Then the first Sunday that we attended service together at Thrive, the speaker was a football player from the NFL!!! Dwight is a huge sports fan, so this was fantastic!! Dwight loved Thrive from his first time we attended too!!!

So this is how we became members of Thrive. God used a sign to bring us to Thrive and God used His perfect timing to bring an NFL speaker for Dwight the first time he attended. How good is GOD!

-Nancy Haberichter

"What is MY Calling?"

I happened to read a book lately that talked about having a calling. I had thought, “Okay, pastors have a calling as do missionaries, but ordinary people?” So, I asked God "What is my calling?" And He told me! I feel greatly blessed to know more fully who I am in God. I very highly recommend it to anyone! It can surely give purpose to a life, actually a new identity. Something to live for and to fight for. One can be like a butterfly, flitting from one thing to another in service, and that is okay as we are led, but what a benefit as we are eagle-like with strength of purpose. Great blessings to each of you!


"No More!"

God has been pursuing me in a big way. He has me in a season of healing and freedom from my past. For years I have walked in shame and insecurity, but this fall God whispered to me, “No more!” I sought out Christian counseling and God brought strong Christian friends and community into my life to help me walk through the pain and challenge of my past. I am trusting and relying in Him everyday more and more to do the next right thing. It isn’t easy and the road is hard, but through the suffering there is a new sense of joy that has me running towards God at a high speed to embrace who He has created me to be. Fear has no place in my life and instead I lift up the name of Jesus and the darkness trembles! So thankful for Thrive in my life and I know that God has amazing plans for me and my family.


New Beginnings

The power and love of God in my life is a constant; but sometimes I did not or could not see it. A few years ago I was living in Chicago and had multiple leadership positions in the Vineyard church I attended, a non-profit service organization, and a public speaking club. I was also under considerable stress at a job where I felt constantly undervalued. But I made everything work... until suddenly I couldn’t. (Technically, it hadn’t been working for a long time, but I didn’t recognize that.)

But finally after a... rather defining moment, I stepped down from all of the leadership positions, went to my doctor and a therapist, and began taking medication for Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (This entire process took about a year, mind you.)

I kept my job but realistically it was giving me more stress than everything else. Then, due to a few different reasons, I left my apartment in the city and moved back home for about 16 months. So I still had the job, but literally nothing else. I attended my parents’ church infrequently and typically spent my weekends sleeping off the stress from the week.

But God was not done with me. After a life-changing surgical procedure and continued work with my therapist, I was able to gather enough self-confidence to apply for new jobs. The position I accepted is what brought me to Arlington Heights, and searching for a Vineyard in the area is what brought me to Thrive.

I walked in the door shy, nervous and lonely. I wanted desperately to find a church home, an extended family, and friends. I was desperate for connections but afraid to reach out myself. I wanted to worship and serve, but not get pulled into leadership. And most of all, I needed to heal.

What I found at Thrive was a group of honest, real men and women who love God and each other. I saw close-knit friendships between people were also open to including newcomers. And I heard the Word of God spoken through sermons and in the prophetic, in ways that spoke directly to me and began to heal the cracks in my soul. And I began to realize that I have, in fact, come home.

And while I have fallen in love with this church, this isn’t an advertisement for Thrive. This is a testimony of God bringing me where I need to be. God has spoken through people who didn’t know me at all, of what I most desperately needed to hear: I am in a place of healing and restoration, I have the gift of the Prophetic, I am loved.

It has only been a couple of months but already I have found myself worshipping again, sharing Words, and I have even found myself in a group of wonderful women who share meals, conversation, and faith with each other. And I am excited to continue meeting the other members of the church.

My experience at work has been similar. I have fallen in love with my team, and I have already been able to work on projects that allow me to use my skills and passion for writing and public speaking. I feel truly appreciated for the first time, for my knowledge and experience, and I feel that there is truly room for me to grow.

The depression, anxiety, fear and loneliness are still there, but I feel so strongly that God has indeed brought me to a new beginning. I feel like a seed planted in a garden—there will be droughts and storms, but with the Son of God and His Living Water, I know I will thrive.


Two Weeks Notice

God has been shifting my work life in ways that I did not expect over the last year. He has made it possible for me to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom and a part-time earner. Last Monday, I put in my two weeks notice prompted by His leading but with no substitute for that income. Later that same day, a woman contacted me about a job that I can work from home on my own time, making twice the salary of the job I left. WHAT!? God is so good!!


Wedding Blessing

This summer I married a wonderful man. God answered my prayer by sending me a loving, strong, thoughtful man, and if that wasn’t miracle enough, He allowed my mother to be there for it. A year and a half before the wedding she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian/GI cancer. Not only did my father walk me down the aisle and allow my mother to be there, she felt well and danced the night away. Jehovah Jirah!


From Behind the Wheel

I drive for Uber and Lyft and I have been able to share the Lord with hundreds of people from different countries and religions. I believe of the 6000 rides I have had, only 3-5% have experienced a miracle or healing. Over half that claim they are Christians do not know where they are going when they die. I share my personal testimony and many are shocked that God is still doing miracles signs and wonders. Recently, I shared with a Harper college student and she accepted the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Praise the Lord, His Mercy endures forever.

-Larry Gyuricza


Prayed for a woman’s right knee this morning. She told me that she dislocated her knee cap, tore her meniscus, and was currently in PT.

After I laid hands and prayed for complete healing, Eden said that she felt pain relief and a coolness come over her knee. Mind you, she was blown away and incredibly shocked. Not to mention, she was wearing a brace and my hands were warm... So that cool sensation, that’s Holy Spirit y’all.


-Michael Mims

Lyft Encounter

I just arrived at my hotel from a Lyft ride, Samuel was my driver. I opted for the shotgun seat to be able to talk with him. It didn’t take long for a conversation to commence. I started with simple questions. “How long have you been driving with Lyft?” “What do you do for fun in Nashville?” “I see a Jamaican flag in your car, is that where you’re from?”

From there and through some more volleying of questions between us, Samuel began to explain his dream to open a family owned and run Bed and Breakfast in Jamaica. I really saw his eyes light up when he talked about his ideas, the roles family members would have in the business, and the plan to make his dream a reality. Quite simply, it nearly inspired me to build a BnB in Jamaica!

After he shared his dream and just after a casual conversation about spirituality, I asked Samuel if he knew about God and had any relationship with Jesus. He said he knew about Christianity and didn’t necessarily believe in it; however, he did believe in a higher power and was still searching.

Without giving the man a tract or offering him to repent of his sins, I simply offered to pray for him. With his permission, I began to pray and prophecy the calling on his life in his name, which means “name of God” or “God has heard” in Hebrew! I assured him that his searching is such a great place to start. I spoke over his created value and I shared some specific words of knowledge pertaining to his entrepreneurial visions. Above all, I spoke the promise that God is so in love with him and that in Jesus, the heart of the Father is revealed.

It was a great Lyft ride. I might not ever see Samuel again. He might have driven away thinking I was a lunatic (he did seem in good spirits and we shook hands before he left). He might not remember a thing I said. But in faith, I’m praying that the next person he drives or a stranger at the grocery store encounters him with the same level of humanness and bravery to risk and love on him. Just maybe the searching he’s been doing will turn itself and he will realize that God has been searching for him all along.

-Michael Mims