I’ve just launched my book ‘simply word and spirit’ at a conference in Bristol, UK called ‘Release2016‘. It was a real honor to do this as the charity behind the conference lovebristol are dear friends of mine. As I was preparing to lead my session to talk about the inspiration of the book, God reminded me of a prophetic dream I had a number of years ago.
In the dream I was in a line of people to get a book signed by the famous prophet and writer James Goll. As I reached the table where he sat the scene changed and instead of a table of books, there were two big buckets of blue paint, and a large blank sheet of paper. He asked me to put my hands into the buckets of paint and then onto the blank paper. He looked at my blue handprints and said ‘ah yes, clear as a day, forts and bridges.’ I looked at him baffled. So he said ‘ok let’s try this one more time.’ I repeated the process, and he said ‘I’m absolutely certain, forts and bridges.’ Then I woke up.
That dream has always had a sense of mystery about it for me. The color blue is prophetically likened to healing and handprints can be seen as someone’s ministry or work. But the term forts and bridges has continued to perplex me. Sometimes there can be many interpretations for a prophetic dream or a continued unfolding of meaning.
I was asking God what I should share at Release2016, specifically concerning the core message of my book – the coming together of the Word and the Spirit, and He dropped this dream in my mind.
So after questioning and praying, this is what I believe God is saying. About the Word and the Spirit but perhaps other things also.
Forts and bridges represent a certain mentality. God want us to move from the fort mentality to the bridge mentality.
The fort mentality is all about defending what we have from attack. We build walls around what we believe or how we behave because we don’t want it stolen or lost. The fort mentality creates ‘you’re either in or you’re out’ reality for people. Our need to defend costs us inclusion, diversity and unity.
Reading the history of military forts it’s interesting to see why they were deemed inefficient in modern warfare. As military technology advanced the fort that at one time was a stronghold against attack, actually seemed to draw attention to itself for attack. Also, they found that military tactics needed to be moveable, and forts are immovable.
I believe God is highlighting the fact that we have a fort mentality in the church today. Whether our forts are built around our need to defend ‘the Word’, or whether they are built to protect ‘the Spirit’, or the other thousands of other territories we feel the need to defend. I sense God is wanting us to remember that He is our Great Defender, and the role of us being a defender is something He doesn’t want us to take on. We’ve assumed the responsibility to defend God and His church, as a result we’ve built spiritual forts that have immobilized us. Maintaining a spiritual fort halts us from advancing the kingdom of heaven to become actualized on earth. God’s encouraging us to let go of the fort mentality, to take down our walls, to realize this way of defending the faith is outdated for such a time as this. The fort mentality has made us stuck, and God wants us to be on the move.
This doesn’t mean we let go of truth, and it doesn’t mean that anything’s up for grabs. It’s about choosing to trust God to defend and protect His church, so that we get released to be bridge builders.
The bridge mentality is what I believe God is asking us to embrace. The bridge mentality is about reaching out to mend rifts. It’s forging new ground and stepping into other people’s worlds before we expect them to understand our own worldview. The bridge mentality brings advancement in the most unusual way. God is calling out to His people to become bridge builders. Will you be one?
I know if we’re going to see the coming together of people with a leaning on the Word, and people with a leaning of the Spirit, bridges will have to be built. This will take a movement founded on love and humility. It will take people who will choose the bridge over the fort at every turn for the sake of love and representing Jesus to a world that needs to see Him.