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Dreaming Big with Eyes Wide Open for HarvestBy Todd Bentley
Commit these truths to heart
Acts 2:39—Acts 6:9—Matthew 9:36—Matthew 10:1—Psalm 2:8—Habakkuk 1:5
When we open ourselves to dream of doing things bigger than we can do ourselves, if the vision is rooted in the Word of God, if it has the heart of Christ, and if it will give God and God alone the glory, God will come on the scene. Now, more than ever before, we the people of God individually and corporately as the Body of Christ, need to have such vision for lost souls, a vision that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s beyond our own limitations, b-e-y-o-n-d what we can do ourselves, because we need God's presence big time. Where there is no vision, souls are lost. Where there is no vision, people really do perish.
Vision is Vital
Just as salvation is a heart matter, visions are matters of the heart, too because they are a reflection or picture of Christ's heart, and of what we believe and how much we believe for. The Bible teaches, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:3–5). Next to salvation, visions are likely one of the most vital aspects of our faith for this very reason. Do we have the heart of Christ for the lost? Do we believe big enough and beyond ourselves and beyond our own ability? Is our vision, both individual and collective—is it big enough, desperate enough, and beyond us for God to show up in His power?
Having a vision is to have a future direction. Good news! Without a doubt, God gives priority to the future over the past! What happened in the past might be important but the future is of the greatest importance to God. That ultimate future that He has planned is greater than we are, more awesome than we can imagine, and involves the completion of what He originally intended for His creation. God knows what the future looks like, to be sure, and if we open ourselves to God-sized dreams, we will experience something new and far beyond our own expectations. Moreover, trust that if God gives us a vision for something, He will always provide what we need to accomplish it.
How Big is Your God?
God is challenging us and asking, "Who do you say I am? Am I the supernatural God able to do more than you can imagine, intervening today in unique supernatural ways that are way beyond your understanding or ability, or not?" We can't duck and hide for cover any longer, we owe Him an answer. God's high purpose involves gathering, by His Spirit, a faithful, radical remnant of believers; bringing them into a "culture" where creed, race, rank, and age all melt away, where a heart for lost souls and revival for harvest is the high mark, the standard, and the norm. A culture where God's people understand the times, and prepare their hearts to believe beyond the past and toward the ultimate plan of the great good, the greater works, the greater glory.
Hear The Cry of Macedonia
There has never before been a more important hour in the history of the Church than now for a vision for the souls that are still lost. Whether it is an individual crying out for help, a family, a city, or a nation, we need to see what Paul saw in a vision in the night, and hear what he heard through the man from Macedonia: The cry of lost humanity, of hurting hearts, of the captives, of the man saying, "Come, help us!" Then we need to follow the vision, as Paul followed it to Philippi in Macedonia, in one of the most profound, dramatic revivals the world had ever seen. According to Acts chapter 16, the earth shook, jails were destroyed, shackles loosed, cities stirred, people were saved, whole families were baptized, and the works and miracles of God went on and on and on from the midnight hours into the dawn into the days into the cities as the lost heard and responded to the Gospel Truth. Can you imagine or believe for such a revival in your family let alone your city?
Open Your Heart
Following my dramatic conversion to Christ at eighteen, and my three months spent for the most part saturated in His word, and in His presence, I constantly dreamed about preaching, being a vessel of God to bring healing to my family, and to the multitudes. From early on in my walk with God, having emptied my heart of myself, I opened my heart and life wide for the heart and purposes of Christ Jesus, and He gave me a passionate heart for the lost. I heard that Macedonian cry, and hit the streets, preaching the Word of God and handing out tracts on street corners, at skateboard parks, anywhere people gathered. I loved that time, and many came to know Jesus as a result, even members of my own family, and though God was faithful in all of it, I was never satisfied. I yearned for more and more souls every day.
God's dreams for us are always bigger than our own. While I prayed for multitudes, God had greater plans! Can you imagine? Oh, this still excites me. One day, a few years later, while meditating on the goodness of God, and hungering for my dream to see souls saved, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me a verse from Psalm 2:8, "Ask for the heathen and I'll give you the nations for an inheritance..." Wow! Nations! At that moment, God captured my heart for a million lost souls won for Him. A million! If I had any doubts about how one so young, so green, so not qualified, and with as limited resources and talents as I had could accomplish this, they vanished quickly as He impressed another message of truth into my spirit. "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day," this from the Book of Deuteronomy 8:18. I am convinced that God plants visions in the eyes of our heart first, before our minds because the mind is often a breeding ground for doubts and questionings. The heart is where Christ dwells—and in the heart is that assurance. I had assurance of His presence, of His power, of His resources, and of His promise and thus, pressed into the vision for a million souls, pushing beyond any limit my young mind could conceive, and saw that dream manifest by the power of God, by the time I was 31-years-old. Thank YOU Jesus.
What One Vision Can Accomplish...
In our early years of ministry, we took nothing but the treasure He gave us—the precious vision for a million souls, and headed to Africa, trusting God for what we needed, and trusting He would show up. In those early days, we would rent a truck and sound system, and seek out places where people gathered, like in the market place, and then blast the Gospel into the atmosphere. Like a magnet, the Word drew hungry, hurting people to us, and Jesus healed, saved, delivered, and radically transformed hundreds upon hundreds, and by and by, over the years in that one continent alone, thousands upon thousands, and tens of thousands of people. Praise God! How gratifying it has been to see God accomplish great feats amongst us the world over.
With my Fresh Fire team, we have since traveled to over 60 nations, preaching the Gospel and seeing with our own eyes over one million decisions For Jesus Christ! Small beginnings yes but big dreams born of the Holy Spirit into our hearts for great exploits for God. Let me encourage you—do not stop dreaming—and dare to dream big! God will show up, He won't disappoint!
...Even on Horseback!
The theologian and preacher, John Wesley looked upon the world as his parish. He knew the work God had called him to, and was sure of God's blessings and resources for it. "Great encouragement have I," he wrote in his journal, "therefore, to be faithful in fulfilling the work He hath given me to do," which was to declare the "glad tidings of salvation" to all who were willing to hear. In spite of challenges and personal setbacks that affected his ministry, he never let go of his vision to promote holiness of heart and life, holding that in this life, Christians could come to a state in which the love of God reigned supreme in their hearts. He believed with all of his heart that God had called him to help bring about revival in the church, and no opposition, persecution, or obstacles could prevail against this urgency. So intent was he to fulfill his calling, and frustrated by his limitations behind the church pulpit, he went out into the field, traveling constantly, often on horseback, and preaching two to three times per day. Noted in a biography of Wesley, he rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds (British money), and preached 40,000 sermons! [John Wesley: A Biography, by Edward T. Oakes, Copyright 2004, First Things (December 2004)].
It all starts with one person being open to the possibilities God makes available. With God's hand on such endeavors, even impossible dreams are made possible, and the kingdom advances, glory to God!
Position for Vision
We need such vision—big vision for souls. To position ourselves for it, we have to see what Jesus sees, we have to be interested in what interests Jesus, and feel what Jesus feels. The Bible says that Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion on them, scattered as they were, as sheep having no shepherd (see Matthew 9:36). The missionary to Africa, David Livingstone had that compassion, knew what interested Jesus, and daily prayed the heart of Jesus, "O God, give me Africa." Braving that dark continent with its hard ground and harsh lands, disease and pestilence, Livingstone loved thousands of people to God in his lifetime. It is said that he died on his knees by his cot in his tent crying out to God for souls.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of spending time with Jesus, in the Word, in prayer, in worship, and in surrender in the Secret Place of His presence. When our hearts are tender and receptive to the dreams of God, we open ourselves to His world of possibilities. This is where He prepares our hearts for the planting, for the fullness of the Spirit obtained in intimacy qualifies us to receive the seed of vision. Dreams and visions are the love language of the Holy Spirit to us. Saturated in His Word and in His Presence, this is where Holy Ghost fire consumed me to take the message of Christ to the ends of the earth and why I am thus compelled to reach the lost with the Gospel of Christ. My utmost prayer is that the cross of Christ be branded upon the heart of the Body of Christ collectively and in individual hearts for lost souls.
Look and be Amazed!
The Lord is saying, today, "Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told" (Hab. 1:5). God's word penned hundreds of years ago through the prophet Habakkuk is the NOW vision for the Church. The nations are calling and Fresh Fire USA will follow the vision for an unprecedented harvest of souls, for the sake of God's kingdom. As long as I breathe, I am committed to the vision of worldwide harvest, to responding to the Macedonian cry, "Come, help us."
It is time to build our dreams and visions, and build big in familiar and unfamiliar territory as revolutionary missionaries into His fields of divine purpose! I want to see the release of evangelistic fervor come into the hearts of God's people, to stir us to take the Gospel of Christ and mighty demonstrations of the Spirit of God into the malls, the streets, into the ghettos, the hospitals, teen hangouts, into the towns, into the cities, into the darkest continents. It is our commission and it is the ministry of Jesus. When Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him He gave them power to do the work: power over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sickness and diseases! (See Matt. 10:1). He not only gave them power, He gave you power, He gave your children power! Consider that the power went first to the Twelve. Then it saw exponential increase and leapt to 70, then to 120, then to 3,000, and then it went to as many afar off as the Lord our God will call: "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39).
Provision for Vision
I can't wait until tomorrow! Why? Because I am excited about the promise of the power of God and the Gospel, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in what He has called us to do. What more do we need to accomplish great exploits? A great exploit can be one or a million souls—whatever the Lord has birthed in your heart to do. One of our missions is to especially reach women and children—the masses of humanity that are being exploited. Our vision is to counteract the powers of darkness, lead the exploited to Christ Jesus, free them from their captives, and help elevate their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being through several outreach and mercy programs, in the name of Jesus.
As we look forward to coming months, I will be asking God to give us clear vision for what our future will look like here at Fresh Fire USA. For us, we sense that our first million souls was just the beginning...a taste of a billion-soul harvest. Lakeland, Florida too was just the beginning of the greater outpouring to come. Whatever His vision for us looks like, I am trusting God to lead us according to His will. I know that my heart for harvest squares with God's Word, and it advances the cause of His kingdom, and for sure, God always blesses dreams about soul winning!
I thank God for our destiny and for yours, and for the amazing plans that He desires to establish in all of our hearts in coming days. Nothing is impossible with God when we place ourselves in His hands and with harvest in full view, the greatest feats, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, are yet to come, whether we accomplish them on horseback, in stadiums, behind the pulpit, in our own back yards, or via the world wide web. Without doubt, He will provide all that you and I need. Keep your eyes open, and saddle up!
A Note from the Ministry Team: Both with our natural and spiritual eyes we can clearly see that indeed the fields are white unto harvest. We are preparing to leap into the harvest in coming months, so please be sure you sign up to receive our regular updates or visit our website often. This is a season of amazing acceleration, and we very much appreciate your prayers, support, and partnership as we go out in the spirit of Matthew 10:7, 8!