River Of Life Network Vision (Christchurch/Canterbury)

By Michael


This sequence of visions and conversations began in September 2001. It was in answer to my question “what am I here in Christchurch for then?”

I am not accustomed to seeing visions on a regular basis but visions have been a part of my Christian walk over the last thirty odd years.  I have learned to test them against the themes of scripture and according to what I know of God's heart.  The first vision in this account was in September 2001 while I was out walking the dog one night. 

I see in reading back over my notes about previous revelations and words to me (some of them not fully making sense until seeing this) that Father had been leading up to this for at least 9 months, and certainly from January 2001 when we moved to Christchurch.  I think that the main reason I couldn’t understand what Dad was trying to show me was that, until this vision, I was preparing for ministry with an institutional denomination.  He was trying to change my wineskin but I was trying to interpret what He was saying within my existing wineskin, reluctant to look outside and get a fresh view. 

He was trying to excite change but I was holding on to my existing understanding and trying to fit His new thoughts within it.  Many of us have walked away from institutional models of church, but find that there is still a journey to walk with our faithful Father purging us of our entrenched inner concepts and beliefs into real freedom of living with Him as His Family.  Intriguingly, I did not know of the existence of independent House Fellowships until I saw them in this vision, even though their resources had been finding their way into my hands for use in home groups etc.  

I have been coming across some who believe they have been sent to Christchurch and who have vision that has some overlap, and yet others who are sure they have been sent but do not seem to know why they are here.  If you are one of those then perhaps this article might resonate with you in some way.   I have tried to write down enough to see the main thrust of what I have been shown and apologise for anything which is unclear or incomplete.  Your feedback to me could be helpful in bringing further clarification. 

I offer this as a simple prophetic voice speaking out what has been seen and has been well proved over the last few years in the work our Father has been doing as He deploys house fellowships across this city, this nation and across the world.  In my heart is a simple call to my brothers and sisters that we work together as His great fishing net with total allegiance to Jesus our King and compassion to others. 

I do not wish to organise this to happen, or to supervise it, but will do my part to reach out to others to make relational connections that can help our Father in His plans.  I believe that if those who find themselves in responsible places in His plans (elders) will connect and work together, we can accomplish more together than on our own.

The first vision sequence - open eyes

I saw with open eyes an area (Christchurch and I believe the wider area) as a huge white disk hanging in the darkness in front of me, which I appeared to be looking down upon from high above.  I saw a multitude (thousands) of dots spread out over the area of the disk and 4 or 5 small clusters of dots near the centre.  I knew that these are unchurched, disenfranchised prophetic and other Christians looking like dots and clusters. 

The dots are those attempting to walk alone and the clusters are where small groups have sprung up in homes and other places as a result of some getting together.  I felt His heart and knew that these Kingdom people He cares deeply about are feeling incompatible with, rejected or disowned by the major "big church" systems.  These are not God's systems, but man's systemic interpretations of His methods.  I noticed a dot near the centre of this picture was claiming my attention and as I focussed there briefly, He said “That is you.  I brought you here to gather some to where they can be  loved, encouraged and have their foundations repaired.  I need all of the prophetic ones to get ready to work into My harvest”.

The vision started to change as the bottom edge of the huge disk then began to rotate up slowly towards me until it stopped side on giving a horizontal view of the edge.  As it rotated up I saw that it was quite tall, and there were a lot of vertical lines along the edge like the edge of a coin and He was talking about them.  They represent the various groups that He wishes to see planted across the City and Canterbury. I was being shown a big picture view of His plan for a wide ranging 'gathering in' and 'picking up' of these hurt people in the Family of God and that they would join with others into "Holy Spirit led care nurture groups" where they could mutually be loved, healed, discipled and grow. He desires His family to be able to walk with Him in many ways, but that they are crippled by woundedness.  He wants to move forward in the necessary areas, and to grow each of us into the full stature of who we really are in Jesus Christ.   

I next saw a pinkish line draw itself across just above the bottom of the disc cross section from left to right.  He said “this is how it (the big picture) runs, by the leaders (elders) of these groups (willing to connect and) working together”.  I believe that this is not a formally organised thing like we usually see in institutional thinking, but that the line is relational connection links of a family based, relationally equal, love of God led association of all the leaders (those functioning as elder/leader/facilitator of intensive care and other groups - including special purpose groups). 

This relationally linked group forms a serving and resource sharing network of networks through the city, breaking down religious territory walls and fences by not ruling over others, but daring to be servants of our Father that love from His love.  These elders I saw are committed to connecting regularly together to do this.  I knew that this is a function based, relational, God dependent fellowship network.  

I noticed a group of 6 dots in a transparent bubble that appeared to be joined to the disk below the disk centre.  . [I knew their contribution is as from those who love and enable, not rule over.  As the disk network is supported by their interactive dependency on the Holy Spirit for the authority to act; this group appeared to me to be a support from below through the network of leaders.]
 I heard “these are given to help, serve, gather, watch over and support overall vision and to organise this” as the vision disappeared and the next vision below appeared.  

The third phase of this vision was of a large area meeting of Christians which appeared to be in the sun outside.  I was standing on a temporary platform made from scaffolding and some sort of timber sheets. The scene was a large park or open space and there was a huge gathering of people as far as I could see out in front of me and out to the sides.  I knew that this is all the networked groups and  all of the Family of God in Christchurch that wanted to, gathering together regularly for celebration meetings where the emphasis is not on preaching or teaching, but on being part of a Holy Spirit impact “party” of praise and worship and prayer.  I looked out over a huge crowd to see that most looked deeply impacted by the Holy Spirit's active presence.  About a third had their arms raised in Worship and all present looked pretty much overcome by His active glory presence.  I knew that though I could not see them, there were about a third of the number on the ground, too overcome by His manifest presence to stand.  

I asked if all of this has a name and He said "River of Life".

Vision 2 - closed eyes

A couple of weeks later, I was in the spirit in prayer and was shown the city of Christchurch spread out below me as if I was looking out over it from the top of the southern port hills.  There was no light showing and over the city was a thick viscous layer of spiritual darkness which moved gloopily like liquid tar.  I felt sickened just looking at it as it moved.  Then as I waited and watched, a light came on in the southern part below me.  It was a white fire burning out of an ordinary looking house, burning out of the centre of the house and higher than the house, but not burning the house itself.  Then as I watched, very slowly at first, more came.  Eventually another one sprang up, near it to the north west, then another to the north east, then one to the north. Then in the west, then one near the city centre which soon became two and then the lights began to spring up faster around the central city and filled up the rest of the city until every street had at least one.

I understood that this is His plan - of a house in every street, a fire in every house, spiritual intensive care available and effective spiritually mature leadership in every house.  As we are available to work with Him in this He will involve each of us to bring it about.

Vision 3 closed eyes

A week or so later, I was praying and in the spirit again.  I was standing some distance up on the side of a large hill looking down a road at a large church. It was a beautifully built stone church building with steeple and all, and there was a service happening inside.  The building was made of different coloured stones, some of them 3 or 4 metres in size and beautifully shaped with curves that fitted one another well, representing the best that man can build. I was standing some distance from the church to one side of it and a road led up the hill toward me. There was a bland sort of light inside and greyness everywhere around the building outside.  I knew that there was worship happening in the church building and I was aware of and could almost hear the singing.  

Then a bright glow appeared in the sky above the front doors and from it a bright golden pillar of light descended and stood for a moment paused outside the church doors.  Suddenly it went whooshing into the building with the sound of roaring fire in the wind.  The walls of the church building bulged outward a bit with the stones coming apart and then settling back into place, and the fire glow was so bright inside the church that bright strong rays of its substance seemed to be shining out like multiple rods through the roof chinks, eaves and everywhere possible, cutting through the greyness everywhere they shined.  My first thought was “wow revival”.  

After a slight wait, I saw little figures of people running out of the building any way they could and scattering.  This puzzled me and I was saying half to myself, half to God, "revival gathers doesn't it, so what is this?"  One of these little figures ran up the hill road towards me, growing larger until I could see that this was a balding man in his forties.  As he ran closer, I saw that his face was a picture of upset confusion.  I heard Father say, “These are little ones who are confused and frightened by this cleansing fire I wish to bring.  I will not abandon them and must have somewhere I can bring them where they can be looked after and when my Family is prepared to take care of it, I will start my great harvest.”  (And I knew with deep understanding that taking care of these little ones is a purpose of the house fellowships when they are ready for it.)

Bible College with a difference.I was taken completely by surprise one day when Dad started to speak about a bible college. The first words were about a live-in college with a real difference to what was mentored. He was talking about a bible college with a difference. I had not thought or planned anything like it nor was I expecting Him to say anything of this nature to me. As time has unfolded though I have heard various teaching strategies and approaches. been given syllabi and he has opened up the picture more to show that this is much more than what we think of as a “Bible College”. It is a School of the Spirit alongside a hub of support for all the houses on fire that form River Of Life Network. It has a purpose built accommodation section housing those of a missional community who follow their own Dad given vision but are also committed to care for the live in students. Some of the services that operate from the hub he has shown me, are music, prophetic, teaching, missions, apostolic, inner healing, resources etc. All of those mentioned in 1 Cor 12 and Eph 4 and more.

Where the rubber hits the road

I have asked dad why He wants this school and hub?

Some realities are that there are just not enough mature Christians (workers into the harvest Matt 9:36-38; Luke 10:2b ) to do the discipling work as Father would have it done.  Even fewer of us understand HOW He wants it done.  He has certainly dismantled all of the formulaic methods and concepts that I was working with, and I suspect that He has been doing so with you.  He desires discipling to be done on a one to one relational basis but many of us are faced with having to do this in groups.  The problem with group discipling is that the family of God is made up of individuals and the cookie cutter approach of one size fits all does not work all that well.  I have found that a mix of group discipling and one on one discipling must happen for real individual growth to be successful. That seems to be what some of our house fellowships look like. 

As His Family, I believe we are faced with the need to help Him prepare elders and fathers (leaders) to be effective and in tune with God's heart, not doing our own thing at His expense and producing stunted growth of His Family members.  We have a multitude of critics in the Family (easily seen on the internet) but very few with answers, let alone answers that work.  We have plenty of teachers but very few fathers (1John2).  

It is time for those of us who have some answers to get to work even though the personal cost is high, and we find it hard to make the time available.  It is time for leaders to bring the love fire of God into a meeting and to keep a Truth and Spirit balance so that personal growth is explosive and the hard work at the coal face is also done.  I have found that it is imperative to drink of Jesus who is alive and well and living on the inside of us (and to keep drinking).  It's good to have fun in His river as we do, but there is serious work and journeying to do too, to be those who can pour out water of Life to others until they can do so too.

At times it is good to be feeling awe at the magnitude of His trust, that He sees His Family as His mighty River of Life to be Royal priestly (Rev1,5) lights to the world to manifest the Kingdom of God to touch others.  We as His children are chosen for this as He goes about choosing whom He chooses (John 15), and we need to (dare to) believe and walk strongly in His revealed word to us as those given His righteousness and powerful Life to walk in and be owned by.

While I felt awed at the magnitude of His intentions, there is also a fierce call within me to see His Family properly flowing with Rivers of Living waters bringing Life touching and transforming wherever they go. What has He called you for? What is His word to you? Whatever it is, we succeed as we dare to believe and walk in His word to us as those given His righteousness and powerful Life to walk in.

I have been finding that others have intersecting parts of what I have seen and we are mutually encouraged by hearing what Father has laid in fire in our hearts.  Also that there is a growing hunger being fostered in many hearts to see His larger purposes be established although many of us cannot see as yet how to be His family acting together in Holy Spirit led, Jesus centred teams to make it happen.

As I have listened to others, what is being expressed is perceptions of a great need for us to grow into the place of glorifying the Father that Jesus, fully God and fully man Himself, showed and demonstrated.  This will look a bit different with each of us and, as Jesus taught, is only possible by God dependent relationship.

It requires a beginning in learning to stand before Him, hear his voice, and walk with him (not lying down asleep or having tantrums, or sitting thinking or confused by doubt and fears, or stamping our wilful little foot).

Then we are motivated to pour out blessing and to be a blessing.

He has been showing several of us the work that needs to be done before discipling is successful –

1) Bind up the spiritual and soul area wounds to stop the bleeding

(and there are many who bleed and do not know it).

2) Be able to minister release and healing next.

Then we can help our Father Disciple to grow disciplers.  

These first two areas must be discerned by listening to Him, and only prayer in obedience to the Holy Spirit will bring about a life changing result (surprise surprise, no “programs” or preconceptions will work properly, only obedience to the Holy Spirit!).

January 2002.