Hippo in the Garden

I found out about this book listening to Kris Vallotton’s podcasts on Podbean. This episode was Light of the World dated Dec. 2, 2020. In this season of celebrating the Light of the World in the darkest time of the year, this sermon is Ă  propos. Hippo in the Garden was copyrighted in 1993; Kris’ group in that decade was just learning to hear from God and how to prophesy. Having been introduced to Holy Spirit baptism and the gifts and callings of God starting in 1986, I enjoyed his podcast explaining what that era of the church was like and the book coming from a different angle of how to hear from God and share what you hear than what we’re hearing now. In the early 1990s, the offices of Prophet and Apostle were beginning to be welcomed into the church culture/leadership.

Having read so many books in the past few years, this was a good return to what writing and publishing was before Amazon and self-publishing. As an editor/proofreader, I noticed very few errors compared to current reads. Also, most books I’m reading average 150 pages; this one has 292. What about the hippo? James had a dream and later a vision of a hippo in a garden, which he shares past the mid-point the book. You will find out more than you’ve ever dreamed about hippos and how they relate to the church and spirituality. The book begins with a condensed version of his difficult growing-up years, his time in jail, marvelous salvation and first experiences building a church and learning to follow God’s voice. The basics in the book apply to all generations of Christ-followers learning to hear the voice of God and I recommend it to you all.

I’ll go back to Kris Vallotton’s teaching now. Meeting Jesus in 1973, the midst of the Jesus movement that basically began in 1970 and ran through the Baby Boomers into the 1990s. I found Jesus in 1983 and was baptized in Holy Spirit in 1986, so I remember well what he was talking about. We were all coming away, out of the world and its depravity. We studied the book of Revelation and end-time prophecies until we were so focused on the second coming of Christ, we were no good to those around us. We took the Scriptures that said the world would get darker and we would shine brighter and removed ourselves from influencing the culture. Our leaders discouraged us from going to college, from working in the secular world, from engaging in politics…the list goes on. Well, Roe V. Wade began in 1973, along with the birth of the ‘Come Away’ move and things have gone downhill since then. While the technology era took off, we let the world go on without us as we did all those eschatology seminars with the ‘pre-post-mid trib’ charts. My daughter wondered how she could be in the world but not of the world; working as if Jesus was coming today and also as if He wouldn’t come in her lifetime; part of the reason my children fell away. It was a good time; it was a bad time.

Think about it: if you believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket and soon destroyed, what incentive do you have to work at building things up? During that time, I found it hard to love like Jesus because it was “us n’ them” and we were quite legalistic. Spending a lot of time thinking about the end times, I was pushing and rushing to get things done and people into the kingdom. Remember; without love, we are just a noisy clanging gong. Not that I had no love, but I held on to much offense, legalism, and fear. How would I live when you couldn’t buy or sell without the mark of the beast? How would we survive persecution? Glory! Jesus is comin’ and it could be tonight!

I have been emerging from my dark cocoon since about 2010. Grasping the Kingdom message, I’m letting go of legalism, offenses, fears and dire predictions. I stopped listening to second heaven chatter; which is devilish. We are now in the Kingdom era, bringing God’s will here on earth as it is in heaven. Walking in love and victory is much freer than fear and unforgiveness. As Kat Kerr says, “Roll up your rapture rug and rule!” This is the kingdom age and we must stand up and rule as the Priests and Kings Christ died to make us. Find your passion and see how God wants you to change what’s wrong. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Let’s take up our power and authority in Jesus and march forth in victory!

In Luke chapter 6, Jesus talks about loving your enemies and tells us, “Do not judge others.” Then in Luke 6:35 

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Shalom my dear readers!