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Summary: DARE TO DREAM AGAIN (Preadventure) How can we find the strength to run the human race? When our dreams come crashing down, how can we dream again? Find practical answers for how to receive God’s strength in your life.

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· The cartoon character “Cathy” celebrated Valentines Day with a large box of chocolate candies she bought for herself.

[Cathy begins eating her candy.] “I eat this canty to get back at Richard, who didn’t give me a valentine in the second grade. . .which began a 25 year unraveling of the self-confidence my mother had so lovingly built.”

[She eats another piece.] “I eat his candy for Bob, who refused to dance with me on ‘Girl’s Choice’, and ruined the rest of Junior High.”

[Another piece.] “I eat this candy for Joe, who snubbed me all through high school and then, at our ten-year reunion, told me he’d always had a crush on me.”

[Cathy continues eating chocolate.] “I eat this candy for Frank, Roger and Jim, who ‘needed time,’ ‘needed space,’ and/or ‘felt I deserved so much more than he had to give.’”

[Yes, still more candy.] “I eat this candy in defiance of all men who are too cowardly to open their hearts and take the simplest steps to further a real relationship.”

[The phone rings; its Cathy’s boyfriend Irving.] “Hi Cathy, it’s Irving. I want to take you out for the most romantic valentine’s night of your life. Wear your best dress.”

[Cathy looks at the last remaining piece of candy and then pops it in her mouth.] “I eat this candy because it’s there.”

Cathy was not just suffering from a broken hear, like so many of us, she was lamenting her broken dreams. How many of us have ever found ourselves throwing a well deserved pity party? How often have your thoughts turned to “If only. . .”

▸ If only I had finished college.

▸ If only you had a better job, or hadn’t been unfairly fired.

▸ If only you hadn’t been cheated by a friend.

▸ If only your husband or wife had not had that affair, or perhaps you lament that you were the one who broke faith with your spouse.

▸ If only my parents had not divorced.

▸ If only your husband, your wife, or your parents didn’t have a drinking problem.

▸ If only your father, your brother, or who ever it was had not stolen away your innocence through an abusive relationship or rape.

“If only. . . if only. . .” Our pain, regret and sorrow over past failure, unfulfilled expectations, or tragedy can paralyze or destroy our ability to dream. We find ourselves locked in a prison of grief and regret without any hope for tomorrow.

God wants you to be set free to dream again, not only to dream your dream but to dream a God-sized and God-inspired dream–a divine daring dream. God wants to release you from the prison of doubt, grief, and shame to be free to dream again.

When you are able to dream again–to dream the divine daring dream–God will empower you to overcome barriers that hold you back. God doesn’t just want you to be a dreamer; God wants to see your dreams come true.

Beginning on March 2nd we will begin a 50 Day Spiritual Adventure called, “Daring to Dream Again.” My prayer is that lives will be transformed through this series. That isn’t just a generic statement; I’m believing specifically for each of you to be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Some of you will have hope renewed in your life for the first time in years!

As we prepare for this adventure, I need to share a warning with you: THINGS MAY GET WORSE BEFORE THEY GET BETTER. Don’t expect overnight success.

Experts in behavioral change tell us that it is unrealistic to believe that growth is going to be automatic. We are unlikely to move from cruising along enjoying the status quo and suddenly move in an upward direction.

More often when we desire to make a change in our lives there will be a dip in the road. Before the upswing, we experience a pot hole and the bottom falls out.

All too often people quit when the unexpected dip in the road comes. Therefore, they never see the growth and improvement that they were hoping for. Once again their dreams are broken.

Expect the dip in the road. Instead of quitting on the downturn, work harder to minimize its depth and width. If you keep at it when things get tough you will soon find the upswing and growth you are looking for.

Don’t let the warning, “things may get worse before they get better” intimidate you. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo in your life; dare to dream again! Let God empower you to overcome the obstacles in your life that are holding you back.

I am confident that this will be a time of accelerated, measurable and lasting spiritual growth. Accelerated because you will grow faster than normal; measurable because you will see the change written in your own handwriting; lasting because 50 days is long enough to develop good habits that can last you a lifetime.

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