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Old 12-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 33
Default I had a dream. (Full)

I was reluctant to write a testimony but, after receiving so much encouragement just from reading the testimonies of others on this forum, I thought maybe this could help someone the way that so many others have helped me.

I was brought up in a single family home. My parents were both believers, both Baptist. The church I attended growing up (my mother’s church) was Independent Baptist and they were hard-core too! I mean, they were some bible thump’n, honky tonk’n, God only listens to country music, no mix’n the races bunch. The last part was particularly hard to deal with, being mixed race and all. Some of the rules for the youth (young people) were just plain cooky, like: Girls didn’t wear pants or shorts, only skirts or gouchos, (yeah that’s right- gouchos). Boys weren’t allowed to wear sweat pants or have hair that was too long; resembling women (a mullet would be questionable). I mean, these people were a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” away from being Pentecostal. As weird as it was, I’m not bitter, it was a kind of a child-conductor for me and my siblings and at least I can say that I learned the “Law” there, but there was not much spiritual growth there, which I’ll come back to later. But, I know that the prayers of some of the saints there have and still do preserve me until this day. Praise the Lord that there are some (whom I would never expect) who are petitioning the Lord on my behalf.

I’ve believed in the Lord for as long as I can remember. I do distinctly recall being saved at a passion play when I was about 10 and then when I was 17 I got saved “again” because I had the realization that I had never actually repented for my sins. So, I got re-baptized and re-dedicated my life to the Lord, yada-yada. You know. But it wasn’t long before I was back to my old routine.

My family was poor growing up. Like I said, it was just my mom raising 4 kids, so times were tough. My mother grew up especially poor which made things harder for us because normal things like: running water, gas, electricity, reliable transportation, clean clothes, and a stable source of income were all luxuries to her and optional. So we, for the most, part always lived in the less desirable parts of town which brought with it the less desirable people, and not the most upstanding of friends for us kids, of course. Because we only periodically had reliable transportation we would catch the church bus pretty much every Sunday morning and evening. We were some of the only kids to have a parent present on the church bus. The majority of the kids were sent by their parents who didn’t attend. So the atmosphere was exciting to say the least. Most of the other kids stopped coming by the time they were teenagers, but not us, my mother insisted that we went. My only escape was if I stayed over a friend’s house on Saturday night but, she’d always ask if I wanted the church bus to pick me up from over there. I said “no”, of course.

One thing about my mother that I appreciate is that she always had the mentality of “just go somewhere, anywhere” if you can’t make it to your church make it to another one. Not that we should engage in “church hopping” or embrace every teaching that has a whiff of Jesus. You must try the spirits. I must admit that while I was in the LC I snubbed my nose at this kind of “go somewhere, anywhere” thinking and dismissed as “empty” and “religious”. Looking back, however, it showed me that believers are believers (period). Regardless of affiliation, doctrine or creed, the Lord looks at the heart.

During high school I got caught up with the wrong crowd and we all know how that goes. Long story short I spent some time travelling down the wrong road in the fast lane. So, I wound up being in my early twenties, living a life that I was not proud of (to say the least) all the while dragging my wife and four kids along for the ride.

For some reason I picked up the book “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti when I was at my mom’s house one day and everything began to change. I wondered, “what if this book was even remotely accurate?” Doing what I was doing? Being in the places where I was? Was I helping God’s cause or frustrating it? That was the point at which I started to seek, really seek.

In 2003, I began to read the word and pray regularly, but I had questions. On several occasions, when I tried to contact the pastor of my mother’s church he was unavailable. We had visited my wife’s church a couple times but, I didn’t much like it, and it was a little too weird for me. But I decided to contact, who I believed to be, the pastor of my wife’s church (who was actually a “Local Church” elder). He was more than happy to answer any questions that I had and, to my delight, he even offered to come to my house and read the bible with me and, so began my journey with the “Local Church”.

It was great at first. Some of the people were unbelievably nice, some were just plain strange. I began to learn about man’s fall, the two trees, the tripartite man (diagram and all), the pre-adamic creation, and the list goes on. I was blown away with all this stuff. To be honest, it was the thousand years in outer darkness that really blew me away; I knew that I didn’t want to go through that.

I began to attend the meetings regularly. Every now and then I’d notice a drop in attendance because people were going to some kind of conference thing (?). And when they came back they’d be raving about what the brothers shared. But I was happy to go on with the Lord just meeting and fellowshipping.

The first instance that I realized that there was definitely something wrong was when the brothers had asked me to share something on the incense altar at our Friday night brother’s meeting. Now, I had recently heard brothers admonishing each other with statements like “don’t read me a footnote”, so I was determined to stay as far away from Lee’s footnotes as I could. That was my first mistake and my second mistake was actually thinking that I could engage in exegesis (Who did I think I was?). I did read Lee’s footnotes on the incense altar and the ingredients, and for the most part agreed. The one thing I disagreed with Lee on was the fragrant spice stacte (Ex. 30:34). Lee states that stacte is a kind of myrrh. My contention was that if it was myrrh, why didn’t the Lord just say “myrrh”, like he did in giving instructions for the holy anointing oil eleven verses earlier(Ex. 30:23). I didn’t actually say “I disagree with what Brother Lee says here!” I just pointed out that there was some disagreement about what stacte actually was and that I leaned towards the thought that it was the gum from the styrax plant (which was burned during frankincense harvesting to repel snakes). It got ugly that night. This was an open, informal environment and at one point the brothers were going back and forth with each other, I don’t recall about what, I just remember chaos and that I wanted to walk out of that place so bad.. Afterwards, one of the Elder’s was telling me “you really gotta get those ingredients right”, I replied with something along the lines of “I read Brother Lee’s footnotes, and I respectfully disagree”, then he (the elder) reiterated “I’m not talking about the footnotes, you really gotta get those ingredients right”. I thought to myself “Well, what are you talking about then?”, at that point I knew where that conversation was going… nowhere.

That night I saw something. I saw that they (the LC) don’t like it when you touch their doctrine. You can show up, have fellowship, give a testimony, but don’t…don’t touch the doctrine. I got over it, but looking back, that night I began my ascent into a spiritual valley. I continued going to the meetings, and had taken part in some trainings but I felt so dry and empty. I remember sitting in my living room with a brother and trying to explain what I was going through. It seemed like I was doing everything right but something was missing. He didn’t have any answers for me, but I soldiered on.

Eventually my job moved me to second shift. I didn’t want to be away from my family, but part of me felt relieved, because I it would take me out of the usual hum-drum routine of practical serving and small group meetings because anymore they had become ridiculously dry. I always complained to the Lord about being on second shift. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why He put me there. The truth is that He had to put me in a place of isolation, a place without out all the noise of doctrine and teaching, a place where I could hear His voice.
While I was on the off-shift it gave me the opportunity to do a lot of reading. One book in particular, “Breaking of The Outer Man, and The Release of The Spirit” by W. Nee, brought forth a paradigm shift for me. It helped me to see exactly what the title says, the outer-man, the old man must be broken, and he must be crucified in order to give way to the operation of the Spirit. It also helped me to have a spirit of service, I felt like I just wanted to help however I could. I just wanted to be useful to the Lord and trying to meet the needs of the saints. So I continued on, pursuing the Lord, serving the saints, and trying to live a crucified life. I enjoyed something of a personal revival. I felt alive and fresh, I was enjoying the Lord’s provision. I was also taking part in a10 mo. training with Titus Chu. I really felt like I was in a good place with the Lord.

Then, one night I had a dream. I was sitting at a table in a house. At the table there was a white child with dirty blonde hair in a high chair, and two white women who seemed sad, they definitely weren’t happy (for some reason I don’t recall their hair color). We were all sitting at the table, but there was no food. I got up and left. After leaving the house I was walking across a field and off in the distance there was a gathering of people having a good time, that’s the best way I could describe it. Out of the crowd came one of my family members and who waved to me and bid me to join them. But I just waved and kept walking. Next I found myself in a kitchen of another house and my wife, who is seldom in my dreams, was there with me, there was a certain sense of uneasiness present ( I don’t recall what the outside of the house looked like or walking through the door or anything). This kitchen was big, almost like a restaurant kitchen with stainless steel islands. I briefly saw an Asian woman. But my attention was drawn to all the food that was on the one of the islands. The food was in buffet pans and covered in saran wrap. I was looking at the food which looked old to me and I said to my wife, in disgust “I can’t believe they put this out every day”. I then saw a stainless steel mixing bowl and in the bowl there was this exotic seafood dish, I do recall seeing some octopus tentacles, as to the rest I really don’t know what it was, I just know it was seafood and it looked exotic. So I began to eat this food. At first it tasted good but there was a kind of rotten after taste to it that just didn’t seem right. As I went to take my next bite, lifted up a piece of this meat or fish or whatever it was and under it was a black spider. I dropped the bowl and the dream ended.

First off, I’ve never been one to believe that dreams carry a lot of weight. I’ve always kind of leaned towards dreams, for the most part, being manifestations of our sub-conscious, but this dream really perplexed me.

What I believe the dream meant is as follows: The first house with the white women and child was the church I grew up in. That church was predominantly white and there was little to know spiritual food there, hence, the table with no food on it. The people in the field are the people in the world, having no covering. The family member who bid me to join them is a believer, but has always been rather worldly. The second house is the Local Church with its Asian influence. In the Local Church there is plenty spiritual food, but their food had become old and stale. Just as Israel needed fresh manna every day, the LC is no exception. The bowl of exotic food is the teachings of Lee, which seem special, exotic, and even taste good at first but there is a rotten after taste that just doesn’t sit well and in these teachings the enemy (the spider) has a foot hold.

When I had this dream I was at what I thought to be good place with the Lord. So, I didn’t quite know how to proceed. At first I thought “Well, I’ll just scale back on the Lee, keep encouraging the saints and continue going on with the Lord”, business as usual. It worked for a while, but it just became more and more apparent to me that something was lacking. The “well had run dry” and had been running dry long before I had arrived. They were abiding in system of “no system” they were embracing a doctrine of “no doctrine”, and meeting under the name of “no name”. Very few seemed “exercised” and living, the table meetings were often a struggle to enter into something, anything.
I believe it was listening to old tapes of Witness Lee that I heard of some sort of split with a T.A. Sparks, at the time I paid no attention to it. One day for some reason I googled T.A. Sparks and began to read some of his writings, it was so enjoyable. I really had this deep sense of satisfaction in reading Sparks, it was just like wow! Now this is life. This is what I’ve been missing. I wondered how the brothers couldn’t receive this ministry. The more I read of Sparks the more I saw that: the Body is a living organism, you can’t manufacture life, and the Spirit must, must, must be free to operate as It wills, and that none of this was happening in the Local Church.

The brothers were always trying to implement some new strategy that was supposed to revive the saints and restore them to their former glory. I could never make it through a meeting without someone recalling the yesteryears “we used to do this” or “we never did that” and “we sang hymns and called on the Lord the whole way there” and I believe them. I really do believe that they had a genuine experience of the Lord and that he was doing something in them, then. But, what is he doing now? There were specific families within the Levites who had specific duties to perform when constructing and deconstructing the tabernacle. Why? Because it was portable, it was designed to be taken down and put up over and over again. Simply put, the Israelites were gonna be on the move. Just like we are gonna be on the move until we’ve reached the Good Land. I believe that in the LC the saints feel like they had reached a certain point and the just plopped down like that was it, when the Cloud of Glory had moved on.

One of the more recent plans of action that the brothers wanted to implement was a revisiting of rudiments of the Lord’s Table in order to restore some life to the table meetings. I’ll never forget going to that meeting on a Friday night, I was anticipating some good fellowship, I walked into the meeting hall and I saw a leading brother sitting there with the “green book” and a stack of paper copies, my stomach dropped. I knew what was about to happen but I tried to stay positive, I said to myself “it’s ok just be open, maybe I can encourage the saints in some way or maybe I’ll be encouraged”. As I was sitting there I was looking around the room and I realized that everyone there had been there from the beginning, except me, almost 30 years, since they had “taken the ground” and I was the only “new one” there. And what were we doing? Probably talking about the same thing that they talked about 30 years ago, the Lord’s Table. Not that I’m discounting the table meeting, because I’m not, it is absolutely precious, but after 30 years the saints should know what the Lord’s table is about. This was just another attempt by the leading one’s to resuscitate the lifeless body of a dead system, refusing to accept the reality of the matter. I would hesitate to condemn every LC assembly. You really have to judge each assembly of believers accordingly; the “knowing a tree by its fruit” analogy applies. But, would I recommend them to a believer seeking fellowship? Absolutely not, quite the opposite, I would advise them to go elsewhere.

I know that for me, where I was meeting, the Lord was not in His place. His rights were not fully established. Even though that little table was placed in a central position, Christ was not the center of the table meeting. The real center of the meeting was a book shelf off, over to the side of the hall, full of books written by Witness Lee. Those books, more specifically, the teaching s found in those books are what is honored and cherished by the LC.

Life was not being ministered to the saints, only teachings. There was no practical application only practical serving and meetings. In my seven years with the Local Church, I and my wife were only invited to someone’s house for dinner once, and that was at the beginning when we were being courted. So, I asked? What’s the difference between us and them (denominations). We come on Sunday, have a mid- week service in the form of a small group meeting , mean while everyone is just doing their own thing. Where was the building up? The one anothering? The breaking of bread? The living fellowship? There wasn’t any. As well as, there isn’t any difference between a stagnant, religious assembly of the LC and a stagnant, religious assembly of the denominations. Regardless of your denomination or affiliation, if the Lord is on the throne and allowed to reign unhindered by man, life will flow and things will grow. Eventually I realized that nothing was going to change. The brothers were going to remain faithful to their “stand” and what they were “shown”. They are the elders! Who God has “placed” there, and in twenty years they will still be the elders, still being “faithful”, still with no sheep to shepherd. It saddens me to say that.

After being before the Lord much, I knew that I had to go. I knew that He was leading me out. I was afraid, because I didn’t want my routine changed, I was kind of used to the way things were. It was tough but, in August of this year, I stepped out in faith and the Lord has been merciful. My kids love the new church. I’ve been somewhat struggling with the whole conventional, clergy/laity, structured thing, but I know that I can’t box in the living God, so… amen. I’m thankful for the time I spent in the LC, although not always enjoyable, I learned a lot. But now I’m moving on, seeking this One, Jesus.

Last edited by seeking1; 12-18-2011 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Made it easier to read.
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