Several years ago, Joanna and John Quintrell were vacationing on northern California's Mendocino Coast over Valentine's Day weekend when God interrupted early one morning with a decidedly unromantic message.

John was reading on the couch while Joanna huddled by the fire for personal devotions. She was reading the Good Samaritan story, which led her to muse about people who had been figuratively beat up and robbed in life.

"I had a strong sense of the presence of God," she says, "and a message from him: 'Take out a piece of paper. I want to tell you something new.'" Quintrell found herself filling up a sheet of paper as though by dictation. "I had never had anything like that happen. I knew it wasn't coming from me."

At the time, Quintrell served as executive pastor of Redwood Covenant Church in Santa Rosa, California. The words that filled the sheet of paper before her added up to something quite different from anything her church was doing:

Journey Center: Christ-centered spirituality, healing, and wholeness.

"I wish I could say that my response was, 'Speak Lord, for your servant heareth.'" What Quintrell actually said was, "Oh no!" loudly enough that her husband jumped up looking for a spider to squash.

"I'm sorry, John. Go back to your book. It was just God."

Time To Find A Guru?

Redwood Covenant, part of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination, has a mission to reach "sincere seekers and disenchanted disciples." It deliberately attracts bruised and wounded souls who find participating in church difficult. Quintrell's vision, though, was for the "spiritually thirsty of Sonoma County."

Troubled by the message, Quintrell had John read what was written. "This sounds like people in the New Age movement," she said. "I don't know ...

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