A Giant Fleece

What I am about to share with you is the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me. It may even test and challenge some of your theology-it did mine. The event took place on 4 June 1994. I attended a meeting for the Rocky Mountain Christian Fellowship, a loosely associated group of pastors and leaders from the greater Denver area. This group came together once a month and typically brought in a guest speaker. I attended this meeting for the first time on the advice of a friend who thought it would be a great opportunity to network. Before telling you what took place that day, I want to set the stage by sharing some things that were going on in my life at that time.

Cindy and I were praying diligently about whether I should leave my executive position with Every Home for Christ (EHC) to launch a new ministry of my own. It was a challenging decision filled with much apprehension. Three out of the four things that I mentioned earlier were lined up solid. We were reading it in the Word-there was a pattern that both Cindy and I could not deny. We were also being affirmed through wise, Godly counsel-all of the people we looked up to and trusted both in Colorado and California were saying we should go for it. In addition, my position at EHC was no longer necessary. According to my circumstances, I was free to leave after five years of a successful turnaround management effort. We also experienced a sig-nificant equity increase in some real estate that would enable us to finance the new ministry start-up.

There was only one thing missing-we were not hearing God's voice. I wanted Him to scream at me. I can vividly remember the fear that we were battling at that time. Then it happened ... 

After arriving at the Rocky Mountain Christian Fellowship meeting and greeting a few people, I sat down to enjoy the lunch that was being served. There were about eighty people in attendance. After our meal, they introduced the guest speaker-a man who they referred to as a prophet from Florida. By the way, I do not mean prophet in the natural gift sense. This man was someone who would hear from God and speak words of prophecy over people. Now I do not know what happens to you when someone is introduced as a prophet. As for me, I become very suspicious. I want to be clear in saying that my suspicion was not driven by a presupposition that God no longer speaks through people. I believe He does. It is just that I have witnessed too many situations where I found myself questioning the source.

During his thirty-minute talk, the speaker said that God had told him to come to this meeting and prophecy over pastors who had churches with less than sev-enty-five members. That seemed reasonable. Many pastors struggle when attendance is low. When he finished his talk he asked this small group of pastors to stand. There were eight in all. Some of them had their wives stand with them. Then he began to prophecy over them one at a time.

I had attended several of these types of meetings, but had never witnessed anything like this. The men were shaking and the women were weeping. This man was nailing things that he could never have known. His speech was not flowery. It was hard hitting. I was used to hearing things like, "God told me He wants to work on your marriage next month;" prophecy that was safe and predictably true. But this was different.

As the speaker continued to prophesy, I bowed my head and had a private chat with God. It went something like this, "God, it's me again. I know that You are getting tired of my fleeces and continual whining but, You know how scared I am. You know that I desire Your direction. Listen, Lord, I know that this man did not come here to prophecy to me, however, if You would use this man as Your vessel and speak to me through him-right now, in this very meeting-then I promise to listen and obey." It was a giant fleece!

I remember thinking as I was saying all of this-God sure must think I am dense. I could see Him looking down on me wondering when I would ever get it, when would I finally be able to hear Him? Well, after going through that dialogue, I looked up and realized that the speaker had run out of time. He apologized to the three pastors he did not have time to get to and proceeded to the podium where he entered into a closing prayer. All heads were bowed when in the middle of his prayer he suddenly stopped. The room was silent for an awkward amount of time. What was going on?

A few seconds later, I felt a hand on my shoulder. This man, someone I had never met, waded through a room of eighty people directly to me. Having seen my badge he said, "Vince, God just interrupted me and told me to come over here and give you a word." I was numb. He had me stand and follow him to the middle of the room. On the way over he asked me if I was a pastor. When I answered "No," he said, "That doesn't matter, God is stirring the gifts of teaching and perceiving in you," the two gifts that I score the highest on among the seven natural gifts. The mathematical odds of that alone are staggering. Then he went on to list every single fear that I had about starting my own ministry. He even mentioned that our children would join in our efforts. Shortly after this, through an absolute miracle, my oldest daughter Kim and her husband (an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in California), relocated back to Colorado Springs. Kim ran our ministry office for the first two years, and her younger sister Kristen has been with us ever since.

I get this picture of God up in heaven looking over this scene with outstretched arms and a big smile on His face saying, "Uh, D'Acchioli-anything else you need or will this finally do it for you?" I think He has great fun with us sometimes.

So why am I sharing this story with you? To somehow convey to you that I have an inside track on hearing God? Not at all! In fact, I wish that were true. I am sharing this because with all of my heart I believe that God will reveal His vision for us if we will just approach Him, be persistent and continue to seek Him.

The more I meet people who have ultimately discovered God's purpose for their lives, the more stories I hear, stories that are every bit as profound as the one you have just read.

I am convinced that in my case God knew that Cindy and I needed that fourth confirmation. He knew we would need that situation to look back on when the inevitable bouts with fear and doubt would come. He knew we needed to hear His voice. When I shared this experience with Cindy, we both knew what we had to do. The next week, I resigned from EHC, and the rest, as they say, is history.

D'Acchioli, Vince. Wired to Work! Huntington House Publishers: Lafayette, 2001, p. 79-83. http://ontargetinstitute.org/

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