Dare to Dream Again!
Imagine with me for a moment. A cool crisp night. The sky is clear and a myriad of stars are twinkling back at you.
There you stand. Just you and God. You think back for a moment to some times you had with God in your devotions. You remember when God promised you that your family would be all that God created them to be. There would be health, prosperity, and your descendants would be a blessed generation.
Then you come back to the reality of today. Your kids are still struggling. They
Don’t do what you tell them to do. Your marriage isn’t what it ought to be. Your life is still in the same shambles that it was before that time you did your devotions with God.
Well you have just entered that life of Abraham. It was years earlier that God had promised an 80 year old Abraham that he would be the Father of Nations, yet there was still no son. He wasn’t getting any younger and neither was his wife Sarah. They just kept getting older actually. They were the only couple who would have a baby and have to worry about diapers for the baby and for themselves.
I can imagine an old Abraham standing outside, gazing at the stars waving his fist in the air and saying, Lord is this really going to happen? Lord when I heard I would have a family, was that really you? I believe it was You. But what happened? Why don’t I have a son yet? Lord You promised! You promised!” And faith would build in the heart of Abraham as he continued to dream for the promise that God had for him.
“Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, "Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that-too many to count!" Genesis 15:5
How often do we fail to dream for God? How often does God want tot develop something within us, but we fail to achieve it, because we fail to dream for it?
God wants His people to be dreamers. He wants us to dream big dreams for Him and for what He can do in our lives. But there are some things we need to know about God given dreams.
God given dreams will…
Glorify God and help people – God given dreams are not about me. They do not demand credit or my name in the spotlight. God given dreams ultimately do something to draw people closer to God.
Requires me to develop my character and competence in order to be fulfilled. Simply put, just because I have a dream, does not mean that I am mature enough to accomplish it yet. It takes growth, counsel, evaluation, and adjustments along the way. God given dreams will require me to develop my character, my competence, and my commitment to Him. For instance, if God has put the dream of being a professional football player into this child, He will put a seed of professional football player into this little boy. That seed needs to be watered, nurtured, cared for, and worked on in order to come to fruition. That’s what God does. He puts dreams in us in seed form.
They require me to begin with what I already have. The principle is this. Be faithful in the little. God given dreams are not about what someone else will give me, it is about how faithful I am in utilizing what God has put before me.
What God given dreams do you have for the Kingdom of God? Dream. Dream big for Jesus. We need to be people who will dream big dreams for God and be willing to pay the price for change.
There seems to be times in life when we are most receptive to change.
First, when we hurt so much that we are forced to change. Jesus tells about this type of individual in Luke 15. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates that sometimes, it is only when we are looking up from the depths of the pigpen, do we truly see a need for change and make the commitment to do it.
Do you know that if you ever do a study on miracles in the bible or in life, it always begins with a problem? Let me encourage you this morning. IF you have problems, you are never closer to a miracle. There is bad news though. The bad news is that usually, our hurt needs to be great enough to create a desire to change.
Second, people are inclined to change when they become bored and restless. Everyone experiences this at some point or another in life. A wife who senses that when the children are in school, she finds new things to get involved in or endeavors to take on. A husband whose job plateaus on his job and he begins to lose interest in his work. A dissatisfaction can be healthy when it urges us to begin to dream dreams for God.
By the way, let me say, it is a sad day for any person when he becomes so satisfied in his life, his thoughts, and his deeds that he ceases to be challenged to do greater things in life.
Third. Change is likely to occur when we realize that we can change. Far too often, people fall into the trap of believing that just because things were a certain way for a long time, that they will always be that way. Far too often, we fail to realize that we can change. Things can change. Too many times we settle into a rut and a certain way of thinking, and we accept limitations that should not be placed in our lives. We need to believe for change.
1. There will be SUFERING.
This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:21 NLT
Here are some thoughts on tough times…
A. Hard times are inescapable.
Financial pressure, family trouble, health issues, business difficulties, opposition within the church – the list goes on and on. It is endless and it is a part of life which is why it is essential that we learn to respond to them in God’s way.
There will be challenges and suffering. Kites rise against, not with the wind. It is the winds that oppose it that drive it even higher. When the winds of adversity or criticism blows, allow it to be to you what the blast of wind is to a kite - a force against it that causes it to rise higher
Someone once said, “Adversity is prosperity to those who possess a great attitude.
B. Hard times can either develop or destroy us.
We choose which one it will be.
Have you ever noticed how different people respond to the same circumstances. Some grow more focused while others fall apart or are even destroyed by the ordeal. How we respond to our circumstances depends on our perspective. Are we God-centered or trouble-centered?
When God wants to educate a man, He does not often send him to the school of graces but to the school of necessity. Let me give you some examples.
Through the pit and dungeon, Joseph came to the throne of Egypt. Moses tended sheep in the dessert for 40 years before God called him for service. Peter, humbled and broken by his denial of Jesus Christ, heeded the command to “feed my sheep.” Hosea loved and cared for an unfaithful wife out of obedience to God.
C. Hard times are conquerable.
It depends on where you put your focus.
Do you think Moses was focused on Pharaoh’s power and army, or on what God’s calling was?
Do you think Abraham’s main concern was the economy of Canaan, or on God’s promises and leading?
Do you think that David was more preoccupied with the size of Goliath, or the strength of God?
I’ve heard many people say that Jesus’ eyes were always set on the cross. I don’t think so. I think His heart and His eyes were set on what the cross would accomplish.
Where is your focus? Are you? Am I, God-centered or trouble-centered?
I’ll admit far too often I am trouble-centered. God allows me to endure certain hardships and I complain about my situation more than I turn to Him. He wants to forge my character, I want to have my way.
God wants our character to succeed more than He wants our circumstances to succeed.
Hard times. Suffering. Crisis. These are the places where you find God forging His greatest followers.
Great men and women of God emerge when crisis and suffering occurs. In the lives of those who achieve great things, we can read repeatedly of terrible troubles which force them to rise above.
If not for the weight of the civil war, Abraham Lincoln’s name may not be recognizable.
If not for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, we may never have heard of a Mother Theresa.
If not for a lost and hurting world, we may never have heard of a Billy Graham.
If not for a nation plagued with prejudice and hatred, we may not have heard of Martin Luther King Jr.
Suffering will come. It will hit. Let it cause you to soar higher then you were soaring before. Let it cause you not to falter, but to rise to the occasion. God never promised that there would never be challenges we would face. He simply urges us to continue dreaming big dreams for Him, and to pus through.
We know our attitudes toward suffering are on the right track when we are like the small business man whose clothing store was threatened with extinction. A national chain store had moved in and acquired all the properties on his block. This one particular businessman refused to sell.
“All right then, we’ll build around you and put you out of business,” the new competitors said.
The day came when the small merchant found himself hemmed in with a new department store stretching out on both sides of his little retail shop. The competitor’s banners announced, “GRAND OPENING!” The merchant countered with a banner stretching across the entire width of his store. It read, “MAIN ENTRANCE!”
This is something I am learning right now. It is not our circumstances that determines our happiness. We often think that we will be happy when we reach a certain goal or reach a certain accomplishment. When the goals are met, many times we do not find the fulfillment we expected.
You can see this phenomenon in our own lives. When we are teens, we want to be young adults, so that people won’t tell us what to do all the time. When we become young adults, we want to have a good job and a family so that we can be happy. When we get a little older, and more set and stable in our work, we long for and wait for retirement to be happy. When we retire, we sit back and think of how great it would to be a teenager again.
This is what I am learning right now. It is our thought life that determines our happiness, not our circumstances. Know that there will be suffering in life, but continue to dream dreams for God.
2. There will be QUITTING POINTS to BREAK THROUGH.
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord… Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand… Indeed we count them blessed who endure.” James 5:7-11
How did God prepare Moses to be His man to lead the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage? He prepared him not in a day, but over time. Not through an event or a conference, but with a process. That was not an isolated event. God also led many others through a process of growth and development.
Consider the following…
Noah – He waited 120 years before the predicted rain arrived.
Abraham – He waited 25 years for a promised son (and the promise came when Abraham was already in his 70’s!)
Joseph – He waited 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Job – He waited perhaps a lifetime. 60-70 years, to see God’s justice.
Don’t you think these guys hit breaking points? Don’t you know there were times when Noah would sit outside looking at the blue skies and wondered if the rain clouds would actually come?
Don’t you think there were nights when Abraham would stand under the night sky and cry out to God, “HOW MUCH LONGER?”
As Joseph sat in a cell for something he did not do, and days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. Months into years. Can you see him sitting is his cell, thinking of his brothers, who sold him into slavery, and Potiphar’s wife who lied to have him thrown in jail? I can see him sitting on a cold hard floor with his face in cupped hands asking God, “LORD WHERE ARE YOU?”
And Job. I know his question. “WHY GOD? Why? I followed you as best I could. I lose my children. My occupation. My body is weak, frail and ill. My wife wants me to die already. My friends blame me for doing wrong. Why God? Why?”
Let me ask you, do you see quitting points to break through? I do. What it took was an undying devotion to God. A commitment to keep on keeping on even when they didn’t feel like it. Even when they wanted nothing more than to quit.
Sometimes I wonder. If I could ask these great men of the bible of all of their suffering and about all of their quitting points. I wonder, if I were to ask them, “Was it worth it?” What would their response be? I don’t know for sure, but I think they would say, “Ty, more than you’ll ever know.”
For decades, track enthusiasts declared boldly that nobody in the world would break the four-minute mile. For decades, their prediction looked secure. Roger Bannister did not listen to such talk. He didn’t settle to listen to others telling him what could not be done. The result: he finished the “impossible” four-minute mile. Today, more than 300 men have accomplished that feat. They didn’t let themselves be limited by other’s expectations.
Remember, others can stop you temporarily, but you are the only one who can do it permanently.
Everyone recognizes the golden arches. Executives of this McDonalds franchise follow a statement that reads, “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
We mustn’t fear failure. Someone once wrote the following…
Lord, are you trying to tell me something? For…
Failure does not mean I’m a failure; It does mean I have not yet succeeded.
Failure does not men I have accomplished nothing; it does mean I have learned something.
Failure does not mean I have been a fool; it does mean I had enough faith to experiment.
Failure does not mean I’ve been disgraced; it does mean I dared to try.
Failure does not mean I don’t have it; it does mean I have to do something in a different way.
Failure does not mean I am inferior; it does mean I am not perfect.
Failure does not mean I’ve wasted my time; it does mean I have an excuse to start over.
Failure does not mean I should give up; it does mean I must try harder.
Failure does not mean I’ll never make it; it does mean I need more patience.
Failure does not mean You have abandoned me; it does mean You must have a better idea. Amen.
In life, we will fall into one of four categories.
Drop-outs – people who give up and fail to take responsibility
Cop-outs – People who make excuses for why they aren’t responsible.
Hold-outs – those who waiver too long to take responsibility
All-outs – those who take responsibility and take action.
3. Don’t stop DREAMING!
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Mark Twain once said, “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat will never sit on a hot stove again.” He continued, “That cat will never sit on a cold stove either.” His conclusion. That cat will associate stoves with a bad, hot experience and say, “Never again!” We all encounter bad experiences in life, in marriage, in friendships, in church. Don’t give in to Satan’s whisper to stop dreaming. Don’t limit your potential for the Kingdom of God. Dream dreams for the King of Kings!
A. God sees you as you are.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats…” V. 29
Do you have flaws? Yup. God sees them. He sees you as you are, but that does not disqualify you.
Abraham failed in an hour of emergency and in weakness let a king think his wife Sarah was his sister.
Then there is Jacob, who tricked his brother out of his own birthright.
Moses, whose impatience lost him the right to enter the promised land.
Elijah, the great prophet who overcame so much, but himself got upset and prayed to die.
But do you know what is so important about these guys of the bible? All of these men, after tragic upsets and let downs, went onto win great victories. Did discouragement come? Sure. Defeats? Absolutely. No man goes through life without experiencing defeats.
Someone once said, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”
B. God grants confidence.
“…grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word…” V. 29
This was a prayer for more positive things to fill their hearts and minds. IT is unrealistic to think that all negative thoughts, questions, apprehensions, and intimidation will flee and never haunt us again, but ask for God to fill you with confidence.
I’d like to add something here. Something I am learning right now. Don’t make permanent decisions based on passing emotions. There may be discouragement, dream squashers, things that cause you to be insecure, or feel down, but don’t make permanent decisions based on passing emotions of today.
C. God does miracles.
“…by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." V. 30
Realize that you cannot do it on your own. Most of us, if I may be so bold, all of us, have tried to do things on our own and at some point or another, we realize that it doesn’t work. Ask God to change your attitudes, thinking and behavior. Then ask Him to do for you what you cannot do yourself.
D. Be filled by God’s Spirit.
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” V. 31
Years ago, a small town in Maine was proposed for the site of a great hydroelectric plant. Since the dam would be built across the river, the entire town would be submerged. When the project was announced, the people were given many months to arrange their affairs and relocate.
During the time before the dam was built, an interesting thing happened. All improvements ceased. No painting was done. No repairs were made on the buildings, roads, and sidewalks. Day by day, the whole town got shabbier and shabbier. A long time before the waters came, the town looked uncared for and abandoned, even though the people had not yet moved away. One citizen complained, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power for the present.” The town was cursed with hopelessness because it had no future.
Some of our lives are cursed with no hope for the future. Maybe we let God into some parts of our hearts. The parts that are already neat and in order. But God wants to invade your heart entirely.
I used this cup and pitcher last week to illustrate a point, and I want to use it one more time. When I say that we need to be filled with God’s Spirit, it’s like this.
I mentioned before that we pick up sin in our life. You come to God with your own baggage and problems (cup filled with rocks or dirt). You invite Jesus into your life. He begins to clean out your life (take our some of the rocks) and begins to pour His Spirit into you (pour water into the cup). Sometimes we let some of His Spirit into our hearts. We cannot sing the song “I Surrender All” instead our song should be, “I Surrender Some, or Most”. There are areas in our lives that we have not yet given over to Him. Areas that God wants to be God of, but we have not yet given Him authority to enter into. If you were to compare our hearts to a house, it would be like letting a new owner come into the house, but not letting him into certain closets and bedrooms.
There are areas that we try to keep God out of. When we allow Him to fill us with His Spirit, what we are doing is simply this. We open all the doors of our hearts to Him. Every room. Even the dirty closets. The messy bedrooms. The anger. The hurts we endure. The forgiveness that has not been granted. The grudges we hold. This morning, let it be your time. Let God’s Spirit fill you.
What God wants to do in us is this. He wants to fill our Spirits to overflowing. IF you have heard of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, this is what that means. To be overflowing with His Spirit. To have His Spirit, His living waters flood your life and be overflowing out. There are different evidences of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. One of which is what is referred to as speaking in unknown tongues. Another evidence is having the ability to share your faith in ways a new boldness and power. The ability to operate in power of the Holy Spirit and use your spiritual gifts (which everyone has at least one of). That’s the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
If you have never experienced the overflow of God’s Spirit within you, you’ll get that chance today. Let God’s Sprit not only come into your heart, let it overflow in you.
Let’s stand and pray this morning.
Heads bowed and eyes closed…
Whether you invited Him into your life today, or you have done it fifty years ago, all of us need to be overflowing with the Holy Spirit. All of us. God wants to empower you to be used by Him mightily, but He needs not some of your heart, but all of it. Not some of your actions, all of it. Not some of you, but all of you.
We will close service with a worship song to lift up to the Lord. But this morning, we are going to do something a little different. First I’m going to invite up Arthur, Sibi, and Brenda. If you are here, and you are saying, “I need to be filled with God’s Spirit. I want my cup to be overflowing.” As our worship team plays, I invite you . Come forward to the altar to be prayed for. If you are saying you want to be overflowing with the Holy Spirit today, take a step of faith. While we are closing in worship, step forward and be prayed over.
After the song, you can move into the office for a time of fellowship[, but let me encourage you, step forward for God this morning.