Friday, September 25, 2020

Prophetic Dreams

In our Wednesday Aglow meeting, we listened to Dutch Sheets talking about prophetic dreams. He said that God speaks to people in all sorts of ways, including through dreams.

I’m not sure whether it was his dream or someone else’s.  In this dream, he and a friend went to Colorado where there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They followed a path to get to the door. It went through an alley and someone told them not to go through the alley because it was full of jackals. They turned to walk around the building in the opposite direction. They had to cross a corn field. They were cutting a new path, a path that led to a harvest. 

The ways we used to do church don’t work any more, he said. It’s like an old wineskin. We need to forge ahead making new paths. We need to be careful to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading.We are heading into harvest.

A second dream featured a room, big enough to seat 5,000 people. Dutch and his friend were dressed in hospital scrubs. There was an air of expectancy about the place.  It was a place where births took place, not of babies but of ministries, miracles and signs and wonders. There were angels constantly bringing works to birth. It was a season for laying on of hands and seeing people move into the destiny God had planned for them. It was a “hem of the garment” season where people would touch us, unplanned, and we would impart to them transformation. We would simply shake another person’s hand and they would be changed. The earth, he said, has never before seen what is coming.  God is working to bring about a harvest.

That was those dreams. Stirring, aren’t they?

My dream last night was all about making soup. Joe and I were making soup. It could have been lentil soup. It was orange in colour. Someone tipped the pan over and we had to start again. We made the second batch and drove to an airport. The security guard would not let us through unless he got to taste the soup. It was delicious and he called his mates over and, between them, they finished off the soup. We started on a third batch and decided to make lots of it, enough to feed lots of people. We had offers of help and set people to choppng vegetables.  Piles of chopped vegetables covered every flat surface, the roofs of buildings, windowsills and door lintels. I was worried because I knew that the soup had to have a secret ingredient. There was a boy, a syringe and a blue car involved somewhere.

Prophetic? Maybe. It’s not an obvious meaning. According to one dream interpretation website – “Soup is a symbol of health, fitness and nourishment.”

Making soup in large quantities reminds me of the soup and sandwich Sunday evenings at the Manna House se used to partner in. It was an outreach project led by a local church group to meet the needs of people the Street Pastors met on a Friday or Saturday night. The soup and sandwich deal came with a Bible discussion and a time of prayer. Health, fitness and nourishment isn’t just for the body. It's for the soul too. Sunday nights were placed on hold with Covid-19.

Maybe making soup in such large quantities, enough to feed a lot of people, is a heart’s desire to meet the spiritual needs of people, to help them connect with God. He meets all needs. In Him we are made whole and we flourish. 

Perhaps in the early weeks of the lockdown, although we were not out and about, there was a sense that we were being looked after by neighbours. There was a keen sense of compassion. We applauded the NHS workers for the sacrifices they were making. A whole host of people signed on to help wherever they could. People looked after each other, and, yes, the virus was still the enemy, but there was a bright side to it. That was then, at the start and few a number of weeks. I;m not so sure that the community spirit is still thriving.

Is my soup dream prophetic? Maybe it is. How do I bring spiritual health, fitness and nourishment from a dream into the real world? We are all called to do church differently now, outside church walls. I think I start small. With the church family that God has placed me. I share what I know about spiritual health and fitness. I nourish them with what I learn as I study the word. Nourished, they and I head out into the world to speak wholeness to a broken world. We tell them. We live it.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Creating a Place for God

It’s a famous line, isn’t it? “If you build it and they will come.” The “it” was a baseball pitch in the middle of a maze field. The “them” were past heroes of baseball turning up to make good a lost chance for a young man. And it wasn’t a “they” anyway, but a “him” – a father that Kevin Costner’s character had too little chance to build a relationship with.

We were not quite in “Field of Dreams” mode yesterday in our Aglow meeting but we came close - Create a place for God and He will come. Perhaps God was checking I had got the message when I read these verses from Acts this morning.

“Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:30-31)

Let’s start with the Ethiopian eunuch. How did he create a space for God to come? In this day and age when people travel anywhere, it’s usually a mobile phone that holds their attention. I doubt that they are reading a Bible app. More likely they are scrolling through Facebook catching up with what is happening, or not, in the lives of their friends.

The eunuch created a space for God to come by reading the word. He wasn’t just reading the pages for information sake. He wanted to understand what he was reading. His heart, not just his mind, was engaged. The trouble was this wasn’t a train with Philip sitting in the next carriage. The man and his chariot were on an empty desert road. And Philip, at that moment wasn’t in sight.

Now, let’s move on to Philip. How did he create a space for God to come? In this day and age, it is hard to walk away from a successful project. Philip had travelled down to Samaria.

“When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:6-8)

There had been an incident with Simon the Sorcerer, but that was sorted. The church in the city was alive and vibrant and God called him away from it. Philip created that space for God by holding that church ministry in a light hand. He didn’t call it his own work or claim ownership of it. It wasn’t his space but God’s. In fact, his whole life wasn’t his any longer, but God’s. There was no argument or negotiation. He went. I think part of it was the knowledge that whatever was waiting, wherever he was going, was better than what he was leaving behind. Leaving the good to take hold of the better is alway part of God's plan. Philip’s desire to serve God created a space for God to come. I should be aspiring to be a Philip. To be trusted with such a task – I feel like Donkey in Shrek movie bouncing up and down and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”.Hopefully I get picked for the task not because I am the only one to volunteer, but because I am the best person for the task.

When the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah, he did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling, teaching him the scriptures. The Holy Spirit brings me to the word and reveals to me all that God would have me know. The state of my appetite is the only thing that governs how much I learn. But there are also people around me, people who know the word better than I do. Knowing and understanding God’s word is crucial. We need to use all of the aids that are available to us.

We need to know the word for our own growth and flourishing, but also for other people and the questions they ask. By searching the scriptures and seeking to understand what is written there we become a potential Philip to someone else’s Ethiopian eunuch. We create space for God to use us to meet needs. It’s not enough to have the answers but not be near people to listen to the questions they are asking. We also need to be humble enough to know where our own personal knowledge ends and start asking questions ourselves.

I want to be in the word, reading, seeking to understand it and learning how to apply it to my life. I must never stop being a learner, but I must also never shy away from being a teacher. I should be adding to what I know. Like the Ethiopian eunuch there must be a “Tell me, please” mindset. There must also be a “Philip…told him” willingness to teach. I have been placed in this particular Church-family both to learn and to teach. I learned from one wonderful lady that while I am aching to get it right, I must not forget that I am God’s child and revel in the knowledge that I am loved fully by God. Getting it right doesn’t always happen, but God never withdraws His love. And what I have I taught? A deep respect and love for God’s word is what transforms. There is, what the teaching world labels, a hidden curriculum - how you say something as much as what you say, how you respond to a host of happenings. People are harvesting a message through their senses.

I am a leaner.

I am a teacher.

I am creating a place for God to come.  And He comes


Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Grace puts into my outstretched palm
All things I cannot earn
Away from all the strength I own
She bids me gently turn

She has revealed my wretched state
And yet, all is not lost
For God, His saving mercy has
Into my life been tossed

Grace takes her pen and writes my name
Upon the Saviour’s hand
No condemnation chases me
Before Him, washed, I stand

His storehouse door has been flung wide
Grace bids me step inside
Abundant riches freely given
Are mine, as I abide

How blessed am I to know His grace
Held safe, His cherished child~
There’s nought, His favour I can earn
Through grace I’m reconciled