Prophecy, Most Read, People Getting It Done

Shandy Showed Me My 2015 (End of Year Update)

***Now that 2015 is complete, I decided to go back and report on how this prophecy panned out, as in, how accurate was it... See the end-of-year updates in bold below.

The more you believe in and listen for God, the more you hear His voice, which means you get supernatural guidance, even prophetic visions.  

Sounds crazy, but its happened to me many times. Just click the Prophecy tag in my archives to read all about 'em. But for now, I have to tell you about what happened to me last week, when a bro approached me with a bunch of fresh info for my days ahead.

It was a normal Tuesday morning spent praying with guys in Silicon Valley. Afterward we had breakfast, and then I headed to my car. One of the guys was parked in the same direction, so we walked together. As we did, he piped up and told me that while we had prayed together, God gave him a vision for me.

Now, this isn't just any bro, Shandy Pekkonen, is a guy I've prayed with for over two years, and I know that he both loves Jesus, pursues him anyway he can, he believes God's promises, and as a result, God uses him to do cool things like share a vision of the future.

So I was curious to hear what Shandy had to say. He started out by saying that God was looking forward to creating with me. That he say a large black wall and the two of us, God and I, were throwing ideas on that wall to create a vision for my future. Shandy said that God was really looking forward to that time with me.

Whoa, right away I was hit by what this brother was telling me. For a month I had a strong desire to get away for a day to pray and brainstorm with God on a whiteboard. In fact, there is a friend of mine who has a house overlooking Silicon Valley where I sometimes go to pray, and he had just put a new office on his property, and I specifically wanted to go to that location to have my brainstorm session with God. I had a hunch (which I later confirmed) that instead of a whiteboard, his "brainstorm wall" was currently black.

Update: I ended up doing this within a week of Shandy's prophecy, and it served to orient my thinking. The time played a part in a web of actions that led to my getting a consulting job in Philadelphia where I met with a guy who hired me, resulting in our move to the East Coast. 

Next, Shandy told me that God showed him grass that was about to sprout from the ground and that it was going to start growing. This was a result of seeds that I had been sowing. 

Update: Shortly after I started my new job at Geneva Global, I learned that there were many people in my network that unbeknownst to me had connections that would serve me in my new role. Without realizing it, I had been sowing seeds for my future work without knowing it, to the level that I've been traveling back to Silicon Valley almost monthly to continue to cultivate those seeds.

Even more, he said, while my wife was largely not involved in my work in this most recent season (ie. few years at my latest job), that was going to change, and she was going to be involved.

This choked me up right on the spot. I never felt like my wife was fully included in my work and that was a missed opportunity to me. I wasn't blaming anyone for it, I just knew that I wanted her to be a part of my life more fully, including my work, because I know she has so much to offer any situation, and plus we're just better as a team. My dream job, in fact, no matter what it is includes working with my wife. 

Update: Whitney has been welcomed by my new company with open arms. Geneva Global made extra efforts to ensure she was cared for by having insurance and doctors in place. They provided full-service movers to lighten the load on the move. The COO asked me weekly how my wife was doing, and helped us find a pediatrician when we landed on the East Coast. Whitney felt a real warmth from this extra attention and care, and brought the kids to the office to meet people, and was warmly greeted. People passed the baby around and wanted to know more about her. Our CEO has asked to have Whitney and I over for dinner at his home, and Whitney received a personal thank you from him for making sacrifices to enable my work at the firm especially the travel. At the company Christmas party Whitney and I were invited to sit at the table with the CEO and his wife and managing director and COO. This has all served to welcome Whitney into the company in a way she has never been before. and now that we are moving to a house just a mile from my office, I forsee Whitney stopping by to say hello more than ever before.

Shandy started to tell me about changes coming in my current role at Cityteam, but I had to leave our conversation, because (TMI warning) all the coffee from breakfast had caught up with me and I urgently had to use the bathroom. But I needed to hear the rest of it, so we agreed we'd talk more by phone. 

I soon called Shandy back and I wasn't sure how much more God could have given him in this vision. I also know that one moment of vision with God can fill volumes of book, He sometimes paints an entire story with so many details in a single moment (yes, this the same God that breathed into existence all Creation, so its no surprise).

Turns out Shandy had a lot more. He asked me about my parents, and specifically our relationship. He called out specific issues that were affecting us, and he was spot on. The good news, he said, is that there was healing in store for the year ahead. As he was telling me this, I was full of emotion, so happy inside, praising God.

Update: Who knew that we would move back East and that we'd get to spend significantly more time with my parents, which has been truly wonderful, especially to see them with the kids. My Mom drives down to play with the kids every other week or so. I talk to them far more than I did while on the West Coast. We Facetime with the kids more. We've had a number of really constructive conversations. All in all, I definitely feel like we're growing our relationship.

Then Shandy asked about my brother. Wait, did I even have a brother, he asked? Yes, I do. Well, he said, your brother is an amazingly magnetic person, isn't he? Yes, Shandy he is. He is really good speaking to people, connecting with them, delighting them, helping them. Yes, he is all of those things, I reported.

Well, he said, your brother was given a pastoral gift by God, he was made to be a pastor and to speak to people to restore their souls. That is his calling, and there is some history of this in your family (I'm not aware of it, have to do some digging to confirm it). Without going into the details, the things Shandy said about my brother, a person he never met, in fact, he never knew I even had a brother, they were just incredible, true, so good to hear, again, I was ecstatic.

Update: I decided to relay this to my brother, and we've talked about it a couple of times since. The reality is that he is really gifted with people, he connects with them easily and is genuinely interested in their retirement security. I've been sharing with him how, due to this prophecy and continued prayer, I believe that he has an ability to help care for people's eternal security. And I'm so pleased to say that these have been great exchanges. Even more, I later realized that the "history" that Shandy talked about was referring to my Dad and his calling as a pastor. I relayed this to my Dad and ever since have seen it confirmed over and over. He's a "man about town" who knows many people in his town, is often sought out for counsel, and has a heart to help people. We've been discussing that there is perhaps another level of help he can provide, actual healing, casting out demons, speaking life and truth. Again, these conversations are undoubtedly positive, well-received, and on-going. 

He concluded by telling me how even though there would be tough work ahead, that the tide was about to change for me and my family. The things he said were such an encouragement to me that I got off the phone, I thanked God for his encouragement, and put my Bible app onto reading mode to sit and listen to Scripture as I drove.  I couldn't wait to tell my wife later that night about this encouraging report, and the rest of my family too. 

Update: Reading this prophecy now, at the end of the year, literally has me choked up. There was tough work, leaving a job well, leaving an area where I had made great friends, moving across the country with a 5 week old and a toddler, living in transition while we look for a home, starting a new job with 2+ hours of commute time, struggling to be disciplined in my faith with a lot of obligations and a lack of sleep. But the overwhelming sense is that the tide has changed in a BIG way, that is literally how I would describe it. It never ceases to amaze me that God speaks to us, often through other people, to guide us and at times even show us a glimpse of our future. 

So, what does your future look like? Do you get reports on it, either small details or a fuller report like I got? You must know that it is possible, that truly all of the days of your life are written in a book held by a good, loving, and just God who desires to show you.

Shandy is available for coaching and ministering to people--reach him here

People Getting It Done, Legends

Charlie Strouss: Kingdom Realtor

Charlie and I met at a New Canaan Society gathering in Menlo Park. We realized we live a few blocks from each other, and that we were both going to be dads soon. We got the families together and worked out together once in awhile. That would be a pretty standard friendship in many circles.

Then, in 2011 we both attended the New Canaan Society San Francisco Weekend. Even more than that we were roommates at the Fairmont Hotel. We mostly had our own agendas over the weekend, attending different breakout sessions, sitting at different tables for dinner, and so on. After one particular talk by Francis Chan (which I wrote about here), Charlie and I both walked back to the room. When I got to the door he was coming down the hall from the opposite direction. We didn't say a word to each other, both stunned by what Francis had said. We went inside and realized we were both there with the intent to lay on the floor before God.

And so we did so together, and our prayers sounded a lot of like.

"I don't want to keep doing things, even praying and reading Scripture, my way."

"I don't want to leave here and be nicer to my wife for a couple weeks only to revert back." 

"I want you, God, to be the focus of my life! Nothing else matters, and I will give it all up for you."

When we were done, we knew that it wasn't a coincidence we had both come back to the room to pray, that we were roommates, that we had met. We acknowledged that we were not being fully open with each other. So right then and there, we agreed to hold each other more accountable by talking at least a few times a week, mainly to pray together, but also to see that we are in the Word, that we're being honest about our struggles.

And so we left that weekend with a new resolve, and ever since, we have kept our word. We began to pray together, often over the phone. We began to be more honest about our struggles and have more difficult conversations, even asking each other to share about our faults. At times, we've been challenged by the other, but we also know that our relationship is more about bringing God glory than having fun.

Within a couple of weeks of our time in San Francisco, we began to see "things" happen. Scripture was popping off the pages for us, and we were eager to share. Opportunities to share our faith became more frequent, and even though at times it wasn't received as we had hoped, we encouraged each other that being faithful in making the attempt was what matters. 

So, I'm writing about Charlie because he is a dear brother, he's invested in our relationship even when its not convenient. He calls me usually at the exact time I need to be called, and I know that is God working through him. He shares his real thoughts with me, not the sanitized version, and we wrestle with the issues of our day. But there's more to Charlie that makes him a Hands On Christian.

Charlie opens the office of his bluechip commercial realty firm early in the morning just about every Tuesday so guys can usher in to pray together. It's a simple act that requires commitment. That Tuesday morning group, called Legends, isn't a Bible study or a fellowship, it's just a group of guys who want to get before God in the morning together to intercede on behalf of the Silicon Valley. There are a handful of these Legends groups scattered around, and they all have the same burden to get before God in the morning to pray. Even more, Charlie didn't set out to start a prayer group--he just started to pray in his office with another guy. For eight months or more they prayed, and they occasionally prayed that more guys would join them, and out of that he decided to invite others. 

Last, but not least, Charlie and his wife are not shy to put their faith to work. For a few years, during the winter months they organized a large sleeping bag distribution to the homeless. They'd scout out their whereabouts, secure a wholesale buy of bags, coordinate donations from dozens of friends and families, organize a preparation day in a warehouse, and then oversee the delivery to sites all across San Jose. This is just one example of them putting their faith to work, among many. So its my honor to call Charlie a brother and to be able to put a few words down about him here. 

People Getting It Done, Legends, Miracles

Shodankeh Johnson: Man of Prayer

Much could be written about Pastor Shodankeh Johnson. I'll stick to what I have personally experienced getting to know him as a colleague at Cityteam.

Shodankeh is a man of prayer. I'd heard that he wakes early in the morning to pray for an hour or more each day, and when I hosted him in my home I found that to be true. More than pray, he actually sings in a soft voice to God, I woke up to hear it. 

Another time, while attending the New Canaan Society San Francisco Weekend, I had arranged for Shodankeh to share a room with a dear brother and mentor to me named Ken Churchill (I wrote about Ken here). One evening, Ken received an email from a man in Africa who was reporting that another man who is Shodankeh's colleague was imprisoned. Ken informed Shodankeh of this terrible news, only to watch him fall to the ground in prayer where he began by praising God. 

Once, I had set up for Shodankeh to speak at a conference, literally planning most of the details of his visit, from the time he stepped off the plane. A colleague, Eric Venable, picked him up with the intent to bring Shodankeh to the office to brief the plan and get settled in. But Shodankeh asked to be taken to Stanford University. Eric asked him if he had an appointment, to which Shodankeh replied that he did not, but he had been praying on the flight and God had directed him to go there. Off they went, and when they arrived, they began to walk around the campus, and in so doing, ran into an old friend of Eric's. As they got to talking, they learned that this friend was the secretary for a director of the Hoover Institution, a prestigious international think tank. And, she revealed, there was a new program in the works to resource international leaders just like Shodankeh! The program wasn't publicized, but she offered to provide some information if they would come to her office. Of course, they went, and despite his schedule being completely booked for the day, it turned out that the Director was in his office and took over an hour to brief Shodankeh on the program and give him all of the necessary details to apply. These kinds of divine directives, interactions, and provision are commonplace with Shodankeh and his team from Africa.

Later, when Shodankeh arrived to the office and I heard the story, I asked him how these things happen to him. He replied to me that when he travels abroad, he has a team of people, as many as 50, praying and fasting for him the entire time he is gone. I came to know that he is a man of prayer, and that his team in Africa often doesn't make a move until they have paid a high price in prayer and received direction from God. 

Because of Shodankeh's love for prayer, I have put myself in position to pray with him and bring him to pray with groups of people I am a part of. Two examples, are the Legends prayer group I attend and the New Canaan Society brothers at a weekend retreat. Shodankeh has come to bless the men of Legends a couple of times and when he does there is always a thick presence of the Holy Spirit. Another time, Shodankeh joined a group of men who left the NCS weekend retreat to go to a hospital to pray for a young man who had been shot in the head. That man went on to have a miraculous healing that I documented here

As I said, much more could be written about Shodankeh, in fact it has here and here. I also encourage you to read the book Miraculous Movements, many of the stories of which come from the work of Shodankeh and his team in Africa. Shodankeh is a man who seeks to know God and the fruits of the Holy Spirit are evident in his life, and for that he is definitely a Hands On Christian.

A short video with a powerful testimony from Pastor Shodankeh Johnson. 

People Getting It Done, Legends

Jaeson Ma: International Disciplemaker

I was introduced to Jaeson when he showed up to pray with a group of guys in Menlo Park. The group goes loosely by the name Legends, and Jaeson is a driving force behind it in Orange County. Even more than that, upon meeting Jaeson, I just had the sense that he was both sharp and humble, on the move and available. 

At that first meeting, Jaeson shared what he is seeing in China where his travels as a talent acquisition executive in Hollywood takes him often. Wherever Jaeson goes, he is looking for people God is drawing and making disciples! Even more, he gave encouraging updates about how Jesus is moving in Hollywood in unmistakeable ways, he shared with us that the Bible Series on the History Channel was going to be huge, long before it was. 

Since then, I've occasionally been on the receiving end of an email from Jaeson to the Legends guys where he shares more about what he is seeing including passing along prophecy. These are profound indications of what is going to happen in the future in the Kingdom of God. 

Did I mention Jaeson is a multimedia talent himself?! He recorded a hit song with Bruno Mars, is active on Facebook, YouTube, and much more, you can follow and learn more about him online here. In closing, a short but important message from Jaeson.

Adventures in Faith, Miracles, Most Read

Miracle Boy: Ben Pessah


Through the Legends group in Menlo Park, I learned about a tragedy where a young man named Ben was shot in the head in San Francisco at a Halloween party. It turns out that Ben was friends with a colleague of one of the guys in the prayer group. Actually he was friends with a colleague of the host of the group, and that colleague, knowing that there was a group of men who came to pray in the office Tuesday mornings, asked the group to pray for Ben, who was in deep trouble.

I got a text while at the New Canaan Society weekend retreat in San Francisco, just a day or two after the shooting, that invited a group of guys to go to the hospital to pray for Ben. A car picked us up and off we went to pray for a young man none of us knew personally. On the way to the hospital we received a text from the colleague that Ben's condition had worsened, there was some kind of infection so that he was put into a unit we could not enter. The best we could do was pray in the hotel lobby.

And so we entered the hospital, got as close to Ben as we could in the Intensive Care Unit, and we began to pray. Pastor Shodankeh Johnson was with us--a powerful man of prayer I wrote about here--and he led us in prayer. We had prayed for five or ten minutes when a few young adults walked by us. I can't recall how the exchange happened, but we learned that among the group were the siblings and a close friend of Ben. We shared that we were praying for him, and they said they might be able to come back later to have us go in to see him. 

We prayed maybe ten minutes more, and then we left and went back to the retreat. Then the amazing reports began to trickle in...

First, an email from the colleague that said,

"Great report.  The initially diagnosed "highly contagious bacterial infection" somehow"came up negative" today."  

Then, a few days later, a note:

"a good report re Ben this afternoon. Fluid in the lungs receding. Doctors are optimistic on his prognosis!!!"

A week or so passed, and another note:

"Thank you so much for your prayers and support!"

I am so happy right now I am literally crying. Ben is now awake and is able to move around. His voice is faint (given all the tubes he has had for the last several weeks) but he is able to comprehend and keep conversation! The power of prayers.

I cannot express how thankful, happy, and relieved I am. I have so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving.

Please pass on my thanks to your prayer group and the priest that went to the hospital.

Then, we received an update that the press was beginning to cover this miracle: 

Check out the links below. It's not only us who are declaring this a miracle! Local news is also reporting on Ben's recovery.

Man's miraculous recovery from coma

Holiday Miracle as Man Awakes From Monthlong Coma