04 May 2017

The Dream

In 1992, I had a dream. I was a sophomore at Northwestern College, trying to work my way back from an abysmal first year when I nearly failed Chuck Hill's Biblical Faith class. I was enjoying the college life including friendships, "dorming," and even working in food service. I had discovered psychology during my freshman year and had decided that was a good fit for me.

And then I had the dream.

I rarely remember my dreams and when I do, they slip from consciousness quickly. If you pressed me, I could probably recall the details of fewer than five dreams I have had. This one, though, this one I remember.

In the dream, a good friend of mine was carrying a stack of books. I could not tell what any of them were except one. One book, in glowing letters, read "Hebrews 5." I awoke startled. I could not remember ever having read or heard Hebrews 5 before much less recalling what it might say. I looked for my Bible and found Hebrews 5. I read this:

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. (1-4)

To say that I was unnerved would be an understatement. I recall talking with Pastor Ray back home and with people at NWC asking, "what could this mean?" Wisely, they told me to pay attention to the dream, but also to look for confirmation. I still recall the first sermon I gave at First Reformed Church in Oostburg after the dream. I talked about Ecclesiastes and meaninglessness and how meaning was found in Christ.

I continued in my psychology major, but also began to take classes that would be helpful in seminary, should I choose to go that route. I found myself back with Dr Hill for four semesters of Greek. Thankfully, my grades with Dr Hill had nowhere to go but up.

After finishing college, I began work on my master's degree at Mankato State University where I met my wife. Although I was pursuing training as a counselor, I shared my dream with her and again for a time, we talked about seminary after my master's degree. But I continued in psychology instead. Heather and I moved around the Midwest until finally settling in Eau Claire, where I began work as a neuropsychologist.

Shortly after we moved to Eau Claire, we began attending Cedarcreek Community Church, which has been our church home for 11 years. Relatively early on, I began to talk with the pastors about pastoring. They shepherded me well, helping to buff off some of my rough edges. I began to teach several times per year and about a year and a half ago, we began to make more serious plans about moving into a pastoral role. The process has made me feel Hebrews 5:2 much more deeply: "He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness."

So here I am, twenty-five years hence, responding to the call. Lord willing, I will be appointed as a pastor at Cedarcreek this coming Sunday, May 7. I begin with an awareness of my weakness and a need to lean into Christ with all of my weight.

I share this with you in the hopes that you will pray for me.

     Lord, grant me the insight to know my weaknesses
     the courage to deal with them
     the wisdom to rest in your Holy Spirit
     the humility to lean upon trusted brothers and sisters
     and the confidence to never shrink from proclaiming Your word. 

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