Don’t Drive Your Stakes Too Deep


In a two story house, on small street in Windom, Minnesota, I met Butch and Pat Dunnick. They’d opened their home for me to stay in while I spoke in their city. Two small in stature people with hearts the size of Minnesota. They had dedicated their home and their lives to the service of Christ. Their story wasn’t one of living in perfection, but in my eyes they were everything I seen in the story of Priscilla and Aquila who ministered with Paul.

I’ve been fortunate to meet people in my life that impact me in such a way, when I hear their name, I have utter jubilation in my soul. Butch and Pat are two of the many. Windom, Minnesota has some great memories for me, and I wish I could pack up all those people and bring them to West Virginia with me, but that’s not how it works. But I miss them. For some reason, at 3 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving, I’m homesick for Windom. It began when I read a post of Pat’s where she shared the story of a child they had taken into their home.

Charlie had been a neighbor who they’d heard playing ball in his apartment. Not realizing he was alone, and waiting for a drunken mother to return home. Until one night his mom didn’t return home, she died in a car accident and he became a foster child of Butch and Pat. Charlie had secretly wanted to be a part of their family. He wanted to belong in a stable house where people loved him. He also became a part of the family of God through their influence. That’s the most important family of all! And it’s what makes Minnesota so special.

In just a short, ever so quickly passed week, I became apart of the Dunnick family through our shared Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. I belonged. Not that I haven’t always been blessed with belonging, which is why Pat’s story stirred my soul so much this morning. Not everyone does belong. There’s a world out there filled with loneliness, and praise God for missionaries like Butch and Pat who open up their home and hearts to the Charlie’s and Shari’s of this world.

They were People of Trade

Acts 18:1-3 KJV

[1] After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; [2] And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. [3] And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

God used the tent making to not only provide funding for the ministry, but likely to house it as well. Tent makers by trade, I can’t help but think they were the originators of the first “Old Fashioned” Tent meetings. I could imagine many a sermon coming from the illustration of those tents not being a permanent dwelling, nor are we to consider this world a permanent place, it’s anything but! We are just a passing through going to a far better land.

But far too many of us have set our tent stakes in concrete. Not willing to push ourselves out of the comfort zone we’re in to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God actually had to trick me to get me out of the religion I was in, and into a place of service. The number one question for any child of God should be “Are we traveling toward Heaven, or just hanging out at the station?” If you’re not moving, find another train.

Those tents were not only a temporary dwelling, they didn’t have a denomination associated with it either! While I’m a Baptist, by doctrine, I’m not fool enough to believe Jesus was a Baptist. There is but one church in Heaven and that is God’s church. Those who believe on the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ for their salvation. In Christ alone. No other way.

They were Ready to Persuade

[4] And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Paul, Priscilla and Aquila knew what they believed and were standing firm on that foundation in a place where their opinion wasn’t always welcome. If it were easy to persuade the world of their need for salvation there likely wouldn’t be such passion in the pulpits of soul winning churches, nor would there be such great opposition. Living your life in Christ is not a comfort zone, it’s a war zone.

My salvation was so far from anything I had ever experienced in the religious world, I knew I wanted to share it with everyone I met. Dead religion sucks the life out of you, but faith in Christ restores the soul!!! It pours Living Water into your life and causes you to overflow. When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus it was anything but religion. He knew religion… far better than I.  Paul was a good man, and there’s still plenty of good men in dead churches today. But when a soul is lit on fire for Christ, they become persuaders!

Being brought up in religion will do one of three things: It will either squelch your spirit till you are of none effect, cause you to leave church completely, or, once you’ve discovered the difference between religion and relationship with Christ, you’ll become a persuader. Paul, along with Aquila and Priscilla were persuaders. I know a persuader. I am one, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many, such as the Dunnicks!

They were Eternally Unswayed

Acts 18:5-6 KJVS

[5] And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. [6] And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

Paul was called out to serve the Gentiles. The Jews were rejecting his message and so it was that Paul knocked the dust off his feet and headed in a new direction.

When I met the Dunnicks, I was headed in a new direction with an old story. They encouraged my plight, with their deep passion for the things of the Lord. Like Priscilla and Aquila persuaded a Jew name Apollos, it’s my prayer that I, like my friends and biblical predecessors, am a persuader and I’m unswayed when this world comes against me.

Acts 18:24-28 KJVS

[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. [25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. [26] And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. [27] And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: [28] For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Let it be so!!! That we are convincing this world on it’s way out that Jesus is Christ is the way, the truth and the life! Apollos was helped out doctrinally by Priscilla and Aquila. We need to know the word, stand on the word and share the word. Glorrraaaaay!

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at or find her on Facebook!

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