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Northview Stories J K Stewart's Story: God's Miracles Abound

April 16, 2021

J K Stewart's Story: God's Miracles Abound
By Matt Lamb

J K Stewart is not a bird.

See, birds don’t worry about tomorrow. They let tomorrow do its own thing. But birds don’t have a mortgage and they certainly don’t run their own web design business hammered by a pandemic.

To say that J K Stewart is interesting doesn’t quite capture it. He’s a man that, unlike many, has found a way to appreciate the process of God working in our lives. I had the chance to sit down with J K Stewart, a member of Northview Church’s Carmel Campus. We talked about his journey over the past couple of years and his experience with Miracle Prayer.

Miracle Prayer is a prayer format used at Northview. This can take place the end of service with a call to come forward or in the many small group sessions organized by the church. The purpose is to bring people together to seek God through prayer.

One of J K’s first experiences with Miracle Prayer at Northview came in the form of someone being shot in the head.

The Stewarts had a friend in their Life Group who is a former police officer in California. (Life groups are small groups, organized by the church to help bring people together. The focus of life groups at Northview are connection and community building.) In the Stewarts’ Life Group, their friend shared a story about one of his fellow police officers being shot in the head while on duty. After participating in Miracle Prayer for a few months, the Stewarts kept checking in on the friend of a friend. One day the great news came back that the police officer survived the shooting and is doing fine.

I asked J K what impact that had on him. Stewart recalled that at first, Miracle Prayer was a little intimidating. But after hearing the story and recovery of the police officer, he said it gave him a little more confidence. “At first,” Stewart remembers, “it was a little intimidating but after that, I thought, ‘Oh man, I can do that.’” As Stewart’s confidence began to grow, he saw even more of God’s presence in the process of Miracle Prayer. Said Stewart, “I mean what other miracles are there? Every single time, God has come through.” When asked how the story served as motivation to further engage Miracle Prayer, with a little tongue-in-cheek he tells me: “If God can save a guy’s life in California that I don’t even know, it can’t hurt.”

J K is already a pretty humble person. Immediately likeable. The kind of person that if he shows up on your Operation Serve team, you’re in for a good day.

The story of the police officer being shot had a profound effect on Stewart. What struck me most was that J K immediately remembered how the experience made his troubles seem a little first world. “Then next time we went up,” he told me, “We didn’t have a car, and it seemed so insignificant compared to a guy’s life that’d gotten saved.” Is J K Stewart humble? Is J K Stewart able to see God’s power? Asked and answered.

But John 16:33 usually makes an appearance in these sorts of things. J K runs his own business with his wife, Megan. I asked how the pandemic had impacted that effort. Revenue had been cut by 50%. This meant the family had to make some sacrifices, and most notably, they had no car. The leases ran out on the cars they did have. “Really weird timing,” said Stewart.

Cue Miracle Prayer. The great thing about Miracle Prayer at Northview is that it comes with no judgment. All needs, great and small are given to God. The Stewarts were in need of reliable transportation. Two small kids. A business to run. They needed help. Instead of wringing hands, the Stewarts chose holding hands. In prayer that is. They gave it to God. Turns out God is on Facebook. After Miracle Prayer, J K was checking Facebook. He noticed a van in their price range which, according to Stewart, had great safety ratings (remember: two small kids). J K called the guy with only $1,000 dollars to spend. The van listed at $1,300. Knowing he only had a grand, J K first asked about the van, not the price. With no negotiation from Stewart, the poster just offered, “I can do it for $1,000.” Ever read Matthew 10:20?

During Miracle Prayer at the conclusion of the service, the actual prayer came from Doug Starkey. And, the ask matters. Why? Because He listens. Think, Jeremiah 29:12-13. The language from Starkey was that the van “last for years to come.” Stewart remembers thinking, there’s no way this 2005 van from Facebook is going to last for years. Stewart reflects, “It was definitely God pulling strings and considering things I never thought about, especially to keep my kids and family safe.” Spoiler alert. Three years later, the streets of Carmel never had it so good. Perhaps, Starkey has an in on some ice cream that won’t make me fat, you know, for years to come.

Keep in mind the Stewarts were still running their own web design business. With revenue challenged due to COVID, the bills still kept coming in. J K took a call from a former client, asking if he knew anyone with a particular set of skills. Her original request was for a web page redesign – right in Stewart’s wheelhouse. But, she was also networking to see if he knew anyone with marketing and project management experience – right in God’s wheelhouse. Stewart didn’t yet meet all the experience requirements but, like most things, it’s about relationships and the most important one is ours with God. J K was offered the position. The new job, like the minivan, became an unexpected blessing for the couple’s financial health as well as their stability.

Stewart and I talked about how the “thing” is more than an object and is really a value. The minivan, the job, both Miracles. But they are more than just a minivan and a job. You see, sometimes the “thing” is just a medium through which a blessing (or miracle) does its work. The van provided what the family really needed, safety and stability. Stewart is generous by nature. He talked about the new job being a blessing because it has allowed him to help other people and to see God’s work in his life. Stewart’s words capture this perfectly. Through Miracle Prayer, “you can see God’s portfolio of work.” And I was worried about ice cream.

What’s interesting about stories is that we often confuse them with narratives. The habit is to use them interchangeably. Yet, there’s a difference. Narratives, like you and me, are made up of a collection of stories. Stories have the familiar ingredients of characters, plot, rise and fall of action. But stories end. Narratives are ongoing; they’re more of a process – a work in progress.

The idea of stories being pieces of a journey became clearer as I spoke with J K. You see, J K has dealt with mental health challenges – specifically, depression and bipolar disorder, his entire life. Stewart has fully embraced working on his mental health as part of the journey of becoming himself, a whole person. He spoke about how this connects to Miracle Prayer as all part of his journey with God working in his life. Stewart sees opportunity to talk about mental health in Christian circles. When asked about the value he perceives in the connection of such experiences, Stewart says it best: “There are no words. I can definitely see the value in all of it, but God definitely made that happen. It unbelievable from where I was to where we are now and how much we’ve been blessed.

Stewart reference Pastor Steve and his saying that God will take different parts of our experiences and weave them into a great story. Stewart connects this with being adopted at a young age. He said, “I think about that quite a lot. I may have been adopted by another family. God put me with my family for a reason. I really appreciate the path that I’m on because of that.” It’s clear God has a plan for J K and the Stewart family. As J K said, we don’t always know what that plan is but “I can appreciate how God has used the low points of mental health and low points of having no money and worked it together for my and my family’s good. And, because of that I have a lot more peace knowing that the plan is there, and I just have to follow it, moment by moment.”

When someone says it better than you can, let them. As Stewart says, “it’s incredible.”

Maybe we all should be more like those birds. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27)

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