Summary: I dream of us recapturing that deep desire to worship and the pursuit of excellence.
Sept 11, 2011
What’s your dream? Do you have one??
I don’t mean the Oh, I’d love to visit Australia kind of dream. Nor the I wish I were beautiful and popular and skinny like celebrity so-and-so kind of dream.
Those are either not really that important (no offense to Australians – though I’m sure it is beautiful, it probably won’t make or break your life); or completely unrealistic (no offense to any of us present, but none of us are tabloid celebrities, and we can add that to the list of things for which we are thankful).
When I ask what’s your dream, I mean instead what is it that, when you imagine it as a real possibility in your life, grabs hold of your head and your heart. What is it that, when you imagine it, makes you say a big yes and sparks your thinking and makes you want to jump up and do something?
What’s your dream, and do you have one?
I have some. Some that are, in the big picture, minor: I dream of a church building with a functional basement again. Where engineer’s reports are written, solutions implemented, walls and kitchens and washrooms rebuilt, insurance companies have paid the bills, disposed-of items are purchased and delivered and unpacked and put in place, and we can get back to doing ministry together.
But others are more significant, and I’ve felt God re-awakening these within me in the last little while.
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! Ps 84:10
I dream of us recapturing a deep desire to worship. I’m not saying we don’t have a desire to worship, but I have been dreaming of more – a community eager to gather to stand together in the presence of God and bring Him an offering of worship that we are excited to bring Him – that we’ve been planning and anticipating and working to make beautiful. Where we show up for our time of gathered worship ready, focused on that which really matters (Jesus!), and then we all engage with loving the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength. And at the end our thoughts are not at all on any of the details of song or flow or music type or the fact that Steve got a haircut and now looks more bald that usual – our thoughts are on what an amazing God we serve who loves us so much and to whom we have just given of ourselves, together, in this experience of worship. I dream of us recapturing that deep desire to worship.
Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus Col 3:17
I’ve been dreaming again of the pursuit of excellence. In my formative adult years I read a little book by Jerry Bridges called The Pursuit of Holiness, and it impacted me deeply. There were some other writings and people and influences around the same time, through whom the Holy Spirit worked to create within me a craving to pursue excellence, to do everything I put my hand to with that standard of care, of quality, of excellence, that I believe reflects who I am as a child and ambassador of Christ, and that leads me to live a deeply satisfying life as I look at the things I have endeavored to do and am pleased that I put forth my best effort. A bunch of different parts of life have conspired against this desire within me, and it has slipped. And so I’ve been dreaming again of living in excellence, of modeling that, and of inviting others into this way of life that is not about striving for perfection or about human effort to make things happen outside of who God has called and created us to be, because that is not pursuing excellence. Rather inviting us into a life pursuing excellence is about knowing and accepting who God has called and created us to be and living that out fully, without holding back, in complete surrender and abandon and obedience. With excellence.
I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure Ps 119:162
Further, I’ve been dreaming about us falling in love with God’s Word. I think many Christians today have fallen in love with God’s action and God’s voice in our lives. We like it when God acts and speaks. But I wonder to what extent we are seeking that in and through God’s Word. Sometimes the attitude I perceive is that we stand above Scripture, choosing what parts to agree with and put into practice, and what parts to place to the side. We need the opposite, we sit under Scripture and allow and create space for the Holy Spirit to shape us as we read and study and wrestle with how to obey. A big part of this dream is the Word of God illuminating the sin that we entertain and play with and that is destroying us, and calling and inviting us instead into lives of obedience that are so much more full of life and joy than any of the temporary pleasure that sin offers.