When I was first exploring faith I began to read the bible I used to find the sections in the New Testament a bit bizarre. They talk about people having God ‘show’ them things like visions whilst they were either asleep or awake. (Read the book of Acts). Coming to know Jesus for myself and asking Him to help me understand His ways, thoughts and answer my questions, I have begun to understand a bit more about how he communicates. It’s actually not as weird as it sounds when you see it written down in the bible. The men and women in the bible were just like you and me. God has no body (“God is spirit” John 4:24) and so communicates to us through a number of means that aren’t physical. One of which is through ‘visions’. I had no idea what these were or how ‘normal’ they can appear until I had a few. The one I recorded below I had while fully awake and functioning as normal but it was like I began to ’see’ through spiritual eyes something Jesus wanted me to understand. Sounds a bit odd, but for me it was a sweet, profound encounter with Jesus. The reason I record it below is because the things God showed me here began to shape and inform who we are becoming as a church. I will post about that shortly. Enjoy!
Waves on the beach. Rivers into the nation.
Two summers ago I went on personal retreat (time to just be on my own to pray and be with Jesus) to Whitby.
Whilst walking on the beach towards the end of my time there I was chatting with Jesus as I felt him ask me to take my shoes and socks off and wade into the water! I argued with him as I didn’t want to get my feet wet and I knew it would be cold! I felt him laugh and kept asking. He encouraged me it will be risky and exhilaration come on in I want you to understand something.
So off my socks and shoes came and I rolled up my trousers and waded in. After the initial shock of the cold I enjoyed splashing and having fun like a big kid. He kept asking me to come in deeper. I kept arguing why I shouldn’t but in the end went in as deep as I dare.
As I went in further I felt him clearly say: ‘This experience you’re having is like your relationship with me.’ When you risk and put your own comfort level aside you find a joyful exhilarating relationship, one that sustains you as the source of all life. Those who are willing to risk the most are those that will receive the most pleasure, satisfaction and blessing in me. Those that make me their prize and run for my affection alone will be so joyfully rewarded by this relationship with me. I happened to have taken the book ‘Desiring God’ by John Piper away with me. It describes a relationship with him that doesn’t easily settle for anything less than intimate relationship with him.
Then, whilst still stood in the sea, I saw in my mind a number of other people with me in the sea also enjoying their relationship with him.
I then felt him instruct me ‘now turn around and face towards the cliffs’. When I had done that. Then he said ‘now advance with the tide’.
In my mind I saw myself and others all link hands and begin to walk up out of the sea toward the land, advancing with the tide.
I felt him say that what he was showing me was happening right then.
He was drawing believers (Christians) into intimate relationship him. Those that risked the most got to enjoy him the most. When people were in this place with him (with him as their ultimate prize) he would begin to turn them to his mission and advance them with the tide of his spirit into the nation.
As I was walking up the beach I was almost at the cliff bottom.
He said to me ‘do you see the cliffs? They are unstable because of the (sea) water.’ I observed the deep furrows and lines cut out of the bottom of the rock/earth because the tide has washed against them. They were unstable in places because the water had been eating away at them.
Then my mind was filled with a scene of the cliffs beginning to fall apart easily. God began to show me that the foundations of this country were not all that stable and that he had been weakening them over time. Eventually they would crumble.
At that point I saw waterways begin to open up into the nation. The sea washed the people enjoying their relationship with him; those ready to advance with him into the nation through the newly opened waterways. I saw his people being washed into every sector of society. Education, media, health, politics, etc. He positioned them exactly where he wanted them. Miraculous jobs were provided, high powered positions were suddenly filled with Christians. Strategically placed for maximum impact and influence.
I then looked along the beach and saw the harbour entrance. In my mind I saw many tall ships with sails ready and waiting for the waterways to open up. They were also washed inland to where God wanted them to be.
I felt these ships were churches being positioned for maximum impact.
I wrote a version of notes on this episode down in my journal at the time. Since I wasn’t used to having God speak to me this way I sat on it only mentioning it to a couple of people when I got home again. Since that time God spoke to John and I about starting a new church. We became a ship (church) washed inland to where he wanted us. Our vision is to do two things really well: 1) receive life – enjoy relationship with him and encourage others to do the same; be in the water, the source of life (discipleship) 2) give life – advance with the tide at his leading we will go on (mission) into the nation.
I have felt prompted to write this down now at this time to help me remember but also feel it very poignant as things continue to unfold in the UK and things become increasingly unstable. I believe this instability is from God as his plan to loosen the ‘stable’ things people have looked to as their ‘gods’ – the places they place their hope and trust. Jesus is preparing people who don’t know Him yet to want to know Him. The things people once placed their hope and trust in will continue to crumble. Economic and political powers are being shaken and I can’t help but feel this will go on to include somehow our geology. I feel a nagging that we may even see an earthquake here in the UK sometime. As well as more extremes in weather etc. But this is only a suspicion.
Whatever happens be encouraged that those enjoying their relationship with him are to be the most effective. Churches ready and waiting for his voice will find themselves positioned just where he wants them.