"Anatomy of the Prophetic"

(A conversation with Peter Robertson – Edited 10/10/04)

Q. How would you introduce yourself?
A. I’m Peter Robertson…married to Penny…an itinerant preacher. I like that word “preacher”; it’s noble. Paul uses it to describe himself, doesn’t he? I’m an Aotearoa- New Zealander; so far as ancestry is concerned…I’m a fair bit of Scots, a bit of German…and some other odds and ends I imagine.

Q. What or who is it that’s helped you become the person and the Christian you are today?
A. Without a doubt it’s people who have had the biggest influence on me through my life. I never met Thomas Merton, but in the late 60’s I “met” him and came to feel like I knew him personally. Although I was suddenly and quite dramatically Born-again in 1966, I never really felt like I connected with the Church until I was brought in touch with Merton. He was a contemplative monk and author, living in the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in the USA. Interestingly his father was a New Zealand artist; lived most of his life in Europe and has a painting in the Christchurch art gallery…I think. Around about the time of Thomas’ sudden and tragic death in late ‘68, his famous autobiography “Elected Silence” just jumped off a bookshop shelf into my hands. And I instantly identified and had almost total rapport with his description of a life of prayer and hard manual work with the Trappists…which was pretty strange for a Presbyterian boy. For years I hunted for such a place and then found it, of all places smack-bang in the middle of the Hawkes Bay at a remote little junction called Kopua…near Takapau. It became the centre of my world and was an absolute foundation stone in my Christian life…and still is today. I literally still have dreams that I'm there. It was a life of utter devotion to God and the utmost simplicity…and also a certain extremism that was most satisfying to my character at that time. It was quite intoxicating to cram into just one day the Eucharist, the seven Offices (or times of corporate prayer), solitude in the great outdoors, the interest and satisfaction of farming, devouring books from a fantastically well-stocked library, as well as community life. It was just what the doctor ordered, so far as I was concerned at that particular time in my life.

Q. Anyone else?
A. A large number. Thomas Merton had great influence through his writing, and then Muri Thompson was equally influential through personal friendship, which was an incredible privilege. To me he was and always will be New Zealand’s great Prophet. He’s God’s benchmark for all generations to come. Looking back, he and his wife Ena granted me astonishing access to themselves by way of friendship. For many years I was free to visit them and I did.Just sitting with Muri, sometimes in peaceful silence was an honour, and I realize now that God was continuing my training and preparation. I learned so much from Muri by listening to him, watching him minister, hanging around with him and even by osmosis…just soaking up the prophet at close range. Even to call him the nation’s great Prophet is to understate his ongoing importance; being Maori he really incarnated the whole God and New Zealand deal. Many of the majorly difficult issues which are arising for me now so far as serving the Lord are concerned, Muri addresses for me, not only through what I remember him saying or preaching, but even more so through my recollection of how he handled or endured or grieved over a lot of the stuff that came his way. And come it did! I was really frustrated at his funeral in Auckland in ’92, when so many evangelical and charismatic “aristocrats” showed up; much use that was. They should have visited him and honoured him and supported him (even financially) when he was alive, and especially towards the end of his life, when he seemed to me to be so isolated and overlooked. That’s a painful but precious memory and lesson for me today. And hey…why should I expect any better, if I aspire to follow in his gigantic footprints? And at the same time I have hugely valued my contact and then friendship with Art Katz. Once again, like Muri, Art is a colossus…a formidable man in every respect. But even more than his towering intellect and astonishing powers of communication, it’s what the man incarnates that is above all important. And just by the by, why is it that with Christianity’s basis being the Incarnation, do we so often and usually value what the other does, rather than who they are…or rather who Jesus is being in and through that Believer? Art incarnates the whole mystery, which must be answered before The Day, of Romans 9, 10 and 11 and Ephesians 2.15…the Jew and Gentile welded into One New Man. One of my favourite occupations, is to listen to Art speaking on a tape in the very middle of the night when I’m totally wiped out and washed up after a ministry trip of my own. It’s like I’m totally emptied out and caved in, and just to drive home through the darkness with nothing but the glow of the dashboard and the sound of Art’s unique voice insisting that barely comprehensible truths be embraced…that’s living.

Q. So they’d be the three key figures?
A. Yes…but I’ve also been hugely affected by Paul Cain and Bob Jones. Back in the late ‘80s I was handed a shoebox full of tapes from Kansas City; mostly Paul Cain and Bob Jones. For many years during our summer holidays I just listened to those tapes over and over again for hours on end…especially the series in which Mike Bickle interviews Paul, and you get his whole prophetic life experience in one massive hit. In some ways both these prophets were quite disconcerting to listen to from an intellectual-theological point of view. But nevertheless I was just fascinated and had my ear and my heart glued to the tape player; I think then that I was just beginning to get an inkling that first of all Truth is spiritual…supernatural…then intelligent. I’d grown up as a child and teenager within a form of Protestantism that proposed Christianity as primarily an intellectual and then maybe, optionally, a supernatural thing. They began to teach me that prophetic responsibility is first of all about being in touch with the Holy Spirit, and in a real, practical way being surrendered to Him in a moment-by-moment kind of way, no matter how up-ending or uncomfortable. I think it may have been Paul Cain who coined the pithy phrase, “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” Oh…and by the way, while talking of offending….James K Baxter…he had a very great influence on me, especially while I was in the monastery. Back in the ‘60s he was one of New Zealand’s most revered poets…and rightly so. Then he did this dramatic Francis of Assisi-like u-turn and went and lived and prayed up the Wanganui River at Jerusalem. Big sections of the church really “demonised” him terribly at that time. But I believe he really strove to love Jesus and he was a real prophet of God…especially to New Zealand. Like Muri, Jim warned New Zealand again and again back then, that honouring and practising the Treaty of Waitangi before God was going to be unavoidable. In fact I can remember Muri teaching that the Treaty was a covenant made by two Peoples with God; no honour for this covenant, then no blessing from God. Dear Muri was bashed up by “experts” left, right and centre back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Some Christians wrote him off as having backslidden into spiritism; and a few so-called radicals went after him for propagating the white man’s religion…he should have been knighted and put on a generous state honorarium with a free limo and gratis air travel. He certainly would have deserved that more than one or two long-serving politicians I can think of, but will refrain from naming!

Q. Can you tell us about life’s experiences that have formed you through the years?

A. Getting Born-again was absolutely fundamental…and totally sovereign. There I was trudging along obediently to Presbyterian Bible class; more interested in meeting girls than God. Then one night I was asked to speak briefly at a youth service. In the middle of that I was just suddenly and completely and soundly convinced that Jesus was the most real and important Person I had ever met or ever would meet; He was the one indispensable part of life and my life. All this flooded in at the speed of light and in the twinkling of an eye. I walked out into the night, leaned my head against a scoria wall, prayed what I later learned was the “Sinner’s Prayer” and was instantly flooded with the peace and presence of the Lord. But tragically I just could not connect with church in any real way. I’m not blaming other people or the system or any such thing. My own folks, God bless them, were majorly bewildered by their pagan son suddenly getting hyper-religious; I think they seriously doubted my sanity at various points. All this added up to a sad mixture of rejection and alienation, when I really should have been being discipled. My lifestyle left much to be desired, and I certainly felt the heavy judgement of the evangelical establishment of those days. I have to say from memory, it was a pretty monotone institution back then…certainly in the eyes of a very ordinary young Kiwi bloke who was in the grip of a fierce notion that he had to change the whole world overnight for Jesus. But all the way along, and I guess this is what grace is, I simply could not ever stop loving Jesus or thirsting for a life led with and for Him. Without that I’m sure I’d have been dead and buried young. That’s why the monastery time was just so utterly crucial. Yep…for sure I got the standard anti-Catholic stuff full-blast from all kinds of Protestant friends…but Kopua was my first spiritual home, and still is. I connected full-on when I read Merton’s books and when I finally got there and was allowed to live in the novitiate I was happy beyond belief. I can still remember the very first morning, after a few months living in the guesthouse, being taken to my own little room…lino floor, slat bed, table, cupboard. I sat down and looked out over the vegetable garden towards the Ruahine Mountains and thought, “I don’t care what happens now. I don’t care if I live or die. I’m home and I’m happy.” I was in a God-saturated atmosphere. Getting married was the next major spiritual experience. God brought Penny and me together. I could not have survived out here without her. If I have any kind of ministry; if I’ve been fruitful in any way…then it’s down to her. Next, getting Baptized in the Holy Spirit…which was an absolute miracle in more ways than one. I’d gone into a bad reaction against all things Pentecostal, after some pretty intimidating experiences with folk who left me quite beaten-up by their view that if I didn’t speak in tongues, then I probably wasn’t a Christian. But I did want that fullness and God met me. I stumbled onto a tiny little book about pleading the Blood of Jesus. So I did what it said. I felt the Holy Spirit in my belly, and then He just exploded out and I found myself singing loudly in a language I didn’t know…and even felt like I’d been taken up into heaven while I was singing. Then back in the early ‘90s I began to hear God was doing something new in Toronto.At first I was pretty cheesed off with that old fad-dynamic, “Have you got it yet?” As if some kind of a meeting with God, qualified you to be an expert on all things supernatural. But in the midst of that turmoil, I was still hungry for God…and He met me. That’s grace. It was like getting Born-again and Baptized in the Holy Spirit all over again…but 100 times more powerful. It was not an end in itself though. I think that’s what I object to so much in the Christian fad and fashion scene. Our meetings with the Lord are never an end in themselves. They’re always a doorway on into greater fruitfulness. I must say that all the criticism that poured out against the Toronto Blessing and the Move of God really took me by surprise and worried me greatly. Why? Because it exposed among so many a basic ignorance of God. If you know God, then you know God. You don’t have to organize meetings to debate “Is the Move of God, of God?”

Q. How would you describe your Christian tradition – evangelical, reformed, charismatic? Can you talk about that at all?
A. Well, I guess I’ve passed through them all, but if I needed to be stuffed into a box right now, it’d probably be Pentecostal, because I really want to be identified with that part of the Body of Christ (which by the way I really, really believe in as a practical experience) where we are free to relate to the Holy Spirit in ways which are totally and utterly unequivocal…His Presence, anointings, gifts, actions, ministries and the whole shooting-box…with no watering-down…no compromise…take no prisoners!

Q. Some Christian leaders in New Zealand call you a prophet. Do you accept that and the terminology?
A. The older I get, the less comfortable I am with the title or the tag. Jeremiah 1.5, “I ordained you a prophet to the nations”, has been etched onto my heart since Dr. Des Short at Faith Bible College first spoke it out and into my life at the very beginning of 1979. And then Art Katz spoke it over my life again in 1992 at the end of a short season living and learning with his Ben Israel Fellowship deep in the woods in northern Minnesota. That scripture has been like a beacon light through all these years, in terms of interpreting what is and isn't happening. But just recently I’ve found myself calling out to the Lord over and over again, “I just don’t know anything about anything about this being a ‘prophet to the nations’ thing; please show me how.” That’s really a major difficulty for me at the moment. So often ministry is seen first and foremost as something we do. For me it just has to be in the first instance about who the Lord is, and who we become with Him. But at the same time I do accept from a purely practical point of view that it is helpful when leading a church to have some idea of who’s who out there in the ecclesiastical zoo. I mean, you don’t usually call an electrician to unblock the drains.

Q. How did you realize that the nature of your ministry was prophetic, in contrast to other giftings…for example a pastor or a teacher?
A. The short answer and I think the best answer is when other people began to point this out to me. Long before any concept of the prophetic had really entered my head or vocabulary, I had a totally unexpected experience of this. I was a journalist working for Auckland’s Catholic newspaper “Zealandia” in the mid-70s and attending a diocesan think-tank, convocation. During one group conversation, a headmaster (who I respected enormously) suddenly just looked straight at me and announced, “Of course you’re prophetic.” I was very surprised by this, but at the same time something within me was warmed by this exchange. But then I didn’t respond by rushing out to have business cards printed with “Prophet” plastered all over them. Then quite a few years later while on the pastoral staff and fulfilling a flat-tack teaching ministry in a Presbyterian parish, folk in the congregation began to say more and more, “Your messages are good teaching, but they are becoming increasingly prophetic.” And just to hike off for a moment on a tangent. I read recently someone suggesting the word “deacon” tracks back to the idea of “running through the dust helping”. I like that. I don’t think it matters too much how well defined and significant someone’s ministry is…the bottom line is all of us just getting stuck in and doing whatever needs to be done. If there’s a job to do, do it. It kind of worries me, especially in charismatic-pentecostal circles that too many folk want to be specialists before they’ve really given being a GP a good long maybe the rest of their life.

Q. Did you know what the prophetic was back then?
A. No not really. I guess early on I had an inkling through people like Thomas Merton that it was about identifying the gap between where things are and where God wants them to go and be. I believed Jim Baxter was a prophet. Not because he had long hair and a beard. I wasn’t that immature. I had long hair and a beard then myself. What self-respecting person didn’t in the ‘60s? But Jim through his poetry, his speaking and his search for community was struggling to get our attention to tell us here in New Zealand that we weren’t home yet; we hadn’t arrived; we needed to get from here to some place else much, much better. And getting there was going to be 100 percent about Jesus. So that was a crude feeling I had then…and I don’t think it was too far off the mark as I’ve slowly gotten better acquainted with the Old Testament prophets, and Jeremiah in particular.

Q. This leads me to the question then of how you would describe prophetic ministry?
A. I think initially I skated at pretty high speed from one extreme of prophetic equalling a quest for social justice, all the way across to the prophetic being, “Yea, yea, thus saith the Lord”. It’s an impossibly huge question, especially when you think that if all the books written about the prophetic were piled up, they’d probably look about as high as Auckland’s Skytower. But once again, as time marches by, more and more my ideas are getting simpler. So for me the essence of this whole gigantic and vexed and incredibly important matter is Revelation 19.10, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” It’s all about what Jesus wants to say through the Holy Spirit at any particular given time, in a particular place, to a particular person or people. So that’s going to be our primary concern; what Jesus wants to say. Every personal, ministry, denominational, cultural, nationalistic, political agenda must crash and burn before this absolute imperative; to hear the heart and voice of the Lord. And this is clearly incredibly important to God, when you consider that the Spirit operates in three clear and different ways to enable this to happen: the anointing to prophesy, the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. I’m especially keen to see the Spirit of prophecy released over whole congregations, especially during worship. Heaven opens and everyone…young and old, rich and poor, quick and slow…can all enter into the supernatural realm of seeing and hearing and comprehending the Lord’s heart in all kinds of new and varied and exciting and encouraging ways. And the gift of prophecy is very exciting too, enabling particular people to pray for others and speak to others on Jesus’ behalf…to turn on the lights and stir them up with all kinds of vision, motivation and encouragement. I find often Christian leaders are equipped strongly with this gift, and I’ve certainly been blessed and motivated over and over again at critical times in my life, by a good, accurate word of prophecy. It’s at this point I guess I get a bit cranky about leaders with strong gifts of prophecy automatically grasping the title of prophet. I think it brings a lot of confusion to the Body and society as well. Yes, for sure prophetic utterance is very important; but what about prophetic personality, prophetic lifestyle, prophetic action, prophetic writing and so on? There’s a terrible danger in charismatic and Pentecostal circles that by limiting the scope of prophetic ministry we risk trivializing it, marginalizing actual prophets and silencing the comprehensive voice of God to history. If it eventually turns out that I was a prophetic person, then I think the signs of that (with the benefit of hindsight) are clearest when I was young. How do you explain a reasonably normal little kid being most happy when he’s out the back of nowhere, wandering about farm-land and communing with God? How do you explain a pretty typical teenager (very average at school) devouring literature about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s martyrdom at Hitler’s hands and the Holocaust? How do you explain an ordinary Presbyterian Bible Class boy gripped by the idea of the priesthood and searching like crazy for years for a contemplative monastery to live in? I believe that was probably a prophet in the making. I can just get so mad at those books and conferences which seem to suggest you can just put your money down, go to “school” for a day or so, and zap-kapow “I’m a prophet”. I don’t think so, mate. And the terrible irony is that so many of these overnight, self-appointed prophets do experience a rejection by the Church which is deserved. They become self-fulfilling prophecies…”Look at me. I’ve been rejected. Therefore, I’m a prophet.” I have always had a profound horror of that dynamic. I think I’m just a very ordinary bloke, with a pretty normal level of liking to be liked. And I think the proof of a prophetic ministry is a very basic recognition (maybe begrudging) by others (not necessarily acceptance) and your track record. That is to say, more strikes than strike-outs when it comes to any kind of insight or prediction, and local church leaders wanting to hold the door open and receiving the prophetic for what it is. “Hey bro…come and hang out here for a while and spread that prophetic stuff around on us. We know from experience, it’s going to do us good…even if it rocks our boat quite a bit.” Having said that I need to add that the whole issue of rejection and being marginalized has to be considered and wrestled with in a healthy and realistic way. For myself, it’s only been recently that I’ve even wanted to consider what comes after Jeremiah 1.5. “Listen Jeremiah. Everyone in this land…will be against you. But today I am giving you the strength to resist them.” So, while rejection and being pushed onto the fringes is an aspect of this calling, it sure as heck isn’t the proof. It’s the dangerous part of the business, because it’s basically sinful to become a man-pleaser or contrariwise some kind of cranky rebel. It’s a mystery that has to be embraced, not solved. There is a very necessary physical, intellectual and spiritual solitude that has to be embraced as a life calling. And that’s very dangerous for a whole raft of reasons. But it is unavoidable. To be a voice and not merely an echo, means you just have to be closer to God than men. And some men will just hate your guts for that, because you are a constant reminder that in spite of their ecclesiastical qualifications and uniforms, they don’t really like God being God very much at all. So here’s an example of the mysteriousness of the whole business. I was in a Bible school a while ago. I poured out my heart for 3 hours on end…just gave them everything I had. Then the students just got up and walked out. Not one single cent did they bother to leave in the offering plate. But hey! On the one hand I refuse to wear that and negate my performance in that meeting. But neither am I going to criticize and condemn those people for failing to reward my work or support me in any way, shape or form. I embrace the mystery of that event. Something’s been exposed. God’s up to something in all of us. So be it. Praise the Lord. I love what I call prophetic moments and events, where the Lord speaks through words, deeds and happenings, wildlife, the weather…just about anything and everything. It really is all about God being heard above our considerable, religious noisiness.

Q. Okay. Well this question is really along the same lines that you’re talking about now. How would you describe the nature of your prophetic activity?
A. I guess a major thing I am enjoying is working simultaneously at what seems to be two extremes - my writing and speaking. While I do always strive to be diligent and studious when I prepare a message, it’s always my goal to deliver it “dancing” on the highly subjective knife-edge of moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit for His revelation and power. While in the pulpit, I’m constantly looking for opportunities and courage to jump out into the supernatural; to cut loose along an unexpected and unprepared line of thought, or to prophesy to a particular church or town, or individuals in the meeting. Sometimes it feels like balancing on the edge of a crumbling cliff. But from my point of view that’s where the really exciting God-stuff often takes place. But that’s also the place where the self-appointed critics sit with salivating jaws gaping, just waiting for your tiniest slip…and they’re onto you, knives and forks flailing. There’s a certain kind of person - I call them “disapproval addicts” - and they’ll totally miss the 59 good minutes, and come after you for the one slip of the tongue. Hard case? And then there’s the writing. Even though I was trained as a journalist by the NZ Herald in the late 60’s and then worked in that trade for 12 years, writing sure doesn’t come easy. But I’ve really come to appreciate the hard discipline of it. Every word has to be scrutinized and weighed. And then all that I write is submitted to leaders and friends I have the utmost regard and respect for. So it’s a grand old system of accountability. But it’s great because I feel a session of writing actually primes me to cut loose in the pulpit. And then a few meetings dancing on the razor blade’s edge, send me scurrying back to my pencil and paper for a bit of “slowly but surely” therapy. So I’m really grateful to the Lord for giving this balding eagle two wings. And by the way…the two wings are joined by my time of just being around with the Holy Spirit. That’s the toughest time to claim back; but it’s the most precious. Without that I’m a dead man; a fish out of water, a flame with no oxygen, an engine out of petrol.

Q. How do you think the Church is handling the prophetic or prophets generally?
A. I hate to generalize on this kind of issue, but I’d have to say that local church leaders (who are the absolute heroes of the Body of Christ so far as I am concerned after almost 12 years itinerating all over New Zealand) don’t cope that well. And that mainly has to do with the model most operate with. That is, the local church leader is “the man”. I’m pushing as hard as I can for the Ephesians 4 model of the Ascension Gifts…apostles, prophets etc…building the local church and the Body in teams. With this the prophet isn’t going to be the freak or the loose cannon. It won’t matter if he’s local or itinerant, he’ll be part of a team, which of its very nature is composed by God so each member contributes, rubs rough edges off others, and compensates for others’ blanks and so on. The really sad thing is that if local leaders don’t lead so far as the prophetic is concerned by maybe building real and ongoing relationship with prophetic ministries, then the flock will wander off to get their own nourishment and possibly get sick on dubious “food”. If we put the prophetic in the too-hard basket, it’ll come back to haunt us.

Q. What if anything would you want to say to younger people who have an interest or a sense of call to prophetic ministry?
A. Above all else I would say to those people, “Love your Elders.” And by that I do not mean the leaders of the Church…although I would say that very strongly too. But in this instance I’m calling on the younger or the next generation to get very connected with Church History and especially with those actual individual men and women whom God has employed to really influence and even change the course of events in nations and societies. For me there is an unbroken golden seam of Grace and Truth which runs down to us today from the Reformation…that massive Visitation of God which altered the history of the World forever! To me it is something akin to a kind of “apostolic succession”, beginning with the French reformer and teacher John Calvin (16th C), on to George Whitefield the British evangelist and revivalist (18th C), then to Charles Haddon Spurgeon the English pastor (19th C). At this point the pathway divides and pursues two concurrent tracks with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (UK) and Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (USA) - two 20th Century scholar/pastor/teachers! A really solid grounding in the faith and doctrine and life-style of these servants of God will do you a power of good! Oh…and spend more time on your face alone with God, than running around attending so-called prophetic conferences!

Q. Is there something you feel would be beneficial to study on the prophetic?
A. Yes. I want to comment on two things that I think are tremendously important, and yet they’re so often underestimated or even neglected. They are prophetic lifestyle, and dreams. By prophetic lifestyle for example, I’m thinking of some of Ezekiel’s experiences; God calling him to lie on his side for over a year to indicate the time of Israel and Judah’s punishment; eating particular kinds of food in particular portions cooked over human manure, to indicate life in exile and under siege. By and large we are just so much happier with the detached kind of prophesy; an oracle; a “Thus saith the Lord” It can be too clinical and you can take it or leave it too easily. But the prophet’s life being a message is just very up-close and personal and so much harder to dismiss; both for the prophet and the Church. So here’s a modern example. Over there is a prophet, who is known quite well nationally, teaches orthodoxly, preaches in an encouraging and colourful way, carries a tangible anointing and prophesies consistently and accurately according to local leaders. But he ends up more or less “unemployed”. What in the world is going on? It’s just possible his apparent uselessness is not so much about his shortcomings, but is actually a barometer of how the Church in that nation really feels in its heart of hearts about God, His Word and His prophets…in spite of all the backslapping and bonhomie which inevitable typifies the frequently held “prophetic” conferences. Along these lines, let me also say, that I know that in every nation right now there are true Ascension Gift prophets living as hermits. No one knows who they are or where they are. But they’re out there, utterly devoted to crying out to God and listening to His voice and then prophesying His Word through intercessory prayer. One day soon a handful of these men and women are going to be allowed to come down out of the hills and into the Church, and their silent, loving gazing over us will bring more reformation and revival in a few seconds than all our conferences could achieve in a decade.
So far as dreams are concerned…well, I “discovered” dreaming during a period of illness when I received counseling once a month for almost a year. This was somewhere around 16 years ago. After a while I was brought to realize that without fail the evening before a session, I had a dream of the utmost clarity, simplicity and relevance. These dreams became the stepping-stones to recovery. It was just such a God-thing...and still is, and just absolutely blows my mind. You see, the greater the supernatural component in prophecy, the greater the revelatory impact…and the danger of spinning out and blowing it. So anyone who is concerned to be prophetically useful needs on the one hand to strive for greater and greater anointing, which is increasingly pure. The prophetic person also needs to find ways to diminish himself in the whole equation. I have come to believe that dreams are probably the purest form of prophetic expression for which we can claim the least credit, this side of The Day. When God speaks to me in a dream I experience the truth He’s expressing, I’m vividly reminded that the Christian life is sheer grace, and there’s a purity about it that escapes the grubby mitts of the debaters and the know-all’s. I vividly recall quite a few years ago when I received and accepted a call to lead a local church in Auckland. At the last minute I lost my conviction and peace that this was the right course to pursue. So I withdrew from the appointment…but just remained a bit disturbed about it all for some months. Then I dreamed that I was driving across the city towards this particular church. The closer I got the more the weather deteriorated until it was snowing. So I turned the car around and drove home. As I did the weather improved until the skies cleared and the sun came back out. Since that dream I’ve never had a second thought or a doubt about having taken the right decision. I continue to be in awe of how God speaks to me in dreams. Sometimes it’s very personal; sometimes it’s a message for others or for the Church. For example, more recently I was beginning to get to know an influential leader, but felt a reservation about following through on that. I dreamed that I went to a meeting this leader was attending. As I approached him, he suddenly produced a big hammer made of wood and began swinging it around quite destructively all over the place. There’s much about this man and his ministry that I admire and esteem very much. But since the dream I’m just not overly concerned about pursuing or cultivating that relationship. We just need to hear His voice, then pretty well most things are going to be on the right track.

Q. Finally, how should a prophet pray?
A. “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.”