Jun 27, 2012
Years ago Jan and I were in southern California where I was on staff at a church.
I had always felt that someday God would call me to go plant a church. But whenever I had prayed about this — my conclusion was that it was not yet the right time.
That changed one afternoon as I was sitting at a church-planting conference. Out of nowhere I sensed the Holy Spirit impressing upon me — It’s time to go and plant a church.
So I drove back to my church office, sat down at my desk, and wrote out my plan.
I thought I would plant in my home-town of Pasadena (maybe 50 miles away). So I jotted that down — and other thoughts that came to mind.
And I prayed for God’s guidance.
God had a different plan
I think it was that very night that I had a dream — in which a pastor I respected told me that I was supposed to plant a church — but not in Pasadena.
I woke up stunned. I knew that God could guide us through dreams. But I had never had a dream that specific.
So my wife and I prayed that if we were not to go to Pasadena — that God would show us where to go.
A few nights later I had another dream — of a highway sign that said “San Jose — 5 miles.”
There was more — much more —
- Many times God confirmed this call as we prayed.
- We received more dreams — where to live in San Jose, how I was to be bi-vocational, that our church would start with high schoolers.
- We shared it with a few close friends — who agreed that this was from God.
Is this all my own ideas?
But one evening we had a couple over for dinner. They loved Jesus. They were kind.
But as I shared our plans — I could tell they were skeptical about whether God speaks through dreams.
And their skepticism made me wonder — “is this all just my own idea?”
There I was in Newport Beach, at a great church, in a wonderful job, with my wife and two children.
And I was thinking of moving 6 hours away to San Jose, finding a job, starting a church from scratch.
So I went to sleep pleading with God —
Show me, Father. Is this church-planting plan from You? Give me another dream — guide me — tell me if these plans are from You.
Teaching Old Testament
The next day I was teaching a class on the Old Testament at a nearby church.
During a break in the class, one of the students walked up and asked if he could talk with me privately.
I agreed, and we walked out into the hall.
He said he’d had a strange experience that morning.
As he and his wife were driving to the class, they felt God’s presence strongly upon them.
And as they asked God what this meant — they felt that God was giving them a message for me.
God had said to him — “Tell Steve Fuller — It’s all been from Me.”
So he shared that with me — and asked if it meant anything to me.
Did it ever.
I was shocked. I barely knew this man. He had no idea we were in the midst of a huge decision.
It was clear to me that God had mercifully — powerfully– answered my prayer.
He had confirmed that these plans were from Him — and not just my own ideas.
This deeply impacted me —
- I saw God’s personal love for me — in answering my prayer so powerfully and specifically.
- I saw how important it is to be in community with other believers.
- I saw how crucial it is to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts” (1Cor 14:1).
How about you?
How have you experienced God’s guidance? Spiritual gifts? I’d love to hear — leave a comment below.
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
What Every Believer Can Experience Of The Holy Spirit
An Example of the Spiritual Gift of Faith
Blaise Pascal's astonishing experience
(Picture is by Al Pavangkanan on everystockphoto.)