Last week, Buster, a former co-worker, who was escorted from the store prior to Christmas for stealing, came to me while I put out onions on the sales floor. I heard he’d been hired by another grocery store. He looked bright and peaceful.. He never quite reflected that when I worked with him.
He said he was doing well. He ended up telling me about the theft charges. He took merchandise from the store one night without paying. He explained to store officials he forgot completely to pay for it and was willing to make good on the items. All this sounded good to me.
In talking with a couple other co-workers days after he was fired, I made some unwarranted judgments about what I heard about his actions. In one of those conversations, I proposed he may have been sifted by Satan. The days that followed felt like I was sifted, as well. I declared things I was not authorized or wise enough to say about Buster, and what God may be doing in his life. I recognized that, repented and apologized to God and prayed for the well being of my brother.
As he stood before me, he went on to say it was a tough Christmas and a tight January financially. Before we parted, I was moved with compassion, took him by the hand right there beside the onions on a busy Saturday afternoon and prayed blessing, healing and grace-filled words upon him and his family.
I felt it was a redemptive encounter in our relationship. The former things are pass.
This is what I’m meant to do.
I read some verses earlier that week that came back to me in light of our meeting.
The former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I will tell you of them. – Isaiah 42: 9
Also, I dreamed days before I stood in a sanctuary during a traditional worship service. It could’ve been the last denominational church I pastored. I wore a preaching robe with stole. I stood beside others also clad in robes and stoles, as well. We lined the walls around a seated congregation.
A young woman in a white choir robe stood inside the chancel and sang one of the older contemporary worship songs like Shout to the Lord. As she finished, the robe clad elders had finished assembling in their places in the sanctuary. At that point, someone began to utter a benediction and the scene faded to black.
I then heard a former colleague tell me about leaving the church office we shared and locking the door at the end of a work day. He’d just gotten into his van when a guy on a motorcycle just pulled up to the office building. He came to secure a loan from the church. My friend was gleeful he didn’t have to deal with that request.
I’d dreamed weeks ago of a photo of me leaning against a motorcycle while I was in seminary. A motorcycle in a dream meant empowered individual ministry.
And no one puts new wine into old wine skins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are skins. – Mark 2: 22
The last denominational church I pastored has recently merged with another congregation. Without making any personal inquiry, I believe this strategic action for congregational survival was probably necessary. That being said, this dream describes a concluding worship gathering with assembled elders in a familiar sanctuary followed by a motorcyclist looking for a loan from the church.
The previous dream portrayed me as a motorcyclist, empowered ministry. Taking a stab, I believe this dream describes me as one who took a loan from the church when I was there borrowing place, time and resources to follow a calling to lead a congregation in empowered ministry through Holy Spirit. A loan may be given, but the borrower is indebted to the lender.
The former things have come to pass. The new thing is about to come forth. The new wine could not survive residing in an old wine skin. The door is locked, the office is closed, no more loans to any ministry. That particular church and my relationship with it is gone.
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. . . I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise – Isaiah 43: 18-19
About an hour or so after talking with Buster, I was putting some tomatoes and bananas on the sales floor. A customer I’d spoken with weeks ago and hadn’t seen since approached me and asked about strawberries. I directed him where to find them.
While at the banana table, he approached me again. Without hesitation, he said, “The Lord wanted me to tell you you’re a good man.” I had no indication he was a man of faith or gifting. He was pleasant enough, but this was a prophetic utterance to get my attention.
For the next minute or two, Daniel declared and prophesied over me.
He told me repeatedly God said I am a good man.
The last four years have been hard, but this year will be different for me and my family. Its going to be a good year.
In the five fold ministry, I am a prophet. I was told this years before, but this is a confirmation of what I was told.
He told me other things, as well. We exchanged names and phone numbers. Perhaps, he was just meant to speak to me that day or this will bloom into a friendship. We’ll see.
In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. – Ephesians 3: 5
These two encounters with Buster and Daniel emphasize to me the fulfillment of the past and the new thing coming to be. My relationship in my spirit with Buster is reconciled. I hold nothing against him, and I see him with eyes of compassion in the present. Daniel brought a series of words to me to bring my gaze forward and upward with a fresh anticipation of what God is about to reveal and unleash in and around us.
The dream described the end of a congregation and my relationship with it. All of that has now faded to black.
The Lord is about to do a new thing. I share these experiences to encourage anyone interested to believe the former is past and the new is about to come.