Summary: 50-DAY SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE (Week) 1)
The Academy Award winning film, A Beautiful Mind tells the life story of John Forbes Nash. Nash was a brilliant mathematician attending Prinston University; on his way toward receiving world acclaim, he became involved in a mysterious conspiracy against the US. Nash worked to break Russian codes hidden within newspapers and magazines.
Unfortunately, this top secret work was not being done for the government in order to prevent a real threat. Nash was living out an imagined schizophrenic world made within his own mind. When Nash is hospitalized for his schizophrenia, his paranoia only increases. John is convinced that the Russians are trying to prevent him from discovering their secret messages. Only the love of his wife is able to help him hold on to reality.
Far worse than the death of a friend, John Nash slowly comes to realize that many of the people in his world never existed at all. Electric shock therapy and medication helped to control Nash’s delusions. However, his life is far from normal. Wanting to have a normal life he secretly stops taking his medication, but his schizophrenic world re-emerges. When his psychotic behavior is discovered, Nash again faces returning to the psychiatric hospital for treatment.
Nash tells his wife if he returned to the hospital that it would kill him; he believes that somehow he would be able to beat his disease. The doctors have told her that because John could not differentiate between what was real and only imagined that he would be a threat to himself and even to her. If Nash would not be willing to commit himself to the hospital then the doctors had prepared papers for his wife to have him committed.
With the support of his devoted wife John Nash is able to overcome his schizophrenia. Years later having beaten his disease, Nash is honored by his fellow professors at Prinston and is also awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. Who said dreams can’t come true?
John Forbes Nash and his wife let go of their painful past; they dared to dream again. Together they overcame the obstacles that would hold them back and worked to see their dreams become a reality.
This morning we begin our 50-day spiritual adventure, “Daring to Dream Again; Overcoming Barriers That Hold You Back.” How many of you have ever had a dream in your life? Have you ever imagined the “divine-daring dream” that God has for your life, or have you dreamed God’s dream for our church?
God wants to give you dreams; even more, God has promised to give you a dream! God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on ALL PEOPLE”; by His Spirt you will dream dreams; you will see visions. (See; Joel 2:28 NIV). If you are here today as a believer, then God’s Holy Spirit is living within you and will give you a “spirit-filled imagination” to dream His dreams.
Unfortunately, many who have had a God-given dream for their lives have had those dreams fade or even die. Unforseen tragedy, the circumstances of life, failure, or weariness have caused many dreams to come to a premature end. Far greater than the economic losses were the dreams that were suddenly broken by the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001.
When dreams become a nightmare and hope for the future is lost, DARE WE LET OURSELVES DREAM AGAIN? When our dreams seem to crash all around us we sometimes stop dreaming because we don’t want to set ourselves up for more disappointment.
GOD WANTS TO RESURRECT THE DREAMER IN YOU. IT’S TIME TO DARE TO DREAM AGAIN OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS THAT HOLD YOU BACK.
“Overcoming a Painful Past” is our first step in daring to dream again. We begin our adventure today looking at Gideon. His story is found in the Bible in the book of Judges chapters 6-8.
The book of Judges records the history of Israel prior to the time when the nation was ruled by a king. God’s plan was for Israel to be a “theocracy” that is a nation governed by God. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. The book of Judges shows how Israel continued in a four-step spiritual cycle that was repeated over and over again.
1. The cycle began with SIN. The people rebelled against God and everyone did as they pleased. Repeated throughout the book of Judges is the statement, “Again [the nation] did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
2. Sin was followed by JUDGMENT. God would let neighboring nations rise up to oppress the people of Israel. The nation was placed in bondage to their enemies as a consequence of their sin.
3. Judgement would finally cause the people to PRAY. When things got tough enough, then they asked God for help; “O Lord deliver us from our enemies!” Isn’t that just like us?