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.

-Janet

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

JESUS HEALS!

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.

YAY GOD!

-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