Author: Peggy Walker
Back in our apartment in Southern California in the 90’s, my husband was enrolled into a school of ministry. It met on Saturday mornings for 4 to 5 hours and he would faithfully drive the 1 ½ hours one way to attend. It was the beginning of December and he came home and wanted to share what he learned about hearing and listening to the Spirit of God, and said that God, IS very interested in our daily decisions.
So Rick sets out to share the exercise that he went through in class and explained it to me – and my brain just could not fathom what on earth was going on……. I admit it was very strange, creepy and I told him it was demonic! LOL! It was after dinner on this particular Saturday night and Rick said, “Let’s go pick out a Christmas tree tonight.” So we grabbed our girls, 5 years and 8 months old and off we go in our Plymouth Voyager van to get a tree.
We get to the tree lot and set about making our first selection based on size, branch coverage, and shape, and eventually whittled them down to three lucky candidates. After lining them up next to each other, Rick stands in front of the first one for a minute and moves, to the middle one for a minute and then to the third one. I asked him what he was doing and he explained…………… “I’m finding out which Christmas tree God wants us to buy.” He continued to say that, “To hear the Spirit of God in asking for answers or a direction to take, you simply make a statement. But you will feel your gut cringe or spasm, or a nudge depending on if the answer is a yes or no.” He first said, “To learn how this feels, you can practice by making statements and told me to say, Satan is my Lord. WHAT!!!, are you kidding me!!!! I totally freaked out………. But I did it anyway and sure enough, there was a HUGE cringe, and spasm that I could not deny. I then was told to say, Jesus is my Lord and WOW what a HUGE difference! I felt the nudge – you know – that still small voice. I got it!
With my brain and emotions a flutter, I was told to relax, and step in front of each tree like he did and make the statement, God wants us to buy this tree, just like he did. Embarrassed to be doing this in a packed Christmas tree lot, I did what he told me to do muttering the statement under my breath. Tree one, tree, two and tree three and then I turn to him and he said, “Soooo what tree are we buying?” I replied, “The last tree.” “That’s the one I got,” – so that is the tree WE bought! So on top of the van it went and then into our medium sized apartment where our church had just started to meet on Sundays.
So the decorating starts and I realized we needed stuff for Sunday breakfast and decided on French toast. I look through the cabinets and broke down and asked Rick if he would go to the grocery store to get the bread, eggs, milk and butter. We normally shopped at a chain called Alpha Beta and across the street was another chain called Lucky Market. On the way Rick felt led to go to Lucky Market instead to purchase our breakfast items. About 30 minutes later he returns with the eggs, bread and milk but no butter. He said, “Hey how would you like to bless the Union Rescue Mission?” “I said great, what are we doing?” Rick said, “Well, bread at Lucky’s is 10 cents a loaf and I asked the manager if there was a limit and he said no.” “Great idea,” I replied, so Rick heads out to buy 100 loaves of bread and I reminded him to not forget the butter for us and he apologized and said he’d get some.
The girls and I returned to adorning the tree with countless shinny objects from the boxes of ornaments tree lights, decorations strewn all over the place… (don’t forget 5 year and 8 month old). Rick returns with three very large boxes and several bags of bread. We stacked it in the corner of the kitchen which made the apartment smell like a Panera Bread Company. The funniest part was when he was checking out, he has 100 loaves and only one pound of butter, the clerk asked him if he needed more butter! LOL.
So Sunday morning comes and everyone couldn’t think because of the bread smell, but we got through the sermon and handed out loaves to the 10 -12 people in our living room. Rick had asked two members if they would help him deliver the bread to down town Los Angeles in the Skid Row section of town to the Union Rescue Mission. About 4:00pm our two friends return and they quickly loaded up our truck with the three large boxes and remaining bags of bread and off they go. Once they got there, they were approached by the hungry homeless people waiting for the preacher because they got the spiritual food first, then they were fed. Rick and our friends were directed into the kitchen to the man in charge of the meal program. When they entered the kitchen, he turned around to see Rick place one box on the counter and due to the narrow size, didn’t notice the next two people also with another large box who also put their boxes wherever they could find room and they went back out to get the rest of the loaves in the bags.
The man’s mouth had dropped open and was clearly stunned and stood there for a few minutes which was enough time for our friends to return from the truck and see how this whole thing unfolded. His eyes filled up with tears as he said, “You are not going to believe this, I am in this kitchen, praying and asking God for help. I told God either bring me some bread, or the money to purchase some bread for breakfast tomorrow. You see, Monday is French toast day, and I had everything, but the bread. We feed about 500+ people almost every day.” He showed the three of them the monthly menu and sure enough…. French toast on all the Monday squares.
At that point Rick shared how he felt lead to shop at a different market, encountered the 10 cents a loaf sale, gets permission from manager to get 100 when usually it is a 2 loaf minimum and felt led to bless the Union Rescue Mission. The man realized how God moved on his behalf on a young couple and new in the Lord family, to be used by God to answer his needs and further the work of the ministry there on Skid Row.
Upon their return to our apartment, our friends were so pumped that Rick heard the Spirit and allowed us to move out and trust that nudge……… and our friends said they were blessed to be part of this gesture. It was a great testimony for our Wednesday night service. Rick and I reviewed what happened and in a “nutshell,”…. that he shared what he was taught that morning’s class, came home and taught me, (hence the tree) and then together we got to practice it together in agreement with a 100 loaves of bread. How’s that for practicing what is preached!
We regularly do a “pay it forward” gesture especially to single seniors at restaurants eating alone and military …. Especially around the holidays. It is great fun actually when they are trying to figure out who it is and why would someone pick them. Like the man in the kitchen with his mouth dropping open, with the waitresses (who love to be part of these secret missions of ours) are just like our friends who were excited to be involved in the gesture.
Have a Merry Christmas and may your plates be full of bread.