I've Been Here Before...
“Do you have any passages of scripture you know you’re going to use that I could look up now to be prepared?” my translator asked me. The service would start in about half an hour.
“No...I don’t know what scripture I will use yet.” I replied.
“Okay. Do you know what you want to do for ministry at the end?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t.” I said.
“That’s okay.” She said, graciously. “It’s going to be tight again, the room will be packed. It might be difficult to move people around because there are so many of them. But we will do whatever you want to do.”
Before the service began, the church had a time to fellowship and snacks. I went into the mingling room to hang out with the people, the service would start in twenty minutes.
A woman who knew who I was came up to me and struck up a conversation. Eventually, she asked,
“Is it a secret or can you tell me what you’re going preach on tonight?”
“It’s a secret.” I said.
“That’s okay, I’m just curious about how you prepare to preach.”
“Yeah, I mean, I’m ready but I’m still not clear on what I’m going to share.” I confessed. “It’s still a secret to me too.”
“Oh!” She laughed uncomfortably. “Do you need to leave? Am I bothering you?”
“No! I’m happy to chat.”
“Okay. I could not be here if I were about to preach, I would need to be alone and be preparing.”
“Well, I’m excited for what you’re going to share.” She said.
“Me too! I’m looking forward to it!”
As I began my sermon, I told the congregation, “I’m not sure what all is about to happen.”
“If I offend you, I’m not planning on doing that. Sometimes we have our plan but God changes things. So I want you to know up front, if I sit on your lap, it’s not in my plans to do that.”
They laughed again.
“I don’t know where this is going but I’m excited to find out.”
(I legitimately didn’t know what the plan was, I was just confident He had one and He was going to show up. So, in all my years of experience working with Him, I chose to do the smartest thing and hold any plans I could come up with VERY loosely. I had to do SOMETHING, but I had to be open-handed about how I went about it.)
It was over nine years ago. I had just moved back to Oregon after spending five months in Japan, following the voice of God and trying to obey what He was guiding me toward. I had encountered Bethel. I had seen God move in dramatic, obvious and very physical ways I had never seen before.
And then I was back to normal life, like I had come out of the wardrobe and was back to life like Narnia had never taken place.
It was a scary season for me, scary in the risk. I didn’t know what was coming, my future was unclear and I had no plan. All I had was God telling me not to stay where I was. One night, I had a dream. I walked into this old cathedral. Tall ceiling, stained-glass windows, an organ, pews...and in the pews were giant bullet shells where the people would normally be. The pews were lined with them, the church was full.
I knew I had to touch them, I had to end their slumber. So I pushed the first one and blue light shot out of it. I walked up the aisle and continued to push the bullet shells near me, they each, as they were disturbed, shot blue light. So I ran throughout the building and touched all of the shells I could. I was pushing them harder and as they jostled the shells next to them, they would erupt in light also.
I woke up and knew the dream was significant. I knew I had to equip the saints. I knew the bullets signified the gifts of the spirit, I knew they had to be awakened. I knew spirit had to be aroused.
As I was preaching to the congregation, I was sharing a story about when God messed up my plans right before I got up to preach at a different church a couple of years ago. He reminded me of a dream I had six years prior. Then He revealed to me the mystery of that dream right before I got up to preach. It messed me up real good.
“History, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” -Morpheus
I was preaching in this cathedral all weekend but it wasn’t until the last night I was there, in the middle of my sermon, as my words were being translated into Finnish, that I had the eerie realization...this was the cathedral from that dream.
I maintained my composure, no one had any idea my life was folding on itself and my destiny was being fulfilled.
Fifteen minutes later, I shared about what was happening. The church erupted in excitement and celebration. God was with us and He was doing something special. I’m tearing up now as I write this. Life is so much a story, it’s not even funny. He’s so thoughtful and crafty and elaborate.
I preached on the love of God and the significance of His kids. Then I had people stand up to be prayed for. The ministry team was released to go minister to the congregation while I prayed. Then I started walking around, laying my hands on people, I was compelled. People started to shake, they were falling over.
I got to this one woman, I put my hand on her back and she began to shake. Then she began to yell and moan as she shook harder. Something powerful was happening to her and somehow, by me touching her, it was increasing. So I commanded the fire of God to fall on her. She began to yell louder and shake even more. Then she began to scream. It was so loud and so intense that I got a little nervous. She was screaming at the top of her lungs like someone was stabbing her with a hot branding iron. But it didn’t feel bad to me. The room got quiet and the people were becoming afraid.
I started laughing because the situation was absurd. I explained in the mic, “This is really normal.” to assure them.
I continued laying hands on people, they continued to shake and yell. This practice wasn’t new for me but the intensity of the result was. I hadn’t seen this kind of manifestation before, especially to this degree and over this many people. The anointing was flowing, God was with me.
Beliefs were changed, mindsets were shifted, demons were confronted. Truth was occupying hearts. Gifts were imparted, stirred up and activated.
I’ve always believed the Church needed an awakening in the gifts of the spirit and to be taught HOW to use them. When I awoke from the bullet cathedral dream, I accepted the assignment to wake up the gifts in the Church. I didn’t know I would get to be this hands-on and in the trenches with the people, releasing the breakthrough.
I’m humbled. I’m flabbergasted. I don’t know what I’m doing. As I continue to trust Him and rest on the fact that He comes when I speak, the fruit comes too.