What one family gained when they gave up everything to follow God
By Don Schulze
What persuaded Leia and me to embark on a life of miracles after coming to faith in Christ in our late twenties? Why should I leave a successful career in sales for church planting in Germany, Uganda, Rwanda? My answer is that reading the New Testament left us no alternative, as I reveal in my book A Life of Miracles.
The truth is that you cannot read the New Testament without clearly observing that the life of the early Christians was deeply spiritual and that miracles and the “supernatural” were a part of their common experience. The apostle Paul writes in Gal 3:5 (Young’s Literal Translation) “He, therefore, who is (abundantly) supplying to you the Spirit, and working mighty acts among you — is it by works of law or by the hearing of faith?” (Greek: supply = epichoregeo, an abundant supply) Also, Paul’s conversation with the Corinthian church makes it clear that the supernatural manifestations of God’s grace (also called “spiritual gifts”) were in regular and abundant operation to minister to the various needs of the church.
Consider Barnabas, who was indeed an apostle. Of him and others like him Paul wrote: “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” 2 Cor. 12:12-13 (NKJV) This was true of all of the apostles–and there were many others besides Barnabas and the twelve. Consider 2 Cor. 11:12, where Paul warns against ‘false apostles” and Rev 2:2 where Jesus commends the Church for testing those who call themselves apostles. We need to understand the difference between “THE Apostles”, as in the eleven (formerly twelve)… and that there are many whom Christ calls and sends forth as messengers to preach the gospel and establish the kingdom in new places. (think pioneer type missionaries as a more or less equivalent term). So, all true New Testament missionaries would have had their message and their ministry validated or confirmed by “signs following.” I have seen many demonstrations of this in my own “apostolic” career.
Let me quickly relate one story to illustrate this. Shortly after arriving in Rwanda I took the opportunity to preach at an intersection of two dirt roads on the hills of Rwanda. My audience was a crowd of tired, sweaty men climbing up the hill, returning from a day’s work. After I delivered my message a number of those men indicated an interest in receiving Christ or at least hearing more. I was invited to come and preach at a house in that area. As I preached and taught under a tall avocado tree God seemed to be convicting many of the truth of the Gospel message and the person of Christ. There were, however, also many doubters, unbelievers, and active skeptics; not to mention war government officials.
A week later at the conclusion of my second opportunity to address the inhabitants of this neighborhood, one of the teenage boys came to ask me if the miracles I talked about Jesus doing could happen in these days. He told me there was a woman near death, burning up with fever from malaria in a small mud house nearby. I entered into that house. It was sad. Here was a young woman, all alone, lying on a straw mat on a mud floor. There on a small stool were some items of clothing. Some cheap plastic cups and basins were the only furnishings. I could not speak to her, for she was moaning and crying out, delirious and burning up with fever. I placed my hand on her fiery forehead and prayed, then commanded the fever to leave. There was no immediate difference, but in the morning she was as well as if she had never been ill. This had a powerful effect on the people, many of whom became true disciples of Jesus.
My experience is that “miracles” serve three purposes. First, as signs they point people to God (cf: Nicodemus, “we know you are a teacher sent from God…”), Second, they supernaturally confirm the message that is preached (Mark 16:20 ‘…the Lord working with them confirming the word through the accompanying signs), and finally as operations of divine grace to meet the needs of God’s people.
A Life of Miracles was initially written as a witness to our family. As word spread, we received multiple requests for copies. Through Les Stobbe’s role as agent Tyndale House came to the rescue with their edition, now available worldwide.