Every year I looked forward to the revelation that my very dear friend, Bob Jones, would receive annually during this season that he called the Shepherd's Rod. The term "Shepherd's Rod" comes from Ezekiel 20:37 stating, "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." This Scripture symbolically portrays a shepherd extending his rod as the sheep pass under his staff for evaluation. In this same way we, as the Lord's sheep, pass under His staff during this season as further described in Jeremiah 33:13 and Leviticus 27:32.
On the night of September 24th as I went to sleep, I was unaware that at sundown it was the start of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Hebrew New Year as the Lord gave me the following dream.
This dream was immediately followed by a series of baseball dreams that were to be signs and a parable blending together to create a new hope narrative.
The "Crazy Hope" Dream
I saw the Lord and Bob Jones standing together, and Bob was smiling and looking back at me knowingly.
Then the Lord said, "This is the year of crazy, substantial hope."
Then I saw many sitting around the Table of the Lord whom He was about to address. There was such communion, love, and honor. Then the Lord took His place at the Table. I was overwhelmed with the presence of the Lord. He was so alive. He was so much fun. But He made it very clear that this year the Body of Christ was being evaluated in their hope. He was graciously inviting us deeper into crazy hope reform during the shepherd's rod evaluation. This was not just a time of evaluation but also of promotion.
The Lord then said again to all of us around His Table, "This is the year of hope, crazy hope, and I am evaluating the Body of Christ according to hope." This was going to be a Hosea 2:14-15 year where the valley of Achor (challenges) becomes a doorway of hope. The Lord said,"This is the year we are shifting from hopelessness to hope."
He continued, "There are many in the Body of Christ who have been challenged about the promises of reformation that I have for My cities and nations." He said during this past year doubts had attracted many problems. Our own doubts and fears led us to operate outside of hope. This is sin, and it allows the enemy to attack, overrun our camp, and take the territory from us. He spoke how we are to be like Joshua, who realized that after 40 years in the wilderness it was time to enter the Promised Land. Then the Lord said, "The time capsule is opening up now for the promises, and it is time to step into your inheritance."
He said that the antidote to these doubts is Hebrews 6:9-19:
"But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you... And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
"For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, 'I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.' And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.... In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast..."
The Lord said we are called to be like a family or tribe. He then identified many churches, movements, families, and tribes where divine hopes would remain alive. He said, "You are to live in an atmosphere of hope, not doubt." He then spoke how many of these families or tribes would hope together this year, and reform would touch many cities and nations across the earth. He was very clear when He said, "There are no insignificant persons, churches, movements, families or businesses... everyone is important in My family."
Then the Lord spoke to various individuals around the Table. The first time He would point to one and so kindly say, "You initiated this hope, it was not originated from Me. You have defined your own hopes and they will fade away. But now I want you to come back to My Table with others and please ask of Me about your hopes. It is the glory of kings to search out a matter. I have ordained hopes for you that are better than you have ever conceived. I have greater Divine hopes laid up for you." This continued as everyone was graciously evaluated in hope. This was a good evaluation. He continued, "This is an invitation to a season of growth."
He then said that self-initiated, natural hopes die. This evaluation process was very good because many people were holding onto hopes that did not originate from His heart. These natural hopes had sidetracked many from the greater hopes that He desired to release to them.
Then the Lord evaluated our hearing to see if it led us to His hope. He said, "This year I am releasing a greater level of Kingdom hearing that will enable us to enter into what I am birthing upon the earth."
Next the Lord evaluated our hopeful praise and crazy hope adoration. Adoring Him and His faces of reform would take us above the clouds of doubt and despair into His hope-filled perspective and presence. He said, "Now is the time to double our adoration and praise."
Then He stated that our time of warfare has ended (see Isaiah 40:2) and we are to enter the sunlit fields of life with Him with crazy hope (see Psalm 56:13 MSG).
The Lord then said, "The weapons of your warfare will be different in this coming season" (see 2 Corinthians 10:4).
The Lord then showed me four snakes that had attacked our hope as we were to bring reformation to our spheres of influence. These were similar to the snakes I wrote about in the Reformers of Hope word in September 2013. One snake would wrap around our feet to stop us from moving into our promises, and the Lord said it would be defeated by "hope against hope."Another wrapped itself around our necks to silence our voices of adoration and praise, and the Lord said it would be overcome by "hope unseen." The third attacked our hearts, and the Lord said it is conquered by "carefree hope."The last one bit the liver to release bitterness and bile, and it was defeated by "childlike hope."(Photo by Thomas H Brown, Flickr)
At the end of the dream I saw Bob Jones looking off into the sunlit fields with the Lord that were open for all the different tribes, and I heard the Lord say to all of us, "Now is the time to rewrite your promises list." It is time to develop our revelatory skills and revealed promises. He continued, "I am going to take your hand like the pen of a ready writer, and you will write out your list of promises and hopes. Some will come from your past list, and some will be present or future."
This is our commission for the coming year of crazy hope: to write and birth and celebrate crazy hope.
Now concerning the six dreams I have received concerning the drama of the Kansas City Royals. First, please understand that I am not a baseball fan nor do I follow the Royals. However, when I was in Kona, Hawaii, the first week of September, I had a dream where I saw royal angels coming forth. The Lord then said, "Watch the Royals, because after many years of disappointment, the Royal ones are entering into a time of Numbers 27:18-23, where they are being commissioned to enter into the promises. Watch them, as they will win and bring a shift from hopelessness to hope."
I did not understand fully what this might mean, but I immediately called Chris Castanza, one of my ministry teammates, and told him to "Try to get tickets for the entire staff, as we are to watch the Royals."
My second dream came the night after Rosh Hashanah, September 25th, three days before the Playoff teams were finalized. In this dream the Lord was talking with my mentor, Bob Jones. The Lord then turned to me and said, "This is going to be like 1985. Do you remember what brought them home?"
I remembered Bob Jones' baseball dream from 1985, how love, faith, and godly wisdom would get on base, but grace would bring them home. And I remembered how the Lord had asked Bob,"Do you know why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base, but they could not win the game? If your love, your faith, or your wisdom could win for you alone you would think that you had done it. Your love, your faith, and your wisdom can only take you so far. Only My grace can bring you home."
Then the Lord showed me the Royals game. I saw the Royal ones playing a team whose appearance was more athletic than the Royals. Similar to the Bob Jones dream, the Lord then showed me what was needed to win. He said,"Hope unseen will get them to first base. Then they will become unburdened and light on their feet. This carefree hope will get them to second base. They will be filled with joy and happily steal third base with 'childlike hope.'" The Lord continued, "But salvation will come from an unlikely place and 'hope against hope' will bring them home."
The Kansas City Royals would demonstrate to all of us how to enter into this year of crazy hope, and through these four hopes we would win and enter into our promises.
Perhaps a local sportswriter, Grant McMurray, described it best. "In the end, ...a screaming line drive down the third base line by a much-coveted young catcher, but one mired in a horrible 0 for 5 slump in the game, sometimes swinging haplessly at pitches, looking completely lost. But this ball smacked against the wall and ended a four hour and 45 minute classic, propelling the Kansas City Royals past the Oakland A's 9-8, and extending to another day their first post-season tournament appearance in 29 years."
The front-page photo of the Kansas City Starshows Salvy Perez, who knocked in the game-winning run, with his arms upraised, mouth open, and looking joyfully into the stands. The headline at the bottom of the picture says it all: SALVATION.
The article continued, "The wonderful 'Salvation' headline was much more than a clever spin on the name of a redeemed player. It was about this city, this team, these individuals. And if the cable sports channels, the radio talk shows, and the social media have it right, it would seem to be a time of hope and redemption for us all."
The following night, September 26th, I had my third Royals dream. It was a shorter dream, and the Lord said, "The angels will sacrifice themselves in order for the Royal ones to come forth."He continued, "They shall win in 11 innings." Then he gave me Psalm 11:1, and emphasized how hope is indispensable in building the right foundations that will bring about reformation. The Royals won in the 11th inning.
The next night was a forth dream. In this dream the Lord said that the Royals would win 4-1. This reinforced the previous dream and represented the four hopes that are so necessary for our foundation. The Royals won 4 to 1, again in 11 innings.
The fifth dream on October 3rd was where the Royal ones had gotten over the hump and were gaining momentum. The Lord said, "Hope is contagious. Hope is a lifestyle." The Royals won easily and head to the American League Championship Series.
The last dream was on October 6th. This dream was not specifically about baseball. The Lord reminded me of several tragic and disappointing events that my wife and I experienced as missionaries in Zimbabwe. At the conclusion of revisiting these past events, the Lord said, "You have to fall to get back up," and, "Crazy hope will win!"
I will leave it to the reader to interpret this as the Lord leads. Stay tuned for further revelation!
Bob Hartley is the founder of Hartley Institute/Deeper Waters Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob served as a pastor at Metro Christian Fellowship with Mike Bickle before entering the marketplace in 1983, with a vision to see the marketplace redeemed and cities established that value and love the person of Jesus. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Hartley Group, a "Hope Center" for the marketplace, consisting of Hartley's Executive Cleaning, Swift Chemicals & Supply, Prize Properties, and H&H Management in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob is a frequent speaker to youth, churches, businesses, and national leaders throughout America and the world. His quest has been to bring the Kingdom of God into every arena of life and give spiritual tools and equipping to those seeking to know and love God in the midst of their everyday lives. Currently, Bob resides in Kansas City with his wife and four children.
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