Archives For future

This weekend I got to teach one of the most important sermons I’ve ever given. I know that’s kind of a big statement but I think it’s true. It turned out to be a message not only about all that God has done in and through our church but about what he was stirring in us for the next season of our church as well. It was a day when so many things came together and we were able to celebrate as we looked back and to anticipate as we looked ahead.

I don’t normally do this, but given the importance of this particular message, I’d actually like to ask you to listen or watch it online – particularly if you are a STORYCHURCHer.

In the coming days I’ll be posting a little bit here on each of the 5 Dreams. For now, here’s the 4 things I said were important for seeing our dreams become reality.

4 STEPS TO SEEING YOUR DREAM BECOME A REALITY.

1) Give your dream voice.

  • When we speak our dreams out loud or write them down on paper we give birth to them. We allow them to live and they can start to grow. If a dream just lives in our head then it hasn’t really moved any closer to ever happening.
  • When we give it birth, it’s natural to experience fear. Don’t let that stop you from giving it a voice.
    • Have you written it down? Does anyone else know it?

 

2) Entrust it to someone safe.

  • Not everyone can handle your dream with the care you need them to use. Some people will be quick to poke holes, to tell you why it could never happen or to shoot it down as an impossibility. Your dream is fragile in this stage. Entrust it to someone who will encourage you, who will pray with you about it, or who will simply celebrate the idea with you.
  • In Genesis 37:19-20 we have the example of Joseph who shared a dream with his brothers about how they would one day bow down to him. Not a good idea.
  • Side note: Be a safe person for others to dream with. Don’t go into problem solving mode, don’t give them a “reality check,” and don’t start poking holes. Offer encouragement, prayer, excitement. We can worry about the details later.
    • Who is the safe person in your life? Schedule a coffee or make it a point to turn off the TV and share your dream tonight.

 

3) Trust the process. (Don’t rush it)

  • Sometimes we get an idea or we feel like God shows us something so we go out and rush to make it happen. If we try and force the dream before it’s ready we can mess things up pretty badly.
    • 3A – We could miss the miracle. It could be that God has just given us a glimpse of what could be and when we go out and max our credit card or jump into a relationship with the first breathing person we find, or quit our job – we could be missing out on the way that God wanted to provide for us. Pastor Andy Stanley says “What God originates, He orchestrates.” In other words, if God gave you the dream, he’ll make it happen. We don’t need to force it.
    • 3B – The other thing that could happen is that we could misinterpret the dream. We may not have the full picture just yet. In Genesis 37 Joseph has a dream that his brothers will bow down to him. He thinks it’s a dream about him and his future. The truth is that it’s a dream about how God is going to rescue his people. Joseph doesn’t get that yet and it takes a lot of pain before he learns the full meaning of the dream.
  • Some of the safe people in our lives (see #2) have sometimes started poking holes too soon in the past because we’ve been the kinds of people who jumped into something without really allowing that dream to develop. We didn’t really trust the process. So those safe people have felt like they better act quickly or we’re likely to sell our houses and move to Indonesia tomorrow. If we’ll trust the process, those people around us will probably become safer people as well.
    • Where do you need to trust the process? 

 

4) Take the first step.

  • Maybe the first step is an act of worship. Jacob (Genesis 28) wakes from a dream where God reveals to Him all that He’s going to do to bless him and his family. The first thing he does is worship God. When’s the last time we thanked God for the thing we don’t yet have but believe He’s promised to us? What if we thanked him for the future spouse? For the kids we don’t yet have? For the freedom we will have when we get out of debt? For the job we pray about?
  • Additionally, sometimes the first step is an act of faith in that it’s the first baby step toward the dream. It’s signing up for the class. It’s buying the running shoes. It’s saving the first $100 toward our goal. It’s making the phone call. You’d be surprised how one small step can be the catalyst that changes everything.
    • What’s your first step?

 

Pastor Tommy Barnett of the “Dream Center” in Los Angeles recently tweeted: “Dreaming is an act of faith.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Sospesa - SuspendedThis week I finished up a teaching series I was doing at STORYCHURCH called “88MPH: Overcome the past, embrace the present, change the future.” (You can listen to the series by subscribing on itunes here.) Every so often I finish a particular teaching or maybe a particular series and I feel like there was more to be said. As I’ve been reflecting on the way we ended the series I feel like this is one of those times. So here are some bonus thoughts.

There’s this guy named Paul in the New Testament who faced all kinds of pain and trials and difficulty. But through it all, his mentality was this:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

For Paul, there were plenty of reasons for him to quit. There was lots of opposition. If he was looking for an excuse he had plenty to pick from. But what’s clear to me is that despite everything else – Paul was focused on a particular future. He had a goal in mind (to “know Christ” as he tells us a few verses earlier). Nothing was going to keep him from that goal.

I think too many of us treat life as though we are simply along for the ride. It’s as if we are a ship at sea that’s lost it’s rudder – falling victim to the waves, the winds, and the tide. We act as though our circumstances dictate our future and that we can’t do anything about it.

Even worse, some followers of Jesus do this and then over-spiritualize it and say that whatever happens “must have been God’s will.” I’ll be honest, I don’t buy it. I believe God gives you and me WAY MORE room to shape our future than we sometimes want to believe. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely setbacks and obstacles and opposition. I’m sure there are even times when God redirects us. But I think that more often than not the future that we end up with has way more to do with the choices we make than something outside of our control.

People often talk about having vision. Vision is a picture in your mind of a preferred future. I have a vision for a particular future for my marriage. For my family. I have a vision for my church. I can guarantee that as life happens there will be MAJOR obstacles to those specific visions. As opposition and obstacles get in the way I have a choice to make every single time. Do I forfeit the vision I have for my marriage, my family, my church – or do I fight through that obstacle? When it gets hard do I say “Well it must not be God’s will” or do I do whatever it takes to overcome the obstacle? No story worth telling develops without opposition and setbacks.

What’s the vision you have for your marriage? Even if you are single today – what’s the dream marriage? How many losers are you willing to pass up in order to wait for the vision that’s in your heart? Do pictures of old couples holding hands move you on some level? Then what will you push through to make that a reality?

What’s the vision for your family? Do you want kids who love you and respect you as adults? Then what are you willing to do to see that become a reality? What job or promotion will you pass up because of the time it will require you to be away from your kids? What will you sacrifice in order to create the memories for them?

Your future isn’t decided for you. Sure, circumstances and sickness and pain will come along. But it’s up to you. You create your future. In spite of opposition and obstacles – your vision is worth the fight. It’s worth the struggle. It’s worth pushing through the pain.

A brief word for STORYCHURCH:

The future of our church is up to us. We get to decide how it goes. Kimi and I have committed our lives to see a church for people who don’t go to church. A church that helps people embrace the story they were meant to live. It’s why we get out of bed in the morning. Every so often we see glimpses of the future we are pushing toward. Every time someone who gave up on God shows up giving God one more chance – the future peeks through. Every time someone goes from death to life and chooses to follow Jesus – the future breaks in. Every time someone is baptized and we see a life transformed – the future comes crashing in around us. Every time a couple does the hard work of rebuilding their marriage rather than letting it implode – the future shows up. Every time a village gets clean water because our community decided it mattered – the future looks bright.

None of this will come easy. There will be challenges of every kind. Spiritual, financial, relational. It will be messy. There will be conflict. There will be tough decisions and difficult seasons. But it’s worth it. Because we have a vision of thousands of people finding life and embracing stories they were meant to live. I hope you share that vision. I hope you have similar dreams for our city – for your coworkers, your neighbors and your friends. And I hope you’ll do whatever it takes to see this vision become a reality.

photo by: Porfirio
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