A Simple WOrd
Hey, my name is Zane. I am married to my very favorite person in the world, Tiffany. And we have two kids, Levi and Luke. They’re eight, and nine. We also run a real estate company. We have a small team that works for us and they’re amazing. We’re able to renovate houses and then we sell the majority of them. But we do keep some of them as rentals. We also help pastor a local church called Clearpath and that’s been just a beautiful journey. I mean, my favorite people in the world are there. We’re just excited to keep watching what God’s doing.
To talk a little bit about my childhood, I had a really amazing childhood and great parents. Lots of people, you hear these hard stories of their childhood, I really didn’t experience any of that. I grew up in a family lineage that was very godly and my parents carried that on really well. I saw God, as a kid, in my parents’ lives and the excess of time that my dad would spend with me and in my mom’s passion, and really the commonness of how she would hear God speak. I didn’t know until I was older that it was so unusual to hear God speak plainly and regularly. So my parents went way beyond the average parents and so that’s just how I assumed that life was supposed to be lived. I didn’t know any different.
My grandpa was the pastor of our church, and he had been for, I don’t know, at the time 20 to 25 years. So we, as a family, spent countless hours working at the church. But I also spent countless hours just worshiping and praying with my friends or alone in my own bedroom. It was just these years of pressing into God and getting to know Him and knowing His voice. Even years down the road, when I would start realizing how uncommon it was, people would start talking to me about fancy words like prophetic or something like that. I thought it all sounded really weird. I was like, “What are you talking about?” They were like, “Well, we want you to hear God talk.” And I’m like, “Oh, I’ve been doing that since I was really little. I just thought that was, you know, normal. I don’t have a fancy word for that.” But you know, I grew up watching my mom hear God so clearly.
There’s one story that comes to mind when I think about that. When I was 16. I won’t tell this whole story, but my family actually got kicked out of our church. It was based primarily upon a “prophetic dream” that someone had that I think was, at the very least, very badly interpreted. Then it was acted on by the pastor of our church without ever consulting anyone, without ever running it by the church’s board, or anything like that. And so, I had grown up at this church for a long time, 16 years, and then we suddenly got kicked out of the church, that was a big blow to me, like that was home for me.
About the same time, my girlfriend at the time, had broken up with me and I had never been broken up with by a girl. –Side note, she’s actually my wife now so I got her back.– But at this time, my world had kind of fallen apart and I was driving home. My mom was in the passenger seat, my brother was in the backseat, and we lived across a bridge, like over a lake. I was driving over this bridge and I thought to myself…I was far from suicidal, I wasn’t horribly depressed, but I was just in a hard time and I just had this, you know, one crazy thought that came to my mind, like, I could just drive off this bridge right now. I never would have done it, but the moment I started thinking that my mom just turned to me and she goes, “Zane, God says that if you drive off that bridge, He won’t let anyone get hurt anyway. So you might as well just stop thinking that.” Something along those lines and happenings like that are not terribly uncommon with my mom.
So I just grew up in this, this lineage of people where it was just really normal to hear God clearly. I think even as a kid, I just pressed in and asked God a lot of questions and expected to hear answers and He was faithful to do that. So I’m really thankful for that kind of upbringing. It just pretty much seemed like normal life to me to live in community, to know what God was saying, and even to see miraculous healings, and miracles here and there. It was kind of expected. I realized over time that my childhood was very far from normal.
I love this podcast’s name, The Unseen Story, because as I’ve been thinking about this, it describes well what I’ve learned throughout my life of watching God do miracles. The visible miracles that I’ve seen, always point to even greater, unseen miracles and so today, I may tell a few stories of God doing something that brought awe or wonder in the natural world, but I believe that the deepest miracles are when people are brought back into a personal relationship with God. Just like in God’s original garden design. Every single story is just of a miracle, that we see, is just an outward sign that God is actually doing what He wants to do. He’s restoring His creation, with our help, to complete fullness, just back to His original design.
So with that in mind, I would love to share a few stories of God drawing His people in very visible ways. But I think it almost starts for me, in my life, – And I know that we’re not all the same.– but it usually starts for me with some kind of revelation. Some kind of communication from God, by hearing His voice in my spirit, or maybe seeing an image in my mind. And I just try to follow that. I try to follow His leading. I try to follow His voice. Everything happens from that place.
One year on my birthday, God told me that morning that it would be a year of power. This was a Sunday and I’m a musician; I lead worship sometimes and I was leading worship that morning at church. While I was singing in the middle of the worship time, there was just this picture that was overlaid over my vision. It was like a hologram just floating in the air. I could still see everything else like normal, but there was just this hologram floating over everything and it looked like a right ear. I immediately thought, okay, maybe God wants to heal someone’s ear.
I stopped singing and I just invited whoever this vision was for in the room to come to the front. I specified when I said it, I said, “I saw this vision and I’m very confident that it was a right ear. No one came to the front of the room for a minute. Eventually a lady with some minor ear problem in her left ear came to the front. I think she was just kind of waiting, when no one came she’s like, well, you know, I don’t have a right ear problem, but I do have an ear problem. So I’ll come forward. And I respect that. That’s not, that’s not a downside, I would have done the same thing because I’ve seen God over and over, let people tap in with their faith to whatever He’s offering and actually receive it.
But in this case, I prayed over her, and to my knowledge, absolutely nothing happened. So I just kind of let it go. I just had this, you know, kind of new experience, didn’t know why it didn’t work, but I let it go.
After service, a man who was new to our church came up to me. I think they might have been there for a month or something. This guy came up to me and he said that he felt like he should have come up whenever I gave this word, but he was nervous. His right ear had been deaf for many years after he lost his hearing in an explosion. It went off near him when he was in military service.
So I just laid my hand on his right ear and immediately when I touched his ear, he got full hearing. He had been completely deaf in that ear. We even just started testing it. We even tested if he could hear a whisper from across the room, while plugging his left ear. His hearing was totally perfect. So he went from no hearing in one ear to complete hearing.
I was kind of stunned by this. It wasn’t that I hadn’t seen God do miracles before, but it had been pretty sporadic and I had never received it like that. He was stunned that God would give him back the ability to hear and even more stunned, I think, that God would care enough about him to give me the ability to hear in the spirit to know what to do. But then it happened a second time, the same type of thing. The second time it happened, I was a lot more confident. This was just a, I don’t know, maybe a few months later.
Once again, I was in a church service and a picture came to my mind like a hologram and this time, it was a brain and a section of the brain was glowing. I didn’t know exactly what it meant. But I just got the mic and I asked if anyone in the room had a brain problem or an injury that they needed prayer for. This was kind of a ridiculous question, to be honest, because our church is not huge, especially at that time, I knew everyone in the room that day really quite well.
I was like, God, nobody in this room has a brain injury, what am I doing, you know. I went ahead and asked and nobody came forward, nobody raised their hand. So I just prayed a generic prayer for healing at that moment. “God, whatever this is, we ask You for healing.” As it turned out, we had some friends in town that day attending the service. Just after I gave this word, they got a text message. Their best friend’s son had just been in a skateboard accident and was at the hospital right then with a fractured school, a brain bleed, and a broken arm. He was in pretty bad condition and they were getting ready to do surgery, they were going to do it immediately.
Our friends sent back a text telling them about the word that was just given at church. Before the service ended, we had doctor confirmation that his skull had been healed, it was no longer fractured, his arm was no longer broken, and his brain had stopped bleeding. They left the hospital with absolutely no work from doctors.
This kind of blew my mind. Because anytime I’d seen somebody get healed in the past, you at least had to go up and you know, someone laid hands on them or something like that. In this case, we didn’t even go lay hands on him. I realized in that moment, the word of God is powerful to create and mend from any distance. So I feel like we often underestimate the Word of God, even when we hear it or when we speak what He has given us. The Word of God carries so much power that you don’t even have to be in the same room with someone for them to be healed.
A short while later, my wife and I were eating dinner with some friends at their house. These friends didn’t have much experience with God. But the wife was really curious so she just kept asking us questions about God. You know, questions like, “Can you really hear Him? Does anyone actually hear God? Have you ever seen someone get healed? Is healing a real thing? Is all of this just made up nonsense? We just began to answer her questions while we were having dinner and tell her personal stories.
At one point, I started telling her the story that I just told about the brain injury being healed. When I did, she said, “Oh, well I actually have a friend who was just in a huge car wreck just over a month ago. She had a significant brain injury that occurred in this car wreck so she’s in a coma.” She’d been in a coma for a little over a month and the prognosis from the doctors was not good. We just simply responded, and we told her, if God can do a miracle once, He can do it again. As proven before from the story we just told, He doesn’t even need us to be in the same room, the same location. She just said, “Yeah, I want that for her.” and we just went on talking.
I don’t think this couple was very sure what to think of all of our stories. It was just such a different paradigm for them. But they listened and they were intrigued. About an hour after we left their house that night, we got a text. The story goes that just after the time when we were telling her that story of healing, her friend woke up from a coma. She was completely fine, completely healed. It’s all just, I mean, it’s just all because of God’s faithfulness, and even just this woman who has no context for this, but she just has this bit of faith just enough to say, “I want that for my friend.” And so God says, “Okay” and God does another miracle.
If God does something supernatural, it’s not that the great miracle is the healing. The great miracle is what God begins to do in the person through seeing the healing. It’s just like when Jesus, when the paralytic is lowered down to Jesus inside the house, and Jesus says, Hey, your sins are forgiven and it makes everybody really mad. All the religious people are very angry and He’s like, Well, okay, how about this, so that you know I am able to forgive sins, take up your mat and walk. Like, the healing is just the sign that proves that He has the ability to forgive sins. It’s just the proof that God has the ability to change people and to renew people and to renew right relationship with our Father. To me, that’s what all this is about.
Watching God heal is truly amazing. There’s no getting around that it’s always just awe inspiring when you see it. But honestly, watching Him get to someone’s heart is just as beautiful. One Friday night, I remember praying with a group of friends and I felt like God asked me to go to a particular park. This place, location, just came to my mind. And for whatever reason, I felt like I was going to meet a dancer.
I drove to this park and I walked around. There was a building, kind of in front of the park, and I walked around the side of the building. As soon as I got around the side of it, I was stunned because there’s this guy out there and he had his boombox setup. He was just performing this impromptu dance performance for a crowd. I was like, Are you kidding me? I was so stunned. I had been to this location a bunch of times before, and I’ve never seen anyone putting on any kind of public performance. There was no venue here, it was just a random guy who had decided to set up his boombox and dance this night.
So I watched his performance and when he finished dancing I walked up to him and I introduced myself. We talked for just a second and I just felt like I got this sentence from God. God said, “Tell him there’s a good Father that loves him way more than any father he has ever known and would never fail him.” And so I said exactly that to this man. He just started weeping. I watched him accept God into his life, right then in a way that he hadn’t, he said, since he was a boy.
It turned out that his past included multiple fathers who really didn’t show him love or attention and this simple moment – You know, there was no healing, there was no crazy miracle.– but the simple moment, just one sentence spoken from God, absolutely changed his life. It’s always amazing to me, the simple acts of obedience that God will use. Sometimes it’s shockingly simple. Sometimes I want it to be more complex, I want it to be more of a wow factor.
What I’d really love to do is share the most simple but maybe the most impactful one of these stories to me. This story also begins with me just singing, leading worship. God stopped me right in the middle of the set. He highlighted this man to me, and I didn’t know this man, I’d never seen him before. I really didn’t want to disrupt service, but I guess that God is perfectly happy to disrupt whatever He wants to. He told me to go talk to this guy. So finally, I just put my guitar down and I like, motion to the band that was playing behind me, just keep playing.
As I approached this man, I’m like, “Okay, God, I’m doing what you said. What do You want me to say?” And God gave me the most simple word ever for this guy. And actually, while I was walking, I was arguing with God for a second. I was asking, like, “God, You gotta give me something better than this.” Because I’m obviously the judge of better or best. And so I’m like, “God, You gotta give me something better than this to tell him because like, I’m breaking the flow of service to walk over and talk to him.”
I just did what God told me to do. I walked up to him and asked him his name and he said his name was John. I said, “John, God says, ‘You are a really good guy.’” That was that. That was all I had. That was the whole prophetic word, very profound. So this guy just starts crying. I put my hand on him for a second. I pray a really short prayer and I walked back up to the stage and you know, that’s the end of that experience. I didn’t see or talk to John again for a month.
About a month later, I’d say four or five Sundays later, I noticed him in another church service. He approached our lead pastor after the service, and I saw him pointing at me from across the room. I don’t know, maybe he’s making a complaint about me. He said, “I don’t know what happened. Ever since that guy over there told me that I was a good guy, I’ve actually been a good guy.” He said, “It’s been a little over a month and I’ve never been a good person before. I’ve always been a horrible person.” He said, “I’ve been in and out of prison. I’ve mistreated women. I’ve done so many horrible things that I don’t even want to say. But something happened and I don’t know what’s going on, because for one month now I’ve been a completely different person.”
To me, that is The Unseen Story. That’s the power of God to change and heal. Like, it doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to put on a big show. God doesn’t need our help, but He chooses to use us even in the most simple ways to restore people back to His original plan of wholeness. I’m just really grateful that we get to be a part of that.