The swarm dream

In June of 2018 I had a prophetic dream.  We were still in the beginning stages of planning for the School of Kingdom Writers, and without a doubt I knew this was a message that had to do with the vision God was placing in our hearts and minds.

I’ve sat with it for a year and half now, and processed through it at different times.  God brought it to mind again recently and I feel like it’s time to share.

It was a very short dream, but with great depth of meaning.

It took place in a barn, a brand new barn that was tall but had open sides.  In the very top of the barn there was a honeybee swarm.  A beekeeper dressed in a white suit came along and began to transfer the swarm to a new hive.  As the beekeeper moved them, the bees began to cheer in their tiny voices and were full of joy.  I awoke hearing the words, “They were eager to find their destiny.”

The church is awakening.  We are moving into a new era where the old won’t work anymore.  Church isn’t going to work the way it has, and here are many people who love Jesus and want to follow Him with all their hearts but they just don’t feel like they have a place in the church.  There might be different reasons for that, but the sentiment is the same, church is broken.

The swarm in this dream represents these people, the ones who have been sitting in church but don’t feel like they have a place.  The ones who want to follow Jesus but feel like they don’t fit in anywhere.  When honeybees swarm it’s for reproduction.  Our churches have come up against a wall.  The new barn with open sides represents the newness of this move that God is bringing. It is OPEN, there are not parameters that will define this move. People do not want to be boxed into what church “should” look like anymore and are hungry for real experiences. They are leaving to create new opportunities for evangelism; they are leaving to grow the church. They know Jesus is bigger and more magnificent than what can be felt solely inside church walls and they are hungry for it. They are eager to find their destinies.

The beekeeper represents Jesus, who is transferring these people who are who are earnestly seeking him, into the places where they fit in.  We are on the cusp of a great move of God, and I believe that it is going to look radically different than anything we have experienced so far.  The bees were overjoyed at the beekeeper rescuing them and giving them a new home.  Just as those who are earnestly seeking the Lord are overjoyed when they finally find their place, their community, their calling and their destiny.  No longer will people settle for sitting in the pews and simply listening to a preacher because they know that with the risk of Jesus comes a calling in the Kingdom.  They are not willing to merely to sit on the sidelines, but instead they are in it to win it.

The School of Kingdom Writers is one of these places, a place where people are going to come to find their calling and find their destiny.   A place that is outside of the box, outside of what looks like church.

God is resplendent, He is overwhelmingly majestic and as a people we are drawn to His beauty.  Through us His brilliant light shines, a light that will not be put into a box.  It cannot be contained, you cannot put a finger on what it is.  Although He never changes, the ways He reaches the lost and changes the world are always moving, always adapting, always growing.  We just have to listen to where He is calling us.

A new thing

About a month ago as I was laying down for bed, an image of a fire burning came into my mind.  I closed my eyes to see what God had for me.

I found myself a couple of stories up in an old building downtown.  As I looked out there appeared to be a beautiful sunset, glowing orange and red, but as I moved closer to the window, I could see that buildings were on fire.  However, instead of it being detrimental, I had the sense of this being peaceful and good.

I was moved outside on the street and noticed the fire was burning certain buildings, but instead of destroying them it was making them new again.  This was downtown revitalization, one building block at a time for the Kingdom.

Suddenly, I was back in the room where I began, and there was a line of people around the perimeter of the room (it was large and open) reaching their hands out and praying.  I looked out the window and saw people praying and walking away from the building to bring Jesus to the community.

God is raising this up.  I am certain he is placing dreams in Kingdom minded people’s heads right now of businesses they want to start and ways they can make this community better.  I don’t know if it’s a coffee shop or a guitar store, but I do know for certain that when God is in charge of these dreams He has a big plan for us and for our community.

The School of Kingdom Writers is going to draw 24 people who will live and work in Zanesville, who will wield the power of the Kingdom of God to restore brokenness and bind the brokenhearted.  They will support and encourage a thriving community, while learning about how to claim writing and media spaces for God.

I am so looking forward to what Zanesville will look like in 10, 20, 30 years.  It will be a different place, a place where God manifest presence is known.  We pray and believe that addiction will flee, sickness will be healed and hopelessness with be replaced with Jesus, our everlasting spring of Life.

 Behold, I am doing 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.
Isaiah 43: 19

Business, not as usual.

Not many know this, but the first business Brad and I ever started was an online hookah retailer.  Yes, you heard me right, we sold hookahs in college.

I can’t stop laughing while writing this out because it seems so long ago and so foreign, but once upon a time this young married couple at Ohio University went into business with a friend because they thought they could get a corner on the hookah business in Athens.  Plus, we enjoyed smoking the fun fruity tobaccos.  They were somehow “better” for you because they tasted good, right?

This isn’t something you lead with when introducing yourself, or even when sharing your life, but it’s an important part of our story because it was one of the first times we decided to do life differently.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t go well and we weren’t able to quit our jobs and lived as the hookah kings of Athens, but we began to learn lessons about what it means to own a business.

A few years later after doing the “normal” job thing we both quit to travel and pursue God in greater measure.  We developed our own businesses because we knew deep down there had to be more for us than working 40 hours a week to make a corporation rich.

We built our businesses, I took pictures and Brad designed websites, and we made them work mostly on our own.  We prayed about them and when things were hard we asked God to bless them and help make ends meet.   The beautiful thing is he always did; we always had enough.  We built our businesses and God was our sidekick.

A few years passed and after many late night front porch sessions it was decided that Brad would build a new company that helped people self-publish their writing.  We were older and more in tune with the Lord.   Through prayer this direction felt right, but it was still us doing the building and the grunt work.  Again, we would come to the Lord with prayer requests when money was tight or when there was a tough situation, but this was still a business that WE made and that WE were in control of.    Despite that, He has blessed this business beyond measure and we have learned to hand over more of our lives, little by little, to the God and creator of our Universe.

God began calling Brad and I to full time ministry this past year.  We explored and prayed for what that would be, and slowly the vision came into focus.

We are to start a School for Kingdom Writers here in Zanesville.  Students will live here for two years, immersed in both a writing and Kingdom living program.

For the first time in our lives, this is all God.  There is no way this school would come to fruition by our own accord.  It’s too mighty and massive and we are not skilled in all the parts necessary for it to thrive.  Oh, not to mention the large cost it will incur, and we are a people that live committed to doing everything with zero debt.

But God has relayed to us in many prayer sessions and prophetic words via our brothers and sisters that HE is going to do this in His power, not ours.  We are merely vessels, but he has assured us to dream the big dreams that he is laying on our hearts because they will certainly come to pass.

This doesn’t mean we sit back as passive spectators in our life, but it does mean that we can choose to not participate in the worry and stress that comes with starting a non-profit.  We get the chance to trust our creator fully and without waver, knowing that even as we’ve held onto parts of our lives for our own, HE STILL PROVIDED FOR US.

This is a defining moment in our lives as we take the leap of faith from in control to His control.  We are all in, ready to look like fools for the sake of the advancement of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His wave of great mercy and love is coming in and it will wash over everything in this land, in this community and The School of Kingdom Writers is going to be one part of how He chooses to spread His message.  To God be all the glory.