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Opening a Can of Worms

Last night I dreamed something so real that it woke me up several times. I found myself wondering if I should just get up (2:00 a.m.) so as to fully capture my thoughts? I resisted, but each time as I fell back asleep, the dream continued where it left off. Seldom do I have such seamless dreams.

In the dream, I was reading about the legal criteria in qualifying a simple device as a canopener. I recall reading the "legal citation" online, which posed the threat of a $50k fine, if certain criteria were not met, such as leverage and sharpness of blade!

In my dream I recorded the citation in my phone as a reference, so that I could comply, then I found myself designing a blog post entitled, "Becoming An Authentic Canopener." I wrestled even in my sleep with how ridiculous all that seemed, but just assumed that patent law required all that! The fine for using the term seemed a little much.

Again the dream was so real, that I even picked up my cell phone first thing this morning, opening my calendar to where I might have noted such nonsense, of course it was not there. I then went to AI, and could find no such absurdity, but I did review several need patents for canopeners!!

I now believe the term, "can opener" captures me more than "catalyst". The legal emphasis which was so strong in the dream, speaks to a growing desire toward spiritual transparency and freedom of thought as I age. I am not afraid to open a can of worms, if in the process of discussion some benefit exists.

In the dream, I had posted a list of specific moments when I have experienced the intervention of the Spirit in some miraculous way. Many when shared often require some preface such as, "I know this will sound strange, but ...."

For those unfamiliar with my freedom of thought, when willing to offer a candid response, can at times open a new "can of worms" which leads to deeper and constructive conversation, which I love.

My Cabin Talks with younger folk have been my attempts at sharing my life journey. Along with the occasional book, this blog and soon perhaps a broader you-tube-like video production, who knows where this might go. Though in my fourth quarter of life, I am still young at heart!

More than any wisdom that comes out of these "talks" may be a gained respect for the paranormal, the miraculous interventions, now both in the streets and the sanctuaries of multiple cities! Hopefully exposing the reality of a spirit world most know little of, beyond some rote religious practice.

I will take the dream as prompting to share the quite lenthy list as I recall it from my dream, being aware that this could open another "can of worms" when read by those unfamiliar with my spiritual self, other than their incidental experience with my community service or some occasional interaction given my role as a commerical Realtor.

I'll take that chance!

  • Age 9, heard a voice while playing, "One day you'll preach the gospel." I had no idea then how unconventional that would play out.

  • Age 10, awakened to a vision of an opening into the heavens, accompanied by audible music, my Samuel moment!

  • Age 25, though churched as a child through adolescence, my spiritual journey began not in church, but in Dad's Living Room. The "can of worms" which I had opened with my social life was not working well. One night, I visited my Dad's home looking for advice. What I found as I entered his unlocked door, was a man on his knees.

  • Age 25, I had married the English teacher across the hall, as she and I had become dear friends over a couple years and had begun attending a prayer breakfast together in the small community where we both taught.

  • Age 26, leading and expanding that prayer breakfast, I saw my first miracle when "the voice", which by then I fully recieved as the Holy Spirit, spoke to me about praying over one of the senior members who had fallen ill and was in a coma. It was on a Saturday morning, and he was suddenly raised up and returned to our meetings.

  • Age 27, I had by then begun to follow the disciplines of religion, attending church regularly, reading scripture faithfully, however seeing less and less of what that first miracle with my senior friend had set me up for! I began to pray that God would use me in the way I envisioned those who were turning the cities upside-down!

  • Age 28, Standing in the front yard of our first home, I again heard the Spirit speak: "Wherever I send you, seek that city, if not this city, the next. I'll give you a city."

  • Age 30, I helped construct my first church facility and eventually began a bi-vocational church journey as an assistant to the pastor, though I continued my pursuit of community, even pursuing a degree in Community Education and Resource Development.

  • Age 33, our daughter was born and I needed more income and benefits, so I left the public school classroom for an administrative position with a nearby city school system. I found myself working in community full-time, yet co-pastoring and as well directing a state wide educational department within our denomination. Overload!

  • Age 38, another "can of worms" opened in the church parking lot one evening, as I began to encourage the second senior pastor served in the new church facility, to open the doors of the church to the community for continuing education opportunities which I could facilitate. His response was sharp and stinging, "You should forget this city thing, settle down and serve God!" I resigned.

  • Age 39, I returned to grad school for an Ed.S. in Leadership and Administration, with Superintendent Certification. We then constructed our first dream home and would concentrate our focus on serving the public schools as well as our community until retirement.

  • Age 42, I was asked to come on board as what would soon become a role serving as Executive Pastor in a large growing church in my hometown. It seemed likely an answers to "if not this city the next" so I resigned and accepted the role. Three years later we would cash out, downsize our home and relocate to "the next city"!

  • Age 45, we had by then expanded the church campus, built our first educational facility, and by way of a community collaborative further facilitated by a politically astute friend, secured our first HUD grant. We built 52 units of senior housing and launched an inner-city preschool with dental and medical services.

  • Age 48, my next "can of worms" opened during a staff devotional when "the voice" spoke to me about relocating into the downtown, rather than being officed on campus. I plainly heard, "that is what you are here for." I was by then on the city-county planning board. I had also heard the words, "Master Counsel" one night earlier in my sleep, and understood it to be a company of sorts, which I had chartered with the state.

  • Age 49, I resigned my role as a staff member and launched Master Counsel, Inc. We were building our second home in the small bedroom community of Clemmons, so I needed income. Fortunately the church retained me as a consultant, and the denomination hired me, as well several other churches.

  • Age 50, I was fully positioned in my "windows of heaven" vision from Age 10, by way of an entire vacant 24th floor, offered to me free in what this was known as the Winston Tower. In my off time, I would offer prayer over our city. I was then invited to help found a Community Development Corporation in the African-American community by way of a consulting contract with a nearby pastor who had arrived from Liberia.

  • Age 51, "can of worms" opened again as I was visited by three Africans from the once war torn, Rhodesia with a "Word from the Lord, your city is one of the transformational cities in America." They even pointed to the building where it would begin. That would launch a window of engagement with a childhood friend with whom I was playing when I first heard "the voice" say, One day you'll preach the gospel."

  • Age 52, with a few fellow entrepreneurs, we launched Master Counsel Technologies, and began other initiatives that resulted in a more diverse income stream, to include initiatives that added value to our city. A municipal waste transfer station, a construction debris recycling facility and the initiation of conversations that led to a beautiful park in a former rock quarry.

  • Age 58, we helped sponsored the first, "Christmas for the City" event in the building pointed out by my Rhodesian friends, the Millennium Center.

  • Age 59, elected mayor of the Village of Clemmons.

  • Age 61, "can of worms" opened when I pursued a bond referendum to widen the main thoroughfare in Clemmons as a result of constructing the Village's first comprehensive plan. The plan advocated for rezoning a large parcel of land earlier set aside, that had attracted a new school, a hospital and a mixed use development. All that threatened to shift the retail market away from our thriving historical district. The council hired bond counsel to direct us, but they nor I were fully aware of the underground influence of business owners and a long standing resistance to any DOT improvements, though a nearby interstate demanded such for safety purposes. In the next ekection, I won a third term by slim margins, but lost the majority of my council. Politics is not for the faint of heart. The state owned road will now soon be addressed, though almost twenty years since first considered.

  • Age 66, asked to join the board of our community foundation, where I chaired two terms aiding in negotiating a major gift, initial staffing and the first office location.

  • Age 67, "can of worms" opens given the assemblage of multiple properties adjacent to former church served. I would again initiate community conversations, necessary for rezoning and the build out of 328 university student housing units. We would name it Deacon Place, after the mascot of the nearby university, which would eventually be purchase the site, precipitating the sell of the entire church campus.

  • Age 73, "can of worms" again as I was asked to assemble five properties in a nearby city, to include three residential and one large office complex for development of 98 units of multifamily. The site would provide very attractive Charleston-like housing, a clubhouse and gated community, but require neighborhood meetings, rezoning and negotiations with adjacent commercial property owners. It was a huge endeavor and soon to be completed!

  • Age 75, "can of worms", as "the voice" nows calls me to full transparency with my life journey. Thus this blog, five books, the first in book 2009, "Repo: The Church In Foreclosure." My words when I first heard, "My Church is in Foreclosure", was "God, that's a difficult message to convey." Not so difficult now in 2023.

  • So, I now await the next "can of worms," now opening, though this one holds potential to "crack this old can!" Though much more challenging, it holds such potential for my final story, that I am at peace and ready by His grace!

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God has blessed you and your family beyond words. Also pray for Alan Thompson and his family Alan passed away yesterday. ALL THE GOOD GUYS ARE LEAVING US.

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