Monday, May 25, 2020

Dream # 3 -- A Green Tree -- A dream that needed to be written down.

Note:  I'm leaving this dream in unedited form, just the way it came out in my journal.  There are likely grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.  Maybe there are poorly worded sentences.  To me, as a writer, those things are important, but they really don't matter when what you are doing is writing down something God has communicated to you through a dream.  Dreams fade and sometimes you don't have a clear memory of what you saw.  Write it down anyway.  Trust God that you will either get down on paper the gist of what He was saying to you or, sometime in the future, He will flesh it out and fill in the details you missed.  Some dreams come in the nighttime while you are sleeping (and you have to get up and write it down at 1:00 am).  Others will simply come (as I believe this one came to me) as you are having your daily God-time, reading the Word, praying and worshiping.  For me, I sometimes think it is just undisciplined thinking, me letting my thoughts run down a rabbit trail.  Often that's exactly what it is, but don't be too quick to reject your dreams/thoughts as being trivial.  Unless it is clearly foolishness, write it down.  Then weigh it against scripture.  If need be, run it past a trusted Christian friend or an elder.  As you practice listening to the Holy Spirit in this way you will find your discernment growing and see more clearly the difference between a "flight of fancy" and a true communication that has come directly from God.  (Note: The dream is below, between the lines of asterisks.)


Wednesday, October 10, 2011     

A Green Tree

So, here is a little follow up on my last entry.  I'm not sure just when I saw this, but it was in the last few days.

The most impacting feature of the dream on the page opposite this (The Disappearing Feedlot) is that the dust of the field was absolutely lifeless.  This had been a livestock operation so one would expect to at least see some remaining manure.  Manure is unpleasant stuff, but there is life in it.  Yet there was no sign of it anywhere.  Just dry powder, devoid of life.  The follow-up is this:  I saw, in the middle of that dry, lifeless field, Jesus (and a couple of angels) planting a green tree.  He looked at me, grinned, and said, "See, I can do this!"  He was having great fun!  At least that's the impression I got.

This was a waking dream.  More of a spirit-guided imagination.  That made it suspect to me, after all, it is easy for one to let his imagination run away with him into all sorts of flights of fancy.  So, I have been cautious about latching onto this "dream", especially since I am grieving the end of Living Water Fellowship.  Yet it sticks with me.  And, it's just like Jesus to be having such great fun planting that tree!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just a note to say that I am even more convinced now that this "waking dream" was from the Lord.  The spirit seems to have planted it deep in my heart.

April 19, 2014

Besides the personal applications of this dream series, I believe it applies to America as a whole.  America is becoming "lifeless dust".  Jesus is planting a Green Tree in that dust and having a great time doing it.


 Here is what it looked like in my journal:

 Notice that the deeper meanings contained in the dream didn't come all at once.  The understanding was spread out over a period of time.  I have entries for some of my dreams that are literally years apart.  The Holy Spirit gives us revelation and reveals the meaning of our dreams in the timing He chooses.  It's a wonderful process that brings a rich fullness to both the things I have written in my dream journal and to my relationship with my Lord.

There is one other aspect of prophetic dreams, well, really about anything prophetic, whether it's something you receive yourself or the prophecies of scripture, that I'd like to relate here.  Prophecy is multi-layered.  For instance, when you look at these two dreams -- The Disappearing Feedlot and The Green Tree you see prophetic layering in action.  The first and most immediate meaning for Ruth and me that Sunday in October 2011 was that He was bringing our attempt to plant Living Water Fellowship to an end.  The followup in The Green Tree brought us hope for life and future when, in our grief at the end of our vision, all we saw was dead, dry dirt.  Jesus was planting a green tree in our barren field.  Not only that, but I accessed His joy when I saw it in His face and heard it in His laughter in that dream.  That joy, the joy of the Lord, eased our sorrow.  Yet, there was a greater meaning to this pair of dreams.  Both dreams speak to the state of our nation, America.  True life and all that is good is being hauled away from our land by the enemies of God.  Our rich and fertile fields are becoming dead, dry dirt.  Yet our Lord Jesus, the bringer of life, is here, full of joy, laughter and confidence, and is planting a garden in the midst of America's spiritually dead fields.  There is hope for us and our nation because our Lord Jesus is actively planting His tree.  He is planting a green and living tree in the very place the enemy works death. 

Let me end this post with an admonition.  Even if your primary gifting is not prophetically oriented, God will sometimes communicate with you through dreams.  Most of our dreams naturally happen as our brains process the day's events.  If you begin writing down dreams that you suspect might have more meaning than those ordinary dreams, you will find that God is faithful and will begin speaking to you in this way more frequently.  Your life with Him will be enriched!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dream # 2 -- The Disappearing Feedlot

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I promised you two dreams.  Here is the second one.  It came to me on the first Sunday of October, 2011 and that morning turned out to be the last meeting of our attempt at planting Living Water Fellowship in Butte.  Our son, John, had moved to Canada in June, hoping to get established in a job before his wedding, so Ruth and I were once again working alone.  We were becoming aware that we were reaching the end of our strength to continue, but I was reluctant to bring it to an end out of discouragement.  I didn’t want this effort to end on a negative note and had asked the Lord to give me positive guidance – even if that meant He wanted us to continue our (now seemingly futile) effort.  What follows below was actually a waking dream that came to me during my quiet time that Sunday morning.  Here is the description I wrote down in my journal:

In this dream I had been working with a ranch/feedlot operation, but the business had been sold.  When I came to work that morning everything had disappeared – all the livestock, fencing, buildings and managers were gone.  All that was left was a bare, dirt field of dry, puffy, powdery dust.

There was one large building left in the back of the lot.  The small house next to it came down as I watched.  The large building was being gutted and converted into some commercial activity.

Most significant was that all that was left was dry, powdery dust.  Even the manure was gone!  Feedlots are all about manure and it can’t just be hauled away.  Yet only dry, lifeless dust was left.  Even manure has life in it!  I believe this dream carries meaning that extends beyond the end of Living Water Fellowship, but for me that morning it became God’s indication that the church plant was over.  Our church plant had become a lifeless field.  Thus this dream became that positive divine guidance I was looking for.  After sharing it with Ruth we decided to let that morning be the last and so came the end of our vision.  It was bittersweet.  Bitter because we had worked so hard for no return.  Sweet because the burden was now lifted and we could seek a new direction.


The Lord gave me two follow-up dreams that helped convince me that this dream covers more than just the end of Living Water Fellowship.  I’ll share them in my next post.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dream # 1 -- An Empty (but Full) Airplane

Fall 2010

This dream was given to me at the beginning of our meetings with Living Water Fellowship and has special significance to that endeavor.

The Dream

I was the pilot of a small, private jet and was greeting passengers as they came up the boarding stairs.  What bothered me was that everyone getting on the plane was an angel.  There were no flesh and blood, 3-D people boarding.


I ran this by an apostle (from a neighboring city).  He is very gifted in dream interpretation and said the plane represented Living Water Fellowship, the church we were attempting to plant.  I was piloting because I was the pastor.  As it turned out the dream was accurate.  Most the time after we started holding regular Sunday morning services I preached to an empty room.  For a year we rented some space for the church (in a local motel) and part way through that year a local pastor shared with me how he had experienced the same thing when planting a church in a different Montana town.  He said that God had challenged him – was he willing, in obedience, to preach to an empty room?  My friend met that challenge and eventually his church plant took off.  The Holy Spirit took his words and slammed them down into my heart, so I chose to grab hold of that challenge, too.  In the dream the airplane was filled with angels and from that point on I had the sense that I was preaching to a room full of angels every Sunday morning.  It wasn’t an easy time for us, but it made something come real to me.  There are things that angels long to look into, but can’t.  By watching us – God’s images in 3D format – they see God Himself revealed.  Since that time I have meditated much on that concept and it has changed the way I look at the spiritual world and our influence in God’s creation.

 (Hmmm.……I was the music for every service, so I guess I was singing to those angels, too.  Now there’s an odd thought!   :>)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Prophetic Dreams

Actually, I’m going to share two dreams that punctuated both the beginning and end of the church plant, but before I do that I really need to explain a few things about prophetic dreams.  Right now I can hear someone saying, "Really, Pastor John, all this prophetic stuff is weird anyway, and now you’re adding dreams to your list of weirdnesses?"  Yeah, I know it’s strange, but it really is real.  I’ve already shared some dreams of the prophetic variety, but I really didn’t offer much instruction on how such a thing works.  Here’s a little help.

That God uses our dreams to share things with us is pretty well-established, both in scripture and in Christian life as it has been lived through the ages.  In Genesis, Joseph had two dreams that predicted the future and got him in hot water with his whole family (Gen 37:5-11).  Wicked King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in which God showed him the future (Dan 2).  Dreams (and visions) were part and parcel for how the Old Testament prophets operated and that phenomenon continued into the New Testament.  Joseph of Nazareth was guided by angels appearing in dreams on four occasions.  First, he was told to go ahead and marry Mary.  In the second dream he was warned that Herod was trying to kill baby Jesus and instructed to run to Egypt – fast!  Then, after Herod was dead, he was given the okay to return home, but when they got to the Bethlehem/Jerusalem area he had another dream that warned them not to stick around that area, but to go on to Galilee (Matt 1:20; 2:13,19,22).  Moving on to the Apostle Paul, in the book of Acts we are told of how, at the end of a long, dry, fruitless trek across Asia Minor, he was shown that God wanted him to preach in Macedonia (a country north of Greece) (Acts 16:9).  The Bible is full of dreams and dreamers to whom God spoke.  Now, ever since Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on all flesh (rather than just a select few as it was before Christ came) Christians of all stripes and flavors experience God speaking to them in dreams.  And not only Christians have dreams.  I have a friend (now with the Lord) who was converted to Christ through a (very odd) dream.  (He wrote it down in a tract that I included in the appendix of my first book Understanding the Prophetic Nature.)  I already mentioned King Nebuchadnezzar, a heathen by anyone’s standard.  God used a dream to reach out to him.  Testimonies are coming out of Islamic countries of people who went to bed as convinced Muslims and woke up in the morning as converted into Christians because the Lord appeared to them in a … you got it … dream! 

I’m not going to try to cover everything about prophetic dreams here in this post, but three questions need to be answered:  How do you tell the difference between a prophetic dream and the ordinary, too-much-pizza-last-night variety?  Why do dreams contain such weird imagery?  (For a good example of weird imagery scroll down this blog to find my post where I shared a dream God gave me about Butte.  People with animal heads?  Really?)  Finally, what do I do with this dream?  For the sake of keeping this post to a reasonable length I’m going to give quick and dirty answers to those questions, so keep in mind that you should do some independent study on the subject.

Question # 1:  So, how do you tell the difference between a prophetic dream and an ordinary, too-much-pizza-last-night variety? Well, the same way you walk every other aspect of your Christian life – by the Spirit.  Paul told us that if we want to avoid doing fleshly, sinful things we should “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).  We like to layer rules onto our lives to keep ourselves straight, but every time we do something like that we fall into the same mistake the Galatians made.  Understand this:  God is not pleased with rules-based living!  Instead, the entire New Testament portrays the Christian life as one that is led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, a lifestyle that stands in stark contrast to a rules-based lifestyle.  Discerning whether or not a dream is prophetic is no different.  Get quiet with God, settle back into your spirit and listen to what is being said there.  And don’t be too sticky about being absolutely certain you are hearing right!  You are under no compunction to shout your dream to everyone you come across (1 Cor 14:32).  Most of the dreams I’ve been given are unshared (except with my wife, of course).  I write them down and then wait on God to show me what He is saying.

Question # 2:  Why such weird imagery?  Well, think about it.  God is showing you things that have to do with heavenly realities.  Trouble is, we are limited in our ability to even see those things let alone understand them, so God uses imageries we can relate to.  They serve as a tool for Him to use in directing our thoughts.  It’s a lot like visual poetry.  He uses pictorial allusion and graphical metaphor, even pulling images from our own background, to help us “get” what He is saying.  Why do you think the book of Revelation is so full of so much strange and oddball imagery?  Because God, in order to communicate to us the truths He intends, put them in terms He could later, by the agency of His Holy Spirit, use to reveal great and awesome things to us.  God will, through His Spirit, use that weird imagery and the strange circumstances of your prophetic dreams to open up “great and mighty things that you know not” (Jer. 33:3). 

Question # 3:  So, what am I supposed to do with this dream?  I think it might, maybe be prophetic, but I really don’t understand it.  God showed me this, but what do I do now?  Step one is to write it down.  Even if you are still doubtful about its “propheticness”, write it down.  I have one of those blank-page journals you can buy at Walmart that I use to record my dreams.  No, I don’t understand all of them – but some have come more clear over the years since I first wrote them down.  Sometimes the meaning is crystal clear from the start only to be broadened as God shows me new things over time.  If you are puzzled about a dream and feel there is some sort of urgency surrounding it, sharing it with the leadership of your church body is a good place to start.  Go to your pastor or find an elder you relate with and describe it to them.  Yes, there is some risk in doing that, but that is how the Lord designed the body of Christ to operate.  And…practice makes perfect!  Be faithful in writing down the dreams you think may be prophetic and you will find your skills at discerning between prophetic/pizza dreams improving.  You will also find that, as you are faithful in this, God will begin giving you more of these dreams.  It’s an awesome way to interact with Him!

That brings me to my last point – whether it’s through a prophetic dream, a vision or one of the gifts of the Spirit, through Bible study or deep, intercessory prayer, God hangs around in our space.  He’s looking for ways to interact with us.  He loves to share life with us!  He loves to share His life with us!  The dream He gives you may not ever be intended for sharing with other people.  It may just be Him sharing with you, His friend, how He’s feeling and what He’s planning.  That’s really what this life we live here on this earth is all about anyway, isn’t it?

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Amos 3:7 KJV