Answering the Call
I am a very left-brained pastor married to my beautiful wife, Tondi, who is prophetic and usually has all the dreams and visions. I do not even recall most of my dreams; but in April 2005, I dreamed that I was in Laramie, Wyoming talking with, praying for and helping people there.
I felt the Lord’s presence in the dream, and I awoke in His presence.
I asked Tondi if she knew what this meant, but she was unsure. All day this dream was on my heart, and when I awakened the next morning, I suddenly knew the purpose of the dream. I was supposed to go to Laramie!
My wife asked me, “How do you know?” “I just do.” “Do you know anyone in Laramie?”
“No one!” “Have you ever been to Laramie?” “Never!” Then I said to her, “This is role reversal, you are the one with dreams and visions. I usually wonder what they could possibly mean? Now you are asking me?”
I couldn’t help pondering the humor of the situation.
When I shared this dream with our church, Tulsa Harvest in Tulsa, Oklahoma they were silent, also.
Not long afterward, though, they sent me with another friend from our church to go to Laramie to see what the Lord would do with us. On the plane from Tulsa to Laramie, I thought aloud, “When Jesus sent out His disciples for the first time, He instructed them, ‘Look for a person who is ‘worthy’ and stay with them.’ Also, when Paul would go to a new place, he would find out where people were praying together and stay with them.” Somehow, I just felt that we should find a Christian bookstore and believed that God would lead us to someone.
We arrived in Laramie and inquired about a Christian bookstore. I found out that it was close by. As I prayed, the Lord spoke to me, “The people of Laramie think that I have forsaken and forgotten them!”
As I continued to pray in the Spirit, my burden of prayer became, “No Lord, you have not forgotten them.”
At that moment, my friend came out of the first store laughing, and when I asked why, he said, “I said to the clerk inside, so this is Laramie...?”
And she said, “Yeah! The God forsaken town of Laramie!” Next, we found the Christian bookstore and went inside where the owner graciously helped us. After a few minutes, I decided to launch out and tell her my dream. She looked at me and said, “I know what this dream means, you were sent to Laramie for me! I am discouraged.”
We talked and prayed with her for several hours. Then she began to call people up to come over and meet us. After closing, she introduced us to several intercessors at a Bible study. Then we went to the home of a pastor who was laboring with a meager salary where we blessed him with an offering.
He wanted us to go with him to pray with a needy person he knew, so we took sacks of groceries along and prayed with them. Next, we ate dinner with a missionary couple. All day long, for 9 1/2 hours with no breaks, we walked out the dream of Laramie that God had given me a few weeks before!
When I came home and reported it all to our church, they were excited.
Their response was, “When God shows us things, Jim, we want to learn to obey Him like you did.” I was amazed at how this one act of obedience created such a stirring in our church.
THIS IS WHY
I believe that this experience was a test of my obedience to God. He wanted to see if I would listen and if I would obey Him, even if it meant leaving my comfort zone.
We are not usually aware that we have comfort zones or that we are retreating to them.
Before we step out, we usually fall back into reasoning ourselves of out it. The trip to Laramie was only the beginning of my adventures in obedience. Since then, God has challenged me with two more revelatory dreams.
In my next dream, which occurred in May 2005, I dreamed that I was ministering in a Spanish-speaking church, and I knew I was in “my church.” When I awakened, I remember thinking how wonderful the dream was. The presence of the Lord was very evident, but I did not know what it meant.
Then in June 2005, I dreamed that I was in Santiago, Chile, South America, and that I was ministering in “my church.” I knew that I had planted this church as a bilingual church where Spanish and English were spoken at every service. It was a new kind of church, a 21st Century church in technology and in its presentation of the Word of God.
In the dream, I knew that God was drawing Chilean people to this church. I was aware that this was the first service and that I was finishing the message and rushing over to another part of the building to do the English-speaking service. There were people there from English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Kenya, Singapore and people from Chile who all wanted to be at an “English-speaking” church service.
As the dream progressed, I realized that God was giving me the strategy to plant a church. It was so clear that it was as though we had followed a plan in a book. Before we started the church, I knew the first step was to train leaders. In this dream, I was the pastor of a church we planted in Santiago, Chile, South America, and yet I was still with Tulsa Harvest Church! I was pastoring two churches on two continents.
I awoke experiencing the presence of God in my room again!
When I shared the dream with Tondi, she transformed into a woman wild with expectation! Tondi and I talked for many hours that day about how to plant a church in Chile.
I had visited Chile before and knew a grand total of four people in Santiago. When I shared these two dreams in church, a group of young people came forward to talk to me about the dreams. They had been planning on going to Bible School to become missionaries to South America. They canceled their former plans and decided to go out of our church. We are planning and preparing for this in March 2006.
Five members of our church have moved to Chile for one year. I have already started traveling to Chile each month to be with the new church for two Sundays and return to Tulsa Harvest Church. The four who are leaders have opened up their home for gatherings. They are training people as we are searching for a building to use.
REVIVAL IS BREAKING OUT
The house is already too small. I just returned from there and 45 people gathered with me to do training for this church plant in Chile. After that session, very late into the night, a family came over to talk to me. There were seven people in their family, a husband and wife and five adult children. They wanted to be included in the new church. They have a large extended family that also wants to come. They said they would have to wait until we have a bigger site to meet in, because the house could not fit all of their family!
Just last week, I received news that in three of the young people’s houses, family members came to Christ. In one household, the entire extended family was saved! I just returned from Santiago and met with 45 people who want to be part of this new church. University students who have recently given their hearts to the Lord along with an 80 year old man named Eduardo who accepted Christ last month want to be baptized.
We are training them with several of the core values of this present move of the Holy Spirit: the Father heart of God revealed through our Lord Jesus Christ, intimacy of His presence and hearing God’s voice, restoration of the heart and evangelizing through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The favor of the Lord is upon us. God is moving in Chile, South America, and now there are established churches that want to associate with us.
Every time I share these dreams that He gave me, people tell me that they get a witness in their spirits that this is from God while others want to be a part of this dream!
One young girl from another city in Oklahoma contacted me after she heard about how God had given me these dreams to start a church in Chile. She met with Tondi and me and shared how over 11⁄2 years ago, she had dream from the Lord about Chile. She has known ever since that she would be a part of a church plant in that country. When she heard from a friend about the dreams that I had, her spirit bore witness that she was to join up with us. We agreed that God was moving in her life to do this with us.
As I live out these revelatory dreams, I am coming out of my comfort zone.
But whenever I feel afraid, I realize that these are bigger plans and challenges than either Tulsa Harvest Church or I have ever encountered before. I have often shared with our home church this message, “You do not have to be a big church to do big things for God!” I did not come up with this plan. This has been the Father’s idea. How could I have imagined that I would pastor churches in two countries on separate continents?
When I got in the River eleven years ago, I never dreamed that in 2005 I would be traveling by airplane 12 hours to go to church! Recently, while I was contemplating this church in Chile, I remembered the dream of Jacob in Genesis 28. Jacob grabbed a stone for his pillow, and as he slept, he had a dream from God. He saw a ladder (really “a stairway” in the original language) to heaven with the angels going up and down it.
Two thousand years later Jesus said to His new disciple, Nathaniel, “You will see heaven opened and the angels going up and down upon the Son of Man.” I believe Jacob was having a prophetic dream. When he awoke he said, “The Lord is in this place.”
In response, Jacob made an altar from his stone pillow and poured oil on it. He called this place “Bethel,” which means, “the house of God.” Today the house of God is the church. When we see the Church, we see God’s dreams coming to pass. Our hard times are like those stone pillows, the tests and trials of our faith that become the building blocks of God’s work in the earth.
Therefore, pastors and church leaders, the local church is not your idea and not your plan.
The church has been in the heart and mind of God since the beginning.
He has dreamed a dream of “the House of God” and you are living out His dream in the earth. We are following the “heavenly dream” to plant a church in Chile. It is our “Macedonian call” like that of Paul the apostle in Acts 16:9. In that dream a person called out, “Come over into Macedonia and helps us.” As I meditated on this scripture, I suddenly realized clearly what the mission of the church in Chile was to be. The mission statement of our new church, “Cosecha de Vida,” which is Spanish for Harvest of Life, is to be “Donde suenos pueden realizarse!” (“Where dreams can come true!”)