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Category: Spiritual

Does Anybody Still Believe …

Does anyone believe in a true before and after?  Can the Gospel still change lives and give actual healing that restores the soul?  Meet Deonna.

John 3:17 Ministries and the Remmel congregation show over and over that the Gospel still saves AND heals … completely.  Pure Heart Vision is honored to partner with John 3:17 to conduct family days for these renewed angels of God.Deonna’s story is powerful. God has lifted her from loosing her mother while being, herself, badly injured in a horrible automobile accident. She was 7 years old. And, this was only the beginning of her difficult path. That childhood experience defined her in ways no child could control for many years. She entered a death spiral that discovered one bottom after another as she fell to new lows she didn’t know existed. She began to be something horrible. In her words, she became a waste of living and breathing space.

What a way to define yourself! I cannot imagine anything better than the person on the left to powerfully picture Jesus’ claim that some people are dead … even if physically they do take up breathing space. I cannot imagine anything better than the person on the right to more powerfully picture that Jesus gives life giving water that actually raises us from death to new life. Salvation is a move from death to life. Actually. And, her pictures show what is less obvious yet just as true for all of us.

Here is how I described the new Deonna at her recent graduation.

         “I have been walking with two atheists toward death as they can actually see the end of their lives. One of them tells me, ‘Randy, I used to lay on the ground outside at night and just marvel at what some call the heavens. The consistencies, majesty, and beauty of those stars night after night are profound. I wondered how it could be that it all happened by chance. It is amazing.’

       The Bible says the heavens speak. They speak of the glory of God. If we listen we can hear (Psalm 19). In fact, the creation speaks so clearly that if we do not hear what is spoken we are without excuse and we will actually corrupt our own minds (Romans 1:18-32). However, the struggle of an atheist who rejects God because of seeing war, pain, and unimaginable suffering can teach us a truth. Lay under the stars at night and listen. Listen and you can hear the heavens speak of God’s power. Yet, ask those stars that speak so clearly of God’s power about your deepest pain – and they are silent. The stars say nothing about the meaning of our suffering, why our world is so fallen, and why innocent children face life challenges no human being can face. We cry out into a universe that feels like it does not hear our cry and just responds with an insulting silence.

         Deonna is beautiful … way beyond what we see on the surface. She is beautiful because … because by her openness to God healing her pain she IS the voice of God to others in their pain. She speaks what the stars themselves cannot express. She carries within her own story the story of God that not only explains but that also heals our deepest wounds. Others may choose not to hear just as an atheist may choose not to hear what the stars DO speak. Yet, she has a message for any who is truly honest. And, that message is her life lived as an irrefutable proof that we can choose not to waste our pain, that our pain is meaningful, and that our pain is often the place where we join God’s deepest work in the world.

         Here is where I saw Deonna’s beauty as we processed her story. I saw her beauty in the “yet.” Notice. She experienced pain she could not control and that runs deeper than what 99% of the population will ever know. YET, a thread running through her life was a need to help others who were hurting … even when they were hurting less than her. This was her hidden spark of life in a body of death. She has not become one who thanks God for the gift and then runs away from God’s work to heal those who have not found healing. No wonder she is now assisting John 3:17 to care for incoming residents who need what she has found. Do you hear what I hear? She has become a voice who can be heard even when the stars have nothing they can say.”

My prayer for her is that she will not be burdened by carrying for others but that she will find even deeper healing. I pray that just as she found one bottom could break into an even lower bottom she will now find that God will lift her up beyond the ceiling’s limitation time after time!Please pray for her. And, we have two upcoming family days for two more ladies. We have done family days for well over 40 women. Imagine over 40 before and after pictures very close to this one. This makes me grateful to the board of Pure Heart Vision for supporting this ministry and grateful for John 3:17 Ministries’ partnership and friendship that gives us such meaningful and Gospel validating work. I am grateful to God for my own pain and the pain within my family without which we would have never known the joy of walking alongside someone as deeply beautiful as Deonna.


PHV Coaching Workshop Schedule

I’m deeply grateful to be part of Pure Heart Vision, a ministry seeking to help churches mature as partners in God’s mission. To this end, we provide dedicated Christians with insight, care, training, and connection.

Our work changes the way people think about what it means to be Christian, supports caregivers to sustain them in ministry, coaches decision makers through wise action, and networks for greater impact.  The Pure Heart Vision Coaching Workshop will provide participants a deepened understanding of God, an appreciation for how God sustains care givers, tools that work to make meaningful differences in others’ lives, and meaningful connection with believers who realize it is more blessed to give than to receive.


The campus of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Room 208 in the American Heritage.


July 28, 29, 30 (Thursday through Saturday)

Schedule & Focus?

Day 1 (Thursday, July 28): The Farewell (Jesus’ Longest Recorded Speech)

9am to 4pm (lunch provided)

Dr. Peter Rice and Professor Jim Bury will lead us in a deep study of the Farewell Speech (John 13-17).


Day 2 (Friday, July 29): Pure Heart Vision Coaching and Consulting

9am to 3pm (lunch provided)

Dr. Randy Willingham will coach the group on Pure Heart Vision coaching and consulting.


Day 3 (Saturday, July 30): The Biblical Story that Makes Our Story Matter 

9am to 2:30pm (lunch provided)

We will integrate insight from days 1 and 2 into meaningful adjustments to our care of souls.