“And in that last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” Joel 2:28 as quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17.
Disclaimer – for a variety of reasons, it seems that pastors need to be the most careful when they want to be vulnerable, honest, and open. Primarily it’s because people take things the wrong way and tend to do the wrong things with what has been shared. Things tend to be taken personally when they aren’t intended personally, and/or they are used as ammo later on. I’m going to do my best to be clear about what I’d like to share and who this is for. This is for me. It’s not about anyone else but me and Jesus. That being said, here we go.
Over the course of this past Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights I had a series of dreams. I imagine that I dream as often as the next person, and I don’t usually think much of them. But these were different. Not because they were especially vivid or unusual, but because of my immediate reaction to them. I usually forget about them unless they were funny or the other people in them made me mad. (Ever have that happen and you see them the next day and you’re just mad at them? Weird.)
With these three dreams I woke up immediately, fully awake, and felt compelled to ask, “Lord, what did that mean?” I don’t normally ask that. I probably never ask that. And the thing is, I think I got an immediate answer to each. This has never happened before, so far as I can remember. I know of others who say this happens to them, some are sane and some are weird. Since scripture says that this can and indeed will happen, then I’m open to it. I’m not saying that these are “thus saith the Lord” because, if I’m on the right track, these aren’t prophetic in the sense that they are for anyone else else but me. They did speak to me where I am at now. Since hearing these things from others can be encouraging, I thought I’d share them here.
Lemme esplain. No, there is too much to esplain. Lemme sum up. I’ve been at The Exchange Church for almost four years. I want to see God move in such a way as I’ve read about in scripture and heard about from others. Meaning, I want to see Him reach people through people. I want to see souls saved and made disciples in my community. It would seem that the Lord has used me to be a planter and waterer in the places He has had me. Those things are important, I understand that. But I want to be part of a harvest of souls and it just isn’t happening. (This is where the disclaimer comes in.) I am in no way disappointed with anyone in the church. That is not what I am trying to express. If I am disappointed with anyone it would be myself. If I were to be brutally honest, and this is an emotional response to things, I am disappointed in God. “Blasphemer! Heretic!” Yeah, I know, I’m right there with David. I am not accusing God of being slack in anything, my heart is simply desperate to see Him move and He isn’t moving, at least not in the way I hope to see, at least not yet. That is the emotional/spiritual context of me as of late. I was really feeling this Saturday going into Sunday, which is when the dreams began. With that in mind, here is my suite of dreams.
Oh, by the way, when I dream it’s TV-show style. I don’t dream in the first person, I dream in the third. It’s as though I see things, including myself, through a camera. Multiple cameras actually, one cutting to the other. The good thing is that there are no commercials. But if there were, I’m sure I would enjoy them and buy the products.
Sunday Night – Dream 1, The Garage
I’m in a mechanics garage, almost like a quick-oil-change kind of place. It’s dirty-ish, parts and boxes are lined up on the walls. A couple of other people from church are there and they apparently work there with me. They are off to the side talking about something. It’s pretty clear what we do; we work on cars. Being as ADD as I am, I get easily distracted. Something came into the shop that interested me and I got involved with it, which meant I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be about doing. Now, there were no cars to work on at the moment, the other workers weren’t working at that moment, but the thing that came in had nothing to do with cars. It was a distraction.
The Interpretation – As I said before, I felt compelled to ask, “Lord, what did that mean? Are you trying to say something to me?” Immediately, it’s as though I heard a voice in my head say, “Yes.” This is what I believe is the meaning. I have let myself get too distracted by other things that interest me. Things that can be used for ministry, things that can be used for God’s glory, and in our church, but they are not the things I should be about doing. I won’t get into what specifically I think that they are. It’s enough that I have a pretty good idea. Hmm. OK. I can receive that.
I had a lousy Monday. I was just in a very cranky, negative place. Ask Jess. No, wait, don’t. I felt I had a horrible Sunday. I felt like quitting, again. Again, not because of anyone in the church, but because I wanted to see God move, and he wasn’t moving. I woke up irritated and I went to bed irritated.
Monday Night – Dream 2, The Store
I was working in a small electronics store in a mall. I believe the store was mine, I was the owner/operator. The mall was open and people were walking by, but no one was coming in. Not a one. I got bored, needed to stretch my legs so I left the store (wide open and no one else there, stupid I know). When I came back there was a line of people at the cash register, all waiting to buy something. I got to the front and tried to help the first person. For some reason I had a hard time reading the numbers on the item and I couldn’t work the cash register correctly. The person was very patient with me. While I was doing that someone collapsed in the hallway outside the store. Even though I had this long line of people I knew I had to go help this person. I ran out to help him. As I started to check him over some first aid people arrived and took over. I went back to the store and all the people were gone. I remember being very angry and throwing something. I lost all my business because I went to help someone in need.
The Interpretation – Again, there was this urging to ask what it meant. The answer was short and simple; there can be a high cost to doing the right thing, and I need to accept that. Crap. Great. OK. I guess I have to accept and receive that.
Tuesday begain with a bit of an emotional hangover from Monday. I came into the office and dug into some emails. I vented a bit to a couple of trusted ministry friends via email. By lunch time the mood had lifted. I’m sure it was the Lord because it was no doing of my own. So Tuesday wasn’t so bad.
Tuesday Night – Dream 3, The Recall
Before I went to bed I read about three chapters of a new Star Wars novel. (grin) That night I dreamed what I read, plus a little extra. There was a Star Trek: The Next Episode that had some very similar elements. This episode aired over 20 years ago. (frown) These two scifi superpowers merged into one dream in very fine detail.
The Interpretation – When I woke up I was thinking to myself, “Precious, the last two nights kind of made sense. But what could this possibly mean?” So I asked, “What could this possibly mean?” And again, immediately and answer came. “What you put in is what comes out. You need to spend more time in My word.” Short, and simple. Wow.
That’s not to say I can’t ever read anything but the word, but the point is well taken. When I have to memorize something it’s very difficult. Instead, I remember by repetition. Not forced, pressured repetition, just casual. I watched that old episode of Trek many, many, many times in the past. And it stuck. I can play songs from pep band on my trumpet to this day that I haven’t played in 20 years. I do know parts of scripture that I have gone over many times. But if I spent more time in the word, even casually, I would know it much better.
1) Don’t get distracted, even by things that are beneficial. Do what I am here to do. B) There is a cost to doing the right thing. Accept it. Work with it, not against it. 3rd) Saturate myself in the word. Not for study but for life.
There you have it. I’m going to pursue these things assuming they are from above. If this is how He has chosen to address my desperation then I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. If it wasn’t from Him, it’s still sound advice.