Category: Dream(Series)

Linx & Stuff: Dream Edition

Bible Study:
Genesis 1-3: Creation and Depravity. Think: perspective
Psalm 139: God made you. Think: masterpiece
Proverbs 1-8: Pursuit of wisdom. Think: pursuit
Ecclesiastes: Navigating the incomprehensible reality of life. Think: embrace
John: The heart of Christ & the Gospel. Think: life
Ephesians: Describes the resurrection of a dream. Think: big
Philippians: A profile of a dreamer. Think: Attitude

Rules of the Red Rubber Ball by Kevin Carroll
Pursuit of God By A.W. Tozer
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
A couple biographies of someone you admire

Dream series:
Dream: Mr. Sandman
Dream: You say that I’m a dreamer
Dream: living the dream
Dream: Requiem for a nightmare
Dream: Wishing upon a star
Dream: Resurrection of a dream
You can’t steer a still ship

Book in progress to help dream

Good prayer thought:

Albert Mohler’s talk at the Desiring God Conference

Kevin Carroll’s site

Dream: Resurrection of a dream

The very nature of dreams declares life will be better. God did not make dreams a smoke in mirrors alley of grand disillusionment. He did not pull off a pump-fake. The nature of dreaming sees a better life. The Gospel resurrects dreams.

“For God did did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” ~ John 3:17

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

God wants us to live. We die. (How encouraging, eh?) This leads to three options: focus, apathy or foolishness. God chooses life, He gives life, and He redeems life. God designs life as a thing of beauty. Death is unnatural. Mortality is founded on death. Dreams are founded on eternity. If you lose eternity, you’re left with only apathy and foolishness. God did not intend for us to live in the tyranny of a stoic life, nor does He choose foolishness. Life is a gift. God wants us to live.

Only God grants liberty. Depravity enslaves us. Pure and simple. You and I cannot live up to our own moral code, nor another’s. Left to ourselves, we are hopelessly depraved. The Gospel resurrects our dreams. No Gospel, no dreams. Jesus rising from the grave beat down death. In Christ we obtain eternity and mortality becomes a temporary gig. To have liberty one must lose sin. That is the Gospel. Death to life. Sin to just. Slave to liberty. In Christ we are free.

Pursuit of happiness
Open up and embrace your life. If we take God out of the picture, life is incomprehensible. (A big dreary point of Ecclesiastes.) If we focus our dreams on being, vs doing or possessing, dreams will happen. Contentment, humility, compassion, love, mercy, peace and grace are independent of our situation. Being these things creates an eternal impact. It is why a person can have everything in the world and be empty if they lack these things. Jesus did not come to place a burden on us. He came to set us free that we may embrace what life is all about.

River dance
Pursuing God is pursuing happiness. Want to be a dreamer? Focus less about what your dream will look like and focus on God. Pick a direction and run after it. Know full well that God will alter your course like He bends and forms a river. The danger is not losing your dream. The danger is not going after it. In “losing” your dream you’ll find it do be a wild bend in the river or death-defying rapids. Even when your raft is upturned and you’re in hypothermic inducing water, you can look back and laugh. Dance with the current.

The Bottom Line:
God raises dreams from the dead. The Gospel makes dreams possible. Embracing the Gospel is not a tyrannical stoicism, nor a foolish escape hatch. Embracing the Gospel allows us to live a focused life that cherishes life as a gift. liberty founded only upon Christ, and a wild pursuit of happiness. The adventure is not in running from God, but to Him. Jesus rose from the dead. If that does not give you hope nothing will. Reflect on this thought:

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat, drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?”      ~ Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Dream: Wishing upon a star…

God gives dreams that sometimes not ours to fulfill. Our life could be the star, middle, or a small part to something far more spectacular. We should still pursue them because they are from God. Think on this:

“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” ~ Hebrews 11:39-40

He was told his descendants would outnumber the sand on the seashore. He had 2 sons, one his own plan, another God’s plan. To this day, he as yet to see his dream completed.

Joseph knew God would return his people to the promise land, so he gave orders concerning his bones. His dream fulfilled by others.

David, a man after God’s own heart, dreamed of building the temple. God said no, it was for his heir to do. David took to the task of getting things ready. His son built the temple.

Daniel dreamed of his people returning. He prayed three times a day for protection and for it to happen. King Cyrus commissioned Ezra to return to Jerusalem in the year Daniel died.

Jesus called John one of the greatest prophets. He prepared the way for Christ and demonstrated humility in his mission. Beheaded, John did not get to see the Gospel accomplished on Earth.

Paul’s desired to see Israel repent and turn back to God. Even as an apostle to the gentiles, Paul invested much time and writing describing the relationship of Israel and the Church. In full confidence that both would ultimately succeed, Paul was beheaded.

Good dreams are about being and are about something bigger than ourselves. If you reject God’s dream for you because you can’t achieve it, then the dream is about you, and not God. The full and meaningful life is one where people pursue the dream God placed on their life. They do not have to be spectacular, but they do have to be fulfilled. A man who desires to have a good home and work hard is just as nobel as a preacher. Size does not matter, pursuit of God does.

The Bottom Line:
God shows who He is through the mosaic of our dreams. God being infinite uses infinite combinations of people and dreams to show who He is. The artist, the farmer, the manager, the politician (yes, they can be saved), the teacher, the tax collector, the murder they can and do show who God is. Dreams are not about what we do or have, but about what God does in and through us where we are. So, wish upon a star. Think of it this way:

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God ; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” ~ Psalm 19:1-2

Dream: Requiem for a nightmare

Dreams happen on God’s timetable. Pushing for your own dream, rushing it, or doing it all on your own results in nightmares. It is best to put to rest the nightmare.

The rush
Things happen on God’s time table, not ours. God’s dream? Descendants as numerous as sand on the sea-shore. Abraham and Sarah were not exactly at the begatting years. Getting nervous and desiring God’s promise, they rush the dream. This resulted in Ishmael which had lasting consequences. The Middle East peace crisis started from this rushing of dreams. God provided Isaac. Don’t rush it!

The obnoxious
God gives dreams for His benefit more than ours. Joseph exemplified the spoiled brat routine. God granted Joseph a dream. Joseph loudly proclaimed the dream to his family and he rubbed it in. It didn’t help matters when Jacob spoiled Joseph. Few handle a loud mouth well. Joseph rubbed it in, and his brothers rubbed him out. The first half of his story is down down down. Joseph learned in the end. God meant it for good.

The angered
God allows opposition to dreams. The best and longest lasting dreams go through a crucible. They walk through the desert. The hardest opposition you will face is from God’s people. Look at Moses. Can you imagine leading a grumbling, complaining group of people? (The Apostle Paul went through this as well.) The masses viewed Moses as a failure. Again, crying out for water, Moses gained instructions from God (smart move) and then out of anger did not follow God’s instructions. Moses lead people to the promise land, but Moses did not enjoy the promise land. Choose grace not bitterness when faced with opposition.

The mimic
God shows Himself uniquely in you. There really isn’t a book on how to accomplish the dream God gives you. One of the biggest nightmares you can have is trying to be like someone else. God states in Deuteronomy 17 that “when you desire to have a king like everyone else…” This trek started in 1 Samuel. God wanted to be king, but Israel wanted a human ruler like everyone else. This lead to division and the ultimate downfall of Israel. Despite falling & failing, Israel awaits restoration. Learn from others, but don’t mimic. Focus on who God wants you to be.

The lazy
God expects us to move forward and live while we wait for His timing. Christ promised to return at any moment, known at the rapture. Some in the Thessalonian church sat and waited for it to come, and so the puritan work ethic was formed: no work, no eat. If you want your dream, work towards it, live, enjoy life, but in this wait for God’s timing. God uses the faithful. and the repentant.

The requiem
If you want a requiem for the nightmare, sing “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Nightmares result when we think the dream is about us. I am sorry, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! You are precious to God. God paid dearly for you. God intimately and artistically made you. God delights in you being you. But make no mistake about it, God did all of this to reflect His glory off of your life.

The Bottom Line:
There is a lag between God clarifying His dream for your life and it happening. The nightmare happens when we cease to patiently wait upon God and skip the lag time. The scriptures describes a massive wake of damage by people who rush their dream. Focus on this key thought:

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings lie eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

Dream: Living the dream

Faith discovers great dreams. Living the dream is not about amusement, fantasy or having all the answers. Dreams require pursuit to be lived. Living the dream is living by faith. It is the bedrock for both the great and small.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” ~ Hebrews 11:1-2

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6

Will happen, not might
We live for our dream because it will happen. This is not a gamble, this is a reality. It fully understands adversity, but adversity is couched in certainty. As people of history and now passionately pursued God, they know that what is to come will. Dreams exist not in vapors, but in stone. “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” ~ Hebrews 11:15-16

Define great
Living the dream is not about having great things, but doing great things with what you have. Jesus tells a parable of a master who gave his servants Talents (money). To one he gave 5, another 2 and a third 1. The master judged the servants based on what they did with what they had. The servants with 5 and 2 Talents doubled and were blessed. The servant with 1 Talent nothing with it. This angered the master. Everyone will not be great in how society views greatness, but we can all do  great things! (We’re expected to.) Think growth, instead of achievement.

Hidden treasure is worthless
If a man hides a pot of gold and it is never found the gold is worth less than food scraps or dung. Food scraps and dung turns back to dirt and is usable. Such at least does something. Hidden gold does nothing. Living the dream has nothing to do with status or possessions, but everything to do with God. A better day is coming. Until then, what are you doing to pursue that?

Pursuit more than destination
The pursuit of the dream is more important than the destination. If we pursue God, He will lead. You can’t steer a still ship. If you want the dream you have to go for it. God gives to those who pursue. Pick a direction and pursue it. And, know that God will likely change your course. Or, He may not. Either way, we must move.

The Bottom Line:
Live the dream. Don’t worry about what to do or even where to start. Focus on pursuing God and working with what you have where you are at. God will lead. So dream, but don’t hide your ‘Talent.’ Reflect on this though:

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” ~ John 3:21

Dream: You say that I’m a dreamer…

Dreamers pursue God. They are not inward focused, self-serving, trite or vengeful. Dreamers pursue reflecting who God is.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 1:6

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14

The goal beyond self
We choose our attitude. The book of Philippians focuses on Paul’s attitude. This attitude, and the whole mindset of the book is a passionate pursuit of God. The book is an internal focused book. It is an attitude check. The goal Paul refers to is beyond self. The key is found in Phil 2:5- having the same attitude that was also in Christ Jesus.

Being is the focus

The best dreams are ones that focus on being, not doing. If there is any lesson that is crystal clear in the Bible it is this: we cannot earn favor with God. Doing, achieving, possessing means nothing if we fail to be who God wants us to be. Focusing on who we want to be will have greater impact on what we do. Our attitude affects everything. Dreamers need humility. Great leaders and people in life show this attitude. Focus on being humble. It works! Look at Christ.

God is the dream
Regardless of our history, our present or our future, we get to be with God. This is why our attitude and our focus on being is so important. No matter how good or bad, rich or poor, healthy or ill, we can posses our dream. This is why the best dreams are the ones that focus on being. A slave can be a dreamer. An alcoholic can be a dreamer. A murder can be a dreamer. A single mom can be a dreamer. An orphan can be a dreamer. Dreams are not about our situation but our destination. The Gospel forges our dreams in Christ, not our wishful thinking or our own power.

Why be a dreamer
There is more to life than now. There is more to life than our preferences and whims. Dreams move us beyond ourself. Dreamers pursue being the kind of person God designed us to be in the places He puts us. God did not create us as an afterthought. God does not save people to merely escape Hell. There is a story, a masterpiece that is your life. Pursuing God paints this work of art.

The Bottom Line:

In the craziness of life, no matter how upside down it us, we have a choice: we can pursue self or we can pursue God. God made us to reflect who He is. Perhaps it is time we take God seriously. There is a work that He wants to accomplish in our lives. It starts with an attitude change and a focus on being who He wants us to be. Reflect on this thought:

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-12

Dream: Mr. Sandman…

God is the Sandman, the author and artist of a masterpiece that is you. Dreams are not fairy tales, events, or possessions. Dreams are reflections of God’s glory in and from your life.

“The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground…The Lord God fashioned into a women the rib which He had taken from the man…”
~ Genesis 2:7 & 22

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them male and female He created them. God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’”
~ Genesis 1:27-28a

The God who fills things
We believe in the God who fills things. God filled creation, He filled the temple, He filled our days and He fills our very being. God is a designer, an artist, a musician, God is a dreamer. He thrives and exists in community. God is as poetic as He is just. The very concept of dream is rooted in the purposeful creation of you… ‘that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.’

God as creator
The order of creation mirrors and exhibits God’s desire to fill things. Days 1 through 3 God creates the space and then fills it days 4 through 6. Upon His good creation God placed the crown jewel: mankind. From the sand God made us, purposefully, artistically, in community. Mankind was not a blank slate of random chance, God made mankind the visible finite image of the infinite God. He blessed the human race. And God commanded mankind to fill the Earth.

Time to dream
Starting on Day 7 of Creation, God creates the Sabbath. Sabbath, meaning 7th day, also caries the concept of rest. It was time to stop and smell the roses. It was a time to reflect. It was a time to rest. Later in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy God institutes feasts where His people could celebrate, learn, reflect, teach, and ultimately enjoy Him. The Sabbath and celebrations focuses on one key thing: to remember God. In remembering God, He reminds us of who He wants us to be.

God is the Sandman
The danger of not dreaming is forgetting God. Lack of dreams is not a loss of purpose, a depletion of vision, an absence innovation, busyness or exhaustion. A lack of dream or dreams is forgetting who artistically sculpted you from dust. God forged dreams in the purpose for your life, for you carry His image. And, once in Christ, that purpose, that dream becomes crystal clear. You are not a mistake. God made you. He gave you a dream.

The Bottom Line:
Even with the confusion of life, we must remember God. A dream answers this question: How is my life to glorify God? How is my life to reflect who God is because I carry His image? Whether you naturally dream, are in limbo, are busy, are apathetic, or life has you exhausted, reflect on this thought:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

You can’t steer a still ship

If you want to steer a ship, get it moving. Water passing over the rudder is what makes it maneuver. This is a quote that I want my boys to grasp, and it is one many need to. The concept is you need to get moving, you can always change course later. Pick. Dream. Pursue. And, let God work in you as He gets you to the destination.

Military. Job. College.
My dad gave me those three options when I started 7th grade. They were a huge motivation to do well in school. The last part of the statement went: “But either way, you’re out of the house.” Dad spoke the message clearly. Man up. I picked a direction quickly and pursued it. A key element imparted to me was variety. Broad experiences help clarifies when one pursues a direction. Direction may change from experience. It is hard to change course when you’re not moving.

“Kids don’t dream today…”
The statement surprised me in a conversing with a well seasoned pastor. It made sense. In my high school, many worried over what they were to do. Graduation became somber as much as celebration. I cannot fathom people not dreaming, of not having direction. Partly because I’m wired that way. Partly because time doesn’t stop for limbo. Dreaming is not a passive exercise.

Eat. Pray. Love (Lament).
I can see where the elements of this book & movie resonate with America. Americans do not know how to simply enjoy life. The pace of life also pours into spiritual confusion. Then, with the non stop spiritually confused state, one loses their love life. Love needs a focus other than one’s self. Kelly and I discussed this at length. As we understand it thus far, Eastern Philosophies focus on balance has two key themes: emptying (meditation) and waiting (letting things show themselves). In contrast, Christian thought is filling (God is the God who fills things) and pursuing (Pursuing God is part of waiting on Him) and answers come. This pursuit includes a sabbath principle whereby God want us to simply rest to remember.

Values over Vision; Journey over Destination
Americans love big things. We love vision. We love destinations. In this quest, our blinders go up to values and journey. How often in our literature, art, dramas, and talks do we realize this anew? In “Built to Last” Jim Collins realizes that great companies focus intently on their values more than anything. They focus on being more than doing; the key to their successed. Our thought process is best summed up by Han Solo’s statement: “I prefer a straight fight to all this sneakin’ around.” Dave Ramsey’s one piece of advice he’d give to young leaders: “Let problems work themselves out.” Our pragmatic, driven, competitive side should remember that life seldom takes the direct route.

Visions in the Bible are like cars with really bad turbo lag. Some, like Abraham or Joseph, only get a mere whisper of the vision being fulfilled and it is left to others to do it. The pattern goes like this: God gives a vision…………………………………………and then it happens. Often the trouble comes when one tries to force its accomplishment vs pursuing God in the midst of the wait. The lack of peace in the Middle East is a clear example of this. Focus on being vs doing allows you to pursue without rushing. The Bible focuses more on becoming verse doing. The fulfillment and accomplishment of our vision or destination is already secured by God.

The bottom line:
You can’t steer a still ship. Pick a direction and then let God guide your journey. Your vision may be clarified later, it may not be. You might start with one, and you might not. But, know this: time does not stand still. While anchored in indecision, you will lose lessons of what God wants you to become. If you are too set on your destination, you may run aground getting there, and lose what God wants you to become. Pick a direction and learn to navigate. Work with the currents, the weather, the sun and stars. Clarity and discovery comes to those who pursue over those who wait. Pick. Dream. Pursue. And, let God work in you as He gets you to the destination.