Waiting for the Call: A Tale of Mourning and Moving

A MIDNIGHT REVELATION

Earlier this year, I, Juan, had a dream that I truly believe God used to speak to me. I get a fair amount of dreams, as I suppose many do, but this dream was vivid, clear as day, and has stuck in my mind with almost perfect recall since.

The dream began with my wife and I overlooking some property that we owned. It was a nice plot of land along the beautiful California coast. Amazing 360 views of the ocean and the surrounding hills, high up on the cliffs above tides below with plenty of space to grow.

We had decided to partition some of our land and build a small house on a pleasant nearby cliff that overlooks a small cove feature. This would be for our guests to stay as well as a rental for some passive income. We received help from our friends and family to build this cabin-like home. Upon finishing, we were floored at the generosity of so many and incredibly grateful to our community for their help.

I walked in through the back door and sat down at the kitchen table for a quick break. Inside, my wife was putting the finishing touches on some of the interior decor and an older lady was at the sink hand washing some dishes.

As I was admiring my wife's attention to detail—hanging art frames and rotating the plants for optimal viewing pleasure—I, again, was overwhelmed by all of the people that helped us and thinking, "We've done it! We are achieving our goals and building towards our future."

Within seconds, I heard a deafening, terrible noise. Despite being almost 200 feet up on a cliff, the sea waves were swelling at an immense pace towards us. The surge had risen and spilled onto the cliffs in paralyzing quickness.

The cabin, along with its visually aligned adornments and freshly cleaned plates and mugs, was plucked from its foundation and imitated a boat made of Swiss cheese. The chaotic waves buckled the walls, the roof peeled back like a candy wrapper, and my eyes stung of salt as I desperately looked for my wife. The safety of dry land was depressingly out of reach.

Shock sat in as I treaded water through the rampaging waves. After a few moments, a large wave lifted and hurled me towards a rock. I woke up upon impact.

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Surprisingly, my heart was not pounding. I quickly sat up to let out an audible and inquisitive "hmmm" as I pondered what I had just experienced. It felt different. I knew it was different.

For almost five years now, I've been praying to God for direction. Direction for my family and where to live. What’s ahead of us? What are the next steps? Should we stay or move? How am I supposed to reach others with the Gospel? Where would I, and my family, go to make the greatest impact for God? The usual questions I ponder about life and how I should live as a Christian.

I personally feel called to disciple and teach. I see the culture, the politics, and social issues that are overtaking our daily lives. I ache to speak to those matters. I desire to instruct others to think biblically and live their lives with Godly wisdom. Living where we are, in California, makes this quite difficult. The culture is vehemently anti-God. Truth and logic are overtaken by emotions and entitlements. The fractured church has given rise to false doctrines and complacent followers of Christ.

For a long while now, I've felt like I've been stuck between figuring out if I'm a Jonah or a Lot. Am I called to be a light in the darkness that is California or do I need to take my family away from impending destruction lest we be destroyed along with it?

I have tried to be a light, live for what’s Godly, and be a part of the edification of others, but sooner or later the proverbial door is closed. We’ve been a part of small groups that ended due to the sins of the leaders or bad theology, and we’ve had to leave churches that dissolved or changed in ungodly ways. We’ve had too many Christians friends, very close to us, “deconstruct” their faith and turn away from God. I’ve tried a personal ministry of reaching out to friends and family members on how I can encourage them in studying the Bible and understanding hard topics, but the major response has been that they are uninterested. People who claim to believe in God are saying they’re uninterested in learning more about Him or the Bible! It’s been heartbreaking for me. 

Would anyone really blame me for wanting to throw in the towel and go somewhere else or am I just being a coward?

Is my desire to move away like that of Jonah's desire to avoid the seemingly fatal task of preaching to Nineveh? It’s a dead-end. It’s pointless. Or am I, like with Lot, living in a culture that is beyond reconciliation with God and must take my family and flee or be doomed along with it? I’ve been torn on this for years. I want to be a light, but ultimately I want to follow God where he leads.

CALIFORNIA HAS BECOME GODLESS

California is the primary source of entertainment throughout the country, and a major contributor globally. Streaming services, like CA based Netflix, promote increasingly anti-God and sinful content. They boast of their library of content that focuses on deviant sexual actions and ideologies that are contrary to the Word of God. Other California media companies, like Disney, are being exposed for their “not so secret Gay Agenda” towards kids and wanting to desensitize our children to the corrupt morals of LGBTQIA+ culture. A staggering 90% of all US-made porn comes from California. The major social media companies that have had a devastating effect on this generation with increased mental health issues and the destruction of the nuclear family and community—not to mention they have played a large role in dividing this country even beyond the political arena—are all based in California (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, etc.). California is also the birthplace of dating apps, like Tinder, where with a thoughtless "swipe right" you can have endless, immoral hook-ups. California has created almost unimaginable ways of unfettered access to fulfill any earthly pleasure free from commitment, free from moral obligation, free from consequences, free from guilt, free from God.

Depravity truly is California's number one export.

As I write this, Pride Month is concluding in California. It is a month set aside to celebrate the debauchery that is overtaking our culture. Adult men are cheered as they whip their genitals and fake breasts around in the faces of children. Mothers are indoctrinating their toddlers by telling them they were born in the wrong bodies and encouraging them to cross dress. Kids are being taught to slip dollar bills into the g-strings of men dressed in gaudy and tacky caricatures of femininity. Our children are being groomed by classroom teachers to pledge allegiance to the pride flag, to keep secrets from their parents, and embrace all forms of sexual fetishes. This is an assault on our kids and the holiness of God!

As the month progresses, parades and events are live streamed, and videos and images are posted with trendy hashtags for high visibility. However, social media companies have been taking down many of these streams, deleting videos, or putting warnings on images due to nudity, sexual acts, and obscene language. Yet, these actions and lifestyles are exactly what Pride is about and what is being pushed onto our children. How are these lifestyles and events both “for kids” and yet too mature for kids? It’s a contradiction. Many in this culture hate God, social media is riddled with posts about wishing death upon Christians, and scientific truths about biology is considered hateful, bigoted, or “phobic”. 

Our culture is beyond backwards. They reject the truth for lies and rage against God and His people. They are actively saying, “if you are not for us, then you are against us.” And that is perhaps the only thing we have in common.

California fails to properly report abortion statistics to the CDC, more than any other state. In its latest reporting in 2020, and only successful reporting in the last 5 or so years, it showed California performed the most abortions, of any state, at 16.6% of all US abortions. California boasts of having the most clinics to kill babies at 161 centers, which is 10 times the US state average. For all of human history, the killing of babies has been a practice of the demonic, a sacrifice to false gods. It is pure evil. Our culture glorifies the shedding of innocent lives to promote the lifestyles of the ungodly. California is stained with the blood of our children.

THE SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE

Of course, California has plenty of Christians fighting against the culture. That's no small thing to overlook! But Christians can be a mixed bag. We are a broken people after all.

Over the last decade or so, or at least since I've had my eyes open to it, I've seen a pacifying wave slowly cover the church lulling Christians to sleep. Silencing them. Compromising them. Neutering them.

The Gospel is being distorted in a church near you. Pastors are telling people Jesus is not the only way to heaven. Messages saying that prosperity and wealth only follow the faithful—”repent and get rich!” Congregants repeat that "God is love and love approves of all lifestyles." Every week, from the pulpit, the Word of God is being twisted to fit some sort of financial or cultural agenda.

How did all of this start? Well, the distortion of truth ultimately began back in the Garden, but we're not going back that far. From what I've witnessed and studied, it truly became evident in the early 2000s. Shortly following the Toronto Blessing, a world famous revival at an unsuspecting airport in 1994, revivals began popping up across North America. Brownsville, in Florida, is quite a noteworthy event to look into. However, California was hit rather hard by this revival movement and permeated throughout the many churches I attended growing up, which, unarguably, has had a huge impact on me.

The movement fundamentally reshaped how worship was conducted on Sundays. As a child, I saw bodies wailing and convulsing on the floor, when they distracted me from singing and clapping along to worship songs. Odd whispers and strange yelling, in almost other-worldly languages, are inseparable from my memories and experiences at church services, small groups, and youth camps. I've known friends who have driven hours to other churches in an attempt to witness gold dust or angel feathers fall from the sanctuary ceiling. “Claim it, brother!,” or “You’ve got to receive it, sister!” became regular conversational proclamations. I had a folding chair in the front row to the beginning of church culture that focused more on getting from God rather than what they were giving to God.

Before I continue, I want you to know that I am not trying to imply God was not present at these events or churches. Honestly, I believe there was a lot God was doing, but I know the heart of man is selfish, deceitful, and sinful. I know this because I have a great capacity to be selfish, deceitful, and sinful. It’s human nature to long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. This longing, coupled with these easily fabricated outward actions to show godliness, or connection with God, or being touched by Him can be a great temptation for many. 

As revival culture became normal church culture, I witnessed the fracturing of the church not seen since Martin Luther’s time. The response was to go hyper. Hyper-charismatic or hyper-conservative. Glory seekers came out of the woodwork. Doomsday/Y2K Preppers abounded as the end of the century neared, along with the rise in popularity of the Left Behind series. Secondary beliefs defined the type of Christian you were. We were dividing ourselves.

The church’s response to all of this is, I believe, one our greatest downfall to this day. In an effort to get back to God, to become more palatable to non-Christians, and not seem as strange as our “brothers and sisters over at the other church”, it gave way to a series of deviations that watered down scripture and the gospel to appear less rigid or extreme. It destroyed the metaphorical back-bones of pastors and leaders in the church and propped open the gates to unbiblical and ungodly teachings as we let culture shape what church should look like.

The first and most notable deviation, as I will call them, was the Emergent Church. These churches discarded chunks of scripture in order to appeal to the emotions of man. It was a mix of traditions, to tug on nostalgia and feelings, a flowery gospel, as not to offend the sinner, and pseudo-psychology, to stimulate the mind. I completely understand why these churches became so popular. They were conducted in smaller groups, usually in people’s homes. They held rituals that put your faith into action. They attempted to address cultural issues, such as racial diversity within the church. However, these growing small churches and the desire for such a culture in the christian church fostered the second step toward deviation called New Age Christianity

New Age Christianity was hit with some resistance by many church leaders. However, it was undeniable that the church was growing with these new ideas. NAC attempts to “redeem” pagan practices like Astrology, the Law of Attraction, Oneness, and “Following One’s Heart.” Christians redeemed Saturnalia to create Christmas, why couldn’t we do this with other practices, right? Unfortunately, these things aren’t easy to redeem as they are outright contradictory to scripture and its teachings. Church leaders, like that of Bethel, in Redding, endorse Destiny Card readings, which are essentially Tarot cards, or Grave-Soaking, the act of trying to take someone’s “spiritual mantle” by physically laying on top of a christian leader’s grave. These practices are witchcraft, demonic, and not for Christians to partake of.

The third deviation is taking place right now. It’s called Progressive Christianity. This movement, although endorsing many NAC philosophies, takes it further. Beyond embracing extra-biblical religious practices it also turns to culture to ask, “what should we believe?” It blatantly takes scissors to the Word of God to cut out His commands and His truths. Progressive leaders distort scriptures to create a new “truth” about reality to fit culture. It takes LGBTQIA+, what God calls an abomination, and declares it righteous. It affirms abortion as life-giving. It lifts cultural moralism higher than Biblical teaching. It calls Jesus a mere moral teacher, ripping Him of his divinity. And worse yet, it ignores sin as the ultimate separator between us and God, reducing repentance to an antiquated ritual not to be bothered with anymore, all in an effort to not offend.

Due to these deviations of theology and biblical understanding, much of the Christian church today is practically unrecognizable. It’s a false gospel. It’s a distortion of truth. It’s a lie. I’m bothered by it. I’m sick of it. I’m ashamed by it.

We are called and designed to care about what God wants over what we want or think should be. When you push aside the truth of God in order to be culturally relevant or non-offensive you damage future generations and risk eternally endangering your soul.

GOD’S ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS

So what about the dream and what does this all mean?

After much prayer and counsel, it meant we needed to move. Specifically, out of California.

In my dream, we’re trying to build our life, plan for our future, be a part of our community, and share what God has given us. The Bible is abundantly clear on this point that God created this world, and each of our lives, to reflect His Being and His beauty, to live and grow on the vines of His truths, and to share the Gospel. I believe what we were doing in the dream wasn’t sinful or outside of His will for our lives. We had gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts.

However, it was where we were building it. I believe our property on the coast represents our lives in California. It was a warning of something to come.

The parable of the two builders came across my mind, as it probably did yours. I thought, “but we were building on top of a high cliff, not the sand below. Doesn’t this count for building upon ‘the rock?’” Then God reminded me of when I was treading water in the dream. I could see higher ground further inland, but it was too late to reach it at that point. The “rock” we were building upon wasn’t high enough. The sand, referred to in the parable, is also called a “Wadi” in the original language. A Wadi is a leveled out, sandy area near waterways and streams. They are lush, close to water sources, and a very desirable place to be. However, these areas are known for sudden and violent flash floods. So it’s only a matter of time when the flood waters will instantly take out your home and livelihood. California is a cultural, political, and economic Wadi. Seems pleasant at first, but the flood waters are coming.

In my dream, the water could represent practically anything. I have no clear understanding of whether it is meant to be an isolated destruction for simply just my family or a more far-reaching catastrophe to California. It could mean a natural disaster. It could mean an economic collapse. It could mean war, or famine, or civil unrest. Any one of those things could destroy a person’s livelihood and/or their life. I highly doubt Lot considered rotten-egg smelling, flaming projectiles from the sky as a legitimate mechanism for how Sodom was to be destroyed. So I will not venture a guess myself.

All I can do is listen, pray, and follow where I believe God is leading me to take my family.

There is one aspect of the dream that I do want to happen, or at least continue, and that is our heart of thankfulness and gratitude to our friends and family. Our hearts are filled with love to everyone who has helped us financially, has watched our girls, has laughed and cried with us, has shared a meal with us, and been a friend to us. The life we’ve built so far has been surrounded by and foundational upon our relationships with you. We do not take our move lightly or without trepidation, but with wisdom, caution, and faith.

We are born and raised Californians. We truly love the state—from its sunset beaches to its snowy peaks. It’s been our home and our playground for decades, but it is in disrepair and falling apart. We mourn and pray for the state constantly. We pray for its people, for our neighbors, to know Christ. We mourn the damage that rejecting God has caused multiple generations. And we hope repentance and redemption with God comes swiftly.

As for me and my family, we are going to follow the Lord and where he leads us. Please pray for us as we pray for you and for California.

- Juan