So, ( as seems to be the cool but grammatically unusual way to begin a sentence these days) the dream I mentioned in yesterday’s blog; there were bits personal to me but I think there were bits in it too that are a word from God for more than myself to hear. Unlike the quote from Hamlet that is the title of this blog, in which the dreams being talked about were the dreams that might haunt one in the sleep of death, this was a dream full of life!
The setting of the dream was a large conference of the sort I used to speak at regularly for about 17 or 18 years alongside my prime calling to be a parish minister. Health or rather its lack at this present time, means both parish and conference ministry are beyond me. However, in the dream I was no longer up front (Hallelujah! I never ever wanted to be!), but rather I was sitting among the people of God. I still had a microphone in my hand, which indicates despite changes I still have a voice and a ministry to fulfil among God’s people. As I spoke, Paul Cain, whose prophetic ministry is the most astonishing I have ever witnessed, was turning up the volume of my mic. I guess it is that which makes me think what I am saying through this dream is perhaps prophetic in some sense. It was, more than anything, a warning dream.
The message I spoke through the microphone in the dream was very clear and was in two parts:
Part 1: I seemed to be issuing a challenge to people (many of them young adults) in that setting of big numbers and celebration to make sure that they did not simply delight to be in the company of Christians but were in fact following Jesus. “Being in the company of believers is enjoyable, being in a larger gathering is exciting, gathering with your own peers is a justifiable need and pleasure, but you can have all of that but not actually be following Jesus” was what I seemed to say in one form or another for what seemed like twenty minutes. I remember one odd sentence in particular, which I think draws on a favourite paraphrase that was part of my childhood: “ To be in the company of Jesus is wonderful, BUT HAS JESUS CHRIST BECOME YOUR CHOSEN GOD?” There was a sense of God’s presence within the dream, and the person leading the meeting jumped up, even though I had not given part 2 of my message and encouraged everyone to come to Jesus. The choir broke into a beautiful Spirit inspired song about the love of Christ and there seemed to be a general appreciation of the message thus far and an obvious and positive response.
Friend, you may like these blogs, but the fact that you read Christian truth or have Christian friends whose company you enjoy, whose values you may even admire proves nothing very much spiritually. Judas, at least for a while liked the company of the disciples and being part of a group surrounding Jesus. Have you come to Christ for yourself truly? Is following Him as He shows us the ways of God’s Kingdom my prime pursuit that influences my behaviour, my thinking, my plans and any sense of purpose every day?
Part 2: Please remember that many things in dreams are symbolic, otherwise a good proportion of you will be offended needlessly by what I am about to say! I noticed that the people leading the meeting were all bald including the person who shot up to encourage people to come to Jesus. For me, IN MY DREAMS ONLY, baldness is a symbol of lack of spiritual strength and anointing, a lack of being truly set apart and consecrated to God. It worries me that at the moment there seems to be a fad for “teaching” leadership even when there is no God-given gift for that evident, rather than looking for the anointing of leadership, a gift from God which can be nurtured. Basically the man , who from outward appearance was conducting things well and admirably, was almost going to end the meeting prematurely before the message had finished. In the dream I felt distress and grief and lifted the microphone to my mouth again at which point Paul Cain turned up the volume some more. When I started to speak it was in these terms: “What disciples of Jesus are to take to the world to share according to Jesus in Matthew chapter 28 is an experience of being immersed in God as Father, Son AND HOLY SPIRIT. This is the essence of discipleship, being immersed in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Without that, there can be no disciples making disciples!” I then just kept saying again and again, “Please don’t forget the need for a baptism in power from on high!” It was difficult to be heard as everyone was having such a great, wonderfully happy time of exuberant praise. The volume being turned up tells me this is a message that people find difficult to hear and to receive. I know that is true for I once found it difficult to hear and receive myself. By the way, I still need to hear it because there is always “more” whatever we mean by that.
So, where do we stand people of God, in terms of the baptism in the power of the Spirit that Jesus told His church to wait for, an experience as powerful as being plunged into a fiery hurricane?
I awoke from the dream slightly fearful although feeling that my sleep had been pleasant to me too, just like Jeremiah said on one occasion: fearful because of the continuing attempt by good hearted, cheerful, smiling, well-intentioned leadership to shut down the meeting before all the message was given; fearful that the church would become just a huge get together in which the main focus was simply that, instead of commitment to the ways of Christ; fearful too that many in the Church of Jesus Christ in Scotland are beginning to warm to the thought of trying new ideas for church life and mission, which without the baptism of the Spirit will simply have the lifespan of the attention and curiosity that people give to new idea but no effect on church or nation beyond that.
Out of the love of the Father then I ask you, are you immersed into the security and obedience of God the Beloved Son of the Father, and have we got the humility to pray, to ask, seek and knock continually for the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Father wants to give according to Luke 11? “Father if there is anything more for me to receive in terms of the baptism or the filling or the good gifts of the Holy Spirit, I ask you to lead me into all that you have for me.” I prayed a prayer roughly like that for about seven years after I was converted simply because I wanted a true biblical Christianity and a true biblical experience of God and saw that the disciples experience of the Holy Spirit seemed to much more vibrant than mine. It is always a good principle to ask God to lift us up to the full experience of what the bible describes and offers us through the grace of God in Christ, rather than disempower the bible by bringing it down to the level of our experience or lack of it, or make it fit how we see Christianity. Don’t too easily dismiss things as being not for you because they have not happened to you. There was nothing to keep me going in praying for seven years for a mightier experience of the power of the Spirit other than my own reading of the Word of God backed up by the testimony of people I had every reason to trust. That experience effectively keeps me still praying with varying degrees of tenacity and faithfulness with spells of almost complete indolence and indifference for “more,” a prayer which has brought blessing form heaven to me and to many of God’s people more than once.
Please don’t dismiss what I am saying here because you don’t like the terms I use. I pray that your hunger for God will keep you in the place of praying, “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.” I pray that God will keep me praying the same thing until that day when I shall no longer know in part.
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