From the desk of Steve Shultz:
The holidays have been a busy season for many... And in this new year we've just entered into, it's important to know how to "enter into His rest." Now that doesn't mean we don't do anything, but quite the contrary. You'll learn a great deal in this latest word by Bob Hartley about the rest God has taught him.
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A New Hope-Filled Operating System Based in Rest
God's Heavenly Hope-Filled Perspective for 2011-2020
In the midst of perceived waves and challenges in the earth, the Lord has been unveiling His hope-filled perspective for 2011-2020 to the Body of Christ by revealing His solutions to every circumstance and situation in the earth. HE IS THE SOLUTION. The Lord has been equipping His people in many ways so that we can become a dwelling place for Him, and we can become places of His presence and hope in businesses, in education, and in our homes. He is equipping us with Hopeful Eyeglasses (the ability to see rightly from His heavenly, hopeful perspective), Hopeful Hearing Aids (the ability to hear His voice rightly as the God of Hope) and the Right Body Armor (the importance of surrounding ourselves with marvelous comrades and loving, hope-filled communities) in this season, and now He is giving us a New Hope-Filled Operating System based in rest.
There was a prophetic picture about this New Operating System that my daughter and I discussed, which revealed that I was operating out of assignment versus relationship. Initially, this picture was given for me personally, but God has since expanded it through dreams as a word to build up the Body of Christ. The essence of these dreams is a new partnering with Him, where we become experts in rest as we discern the stressors and clutter in our lives and turn our focus instead toward Him, toward adoring Him. Where the Body of Christ has been operating out of assignment, out of striving, stress and unbelief, the Lord is coming to show us His more excellent way, the way of operating in rest and relationship, of seeing His solutions from above the clouds with Him.
In Exodus 33:15 Moses said to God, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here." At the core of the New Operating System is this valuing of the presence of God above all else.
The New Operating System of Rest
God is calling us into this New Operating System that moves out of rest in His presence – an operating system that He began to explain to me in a dream through a pile of leaves. The dream came at a time when years of pushing hard in life and ministry had left my body and soul running low. In the midst of this time, as I was looking for a new way forward, God brought to me the beginning of the answer in the form of a dream, a dream that began with 10 piles of leaves.
In the dream, as I am walking toward a villa in Germany, I encounter a woman who instructs me to rake up the leaves in her yard into 10 piles. So I start to try to comply with her instructions, but the wind is blowing and I am running in too many directions at once, trying to rake up and gather the leaves, feeling confused and exhausted. The Lord showed me that these 10 piles of leaves represented present needs and issues facing the Body of Christ, which are real, but need to be left to God.
In the dream there was too much to do, too many directions to go in. I was feeling increasingly exhausted, but I wasn't getting anywhere. Just then a woman with blonde hair and glasses, from the house next door, came up to me, grabbed my face, and said, "One focus, not ten," telling me to work on raking up ONE pile of leaves instead of the ten. "One focus on His eyes," she said, and as I raked the remaining leaves and followed her instruction, I did it with rest and ease.
One Focus: His Presence
In the dream God had also spoken the words, "Thirty days for Thirty Years," to me, which He explained meant that if I would give Him thirty days it would set me on this course, this course of a New Operating System that would change who I was and how I operated for the next 30 years of my life, and He said that the same promise was true for the Body of Christ. When I shared this dream about the woman with blond hair and glasses to a good friend, he said to me, "I know the place and the woman."
A few months later, I went to the wellness center that he had spoken of in Germany. I went to enter in to this New Hope-Filled Operating System based in rest and to restore my body and soul. When I arrived there, I met the woman with the blonde hair and glasses from the dream. She was helping to run the wellness center and she spoke to me in the same way with the same words she had spoken to me in the dream. "One focus," she said over and over again in the thirty days that I was there. "One focus moving out of a restful place of hope where ministry comes out of overflow, not residue."
During my time there, God continued to unveil this New Operating System, based in rest, based in one pile of leaves, one focus in Him, that He wants us to function from in the days to come. This one focus is an Ephesians 4:4 call to the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:4-6 says, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. ONE FOCUS IN HIM.
The "Healthy Hope Center of Heaven"
To enter into this New Operating System, He has revealed to me a series of rooms in a "Healthy Hope Center of Heaven" similar to my encounter in the Classroom of Useful Information, which you can read about in our 2011 word. In the "Healthy Hope Center of Heaven," God has shown me four rooms that will be key in unlocking this New Operating System for us. They are the Room of Rest, the Room of Patriarchal Love, the Room of Care for Your Soul, and the Room of Care for Your Body.
The Room of Rest
The first room we enter into is the "Room of Rest." In this room we learn a new rhythm, a new focus, a new way to be in His presence with intentions of only love and hope. Here we move from scattered focus and disconnection to clear, concentrated connection in Him. Here we leave behind our Babylon chaos and confusion and enter into His rhythms of rest, as in Hebrews 4:9-11 where it talks about this Sabbath Rest: "So there remains a Sabbath Rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience."
As we enter this "Room of Rest" we have to trust in the God of Hope, the God of Jeremiah 31:25 that says, "For I will satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes." We have to trust that "those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength" (Isaiah 40:31). We have to "stand by the ways...where the good way is, asking for the ancient path" of Sabbath Rest, trusting that we will find "rest for our souls" (see Jeremiah 6:16).
The "Zimbabwe Road"
When I was living in Zimbabwe about 20 years ago, we didn't have anything except for one another. Since there were no distractions there was a depth of love and intimacy that developed between us there. I especially remember the Zimbabwe road where I used to take walks with my wife and how much our relationship deepened and grew on those walks.
In this "Room of Rest," God pursues that "Zimbabwe road" type of relationship with us, that road where we walk together for the sake of relationship alone. In John 15:15, Jesus says to us, "I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." He speaks to us as friends. The greatest act of love in return is for us to listen to His voice. Only then can we enter into His Rest.
The Giant of Busyness
When I was on the plane flying back from Zimbabwe, I had a dream where God spoke of the promises over our land and He showed me the giants that we would have to fight to obtain the promises He spoke of. One of these giants was "Babylon busyness, activities devoid of life," which is like the "ten piles of leaves" from my dream. As we try to rake up these "ten piles of leaves" to attend to needs and issues of the day in the Body of Christ, we find that our focus is scattered and disconnected because we are locked into the motion, the activities of the day vs. heart connection with Him.
Years ago, I was a lifeguard, and I was on duty one day when a boy drowned. This was an incident that impacted me deeply. Many years later God showed me a picture of myself on that same lifeguard stand, and He spoke to me that it was time to come down from that self-imposed responsibility that I had placed on myself. He said that it was not my job to rescue everyone in the world, to address every need and issue in the Body of Christ. He later showed me that same lifeguard stand, but now He was the lifeguard on the stand and I was sitting next to Him. God is emphasizing for us, the Body of Christ in this time, this distinction of partnering with Him while allowing Him to be the lifeguard on the stand.
Call to the Body of Christ
God is calling us back to "one pile of leaves," one focus in Him. He is calling us into a New Operating System that moves out of rest in His presence, an operating system that He will give to us as we follow Him through these rooms in the "Healthy Hope Center of Heaven."
There are three more rooms in the "Healthy Hope Center of Heaven" for us to explore on another day, including the room where we learn to give and receive Patriarchal Love, the room where we learn to Care for our Soul and the room where we learn to Care for our Body. Until then, return to the ancient paths of hope you already know.
Remember to ADORE HIM, proclaiming who He is and the God of Hope that He has been to you in your life. Remember to ASK HIM how He sees you and what good things He has stored up for you in the hope-filled days to come. Remember to ask Him how He wants you to enter into this "Room of Rest," ask Him how He sees you, and ask Him what good things He has for you through this New Operating System of Rest.
Deeper Waters Ministry
About Bob Hartley: Bob Hartley is the founder of Hartley Institute/Deeper Waters Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri, inspired through a dream the Lord gave to Bob more than a decade ago, where the Lord spoke that "the youth of this nation are diving into 'shallow waters' of the knowledge of God, and it is killing them!" Bob's heart is to take this generation deep into the knowledge of God through hopeful, heartfelt prayer and intimacy with the Lord, and opening up their ability to hear from His heart and partner with the God of All of Life in every arena and season of the soul.
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.