Historically, people stacked stones as a kind of monument to help them remember the time and place where God moved in their lives. For example, Moses built an altar of stones at the base of Mount Sinai to commemorate God’s covenant with the Israelites. And after crossing the Jordan River, Joshua was prompted by God to have 12 men carry stones from the middle of the river and set them up as a memorial, so that when their children asked about the stones they would tell how God brought them into the Promised Land. GOOD NEWS WANTS TO KNOW… If we still held to that tradition, where would you stack stones to remember an encounter you had with God and why?
I feel that my stones were gathered early on as God moved into my life when I accepted the Lord in a beautiful Pennsylvania church where our family of my youth and I attended. Through increased Bible Study and a journey of attending great churches, these stones were stacked and laid for a more intentional declaration of my faith as finally our Foundation Center for a Christ-centered giving ministry was planted. In 2003 I traveled with my husband, Doug, and our eldest son, Sean, for 5 weeks, 19 flights and over 4 continents to visit the numerous ministries we supported or were to support as the Lord drew us in. God spoke to us at every turn as His work and presence was illuminated to us in so many ways. It was truly a “monumental” experience as our younger son, Brett, and family have experienced on other mission trips and the alter of stones has been heightened. Now we stand at the alter Jesus built with resources He provided to serve God’s ministries as best we can. We are ever thankful for the gifts each precious ministry is giving to spread God’s Word and help His people locally and worldwide.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Virlee “Vee” S. Stepelton, Ministry Advocate
Jane and I have been blessed by several divine interventions in our lives where we would set up a memorial. One very clear moment where “God spoke” was in August of 1986 in a hotel in Rome. We had prayed for a child. God spoke to both of us: adopt. We listened and applied on October 1. December 17, 1986 we brought Jenny home and four years later, Will.
William “Bill” C. Davell, Director, Tripp Scott Attorneys at Law
My stones would be stacked high in the south parking lot of Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, California, to represent the very night that I pleaded to a God (who I didn’t really know) to save the life of my then-dying infant son. I promised in return to give my life to Him. God delivered a well-documented miracle that night; that same son is now 29 years old and raising a family of his own.
Blake Silverstrom, Executive Director, Heart2Heart Outreach of South Florida
Probably my shower. Not only do I visit there every day, but it’s also the place I seem to get the best ideas and pray the most.
Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting
If I were to stack stones to remember when God came into my life, it would be at the altar in the old church (now the school) at St. Coleman Catholic Church in Pompano Beach. The moment was when I received my Sacrament of Confirmation with my grandfather, John Joseph Mericantante, as my sponsor and this was the time when I connected with God, the church and life as a Christian man. My grandfather was my role model after losing my father and he spoke often of walking with God.
Chip LaMarca, State Representative, Florida House District 93
I was 16 years old and I was with my youth group at Christmas Challenge, a Youth Camp at Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, and I felt God call me into full-time ministry, and from that day I set out to answer that call. I remember going forward after the message and saying YES to the call!
Chris Lane, President First Priority of South Florida
My stones of remembrance would be stacked in Denali Park (Mt. McKinley), Alaska where three times God showed Himself mighty as He saved my life in the face of a charging male grizzly bear, in an avalanche and while hiking through an area of resting mother grizzlies. It’s where I realized God was real as I experienced Him answering the prayers of the pastor who took me on this radical expedition and where I received Him as Savior and Lord.
Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
Where would I stack stones to remember an encounter I had with God and why? I would stack them in my living room next to the place I read my devotional every morning while kids and wife get up and start their day … I’m always on the right hand corner of the couch near the sliding glass doors. Second, would be at the Jacksonville Jaguars football stadium where I volunteered for my first evangelism team at a Promise Keepers event. Third, would be the church I was baptized in, proposed to my wife in, married her in, and was ordained in and sent out. And Forth, would be the hospital that my children were born in. So, a living room couch, a football stadium, a church, and a hospital.
Dennis DeMarois, Executive Director, Gathering Palm Beach
This one is easy. We have been rebuilding Egbe Hospital (www.egbehospital.org) in the bush in SW Nigeria. – This project is impossible without divine intervention. As prayers have been answered in God sending volunteers, missionaries and donors, we have installed a metal engraved plaque on each completed building, and we built a large cement cross in front of the hospital that will be there for generations to thank God for many miracles, the safety and the provisions we have witnessed in rebuilding a large hospital to be a “Beacon of Hope and Healing.”
Don Campion, President, Banyan Air Service
Our family still practices this tradition by placing rocks on an “altar” right by our front door. Every time we come home, we pass by handwritten messages over the last four decades that remind us — God if faithful!
Doug Sauder, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
For me it would be a beach in Sebastian, Florida, where I accepted God into my life!
Fred Scarbrough, DVM, Founder, Scarbrough Animal Hospital and HOPE South Florida
The summer of 2014, Gail Stockamp invited me to join the join the Luis Palau National Women’s Prayer Team (NWPT) to pray for an evangelistic & City/serve outreach the Luis Palau Association was planning for NY and the tri-state area. As I had helped facilitate the prayer initiative for Beachfest with Luis Palau in 2003, I told her I would pray about it. After visiting my daughter in Colorado that summer, on a hike to the top of a mountain, I felt led to pick up a stone and cried out to God for wisdom and prayed Psalm 2:8. I brought the stone back, with a sharpie pen wrote Ps. 2:8 on the rock. A year later I took it to NYC and had one of the workers bury it under the stage where Luis proclaimed the Good News. This historic campaign reached 180,000 people in person through more than 115 events, 1,700 churches coming together in unity, 1.2 million reached thru social media, culminating in a Festival with Luis Palau in Central Park on July 11, 2015.
That night, with my 4-year-old granddaughter on my lap on the Great Lawn, we celebrated the “great harvest moment” – 3,673 decisions for Christ- Truly, a “monument moment.”
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” Psalm 78:4
Gita Santangelo, Community Prayer Partner
In 1998, in Minneapolis, I was invited to join a mid-size law firm. A few years later, one of my law partners launched a National Christian Foundation affiliate which had offices right down the hall from my office. This was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with NCF that eventually brought me to Fort Lauderdale.
JoAnne Larson Daudt, P.A.
Many years ago as I was walking through a challenging season in my life. I decided to devote myself to doing a half marathon as a way of not sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. As I was training every day, there was this blue jay that would show up. It didn’t matter if I was on the same route or not, that bird was always there. It was my constant reminder that God was near, not to worry. Now almost 8 years later this bird, and I do realize it’s not the same bird, has shown up whenever I have been really concerned about something or I had a big decision to make. God would put this blue jay in my path each time. Most recently I came home one evening and, although I left the window of my inside patio open ever so slightly, there was a bird sitting in my patio – just looking right at me. This time it was a white dove. So, birds have a special deep connection to me, as a reminder, God is near and He’s got this!
Linda Giambattista, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Taylor’s Closet
My encounter with God has always been through the Word of God. It is through His Word that the Lord speaks to me. Before I knew the Lord, I was having coffee with a friend of mine. As we were finishing and getting ready to head out, he asked me to wait for him as he had something for me. He left and returned shortly thereafter with a wrapped gift – it was a NIV Bible. Up to that moment I had never owned a Bible. That said, for years it sat unopened even though there were times when I felt un urge to read it. And then one day, when it felt like my life was spinning out of control, I opened that Bible to Psalm 25 and began reading it. As I did, the Presence of the Lord was such that I fell to my knees and cried out to God. My life has never been the same since. This “stone” has truly become “a lamp to my feet and a light my path” (Psalm 119:105).
My guiding scripture – “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph (as trophies of Christ’s victory) and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of God everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14 AMP).
Oksana Horton, Artistic Director, Revelation Ministries
I will build an altar of stones at my previous Atlanta address where our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus appeared to me in a vision in July, 1980. In that vision Christ Jesus reconfirmed my calling into the ministry when He worked on my tongue with an instrument in his hand and used his index finger to shoot an anointing into my forehead and said, “ I want you.”
O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center
I love the tradition of stacking stones representing an altar devoted to a place where God showed up in a big way in my life! A tradition I have practiced for at least the last 30 years…..and I can definitely remember VIVIDLY some times, places and events that prompted me to pile some stones and sticks together representing my ‘altar’ to thank God for His Faithfulness!
The altar I remember the most is when I walked forward at New Covenant Church, in Pompano, 32 years ago and at that ALTAR God ALTERED my eternal destiny forever!! THANK YOU JESUS FOR SAVING MY SOUL!!!!
Coach Rick Andreassen, Founder/President, SAINTS of Florida P.E. and SAINTS International Sports Ministry
I have laid down so many stones in my life as memory markers that I could build a wall! However, the most memorable ones were for those life changing events in my life were I saw God’s hand and blessings. These include my marriage to Candace 41 years ago, the birth of our sons, Dwight and Cam, working with my Dad in the law firm his father founded in 1925 and now working with my son Cam in that same firm and my nine years of service as a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner.
Romney C. Rogers, Managing Partner, Rogers, Morris & Ziegler, LLP
That’s easy. Look on my porch. I have a stack of labeled stones from the places I have been in my travels or special moments right here at home. The idea came from my hikes in Colorado where stones are stacked along the trails, where I feel His presence continually and magnificently.
Susan Kassing, Community Leader
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 12. Even when I wasn’t walking with Him, He had His hand over me. He has been with me all of my life and led me into ministry. I would set up 12 stones to remember when He opened my eyes to His amazing love. I would set those stones up right outside my kitchen window as a constant reminder of His faithfulness to me.
Tewannah Aman, Executive Director, Broward County Right to Life
I’d put a stack of stones at Holy Trinity Brompton in London. That’s true for several reasons, but one is that during a season of prayer at an Alpha Experience, one of their pastors began by saying, “I’m not sure why, but the Lord has laid it on my heart to read this verse by from the book of Exodus. And it doesn’t really seem to fit this occasion, so I believe this is for someone here who needs prayer.” Then he read a verse that I have on a 3 x 5 card that I had read pretty much every night (including the night prior to this) for 6 months leading up to that moment. It was God, in a very strategic moment in my life, saying, “I know who you are, where you are, what’s going on with you, and here is what you need to hear (and do).”
Tom Hendriske, Pastor, Rio Vista Church
I would place that stack of stones at the entrance of Theater #10 at the Downtown at the Gardens Cobb Theater, where we held our powerful “Christian on a Mission Pro-Life Movie Night” to watch the phenomenal movie “Unplanned.” I once again, bought out the entire theater – 160 seats – and every single seat was filled and the entire theater was totally filled with the Holy Spirit as Pro-Lifers came from all walks of “LIFE” (pun intended), to watch this incredible movie as One Body in Christ. I would have used “160” stones and would have been the one to cast the first stone if I thought I was steering people the wrong way when it comes to Protecting the Unborn and exposing the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.
Willy Guardiola, Christian a Mission