Summary: This sermon is about seeing the dreams and visions that God gives us, and then following His voice.
I. (1) "For one man he was roller skating out of control on the main floor of Neiman-Marcus, a verocious tiger in hot pursuit. A woman stood astonished as her boss demanded that the office floor be painted in multicolors, immediately! Riding a horse in the country, another fellow suddenly found it galloping out of control, despite his commands to halt. For another woman, she tried to out run a robber, but the faster she tried to run, the heavier her legs became until she couldn’t lift them at all."
Maybe this seems like four amazing situations, and it would be for anyone who was awake. But each of these four were asleep, all caught up in a dream. But not all dreams are bad, in fact in The Bible, we often find God communicating with his people in both waking visions, and while asleep, through dreams.
The story of Mary and Jospeh could have turned out quite diffrent. Mary could have been stoned. Joseph could have accused her of having an affair. He could have sent her away quietly, trying to save honor, both his and hers. But God chose to speak to Joseph in a dream, and let him in on the plan. Joseph though had to choose to be a "Dream Keeper". As we approach Christmas, and the New Year, I want to challenge you to be a "Dream Keeper".
1) A Dream Keeper is someone who has a vision or dream about God’s plan, and then seeks to carry it out. Joseph and Mary grabbed hold of God’s vision and sought to carry it out. It meant a long journey to Bethlehem. Spending the first few nights in a smelly stable. One gospel accounts that they had to flee to Egypt to hide from King Herod. There are Herod’s out there who will try and destroy the dreams of the people of God. Grinches who try and still away the Christmas dreams. Yet Mary and Joseph raised up a child they knew was really not there own. It meant persuing the dream at whatever the cost. Perseverance is the lifeblood of a dream keeper.
Thomas Edison was said to have (2) tried over 2,000 different materials in search of a filament for the lightbulb. He assistant remarked "All of our work is in vain, we have learned nothing." To which Edison corrected the assitant, noting the progress they had made "They now knew (eliminated) 2,000 elements which could not be used to make a good lightbulb."
(3) "Henry Ford had a dream that grew out of his interest in mechanical things as a boy. He was intrigued by the automobile, built his first one out in a shed behind his house. His dream was to put the horseless carriage, at that time only available to the wealthy, into the hands of the common person. He helped form the Detroit Motor Company, where his fellow organizers balked at the idea of manufacturing their product inexpensively in order to sell to the masses. Ford left the company, but he did not leave his dream. In 1903 he organized the Ford Motor Company and produced the Model T. The first year, only 6,000 cars were built, but only 8 years later, over 500,000 cars a year rolled off the line."
(3) "Our dreams give us something worthwhile to aim at. It is a compass, telling us the direction to go. And if you move in any direction other than toward your dream, you’ll miss out on the opportunities necessary to be successful. A dream also increases out potential. Without a dream, we may struggle to see the potential within ourselves because we are unable to look beyond our current circumstances. Following our dream, we begin to see ourselves in a new light, having greater potential and capable of stretching and growing to reach our dream." When the dream we have is God’s dream, then the potential of what we are capable of reaching becomes unlimited.
2) To be a "Dream Keeper" we must also remind ourselves from time to time of the dream. The Bible says little about the years that Mary and Jospeh raised the young Jesus, but I can almost imagine there were times they saw him doing something so miraculous, that they just had to stand back and remind themselves of the dream, "that this is the Son of God, the Savior of the world."
Sitting at the Hospital this week while a friend was in I.C.U. his wife’s niece was telling of her daughter playing with two "angel" dolls. She took that one, that she was obviously using it as the Angel Gabriel, she announced to the other angel, playing the part of Mary, "You are carrying the baby Jesus in your belly".
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the dream that God has for us and for our lives. I think back to 6 1/2, almost 7 years ago when in April 1997 when I was introduced to the Parish Relations Committee. Some of you were there. We talked about growing the Church and the need for children, children’s ministries, and trying to reach young adults. I told you about an after-schoolprogram I organized in my previous church, and we dreamed of having a similar program here. That fall we were introduced to an afterschool program, and in January of 1998 we started "House of Faith". House of Faith has grown slightly every year, but last Wednesday we had our Highest attendance ever, 73 children! (in 2006 they averged 100) We have reached out to both children and young adults. And this week the 80th new person joined the Church. And so we must be reminded of the vision and dream that we have been given by God to grow the Church.