This morning in our gathering at CrossHope Chapel, my wife made mention of a dream that I had recently had where she woke me because I was repeating the name Jesus. She joked that she actually thought it was some kind of near-death experience, but the reason I was repeating the name Jesus was because I was confronted with a demon in a dream.
While she was talking about my dream it occurred to me why the dream was given and what the meaning of the dream may be.
Joel 2:28 says “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” and it may be worth noting the difference between dreams and visions.
The Spirit of God gives visions that look forward to something, while dreams are given to affirm something. This is probably why this prophecy mentions “old men” as receiving dreams and “young men” as having visions.
This particular dream is the third dream that I have had where I have been able to recognize it as a message from the Holy Spirit, since I began following Jesus in 1980. Interestingly, all three dreams were ministry related, extremely vivid, and unforgettable.
In 1981 I had a dream that clearly affirmed to me that I needed to change my testimony to stop focusing on my own sinfulness and start fixing my eyes on Jesus. I was still new in my faith, but my personal testimony was opening doors to speak about how the Lord saved me, but it was quickly becoming a testimony to churches and others on the glory of my past sins not my present Savior.
In that dream I was driving a car, with both the driver side and passenger side windows rolled down, and I suddenly turned into the drive way of a home with a narrow short bridge over some type of ditch. When I was traveling on this bridge toward the home I was distracted by an individual on one side of the ditch that I recognized as Satan. As I looked toward him fear took over my senses and the car seemed to be crashing.
As my car seemed to be crashing and fear was gripping me, my eyes caught the sight of an individual on the other side of the ditch whom I recognized as Jesus. Immediately I sensed peace and assurance. In the dream I seem to have went back and forth from one side of the ditch to the other looking at Satan and looking at the Lord Jesus.
I actually had the dream three times in one week, and the lesson that hit home to me out of it was to fix my eyes on Jesus, not the distractions of the devil.
This dream was sent into my life at a time when I was convicted of God’s calling on my life to enter pastoral ministry.
Afterwards I was called into pastoral ministry and miraculous doors opened for me to go from a lay preacher to seminary and full-time pastoral ministry with the Adventist Church.
In 2003 I had a dream that clearly affirmed to me to wait on the Lord for His place of ministry and specifically to not go back to the Adventist Church ministry which I already walked away from. In 1999 I had left my pulpit as an Adventist pastor and the years following that caused a struggle for me in terms of living out God’s calling in my life. (You can read about my background and leaving of the Adventist ministry here at my website.)
In my dream I drove a car up a hill to a small dirt parking lot that overlooked a large sprawled out city below. In that dirt parking lot there were several cars parked all with someone sitting in the driver seat with their engines running and head lights on. As I stopped my vehicle in the center of that dirt parking lot, the drivers got out of their cars and stood at the front of their still running vehicles. I immediately recognized one of those drivers as my former Adventist Conference President.
(For those who are not familiar an Adventist pastor is directly subordinate to his Conference President. It is the Conference President who hires pastors for a conference of Adventist churches. I have always held a great deal of respect for my former Conference President and I still do.)
I got out of my vehicle and turned the engine off, though the others were still running. The men standing by the front of their cars and looking at me as if expecting an answer, but I remember looking at my former Conference President who seemed to be looking at me waiting for me to say something. He then walked over to the edge of the parking lot and sat on a piece of wood gazing out over the city and glancing back and forth toward me and then back toward the city.
I remember thinking in my dream that he is asking me if I want to come back to pastoral ministry with the Adventist Church. This seemed to go on for a long time and then I noticed the sun was setting. As the sun was setting my former Conference President was starting to glance at me then to the sun then to city. I remember thinking that I need to make a decision on ministry. As he was glancing toward me I got back in my vehicle and drove away.
I had this dream a second time about a week later and believe the message was to trust in God for where He will place me in ministry and don’t try to go back to familiar when He has much better in store for His calling on my life.
Afterwards I made the decision that returning to the Adventist Church was not an option, and through a series of God’s providence I became a hospital chaplain and am now back in pastoral ministry.
About two weeks ago I had a dream that I was walking up the stairs to a building with a glass door. I was walking up the stairs I looked up and thought that I saw ghostly demonic like figure on the inside of the glass door watching me approach, but it quickly dash off when I looked up.
I remember thinking that perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. I entered the building and was sitting with a group of people at what appeared to be a big round table when I suddenly noticed that same ghostly demonic like figure watching me from across the room back beyond the people sitting in the group around me, but this time when our eyes seemed to have met and it quickly dashed toward me in a violent manner.
I stood to my feet loudly declaring the name Jesus and motioning with my hands over the group of people that these are they who are covered by the blood of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus and you have no dominion in this place.
And as you heard from Steph, I woke up laughing. I said she was tickling me, and she denied that so it makes me think I was laughing in relief because of the delivery of the Lord, like Psalm 126:2.
This morning when my wife was talking about me repeating the name Jesus in my sleep because I was confronted with a demon in a dream, I suddenly realized that the view from the corner where I was sitting this morning resembled the same vantage point I had in my dream.
The message of this dream has to do with my own pastoral care and the ministry of CrossHope Chapel. It may have a few implications related to the topics we discussed today on Satan’s attack against the churches of our nations, but one big message to me is to be faithful in “prayer and the ministry of the word” as the example of Acts 6:4.
As I look back at what God has done after the other dreams, in their work of affirming a direction, it will be exciting to watch what our Lord will do with CrossHope Chapel after moving into our new location where we can invite others to join us as we seek to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).”