Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date:

For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

 

Fun with Words of Colour

 

Graham Cooke – an international conference speaker with a strong prophetic gifting – shared the following testimony:

 

Transcript from Message: Reframing Our Thinking, August 2008 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtcjVJZlfM): I had a dream once. For three nights running, I had this dream. It was like an ongoing movie each night. I’d been praying 20 or 25 years ago that I wanted a way to reach the city that I lived in. And so I’m asking the Lord: “How do I reach the city? How do I reach the church in this city? And how can I reach the city through the church?” I am praying and I am fasting and one night I have this dream and in this dream … The dream is in black and white, not a shred of colour anywhere. In this dream, I am walking up to this old beat-up car and it’s just this drab old grey colour and I open the door and I get in and the car is a little untidy. It has this old-car-smell. The driver is completely grey – his hair, his face, his clothes are drab. He doesn’t greet me. As soon as I get in and buckle up, he takes off and we have to wind the windows down and we are driving up and down the city.

He begins to shout out to people in the city, telling them what they are not, telling them their sins, telling them their behaviours, saying things like : “The trouble with him is that he’s done this this and this and God will never trust him. And the trouble with her is that she is too fearful and this that and the other and God will never bless her.” So everything is either kind of a judgement of who they are but all he’s doing is telling people what is wrong with them and that’s all we do all night long. He’s winding down the window and just shouting to people: “This is who you are. This is what is wrong with you. This is why God will not bless you. This is why you will never have anything. This is why no favour will ever happen to you.” All night long, this is what he’s doing.

I wanted to give him some five-fold ministry (Graham is clenching his fist indicating that he wanted to punch him). I remember the dream ended and I woke up and was acutely depressed. I remembered leaders who were exactly like that. All they could do was tell you what’s wrong with you. “Lord, if I have another dream tonight, I’m not going to bed. I’m not sleeping tonight. I’m just drinking gallons of coffee.” The Lord said: “That’ll be cute because you will have to sleep some time and I am always patient.”

The next night I go to bed and I have this second dream and in this dream the car is black and the guy is silvery but there is still no colour in this dream. He’s wearing this quite decent black suit – black shirt, black tie, silver hair. The car is newer but it is black. He presses the button and the windows come down and we drive through the town all night long and all he’s doing is telling me: “This guy has this problem and this is what we are doing to fix it. This girl has this problem. So we’ve started this kind of class for people like her. That family over there are in real trouble. So we started this whole family counselling thing. That married couple over there. They have some real problems. So we have started this whole program for this. And these teenagers … we got a program for that.” And all he’s telling me is again: “This is all of their problems and this is how we’re going to fix them.” So the whole night is problems … fixing. This is what we are doing … This is the reason why we need another extension … We’re believing for ten million dollars … The whole dream is just fixing people.

I wake up in the morning. I am acutely depressed. I’m saying: “Lord, if all you want me to do is fix people, I’m going to shoot myself in the head and fed-ex myself to Jesus because I don’t want to live this way.” There got to be something better than this. “If this is all there is, you can kill me if you want but I quit. I don’t want to do this because the world is going to hell and all we’re doing is fixing the believers. What is going on? I don’t want this. I want something better.”

So I’m praying all through the day and I said to Theresa, my wife: “Honey, me and God are pretty tight but I am at a crossroad in the ministry right now because if that’s all there is I’m totally not in this game. I don’t want to do this.” Theresa: “Sweetie, just hang in there. You know what Jesus is like.” I don’t want to go to bed tonight.

3rd night – 3rd dream … absolutely brilliant red car. It’s the only thing that is colourful. The car is brilliant red. I open the door and get in and there is this young guy. The first guy in the first dream was an old guy in an old car. This is a young guy and he’s got this salmon-pink shirt on and he’s got jet-black hair, great complexion, and he looks at me and he winks: “You better buckle up. Are you ready?” The whole city is still drab, grey, black and white … and everybody is just in black in white. He says: “Press the button.” I press it and the windows come down. He said: “Okay, let’s go.”

And we start driving down the street and there’s a guy coming towards us and he’s stooped over and he’s just drab grey and his face is grey and the driver shouts through the window: “You are a warrior.” And the word hits him and he spins around blue – bright brilliant blue – and he’s staggering and he hits the guy next to him and that guy spins around brilliant green. So we are driving down and he sees this woman and shouts: “You are powerful and strong.” And her eyes suddenly light up and she turns around absolutely brilliant yellow.

All we do all through that dream we are shouting at people: “This is how God sees you.” And every time that word connects with them. It’s like they are spinning around and suddenly full brilliant colour. I am killing myself laughing. The driver slaps me: “Come on. Have a go.” I lean out of the window and I am starting to shout to people: “This is who you are. That’s who you are.” And I can’t get the words out fast enough. He says: “That’s okay. Speak in tongues. They still get it.” The words are tumbling out of my mouth, faster than I can think but it doesn’t matter. What’s pouring out of me is the Spirit. I am hearing the sound and I am just speaking it out: “This is who you are. That’s who you are.” One guy fell against this building and the whole building just changed – the concrete … Everything starts to come alive. One guy goes: “Uhuuuu.” And there is a tree right next to him. Suddenly the tree changes into this brilliant green and suddenly the whole city comes alive with colour.

I am driving down the road and I look at this driver and he looks at me and he grins. I realize I am driving with Jesus – in this brilliant red car. He says: “This is what we do in heaven all of the time.” In the kingdom, it is an absolute torrent of encouragement. It is an outpouring of blessing. It is an outpouring of heavenly perception. This is who you are …

He looks at me and he says: “Graham, between you and I this is all we have. This is me and you. This is who we are. All I’m ever going to do is encourage the Christ-life in you. All I’m ever going to speak to is Jesus in you. All I’m ever going to see about you is Jesus. All I’m ever going to connect with and talk to is Christ in you, the expectation of glory.”

I am driving down the road and he says: “This is what leadership in my body looks like. It’s just a river of encouragement. It’s dad speaking to their sons and daughters. It’s a flow of encouragement and nobody is safe. Nobody is safe.” There is not once during this whole third dream where he checked anyone’s identity. How would you know who are Christians and who are not? He went: “Don’t care. The kingdom of heaven blesses everyone regardless.” Good is for everybody. The Bible says that God is kind to evil and ungrateful people. It’s in the Bible.

 

Is this true? Are these dreams for real? If they are, we are learning what not many have learnedhow to be together in a church and living in community. I will come back to this but – first – understand the contextthe requirements for this current season in God.

These last few months have been amazing. God is moving. I may quote from my half-yearly report:

 

… God is releasing us into mission work and all of a sudden the church calendar is full with opportunities to preach and teach and minister in the Holy Spirit. Teams from Living Grace have been to Rockhampton (25-30 March), Canberra (9-11 May), Portland (16-18 May), Warrambui Camp outside of Canberra (6-9 June), Victor Harbor (8-10 August), Warwick (23 August), Indonesia (5-15 September) and we have organized and run two Jesus Tents with one more to go before the end of the year: Toowoomba (17-21 April), Oakey (24-28 September) and Pittsworth (29 October – 2 November). I am also teaching the module on the Holy Spirit for the local YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School (30 October – 3 November).

In addition, a team from Living Grace has started a local Shed Happens ministry for men and this ministry is also aiming to reach those that do not know Jesus. Another team has organized and run our first women’s conference at Living Grace (22-23 August) and we are planning to have our first Living Grace camp in many years. Somehow I have also managed to write another book which my publisher likes.

 

We are overflowing with testimonies of people growing in their relationship with God and experiencing more of the Holy Spirit. One of my favourite testimonies is Donna Anderson expelling demons with herhome voice”. A young man who has been visiting Living Grace a few times (travelling for an hour to get here) read my book and, while reading the chapter on speaking in tongues, God (surprisingly) gave him the gift. There is a move of God among us and – according to the Bible – the flow of the Holy Spirit will only ever increase and become deeper:

 

Ezekiel 47:1-5: The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.

 

2 Corinthians 3:18: And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

God took a long time preparing us for ministering in his power and now it is beginning to happen and God is only warming up. There is so much more to come and it will be such fun and exciting and it will go beyond what anyone can ask or even imagine. [Ephesians 3:20: “… is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”] The calendar is already filling up for next year: Jesus Tent in Rockhampton and Easterfest, a Holy Spirit seminar in Murwillumbah (New South Wales), etc.

God’s intentions are good. Yet, we have to be careful. We can get in the way. It has happened many times in church history that people have quenched and choked the grace of God among them. After wanting it so badly, they stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit among them. We don’t want to make the same mistake. Therefore, I was quite deliberate in what I also wrote in my report:

 

It is good that we are a church in mission and I do not want to get back to a time where all the doors seem to be shut and we are having issues among ourselves. God has just begun to open doors and there is more to come – so much more. Therefore, I want to encourage all of us to be absolutely vigilant about maintaining our unity in Christ because without unity in the church – should there be a breakdown in our love for one another – we fall from grace … please think the best of one another, build each other up with encouraging words and give one another grace.

 

The move of God will be unstoppable if we remain one – united in love – and God confirmed what was on my heart because the report of our chairman – Vicki Meagher – reads the same:

 

What an amazing year so far. We have everything to be grateful for. Thank you Jesus.

I handed the task of writing this report over to the Lord. I prayed and waited. On Thursday morning, the 18th of September He gave me this.

 

Psalm 133: How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life evermore.

 

As I meditated on and read it, over the next twenty four hours, I was prompted to add: The anointing flows where there is unity and love.

How precious is the Lord! This will not be an easy task. Sometimes very delicate. We will need much wisdom and good discernment.

 

Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

(It is only through God’s Spirit that anything of lasting value is accomplished.)

 

Unity and Love are of the greatest value in God’s eyes. Amen

 

Unity and lovenothing is more important for us right now to remain in this season where God is opening doors. Agreed? As long as there is unity and love, we can make other mistakes and it will not matter much (for instance, go on the wrong mission trip, start the wrong ministry, preach the wrong sermon or misinterpret a prophetic dream) – we are still learning the ministry and doing new things – but unity and love – the attitudes of the heart – are non-negotiable (John 17:21-23; 1 John 2:9-11).

This brings me back to the series of dreams by Graham Cooke. If the dreams are right, how do we talk to each other and about each other? On the first night, Graham Cooke dreamt that the old grey man in the car just pointed out everyone’s mistakes and flaws and warned them of wrath (nothing good will ever happen to you because of this and that). The next night was a little better but the focus was still on everyone’s problems and issues and wounds and damaged personalities and the counselling and programs and tireless effort that are required to fix everyone and everything. This was slow and wearisome and did not look like changing a city. However, on the third night, everything changed and exploded into colours. As the driver (Jesus) and then Graham Cooke were yelling out God’s destiny for people – (as fast as they could) – spoke God’s plans by the Spirit of God over them – people were hit by power and colour – they spun around – and change came. On the third night, there was no need to bring up all the flaws and focus on all the problems. Instead, there was freedom to have fun with the new life which God was imparting.

Just imagine that was true! For years now (but less so now), people have come up to me – well-meaning and sincere – and they have warned me about what’s wrong with people in our church – especially the ones that were doing things and taking responsibility. This never made for an encouraging conversation and my standard response was always the same: Yes, I can see all the issues but where are the perfect church members that would do the work instead? Can you give me the perfect candidate for this and that? I did not deny the issues but – frequently – maybe more mature members were available and they knew about the need in the congregation but they did not step up themselves and then complained about those that did and – frequently – (I have to admit) – I was tempted to show them that I was aware of the issues and continue with their own – Matthew 7:3: “And why worry about a speck of sawdust in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

We all have issues but this is not how we see each other and this is not how we speak about one another. We are patient with one another, knowing the nature of God’s love:

 

Slide 1

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …

 

Elaborate on Jesus and his love for us on the cross – John 13:34: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. / John 15:13:  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. / John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

 We cover for the weaknesses of one another – maybe soften someone’s harshness or task orientation or sensitivity and low self-esteem – and, with love, hold one another accountable – (Ephesians 4:14-15: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”) – (With humility, we can speak and accept help) – (Growing into our destiny is a process) – but the flaws never determine our outlook or appreciation for one another. We see what God sees and what we are to become and what is already there in seed form.

And this is fun. I like dreaming about people – especially our children – and I like imagining what will become of them and then praying what I see. And it’s always the best. Two weeks ago at the Jesus Tent in Oakey, I was having a chat with Izzy Salomon (not a teenager yet) and we were discussing that we were not having big attendances in the tent. But then I told her that I was just sowing the seed and, when she has grown up, she will preach in front of a packed tent and bring in a harvest for Jesus. I saw her look up and cast her eyes over the row of seats in the tent and I could see that she was visualizing what I just had said. She saw herself preaching in a full tent and her body straightened and I had joy. Like in Graham Cooke’s dream, the destiny and blessings of God and life-giving words of God hit her, Izzy spun around and had even more colour on her than before.

This is being church together. Sincenothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) andwe [original: I] can do all things through him who gives us [original: me] strength” (Philippians 4:3), we dream big and speak big – for instance: You are God’s worship leader writing songs for the nation. Maybe not everyone has to rise up to national prominence – (on the other hand, why not) – but surely all of us will be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) in the streets that we live in, the schools where our children attend and our work places.

I like our church and, especially if you are younger than I am (which is increasingly the case), I feel like a Father (if you give me permission) and I can see no wrong with our (spiritual) children. Yes, I know that you are not perfect but I can see no wrong. It does not stick. It’s like with my two girls – Dominique and Francisca. Love makes you have different eyes and God gives permission because we don’t have to number all of our faults. Instead, we speak life and colour and fruitfulness and a great future into everyone.

When I graduated from Bible College, I was trained to be critical. For instance, when someone else was preaching, I did analyse and criticize and pick the theology and structure to pieces which was not always edifying – least of all to me. (It would have been impolite to share my attitude with the preacher but I did share with my friends who were also listening to the message and this did not help them either.) (Committed to upholding doctrinal purity), I was listening for the mistakes and short-comings which robbed me because I never picked up on the gems of insight, revelation and experience. Whatever you listen for, this is what you will hear. Whatever you look for, this is what you will see. If you want to find fault, you will always find it. If you want to find short-comings, you will find it – guaranteed – (even in this church) – but these days my hearing has changed and I am listening for the spiritual food in everyone’s preaching – no matter what tradition or background. I pick up the good – (what I deem to be good at this time – sometimes I cannot understand because it is beyond my current level of maturity) – and leave the rest – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: “But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” We have permission – a mandate even – to hear and see the good in one another – the amazing ministry gifts (healing, organization, vision, etc), God’s blessings and future.

Vicki prayed over her report for this church and waited and God gave her Psalm 133: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity! It is like precious oil … there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life evermoreand then added: “The anointing flows where there is unity and love.” Unity and lovenothing is more important for us right now to remain in this season where God is opening doors and it can be so much fun. We don’t have to travel in an old grey car which sprouts forth negativity. We buckle up in a red car and – as fast as we can – speak life to one another – positive affirmations of destiny.

Is this in the Bible? Can we afford to let go of all the criticisms and human perception of limitations? Yes, we can. The Bible shares the fun of Graham Cooke’s dream. Saul was a timid man with low self-esteem but then – out of the blue – driving past in a red car (if you want) – the prophet Samuel paid him a visit, anointed him with oil, declared him to be the first king over God’s nation and, following these words, the Spirit of God came upon Saul and changed him:

 

Slide 2

 

1 Samuel 9:21 Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?”

 

1 Samuel 10:1-24: Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession … At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you … You will be changed into a different person …

As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day …

So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the Lord, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the Lord, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”

And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”

And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

 

When God speaks – be it through Samuel or you – the Spirit will come upon the other person and God will give them a new heart – Ezekiel 36:26: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you …” This is a powerful transformation and can you just see Saul being hit by these words, spinning around and assuming colour and with him others? The timid man did become a mighty warrior:

 

1 Samuel 11:1-6: Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead … But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.” … When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said. When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger …

 

Peter had promised Jesus never to betray him but he did. Yet, Jesus did not disqualify him from leadership but spoke life to him:

 

Slide 3

 

John 21:17-19: Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

 

Jesus prophesied over Peter that he would glorify him with a martyr’s death. He would be brave and not betray him again. There were other times in his life when fear made Peter betray his convictions – (growing in maturity was going to be a process and maybe he always retained this particular weakness) – but Jesus had spoken to Peter with power – dunking him in the permanent colour of God’s word. He would and did glorify God with his death:

 

Galatians 2:11-13: When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

 

http://www.scriptureseeds.org/Martyrs/Peter.aspx: Peter’s final days in Rome are not described in the Scriptures, but various traditional accounts have survived. Reportedly he spent horrific months in the infamous Mamertine Prison. Though manacled and mistreated, Peter survived the tortures and apparently communicated the gospel effectively to his guards. Eventually he was hauled out of the dungeon, taken to Nero’s Circus, and there crucified upside down.

 

There is nothing that the word of God cannot do. It can raise the dead. Despairing, beaten up, weary and defeated people can and will rise again as God speaks to them. The Bible backs up everything in Graham Cooke’s dream:

 

Slide 4 – Picture of Dry Bones

 

Ezekiel 37:1-14: The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

 

[See also Exodus 4:10-11; Judges 6:12.]

 

Slide 5 – Picture of man coming alive

 

How do we change a city and nation? Not by numbering the bones and pointing to every dried up hope. We have fun and speak life to what is dead and – in the process – we maintain unity and love and encouragement among ourselves. God makes us see what he sees and speak what he wants us to speak and – as we speak – the power of God hits people, they spin around in wonderment and explode into colour and – involuntarily – bumping into others – they are sharing colour with them also. We have permission to be an amazing church: not be down on anyone or anything but – staying in the flow of the Spirit that we have – God has us speak life. Amen.