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"Faith enables us to understand what God does. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see. As a result, faith enables us to do what others cannot do."(Wiersbe, 318)
Charles A. Lindbergh said, “We actually live today in our dreams of yesterday and living in these dreams, we dream again. A healthy church lives out of a healthy dream. But not all church dreams are created equal. Some congregational dreams are founded on hope and concern for others. Some begin negative, contentious or narrow in ministry and doctrine.
(This quote came from Robert Dale’s book "To Dream Again")
William Herbert Carruth’s poem, “Dreamer of Dreams,” shows how the rise and fall of dreams shapes our lives as well as creating congregational health.
We are all of us dreamers of dreams,
On visions our childhood is fed;
And the heart of the child is unhaunted, it seems,
By the ghosts of dreams that are dead.
From childhood to youth’s but a span
And the years of our life are soon sped;
But the youth is no longer a youth, but a man,
When the first of his dreams is dead.
He may live on by compact and plan
When the fine bloom of living is shed,
But God pity the little that’s left of a man
When the last of his dreams is dead.
Let him show a brave face if he can,
Let him woo fame or fortune instead,
Yet there’s not much to do but to bury a man
When the last of his dreams is dead.
AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN
When God sends forth the Spirit amazing things happen:
barriers are broken,
communities are formed,
opposites are reconciled,
unity is established,
disease is cured,
addiction is broken,
cities are renewed,
races are reconciled,
hope is established,
people are blessed,
and church happens.
Today the Spirit of God is present
and we’re gonna‚ have church.
So be ready, get ready...God is up to something...
discouraged folks cheer up,
dishonest folks ’fess up,
sour folks sweeten up,
closed folk, open up,
gossipers shut up,
conflicted folks make up,
sleeping folks wake up,
lukewarm folk, fire up,
dry bones shake up,
and pew potatoes stand up!
CONVERTED BY DREAMS AND VISIONS
Do you know that many Muslims are recently becoming Christians because of dreams and visions? According to Wendell Evans of the Billy Graham Center’s Institute for Muslim Studies, "More and more stories are coming out of closed countries, of God supernaturally evangelizing Muslims through dreams and visions. Of the estimated thousands of new believers in Iran in the last few years, over half of them became believers after Jesus personally came to them in a dream or vision." Here’s one example.
Madame Bilquis Sheikh was a high-born Muslim, former wife of a Minister of the Interior in Pakistan. God gave her dreams and visions about John the Baptist, about himself as God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. He led her to read the Bible. Her family came to know of her new beliefs and confronted her. She was so convinced of her newfound truth, however, that they plotted to kill her. They even tried to burn her house. Her family boycotted her, and the servants, who were Muslims, left her, calling her a traitor and an infidel. She received many threats from her family and outsiders. An Army General of Pakistan visited, asking her "Why did you do it?" She replied she has been called to witness Jesus Christ and she will obey Him, no matter what comes her way. She finally escaped to the United States and wrote a book about her experiences.
(From a sermon by Paul Clemente, "God works in mysterious ways!" 6/28/2009)
THE RAM IN THE BUSH
Jeffery is not an avid cook, but he can hold his own in any kitchen. As the youngest child in the Honiara extended dysfunctional family, he spent many hours reluctantly tied to his mother’s apron springs. Often, he would find himself assisting her in the daily chores around the house. She taught him the finer points of housekeeping. By age seven, she taught him how to cook. However, the assignment as the baby of the family was nowhere close to being fun.
When she suddenly died, those tasks became his job. Jeffery knew how to make up the beds, clean the rooms, and cook as well as wash dishes. Repeatedly, his siblings would cruelly taunt him for doing woman’s work. Often, he would run and hide in the small pantry in the kitchen. Jeffery would curl up in a tight ball as the infinitesimal sounds of his whimpering filled the air.
One day, his father came home after a long day at work to find Jeffery running into the closet. After the boy slammed the door shut, the father walked over and lightly knocked on the doorframe.
Jeffery shouted, "Who is it? Leave me alone. I am never coming out."
The father knocked on the doorframe again and said, "Jeff, it is me. Can I come in?"
After hesitating for a brief second, Jeffery opened the door. The boy exclaimed as his father’s large body squeezed into the small space, "I am still not coming out."
"Okay, so what is wrong, Jeff?"
With teary eyes, the lad peered up into his father’s concerned face and said, "They keep calling me names and stuff cause they say I do women work."
His father gently placed the palm of his large hand against the boy’s cheek. His long finger brushed aside a teardrop as he said, "Listen, son, don’t worry about what they say. See, you are our little ram in the bush. Before your mother died two years ago, she taught you everything. She did that because she knew she could trust you to take care of the family."
Edward Lindaman said, “It helps to realize that everything that is now possible, was at one time impossible. In every case someone, somewhere, dared to dream, dared to imagine something a little better, a little diffe...