I think that all prophets have to go through a time of rejection after accepting their personal calling as a prophet. I don't know if this period is a part of a prophet's ministry, per se, (Jesus' ministry began at age 30) but I believe it _is_ part of our training. Our Lord is much acquainted with grief, and until we can enter into that with Him, we don't know that part of His heart. So, although I've had some difficult years, some heart fruit, at least, is now coming out of that. Vision: Hang Gliding. This is my first post to this list. This is actually new territory for me. Not the idea of prophecy or hearing from God, but for me it's been difficult to accept the calling God has for me. Mostly, I struggle with sin and I never believed that God would want to use someone was wretched as myself. I am sharing this partially in obedience to "not hiding my light under a bushel" and partially in the hope that others may find it helpful. During March of 1997 I was crying out to God, asking Him what His calling on my life was all about. God answered me with a vision, one that took three days to completely unfold. This is the most intense vision I've ever received. I was not just watching it on a "movie screen", I was participating in it as though it were actually happening. Even now, a year later, the memory has not faded - it's as though I am remembering something that actually happened. I could see, hear, touch, smell, and taste my surroundings -- I even developed vertigo. This is that vision: I am standing on the edge of a very high cliff. It's the dark of the night, and I can see thousands or even millions of lights spread out below me. Some of the lights are small, and some are large and spread out across a wide area. Some are bright, while others are so dim I can barely see them. The large lights were not necessarily the brightest -- in fact, some of the smallest were also among the brightest. Overall I could see no correlation between the size of a light and how bright it was. I knew immediately that the lights were churches in all their denominations, sects, and varieties, and that I was seeing churches all over the world. Some of the lights were connected with others, like a string of towns along a freeway in a nighttime satellite picture, while others were isolated. Some were so close together that I had to shield the brighter ones in order to see the dimmer. My overall impression was of a vast uncomprehendingly complex network. I spent a long time -- most of the night in the vision -- just looking at the lights and marveling at their striking, almost unearthly beauty. As I looked at this beautiful network of lights, I realized that something was going to happen soon, and that after this event the world below would be plunged into a darkness such as it had never known. As the sky started to brighten with the dawn, I noticed some things nearby. First, I realized that I was strapped into a hang glider. I knew I was in that hang glider to take part in some sort of battle -- a rescue operation for the lights (churches and people) below. Next I noticed that there were people on either side of me, also strapped into hang gliders. As I looked in the ever increasing light, I realized that the entire cliff section was lined with people who were ready -- even anxious -- to jump off the cliff and begin the rescue. There were many thousands of warriors on this cliff edge, all straining forward, anxious to fight that final battle. As I gazed farther and farther out to my sides, I saw more cliff sections like the one I was on. Each cliff was lined with people ready to go, just like the cliff I was on. I knew that we were all waiting to swoop down to those lights below to carry them back up to this cliff and to safety. I saw many Great Men of God there. Some were young, some old, some had years of battle experience, while others just seemed to have an anointing which prepared them for the battle to follow. I felt humbled to be in such company. My initial surge of excitement over the glory of the coming battle dissipated as I realized how many of these veterans were so much more qualified than I. I began to wonder if God had made a mistake placing me among such pillars of the kingdom. After a while, I noticed that the hang glider of the person on my right was not assembled quite correctly. One of the tensioning wires that held it together was dangerously loose. It would probably hold in normal, sedate cruising, but I knew that in the stress and strain of battle he was going to loose a wing. He was going to fall to his death, or at the very least he was going to be neutralized from the battle, right when he would be needed the most. The person on my left was a grizzled old veteran, with the battle scars to prove it. Both his own body and his craft showed signs of former damage, but both were repaired and healthy. One wing spar was a different color because it had been replaced, there were many patches on the fabric, and the handlebar covering was worn through to the bare metal in places. But the overall craft was sound and ready for battle. As I looked around, I saw other details about many of the hang gliders. Some were assembled incorrectly , or had something broken, or were not strapped on quite right. A few were even being worn backward. But no one seemed to notice. I grieved when I realized how many of these warriors would be neutralized in the battle, and that some would even fall to their deaths and be lost entirely. I was puzzled by this, so I asked the Lord, "What's going on Lord? Why are so many of these people so ill prepared? Why do they care so much about the future glory of the battle, and so little about themselves and their neighbors?" In reply He simply said, "Turn around." I unstrapped my glider, turned, and looked. What I saw next broke my heart. Immediately behind me was another row of people in hang gliders. Behind these there were even more, and behind those, more. Row upon row of warriors, all waiting for the opportunity to move up to the cliff's edge for that final glorious jump. But these warriors' crafts were even less prepared than the ones in the front row. The farther back I looked, the more I saw hazards among the hang gliders. Some had perfectly assembled and balanced frames, but no fabric on their wings. Others had only half a frame, with the extra fabric flapping uselessly in the wind. A few had no frame at all, they simply had their fabric wrapped around their bodies. There were many, many variations on this, some obvious, like the missing frame, and some more subtle, like the loose tensioning wire on my immediate right. A couple warriors even had no evidence of a hang glider at all. Those ones were the most arrogant and boastful, utterly confidant that their abilities and inherent "goodness" would bring them great glory in the coming battle. Most, however, truly meant well but were simply unaware that their craft was not ready. Many of the warriors were prepared, or at least their hang gliders were. But the number of those who were not astounded and shocked me. Even more shocking to me was the utter lack of concern each man demonstrated for his neighbor. Each ill prepared craft had the potential to neutralize two warriors in this vast army: the wearer of that glider, and the one who was going to have to abandon the harvest below to rescue him or her. As I looked even farther back, I saw the rear edge of those who were in place for the battle. There was a lot of turbulence there as the people in the last few rows were settling in. Back further yet, almost at the limits of my vision, I saw the most heartbreaking sight of all. I saw millions of people running and leaping forward, all anxious to get in line for the final battle. They were running across a vast plain, but in places their progress was impeded by large hills and even a few small mountains. Most just ran around the hills and mountains. A few climbed over, and just a few -- a very precious few -- stopped long enough to investigate the mountains themselves. Of those few who stopped and looked, most soon gave up and rejoined the crowd rushing headlong to the final battle. Of all the hills and mountains out on the plain, a couple had been exposed for what actually they were. They were not really hills at all, but vast piles of unassembled hang gliders covered by immense tarps. The majority of the people were ignoring the very things they needed to survive the coming harvest, much less have an effective role in it. When I realized this, I fell down sobbing in grief. For someone who has rejected God to fall to their death is one thing, but for the vast numbers of newly converted who were going to lose their lives -- that crushed the breath right out of me. As I lay there crying in grief and gasping for air, I cried out in my heart to God "Why have you given me this terrible, terrible burden? Isn't it enough that you've had me so many years in the desert? What can I possibly do?" He answered with words from Ezekiel 38: "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: `When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.' "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, `O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. With that promise, the constriction in my chest eased, my sobs slowly ebbed, and once again I could see some hope. I started telling the others there on the cliff's edge, making them aware of the state of their crafts. Even more importantly -- far far more importantly -- I started encouraging them to check their neighbors. Eventually I was exhorting all of them to pass along this Spirit of holiness, of critically examining oneself and one's craft in the Light of truth and love. I watched as this spread out like a wave. As each pastor came to understand the need for checking to make sure their craft was O.K. -- and why -- they passed it along to their neighbors. As I watched I saw similar splashes in the vast army, where other watchmen had sounded the same cry. The final thing I and the other watchmen did was direct the attention of the leaders to the hundred of thousands of leaders behind them and to the millions of new believers still running up to the battle formation. We started exhorting the pastors to prepare their leaders and this horde for what was ahead. Interpretation For me personally, this vision is has brought a lot of clarity and definition about my role in God's Kingdom. Dad has spent many years teaching me who I am in relation to Him, that I am His son, and that he takes immense pleasure in me for that reason alone and not because I "perform" to His satisfaction. I know the fact the Dad says I am a watchman does not mean He loves me more or less than anyone else. In fact, although I can see indications of this calling as far back in my life as early childhood, it was not until I got my basic identity as Dad's son and the Son's bride settled that I could actually be of any use to Him in this role. I've always had a heart for unity, particularly between churches that are geographically close but infinitely separated by the wily ploys of the devourer... If nothing else, this vision helps me realize that when God tells me something and asks me to pass it on, there might actually be a possibility that maybe He really does want me to be obedient in following through. (I think the bible refers to this as having a "mustard seed's" amount of faith.) Almost as important for me in this vision is what I didn't see. In the vision I didn't notice or particularly care about the individual weapons and tools which each warrior had. I was not concerned about their skills at using them. Although I could clearly see the personality and heart of each person when I looked at them, the reason for that was not that I should somehow "fix" who they are or teach them how to fight the fight. Rather, by seeing each person's heart, I could more effectively communicate with them about the need for tending to their craft and helping others do the same. For me, knowing this sets some boundaries that I know I can only cross with the most extreme unction from the Spirit. All my life I've struggled with the fact that I "see" a person's inner heart as easily as I see their outer characteristics, their physical body and their personality. I was always a social outcast as a child, because I had no clue how to respond socially. I never understood that others didn't see people as I did. As an adult I've had to learn how to respond to the social cues that others seem to be able to handle naturally. In the process of working this out, I've learned that I can easily, almost naturally, manipulate people. I've also learned that this is witchcraft, and is something I need to run from. Working out my prophetical calling has been as much about learning where _not_ to go and what _not_ to do as it has about learning what _to_ do. As I've prayed about this vision, I've asked God if this is just a personal word meant to encourage only me, or if there is something in this for the greater body of Christ. What follows is my best attempt to date figuring out discern what, if anything, He may want to say to others than myself through this vision. First, to the prophets, the other watchmen (and women) God is calling to sound this cry: I believe that the measure of a prophet is not in how loudly or boldly he or she proclaims the truth, nor is it in how popular they manage to become. Rather, our measure is in how effective we are at introducing change. Actually, our true measure is in our character and our heart, and in our obedience to God. But change is something a bit more tangible which can only flow from our hearts as regulated by our character. Having a Godly heart and a Godly character are inner fruit, while the "change" I am speaking of is the external fruit of a prophetical ministry. So, if you as a prophet don't see a lot of positive fruit on the outside, take look at your fruit on the inside. External positive fruit is not popularity. Rather it's the Father's purposes being accomplished. In this vision, if I'd gone around ranting and raving at those pastors and cursing and condemning them to hell because of the imperfections, far fewer would have bothered to take note, except perhaps to encourage me most strongly to move on to "wherever God may be calling me." I know this from very painful personal experience. On the other hand, if I had been so fearful of loosing my popularity, I would never have been able to approach many of those pastors in boldness to speak the truth with love. Again, been there, done that. Believe it or not, prophets, many pastors _do_ actually hear God on occasion, and most pastors really _are_ at least a little sensitive in their spirits. If you approach them with arrogance in your hearts, most pastors will discern that. Or if you cower before them with fear in your hearts, most of them will also see that too. In either case many of those pastors will not be able to receive what you have to say because the "static" so overpowers the "radio station". Above all, remember that prophetical ministry is absolutely _not_ about glorifying the prophet, but absolutely _is_ about glorifying the bride. Pastors and other leaders: Please try to remember that prophets are people too. I have found many times that pastors are afraid of those with prophetical anointing. It seems like most people tend to either fear and despise prophets, or they tend to worship them. I don't think that any pastor in their right mind would want to release either of those dynamics into their flocks. But know that in the majority of cases these prophets are completely on their own. Most pastors have a lesser or greater amount of schooling -- they almost certainly have some specific training to learn how to be a pastor. Almost all churches and denominations have avenues for raising up and guiding young pastors, and for keeping at bay the wolves in sheep's clothing. And every pastor I have ever known has _some_ sort of support mechanism in place once they are actually out pastoring in the real word. In today's greater Christian community, how many of God's prophets have the same preparation? How many are trained? How many are recognized by their church's leadership and guided towards maturity? Many whom God has called as prophets are a little (or even a lot) rough around the edges. Please try to understand what we go through as we try to be obedient to God's call on our lives. I have, at various times, thought I was: worthless; the next John the Baptist; certifiably crazy; the only sane person left; ready to be used by God when I wasn't; not ready when in fact I was; and just about everything in between. But rarely have I been provided guidelines and encouragement from my _church_ leadership. Most of the other people I've known who have prophetical anointing have had similar experiences. If you have someone in your flock who seems to exhibit this kind of anointing, please don't be afraid of them. Whatever they may be like on the outside, every person I have ever met with even an ounce of prophetical anointing has started out with a very sensitive heart on the inside. Some prophets have developed hard hearts, but in my experience most of the time this is a reaction to being simultaneously worshiped and feared by other people. If someone is coming to you claiming to have a prophetical word from God, please try to look past their pride and insecurity, and at the same time don't be upset or overawed by the idea that God my choose to speak something through them some of the time. Just take what they say and apply the discernment God has given you to the content. Above all, please, please try to work with them, setting boundaries and guiding them as necessary, but also encouraging them to become who God is calling them to be. Many prophets would give their right leg simply to be accepted as people who happen to have a particular gifting or anointing. (Of course, a lot of the pastors I've known would probably say the same thing about themselves.) To the new believers: Hang on! This is going to be the ride of your life. In fact, it's going to be the ride of everybody's life. None of us have _ever_ done this before, at least not on this scale. While many leaders are experienced at hang gliding (to use the metaphor from the vision), never before has there been an operation in God's kingdom on this massive a scale. To everyone: This interpretation -- all of it, but especially that which is directed to others than myself -- is composed primarily of my thoughts as I've tried to come to grips with this vision. As such, to me the interpretation carries less weight than the vision itself. I've certainly sought the Lord's Heart in interpreting this, but in the end I must confess that any interpretation has been primarily my efforts at comprehension and understanding. Application Absolutely the last way I want to apply this vision is by rushing out on my own in an attempt to make it happen by "helping" God along. At the present time God has been very clearly and strongly telling me to "Stop hiding my light under a bushel." That's one of the reasons I'm sending this to the list. This vision is not an isolated event in my life; it confirms many things that have happened before and since. For years I've had an intense passion to see the Son's bride made ready for her Bridegroom. While this vision has provided me a few more clues about what that might look like, none of the essential elements or underlying passions are new. For me personally, I'm waiting, and watching in wonder and awe as this is starting to unfold. Timing Since God almost _always_ seems to miss it on this one, I will spare him the embarrassment of making yet another mistake. *grin* Except for instances when God has _clearly_ told me a specific time or date as part of a word or vision, I've learned to be cautions about trying to attach a sense of timing to what I learn in the Spirit, other than reporting a sense of urgency if that is there. My sense for this vision is that it is first and foremost meant for the prophets, and I see it as a call to allow God to make us effective instruments. ones that He can use to bring about the change _He_ wants, _when_ He want's it. That's the other reason I'm posting it. I also see here things which are coming (the second wave of the harvest) and things which may be happening now (the first wave)... -Michael D. O'Quinn.-BACK TO THE 'DREAMS & VISIONS SUPERSITE'