Last night Douglas and I were discussing that we both have been noticing that at church, Wellspring at the Cross, we have been talking less and less about the things the Lord had been speaking to us about when the church first began. In that first year the Lord was calling us to practically move under His headship in numerous ways. He was revealing through dreams and vision, in prayer and His Word, very specific ways to recalibrate to His headship. As we obeyed miracles happened. We were told to move into a small vacated church on French Road and when we sought it out the owner did allow us to move in and the previous church that met there gave us all of their unneeded items, pews, tables, chairs, the pulpit, which we desperately needed. When the building was scheduled to be torn down we were told by the Lord to move to what we had been calling the Big Room building over in Combined Locks. When that miraculously happened we were told the five ministers would come to fill the leadership structure the Lord was asking us to build for the church as seen in Ephesians 5. All five came. The list goes on and on and as these events were taking place and we were watching God do these great things He was asking us personally to “flush” the defilement that we had learned in the “Citadel” structure of church life and lay down our own “armor” to take up his. He was leading us into a new way for us to do church which was really the old way, the biblical way. The Body of Christ had strayed from organic Spirit led church into what He was calling the “Citadel”; man’s way of doing church built from their own man made “vision”; which had turned the church into a corporation instead of a vibrant Spirit led church. All of this included what He was calling a “Spirit designed church” and we talked about it often and prayed about it often. But as time was passing and normal troubles were coming we had begun to allow our focus to shift to all of the other things church was demanding and Douglas and I were noticing the movement and feeling the pressure.
After we talked I started thinking about why I had moved away from allowing His leading to be like that. I started to feel heavy conviction even as my mind wanted to fight and give excuses and explain. As I realized this sort of argument was happening inside my head I stopped and thought, hey the Holy Spirit is convicting me here. That gave me hope because it meant that God also was noticing and that He was about to do something about it. Real growth and freedom always come on the other side of repentance and as I allowed the Lord to go ahead and convict me I began to consider the seemingly small ways in which I had sort of moved God to the passengers side seat. The thought of how easy that had happened frightened me and made me aware of just how comfortable I am with not allowing Christ to be my head. But beyond that how I actually believe that I am responsible to get things done and how that drives me under my own headship.
As this conviction set in I began to repent and apologize and own what I had been doing and then asked Him to help me. Later when Douglas and I went to bed I started thinking about it again. Lately there seemed to be so many hurtful problems arising and as I laid down and started thinking them through again I thought ‘I better pray’, so I took Douglas’ hand -he was already sleeping -and began to pray seriously about it all. I was asking the Lord again to forgive us for our complacency in this area and asking Him for His help. As I fell asleep I began to dream in way that I couldn’t tell if I was sleeping or awake. In these kinds of dreams I can think and ask questions and reason and as this occurs I realize that it is a dream from the Lord.
Testimony in the Parking Lot
The dream began with me being at work. It seemed like a mill and I had worked there for a while. I was standing in a well-lit large room with big equipment, thinking about a particular story- a testimony- that I wanted to tell two people that I worked with. I was thinking about going into the break room to tell them when I heard a voice from behind me on my left side tell me that if I would ask Him when to share it he would set it up. So I asked. He told me to wait until after work and go out by the fence in front of the parking lot and begin to tell it. So later I went out there but no one was there. It was nighttime; late. And no one was even in sight. “Begin” he said so I did even though I was alone. As I started with setting up the details of the story, kind of laughing because this seemed very weird to be telling no one a story, four people from the parking lot and three people from inside approached.
“What r u doing?” the people from the parking lot asked as they approached. “Who are you talking to?”
So after I finished my description I explained that I wanted to tell two of this four this testimony because I felt it was from the Lord but He asked me to ask Him to set up the circumstances and I did. I told them that He told me to come out here and to just begin telling it and that He would set it up and u guys all came up right after I started. We were all sort of laughing and amazed. By then all seven were standing listening really interested and two more men were coming in from the parking lot. They were all excited to hear now because they felt this testimony was specifically for them and that the Lord had set it up for them to hear. It became a testimony in a testimony. And I could tell that they were being deeply impacted and were going to talk about this with their friends. As I was considering how asking the Lord had exponentiated the effects of sharing the testimony I realized that I was awake. I heard the Lord’s voice again behind me on the left say to remember this dream, to think through it so that when I wake up I will remember. I was thinking am I awake? Was I awake, but went through the details of the dream anyway.
Preaching to the Other Congregation
As I concluded going through the details in my mind another dream began. In this dream I was taking a seat beside Douglas in the back of our church. As I was sitting down I was saying, “Douglas why did these guys ask this man to preach? He is practically a heretic. Do you realize what this guy is preaching to his congregation? And now he is going to preach here??” Douglas seemed to be concerned but didn’t respond. The Lord spoke to me then again from behind me on my left side. He told me again to ask Him to set this up. I have no idea why he was using the phrase ‘set this up’ but I knew He meant to ask him to have His way in the situation and not try to fix it myself. He then said that it would be me who would preach and that He wanted me to preach an ‘Easter Message’. For me ‘Easter Message’ meant to bring the people through the death and resurrection of Jesus focusing on who He is and what He has done for us.
Just then Douglas said, “Man this guy is late.” I noticed that people in the congregation were talking to each other and looking around like getting restless about how late it was. I took this as my cue to get up and preach and then simply tell the invited neighbor preacher that he had been too late and that I needed to start. But as I stood up the Lord intervened again and said to wait. So even though it was getting uncomfortable I sat back down.
Just then I heard some ruckus in the parking lot and a few, maybe five young guys came into the back of the church. One was saying that the service hadn’t started yet and they seemed amazed by this and he ran back out into the parking lot and yelled for the rest of the kids to come in. These kids were just returning home from a retreat and were pumped up and excited about the Lord. Some were from our church but most were from other local churches. The kids understood our delay in the service as a sort of sign from God that they were supposed to stop and attend. They were all happy and quickly coming in to take their seats. We had run out of chairs now so I asked these five guys to go downstairs and get more chairs.
As they set the chairs up and the kids took their seats, some going in front of the chairs and sitting on the floor, the neighbor preacher came dashing in. He was sweating and looked really pale. He said, “Joie! Joie! I am so sorry that I am late. I have been rushing around like this all week. I brought some ladies from my church to sing with me and because we would be gone I just asked the rest of the congregation to come along. So when we are done with the song I am going to head out and leave them here for the service.” Both Douglas and I were shocked. He had misunderstood and thought he was being asked to do a song only. Douglas reached out to take his arm and explain that no he was actually being asked to preach the sermon. I could tell that Doug was almost in a panic and I took Douglas by the forearm and shook my head no. As the preacher dashed up to the front I whispered to Doug that the Lord had told me that it was I who would preach and that He had told me what to preach on. “Thank God!” Doug whispered back and sat down.
As the preacher and the three church ladies sang their song the rest of his congregation filed in and I watched the kids all excited to serve bring them chairs. The thought struck me that it was freakishly convenient for all of these kids to show up to get chairs or this could have been a mess. As the preacher finished his song I walked to the front. I couldn’t help but notice that the chairs were completely full and kids were sitting up front on the floor and people were standing in the back. As the preacher dashed out the back door I also realized that I was about to preach a message that spoke directly to the points that this guy was off on and that this simple sermon was going to help recalibrate these people to the truth in the very area that they were getting off. I could feel the Spirit of God filling me up, coming on me like an anointing to preach and I was getting very happy and excited. Just before I began I realized that because I asked God to handle this situation the solution exponentiated; that not only was our congregation relieved of the bad theology but also his very congregation was being recalibrated to the truth. As I realized that I had just used the word exponentiate again I woke up.
Again the Lord from behind me on my left side said to go over the dream and remember it. So I did. As I finished I noticed that the wind was blowing very hard outside. I wondered if this would cause problems for the roofers who were replacing a large section of roof on our building. The cost of the roof was going to be more than we had anticipated and I had been worrying earlier this evening about the money to cover it.
Again the wind gust caught my attention and I got up and went downstairs to check the backyard. As I went out the door I was thinking that I would tell an older woman from the church that we were running low of money and in need of a certain amount for the roof, knowing that she would talk to her friends and that between us we could scrape up we needed when the Lord said to ask him to take care of it. The thought struck me again that He didn’t want me to handle situations in the church or in my life by my own resources and abilities but that He was calling me to simply ask Him. So as I rounded the corner to my backyard I asked Him to handle the situation with the money.
I looked up into the trees because they were blowing around violently. I noticed that the trees were not the trees in my backyard but were the trees in back of the church in Combined Locks down by the river. I noticed a number of people lying in blankets around the area sleeping and thought that I had better wake them because the wind was getting really powerful. Just then I heard a crack and looked up. A very large limb in a huge tree sort of crock screwed and began to fall. I ran to my sister Robin who was asleep close by and woke her. The branch fell over ten feet away so as she sat up I explained that I couldn’t tell where it was going to land so I wanted to get her inside to be safe. She said she understood and got up. I asked her to help me wake the others and we got everyone and headed inside of the building. As we walked through the door I looked out into the yard and many tree limbs had fallen. Over 20 tree size limbs were strewn about the area and I thought oh no this is going to cost even more to clean up.
As we walked into the building I saw Bill VerBruggen happily making something. I went to ask him what it was and he told me to follow him outside to see. A few people followed us. He showed us a large square hole in the wall of the back of the building. He walked up to it and said look. He sat down on the missing windowsill and disappeared. We all rushed up and saw a huge wide slide that went from the window hole to the basement floor. This is awesome I yelled and sat down and slid down as well. Others followed. “This is going to be great for the kids! They are going to love this!!!”
“It’s not for the kids,” Bill said. “Look”. Here were a number of really nice looking saws. Some were for plainning the wood and chopping and so on. “I am going to slide all of those trees limbs down this slide and cut the wood and sell it for the church!” Bill said. Somehow I knew it would be more money than we needed. I ran upstairs to where all of the people were milling about and told them that last night I was worrying about money and God asked me to ask Him to solve it and then the wind began to blow and the trees were falling down and now Bill has done this!” I told them all the details and we were all happy about what God had done but as they all turned to follow me to see the slide three older men approached me from different sections of the group. They had not been together. The first one to approach said, “Joie I didn’t know the church needed money I thought the money was all taken care of.” I responded by explaining about a large unanticipated tax bill and he cut me off and said, “Don’t worry about all of that. I will make a donation.” Then the second guy said, “I was thinking the same thing. I also was not aware and would like to give.” The third guy simply said me too. Then they all followed me downstairs. As we walked somehow I knew how much each one was giving and it was a very large amount. The first guy was $30,000.00. I was thinking that we would have enough for a long time and was thinking that because I asked the Lord to intervene He exponentiated the amount beyond what I could even imagine. At the realization that I was again thinking that word I woke up.
I laid there thinking that I had just had three dreams from the Lord and that I needed to remember them. I knew the message was to ask the Lord for what he wanted with every circumstance and not to try to receive something from Him and then become responsible to use it, to capitalize on it for His Kingdom but to receive something and then ask what he wanted done with it. So I started thinking of all of the things that I wanted His intervention on when he interrupted again from behind me on the left side. He grabbed my attention and said that I was doing it again. That He wanted me to not now go and find things to apply what He had told me to, but to hello ask Him what He wanted Him to apply it to. I was amazed how I continued to not get this. So I was just about to ask what He wanted me to ask for intervention on when I feel fast asleep.
I didn’t wake up until 9:00 and when I did I grabbed my phone beside me to type out in my Notes app the dreams. As I was typing the very troubles, that were overwhelming Douglas and I last night, began to arrest me through texts and email notifications. But this time it was very, very different. This time as each message came in I got really excited about praying about God’s intervention and His plan in the matter. I was like ‘ok, ok lets pray about this one and see what God will do’. After the third situation presented itself I realized that I had faith. I had real faith that God wanted to deal with these problems that just yesterday I was so certain were all mine. I had faith that not only did He want to intervene and actually had a plan of intervention but that He was about to exponentiate His solutions through them actually building His kingdom through my trials and troubles! I was feeling really happy about this faith when he said again that he had been working His will through us all along and that we needed to go deeper with believing in His headship so that He could accomplish all of His will in Wellspring and in the Valley.
Me? I am going to be seriously seeking God for what he wants to intervene in and as situations arise I am going to yield to His headship and watch Him work. This is going to get even more exciting. I can feel it!