When Jesus upgraded us from servants to friends, he demonstrated that he wanted his relationship with us to include our voice in the decision-making process. This was actually always the case—both Moses and Abraham understood that God invited them into His counsel (Moses when God threatened to kill Israel, and Abraham regarding Sodom and Gomorrah). God gives the agenda (“on earth as it is in heaven”) and sets us free to make it happen. Dreaming with God explores what this looks like.
Creativity is a key component; the first person filled with the Holy Spirit (Bezalel), was filled for creativity and craftsmanship. In fact, Wisdom includes an aspect of creativity, as Proverbs 8 describes Wisdom as a master craftsman with God at the creation of the world. “Divine wisdom springs from integrity, and becomes manifest through creative expression with excellence as its standard.” (45) The sacred-secular divide has killed a lot of creativity in the Church, which was designed to reveal God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10-11)
As children of God, we have legal access to everything, yet the process of receiving it is full of things we do not understand. This mystery is something we need to learn to value. Mystery is a cross for the mind; if we limit ourselves to what our mind understands, we will filter out most of what God has for us, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The mystery helps bring us to this place of discerning. It also can bring both God and us glory: “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings [us as God’s children] is to search out a matter.” (Prov 25:2). It is like an Easter-egg hunt. The parents enjoy hiding the eggs for the children, and the children enjoy finding the eggs. Finally, sometimes we are not ready to handle it, so God hides it from us, and then the process of searching for it gets us ready.
Learning to hear from God is clearly essential to partnering with Him. Johnson lists a variety of ways God speaks, both dramatic and subtle. God communicates through the written word (the Bible), the “spoken” word of God (the now-word when He speaks directly to you), the still small voice, unusual coincidences or circumstances, prophetic words, testimonies, our five senses, a vision on the screen of our imagination, or more rarely, a vision seen with our eyes or even an audible voice.
The Church is meant to rule the “seven mountains” of society: business, education, government, science and medicine, entertainment, religion, and family. God’s meaning of “to rule” is different from ours, though. “Jesus served with the heart of a king, but ruled with the heart of a servant.” (88) There is no “secular” work for a follower of Christ, so as we lovingly serve the people around us, we bring God’s creative solutions. For instance, a school in Johnson’s area was having problems with teens acting out. Church members observed that this was because the parents did not know how to have a functional home life. In partnership with the school, they started a mentorship program for the parents, with the result that the teens went from cursing their parents to their faces to asking their parents to play board games with them. One businessman finished his wood products with a toxic chemical, and had tried many formulations of non-toxic formulations without finding one of comparable quality. One day while they were praying, God gave his wife a list of letters and numbers, which He told to tell her husband. He interpreted it as a chemical formula, tried it out, and it gave excellent results.
Johnson observes that, as a Church, we have gone as far as we can go on the revelation that we have been given. To go farther in bringing heaven to earth, we need more revelation. This does not mean replacing the Bible, but it is clear that the Bible is not complete revelation, otherwise the Holy Spirit would have no need to reveal all truth to us. Paul prays that the Ephesians have a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17), revelation about who God is or how the Kingdom works, and wisdom to know what to do with the revelation. So how do we get revelation? God does the revealing, but we can position ourselves to attract it. Some good ways are being childlike, obeying what you already know, meditating on Scripture, living in faith, giving, asking God to speak to you in the night while you are asleep, and becoming a friend of God.
The Bible itself is a good way to get revelation, but the way that we traditionally treat it does not position ourselves for revelation. Traditionally the Church treats the Bible with a certain set of rules, designed to make sure that the reader/interpreter does not fall into doctrinal error. However, this prevents the Holy Spirit from freely interacting with us through the Bible. Furthermore, it is unnecessary, as most heresy has not come from misinterpretation of the Bible, but rather through demonic “angels of light.” We also need to be aware that, while our Western mindset conceives of only one correct truth, the Biblical model of truth is that of tension between two opposing ideas. God is one, yet He is three. Jesus is God, yet He is Man. Don’t answer a fool according to his folly (Pr. 26:4), yet, answer a fool as his folly deserves (Pr. 26:5).
We have been given the opportunity to pull tomorrow into today. When King David brought the Ark to Jerusalem, he put it in a tent with worship 24/7. This was actually a violation of the Law, which required that only the High Priest could approach the Ark, and only then on the Day of Atonement after the proper sacrifices were offered. However, approaching God’s Presence in worship any time is the experience that every Christian has. David perceived that sacrifices could not take away our guilt, and that God was actually interested in the heart. This enabled him to pull into his day what was reserved for ours. When God reveals something to us, it is an opportunity for us to pull that into today. “God desires for us to bring forth His solutions for the difficulties and traumas of life on this planet. When we carry our concerns before the Lord, which come from our place of influence and authority on this earth, He begins to open up His mysteries that are concealed in His Word.” (154)
Dreaming with God is a grab bag full of thoughts and revelation of how to partner with God. Johnson encourages us that there is more to the Christian life than just church—we were meant to transform society, and it is not by reclaiming our society as a “Christian nation” but by becoming a friend of God, hearing His heart, and receiving His revelation and wisdom.
Ch. 1: Co-laboring with God
- Jesus upgraded us from servants to friends. This involves us having access to his heart, and changes how we relate to him from simply obeying his commands to living to satisfy his heart.
- Martha tried to work for identity; Mary chose to be with Jesus, and Jesus said it was better.
- It isn’t true that the world needs both Marthas and Marys; workers work, but lovers also work, and get more done.
- Moses and Abraham recognized that God invited them into His counsel (God threatening to kill Israel; Sodom/Gomorrah).
- God gave us a blank check: ask whatever you wish. (Of course, this assumes that we have caught His heart first). Fathers love to satisfy the desires of their children.
- “[Our desires] are in our hearts because of our fellowship with God. They are the offspring of our relationship with Him.” (31)
- The life to the Kingdom is narrow and is “not my will, but yours be done.” Inside the Kingdom, it is much bigger than it looked on the outside, and we have tremendous freedom. In fact, it is through seeking our desires (abandoned to His will) that we represent Jesus.
- Pr 13:12: “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
- (If we have gotten rid of all our desires in an attempt to do God’s will, that explains why the church is so joyless.)
- When David wanted to build God a temple, God said that He had never asked for a temple, but said He had chosen David. (1 Ki 8:15-17) “God basically said: The temple wasn’t my idea. David was my idea.” (33)
- Since names represented character to the ancients, God’s command to Adam wasn’t about coming up with vocabulary, it was co-creating with God.
- “God lays out our agenda—On earth as it is in Heaven—and then releases us to run with it and make it happen! (34)
- Ps 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Ch. 2: Wisdom Creates
- Wisdom is the companion of God at Creation (Pr 8). It is described as a “master workman.” Wisdom is also full of joy; it rejoices before God, in the world, and in the sons of men.
- The first person filled with the Holy Spirit was Bezalel, and it was for creativity in making the Tabernacle. Ex 35:30-35 says that it was for artistic design, excellence, and inventive work.
- Zech 1:18-21 says that God’s answer to the four horns that are scattering Judah are four craftsman. Art, craftsmanship, and creativity (not limited to just “the arts”) are God’s answer to the abusive power.
- [The Hebrew word used is general. In 1 Sam 13:19 it is translated “blacksmith” as it pertains to weapons. In Isa 44:12, the only other occurrence of “blacksmith” appears to use “craftsman of iron” (assuming my reverse engineering of Hebrew is correct). It would be reasonable to conclude it is referring to military crafting in Zech. On the other hand, Zech is late enough that there would be a clear word for “blacksmith” if that were desired.]
- Wisdom has three components. “Divine wisdom springs from integrity, and becomes manifest through creative expression with excellence as its standard.” (45)
- A lot of Christian’s creativity has been shut down by the sacred-secular divide. But the Church was made to reveal God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10-11). Creativity is part of bringing an experience of God to people.
- “I have a friend who is a wonderful worship leader. He was once taken to Heaven, where he heard them singing a song that he had written. He joyfully said, ‘Hey, you’re singing one of my songs.’ But the angel replied, ‘No, we let you hear one of ours.’” (49)
- Some people do not see what they dream for. This is not failure, it is preparing the way for someone else (like John the Baptist). Some plant, some water, and some reap.
Ch. 3: The Value of Mystery
- When Jesus visited Nazareth, the people were offended that he was simply their carpenter’s son. Their offense shut down their ability to have faith in what he said, and shut down his [corporate] anointing for miracles.
- “A person’s heart is more clearly see by what they’re willing to embrace without offense, than by their expression of faith only in what they already understand.” (37)
- Mystery is a cross for the mind. The unrenewed/natural mind is opposed to the things of God because they are spiritually discerned (Rom 8:7, 1 Cor 2:14). If we limit ourselves to only what our mind understands, we filter out most of the things God has. Instead, we see with our heart.
- “God hides things for us, not from us.” (55) God wants us to find them.
- Sometimes He hides something because we are not ready for the responsibility.
- Sometimes He hides because He and we enjoy the search (like kids searching for Easter eggs). Got gets glory by hiding, and we get glory by finding (Pr 25:2, us being the kings)
- I [Johnson] had not seen anyone healed, ever, and was expressing this frustration to Mario Murillo, who gave a prophetic word that He would make it a regular part of my life. Eight years later I thanked him for the word, and “he brought up the story of Hannah and her closed womb. He said that God has [sic] closed up the realm of the miraculous to me, not as punishment, but to draw me into the desperation needed to maintain it as a lifestyle once I received my breakthrough.” (62-3)
Ch. 4: The Language of the Spirit
- The Church is afraid to use our imagination, so as a result, unbelievers are the leaders in creative expression.
- “Unbelief has the outward appearance of a conservative approach to life, but works to subject God Himself to the mind and control of people. It feeds off the opinion of others, all the while stroking itself for not falling into the extremes others have stumbled into. What is seldom realized by those who live in such a religious trap is that an unbelieving mind-set is completely unable to represent Jesus in His power and glory.” (68-9)
- “Love believes all things” (1 Cor 13:7). “Faith works through love.” (Gal 5:6)
- I was able to live opposite to my circumstances when I first came to Bethel and 1000 people left. (The counterfeit can be either a calloused heart, unable to be affected either good or bad, or denial that they are being affected.) This was because doing His will (bringing renewal) was my food. (Also seeing lots of people being transformed.)
- Ways God communicates:
- Logos: the written word.
- Rhema: the freshly spoken word. It is a now word, does not replace logos, and sometimes comes through the logos.
- Audible voice: can either be heard by others, or heard only by you (internal)
- Still small voice: impression of the heart; it is the most common way of hearing God. It sounds like our own thoughts and ideas, but is different.
- External: open visions, you can see with your eye.
- Internal: a snapshot picture. A couple of times I had a picture of a bone or spine while praying or during worship, called it out as a word of knowledge and people were healed.
- Daydreams: you are awake, it is like you are imagining something. I was in a conference and started daydreaming about a prayer house. I shared it with the board, and a board member who was a constructor had drawn up plans for the exact same house two years before.
- Night dream
- Parables: like prophetic coincidences (numbers, animals, etc.); can be interpreted based on how the Bible uses those elements.
- Riddles: unusual coincidences that require insight from the Lord.
- Unusual coincidences: repeated numbers, repeated identical healings in consecutive meetings, etc.
- Unusual circumstances: designed to get us to turn aside from our plans. The burning bush. Road runner that showed up for prayer meetings regularly, ended up getting inside the church and running into the glass doors and killing himself. God said that what was inside needed to get out or it would die.
- Senses: a woman worshiping in front of me was acting a bit odd. I noticed it started feeling cold, remembered my brother had a demonic experience where his office got cold, so had our dancer dance against it. The woman fell down, got delivered, and gave her life to Jesus.
Ch. 5: Invading Babylon
- There is a tension between ruling and serving, but we are called to do both. “Jesus served with the heart of a king, but ruled with the heart of a servant.” (88)
- Every believer is a minister; there is no sacred/secular.
- “Our eternal rewards do not come because of how much money we made, how many souls were saved, or how many homeless people we fed. All rewards are given based on our faithfulness to what God has given and called us to do.” (89)
- There is overt ministry (preaching the gospel, etc.) and covert ministry, which transforms society by “invading” the systems of society in order to serve.
- Christians have typically wanted to gain control in order to enforce the values of the Kingdom. This approach is not Kingdom.
- Seven mountains:
- Business: success here results from living Kingdom in all areas of life (personally, family life, work, the community). Prosperity is generally required for favor, because that is the secular measure of success.
- Education: the goal here is to serve the school by partnering with schools to bring solutions problems the schools have identified. They have an increasing number of problems which can be helped with Kingdom values and principles.
- One school was having problems with teenagers acting out. This was because parents didn’t know how to have a functional home life. After a team mentored family relationships, some teens went from cursing their parents to their face to asking to play board games with them.
- Entertainment: Heaven is where creativity comes from, so believers should have access to the best creativity. “Writers, designers, and the like have substituted sensuality for creativity.” (100)
- Integrity is so lacking in this sphere that people with it will stand out
- Church: the values here are passion, purity, power, and people (not numbers).
- “One of the most common fears in this world of influence is ‘someone will steal my sheep.’ Being committed to another leader’s success, with no personal agenda for gain, is essential for invasion into this mountain.” (101)
- Family: “Even those who seem to work overtime to destroy the family unit, instinctively hunger for healthy relationships, significance, and a legacy. All a family needs to do to have influence in this mountain is to be healthy, and not hidden. When relationships are good and the boundaries of godly disciplines are intact, there is no limit to the influence of the Christian home.” (103) It is important to be in the world, but not influenced by the world; withdrawing into a “Christian” subculture brings no influence.
- Government: it is important to not be intimidated by public opinion. Bringing Kingdom values will bring results.
- Science and medicine: doctors and medical professionals can bring about healing by partnering with God, and can bring people to Christ as they are more open when close to death (it must be done out of sincere love).
Ch. 6: The Practical Side of Things
- It is not possible to love God without loving things. The religious spirit says that only “spiritual” things are important. But if you have a passion for making bows, then loving God will express itself somehow in how you make them.
- In Psalm 137:6 David said that Jerusalem, was his chief joy; his love for God expressed itself in joy over His city.
- God wants to give us all the desires of our heart, even the little ones that we haven’t even expressed, not just the big ones.
- Barry and Julie Schaffer had a business doing prefab wood finishing, and got the best results from toxic chemicals. They tried for years to develop a non-toxic coat, but nothing was as good. One day while they were praying, God gave Julie a sequence of letters and numbers, and told her to tell Barry. He recognized it as a chemical formula, which turned out to be a great top coat.
- Matt McPherson wanted to do music ministry, but knew he couldn’t make enough to support his family. One day God told him the He has the answers to all human problems, and He will give them to us if we ask Him. So he asked God how to build a better bow. A few weeks later, he woke up about 3am with a piece of paper suspended in the air in front of him with the drawing of new idea for a compound bow. It revolutionized the bow industry. He has a number of patents, and his companies support his music ministry.
- Clayton Golliher is pastor of a homeless shelter is SoCal. Their creativity in making toys has caused heads of big business to come to Christ. One time, in response to feedback that their hovercraft was not physically possible to fly, they payed and had a vision showing how to make it, what to use, how it would fly.
- They have three principles for their success
- They believe they live with an open heaven, that since they are one with God His creativity is interwoven with them.
- They believe that, as believers, they have dominion over the earth, including economy and technology.
- They pray in the Spirit as much as three hours each day, and believe that this is when they access the Holy Spirit’s creativity.
Ch. 7: The Spirit of Revelation
- Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has no word of correction. Yet he prays that they would have the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17). Revelation is seeing what is unseen, and wisdom is knowing what to do with the revelation.
- Lack of revelation destroys (Hos 4:6, Isa 5:13). “Knowledge” in these verses is experiential knowledge. Ps 29:18
- Without revelation we are cut off from God’s purposes (although we could still be doing ministry)
- The thinking that having the Bible means we have complete revelation is incorrect. First, we need revelation to understand the Bible. Second, we need revelation to know what He wants us to understand through the Bible.
- 2 Pet 1:12 “established in the present truth”: truth is multidimensional. The OT truth is that sin is powerful (unclean contaminates the clean); the NT truth is that love is powerful (love makes the unclean clean). The second truth is actually more powerful than the first truth.
- Revelation brings new knowledge, but also new faith to experience the revelation.
- Practical ways to grow in revelation
- Become childlike
- Obey what you know (“If anyone wills ... he shall know” John 7:17)
- Learn meditation: biblical meditation is “a quiet heart and a ‘directed’ mind” (132)
- Live in faith: 2 Cor 4:4: the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ comes to those who believe.
- Have an understanding heart (Pr. 14:6)
- Give God your nights: set your affection on the HS before you sleep and before you wake. Invite Him to speak in dreams, then write them down and ask Him for the interpretation.
- Give away what you already have
- Become a friend of God
- John 16:12: Jesus couldn’t tell the disciples the truth he wanted to tell them because they couldn’t bear the weight of it. The HS reveals it to us as we grow in character and faith.
- The HS reveals all truth—this was how Jesus knew what the Father was saying and doing.
- The HS also reveals what is to come. Most commentators think this refers to disasters, but even non-Christians predict disasters. It more frequently refers to the good things God wants to do (most commentators don’t believe in a victorious Church)
- “Disclose” in John 16:13-15 means “declare.” This is how Heaven’s resources are transferred to our account.
Ch. 8: Celebrating the Living Word
- We can read the Bible for principle, which is good, but it is even better to read the Bible for an encounter with God.
- Principles work even for non-Christians: A friend of mine was having financial difficulties, talking to his neighbor who was a pastor, and who said “you’re not honoring God by tithing.” So he tried out tithing, and God started blessing him. (He ended up giving his life to Jesus as a result.)
- Reading the Bible has collected certain “rules” around it designed to minimize people getting heresy. But this prevents people from interacting with the HS in the Bible.
- Most heresy comes from demonic “angels of light,” not misinterpretation. (This is why Christian meditation does not empty the mind; that would leave it vulnerable to an angel of light. Instead, we are filled with Scripture and the Holy Spirit.)
- The Bible is supposed to be living, not a static doctrine.
- The NT writers took verses out of context on inspiration by the HS; why do we think that the HS was somehow okay with rhema revelation for the NT writers but not for us?
- Truth is in tension. The Western mindset wants one truth, but Hebrew thinking has multiple, conflicting truths. We are chosen, but we choose. Don’t answer a fool according to his folly; then then next verse says answer him according to his folly.
- We like Law because it appears to be clearer. Living relationally is harder.
- We become mature through the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph 4:13), because as we see him, we become like him.
- We have made mistakes in hearing God as a church, and when we did, we addressed them.
- We tend to get from the Bible what is in our heart when we go to it. If we go thinking about money, the whole Bible seems to be about stewarding. If we go thinking about evangelism, the whole Bible is about reaching out to the world.
- “God desires for us to bring forth His solutions for the difficulties and traumas of life on this planet. When we carry our concerns before the Lord, which come from our place of influence and authority on this earth, He begins to open up His mysteries that are concealed in His Word.” (154)
Ch. 9: Redesigning Our World
- Nothing happens in the Kingdom without something being said:
- Adam was invited to name the animals
- The Holy Spirit transfers from God’s account to ours by declaring it to us.
- Some tools necessary for redefining what is around us:
- Encouragement: this is more than “a natural use of words to make someone feel good about themselves or their circumstances” (158), it is partnering with Heaven by declaring Heaven’s response.
- Favor with God and Man: even Jesus had to increase in favor with God, as well as with Man. Our favor with out people lets us distribute our favor with God to places we might not end up ourselves.
- Honor: treating people as equal to us in value and giving them every respect we would to a believer we respect.
- Live from the heart: what is inside our heart manifests itself in our outward circumstances. (see Pr 4:23) The Israelites wandered in the desert because their hearts had wandered from God.
- Peace in the storm: we have authority over the storms we can sleep in.
- Divine health and prosperity: prosperity is more than just material wealth, and greatness in the Kingdom is measured by what we give away.
- Heaven on earth: we can only give away what we have, so we need to have heaven inside us.
- Many believers live differently at home than in church (not necessarily intentionally), which kills it for the next generation watching.
- Hundred-year vision: make decisions that will benefit a generation you won’t even see.
- This is hard if we think that Jesus’ return is to rescue the Church.
- “We are to display the wisdom of God to be seen by all those in positions of power—including the principalities and powers in heavenly places. The creative expression that comes through wisdom is a reminder to all that exists that this company of believers is commissioned to bring heavenly answers to earthly problems. This will turn heads from the inferior wisdom of this world to the divine wisdom that answers the cry of the human heart.” (165)
Ch. 10: Pulling Tomorrow into Today
- God blinded Israel and hardened their hearts (John 14:20), because otherwise they might see the plans He has for them in the last days, ask for it, and He would have to give it to them, so He blinded them so that the Gentiles have the opportunity to come.
- God only hardens those whose hearts are already hard (e.g. Pharaoh).
- Jesus told Mary at the wedding where they ran out of wine that his time had not yet come. We know he only did what he saw his Father doing. Thus, something must have shifted and the Father was now turning water to wine. Mary pulled something for the future into now.
- David was under the Law, which forbid anyone from coming into the Presence of God except the high priest once a year with appropriate sacrifices. But he built a tabernacle, placed the Ark there, and have 24/7 worship. This was something reserved for our time, and a difference race (new creations), but he pulled it into his time.
- “God doesn’t reveal the coming events to make us strategists. He shows us the future to make us dissatisfied because hungry people move the resources of Heaven like no one else possibly could. It’s the real reason the rich have such a hard time entering the Kingdom—there’s so little hunger for what is real, what is unseen—their desperation has been numbed by an abundance of the inferior.” (178)
- God uses struggle to produce an elevated experience of God in a person. Typically what has happened is that the person uses this to draw people to themselves to receive from the gift. The intention is for the person to equip people with their experience so that what was once a high point in our experience of God is now a consistent experience for all people.