This past Wednesday, Robin and I took two teens from our youth group and one of our church’s interns out on a Treasure Hunt. We weren’t after any ordinary treasure. We were searching out the same sort of treasure as the woman who lost her coin in Luke 15:8–10. The results were nothing less than supernatural.
I’ve been readiI’ve been reading The Ultimate Treasure Hunt by Kevin Dedmon from Bethel Church in Redding, California. To be honest, I haven’t even finished the book yet; but I couldn’t wait to jump into action. We gathered our team, watched some video of some other “Treasure Hunters,” and set to work.
The five of us spent a few minutes asking the Holy Spirit to speak to us and point us to people who specifically need a touch from Him. Each of us wrote down random clues as they popped into our minds, and then we compared notes at the end.
One person had a vision of “roller skates,” and another wrote down “Meijer.” We live in the Detroit Metropolitan area, and there are 5 Meijer stores within 20 minutes of our church. But the “roller skates” clue pointed us to the only Meijer near a Sonic restaurant (where the carhops wear “roller skates”). As if to confirm to us that we were in the right location, we passed a large clock that was built into the architecture of a vacant building next door, which one of the teens had seen in a vision and written down. The clues were all lining up with what the Holy Spirit had prompted our group to write! We were certain that we were on the hunt for something real!
Since someone had written down “bakery” and “red and blue balloons,” we thought a good place to start would be in the bakery next to a cake with red and blue balloons on it. It didn’t take more than a couple minutes before a girl we’ll call “Andrea” came walking by.
Andrea matched clues from several of our lists: “long hair,” “big sunglasses,” and “pregnant.” Robin and one of our teens approached her and started a conversation. As it turns out, she matched more clues than those that were obvious. In conversation, Robin and the teen learned that Andrea had been diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and a week later found out she was pregnant. “Cancer” was on one of our lists, and so was “Right leg,” which happened to be where she was having another related problem.
Robin and the teen prayed for Andrea’s healing and the health of her baby, and then we moved on.
On the way to another clue, we came across an old man wearing a ball cap, which was on someone’s list. We were running out of time (since this was before church), but I talked with him for a few minutes before rejoining the group to get ready to leave. On our way to the front of the store, though, we spotted a young lady in a brown hoodie, which someone had written down. Three people from our group walked down that aisle to ask if she needed prayer, and one of the teens and I moved to the next aisle where I saw an older woman limping as she pushed her cart.
The woman with the limp didn’t match any of the clues on our lists, but I knew the opportunity was too good to pass up, so we started down the aisle to pray with her. By the time we got there, the young lady in the brown hoodie walked around the corner. As it turns out, it was the limping woman’s daughter. The rest of our group came around also, and now we were all in the aisle.
“Excuse me,” I said to the woman, “I couldn’t help but notice you were limping. Do you mind if I ask what happened?”
“Yeah–I have really bad arthritis in both my knees, and it’s hard to walk.”
“Well,” I replied, “I’ll just be honest with you. We’re here this afternoon looking for people to pray for, so do you mind if we pray for you real quick?”
“Oh, um, sure,” She answered.
With her permission, I placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed a simple, 10-second prayer, thanking God for His love and asking Him to heal her knees in the name of Jesus.
“Amen.” That was it. “Do you feel any different?” I asked.
The woman shuffled back and forth and said, “Actually, it’s a little bit better.”
“Awesome,” I responded, “That means it’s working! Do you mind if we pray again?”
The woman smiled, “I guess not.”
Again we prayed. “How is it now? See if you can do something you couldn’t do before.”
The woman started to march in place, bending her knees with a look of shock on her face. “I couldn’t do that before,” said the woman. “It barely hurts at all now, and that says a lot since I could barely walk before. I have no cartilage in either knee, so it usually hurts a lot.”
“Sweet! Then let’s pray that God would cause new cartilage to grow!”
“You can do that?” she asked, a little hesitant.
“Sure; it happens all the time when people pray. Do you mind if we pray one more time?”
Apparently our faith was a little too much for the woman to handle. “Uh, I think I’m good,” she said, and she started to walk away.
“Not a problem,” I said with a smile, “God bless you!”
The rest of our group said goodbye warmly and we headed back to the church for that night’s youth group meeting.
On the way back, we looked over all our “clues” that had brought us to these divine encounters, and we were shocked to see that more than half had been actively involved in leading us to these “Treasures.” A handful of people–most of whom had never practiced the spiritual gift of a “Word of Knowledge” before–listened to the Holy Spirit and wrote down words that they weren’t even sure would mean anything. What a leap of faith–especially for the teens who had never done anything like this before!
I began to think about how much more effective we were than any other time I had gone out trying to share the Gospel with random people. Rather than going for just anyone at all, we set out after people who were being specifically targeted by God! It made me think of Jesus when He said that “I only do what I see my Father doing” (see John 5:19 and 14:10).
I’d like to encourage you to check out The Ultimate Treasure Hunt for yourself. It’s a challenging book, but it can stir you to action if you’re ready to take a risk and do something absolutely terrifying for the sake of the Gospel.
God bless! –Art