By Dr. Richard B. W. Ing
September 5, 2001
The following is a dream that Colleen * was nice enough to put to writing. The dream was received one week ago.
"Woke up at 2:30am. Had a dream and wanted to write it down.
Saw people in our church lined up and going into pastor’s office one by one. Everybody had a survey - papers in hand with whole lists of things they wanted to change - the church to change, for people in church to change and for outreach to change, etc. They started discussing their lists with me. Things that needed to be changed in the church. Also - where their strengths and weaknesses were. The whole point - people wanted to grow in the Lord. But when I went into the office and looked at my list, everything was scratched out and written over, like I changed my mind and rewrote many things. Looked on pastor’s desk and saw a whole stack of papers and they had done the same thing like me - white-outs, scratches, etc. on every one. Everybody’s sheets were like that. On the papers, they had listed things by topics. The list was endless - on and on. How they felt is they had to go to Bible college, needed more spiritual classes, etc., that they needed to gain more knowledge. They had long lists on what they needed in order to counsel, teach, heal, etc. Then pastor looked up at me and I heard the Lord say, 'I have given you everything that you nee' ".
This dream involves everybody in this church. It speaks about self-deception, excuses and complacency. The interpretation actually starts with the last sentence where the Lord said, “I have given you everything that you need.” In a nutshell, we have everything we need to do the works of God. All we need to do is, do it! The papers in hand contain millions of excuses for non-performance - long lists of things that they wanted to have changed - the church, the people, programs, etc. The people felt that they needed more training, more knowledge - to grow in the Lord before they were ready to serve God. They really believed it, but God said, “No. They are only excuses and justifications.” The scratched out items and the whiteouts indicate not only confusion, but careful reasoning and fine-tuned excuses. The excuses were reasons why they couldn’t go out and preach the gospel, witness to people, bring people into the church, pray for the sick, cast out devils and embark on the ministries God had given them through the laying on of hands. Some were told they were to be evangelists, prophets, apostles, pastors and teachers. But the years went by and they did nothing. Now, they come to the pastor to present their excuses for their failures, lack of love and zeal for serving God, and the absence of fruit of the Spirit.
God knows that with faith and the Holy Spirit in you, you lack nothing. Many members have been anointed to cast out devils, but few have done it. They are not interested in spiritual warfare and have not prayed against demons for ages. Many don’t even attend Tuesday night deliverance sessions - they have their excuses. They are too busy, it’s their night off, their favorite TV program is on, they don’t have a ride, etc. Many are called to be evangelists, but they have done nothing to further their individual ministries, so they have come to blame others - the pastor, the church, the members, circumstances, or the need to learn more. Many are anointed to heal people, but they do not go out of their way to visit the sick. They expect the pastor to do it. They are too lazy. Most have not even shared and witnessed to Jesus in ages, but they have excuses and they think it is the pastor’s responsibility. Anyway, they don’t have a car, or they don’t know the scriptures, or they have to babysit, or help around the house, or ad nauseum.
No wonder God is going to spit out the lukewarm Christians (Rev. 3:16). Excuses are nauseating to God because they are manufactured lies to deceive both hearer and speaker. Pretty soon, people believe their lies and are comfortable with them. It’s like coming late all the time. There is always an excuse. But the truth is they had no intention of coming on time. When one truly intends a result, he does it. The more intention, the more results. What you do is what you want to do, deep inside. Likewise, what you didn’t do is what you didn’t want to do deep inside.
Some want to be appointed as leaders, but have shown no leadership qualities or fruit. A leader is a take-charge person who can inspire and lead others. How do you know if a person is a leader? You look behind them to see if anyone is following. Yet, many have been given an opportunity to lead, but they fail. Their excuse is that you have to be related to the pastor or a good friend in order to be appointed as a leader. Most have excuses but no fruit. The excuses go on and on.
Many Christians have no burden or love for the un-saved. Many have not even shared Jesus for ages. They have never brought anyone new into this church. I’ve heard many excuses why people don’t bring people to church. Some claim that the pastor’s messages are too hard; others say that they don’t like the music; some say there is no love in the church, etc; still others claim that there is no Sunday School or programs. Truth is - they don’t care about bringing people to this church or any church. After ten or even twenty years, the excuses don’t pass muster. In fact, they stink!
I once had several friends who worked for my real estate firm. They never made any sales, although I gave them office space, a desk, telephone and supplies for years. I even bought them a newspaper every morning to scan the real estate classifieds. Meanwhile, I was the top salesperson for ten straight years. I outperformed the entire office by 100 to 1. When I confronted them on their lack of performance, they claimed that it was because we didn’t have real estate listings for condominium projects where they could sit at open-houses. So, I went to several developer friends who gave me two large condominium projects to sell, along with another broker. None of these people showed up for six weeks. When I confronted them, they all had excuses. One had a sick mother, the other had to go to church, another had to attend Army reserve meetings. I later found that two of them golfed on weekends and the other one had a girlfriend he saw on weekends. They all had phony excuses. Truth is - they never intended to sell real estate. They just liked the life-style.
In the vision, Pastor smiles and puts the lists in a pile. When they leave, he dumps it in the wastepaper basket. It’s not worth the paper it is written on. He knows the truth and God knows the truth. Most non-performers like to play victim. Truth is, we are backslidden, have no love for people or God and are just marking time. We are scared to let go of the things of the world and take a risk. We are too chicken. Matthew 15:8 applies to us: “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Pure lip service. God knows what is heart and what is lip.
The truth hurts, but the truth makes us free. We are an excuse-making, self-centered bunch who have excuses for everything we fail to do for God. We love the world and don’t want to risk too much; yet, we want the anointing and favor of God on our lives. We do not trust God enough to take a leap of faith and believe God for our keep, and we keep preparing, learning, listening to sermons, reading all kinds of books on Christianity, and attending every conference by famous Christians. It makes us feel good, but we never do anything. We have the shadow, but not the substance; the form but not the real thing. We talk a good story and can quote many scriptures, but we never use them to fight the devil, heal the sick or preach the gospel. We have never surrendered to the Lord.
We blame others for our failures. The church does not grow because the members refuse to evangelize and bring new converts to church. We are Laodicean to the core and God is warning us to repent; otherwise, He will spit us out. Instead of partakers, we are spectators.
Someone had a dream in which she saw a huge circus tent. Inside, a performance was taking place. Performers were being hurled out from one end of the tent, like out of a tunnel. In the middle was a ring and a scrubby, dirty and skinny white horse was going around and around endlessly. On its forehead was an ostrich plume that was broken in two and hanging down. The horse was half-dead; its white coat was covered with red dirt. The other performers were skin and bones, dark and withered. In the stands were people who were not moving. They were just staring. These were also skin and bones, dark and silent. They looked almost dead. As she looked at the far end where the performers were being ejected, the tunnel suddenly had teeth.
The tent is the church. We have become a bunch of entertainers and baby sitters. People come to church to be entertained. It’s a three-ring circus, but the performers are almost dead spiritually. The pastors don’t know God and they have not the life of Jesus in them. Each one of us has been given a white horse and a chance to be in God’s end time army. But we haven’t taken care of our spiritual health and the horse is not well-cared for. That’s our spiritual condition. Instead of marching on, we are going around in an endless circle, not knowing that we are dying. The church is dying and the spectators are the members. They are no longer doers; they are mere spectators - sitting and staring, not moving. They too are dying and they don’t know it. God is about to spit them out of His mouth!
Our excuses are killing us. Truth is - we’re about to be spit out of God’s mouth. Where are the fruit of the Spirit? Where is the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance? Where are the people we witnessed to? Where are the ministries God gave us? Where are the people we have helped? Where are the ones we delivered or healed by the Holy Spirit? What have we done for the kingdom of God?
We need to truly repent! We need to turn away from our lies and excuses, and hate them. We need to turn back to God and really surrender our lives to Him, instead of giving lip service only.
You can weep and roll on the floor, but until the fruits are manifest, the pastor will not believe that true repentance has come. Until the members start to bring new converts to church, start to love one another and start to have a zeal for God, God and the pastor know that repentance has not come. Until there are no excuses, we are still lukewarm and in danger of being spit out of God’s mouth. Until love flows, humility and obedience are evident and people begin to be concerned for one another, we are still Laodicean to the core. Repent!