Misty and I had occasion to spend some time with two lovely couples over dinner last night. Both couples are involved heavily in an institutional form, which will remain nameless in this post. I don’t want to cause problems for them. 🙂
Over dinner and throughout the course of the evening, they asked us questions about our story and how/why we are the way we are! They didn’t phrase it that way but, hey, I knew what they were thinking! Seriously, they are precious people, so we were open with them about our journey. We stayed mostly positive and didn’t venture into any gory details unless absolutely necessary.
In our sharing, we did share one particular experience with them that was a significant event for us and has served us well during the course of our journey. I share such personal experiences sparingly and try to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in doing so. I sense that I am supposed to share that story here on the blog for all the world to see. Realistically, this blog has less than 100 followers so………….. I think I’ll be okay in sharing something personal.
Misty and I had just exited our last “religious thing”. Let’s just say, it didn’t go well. So, I quit “ministry” for the third and final time in my life and found a job. Well, as Father would have it, He began to connect us with people and we wound up in a house with a large enough group of people who determined that we were now a church, we needed a building and we needed to start doing the deal……..again! Services! Children’s church! Women’s ministry! Staff! Worship music! Articles of incorporation! Tax exempt status! Yada, yada, yada! (insert scream here!)
It was at this time that we received a phone call from a brother we knew who lived in the Caribbean. He was in relationship with a brother who happened to live in Africa. The brother in Africa had the same dream three nights in a row. Basically, in the dream he envisioned a “fair-haired” couple who lived in Texas and were suffering persecution because of their calling and willingness to pursue it. He did not know the couple, but he knew that his friend in the Caribbean had relationship with the couple.
The brother in Africa called the brother in the Caribbean in the dead of night after having the dream the third time. After sharing the dream, the African brother asked, “Who is this couple?” The Caribbean brother replied, “It is Bryon and Misty in Dallas!”
The brother from Africa instructed our friend to alert us about the dream and that God had a word for us. The African brother was going to be in the States the next month for meetings and he offered to pay our way to come to the meetings so that he could meet us and minister the prophecy to us. Needless to say, we were very excited that God had not forgotten us and that there was a word coming!
As we journeyed across several states to get to the meetings, we were filled with anticipation. We had a heaviness weighing us down because of the situation we had come out of and the situation we were currently facing. We knew we had a responsibility to the precious people that God had connected us to but, at the same time, we were dreading the possibility of doing the same old church thing!
We get to the meetings and there is a crowd of around 1,500 people. As we sat in the service the first night, we couldn’t wait to be called up to the front so that the prophetic ministry could begin. Never happened! Second day and night; nothing. Third day……it seemed God had changed His mind or something.
As we sat in our hotel room the afternoon of the final day of meetings, a knock came to our door. We opened the door and the brother came into our room. After a bit of small talk and our thanking him for bringing us to the meetings, we sat down.
“This is the Word of the Lord for you.” he said. “You are not to build a form and try to force God’s life into it. You are to permit the life of God to produce form.”
With that, he got up and walked out of the room.
Wait a minute…………….that’s it? Where’s my “you will be blessed coming in and going out?” Or my, “everything you set your hands to will prosper?” You know, all the good catch phrases that charismatic people are accustomed to use when God speaks! There was none. This was extremely clear and concise. Short, sweet and to the point!
The ministry of that prophetic word was crucial to us. God knew we were facing the temptation, which was being fueled by apparent necessity and obligation to precious people, to hit the default button and do what we had always known to do. Evidently, getting this point across to us was important enough to give a man in Africa, who did not know us, a dream about us for three successive nights. And, he was in relationship with the same brother in the Caribbean that we knew. And, it just so happened that the meetings were scheduled at that time and in the States so that we could be there. And…………. Father orchestrated the entire scenario to keep us from going back to what we knew so that we would have the faith to go where we had never been before.
Please understand, this story isn’t about us. It is about Father’s purposes being performed in the earth! He wanted us to have His thoughts so that we could repent of our thoughts and enter into His ways!
We continue to carry that Word with us to this day. What’s even better is that we get to see, experience and continually be amazed at the fruit which that Word has produced since it was seeded into us years ago.
When you begin to realize that The Church is not a congregation or an assembly of individuals given to accomplish some religious task, it begins to liberate you. With freedom from religious baggage, you begin to understand that Father draws together into vital union those who have received the grace and gifts of Christ so that the spontaneous, Spirit-led expression of His Life can come forth. And once you experience His Life genuinely released and shared by His Body, there is no turning back!
The defining characteristic of The Church is the Life of God prevailing in their midst! There is no substitute. We cannot settle for mere religious forms. We must not continue in what we have always known. We must move on in God! His Life must prevail!
If you are reading this, I know you are a Seeker! I hope this story encourages you to keep on seeking!
Keep your peace!