Writing Understanding the Prophetic Nature was a big, all-consuming effort and sometimes it was easy to lose sight of the purpose behind that effort. What was my motivation behind this book? Why did I write it? What is its mission? To understand that, you must understand me.
I generally point toward a time midway through my junior year at the University as the point where God first called me to the ministry, but, to be honest, it really began long before that. Always, through my years growing up on a small Idaho farm and attending a tiny school in a small (but wonderful) town, I stood alone, walking my own path. From my current perspective, decades later, lots of little things point to how God was working the prophetic nature in me even as a young boy. It's not like I "took a stand for righteousness" railing against sin like a Methodist Street preacher, but, even in the primary grades, my commitment to Christ was evident. When Christ entered into my six-year-old heart He became everything to me, even then. I didn't consciously think through how being part of "the group" requires compromise, I simply didn't do it, and so was never part of any group. That "compromise" is a dirty word to the prophetic nature was not a part of my small boy's thinking – I just lived it. So, standing on the outside of "the group" by the natural outworking of God's influence and shaping of my life, my classmates (all 18 or so of them) began (also in natural, unthinking fashion) to actively exclude me. Thus I began to experience the negative side of the prophetic nature – rejection.
That rejection continued through high school and it wasn't until I started college that I learned what it was like to be accepted by others and have a group of people to be a part of. Yet, when it came to ministry, rejection seemed to dog my steps. That's how it is for those in whom God has chosen to work the prophetic nature. Rejection – especially from others involved in ministering to God's people – is a fact of life.
It hurts. It damages. Sometimes it twists the personality of the prophetically oriented person, in ways that should not be.
In Understanding the Prophetic Nature I spend some time talking about the pastoral ministry and how it relates to the prophetic ministry. I can do that because God worked a dual gifting in me by building the nature of a pastor/teacher into my soul alongside the prophetic orientation that shaped me during my growing up years. As I began my pastoral ministry I became increasingly aware of the hurt and damage and rejection the church regularly dishes out to prophetically oriented people. I saw their pain, experienced more of my own, and the desire grew in me to do something about it. Understanding the Prophetic Nature is the result. I wrote it – to bring peace to prophetically oriented people and help them understand and accept themselves. I wrote it – to help pastors gain a perspective of the prophetically oriented person that includes acceptance rather than rejection. I wrote it – to help the ordinary Christian see that the Christian life is a dynamic life, fully interactive with our Lord.