These two words on Hope do just that – encourage and equip us, provide daily bread, fuel for the heart and the soul. As Robin McMillian says, "Hope is the confident expectation of good. It is so essential that we have it. The man with the most hope prevails", and He encourages us to expect good things to happen. In Bob Hartley's word, the "Four Stages of a Hope Journey", he tell us how hope, heals the heart.
His hope in us, and our hope in Him, most certainly does!
We pray again this month for you and for all that is in your heart, that His hope will spring eternal, pouring out over all you are stewarding, flooding each day with good things, watering seeds sown from years gone by, and bringing forth a mighty harvest for your great joy and His great glory!
Blessings, blessings to you and we are praying!"
Hope – the confident expectation of good is an indispensable grace each of us must possess to live victoriously. Many use the word more as an expression of wishful thinking... "I sure hope so." To them it is but a longing for something good.
But true Biblical hope is confident that good is coming and is expecting it to come at any moment. It is like a pregnant woman sure of her pregnancy. She is expecting and confident of it! Hope is a repository of spiritual and emotional strength. Yet hope is more than all of these things.
The Man of Hope - An Enlightening Encounter
I awakened one morning in the midst of a spiritual encounter looking directly into the cheerful smiling face of a former schoolmate named Chip Hope. This man named Hope smiled at me broadly and said: "Hello, I'm going to be your new best friend."
He wore a Philadelphia Eagles hat and sweater. Beside my bed I noticed a freshly paved road. It hadn't been there the night before when I went to bed! I heard a voice speak in a tone of unbelieving amazement – "Is that the work of one man?" Then the Lord informed me that this man named Hope was a rogue – totally uncontrollable!
Hope is Uncontrollable
What did this strange encounter mean?
I believe it unveils the reality of true Biblical hope. There is profound spiritual revelation in his name Chip Hope. Chip is derived from the proper name Charles meaning "freeman" or "warrior". The Lord said he was a "rogue" – a word meaning one who operates outside normal or desirable controls, one who is mischievous, a playful person.
The "hope" we have is a rogue. It is uncontrollable. It exists for us outside of the normal pressures, principles, and patterns of our time/space world. That is what it means to be truly free!
The Philadelphia Eagle Connection
The Philadelphia Eagles logo on the hat and the sweatshirt speaks of a number of things: the power of a loving community, the importance of learning how to live in the spirit, and the redemptive heart of God. The fact that it was stamped on the hat and sweatshirt speaks of how hope covers and protects our hearts and minds.
The word Philadelphia, the name of the Church mentioned in Revelation 3, means "brotherly love" and refers to the love Christians have for each other as fellow family members. The Church at Philadelphia was the only one of the seven churches that Jesus did not rebuke. It speaks of a community of love, the atmosphere where hope is the most readily obtained and enjoyed.
Now, the redemptive aspects of the Philadelphia Eagle connection; at the time of my encounter, Andy Reid coached the Eagles NFL team. He gave Michael Vick a chance to redeem himself after his humiliating imprisonment for illegal involvement in fighting dogs for sport. Reid's heart to help Vick speaks of redemption, the very nature of the heart of God.
The Eagle and the Newly Paved Road
The newly paved road beside my bed reminded me of a past revelatory dream. In it I was operating a big asphalt machine, re-paving Remount Road in my hometown. It spoke to me of providing a "re-mount" road. Allow me to explain. Isaiah the prophet said:
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31(emphasis mine).
In these short words, Isaiah revealed that by waiting on the Lord, we can develop the ability to "mount up" with Him in the heavenly realm to the degree that we can run and not get tired, and walk in the spirit and never faint. Remount Road speaks of "mounting up" again and again to experience hope in an ever increasing way.
The Work of One Man
By the tone of the voice I heard saying, "Is this the work of one man?" – I discerned the voice of an adversary who could not believe in the entirety and completeness of the work of the One Man, Christ Jesus.
In His final minutes on the Cross Jesus cried, "It is finished." His work on our behalf is completely complete and perfectly perfect.
Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to each one the enormity, the breadth, the depth, the height and the width of what He has done for us in His redemptive work. It will take all eternity to appreciate and know it in fullness.
Conclusion: Hope Prevails
This Hope thrives in a community of brotherly love. Like the Philadelphia Eagles hat and sweater, this Hope covers our hearts and minds, cannot be controlled, is unceasingly joyful and free, and can be experienced by waiting on the Lord and mounting and remounting up into the heavenly realm to access all the provision of God. It is redemptive, intimate, and provides us with a heavenly rest. Paul of Tarsus opened his letter to Timothy this way:
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope..." 1 Timothy 1:1
Hope is the confident expectation of good. It is so essential that we have it. The man with the most hope prevails. Our Hope is alive; a Person of whom death has no power named Jesus Christ the Lord. He truly is our new best friend!
Senior Pastor, Queen City Church
Robin McMillan is the Senior Pastor of Queen City Church in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, planted on Father's Day of 2010. He previously served MorningStar Fellowship Church as director of the Fellowship of Ministries and Fellowship of Churches for three years, then as Senior Pastor of the Fort Mill, South Carolina, congregation for more than a decade.
He believes our nation is on the verge of the next great spiritual awakening. His passion is to awaken the Church to the power of the Spirit and enable Believers to discover how they can access the realm of the Heavens, enjoy the presence and power of God, and be empowered to live a supernatural life. Outpourings of the Holy Spirit, outbreaks of joy, and demonstrations of power and healing often accompany his ministry. Many are being impacted by Robin's unique preaching style and prophetic gifts. He is the author ofMystic MooseTales: Redefining Wildlife, a supernatural allegory written to inspire love for Jesus and the supernatural God of the Bible. He and his wife Donna have been married 35 years and have four children and four grandchildren.
Four Stages of the Hope Journey Revealed: Testimony of God-Encounters
Prophetic words and encounters by Bob Hartley – scribed by Michael Sullivant:
Stages of the Hope Journey
Scene 1: Revealed Fissures
This dream was linked to a previous encounter that we described in a past article, called "The Hope Reformation: How Hope Heals the Heart." In the first scene of this encounter, the hope reformers were emerging out of the great banqueting hall where lightning bolts had manifested. These lightning bolts relate to God's indiscriminate power that is beginning to strike the earth. It's a good thing.
However, this intensified expression of divine power has an effect of also revealing and exposing fissures within the hearts of His beloved people who are called to be agents of a hope reformation. These cracks in our inner being can then become fractures and actually keep us from being fit and ready to pass on the true knowledge of God to others to the degree that He intends for us. Therefore, the Lord was meeting His needy and broken hope reformers in person as we came out from the hall.
Scene 2: Rest
After greeting us with great tenderness and strength, Jesus sat us down on a bench and began to oil our weary and cracked feet. These cracks represent the fissures within our hearts. No one was immune from having the need for the application of His divine hope to heal the fissures of our hearts. Bob understood that by seating us on this bench, Jesus Christ is beckoning us all into a new lifestyle and ministry style that speaks of His Sabbath rest. It does not imply inactivity, but a more clearly outlined divine leadership as to how we worship, relate to others (especially our family and friends), and labor.
He is giving us new grace and insight into how to synchronize our many responsibilities and priorities under His wise Lordship. We are to cease from our own labors and enter into the grace and power of His finished work. God revealed that there is an age-old demonic strategy to thwart to embrace this art of rest. The enemy will work to allow the good to become the enemy of the best. The Spirit said, "Letting go is hard to do, but letting go is good to do. Let go to Me."
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:9-10
He clearly said that He does not want this healing ministry for our hearts to be superficial in nature and that there is a danger that we will get up and get moving too quickly in our own strength.
They have healed the wound of My people lightly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you were unwilling, and you said, "No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"... Isaiah 30:15-16
In this process of shifting over to a new "operating system," we will experience the unusual, divine strategy that Jeremiah refers to.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. Jeremiah 1:10
For many of us there presently is a divine uprooting and tearing down coming to bear upon our lives and ministries that will clear the way for a coming season of divine building and planting. Things will "go dark" for a while, but we must resist the temptation to create our own light in the strangeness of the circumstantial darkness that God has allowed. Rather, we must simply trust the Lord to provide the light we need in His time.
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-11
At the proper time, our Teacher will come close to us, restore us and put us into a renewed frame of mind and spirit.
...The Teacher is here and is calling for you. John 11:28b
...yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. Isaiah 30:20
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, My great army, which I sent among you. Joel 2:25
This work of Jesus to heal our hearts will cause us to be the kind of people, like Jacob, who providentially find themselves in the right place at the right time as a recipient of God's unmerited favor and fulfilled magnificent promises.
"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven." Genesis 28:15-17
Our good Shepherd of Psalm 23 will reveal many faces of God to us in this season as we trust Him to lead and guide us. We are to become wrapped up in the Lord of this Psalm...Shepherd, Supplier, Healer, Pathway, Hope, Comfort, Defender, Imparter, Goodness and Mercy.
Scene 3: Relationships
Next, Bob saw that God's hope reformers were falling sideways rather than forward or backward, and it seemed odd to him. In the dream, he had the sense of literally falling and felt the anxiety that comes with it. However, the understanding came that this was referring to "falling into" a proper kind of interdependence the Father has ordained for us in our friendships with other Believers. The vulnerability that accompanies "falling" prepares us to embrace and engage in life-giving relationships with others. It is not independence or codependence that we need, but a radical middle solution for stale and unhealthy relational dynamics.
Bob saw the Lord leading us to connect with others whose "almond branches are budding." This means that God is leading His hope reformers to connect with others who 1) have God's authority resting upon them (like Aaron had in Numbers 17), and 2) whose delayed promises are now ready to burst forth (as God promised to perform His promises for Israel in Jeremiah 1).
And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout...and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. Numbers 17:5a, 8b
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see an almond branch." Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it." Jeremiah 1:11-12
This relational reconnecting and newly formed connections will combine and be used by the Lord to bring redefinition, rediscovery, and redeployment on many levels of life and ministry. The Spirit promised that this dynamic will also work to "renew a right spirit within" us.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Bob saw a "liquid love" that began to flow between members of the Body of Christ that greatly helped to fuel this hope reformation that is underway across the nations in our day. (Again and again we have heard the Lord refer to an "acceleration by association" that He is engineering for His hope reformers.)
Scene 4: Revelation
In the next scene, it became clear that there is a step-by-step progression along this royal pathway into the hope reformation for the sons and daughters of the Lord. Embracing the previous stages of this journey of hope prepares our hearts to receive a tremendous increase of divine revelation from the Holy Spirit for our lives and ministries.
At first, the Lord said that it was like going from the Elijah era to the Elisha era by which He released a "double portion" of the Spirit. (The Lord has also revealed to us that He wants us, like Elisha, "to not take 'no' for an answer" in many situations in which we are asking for His greater favor.)
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." 2 Kings 2:9-10
However, the promised increase of the Holy Spirit's revelation did not stop with this "double." The Lord said that He intends to increase it ten-fold.
When Bob relayed this part of the dream to Bob Jones, Hartley, by a word of knowledge, referred to a divine commission that Jones had "received in the Ozarks in 1969." This turned out to be a powerful confirmation of this divine promise for them...and us! When Hartley returned home, his wife, Terry, relayed to him a dream she had while he was away about God suddenly taking us by an elevator from the first floor of a building to the tenth floor.
With this increase of revelation, we must continue to "live in rest" and not be anxious to proclaim our prophetic words until they are fully formed within our spirits. In the dream, Bob saw anxious people attempting to rip babies (i.e. prophecies) out of his belly before it was time for them to be delivered. The Lord was calling him to not allow this to happen.
Another feature of this fourth scene of Bob's dream relates to a new and more effective form of divine communion and prayer into which the Holy Spirit is inviting us. (Bob, and others, have seen this in many other prophetic encounters as well.) God is freeing us from the vanity of "rote" praying by calling us to sit as His partners at His counsel table. This has sometimes been called "informed intercession."
At this table we are inspired by the Holy Spirit to ask the kinds of questions that the Father wants to answer. We come to inquire of His great heart of hope. It is in this environment that enigmas are explained to us. It is in this atmosphere that powerful prayers of confession and declaration issue forth from God's hope reformers. It is in this culture of the Holy Spirit that God's "Pollyannas" are filled with hope and gladness in the face of any circumstance. (See our previous article "Be a People of Hope with a Courageous and Childlike Spirit - that Praises Him in the Face of Evil Despair.")
The Lord showed Bob that He is desirous of raising up multitudes of what He called "Kingdom churches" and "Kingdom organizations" that will validate the diverse callings upon their members and unleash them into every sphere of life and earthly culture to represent (re-present) Jesus Christ. They will usher the presence of God into their various circles of influence and engage in the manifold good works (both short and long-term, providential and miraculous) that God has prepared beforehand for them to exhibit.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
We will report on the rich content of the final four scenes of this spiritual dream regarding the "Journey of Hope" and draw some important conclusions in our next installment.
Bob Hartley, scribed by Michael Sullivant
Deeper Waters Ministry
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.
with Michael Sullivant
Michael Sullivant resides in the Kansas City area, has been married to Terri since 1977, and is a father of five adult children. Their lives have been marked and shaped by a naturally-supernatural relationship with God as unashamed followers of Jesus Christ. Terri and Michael have been involved in active ministry since their days at Miami University in Ohio. They have given themselves to planting communities of faith in several U.S. states, pastoring, teaching, writing, coaching, building leaders, and traveling to offer ministry in many nations. Michael is the author of Prophetic Etiquette, Your Kingdom Come, and a devotional commentary called, The Romance of Romans: God's Big God-Story (2011). Michael and Terri are co-founders of Radius – an equipping ministry that reaches out to many people.