Here's what I've been learning lately. It's a culmination of things--verses, conversations, sermons, thoughts--that have recently come together in a dream I had a few weeks ago. I rarely have dreams--well, actually I dream every night, but rarely dreams with significance or meaning. What's interesting is that I've had only three and each one involved Hannah and Aswan.
The first was prophetic about Aswan and his music, getting the deals necessary to spread the Word; the dream was as if I were watching it happen at a packed concert.
The second was the first night Hannah knew she was pregnant but hadn't told anyone; it was a convo between me and Go about how everyone had a time that they needed to be born, regardless of the "readiness" of the parents and how each person's birth effected eternity in a ripple effect. That was cool.
Then this one was about a lot of things but involved Aswan speaking truth into a community of believers--a truth that is rarely/ never addressed in church. I learned a lot. And it was good.
Here's my dream (kinda long, sorry, but for God's glory, I promise):
Last night I had a dream. Joseph Antonio [I have no idea the significance with Joseph, whom I have not seen in years] and I were on our way to a conference to hear someone great speak. We had heard much about him, but on the way in the car, I could not remember his name. There were two scheduled speakers, but we ended up hearing three sermons, basically about: worth, the ego-centric verses other-centric church, and compassion. These three topics were directly related to and tied in with scripture to love.
We arrived and the first speaker began to talk—almost like an opener for the second—to a crowd of about 200. He spoke about worth: that if we saw ourselves and each other as God sees us—worth everything—we would not submit ourselves to Sin and would forgive and love others more freely. If we viewed ourselves as worthy of God’s love and grace, as He does—not in a self-righteous or ungrateful way, but in a humble, loving, thankful, accepting way—we would not whore ourselves out to the Sin of the world or settle for so much less in relationships, in family, in respect (or lack thereof), in the church. We would not give our bodies to prostitution. We would not allow others to be sold as sex slaves. We would not allow pornography and drug use to be the largest industries in the world. We would not abort babies from the very womb in which God knit them together. We would not beat our wives or children. We would not kill each other out of hate or violence. Furthermore, the speaker went on, if we viewed our neighbors—every other human we came in contact with the same way, of the same worth and value as God’s creation—we would forgive and love more freely. We would give them the things that the Lord has given them and us so generously. We would clothe the homeless, feed the poor, visit the prisons, take in the orphans and widows, love the loveless, support the forsaken—FREELY—if we really thought they were worth it as God does. We would respond out of love and kindness not anger and bitterness. And as a result of the whole church living with purpose, knowing individual worth and the value of others as God sees His crown of creation, we would experience a freedom within ourselves as well; even though the most evident change would be outward, he argued, the biggest change would happen in the depths of our souls as we lived with different intentions and saw the world through news eyes and a renewed perspective. Seeing people and ourselves as God sees us can only result in gracious, lavish love, the kind of love that can change a family, a church, a city, a country, a world. He closed us in prayer, cited scripture throughout that I cannot now recall, and introduced the next speaker: Aswan.
The moment Aswan got to the stage, I realized that I had known all along who he was and the crowd thickened to over 1,000 packed in to hear him speak. Aswan spoke about an ego-centric church—a group of believes who come together, worship corporately, but view themselves self-righteous and as different from the others of the body in a separate and even elitist way. These people love and accept people as best they can, but they still have certain individuals, families, groups of people, that they cannot or will not resolve conflict with. All of this stems from the belief—so subtle they are unaware that Satan has embedded it so deeply in their understanding, which makes it an pandemic of the heart throughout the church and exponentially dangerous: the God that loves and accepts me, created me and died or my sins, that’s My God, not Your God; the God that created you, with all your junk, and baggage, and depression, and self-loathing, and anger, and ignorance, and regret, and un-forgiveness, and jealously, everything that makes you different from me, He is not my God. The argument follows that if my God calls me to love those that bear his image, and you certainly do not bear his image—and worship a different God (either outwardly or inwardly)—I will not love you but will instead choose to hate you, or separate you out from our group, our family, our church. I will ostracize you and refuse conflict resolution and forgiveness because you are different and my God is my God, not your God. He created me and values me, not you. Aswan went on to explain that thought potent, this thinking when laid out and expressed out loud, of course, is absurd; that is why Satan buries it so deeply in our hearts that we cannot unearth it ourselves without the accountability of others to help us deal with ourselves and others once it has been exposed to the light. This thinking—ego-centric church rather than others-centered church—is the reason that many who say they love Jesus can also choose to hate their brother. They are morally good and yet there’s something within them that expresses a great distaste and dissatisfaction with those who are different or have “otherness” qualities about them. This is also why the homeless are struggling, the orphans are starving, the widows are abandoned, the families and homes and churches are broken. Aswan pleaded with the crowd and expressed a dire need to preach and teach more about this topic in churches, to unearth the crud buried deep in our hearts, repent, forgive, resolve differences, and to love. He, too, cited many verses that I cannot at this time recall, but he gave a powerful message and the meeting was over. Many left, many ate, but someone (a prophet, I think) said, “There is still someone here who needs to speak God’s word. He has put it on your heart, and now needs you to speak it.”
I was that person. Me. Lucy.
It shocked me as much as anyone else as I prayed, got up on stage, and spoke to a group of about 20. It was good. I spoke about compassion. I said, tying in so pertinently with the first two speakers, that I believed God wanted us to seriously in a very real and practical daily way clothe ourselves with compassion—not anger, not stress, not the ways of the world, not the mindset of capitalism, but with compassion. I explained that God was teaching me a lot about that right now, that He had taken me through six months of a marriage with a mother-in-law that was very difficult to love. I had prayed for wisdom, and what God spoke into my heart was compassion. Compassion to replace the bitterness and hate, compassion to remove the resistance and stubbornness, compassion to ease the process of love and acceptance. Compassion is important to the Lord because it leads to good things: forgiveness, acceptance, love. Similar to the previous two messages, there exists an outward benefit to embracing compassion as a worldview and lifestyle and an inward benefit. The outward is that we are humble and joyous in the Lord in all things, and approach other people with godly qualities rather than the ones would otherwise come to them with. We would forgive freely, love generously, support one another, bare each other’s burdens, serve others more often and in more creative ways, pooling our resources for others rather than hording it away for ourselves. Inward benefits would include a freedom of the heart, liberation of the soul, a light and peaceful outlook to replace the darker one that had clouded our vision before. My sermon was much shorter than the other two, and I read scripture that, at this point, I cannot remember.
At the end, we closed in prayer and went out into the world, a new creation in Christ, with a new outlook, a new perspective, a better heart readjusted to kingdom needs rather than our own, and in reflect about what to do next. It was awesome and invigorating.
I woke up with a smile on my face.
you may not believe in dreamers. it's ok. i didn't either until God spoke to me through dreams. i'm not trying to convince any one of the authenticity of my dream, just trying to spread the Word that i've most recently received from the Father. i think it speaks differently to everyone, so interpretation on my part is moot. xoxoxo
what do y'all think?