Bruce Wilkinson

The Dream Giver

Who is the DREAM GIVER?

by Berit Kjos –  May 2005


“Meet Ordinary, a Nobody who leaves the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream. Once the Dream Giver convinces him to escape his Comfort Zone, Ordinary begins the journey of his life — overcoming Border Bullies [which in real life would include concerned parents and skeptical friends], navigating the Wasteland, and battling the fierce Giants in the Land. This modern-day parable will get you started on your own daring adventure…. Bestselling author Bruce Wilkinson will serve as your Dream Coach….”[1, jacket]  The Dream Giver

The Dream Giver… by the best selling author of The Prayer of Jabez, invites readers to follow their hearts and find their destiny in an inspired Life Dream that is uniquely theirs.” [2]

The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, the famed author of The Prayer of Jabez, tells us that every person on earth has been given a “Big Dream” to pursue. He prods us to let go of the “Familiar,” stand up against the nay-saying “Border Bullies,” and follow that dream into the Land of Promise. The main antagonists in this “parable” are those concerned parents or pastors who might wisely question an exciting, feeling-based “Dream” or captivating adventure into the unknown.

They might be right, for God tells us that man is easily deceived. A spiritual war rages around us, and we are daily bombarded with enticing lures designed to distract us from truth and weaken our devotion to God. Therefore He lovingly warns us to beware, be sober, be vigilant, be watchful….[3] That means checking all things by the wisdom of His unchanging Word. And since Mr. Wilkinson’s books have inspired millions of people and influenced countless ministries around the world, The Dream Giver warrants our scrutiny.  Four questions we might ask are:

  • What kind of a dream is his “Big Dream”?  
  • Does the Dream Giver in the book present or misrepresent the ways of our Lord?
  • Would this Dream-Driven journey be based on our personal strengths and wants or on God’s Grace and Word?
  • Who does Ordinary actually represent — any person anywhere (implied) or Christians (those who know and follow God)?

1. What kind of a dream is Mr. Wilkinson’s “Big Dream”?  

On the jacket of The Dream Giver, we are told: “Everyone has a dream. You may not be able to describe it. You may have forgotten it. You may even no longer believe in it. But it’s there.”[1] Emphasis added


Does that statement reflect the truth? We know that God has been speaking to His people through dreams and visions ever since the days of Abraham and Jacob. In fact, Mr. Wilkinson uses Israel’s miraculous exodus from Egypt to illustrate that very point — with a subtle twist. He equates God’s unique call of Moses with the supposedly universal gift of Dreams from the divine Giver. He ignores the fact that God usually gave that gift to His chosen servants, not to every person — pagan, atheist or Christian — on earth. Might Mr. Wilkinson be referring to something less miraculous than God-given Biblical dreams?

The Preface of The Dream Giver helps clarify Mr. Wilkinson’s usage of the word, Dream. It states:

“Do you believe every person on earth was born with a dream for his or her life? … I call this universal and powerful longing a Big Dream. Like the genetic code that describes your unique passions and abilities, your Big Dream has been woven into your being from birth…. And you have it for a reason: to draw you toward the kind of life you were born to love!

“If you read The Prayer of Jabez, you met a little-known Old Testament man who refused to settle for less. He desperately wanted to break out of the confining circumstances and expectations he had been born into. So he cried out to God for blessing, for larger borders, and for the power and protection to go with them. And God said yes.

“If you pray that, your life will change. God will expand your borders. He will move your life in a direction where you can thrive, but also where you’ll face greater challenges…. In this book, I call this direction His Dream for you.”[1]

So, that’s it! The Big Dream is the direction of your life — one you “were born to love,” one that “will allow you to thrive.” But that criteria could be misleading, for what someone “loves” in this world may be totally contrary to what God loves. The same can be said for the word “thrive.” Is Mr. Wilkinson simply referring to success and the illusive happiness of the world? Or would his definition include the lives of the humble saints and faithful martyrs of history? They thrived in spite of their suffering and heartaches — not because they loved their life journey, but because they loved their wonderful Savior and Lord. Like Abraham, they knew they were pilgrims and sojourners on this earth, and their treasure awaited them in heaven. But that kind of supernatural thriving doesn’t seem to fit the affirming message of the book. Nor do Scriptures such as these:

“…he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.” John 15:19-21

Mr. Wilkinson continues with this question: “So let me ask: Did you have a dream as a child that you lost along the way?”[1]

If his dream refers to goals, desires and ambitions, I would answer yes. I wanted to raise horses, monkeys and all kinds of animals. I wanted to be a veterinarian. (Our garage in Norway was often converted to a hospital with boxes for injured animals — mostly birds mauled by cats). I dreamed of climbing mountains. And I wanted to travel around the world as a telegraph operator on a Norwegian freighter and see exotic places such as Shanghai and Rangoon. I am so glad God had other plans for me — plans that I never would have imagined, because I didn’t have the needed talents, strength or courage!

2. Does Mr. Wilkinson’s  “Big Dream” match our personal strengths and preferences?

Yes, according to The Dream Giver, that Dream must match your strengths and wants. Though you may fear new challenges and not realize your own strengths, The Dream Giver’s coaching service can give you the confidence and courage needed to triumph over all the obstacles.

To discover your Dream, just ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have I always been good at?
  • What needs do I care about most?
  • Who do I admire most?
  • What makes me feel most fulfilled?
  • What do I love to do most?
  • What have I felt called to do?”[1, pages 80-81]

But from a Biblical perspective, these questions pose a problem. Our personal feelings and preferences are poor indications of God’s will for our lives. Therefore He warns us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) What’s more, He repeatedly calls our human, feeling-driven imagination  “futile” or “vain.” Small wonder, since the natural inclinations of our human nature (flesh) are totally contrary to His ways. Yet, none of those warnings are mentioned in The Dream Giver.

 “born again” and filled with His Spirit, your victory comes through total surrender to His will and commitment to follow His guidance — no matter how difficult and unnatural that way might seem to our “flesh” or nature. God says,

“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
“Now the works of the flesh [human nature] are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” 
Galatians 5:19-26

Mr. Wilkinson tells the reader to surrender his Dream to God, then God will give it back. But God doesn’t always work that way in our lives. Much of what we surrender to Him, we were never meant to have in the first place. He frees us from our human wants and cravings [Romans 6:1-13], so that He becomes our goal, our strength and our delight. In other words, those who “walk in the Spirit,” won’t be following the crowded superhighway of popular culture, for God has shown them a very different way. It will be “narrow and difficult, and few there are who find it.” [SeeGod’s Way versus our ways]

His way doesn’t beckon everyone to leave the Familiar and venture out on new adventures. It may mean staying home and trusting His grace in a difficult circumstance. Or it could mean heading out to the ends of the world with His gospel, trusting the Shepherd alone for grace and strength in every weakness. But if the options for such a journey would be limited to what we are “good at,” we would have little need for our Shepherd. Nor would God get all the praise.[4] [See His grace in our weakness]

But that upside down result doesn’t seem to concern Mr. Wilkinson. He might even see parents or pastors who raise such questions as real life “Border Bullies”  — like those in his book. To help his readers make that association, he shared the following illustration:

“Once I asked a large group of college students who came to mind first when we talked about Border Bullies. Hands shot up all over the place. And nearly all of them have the same answer: ‘My mom!’ or ‘My dad!'”[1, pages 104]

Where does the fifth Commandment — “Honor your father and your mother” — fit into this new system? Might the second point in this list of “Bullies that you might recognize” apply to your parents or pastor?

  • “The Alarmist says, ‘It’s not safe!’ This Bully (Ordinary’s Mother) is motivated by fear….”
  • “The Traditionalist says, ‘It’s not the way we do it!’ This Bully (his Uncle) doesn’t like change….” [This apparently points to those who resist today’s pressure to change and are unwilling to bend God’s unchanging truths]
  • “The Defeatist says, ‘It’s not possible!’ This Bully (Best Friend) sees problems everywhere….”
  • The Antagonist says, “I won’t let you!’ This Bully (the Landlord) uses authority or intimidation….”[1, page 104]

A few pages later, Mr. Wilkinson writes, “The single biggest reason Border Bullies stop most of us from pursuing our God-given Dream is our fear of man. ‘The fear of man brings a snare,’ the Bible says.”[1, page 106]

Yes, but that’s only half of the verse. It continues, “but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” [Proverbs 29:25] Why would he leave out that important second part? It clarifies why we don’t need to fear man!

3. Does the fictional “Dream Giver” reflect the nature and ways of our sovereign Lord?

Though Mr. Wilkinson tells us repeatedly that the Dream Giver is God, there are some discrepancies. Consider these quotes:

“…one morning Ordinary woke up with these words echoing in his mind: What you’re missing, you already have….

“Could it be? Ordinary looked and looked. And then he discovered that in a small corner of his heart lay a Big Dream. The Big Dream told him that he, a Nobody, was made to be a Somebody and destined to achieve Great Things.

“Jumping out of bed, Ordinary discovered something else–a long white feather resting on the sill of his window…. With a jolt of excitement, Ordinary decided he’d been visited by the Dream Giver.”[1, page 14]


“Ordinary decided to use the long white feather to help him remember the Truth. … Then he dipped the quill in permanent ink and wrote on the first page:

  • The Dream Giver game me a Big Dream before I was even born. …
  • My Dream is what I do best and what I most love to do.”[1, page 20]

Do those two points reflect the ways of our Lord? I don’t believe so, for His Word shows us a different way:

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.'” 1 Corinthians 1:27-30

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. Forwhen I am weak, then I am strong.” 
2 Corinthians 12:7

When God gives a dream or a vision, He also interprets the message and guides the faithful believer according to His own purpose, not their human ambitions. The Holy Spirit might speak through one of God’s chosen vessels as He did when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream or when Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But those faithful men simply listened to the Lord they trusted. They didn’t need a modern “dream coach” to interpret the dreams or to follow His way.[5]

Near the end of the book, you find a section called “A Closing Invitation.” It shows the next step on the dream journey:

“Of course, living your Big Dream is much more complex and challenging than can be described in a 160-page book. Visit us at to find additionalcoaching tools and resources, including a daily e-mail from me about pursuing and living our Dream…. Now may you devote yourself to His Dream for you. And may heaven describe you as one of these rare people who live to achieve Great Things for the glory of God.”[1, page 157]

That sounds good, doesn’t it? But do the Biblical words actually reflect God’s truth in a Biblical context?

If you follow that link, you come to The Dream Giver website. It welcomes you with this message: “Bestselling author Bruce Wilkinson will serve as your Dream Coach, offering insights and practical solutions.” Next, click on The Dream Giver Coach. This website will gladly “provide you with professional DreamGiver Coaches whose purpose is to give you hope, inspiration, and unconditional support in discovering and living out your DREAM.” It doesn’t mention God or His Word.”

“Are you excited about your Dream Journey, but aren’t sure where to start?” This question is posed by The Dream Assessment support team. It continues with references to DISC, based on the personality theories of two behavioral psychologists, Carl Jung (an occultist inspired by his spirit guide Philemon) and Dr. William Marston. Here you learn that “DISC and the Dream Assessment will give you the tools you need to pursue and achieve your Big Dream. To identify your unique personality type, DISC is a simple, effective tool that has been tested and used by millions of people worldwide. The short, online assessment helps you understand what motivates you, your personal strengths and weaknesses, and how you relate to other people. [For more information about Carl Jung, Dr. Marston and modern psychometric tools based on their research, click on Excerpts: DISC and The Dream Giver.” [6]

Notice again that the psycho-social tools that Mr. Wilkinson promotes as his  What’s more concerning, this coaching service relies on the same DiSC technology used by corporate managers in the secular and global arena to test emotional and attitudinal “fitness” for group work and a collective society. They want to know if each team member has the relational skills needed to build synergy and conform to the corporate community or local service groups? That’s a crucial question for today’s success-oriented and purpose-driven managers.[7]

At the Dream Giver website, you will be referred to Christian Financial Professional Network. Its Personal DISCcernment inventory (PDI) is also “based on the time-tested DISC theory that provides powerful insights into your work and social style. … This customized report … describes the unique challenges you will encounter due to your style’s particular strengths and weaknesses. … [D]iscover how to successfully navigate the path to fulfilling your Dream.”[8]

Finally — in case you are totally confused by now — let’s go to What is DiSC? Here we learn that —

DiSC is a model of human behavior that helps to understand ‘why people do what they do.’ The dimensions of Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness make up the model and interact with other factors to describe human behavior. … The original DiSC model was originally based on the 1928 work of Dr. William Moulton Marston at Columbia University. … He was also the creator, writer and producer of ‘Wonder Woman’ which introduced into comic strips, the role model of a strong female.”[9]

The supposedly “private” DISC personality profiles are gathered and stored in vast — often global — digital data tracking systems. These life-long data files help employers and leaders around the world to continually assess, mold, manage and monitor their “human resources.” It’s sobering to realize that this same system is now used by the mega-churches and Christian ministries to assess their members and place them in various volunteer service “opportunities.” After all, to “grow the church” and win favor from secular leaders  — whether in schools, business, politics or media — you must learn to adapt to diversity and “serve the greater whole.”

That’s not all. This kind of tracking lies at the heart of UNESCO’s plan for a global workforce. It enables our global managers to monitor individual progress in “lifelong learning” aimed at global citizenship, then prescribe remediation in areas of resistance. The end point is behavioral control. Remember the statement by Professor Raymond Houghton:

“…absolute behavior control is imminent…. The critical point of behavior control, in effect, is sneaking up on mankind without his self-conscious realization that a crisis is at hand. Man will… never self-consciously know that it has happened.”[10]

This is big business! The DISC assessments will measure, monitor and mold “Human Resources” for the global workforce,[11]  for your local community, and for the planned “social sector” with its volunteer welfare service. This global management system has already been writing the behavioral and attitudinal standards for “human resource development.” It intends to assess and monitor everyone to make sure they comply with the planned solidarity or “unity in diversity.” It’s sad to see how churches and “Christian” managers are leading the campaign for bringing people willingly into this massive web of human resource development.[12]

This process trains people to ignore or adapt God’s guidelines to cultural changes. It desensitizes them to the contrary philosophies and values. In other words, it prompts Christians to justify an unbiblical consensus and embrace an Hegelian worldview that blends good and evil, light and dark — all the opposites that God describes in passages such as 2 Corinthians 6:12-18. Many believers will never recognize it for what it is: the world system cloaked in Christian terminology and idealized through Christian ministries. Inspired by Satan, the “ruler of this world,” it distorts our understanding of God and twists His holy truths into positive affirmations and sentiments that please the world.

In other words, the Dream Giver does not represent the God of the Bible!  And our true God warns us:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness….
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” 
Isaiah 5:20-21

While Mr. Wilkinson tells us to trust and follow a Big Dream, God’s Word tells us to trust and follow God alone. We cannot do both!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;  Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” 
Proverbs 3:5-7

4. Who does Ordinary  represent — any person or Christians who know and trust God?

Our God told the Old Testament prophet Joel that “it shall come to pass in the last days… that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” As the apostle Peter explained in Acts 2:17, Pentecost was a partial fulfillment of that prophecy. A more complete fulfillment lies ahead, but that wonderful blessing has little to do with today’s churches where only a small minority of “born again” believers take time to study God’s Word and build a Biblical worldview.[See Statistics for the Changing Church]

Instead, truth-twisting has become the norm. Mr. Wilkinson tells us that –

“…your Big Dream was planted in you before you were born. The psalmist David wrote that all the days of his life had been ‘fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” [Psalm 139:16]

Yes, God knows exactly what will happen in each of our lives. He has total foreknowledge. He knows who will trust Him and who will reject Him. But this Scripture has nothing to do with the feel-good, universally given dreams Wilkinson promises everyone. Instead, God warns us that His purposes will not please everyone. He is the sovereign King of the universe — the “Potter” who does whatever He wills with His creation, whether we like it or not:

“Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” Romans 9:20-24

Those who truly are “born again” can be assured that all our days are written in His book. But that doesn’t mean that our life journey would be spelled out for us ahead of time. While God knows each part, He rarely tells us those steps ahead of time. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” [2 Corinthians 5:7] Therefore, we need to keep our eyes on Him, our Shepherd, not on our dreams and expectations. Then, day by day, year after year, He will lead us along His perfect plan laid out for us before the “foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4

It’s no small matter to misrepresent God, His will and His ways. Yet it happens in churches as well as in schools, movies, politics and the media. We are easily deceived, because Scriptural integrity is no longer emphasized. All too often, our minds are steeped in captivating fiction and entertainment rather than in truth and reality. So when “the deceiver” tempts us to twist God’s truth into a culturally acceptable message, we take the bait — and help him spread those enticing distortions, lies and counterfeit promises. As in Old Testament days, this adversary gladly works through God’s own people when we are not alert to His schemes.[13]

The Bible shows us two very different kinds of people on earth. They follow three different sources of our dreams, visions, and guidance:

  1. the sovereign, all-knowing God of the universe
  2. their human imagination and deceitful hearts
  3. Satan, who masquerades as an “angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 [14] See Biblical Division

The latter two work well together; for both oppose or twist God’s truth. Such counterfeits have deceived God’s people since the beginning of time. Throughout history, so-called “prophets” have shared popular and positive promises from their own “imagination” while claiming to speak for God. They didn’t fear offending Him. Instead, they claimed the honor and authority that came from their identity as a spokesman for the Lord of heaven and earth.[15]

What was God’s response to such mockery of His truth and holiness? Ponder these warnings:

“Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ says the Lord, ‘and… cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them.  So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ you shall then say to them, ‘What oracle?’ I will even forsake you,” says the Lord. ”…for you have perverted the words of the living God….  I will utterly forget you and forsake you… and will cast you out of My presence.”Jeremiah 23:30-36


“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you…
They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.
They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, ‘You shall have peace’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘No evil shall come upon you.’ ” 
Jeremiah 23:16-17

“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied….” Jeremiah 23:21

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Luke 12:51

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” 

Those are hard words! They clash with the new “positive” gospel taught by Robert Schuller, John Maxwell and Rick Warren. Such “negative” images of God won’t draw the masses into the Church! Instead they offend casual seekers and chase them away! That’s why “divisive” people who might share such Scriptures are often asked to leave today’s purpose-driven churches.[16]

5. Whom do we trust — our human dreams or the sovereign King of the universe?

God’s Word is totally incompatible with today’s human resource development for a global society. Much of the Bible is simply too inflexible and incompatible with the new way of thinking! That’s why “change agents” around the world are training people to “think outside the box” of traditional values. And since many parents still trust in God’s unchanging truths, their children must be freed from parental boundaries. That may sound like a good idea in general, but when “the box” is God’s unchanging truths, this amounts to mutiny against our Lord.

This revolutionary notion of social transformation has been growing for over a century. Professor John Goodlad used the word resocialize. One of the most influential change agents in the global as well as national arena, he served on the governing boards of UNESCO’s Institute for Education and as head of the Institute for Educational Renewal four decades ago. In 1970, he warned his fellow educators that –

“Parents and the general public must be reached… Otherwise, children and youth enrolled in globally-oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home. And then the educational institution…comes under scrutiny….  Most youth still hold the same values as their parents and if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.”[17]

Other change agents in the fifties and sixties established “educational laboratories”  and behavioral research institutes that would lay the foundation for postmodern society and its rejection of absolute truth. These behind-the-scenes revolutionaries knew well that to transform the world, you also had to transform churches and free their members from  the old guidelines found in the Scriptures. [See Steps toward Global Mind Control]

Few noticed the signs of the times. Among those who did discern the trends was A. W. Tozer. As early as 1959, he describes the sobering changes:

“The flaw in current evangelism lies in its humanistic approach…. It is frankly fascinated by the great, noisy, aggressive world with its big names, hero worship, its wealth and its garish pageantry. To the millions of disappointed persons who have always yearned for worldly glory but never attained to it, the modern evangel offers a quick and easy shortcut to their heart’s desire. Peace of mind, happiness, prosperity, social acceptance, publicity, success in sports, business, the entertainment field, and perchance to sit occasionally at the same banquet table with a celebrity—all this on earth and heaven at last. Certainly no insurance company can offer half as much.

“In this quasi-Christian scheme of things God becomes the Aladdin lamp who does the bidding of everyone that will accept His Son and sign a card. … This gross misapprehension of the truth is in back of much of our present evangelical activity. It determines directions, builds programs, decides the content of sermons, fixes the quality of local churches and even of whole denominations, sets the pattern for religious writers and forms the editorial policy of many evangelical publications.

“This concept of Christianity is in radical error, and because it touches the souls of men it is a dangerous, even deadly, error. At bottom it is little more than a weak humanism allied with weak Christianity to give it ecclesiastical respectability…. Invariably it begins with man and his needs and then looks around for God; true Christianity reveals God as searching for man to deliver him from his ambitions.”[18] Born After Midnight

The Bible gives us an even more sobering picture:

“… in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
“…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned…”
 2 Timothy 3:1-14

In the midst of it all, we can put our trust in the true God who has revealed Himself in His Word. When we look to Him and seek His ways, He will surely lead us!

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soulO my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me….
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”
 Psalm 25:1-5



The end of a dream? On December 19, 2005, The Wall Street Journal published this article about Bruce Wilkinson:

In Swaziland, U.S. Preacher Sees His Dream Vanish:”


      “In 2002 Bruce Wilkinson… moved to Africa and announced his intention to save one million children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. In October, Mr. Wilkinson resigned in a huff from the African charity he founded. He abandoned his plan to house 10,000 children in a facility that was to be an orphanage, bed-and-breakfast, game reserve, bible college, industrial park and Disneyesque tourist destination….

     “Mr. Wilkinson won churchloads of followers in Swaziland, but left them bereft and confused. He gained access to top Swazi officials, but alienated them with his demands. And his departure left critics convinced he was just another in a long parade of outsiders who have come to Africa making big promises and quit the continent when local people didn’t bend to their will….

     “Perhaps Mr. Wilkinson’s most successful venture in Swaziland was a conference in June — funded by a $108,000 grant his group received from the U.S. government — aimed at engaging churches in the fight against HIV.”


1. Bruce Wilkinson, The Dream Giver (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2003).

2. The Dream Giver at

3. See Watchfulness at

4. His grace in our weakness


7.<size=3> Human Resources  DiSC®\Excerpts\community\synergy.htm and



<size=3>10.Raymond Houghton, To Nurture Humaneness: Commitment for the ’70’s (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development of the NEA, 1970), pages 46-47.

11. Molding Human Resources for the Global Workforce at

12. Social Change and Communitarian Systems” at

Reinventing the World at

13. See The Nature and Tactics of Satan at

14. Topical Index of\HisWord\verses\topics\division.htm

15. “Imagination” at

16. Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven, Part 4: Dealing with Resisters at

17. John Goodlad, “Report of Task Force C: Strategies for Change,” Schooling for the Future, a report to the President’s Commission on Schools Finance, Issue #9, 1971.

18. A. W. Tozer, Born After Midnight (Christian Publications, 1959), pages 22-23.

Prayer of Jabez

The Prayer of Jabez
by Berit Kjos


“Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that Thou would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast [territory], and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!’ And God granted him that which he requested.” 1 Chron 4:10

“…make the Jabez prayer for blessing part of the daily fabric of your life. To do that, I encourage you to follow unwaveringly the plan outlined here for the next thirty days. By the end of that time, you’ll be noticing significant changes in your life…. Read the Jabez prayer every morning…. Reread this little book once each week during the next month….”The Prayer of Jabez, page 86.

“I have an uncomfortable feeling about The Prayer of Jabez…. The Lord commented unfavorably on repetitious prayer.  Please help me sort out my uncomfortable feeling about this ‘movement’. Reading Dr. Dobson’s ‘most  important letter he ever wrote’ about Bruce Wilkinson’s book and the effect  it has had on future plans of FOTF is disconcerting. Is my concern  misapplied?” Ramsay Devereux

During an uneventful time in Israel’s history, a faithful man named Jabez prayed a simple, straightforward prayer and gained the favor and blessings of God.  Now, a small book has prompted millions of saints and seekers to memorize and repeat the same prayer daily. After three thousand years of obscurity, Jabez has found surprising favor with the world.

So, what’s the problem with promoting a Biblical prayer that God honored in His Word? After all, our Lord delights in the prayers of His saints — all the daily thanks, praises and petitions that turn our hearts to Him in faith, worship and surrender. Using Bible verses as a basis for prayer and worship is a wonderful habit.Why be concerned?

Because this book — not Jabez’ prayer — promises rewards from God that God doesn’t promise in the Bible. While author Bruce Wilkinson enriches the meaning of Jabez’ prayer in the rest of his book, the first part (many readers go no further) seems to put the book into the unbiblical realm of the “name it claim it” movement. Consider the opening words:

“Dear Reader, I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief–only one sentence with four parts–and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God…. 

Thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis. Will you join me for a personal exploration of Jabez? I hope you will!” Emphasis added

Millions have joined his quest. Many have testified to miraculous answers which demonstrate God’s love, mercy and intervention on behalf of those who seek Him. But these amazing interventions and anecdotal stories don’t prove that God “always answers” this specific prayer. Nor do they verify that this Old Testament prayer by itself “contains the key” to extraordinary favor with God. 

Nor does the Bible suggest that we — God’s people — have the authority or power to “put Jabez’ [or any other] prayer to work,” as suggests in its publicity statement below. Ponder its invitation to potential buyers:

“Discover how to release the miraculous power of God in your life! …See what God will do for you when you put Jabez’ prayer to work!” 

It is hard to see how anyone could conclude that Jabez’ prayer “works” better than the prayers of Moses, David, Elijah and Paul — men used by God to liberate His people, slay giants, restore life to a dead boy and bring sight to the blind. The “miraculous power of God” demonstrated through their lives came, not because of the words they uttered, but because they had consecrated their lives to God, humbled themselves before Him, trusted in His provision for sin, and chose to seek and do His will with all their heart and without compromise. 

Therefore God forgave their sins, offered His strength in their weaknesses and — through the Holy Spirit in them — put prayers in their hearts that expressed His will. Because these men took time to know His Word and will, God “spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11) No less amazing, He called David “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22)

Unlike these friends of God who loved His Word and walked with Him, the church at the dawn of the new millennium tends to be Biblically illiterate. [Chart] Many are too distracted by work, life’s pressures and “the pleasures of the world” to open the Bible. But we all want His help, peace and blessings. In this cultural context, the “positive assurances” and marketing tactics behind Wilkerson’s little book raise some searching questions:

1. Does the Bible justify using “the prayer of Jabez” as a formula for success? If so, why would Jesus give us the model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (“Our Father, who art in heaven….”) rather than the prayer of Jabez?

In the days of Jesus, rabbis would often use prayer outlines. Today, many faithful students of Biblical history believe that “the Lord’s prayer” was such a prayer — one that provided a pattern or outline for longer prayers. Then as now, its short parts were reminders that God would be pleased if we would include certain points in our quiet times with Him: 

  • Praise to our heavenly Father who hears and provides.

  • Confession and cleansing as we bow before a holy God.

  • Thanks for the goodness and glory of His Kingdom.

  • Confidence in His perfect plan and readiness to yield to His will. 

  • Trust that our Provider will meet our needs each day.

  • Faith that through the cross, we have forgiveness for every sin.

  • Prayer for grace to forgive others and be filled with His love.

  • Prayer for wisdom to recognize and resist any temptation or evil.

  • Praise for His sovereignty, love and faithfulness to those who follow Him. See the last part of Heaven is Forever 

Though both prayers were pleasing to our Father, their differences are important. Jabez focused on God’s gifts. Jesus emphasized the Giver.  Jabez’ prayer reflects the Old Testament context where God demonstrated His love by prospering His people. The Lord’s prayer reflects the New Testament understanding that — because of the cross — we share in the life, suffering, ministry and triumphs of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since the prayer of Jabez precedes the New Testament call to absolute commitment, it is acceptable to the world. It sounds good whether people serve God or self. Since it doesn’t point to Christ or the cross, it carries no offense. It offers the same blessings to those who pursue a self-made image of God as to those who walk with Jesus.

In a recent interview, George Barna, founder and president of the Barna Research Group, shared his concern:

“One of the frightening things that we find in our research all the time is that even among the tens of millions of born again Christians, about half of them would say that when it comes to Christianity they are not absolutely committed to the faith. …we’ve made it too easy to be part of the Christian church. I think that there is very little sense of privilege and awe and responsibility that comes along in our culture with the notion of being considered a disciple of Christ. It is like, ‘Hey, I got my salvation taken care of, I’ve got my membership card at my church. Now let me go to the country club and do my thing.’ The problem is that Christianity is not just about being a church member. It is about consistently trying to become more like Christ. It is about life transformation. 

“… small groups may be doing more to inhibit peoples’ spiritual growth than to facilitate that growth. Part of the reason is that, first of all, in most groups, you have an individual who’s in charge of the group or leading the group who really doesn’t know Scripture very well. So if they’re leading a discussion or trying to teach on things, more often than not, what you wind up with is heresy rather than Christian orthodoxy.” Interview with George Barna, Part I

It’s easy to distort our understanding of  God in a culture that prompts people to interpret His Word according to a politically correct consensus rather than by the Bible itself. It’s tempting to seek a feel-good god whose will and ways match human wants and illusions. But to assume that an imagined God will bless our lives and extend our sphere of influence, is presumptuous at best.

“You thought that I was altogether like you,” warned God. “But I will rebuke you….” [Psalm 50:21]

2. How can Mr. Wilkinson assure anonymous readers that God “always answers” this particular prayer in contrast to other prayers?  The preface of the book implies that God not only answer this prayer, His answer is always “yes.”  That’s a denial of some of the Bible’s guidelines for answered prayer. 

For example, Psalm 66:18 tells us that “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” And Proverbs 21:13 warns, “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”

James 4:3-4 explains another reason for unanswered prayer: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

God’s will and guidelines overrule the desires and requests of those who don’t know Him. Perhaps some people need to learn humility, surrender, obedience and faith based on Scriptures before they excel in “daring” prayers? For, throughout the Bible, God shows us that the state of a believer’s heart is as — if not more — important than the particular words used. 

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

3. Could a formula prayer raise false expectations of what God might do and therefore bring disappointment, doubt and disillusionment rather than faith and thankfulness? 

Bruce Wilkinson makes more staggering claims. “Join me for that transformation,” he writes on page 91. “You will change your legacy and bring supernatural blessings wherever you go. God will release His miraculous power in your life now. And for all eternity, He will lavish on you His honor and delight.” 

He will?  In a chapter called “Welcome to God’s Honor Roll,” Wilkinson writes, 

“You don’t reach the next level of blessing and stay there. You begin again — Lord, bless me indeed! Lord, please enlarge…! And so on. As the cycle repeats itself, you’ll find that you are steadily moving into wider spheres of blessing and influence, spiraling ever outward and upward into a larger life for God…. You will know beyond doubt that God has opened heaven’s storehouses because you prayed.” 

Wilkinson mentions the “mostly ordinary, easy-to-overlook people” listed in Hebrews 11 who won honor from God. But Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah and Moses hardly fit that description. Then he fails to mention the faithful men and women who received the opposite of honor and blessing in this world:

“…others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy.” Hebrews 11:35-38

God shows us that suffering — not prosperity, power or influence — is an essential part of our life in Christ. We cannot be one with Jesus without sharing His battles as well as triumphs. “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” wrote Paul to the Philippians (1:29) 

Jesus told us to “count the cost” of discipleship — not the blessings of the world: 

“If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you…. for they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15:20-21)

4. Could an habitual prayer such as the prayer of Jabez, distract from hearing and praying according to God’s will for the day? The Bible tells us that ” we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us…. according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27) Remember, Jesus always prayed and served according to His Father’s will and purpose on each occasion. If we give ourselves unreservedly to do the same, He will answer our prayer: 

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 

5. Might some readers be seeking the power of prayer rather than the power of God? There’s a significant difference between the two, and the former has always been far more alluring to human nature than the surrender and obedience involved in ongoing Biblical prayer. Most people would rather memorize and repeat a formula prayer that “works” than take time to seek to know the heart of God. It’s easier to imagine “what Jesus would do” than actually study His Word and know His will — then to submit will to His. 

Formula prayers dominate in pagan religions. Compare Mr. Wilkinson’s preface and the Christianbook‘s publicity statement with the following quote from Medicine Buddha Sadhana, a small book given to thousands of people who attended a May 2001 a “Medicine Buddha Empowerment” workshop led by The Dalai Lama:

“To recite the Medicine Buddha Mantra brings inconceivable merit. … If you recite the mantra every day, the buddhas and bodhisattvas will always pay attention to you, and they will guide you. All your negative karmas will be pacified and you will never be born in the three lower realms…. and all your wishes are fulfilled.” 

Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? It appeals to human nature and its “felt needs.” Who wouldn’t want to recite a prayer or mantra that promises easy access to higher powers that will fulfill your dreams and satisfy your wants? 

But God knows that our finite dreams and human wishes fall far short of His wonderful plan for us. His rocky road to victory includes hardships and humiliations that rarely find a place in our hopes and prayers. Therefore, knowing the inclinations of our human nature, He shows us the way:

“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done….” Matthew 6:7-9

The issue here is your motive — your reason for repeating certain words. Do you believe that repetitions will add strength to a prayer? Then you may be trusting mere words more than your all-powerful, sovereign God. 

For instance, the customary words used to “put on the armor of God” could be little more than a “vain repetition” if you merely and mindlessly recite the familiar steps: “Now I gird my loins with truth… I put on the breastplate of righteousness… the sandals of peace…”  There’s no magic in those words alone. Instead they remind us to actively — by faith — “put on” Christ’s truth (His Word), righteousness (includes confessing sins), peace, etc. 

But it’s no “vain repetition” to pray through the steps listed in Ephesians 6:12-17 (see The Armor of God), giving Him thanks for each vital part and praising Him for the protection He offers you in Himself. For when you turn to Him in love, faith, humility and surrender — “pouring out your heart” to your Father and King — then He will surely hear and answer according to His perfect plan for your life.

6. Can we assume that a step toward victory in one battle will work the same way in another battle? For example, God told Joshua to march around Jericho 7 times. Victory involved obedience to those specific guidelines. They don’t apply to other battles. 

A generation earlier, God had told his faithless people to enter the promised land. Fearing the giants in the land, they refused. God didn’t give them another opportunity. But when they faced the consequences of their disobedience, they made a belated decision to do what he said. But it was too late. The grace that came with God’s command, couldn’t be applied at will. So they lost both the battle and their lives. (Numbers 13-14)  

7. Is it Biblically accurate to expect that the evils that surround us not touch and “grieve” us?  In Christ, we are “more than conquerors.” But that doesn’t mean escape from the wounds and griefs that are part of life in this fallen world. Its various evils will touch us, even as we walk by faith. We are no more immune to persecution and cruelty than the faithful martyrs who, through the ages, have faced all kinds of deadly onslaughts. But they didn’t bear the assaults alone, and neither will we. When we stand equipped with His truths and promises, He will lead us in His triumph — a triumph that would look anything but triumphant to those who expect the world’s peace and prosperity. See The Armor of God and prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 4:7-10,

“…we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are 

  • hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; 
  • we are perplexed, but not in despair;
  • persecuted, but not forsaken; 
  • struck down, but not destroyed
  • always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

In Christ, we are “more than conquerors.” But that doesn’t mean escape from the wounds and griefs that today’s warfare inflicts on God’s soldiers. As long as we live in a fallen world and walk with Him, evil will touch us. But we won’t bear its assaults alone. When we stand equipped with His truths and promises, He will lead us in His triumph — a triumph that would look anything but triumphant to those who expect the world’s peace and prosperity. See The Armor of God and prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 4:7-10,

“…we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are 

  • hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; 
  • we are perplexed, but not in despair;
  • persecuted, but not forsaken; 
  • struck down, but not destroyed
  • always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

If we are one with Jesus, we must set our hearts — not on blessings in the world but on fellowship with our King — as did Peter, James, Paul and countless other saints and martyrs who, through the ages, have relinquished earthly comforts and popularity for a far greater eternal treasure. Paul said it well,

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings….

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…. One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus….”  Philippians 3:7-14



On December 19, 2005, The Wall Street Journal published this article about Bruce Wilkinson: “In Swaziland, U.S. Preacher Sees His Dream Vanish.”


      “In 2002 Bruce Wilkinson… moved to Africa and announced his intention to save one million children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. In October, Mr. Wilkinson resigned in a huff from the African charity he founded. He abandoned his plan to house 10,000 children in a facility that was to be an orphanage, bed-and-breakfast, game reserve, bible college, industrial park and Disneyesque tourist destination….

     “Mr. Wilkinson won churchloads of followers in Swaziland, but left them bereft and confused. He gained access to top Swazi officials, but alienated them with his demands. And his departure left critics convinced he was just another in a long parade of outsiders who have come to Africa making big promises and quit the continent when local people didn’t bend to their will….

     “Perhaps Mr. Wilkinson’s most successful venture in Swaziland was a conference in June — funded by a $108,000 grant his group received from the U.S. government — aimed at engaging churches in the fight against HIV.”