Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.
-Jesus, Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22
For a long time I thought these verses meant that we should pay attention to what the Holy Spirit was saying. That seemed pretty straightforward.
I also used to think the reason that God asked us to share what we’re hearing from the Holy Spirit with others was to keep us from being deceived. And I’m still sure that’s part of the reason.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the Holy Spirit speak to people from different backgrounds and locations about the exact same thing, weaving a tapestry of a message that could never be accomplished if only one person or even one church was the only one hearing what the Spirit was saying. It’s got me thinking that maybe God has something more for us in sharing what we’re hearing than just accountability.
I think there is a place where we can listen to the Holy Spirit ourselves, but when we bring together what we hear from Him, there is a richer, more in-depth, more accurate picture of what God is doing in the Earth. It only takes us being willing to listen with other believers, being willing to wait together to discern His voice, listening to what the Spirit is saying to all of us.
Who knows? Maybe God wants to weave what you are hearing from Him together with what He is speaking to others to accomplish more than you could ever imagine. Maybe, just maybe, if we begin to listen together, we can confirm and establish the reality of what God is doing in our day.
But it starts with us sharing what we’re hearing, together.
Are you listening?
Are you sharing?
Have I told you I believe in dreams?
A few weeks ago I had another dream. It’s been a little while since I’ve had a dream I felt was significant enough to share. This dream was both significant, and, in praying it over, I felt like the Lord directed me to share it as broadly as I could. So here goes.
In the dream I was in a home that I remember from my childhood. It was in a small town with a very religious background. I was meeting with a house church in the home and two people who I know currently were meeting with the house church. This couple is older than me and I love and respect them both personally and in the Lord. However, in real life, several years ago, they were hurt by the church that they were part of and since that time have not been active any church, house church or otherwise.
We were sitting in a circle in the living room of this house talking about different things affecting this house church. The time was late. It was definitely dark outside, so we were probably meeting at 9:00 PM or even later. This wasn’t our normal time to meet. In fact, in the dream I knew that there had been a last minute re-arranging of our meeting time in order to make sure that everyone who was a part of our fellowship could be at the same place at the same time.
The problem was that it caused pain for some in our house church, particularly the wife of the couple I described earlier. This was compounded by the fact that I hadn’t done a great job at getting the information to everyone in a timely manner. My poor communication had caused people to make sacrifices to be there and it was inconvenient. As the conversation became more awkward, there was a knock at the door. That seemed odd because of the hour of night it was. I went to open the door and when I touched the knob, I woke suddenly from the dream.
Immediately after the dream ended, though, I had a sense of urgency that alerted me that this dream was from the Lord. Two verses immediately came to my spirit:
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
As I’ve prayed about this dream, I feel like it has serious consequences for the body of Christ. We are currently in a season when many people are walking away from the body of Christ and are trying to pursue Christ apart from other believers. Many share frustration with the politics and hurt they’ve endured from the body of Christ. And in many ways, I’m sympathetic toward their complaints.
But we are coming into a season where in the Earth where it will be crucial to be a part of the body of Christ in a true and connected way. And this will require us to love each other in ways that will be inconvenient. We (like the house church in my dream) will need to be intentional about meeting with other believers, even if it requires great sacrifice. While this is not the full scope of laying down our lives, it’s the initial step. It’s hard to lay down your life for another believer if you aren’t willing to be inconvenienced for their sake.
But I feel like their is a promise in the dream: For the people and churches willing to love one another and lay their lives down for each others, there will be others (the knock at the door in my dream) who will begin to see us and understand that we are the true followers of Jesus. This will be part of (but certainly not the only) way that we will reap the great harvest.
Friends, the days ahead will require us to be a part of true fellowship. This true fellowship will be costly. It will mean going out of our way to include each other. It will mean giving up our safety and preference to include others. But the reward at the end of the day will be a life full of love that is noticeable to the outside word. Some will see it and hunger for the reality of Jesus in our midst.
Will you join us? If you’ve left the church because of hurt or disappointment or fatigue, will you surrender your rights to Jesus and join a fellowship where you can lay down your life? If you haven’t left a church, but have kept your life as your own, will you surrender yourself to Jesus at a new level and lay down your life for your brothers and sisters? I guarantee it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
A month ago, I had a dream.
In that dream I was walking through the downtown, urban section of a city. I came across a storefront church. It was bustling with young, urban attenders that were very much of the hipster variety. Everything about this church had the buzz of “cool.”
After hanging around for a while with people I didn’t know, I found out that the person I was hanging with invited me to preach but I was totally unaware. The leader of this church had asked me to preach on servanthood, but he was wanting a message on servanthood so that he would have an easier time recruiting people to serve the ministries of this church. He had no interest in servanthood as a value in the Kingdom.
From the front of the building, we walked into the sanctuary with the pastor and his assistant. The sanctuary was actually a stadium-style ice rink. The pastor asked me to sit in the highest row, which is where he spoke from, but the worship of the meeting actually took place at the bottom of the stadium out on the ice. As the worship progressed, I began to realize that this church’s worship was a very detailed production/show and that everyone was dressed very formally. There was an orchestra, dancers and because an ice rink was central to this church, they even had ice skaters. Somehow I had ended up in dressed in a suit but had no shoes and was feeling very awkward about it.
Then suddenly towards the end of the “worship time” it became clear that the ice rink was melting. But it wasn’t just the ice in the rink at the center of the stadium that was melting, but the whole building. Unbeknownst to me the entire building was made of ice and was beginning to melt. The stadium seats, the floors, and even the walls were melting and cracking. It disrupted the whole service and we could not continue. I woke up with this phrase on my spirit: “The frozen church is melting.”
Interpretation: I believe that this is a warning to the church, particularly in the West. The church built on entertainment, cultural relativity, and business values will begin to come undone. This will be in large part due to “atmospheric change” that the church in the West will find itself in. I’m unclear about whether this will come from greater hostility toward the church from society in general or a greater intensity brought to bear on the church by the Lord Himself, resulting in more fervency in the body and a rejection of these values. But one thing is clear: a Christian organization built on man’s organizational values that feeds a consumer mentality in the body of Christ in order to further the success of one or two leaders will be a recipe for a “melting church.”
Hebrews 12:26-27: “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.”
Application: The call then, based on all of this, is to repent. We need to repent of those areas where we’ve been working for our fulfillment and notoriety instead of the Lord’s glory and the advancement of the Gospel. We need to reject human leadership values and church structures based on marketing principles and not God’s word, even if you can vaguely construe Scripture to justify your approach. Go back and do the things you did at first when Jesus was your first love. Begin again to follow Jesus, listen to His voice, and look to Him and His word for how you and your church can begin to follow Him based on what He values.
Now: Do you see anything in the interpretation or application of the dream that I missed? If you do, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.