Every night for at least a week it’s always the same. It is most peculiar. In my dream I’m carrying around what seems to be a doll house (no, I don’t make a habit of doing this). It is ornate, has much detail, and has very well sculpted furniture all in place inside. I set the doll house down. Then I fold open the roof. And now, and very surprisingly, I pick up a big heavy seven-gallon bucket full of water and commence to pour water all over the inside of the roof and into the house. I don’t pour slowly, I pour fast and hard. The water is gushing over every nook and cranny of the house as the flood’s force overwhelms all. It’s leaking out everywhere and making a colossal deluge. The house furniture is in chaos. Suddenly I notice there are minnows swimming over the entire mess: inside, outside, on the floor, over my feet, but where did they came from? The end. Then I wake up. That’s the dream. I’m sorry, there are no more details. I have dreamt it every night for at least the last seven. Is it trying to impart something that I need to know? Am I mentally ill – or – was it just a strange way to fish (we are from MN)? What do you think it means?
II. The Interpretation – Dreams come into Holy Scripture big time, were believed and acted upon, beginning with Jacob’s dream of a ladder that reached to heaven at Bethel (Gen. 28) to Paul’s night vision at Troas (Acts 16). Do all dreams mean something? Who could know? But, though it may seem humorous to you (it is to me), I think this one has a meaning. As I’ve thought, prayed, and been in my ravings about it to my wife, this is the interpretation. Let me know if I missed it.
What it’s not about: it should go without saying, though I’m not a very good fisherman, everyone knows that a doll house can’t be expected to do the job of a minnow bucket. So, with this wisdom that is native to us all, this dream is not about doing something stupid, that can’t work, or something else manifestly unfitting. Minnow buckets don’t have to be so good-looking either, even if it’s little girls enchanted with the rainbows in ‘punkin seed’ Sunnies who’s doing the fishing.
The components of the dream – These are figurative and represent very real entities. I’m going to try to compare these to biblical categories because I believe the dream is from God.
First, let’s consider the doll house. My innards tell me that it represents a lot: not just your household and mine, but God’s household. The fact that the dream has me carrying around God’s house is a weird notion in itself. Unlike a real house, this means the house lacks a foundation and is able to be dragged about. Thus, the church family wants itself to be just a platonic model of the real thing in heaven, instead of being the real house of God with foundations right now (cf. Matt. 7:25). This exposes just how subject this version of the church is to whatever the dollhouse wants inside its walls, but it isn’t subject to Christ. The arrangement of the furniture points to this organization, i.e. the way we think the church should work. Not that our view about church is necessarily skewed, but we are certainly affected by the culture around us. Thus the doll house furniture follows that culture and is set up the way we want it.
Second, notice the seven-gallon bucket of water. This stands for the Holy Spirit. In the dream I pour with gusto the entire bucket into the house. This reminds me that in the Book of Acts where we read, “having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear (fire above their heads and tongues). . . .to know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:33-36). This is Peter’s explanation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The bucket of water is also like Christ’s own words that prepared the Apostles for the coming of the Spirit in Acts 1:4-5: “Wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he (Christ), ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Jesus is the Baptizer, not in water, but in the Holy Spirit. This baptism is the same as the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2:33. In like manner, they were all “filled” with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4. Thus the bucket and the Spirit.
Third, the water floods everything. It should be observed that the dream has me pouring out a gonzo amount of water. Everything gets turned on its head, especially the furniture. All is affected by the presence of and the amount of the Holy Spirit. Does our ‘furniture’ and our neat little doll house need to get adjusted by the Holy Ghost? Definitely.
Fourth, as the water is overflowing all, I suddenly notice minnows everywhere. The minnows follow the water. The minnows represent people. As in the day of Pentecost where 3,000 souls received Christ (Acts 2:41), so wherever the Holy Spirit is poured out and Christ is preached people will be drawn and believe the Gospel.
Conclusion: It has been my prayer for many weeks now that I might have the privilege of being part of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Not just preaching or teaching about it, but bringing it. That is what God has been whispering to my soul. Imagine that: bringing the outpouring! Really? Yet this was my dream! This is what Peter did throughout his ministry. In all of his messages in the Book of Acts, those messages happen because of a demand for an explanation of the work of the Holy Spirit that had just happened, beginning with the Day of Pentecost. For Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:16-17). Likewise Paul also brought forth the outpouring of the Spirit, for he said, “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Cor. 2: 3-5).
The dream spoke so prophetically to my own soul. It powerfully confirmed to me the ministry I’m to do, which is way beyond me. I can only do this as I ‘work with God’ (I Cor. 3:9). To think that God would patiently repeat this crazy dream many times till I could get it, which at first seemed to have no meaning whatsoever, and then lay it right out for me, that is so awesome. God yet speaks in dreams, one of the most intimate ways of all. So, what have you been dreaming about? Is it recurring? Is it challenging? Is it peculiar? Does it seem to have no possible bearing to your life? Did you write it down? Have you prayed about it? Would it seem childish to really think it could be a message from God? Maybe give it a chance.
- What if the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is on-going and aimed at ‘the last days’; are these the last days in your estimation? Would you invite Him to fill you? (It is written, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” – Acts 2:17. This is going to be better than you think – it’s the Holy Ghost in charge).
- Take it deeper: What if the Bible said that the outpouring was specifically for you, could you accept it? (Acts 2:38-39 “. . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”)
- Would you dare to seek and receive this baptism, of Jesus the baptizer in the Holy Spirit (also known as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) like the Apostles did? And what if the promise meant tongues, prophecy, and boldness to testify of Christ to anyone, anytime, and anywhere (Acts 1:8; 2:4; 4:10-13)?
- What if Jesus created such a tight bond between you and him that you could only walk it out by walking in, and by being filled with, the Spirit, and by that relationship, and that alone, you could turn from sin; could you accept that? (Gal.5:16; Eph. 5:18).
- What if the result of the outpouring of the Spirit meant you became a threat to the lukewarm, the government, and your family, till they betrayed you, imprisoned you, and executed you; would you still want the privilege of being filled with the Holy Spirit to follow Christ if it meant that? (Matt. 10:16-24; Acts 4:8-12; Phil. 3:7-11; Rev. 2:10).
- What if being filled with the Holy Spirit was way more exciting, amazing, fulfilling, and even fun than anything you could compare to him, while you were being changed into the image of Christ, yet felt no inclination to be dramatic about it, could you flow with that? (II Cor. 3:17-18).
- What if following the leadership of God Almighty, the Holy Ghost meant personal risk to your old, boring, selfish life; would you still want him? What about the risk of being sent by the Spirit to speak to people you don’t feel all that comfortable being around; would you still say yes to God? (Acts 5:1-11).
- What if the outpouring of the Spirit didn’t mean weirdness, religiosity, or bizarreness but instead meant holiness (he is the Holy Spirit), was natural but also supernatural, and that you would never be putting on a show; would that be ok?
- What if the outpouring of the Spirit of God would provoke, challenge, and defy the idolatry of rationalism in you, which drags you down because it exalts the human mind above all; are we good with that? ( Acts 2:13). And like the doll house furniture, how far would you let the Holy Ghost ‘mess you up’?
- What would you do if the existing structure where you worship does not even notice that the outpouring of the Spirit is missing, or would limit what they allow Spirit to do, in effect cancelling the promise of the Holy Ghost; would you be ok with that? (Acts 19:2).
- What if the biblical experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit is erased clean out of the corporate structure and consciousness of your church, demanding conformity to ecclesiastical law; should you follow that – or – stick with God and his Word? (Acts 4:19-22; I Cor. 14:39; I Thess. 5:19-20).
- What if church leadership was so threatened by the outpouring of the Spirit that they advanced the notion that a panic would ensue if it were allowed, and used that as a pretext to clamp down on the gifts of the Spirit; what would you do? (I Cor. 14:1).
- What if the last thing Jesus said before his ascension, the last thing above any other subject, even a discussion about his return, was that the Apostles should wait for, stop everything for, expect and cherish, the outpouring of the Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1: 4-9); what would say about that?
- What if the whole question of you getting the outpouring of the Spirit was that you could only get it by faith, as if it were a promise, not attained to, not anything you did, but only trusted in a sovereign work of the Spirit of the Lord; could you groove with that, or would all that just make you too irregular? (Gal. 3:14). Time for a good laugh.
- So, what if you’re not too thrilled about your present self, but just maybe could get an appointment with Jesus the baptizer in the Holy Spirit to do something about you; would that be ok? (II Cor. 1:20). Would you dare to take that risk where you abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit to have his way? Is it time to merely stick your big toe into this baptism – or – plunge in? How desperate are you, or are you ok the way you are?