A Daughter’s Prayer

I will be speaking at Covington Eastside Church of the Nazarene for their Mother’s Day banquet on Saturday May 7th.  Back in my Nashville days, I co-wrote a song as a tribute to my mother Christine. The song, called A Daughter’s Prayer, got a bit of airplay back in my hometown of Syracuse, NY. Written long before I became a mother, I get kind of teary-eyed and nostalgic whenever I get to sing it, especially since my own daughter is now away at school.

We have attached the original studio recording of a Daughter’s Prayer (forgive the Disney Princess sound) and you might want to get a tissue before you hit play!

A daughter's prayer cd cover 2016

Our next stop- Terre Haute, Indiana

Excited about our next ministry date!! Here is a quote from Larry Lilly, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Terre Haute, IN:

Pastor Larry and Joyce Lilly

Pastor Larry and Joyce Lilly

” When we played the DVD of GOMER for a few in our congregation there was not a dry eye. Mrs. Campbell has a rare testimony of God’s Grace and His enduring mercy.”

Check out the beautiful write up he did to promote us coming to his church April 10th. If you know anyone in the Terre Haute area, feel free to share.

read the entire article here

Philip’s Basket Skit

Thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite skits called Phillip’s Basket

(As taken from the four Gospels)

By Geraldine Campbell

Characters:  1 man, approx 40 yrs old or older (Adjust years mentioned in skit to fit age of actor)

Theme:  Stepping out in faith, trusting Jesus, God’s calling on our lives

Length:  approx 12-14 minute

Props and Costumes:  traditional Biblical costume, a basket

Setting:  Bethsaida in Galilee, approx 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The Stage is bare except for a large basket.  Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, enters, calling off stage…

 Don’t worry, don’t worry, we’ll find it!  Perhaps my grandson is too young for chores.  This morning, his mother sent him to pick up wool in her new basket.  A simple task. When I went to check on him later in the afternoon, I found him playing with some friends.  I asked him, was his mother proud of the job he had done by bringing her the wool?  “What wool?” he asked?  The wool in the basket, I said.  “What basket?” he asks me, with a blank look.  Oh boy.  Now I know we are both in trouble.  You see, it was I who encouraged his mother to give him some responsibility.  He is ready, I said!  Now, it is my responsibility to go and find the basket.  I forget how easily a child could forget what he was supposed to do.  (Philip spies the basket)  Ah, there it is!  (Philip picks the basket up and pauses)  Perhaps he didn’t forget.  Maybe he CHOSE not to do it.  I remember a time in my own life when I was faced with such a choice.

(Philip walks to center stage and puts the basket down)  It was a day much like today.  Same sunshine, same smells in the air, same sound of children playing in the background.  In fact, it was the same time of day; only a few more hours of daylight.  The only thing not the same, is me!  I had hair, and a little less around the middle.  It was almost 30 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I and eleven other men were following Jesus of Nazareth.  What an amazing and challenging time for all of us.  Since I was a child, I had held hope in my heart that I would one day see the Messiah, the chosen one of Israel.  My friend Nathaniel and I would talk for hours about the Holy Scriptures, and what they said about the coming of the savior, the one who would redeem us from our sins and be the final sacrifice.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6, 7)  I wondered what such a man would look like.  Surely he would be grand in stature, finely clothed, carrying with him wealth, and an entourage of servants attending to his needs.  I could follow a man like that.  For years I watched for men to fit that description, even followed a few, but every time I left disappointed, knowing in my heart that they were not the One.

Then one day, Jesus came by.  I knew him as Joseph’s son, the carpenter.  He was an unassuming and likable man, a bit older than me.   Jesus walked right up to me, a slight smile on his face, looked me straight in the eye, and said two words.  “Follow Me.”  I stood there, stunned.  Never before did two words make such an impact on me.  They went straight into my heart, and burned within my chest, my mind, my whole being.  I knew.  I just knew.  He was the one.  I ran to find Nathaniel, and I said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 3:45)  And so we followed.

I guess that was my first test of faith, to believe that the savior of the world would be a simple carpenter.

In the months and years that followed, we saw Jesus do many miracles.  When we were ready, Jesus even sent us out, and we returned to report back all the exciting and extraordinary miracles that we were able to do in His name.   Then, one day, shortly after we returned from our amazing adventure, we were on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a great crowd was following Jesus because of all the miracles they had seen him do.   It was getting late, and Jesus looked up and saw the crowd coming toward him, and he said to me, “Philip, where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  I looked back at him, my eyes wide with wonder, and I must admit, with fear.  I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind.  “Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have even a bite!”

Another of Jesus disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up and said, “Here is a boy with five barley loaves and two fishes.”   Oh great, I thought, that’s the answer.  Maybe if we throw it at them and run, we’ll have a chance!

But Jesus just said, “Have the people sit down.”  Good idea, bad news is better when you are sitting down.  He is going to tell them we are just going to have to be hungry.   That way, if they are sitting, and we are standing, we can get a head start.  Maybe we can get a way before they charge!

Then I saw an amazing thing.  Jesus also sat down, and took the loaves, gave thanks, and then distributed them to each of the 12 of us.  You feed them…. (Philip picks the basket back up)

So there I stood, crumb of bread and a piece a fish in my basket, and thousands of tired and hungry people in front of me.  Suddenly, I faltered.  My knees became weak, and I started to sweat.  All I could see was the impossibility of the situation I was in.  Inside my head I screamed, “Lord, give me more!  It’s not enough.  What you have given to me is not enough to accomplish the task that lies before me.  Why would you not give me what I need to do the very thing that you have called me to do?”  I don’t understand you!

I was angry.  You do it Jesus!  Why involve me?  You can do this miracle yourself.  Why don’t you just make the bread and fish appear before the people?  Why give it to me to give to them?  Are you just trying to make me look like a fool?

Maybe I’ve had enough.  This is just too crazy for me.  I’ve done enough, haven’t I?  I have followed you, Jesus, and believed in you, and I have performed miracles in your name.  I have even loved you.  But I have had enough.  I’m tired too.  I just don’t have the courage to take the first step toward the hungry crowd with the small thing that you have given me.  If you are going to do something with this crumb of bread, and piece of fish, I want to see it first.  I’m not going anywhere until you put something else in this basket.

I have the power to put this basket down and walk away.  It’s my choice.  Somehow, I know he’ll understand.  He will still love me, I am sure of that.  He’ll love me no matter what I choose.  I could go back to my old life and forget I ever knew him.

But I do know him.

That’s why he asked me.  He knew what he was about to do, and yet, he asked ME!  I saw with earthly eyes and answered him in my flesh.  I told him we didn’t have enough money.  In the flesh, money was the answer.  In my spirit, HE is the answer.  He wanted me to say, “Lord, this is a tough situation, we have nothing to feed these people, but I know who you are, and I know you can make something out of nothing!”

I have seen the sick healed, I have seen the lame walk again, and I have seen the water turned to wine, and I know WHO YOU ARE.

Suddenly, I felt the strength return to my legs, and what felt like a mighty surge of energy went through my whole being. Although I didn’t know exactly what Jesus would do with my basket, I picked my foot up and took a step forward.  I wasn’t quite sure, but I thought my basket had increased in weight, if ever so slightly.

I didn’t care though, I didn’t think about my basket anymore.  All I knew was that I loved him, and I wanted to serve him, and I couldn’t live my life in the shadow of what might have been.  I needed to walk forward.

I continued to walk towards the crowd, the excitement in my heart growing, my faith growing with every step.  I was consumed with thoughts of their hunger, their helplessness, and their need.  I realized they had need for more than earthly bread to fill their stomachs.  They had need for a savior to full their empty spirits.   What I carried in my basket would fill their temporary need, what I carried in my heart would feed them for eternity.  Jesus is the bread of life.

I didn’t even notice the tremendous weight of my basket.  As I reached the first group of people, the bread was spilling out onto the ground.  People laughed and ate, and with joy and amazement, the twelve of us began to gather back into our baskets all that was left over.  I caught Jesus gaze as I laid my basket down at his feet.  His eyes seemed to say, “Well done Philip.  Well done”.

I can’t imagine how different my life would be had I not taken that first step.

Well, I better get this basket back to my daughter before dusk.

(Philip turns to go, then stops and looks at the audience)

  I wonder… what has Jesus put in your basket today?

 

                                       The End

Property of In-Step Ministries

***All rights reserved, not to be used without permission***

 

Only the original purchaser is granted photocopy and performance rights

 

http://www.in-stepministries.com

Return to Valley Forge

Jesus wants to rewrite the end of your story.”

My pastor spoke about the woman at the well this past Sunday, and he explained how this sinful woman had an intimate and life changing encounter with Jesus Christ, which in turn changed her life story.  When I heard him say, “Jesus wants to rewrite the end of your story”, I couldn’t help but shed a few more tears over the events of this past week.  Happy tears.

As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to serve the Lord.  From birth, I had knowledge deep within my soul that I was set apart for ministry.

I enrolled in Bible College at Valley Forge Christian College in the fall of 1985.  My dream was to marry a pastor and serve the Lord using our gifts and talents to reach a lost world with the message of the Gospel.

I had broken off an engagement with a non-Christian young man and left the Theatre Dept of Syracuse University so that I could give myself and my life to full time ministry.  I did well in my classes, and was very involved in various ministries at the school.

The highlight of my time at Bible College was travelling with the drama group for the school.  I knew without a doubt that Christian Theatre was my calling.

In the summer before my senior year, I married a man who was studying to be a pastor.  I cast him in a lead role of a show that I was directing on campus during my Junior year.  He looked just like Tom Hanks, was funny, a good actor, and came from a very nice Christian family.  He reminded me so much of my dad.

We dated for a short time, and very suddenly, decided to get married that summer.  The deal was that since I had only one year left of school and he had two, I would go to school and he would work the coming year.  Then I would work after I graduated, and he would go to school.  After that, we would go into full time ministry together.  We were in agreement of this dream together.

As soon as we were married, things changed.  Gone was the charming Bible College student that I had married.  He immediately became withdrawn, and I prayed to God to help us, hoping his mood would pass.  He started smoking and drinking heavily, and announced that he had no intention of going back to Bible College and becoming a pastor.  In one chilling encounter, he told me that he would make sure I didn’t go into ministry either.  I had no idea at that time what he meant.

I tried to keep up my studies because I loved my classes.  I also worked two jobs.  I stayed as involved as I could in my voice classes as my first love had always been singing.  I knew my senior recital was coming, and I was so excited as I had just been awarded 1st place vocal scholarship.

I really believed that God could change my husband’s heart, and that this was only a test.

Then, suddenly, my life crashed in around me.

Right before my finals and my senior recital, my husband of only seven months announced that he had been unfaithful to me with an acquaintance of ours.  I was devastated.  It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.  One of the most painful aspects was that he said he was not sorry.  He did it on purpose, and he wanted to ruin everything I loved.

My heart and my spirit were absolutely crushed. Not only was I mourning the hurt and betrayal of a man who pledged his love for me, I also mourned the death of a dream.  He was right, I would never go into ministry.

I cannot go into the details surrounding this event, or some of the events that happened afterwards, but suffice it to say that I was walking around in a half dazed state of being.  I really just wanted to die.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I made it through my voice recital, but the joy of that event was completely stolen.  I managed to get through my finals with decent grades- again; the hand of God was with me and cleared my mind to take those tests.

Then came my graduation day, the day I had looked forward to for four years.

I did not have the heart to tell my parents what had happened.  They had helped put me through school and I didn’t want to ruin it for them.  The day was filled with pain and pretence and it was as if I were in a painful fog that I couldn’t escape.  I smiled for pictures and pretended to celebrate, but I hated my graduation day.  I threw all my graduation pictures away.

When I opened my leather diploma cover, it was empty.  When I went to inquire at the school, they said I had an unpaid school bill of several thousand dollars.  My husband was supposed to have paid that.  He promised.  We were both putting money away and he said he would pay it at the end of the school year.

Until it was paid, I could not have my diploma.

Adding insult to injury, he laughed at me when I asked where our money was.  He bought a car for himself instead of paying my school bill.  He never did let me drive it.

By the end of October following graduation, our marriage dissolved into a potentially dangerous situation, and my dad came with a moving van to get me and bring me home.

Back in Syracuse, I lived by myself and worked two, and at times, three jobs for several years of my life to pay off my school bill.  When I finally made the last payment, I asked for my diploma, but please put my maiden name on it.  Now divorced, I did not want a memory of that name.

This is where communication with the school broke down, and I just couldn’t fight anymore.  I was no longer living as a Christian, and I certainly wasn’t going into any type of ministry, so what did I need my diploma for?

Nothing.

For seven years, I lived in darkness, away from God and hating my life.  This is my life now.  I’m chained to sin.  What I had at Bible College was a nice dream, but that’s all it was.  It was silly of me to think that I would ever be useful in the Kingdom of God.  No Godly man would ever want me now.  There is no hope.

But then…

One night while I was alone in my bedroom, the presence of love filled my room.  I knew it was Jesus.  I had not felt the presence of God in a long time.

“But Lord, you shouldn’t be here.  Please go…don’t you know what I am?  Maybe once I could have served you, maybe once I could have loved you, when I was in Bible College, when I was a good girl, but not now.  Not after all I’ve done…”  I actually said these words out loud.

Instead of leaving, the presence of love grew stronger, and it is the only time in my life when I actually felt Jesus hold me.

And not in an audible voice, but in my heart I heard the words, “You are my beautiful bride.”

I thought, “How can you still call me that?”

“You are my beautiful bride.”

I fell on my knees, and in a pool of tears, told the Lord, “If you take me back, I promise I will use my gifts and talents to tell others that there is always a way back home.”

And that is exactly what I have done.

Now, years later, I have a wonderful, Godly husband who I married on Christmas Eve, 1999.  We named our first born child, a beautiful daughter, Mercy.  We also have a son named Christopher.  We started a ministry called In-Step Ministries, and yes, I travel around the country with the message of God’s redeeming love in a drama called “The Story of Gomer” from the book of Hosea.

Several weeks ago, I sent in a funny story to Valley Forge Christian College from my freshman year, and about what I do now.

The director of Alumni relations responded that she might like to do a little story on me, and would I be all right with a phone interview?

Rich and I had a getaway weekend planned months before at a place only two hours from the school around Labor Day, so how about we meet in person?

We met the director at her office, went to chapel and enjoyed our tour of the campus which had changed so much since I attended.  Alicia was so sweet and gracious as she gave us the tour, but it was hard for me to go back to a campus that I had once so loved, and I cried through chapel.

During our interview, I mentioned that I never got my diploma.  I thought perhaps I would inquire, pay any fee necessary, and have it mailed to me.

I could never have imagined what would happen next.  Dr. Don Meyer, the president of the College, asked to meet with us for a few minutes.  Since he was not the president when I went to school, I didn’t want to bother him.  It was so kind of him to want to meet us.

Rich and I went into his office, and he heard a bit of my story.  I shared my testimony, how I had come back to Christ, yet still after 24 years, my graduation day was a painful memory, and that I never got my diploma.

Dr. Meyer excused himself, and what seemed like moments later, came back in fully dressed in graduation robes, with Vice president of Academic Affairs Dr. Kevin Beery, also dressed in graduation robes.  Behind them came in a parade of office staff, holding my robes, cap, and the stole in the colors I would have had at my 1989 graduation day.

IMG 2544IMG 2545

I sobbed.

Although I could barely stand up after the shock of this display of love and kindness, the office assistants, along with dear Alicia, director of Alumni Relations, helped me get into my cap and gown.

Dr. Meyer and Dr. Beery recreated my graduation day right there in the President’s office, formally presenting me with my diploma dated April 30, 1989 with the name Geraldine Marie Stepien printed on it.

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I even said a little graduation speech.

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Joel 2:25 says, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” and in that moment that I held my diploma, I realized that God had indeed restored everything to me.

So Jesus really did rewrite the end of my story.

However, it doesn’t feel like the end.  It feels like the beginning.  It is hard to put into words, but it actually feels as though I just graduated from Bible College.

Maybe this is the start of something.  Only God knows.  Only the Lord knows the plans He has for us.

All I know is I am grateful for the Christ-like  and compassionate leadership of Valley Forge Christian College, and the next time I step foot on that campus, it will be to serve.

They gave me back my life and my dream, and helped me to remember once again-

There is always a way back home

Video of The Story of Gomer now on Vimeo

The Story of Gomer from Rich Campbell on Vimeo.

 

Live performance of The Story of Gomer, written and portrayed by Geri Campbell of Back to His Heart Ministries. Like an artist painting a picture, the show comes into focus scene by scene, and by the middle of the production, the audience is completely drawn in. So much so, that by the time Gomer is being sold on the auction block, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it is not Geri, not Gomer, but YOU who stands there, in need of redemption.

The Story of Gomer has been performed across the nation, reaching thousands of people with the message of God’s faithfulness and love. Adapted from the book of Hosea in the Bible, we journey with Gomer, a harlot lost in her sin until Hosea, a prophet of God, offers to marry her and redeem her life from darkness. Will she be faithful? Can she love him? Or will the pull of her old life be more than she can bear?

Join Geri Campbell as she takes us on a journey, not only through the ugliness of sin, but through the joy of freedom and newness that only faith in God and in His Word can bring. weaving Gomer’s story with her own, we are sure of this, there is always a way back home.

To book this show go to http://www.gericampbell.com

The Apron Wearing Servant

The following words were written seven years ago during my first year of working at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.  They remained true the entire time I worked there, eight years in total.  Of all that I learned, this was, and still is, the hardest lesson. Of all the blogs I have written, it has thousands of hits on our former site, so I am re-posting.  Apparently I’m not the only one who struggles with being a servant.

“Leaders are measured by how much they sacrifice, not by how much they gain.  When the will of God cuts across the will of a person, somebody has to die.  Leaders are meant to be losers-losers of ourselves and losers of our rights.  The best way to find out whether you really have a servant’s heart is to see what your reaction is when somebody treats you like one.”

–Elizabeth Elliot

Southeast Baptist Seminary

I hate my apron.  Well, that is to say, I used to hate my apron.  It is kind of an unusual circumstance that even brought me to a place where I was required to wear an apron.  As many of you know that have followed the Campbell family’s journey, we left Nashville a couple years ago so we could have “our best life now”.  From all the books we read, we were not living our dream because we were afraid to “get out of our comfort zone”, “afraid to step out of the boat”, etc, so we decided to get out of the boat and our comfort zone by quitting our jobs, leaving our home in Nashville, living by faith, and going full time with our ministry.  Now, I must say, if you look at the website of where Rich and I work now, (www.creationmuseum.org) you’ll see a nice photo of me, Geri Campbell starring in a children’s musical I co-wrote.  If you walk around the halls of the Museum, you’ll hear me singing in the promo on the hall monitors.  So, one would think, wow, they did make it!  They are living their best life now.  Geri is living her dream.  Life must be a bed of roses.   Some might even compare their lives with mine and think that they are not useful in the kingdom of God because they are not doing some great thing right now.  It is for this reason I feel I need to write the truth, or rather, the behind the scenes reality of Geri’s life.

Now, back to the apron…

Yes, I am on stage at the Creation Museum, but that is only for one hour a couple times a month.  The rest of my 40 hour work week, you’ll find me in guest services.  We have many different positions around the Museum from show host in the various theaters, to parking, to admissions, and added this summer, the café.  When I was hired into guest services, working in the café was not part of the job description.  I did wait tables in college, but that was many years ago.  Of course, being interested in acting as a young person and heading to college I heard, “You better have something to fall back on or you’ll end up waiting tables”, and “You better study hard or you’ll end up waiting tables.”  So, I lived my life with the understanding that if I did everything right, I could avoid this terrible fate.  And in my estimation, I did do everything right, so imagine my surprise when God put me exactly where He wanted me- not waiting tables (you get nice tips when you do that), but cleaning tables, for which you just get tired and dirty.

Two worlds clashed together this spring when we opened “Let the Rain Come” at the Museum.  All winter I had been taken out of the guest services department and given a desk on the office side of Answers in Genesis, and allowed to use my time to write the musical.   During our Creation Celebration week, we did the show every night, and I signed autographs, did newspaper interviews, and photo shoots with the guests.  Yes, for one week, it was a dream come true and I was thrilled.  The very next week, it was all over, and I was sent back to guest services.  I was given an apron, and my first day back, my job was to “take care of the dining room”, which was cleaning the tables, and also to hand out menus in the entrance, about 10 feet  from where I had just stood the day before taking photos and signing autographs.  As I stood holding the menus, I could barely hold back the tears.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to run away and never return.  I thought, “I don’t need this.  I can just quit and work on my own ministry.”  It was all I could do to stay that day and muster up a smile for the guests.

I have never felt as low as I have this summer.  I turned 42 this July. I should be a lot further ahead in my life than I am right now.  The voices in my head tell me, “You are better than this. With your experience, your education, your talent, you should not be doing this.  This is beneath you. Just walk away Geri.  All you have to do is walk away.  You have earned the right to have a better position than this. You have earned the right to walk away” Yet, there is a still small voice in side my heart that says, “Stay”.

Our preacher, LD Campbell, preached a sermon in the midst of my apron struggle.  He used the verses from the book of John chapter 13 where Jesus washes His disciple’s feet and instead of using the word “towel”, LD used the word “apron”.  (After all, it is the same thing- Jesus wrapped a cloth around his waist which he used to dry their feet-vs. 5)

Of course, the idea is we are to be like Jesus, and be an “apron wearing servant”.  LD said, “When you put on your apron, your carnal nature will fight you tooth and nail.”  It became clear- that was exactly what was happening to me.  LD’s commission to us as a church that day was, “Will you be an apron wearing servant?”  In my heart, I answered, “Yes.”

The amazing part of this story, to me, is that I realized one other aspect.  Something I have been missing many times as the Lord has tried to reveal himself to me.   We have worship songs in the church that contain the words, “I want to know you, I want to know you more…” words that contain the sentiment that we want to see Jesus, we want more of him in our lives, and that we desire to be more like him.  It’s true, we can read the Word of God, and we can know Him.   Then, there are also our life experiences that expound upon this knowledge in a deeper way as we realize the power and depth of the words of the Bible.  It hit me as I was sitting with a girlfriend the other day in her living room, sharing how I felt about something, that Jesus desires to share himself in that way with us.  I realized that the Lord was trying to show a part of himself to me.  He wanted me to know how He felt about being a servant. Matthew 20 vs. 28 says “The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give himself as a ransom for many.”  He wanted to reveal a precious part of his heart to me.  Jesus knew who He was.  He knew he had the power to walk away, but He was obedient to His Father and chose to be a servant.  He did it because He loved his father, and I know from reading the Word of God, he did it because he loved those people.  He washed his disciple’s feet to be an example, but he also did it because he loved them.  He died on the cross for our sins because we were lost, and he did it because He loved us.  He really did have a choice.  He could have walked away from being an obedient servant, but love brought him to the cross and kept him there.

I know that I have to wear my apron not only until I have a positive attitude about it, but until I WANT to wear it.  Until I love that guest enough to want to clean up after them, or serve them a good meal.  Until I realize it is a privilege to serve.  Until I can identify with my apron-wearing savior enough to say, “I know Him”. Until I know the day I take that apron off on the outside for a higher position, I never take it off on the inside.  Until I know there is no higher position.

So let this be an encouragement to you.  If you are not where you thought you would be in life right now, know there is a reason.  If you are being humbled, embrace it.  If God is taking your possessions and your status away, let Him.  He knows what He is doing, and if you let Him, He will reveal a part of His heart to you that you could never have known any other way.  Trust Him.

~ Geri Campbell