Calling out the dream

This past weekend I called out the dreams of God in a way I’ve just never tried before. I declared completely irrational things that I can truly blame as “the anointing.” ūüėČ

Besides that, I sensed a strong call from the Lord to speak out the dreams HE is giving me. It’s not my ability and when these things happen, it will be blatantly obvious it is GOD.

Here are my notes from what I spoke on Saturday night.

I would honestly post my notes from Friday night, but I only hand wrote them and even I have a hard time deciphering them.

 

Can You Stand as a Prophetic Witness?

2 Kings 2

When Elijah and Elisha came to Bethel, a company of prophets came to greet them. Bethel was a place of rebellion. Jeroboam had set up one of the golden calves to lead Israel from the worship of God in Jerusalem.

Elijah and Elisha themselves were prophets in Israel, the northern tribes, in an era when Israel had no godly kings.

We need to pay attention to these stories and take them into our lives. Being spoiled for a few hundred years, having Christianity be so “free” in this nation, has made the Church soft. We don’t know what a prophetic witness really is. It’s beyond standing up and shouting a “thus saith the Lord!”

The company of prophets stood in stark contrast to the world around them. When Israel refused Yahweh, this company of prophets kept pressing toward Yahweh. They didn’t wait for their culture to get on board. They simply went after God.

Today we need this company of prophets, the¬†prophetic witness¬†of the Church, to rise up again. No excuses. No whining. No wishing for the “old days.” Just follow God and let that stand out against the turning of the tide.

 

Where is the God of Elijah?

Elisha asks this question as he comes back to the Jordan after witnessing Elijah being taken to heaven. He has the mantle of Elijah and he has asked for the firstborn’s inheritance: a double portion.

He cries out, “Where is the God of Elijah?” and strikes the water. The Jordan parts again.

As I read this passage and look through some old notes, I think of two great men of God I miss right now. David Wilkerson, who pastored Times Square Church in New York and spoke prophetically for many years. He also founded Teen Challenge out of witnessing to gang members in New York back in the 1950s. David had words that would enrage people. I would get mad from time to time at “dumb” things I thought he said. Yet, I always knew this man trembled in the presence of God and prophets just say things that tick you off from time to time.

The other man I miss is Calvin Olson. Other than a few people in Minnesota, probably no one knows this incredible man of prayer. He was a missionary in his career. When I met him he was retired and helping with prayer ministry in our District. The man walked with God. I do not say this jokingly: you could ask Calvin what God was up to in the world and Calvin could honestly tell you.

I miss these men and I miss their voices in my life, and in the life of the Church.

But there is a time to miss men like this and there is a time to pick up their “mantle,” so to speak, and get on with the next stage of the journey. It is one thing to talk about what has gone before. It is another thing to actually engage God at the level those men walked with God.

Elisha decided to walk with God as Elijah had shown him. It wasn’t about wishing Elijah was still here. It was knowing¬†the God¬†of Elijah was still around, and if so, pick up where Elijah left off.

Elijah and Prayer

It irritates me that James 5:17,18 reminds us that Elijah was human just like us. Then, James goes on to tell us that Elijah prayed for rain to cease and it did. Then, he prayed for it to rain and it did. 

That stuff isn’t human. Right?

But it is. Very human. And Elijah was human just like us. 

My prayers are far too weak. I prefer to think of Elijah as something other than human because my prayers just aren’t like his. James comes along to remind us that Elijah IS like us… like me… and has his very human struggles. Yet, Elijah could hear from God to pray bold prayers, declare bold truths, and live in the grip of the Master. If Elijah can… I can.

Sniveling, Spoiled, Rich Ruler

For all the admiration I have for Elijah in the story of 1 Kings, the one guy who drives me nuts is Ahab. He does nothing for his people, lives only for himself, and has a wife whose name represents evil personified in some Christian circles. (“She’s such a Jezebel.” Or, “This place has a Jezebel spirit.” Something like that.)

The height of his spoiled status is in 1 Kings 21, when he wanted Naboth’s vineyard. He had fabulous vineyards, and yet he wants one more. Naboth refuses to sell¬†so Ahab pouts.¬†

Jezebel comes in and asks what her spoiled little brat of a husband wants, and he whines about Naboth’s vineyard. Jezebel, being the loving wife she is, has Naboth brought in on trumped up charges so he is executed. She then delivers the vineyard to her spoiled, bratty little husband. (I really don’t like this guy.)

The Lord is angered because the king has taken complete advantage of his position. He wakes up Elijah and Elijah makes a return engagement to his favorite king. Ahab loved Elijah, and you can tell by the way he greeted Elijah: “So you’ve found me, my enemy!”

I am not going to lie. Elijah’s prophecies of what will happen to Ahab and Jezebel give me a bit of a smile. They’ll meet their end in horrible ways. What they dished out will be returned in some small way. Plus, Ahab’s family will lose the throne.

It’s a satisfying response from God, in my “humble” opinion. (“YEAH! Stick it to him!”)

The very human side of me truly wishes that was the end of the story. Ahab got his. Jezebel got hers. All the poor were revenged because of Ahab’s abuses in his years as king.

Sadly, in my very human view, Ahab actually repents. Repents. 

How rude.

God sees it and decides to actually relent a bit on the timing of the judgment.

How rude. 

What is this? People getting what they¬†don’t deserve?

What kind of God is this?

Burn the Plows

There are those moments. Times when something stirs in your heart. Windows of time when you know there is a decision to be made.

But the question is too stark. It’s not a gradual question. It’s a¬†hard¬†question.

“Are you¬†all in,¬†or not?”

Something like that.

Those moments come. They come when God is ready, and he honestly knows we are ready. But we can so easily hesitate.

The stuff of life. Obligations. Desires. We are just plain soft. Comfortable.

Will we stretch? Will we respond?

Elisha was minding his own business, literally. He was in the family business, so he was plowing the field. His response to Elijah demonstrates he had been thinking about this, or something had already been stirring. But the moment came. Here was Elijah. The mantle was given. What would be the response?

Elisha goes and kisses his parents good bye. And he kills the oxen and burns the plows. He is lighting a torch to his part of the business. Literally. He will not go back. The call came. He responded so thoroughly he wasn’t going to go back. His sacrifice showed his gratefulness to God, and his commitment.

We feel a stirring. Then, the Spirit speaks.

Do we negotiate? Do we ignore it?

Or do we burn our plows?

Elijah

Of all the stories and sermons I remember from growing up, and being a young preacher, the stories of Elijah are the most captivating to me. His life is fascinating and there are just a dozen great sermons (and titles) I think of when I read through the stories of Elijah.

I’m fairly sure this guy would be on meds in our current culture. Or locked up. Today his personality would be full of “mental issues.” I am always interested to know if anyone has done a psychological evaluation on Elijah as an article. I think it would be interesting.

Some thoughts on sermons and message titles along the way on Elijah:

— Elijah walks into Ahab’s court and predicts no rain: “Hit and run prophet.”

— He goes to the widow of Zarephath for provision: “There’s a Miracle in Your House.”

— The confrontation with the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel: “Where is your god?”

— Running like a scared little girl from Jezebel.

— The journey to Horeb and hearing the voice of God.

These are great stories. Elijah demonstrates personality issues, to be sure, but there is the radical trust in God’s provision, the ability to hear the voice of God and¬†act on it,¬†and the downright honesty he carries with God all the time. When he is up, he is WAY up. And when he is down… he lets God know…

We can learn from Elijah’s radical dependency on God. We can learn from his boldness. We can learn from his ability to listen and discern. He gives us great lessons that need to be lived out today.