Posts Tagged ‘apathy’

Four warning dreams—Four critical, connected messages

I had four warning dreams over two days that we would do well to respond to.

I’ve been talking to God recently about my desire to hear more clearly from him. It seems that I’ve been in one of those seasons where I’m left to respond to the revelation that has been communicated to me over the previous months and years instead of fresh, hot off the press news.

Dell-000050234I’ve learned over the years that some seasons are ripe for prophetic revelation while others are meant to steward what has already been given. I’ve also learned that I’ll develop a yearning for the voice of God in a fairly intense way just prior to being given the pictures, words, mandates, dreams and visions that will propel me into the coming months.

That yearning resulted in a set of dreams I had over the past two nights.

At first glance the dreams I had weren’t something I was going to share, but after careful, prayerful review I felt it was important to get the message out there.

Jeremiah 23:28 (ESV) 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.

As you read, keep in mind that God will often use family members and friends in my prophetic dreams to represent a certain type of person. Their roles in these particular dreams seem to be more significant than usual.

Dream #1—The Tour

My dad, who went on to be with Jesus several years ago, was the key player in my first dream. I believe my dad represented someone we all desire to trust deeply. My dad certainly was that type of person, and in real life he was the one to lead many right into the presence of Jesus. He lived a remarkable life and there are countless people in relationship with Jesus today because of him.

In the dream my dad represented a trusted fatherly figure who was leading a tour, or a journey, into a very dangerous Islamic region. I was terribly unsettled and concerned for all of our lives, but there was absolutely no concern whatsoever from my dad or any of the others who were on the tour with us. Nobody realized we were being led as curious, careless tourists to the slaughter.

The atmosphere was dark and foreboding, yet I was the only one who was alerted and discerning. I was struggling significantly to understand why nobody else saw the clear and present danger. Could someone I trusted so completely like my dad actually be deceived? Yes.

Fathers, leaders of our nation are doing this very thing right now. They don’t understand the death that will result from an alliance with terrorists. The current Iran debacle is an excellent example.

Also, don’t be surprised when people very close to us follow our nations leaders right into trouble. How many Christians are supporting politicians who are pro-homosexual, pro-abortion? They are being led by fathers into deception.

This truth applies to local situations as well. People we admire and consider to be fathers in the faith can fall. Will that devastate us? Will we follow them into destruction? When pastors fall into sin, many people become disillusioned and fall away. This is a very real risk and something we must consider. Love and honor people but understand they are fallible. God alone is truly our Father and we must learn to follow his leadership. He can always be trusted.

Matthew 23:9 (ESV) 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Dream #2—The Accusation

My wonderful, amazing wife was the key figure in my second dream. It’s a bit difficult to include my family members (especially my wife!) in a negative scenario because I know in reality they are nothing like the person they represent in the dream. I do have to trust God’s wisdom, and it does make sense to my why he chose to communicate this way.

In my second dream I was contending for revival and was investing passionately in the prayer movement and a resulting massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

My wife had a very casual, natural disposition as she was going about her daily duties at home. She looked at me and said, “Your just a Gnostic. Your into Gnosticism.”

I was heartbroken. I wept as I was dismayed at my wife’s dismissal of legitimate encounters with Jesus as illegitimate whims. I cried out to her and said, “I know I can feel God! I know God. What about the peace that passes understanding? What about joy unspeakable and full of glory?”

The accusation was clear: I was being led astray by intuition and feelings and that I needed to come back to the real, natural world. I was wrecked. My heart longed for my wife to understand the wonder and awe of encountering God in a very real way. I earnestly desired her affirmation. Her rejection of my most passionate pursuit was heart wrenching.

However, I knew that I couldn’t force my views on her. I could only pray. No amount of discussion or teaching would suffice. She needed an encounter and a revelation of God’s tangible working.

Prepare your heart. Don’t be surprised when your passion for Jesus is rebuked or dismissed by even your most valued family and friends.

1 Samuel 1:14-15 (ESV) 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.

Dream #3—The Betrayal

A very good, lifelong friend was the key player in this dream. My friend is a legitimate servant of Christ and has given his entire life to powerful, impactful ministry. In fact, he was a key, early mentor for me in my walk with the Lord.

In the dream, he and I and a few of his friends were hanging out. Everything seemed to be quite normal until there was an incident (that I wasn’t a witness of). My friend immediately rose up and started violently beating someone nearby. The remaining friends joined in and aggressively attacked.

I was suddenly confused and disoriented. Why was such a good friend and such a godly man doing this?

The threat of assault and even death was all around. I crouched low and made my way to safety.

My friend started tracking me as I fled. After some time, we ultimately met and he was a different person. He turned on me and rejected me as a friend because I didn’t join in his battle. He hurled insults and accusations my direction. His betrayal was fierce, hurtful and shocking.

Will the betrayals and failures of those we admire and consider to be mentors and close friends be enough to derail us?

Psalm 55:12-14 (ESV) 12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.

Dream #4—The Capture

Family and friends were in this dream as well, but they were minor participants. I was the primary focus this time.

We were in a large house when terrorists invaded and were capturing people as they went from room to room.

I had a high powered gun and I felt strong and empowered to move from room to room myself and take out the terrorists one by one. I felt as if I had ventured into a divine assignment and the grace to complete it was very powerful.

I somehow knew that the terrorists would be easy targets. My weapon was so precise and powerful that it had no match.

As I began moving through the house I entered the kitchen. Nobody was in there and I was very hungry. I saw the most delicious yellow cake with yellow frosting on the table. My cravings were intense!

I knew that I absolutely should not stop to eat. I also knew somehow that eating the cake would enrage the terrorist. I didn’t know why, but I knew.

I was so confident in my gun however that I decided to grab a piece of cake and continue moving through the house.

Then, all of a sudden, with a messy piece of cake in my right hand a terrorist came around the corner. I struggled to get the gun back into my right hand and my cake into my left hand. It was too late. I was captured. All hope was lost.

Isaiah 47:8-9 (ESV) 8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”: 9 These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure…

The Interpretations

The theme throughout the four dreams is improper trust.

The pressure to follow those we consider to be faithful fathers into unrighteous, dangerous spiritual situations will be intense.

Those we consider to be very close to us very well may choose not to affirm the callings on our lives. Some may betray us. Many will accuse us.

Even an overreaching trust in the power and grace of God can lead us into a casual, carefree state that gives the enemy a foothold. God will give us the assignment, the gun and the firepower but we must be alert and ready to pull the trigger. In the fourth dream I wasn’t ready. God did all he needed to do and I was casual, focused on worldly desires.

There will be a great falling away and it’s very hard to consider that many who fall away may be fathers, spouses, friends or even ourselves.

The pressure to follow those who are close to us, to follow comforts, to be casual will be extreme. What will you do when those you hold dear bow at the feet of the idol? Will you value your relationship with them more than your relationship and devotion to God?

Micah 7:5-7 (ESV) 5 Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; 6 for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. 7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

CoFI Break Video—Good Christian People: Affirming Apathy

Watch: It’s time to stop affirming those who have a marginalized commitment to God and rescue them from a lukewarm life.

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GOOD CHRISTIAN PEOPLE

Possibly the most unbelievable (but common) reaction to the urgent (but rare) call for Christians to burn with great passion for Jesus is the accusation of legalism. To be actively involved with zeal and to call others into a deeper devotion to Jesus and the mission of Kingdom advance smells of unrighteous works to many. I can barely believe I just wrote that.

Further, I’ve heard it said that such a determined devotion reveals a lack of revelation of the finished work of the cross. The thought is that we can now rest easy due to the work of Jesus and, in fact, any energy expended on our part in response to the cross is an offense to the cross. This, friend, is sickening and theologically ridiculous, yet that teaching is gaining ground in many Spirit-filled circles.

Not only should the cross of Jesus evoke the fire of passion from deep within every one of us, we should also understand the radical, costly participation that we must embrace:

Matthew 10:38-39 (ESV) 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The cross is the very picture of passion, and any response less than all consuming zeal is an indicator of a lack of understanding, certainly not of greater revelation. A revelation of our beautiful Savior being savagely tortured and brutally murdered due to our own detestable wickedness should drive us to our knees in a never ending lifestyle of thanksgiving, worship and intercession. Our desire to go deeper and to get closer to Jesus should wreck us every single moment of every single day.

Yet, even within the context of the church there are masses of people who resist such a focus. I’m shocked and disturbed to say that I heard of a locally popular pastor who actually confessed that he no longer preaches the cross. I suppose it’s old news and time to move on to more positive things. I’m grieved.

WATCH OR LISTEN TO THIS POWERFUL MESSAGE FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE!

Acts Chapter 2: The Seeker Sensitive Translation

Enjoy reading the Seeker Sensitive version of the Bible!

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In my series, 10 Threats to Revival, last night I shared on threat #5: The Seeker Sensitive Movement. God broke out in power during the service. I’d highly recommend you listen to it here: http://media.johnburton.net/5464525 

Acts 2: Seeker Sensitive Version

Disclosure: Not an accurate translation

The First Seeker Church is Born

Acts 2:1-47 (SSV) 1 When the day of fellowship arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from the espresso machine a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and the aroma of ground, organic coffee beans filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And the warmth of friendship touched each one of them. 4 And they were all appreciative of the Holy Spirit and began to speak about the challenges of life as their human spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in the nation religious people, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak about the same life issues as they had. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking church goers? 8 And how is it that we hear them talking about the same things we talk about? 9 Chicago and Los Angeles and South Carolina and residents of Dallas, Denver and Orlando, Kansas City and Paris, 10 London and Amsterdam, Switzerland and the parts of Tijuana belonging to Mexico, and visitors from Australia, 11 both church goers and seekers, Americans and Europeans—we hear them asking in our own words their questions about God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They have had way too much coffee.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of America and all who dwell in Detroit, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not over-caffeinated, as you suppose, since the coffee bar has only been open a short time. 16 But this is what was uttered through the story teller and great motivator Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will encourage human wisdom to be poured out, and your sons and your daughters shall share relevant stories, and your young men shall create media presentations, and your old men shall not get in the way; 18 even on my guys and gals in those days I will give them new fashion sense, and they shall be hipsters. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, light shows, and pyrotechnics, and smoke machines; 20 Sunday School stories will be told about the sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the hard to believe, but great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that the mention of salvation will be subtle and culturally relevant.’ 22 “Men of America, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty human difficulties that he overcame, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, happily traded his life for yours. 24 God raised him up, as you have witnessed in your Easter stage productions. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, with great encouraging principles to help me stay strong; 26 therefore I was thrilled and really happy; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you, we don’t want to talk too much about Hell, which shouldn’t be a concern. 28 You have made known to me the six step plan for a happier life; you will make me full of gladness with your principles of victorious living.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the old guy David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a great motivator, and knowing that God promised that he would set someone in his family in his position, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the suspenseful drama of Jesus, and because of this you can be happy. 32 This Jesus God really appreciates, just like he appreciates you. 33 Hanging out with his Dad, and having received from him awesome wisdom, he has poured this out that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David couldn’t see into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “let’s hang out, 35 you have no more problems at all.”’ 36 Let all the Christians therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus who traded his life for yours.” 37 Now when they heard this they were happily encouraged, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “This is pretty cool, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Simply know that God appreciates you just like you are and, over time, you will slowly start walking the direction he walks, and you will receive the gift of understanding and awesome living. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Make better choices than the others in this culture.” 41 So those who received his word received a free latte, and there were added that day about three thousand church attenders. 42 And they devoted themselves to the life coach’s stories and hanging out together at the mall, to the buffets and the low key talks about God. 43 And apathy came upon every soul, and no wonders or signs were being done through them. 44 And all who had questions were together and focused on happiness. 45 And they were buying new possessions and belongings and giving to social causes as they felt led. 46 And once or twice a month, listening to the leader’s stories together and watching football in their homes, they enjoyed eating, 47 thinking about God and being pretty much the same as all the other people in the world. And they added to their number day by day those who were being anesthetized. 

Another Disclosure: This is really, really not an accurate translation. Thank God.

Here’s the real version. Notice any difference?

Acts 2:1-47 (ESV) 1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

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