That Time God Spoke To Me In A Dream

What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? Mine happened on Friday night, and I’m still recovering from it.

I rarely have a dream I can remember. To this day, there are maybe a few dreams that I’ve had that have stuck with me – mostly these are nightmares of loved ones dying, me falling indefinitely, or being lost in a sea of clowns at the circus.

My imagination is a scary place.

So when I woke up on Saturday with a dream lingering still in my mind, I knew I should pay attention.


I still remember vividly being the father of three beautiful girls: an emotional and moody teenager, an overly energetic 10-year old, and a small delicate baby. The dream took place in what I imagine is my childhood home. The only child whose name I remember was the youngest, whose name was Charis, which means grace in Greek. I remember wrestling to encourage the oldest, settling down the middle, and holding the youngest in my arms. I woke up feeling so out-of-sorts. I felt love for children I have never met – a longing I’ve never experienced before. I felt my love for them in my sleep and that love is still echoing in my heart days later.

Every night I’ve gone to bed asking God to let me meet them again in my sleep. And every morning I’ve woken up disappointed. I have never had a “prophetic” dream before, but because of the impact of this one dream and how much I’ve dwelled on it, I started asking God if He was trying to tell me something.


Last month my mentor told me that his goal for me this year was to “grow in grace” – to be easier on myself and my role as a husband, pastor, and child of God. I strive for perfection. I put my value in what I do. And I gauge that value on others’ opinions of me. So I always feel like I can be better, or if people really knew me they wouldn’t like me, or that I am always “performing” and never able to truly be myself. My mentor knows this and was encouraging me to look past others and see myself as God sees me.

So it hit me that these three children are representing my life. The oldest was me as a teenager, lost and depressed, locking myself in my room to write songs, searching for meaning, wondering if there was more. Then I found new life and hope in Jesus, and with that came energy and excitement. I was a new person, completely different than the depressed kid of the past. But now my life has given birth to something else – Grace. And the same way my heart has been longing for Charis every night before bed, my heart needs to long for God’s grace.

I finally came to the realization of this truth three days after the dream. It happened Tuesday morning before I did my devotions. Later I shared it with our church staff, finally sharing the details of the dream and the name “Charis,” something I didn’t even share with my wife. I just wanted to share what I felt God was speaking to me. It was good to get it out there and put my faith in what God was speaking into my life. I was also hoping I would get some confirmation that I was hearing correctly what I felt God was loudly screaming in my ear.

About an hour after all of this went down, I got a message from my dad that he was at a hip coffee shop he thought I would like. He said it reminded him of one we used to frequent together in Ohio. He knows I love coffee, so he thought I’d appreciate it. With the message he sent a picture of the coffee shop. This is what the coffee shop’s name was along with what was written under it:



That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness.

Undeserved kindness or favor.



Okay God… I get it.

I needed to not just think God was speaking. I needed to know – especially with the weight of this dream and the depth of emotion it made me feel. And God spoke in such a powerful way!


I need to let Grace grow in my life, let it develop and mature. I need to nurture it and care for it like it is my own flesh and blood. I need to feel it in my heart of hearts – God’s never-ending grace and mercy. No matter how far I’ve fallen or how short of the mark I am, Jesus still died for me and is offering me grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And while I don’t deserve this grace, I need to remember that no one deserves it. That’s why it’s grace.

What is God trying to speak to you? Are you listening? Are you waiting and asking for clarity when He speaks? Is He wanting you to understand something regarding His personhood – like He was speaking to me about His grace? Is He reminding you He is with you in your pain or uncertainty? Maybe He is encouraging to take a step of faith with a job or in reaching out to a family member or friend. But we need to be listening. And when He speaks, we must not dismiss it. So let’s open our ears, let’s listen to our hearts, and let’s expect God to continue to give us visions and dreams like we’ve never had before!

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9, The Message


The Dreams Kept Under The Covers

At the start of my junior year of college, three of my friends decided that they were going to spend the semester and study abroad at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. Two of them were really good friends of mine who previously were hall mates and roommates. The other, Hannah, had served with me on student council, but outside of council our relationship was pretty surface-level.

Before that fall, Matt, Jo, and Hannah spent much of the last semester trying to figure out all the technicalities involved with going overseas for several months. They all had to decide some time before the trip whether or not they were going. It was a big personal investment. I’m sure the decisions were tough for all of them, but I could clearly see Hannah struggle with the decision.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t sure if she should go. I think she felt surety that Brussels was where she needed to be that fall. I think doubt started creeping in when many of her closer friends expressed their opinions on her trip. Some took the selfish approach and said they couldn’t stand being without her. Some took the “good friend” approach and expressed their fear of her going. They didn’t think she could make it in a foreign land for that long. Others saw it as a pipe dream – good to talk about theoretically but not to actually go out and do.

Too many people keep their dreams under the covers in their bed, and they never walk their dreams out the door into the unknown. It’s easy to criticize someone else’s dreams when our dreams are under the covers.

Recently, I decided to do something online called the, “Start Experiment.” This is an experiment started by NYT Best-Selling author, Jon Acuff. The experiment is based off of his newest book, “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.” The title and experiment are pretty self-explanatory – start something new. I joined the experiment thinking that it would help me with my new-founded college-age ministry in CT.

My friend Hannah could have followed the “advice” she was getting from her friends. She could have decided that CTS was not a good idea for her. Too often people would rather join a revolution or a winning team or be a part of the bandwagon than decide to go against the grain or start a movement of their own or adventure on the road less traveled. Hannah decided she would go on the trip regardless of what her friends said.

This is the part of the story where I come in. A couple weeks before Hannah would leave, she visited campus where I was staying for the summer. We went out to dinner and shared our life stories, and I just encouraged her about her trip. I helped her feel affirmed in her decision to go overseas, and we would be great friends there after.

Hannah has since been a beacon of light for me when I needed hope. One time, during our open dorms at school, she even took the time to hide post-it notes of encouragement all over my room! Encouragement and affirmation spread like wildfire. They are like a bright light in an abyss. The friendship I have with Hannah reminds me of that.

I know this is going to sound hypocritical, but I am going to ask you to stop joining movements, and join a movement to start a movement (I know, you probably had to re-read this sentence just to figure out what I mean – Sorry).

One of my favorite things about the Start Experiment is the wave of encouragement coming from all the other people in the group. No one actually knows each other outside of cyberspace, yet there are countless posts and comments of encouragement and love and unity. These are all coming from people who are trying to start “being awesome” – it sounds like most of them already are awesome!

Start a movement. Be a light. Live your dream.