the Crucible



Amongst the emerging Church, as earlier stated, there is little encouragement to dream in other than the utopian or philosophic sense.  Amongst our generation, there has been growing acceptance of dream interpretation outside of the Church.  At cultural milieus such as Burning Man, and Freakstock, it has been noted that there are many “Dream Prophets” who will interpret dreams for a nominal fee if not for free.  A simple google search for “Dream Interpretations{google interpret dream: } will currently yield a search of 21, 600 queries, if the same search is refined adding the words “Jewish dream interpretation”{google jewish dream: } it returns over 103.  Substituting “Muslim Dream Interpretation” {google muslimn dream: } yields 8; however if the same search is performed adding “Christian Dream Interpretations{ google christian dream: } there is only 3, and 2 have nothing to do with the subject!  Why, is this?  Why is it that the Church has not embraced this too?  If any people group should gain the skills to become proficient at this it should be Christians, it is difficult to think that we would be unaffected by these statistics.  What could be more Missional, than going to these sorts of events and setting up a booth titled “Dream Interpretation; Hearing from God for free” This is one avenue that the Alt-Church has atrophied. 


As a people group, we as Christians are just as capable to hear from God when we are awake, as when we are a sleep.  Much of this is common sense, however it is my hope to discuss and dialogue about this, so that we as the Church can become better equipped to understand how God is speaking to us.  Dreams are perhaps one way that God speaks to us{The way it was pg.167: }.  The purpose of including them in this essay is to address a few practical means to how this could be accomplished.  In praying for this project, I felt that rather than talking about dreaming, I should ask God for a dream that would be a fun opportunity to interpret that would also serve as a basis for entry level and user friendly interpretation practice.  The purpose of this was not to be mystical, but rather to give others an opportunity to get practice on a non-consequential, and practical scale.  It is my assessment that the apostolic does not always have an instantaneous maturation period, but rather is something that is developed over years of practice and training{God’s Empowering Presence pg. 897: }.  Again, its not that I feel particularly over equipped to deal with this, however I feel that in just talking, dialoguing and writing about this, others can learn, be inspired, and become better equipped, at fanning to flame.


Here is a real life example of the practicality of this being worked out:

“i  had a great dream that i feel like could be a cool opportunity to interpret, i think i have some ideas, but i would really be interested in hearing comments and see what could become of it, if ANYONE would like some interpretation practice this could be a fun one:

there where many who were living in a monastery, the monastery was a beautiful old stone building similar to a cathedral like Notre Dame.  it was in need of new rain gutters so there was a crew who was installing them.  the entire upstairs had been renovated in a way i didn’t think was possible,  all the rafters had been stripped of insulation, cut and restructured and it allowed way more room.  in the monastery we had all been instructed to wait for the fire of god, we were literally given torches that we were to keep ready when the fire came, they were made out of cork and synthetic type of gauze that burned easy.  once our torches were lit, we were to take them to Priam, a sort of holy temple, which was close to a college and show them to the board of elders there.

i noticed mine was lit so i brought it down the stairs and began the long walk to Priam, it was about a 1/4mile and went across the college campus, i remember that there were very strict fines for crossing this campus and the whole institution was based on the premise of waiting for this fire from god to come down and light, i was excited as i walked across the quad campus but when i got there to ask where the leaders were they were in a meeting and i was only greeted with doubt and contempt, i didn’t know where the leaders were but finally some told me that they had gone to Priam and it turns out thats where they were.

i finally made my way to Priam and walked into a the building which was also like a beautiful cathedral, and was greeted by a leader who was dressed in liturgical, and sort of a ceremonial type robe, covered with gold embossed embroidery and with sort of a pontiff looking hood, it was almost mormonesque, catholic looking. he immediately wanted to take the fire, he questioned and argued that this was not the fire of god, and tried numerous times to talked me out of it, coerce me, question me, and i could see all the while that he was reaching for the fire trying to get some, i sensed that he was not honest, and lacked integrity but at the same time i knew it was my job to hand him and Priam this fire.  then i awoke.” Comment [6] { comments 1279: }

The following is a beginning grid for dream interpretation and explanation included with a “beta portion” where people can respond, part of our notion for our project is that the Spirit will raise up those who are qualified to teach. The included comments section in the aforementioned dream and some of the interpretations are examples of that.  In particular  both KimJ { comments 1279: }and Genesis { comments 1279: } give great explanations along with interpretations of what it is they feel the Spirit telling them.  This was an excellent opportunity to see how this sort of sharing could transpire in a Socratic fashion.  We Todd {sfkl: }and I are still sorting out the most effective means to be spiritual directors in this project.  Even this Essay is unique in that the examples included are also real time, individuals can still comment, coach and interpret and give feedback as this essay is online.  We need wisdom and ideas about when to end the links, and more efficient ways to incorporate them into documents.


Within a Kingdom paradigm it is pointless to hang onto the best material and horde it for ourselves, if the Spirit gives us something it is our duty to give it way.  Since its all from the Spirit there is a built in Kingdom mindset that these gifts are not only meant for ourselves but for the equipping of others{power evanglism pg.11: }.  It is a relief to understand this kingdom mindset, when begging to pray for gifts from the Spirit.  It helps in relieving the angst of “having to perform”.  Its up to us to respond to the Spirit, and after that, it’s the Spirits responsibility. My premise is this that god speaks to us more than we realize and dreams are one way that its usually has the potential to be clear.  Like many things of the Spirit, I have noticed, as we ask/give away and use the gifts that the Spirit gives us, the Spirit gives us more to accomplish our goals. 


The following are some generic nuances that are over generalizations but meant to be helpful starting stances to proactively hear from the spirit. Dreams are so exciting fun and significant.  Typically, I believe that if we ask God to make things clear to us, he will{power evanglism pg.151: }.  In this not only is interpreting or decoding dreams useful, but it’s typically very encouraging.  Dreaming can become an incredibly exciting way to listen to the Spirit when we are awake, and asleep.   


The following are only meant to be suggestions or one means to derive interpretations from dreams.  I have noticed with dreams that the more I can write down{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 6: } when they happen, the more sense they make to me later, and the more I remember.  Often times if I have a dream I try to wake up as quickly as possible thereafter and write it down.  At times I have used a mini tape recorder which I kept in our room beside, so we wouldn’t have to get out of bed, but since that usually woke up the other person (and one or more of the kids who has climbed into bed) we stopped that practice.  Typically we go to another room to write them down too many times there has been a missed opportunity because of falling back asleep.  In writing them down, and creating a dream journal, it becomes clearer to see a patterned theme of what it is God is speaking{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 4: }, it is also very encouraging to go back and re-read what it is God has spoken over the course of weeks, months and even years.  In addition when recording it seems practical to write down what feeling or immediate impression the dream left you with. By waiting and doing this hours, days or even weeks later the inspiration is lost.  This not only helps one to remember appropriate inspiration but also a more accurate application of the dream.

It seems that there are physiologically{dream stimulants: } different types of dreams.  There are some which have been labeled pizza dreams, some from sleep inducing drugs, some from alcohol, dreams from specific herbs such as fenugreek and various types of over the counter sleep aids such as melatonin{melatonin: }.  Those seem difficult to address and one needs to personally assess potential physiological stimulants, which may contribute to this.  For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on dreams, which seem to specifically be from the Sprit.  As a reminder dogmatic interpretation, should be the rare exception, but here are a few loose definitions. I have heard people describe that a “pizza dream” is when you go to bed on a full stomach and dream all kinds of funky stuff. Although research doesn’t support this{Dream Physiology, Journal: }  I have spoken with some who have these sorts of dreams on a regular basis; personally I am not one of them.  All to often I wonder if legitimate dreams from the Spirit are dismissed as “Pizza dreams” because individuals don’t feel led to take the time to pray and discover what it is God is speaking. In the light dismissal of shrugging a dream off as “insignificant” there is the potential of something lost, something that God is speaking that isn’t heard{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 4: }.  The prayer work of really waiting to see it’s meaning, is never invested and therefore a moment or opportunity is lost. 


It’s a similar dynamic to being awake, its not like the spirit is sleeping too! The Spirit is at work!  Just as opportunities to co-labor are missed continually when we are awake, if lighthearted and dismissed they can be missed while we’re asleep{dreams lucidity 1990: }. However, borrowing from psychology, and physiology the body and brain needs down time and times to process, I believe there are moments when this is what is occurring.  This could be similar to thoughts or the thinking process when we are awake-not every thought is some god inspired inspirational moment.


There is danger in dogmatic interpretation-that everything (all dreams) have specific and exact meaning across the board, this stance needs some nihilistic influence. I don’t believe that certain symbols in dreams are continually representative of absolutes but danger becomes present when dreams are treated in this manner.  One example of this created the Mormon faith.  It is possible to imagine that perhaps Joseph Smith was hearing from God with accurate inspiration but horrible application. Comment [6] {comments 1324: }

The Spirit is creative enough to use similar dreams with interpretations that are specific to the “user”.  Cracking the mystery of dreams essentially boils down to interpreting the symbols in a dream.  As example here is  a very short lucid {Dream Physiology, Journal: }dream that I recently had and used for stimulating ideas surrounding interpretation: <o:p></o:p>


“ people were lining up to swallow a sword, once lodged in their throats it would cause them to drool, as it turned out the sword was shaped like a crucifix”

This is a fairly clean dream and inspiration as well as application is accessible.  What I interpreted it to mean was that “Once people ingest Jesus into their body, they will want more.”  A significantly useful tool in a dream arsenal is from<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked=”f” filled=”f” path=”m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe” o:preferrelative=”t” o:spt=”75″ coordsize=”21600,21600″> <v:stroke joinstyle=”miter”></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn=”if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0″></v:f><v:f eqn=”sum @0 1 0″></v:f><v:f eqn=”sum 0 0 @1″></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @2 1 2″></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @3 21600 pixelWidth”></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @3 21600 pixelHeight”></v:f><v:f eqn=”sum @0 0 1″></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @6 1 2″></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @7 21600 pixelWidth”></v:f><v:f eqn=”sum @8 21600 0″></v:f><v:f eqn=”prod @7 21600 pixelHeight”></v:f><v:f eqn=”sum @10 21600 0″></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype=”rect” gradientshapeok=”t” o:extrusionok=”f”></v:path><o:lock aspectratio=”t” v:ext=”edit”></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=_x0000_s1026 style=”MARGIN-TOP: -521.9pt; Z-INDEX: 1; MARGIN-LEFT: -90pt; WIDTH: 42.75pt; POSITION: absolute; HEIGHT: 67.5pt; mso-wrap-distance-left: 0; mso-wrap-distance-right: 0; mso-position-horizontal-relative: text; mso-position-vertical-relative: line” o:button=”t” o:allowoverlap=”f” href=”” alt=”Interpreting the Symbols and Types: ” type=”#_x0000_t75″><v:imagedata o:title=”InterpretingtheSymbolsandTy” src=”file:///C:/DOCUME~1/ADMINI~1/LOCALS~1/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_image001.gif”></v:imagedata><?xml:namespace prefix = w ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word” /><w:wrap type=”square”></w:wrap></v:shape>a book by Kevin J. Connor Interpreting the symbols and types{Interpreting the Symbols and Types,  pg.172: } that basically is like a dictionary, that gives biblical significance and references for each word.  In the context of that brief dream the word “Sword” is a pretty clear cut word, and general meaning (when it appears in dream) can fairly easily be perceived or derived, but for example, the book is a great reminder that sword had numerous contextualizations.  The included is and example of the word sword.

sword-symbol for the word of god, Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 49:2; rev 1:16; Deuteronomy 32:41; Zechariah 13:7; Romans 13:4; also instrument of war judgment and slaughter of the wicked; gods judgment on the flesh. Leviticus 26:25; Isaiah 34:5; Psalms 17:13; Ezra 21:3-5 is a judgment on the flesh” {Interpreting the Symbols and Types,  pg.172: }


Personally having this additional information makes the dream that much more significant, literally consuming Jesus (crucifix) is a literally a judgment on the flesh, in addition-swallowing swords hurts. Comment [6] { comments 1335: }


It seems one of the essentials in dream meaning is figuring out the dreams purpose, I think its easiest to do in conjunction with the overall impression of the dream but often times it can take the counsel of others {dreams lucidity, dreaming while awake?: }.  A good starter question when begging to interpret a dream is  “what’s the reason for the dream”?  Is this a warning dream? or is this meant to be directive, or perhaps just encouraging


Very similar to having prophetic insight or prophetic words of wisdom, I think warning dreams are really cool.  As example:  One morning I had a very quick dream{dreams lucidity 1990: } about a woman who was in a church setting.  In the dream she had a husband two kids, and was attractive.  In the dream I saw a shadow around her and heard the shadow named “spirit of adultery”.  (I don’t even know if there is such a thing or if there is what that spirits role is exactly{demons pg 93 in power evangelism: }… but it didn’t seem important in the dream)  what seemed important was the idea to keep my distance from this girl.  When I awoke that morning, I ended up going to a church gathering and saw the woman in the dream there, I hadn’t noticed her before the dream, but saw that her husband played in a band up on stage.  I asked the leader of the band a close friend of mine if we could talk after the morning set.  I said this probably means nothing {Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 6 II : }(ALWAYS a much safer stance than “thus sayeth the lord…”), and I don’t want to taint your view of this person, but this morning I had dream and in it  I had an impression that I feel is significant.  I told him, and then he then went on to explain in private that they had just had some marital unfaithfulness, and she had initiated a relationship with another man.  We ended up praying for the couple{power evanglism pg.93: }.  As a sad update I saw them recently and they were divorced. 

I felt that dream was more of a personal warning to stay away, and not get sucked into a bad situation.  Sometimes the trickiest part of warning dreams is knowing who to talk to.  I always like to first bounce out the ideas to some like-minded friends{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 6: } before going into detail.  If the dream seems to be personally significant enough, much like discerning a prophetic word, then perhaps appropriate action is necessary.  Like anything else, discerning and understanding what the Spirit is saying sometimes takes time{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 6: }.  It would be a shame to get diressed over bad application, and even worse to falsely accusing a woman of adultery.  A much wiser friend once told me “really, really, really be careful with these sorts of dreams”.  I think what he means is, until you begin to understand and get used to dreams and what they mean, be quicker to keep them silent and pray about them, then blurt them out.  Comment [4] { comments 1344: }

Pat’s dream{Loughery, Pat: }

In an effort to begin to encourage others to practice, we posted this experiment{Understanding the Dreams you dream pg. 8: } in preparation for this essay as a working example of this very application here is a dream and some interpretation that follows is included in the comments section:

“First I was in a classroom setting with another bunch of pastors.  Young folks.  The teacher was throwing an angry control fit, and we were all silent.  Soon I realized that confronting the teacher and his effect on the class was going to benefit us together, so I got up and went into the next room (thouogh everybody could hear) to tell the teacher that his anger wasn’t helping, and that it was particularly impacting the best students.  I named one person in particular (I remember this as R M, in his teens or twenties).  I distinctly felt that there were three of us who were especially “ahead of the class”, but that wasn’t a prideful thing.

Soon the dream changed.  There were a bunch of us (again, of the same job – pastors, I think) who were in a luxury jet.  Seated not in rows, but around a living-room style setting.  We were on takeoff.  It was raining heavily outside.

As we were taxiing to the runway we had to go down a very very steep hill.  Because it was so wet, we lost traction and slipped off the hill, and were out of control.  We all were praying hard because it was a life or death situation.  Gradually the plane got down to the gentler slopes, and we  bounced and jangled across the runways perpendicular to them  always narrowly missing the planes on them, but close enough to the control tower for each runway to see those peoples’ concern, which over a few runways and more control would give way to impish grins towards us.  We started waving.

Eventually we stopped at a terminal, and they let us all off the plane.

Now it was like we were the crew for a rock band, because they gave us each laminated cards that were like passes.  As soon as we left the airplane mobs of people came by, groupies, looking for the band.  If we had our passes out, we got mobbed too, but if we kept them hidden we were okay.

I looked for one of our cohorts specifically, because I was attracted to that person.  I don’t know who it was or why, I just felt attraction.  I found her in the hotel bar and asked her a few times out to lunch, but she was coy and basically made me keep asking.  Meanwhile another couple of girls who were also attractive, but I wasn’t drawn to, (more like friends) – I asked if the 4 of us could go out to hang out, and they were excited to, but my initial target wasn’t liking it.  I was trying to decide which way to go when I woke up.

I was thinking when I woke up that the things we radically pursue aren’t always the right ones, and that the opportunities we pass up may make the most sense for us, be the best fit.  I got the impression that this was mean to inform me about our church.”Comment [3] { comments 1350: }

As is often the case with some dreams some seem to be meant for personal application and are not necessarily meant for corporate application, its not unlike hearing the Spirit speak something in a gathering of believers.  At times it seems like the Spirit is asking to speak the insight out, and at other times it seems that it is meant for personal reflection{God’s Empowering Presence pg. 217: }. There is something mystical about hanging out with like minded thinkers and as can be the case with the prophetic, being near others who seem to have inclinations towards receiving from the Spirit in the same ways, has benefit. When other are gathered who seem to be forward thinkers in terms of the prophetic, there is a confidence and certain level of expectancy that is difficult to verbalize. Perhaps this is one reason that Samuel and “the band of prophets” used to travel together{band of prophets pg. 12: }.  There is something very inviting about talking and bouncing dreams off of each other.  In discussing this openly, I have found that it almost always stimulates a certain degree of faith that brings others along in the quest.  On many occasions after teaching about this in local church settings, I have heard stories and reports, that the local church previously visited has had a hyper pneumatological experience.  I think that this happens at times because merely changing the ways people are listening to the Spirit is faith building.


I know several people who have had their lives radically altered because of dreams{Hamon, Jane pg. 2: }. Often times dreams and their applications seem unconventional and atypical, but that’s because they can be pneumatological intervention, so typical rational paradigms don’t fit. Our generation and their hearts are seeing an attraction to the mystical that science has left void.  I know many who are seeking answers, and have many dreams.  My hope is that we can all get better at discussing dreams and that they won’t get dismissed as insignificant. 


+ encourage me, let me listen
speak to me, let me listen
convict me let me listen
break me, let me listen
grow me, let me listen
show me how to be good to my friends +

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