Birth of the St. John Pastoral Retreat, God’s Modern Day Patmos
In 2002, I, David W. Dye III, wrote and published a book titled Tired of Waiting On God? Guess What? He’s Waiting For You! God had just completed a healing process in my family and me (the ministry of His cross in our lives – His redemptive plan) that was truly amazing, and it was clear to my newly opened eyes that the principles and methods which God had used to set us free were principles sorely needed by the Body of Christ. As a result, He directed me to write the book. At the same time, I was in the beginning stages of purchasing and developing the Waterwheel Resort Condominiums, located in the German resort town of New Braunfels, Texas. The work God had done in our lives, mine in particular, had opened up my ears much more to hear God’s voice, and God had spoken to me that previous Christmas Eve and directed me to develop the land. I had previously tried to purchase and develop it, but lacked the $516,000 required to buy it. God told me how to do it, which I did (God’s real estate strategy was brilliant, and is a great testimony in itself). We closed on the land in August, 2002, with a cash investment of only $5,000 and a lot of sweat equity. As of the date of this writing (May, 2011), the project now consists of 82 units with 9 units remaining to construct. We also purchased an adjoining tract and are in the design phase for an additional 54 condominium units. The profits from this project enabled me to sell my civil engineering consulting firm in 2006 and focus entirely on land development, family and ministry (and not necessarily in that order), which has been my heart’s desire for many years.
Ever since I was a child I have loved islands, even just the idea of them. I never knew why, I just did. As soon as I could afford it, I began travelling to the Caribbean – Jamaica, Mexico, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, St. Martin, St. Barts, Key West, and, of course, the USVI and BVI’s. I decided that I was interested in developing resorts throughout the Caribbean, and started inquiring of God if this desire was from Him, and if so how should I proceed. God made it clear to my heart that if I decided to develop in the Caribbean, I should absolutely stay under the U.S. flag and its laws. He did not want me developing property under another flag, and under another spiritual authority a foreign flag would offer. That limited the development arena to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. For some reason, Puerto Rico did not interest me from a development standpoint, but the USVI did. However, in the spring of 2004, I had not yet visited the USVI or BVI, and therefore my knowledge of the islands was very limited.
I woke up one morning that Spring of 2004 and pretty much dragged my carcass into the shower (I am definitely not a morning person). As I was trying to wake up, I realized I had a song going through my head. It was Kenny Roger’s “Lucille”, a song about a wife who left her husband, children and a crop in the field to go seek a life away from her family, and pursue an affair with a man in a bar. The words to the song are as follows:
In a bar in Toledo across from the depot
on a bar stool she took off her ring
I thought I'd get closer so I walked on over
I sat down and asked her her name
When the drinks finally hit her she said
I'm no quitter but I finally quit living on dreams
I'm hungry for laughter and here ever after
I'm after what-ever the other life brings
In the mirror I saw him and I closely watched him
I thought how he looked out of place
He came to the woman who sat there beside me
He had a strange look on his face
The big hands were calloused he looked
like a mountain for a minute I thought I was dead
But he started shaking his big heart was breaking
he turned to the woman and said
You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille
with four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times lived through some sad times but
this time your hurting won't heal
you picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.
After he left us I ordered more whisky
I thought how she´d made him look small
From the lights of the bar room to a rented hotel room we walked without talking at all
She was a beauty but when she came to me
She must have thought I'd lost my mind
I couldn't hold her, the words that he told her
kept coming back time after time
Now this is a song I know very well, and quite frankly I do not like it. My first wife left and divorced me, and in the process flaunted her new boyfriend in front of me, so I had a sensitive spot where that whole issue was concerned. I just figured the devil was messing with me, as he is prone to do, so I just bound him and loosed myself from his attack. The song did not go away. After battling for several minutes with no success, I tried to figure out why the song was in my head. As far as I could remember, I had not heard the song in years, and the alarm clock was not playing it when I awoke. I was getting more and more irritated at the devil, as it was an ungodly song and I did not want it playing repeatedly in my mind as I was trying to start my day. I kept asking the Lord to remove that song from my mind, but He did not answer my prayer. I was still in the shower, and was quite upset by this point, when a thought crossed my mind - maybe it was God. While I could not imagine He would use such a song to speak to me, I knew God had often used songs to speak to me, so I asked Him, “Lord, is this song from You, and if so, what are you trying to tell me”?
He immediately answered me and said that it was Him, and said that the husband and father represented God the Father, the wife represented His Pastors, the bar was the world (Satan’s Kingdom), the kids were the Pastor’s flock, and the “crop in the field” was the unsaved in the world, who were to be saved and be brought into the Kingdom. He had my undivided attention by this time! (I am getting tears in my eyes right now in telling the story – the anointing of His presence hits me whenever I tell this story). I immediately knew what He meant – His Pastors were not doing what He wanted them to do. Just as the church leaders were in Jesus’ day, they were not setting God’s people free – they were not even free themselves. That is why they could not do it. How can you set someone free if you are in bondage yourself? As the enormity of this revelation was sinking in, I heard God in the Spirit realm ask a rhetorical question, just directed into the space of eternity, not addressed to anyone in particular. He said “Who will go and set my Pastors free?” I immediately answered “I will”. He asked me if I was sure, as the cost would be high. The warfare would be intense at times, and it would require sacrifice, my very death. He had completed such a work in my heart over the last few years that my response was quite immediate: “Lord, You are obviously offering this to me, which means this is Your will for me. You have taught me and consecrated me in a very deep way, and I know that my life is dedicated and committed to doing your will. The cost to me personally, quite frankly, is death, which is Jesus’ cross, which You have taught me to embrace through many experiences and situations. I do not know how many strongholds and generational issues are still in my life, and what it will take in sacrifice to get them removed, but in the end Jesus paid the ultimate price, and I can do no less if I want to walk with You. I will trust You to bring me through the myriad of battles that lay ahead, and will face them in faith and not fear. And I am certain that if I falter, You will raise me up because You are able to make me stand. If this truly is Your will for me, then no force on earth or in hell can stop it – only my unwillingness to walk with You can stop it. And I would rather die in the process while trying than know that I passed on this opportunity and live the rest of my life on this earth and all throughout eternity playing the “What if?’ game. You are offering me my heart’s desire – to minister your redemptive plan to Your children, and I must accept. I can do nothing else, and do not want to do anything else”. (As a testimony of what God can do in a person, even now as I write my response I am amazed at the work God has done in my heart, my will and my emotions. I used to spend most of time being angry at God for all of His supposed failings, and how He seemed to derive pleasure from my failings and shortcomings, and causing me pain and suffering. I was always one incident away from a very strong rebellion, complete with my middle finger jabbed in the air at God, accusing Him of all sorts of evils. Oh, the amazing love, grace and mercy He has showered on us all, His amazing patience that leads us to repentance!!).
I sensed that He accepted my answer, and was silent. I then asked Him what He wanted me to do – how to carry His directive out. He told me to develop a Pastoral Retreat, a place where His Pastors and families could come find rest and sanctuary from the turmoil in their lives, and simply minister the inner workings of His cross to His Pastors as He had taught it to me. He also told me that the Retreat would pay all expenses – the cost to the pastors and families would be zero. It was that simple. I asked him where He wanted me to develop the retreat. I asked him if He wanted me to do it in New Braunfels at the Waterwheel Condominium Resort I was developing, or do it in the USVI. He responded by asking me “If you were hurting really bad, where would you rather go?” That was a no-brainer for me. Even though Waterwheel is an 8-acre tract located on the beautiful Guadalupe River in a fabulous resort city, and it is a wonderful place to visit and live, for me it was no choice at all. The allure of the islands, with their sunny weather and beautiful waters, combined with sand, palm trees and tropical foliage, plus their distance from regular mainland life, was too much to pass up on. With the USVI chosen, I asked Him which Island – St. Thomas, St. Croix, or St. John (and remember, at this time I did not know one island from the other)? In an instant, I saw the answer. It was like the Lord downloaded the answer into my brain instantaneously – St. John, the disciple who Jesus loved, was exiled to the Island of Patmos to receive the revelation from God that became The Book of Revelation – the revelation of Jesus Christ and the end times (Rev. 1:1). We are in the end times, and now God wanted me to develop an end time Pastoral retreat - a modern day Patmos Island retreat – a place where He can bring His selected Pastors and leaders and sequester them for a period of time to provide them with revelation about His redemptive plan and the inner workings of the cross, and provide each person with whatever special revelation and instruction He so desires to impart to them.
I was very excited of course, and more than a little concerned. My concern was very simple – why would Pastors listen to me? In my mind, I was not a Pastor, nor had I gone to seminary, nor did I have the years of study in the Word that virtually all the Pastors would have. Did the Lord want me to go to seminary, to get the “credibility” I would evidently need? I am a Civil Engineer by degree and license, as well as a Registered Professional Land Surveyor, and I am well acquainted with the necessity of having the required credentials to be able to perform in my professional fields. Or did I just need to be placed under a Pastor (or apostle or prophet?) and have hands laid on me and be sent by human/divine hands? I am very much aware that my walk with God (and how He has trained me up) is grounded in a personal, experiential walk with Him. My walk has largely consisted of being faithful to going to the cross on whatever issue He is raising in my life, and fighting the battle of learning to hear His voice and discern who is really talking to me (and yes, getting a lot of practice in being deceived by the enemy and even myself), and learning by much trial and error and stepping out in faith in many different ways. He has trained me up in a “street smart” manner, not through formal “educated” training. In today’s society and Christian circles, such empirical, “loose cannon” procedures and methods are often frowned upon, and understandably so. So I poured out my concerns to Him, and His reply was too awesome! He told me that only humble Pastors would get the revelation He had for them, and that was a major reason why He did not want me to have a seminary degree or the normal credentials. He wanted me, just a regular, “uneducated” Christian, to be His vessel to His Pastors. If His Pastors were caught up in credentials, head knowledge and book learning, they would not receive what He has for them. If they were willing to receive from a regular guy who “had walked with God”, then they would receive what He had for them. James 4:6 states "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. This made perfect sense to me, because God has literally drilled it into my head that, after consecration, humility is the most important facet to walking with God and going to His cross. He then reminded me of the passage in Acts 4:13: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus”. Pretty awesome, huh? God made it clear to me that I was to just freely give as I had freely received, and not get into any issues where He had not specifically instructed me. Just stick with what God had personally had taught me, and it’s as simple as that! Instructions simple enough that I could actually follow them! If I just walked in simple obedience and humility, He would do His work through me. I agreed, and here we are!