Ephesians 3:20 says, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.“
What are your wildest dreams?
Your wildest dreams might be so crazy that you’re afraid to even say them out loud. God has given you the ability to dream. He gave you the ability to imagine. Kids are natural dreamers. They can imagine anything. Anything’s possible. That’s because we’re created in God’s image. God is a creative God.
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Our dreams have allowed us to make every major advancement in history. Nothing great has ever happened until someone starts dreaming.
Everyone needs a dream because you’re either dreaming or you’re dying. If you want to be healthy, you have to have a dream to live for. God expects you to use the gift of dreaming.
Usually, when someone steps out to serve God, they have big dreams. But then our dreams shrink down to the size of our situation. Our circumstances can cause us to pull back from our dreams. As we get older, we lose our sense of imagination and our dreams can die. We need to have some dream expansion.
If you’re going to be a leader, you’ve got to be a dreamer. Living a life of faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith.” Faith is when we see the invisible. It’s dreaming the dream. Hebrews 11:1 says in the Amplified Version, “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
It’s going to take some big dreams to take the next steps that God is calling us to.
1. FRENEMIES (Other People)
- Sometimes people can discourage you because they don’t they don’t get it.
- In Mark 6:1-6, people looked at Jesus and asked, “Isn’t He just the carpenter?” Sometimes people don’t see the potential in your life because they’re too familiar with you.
- Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Instead his delight is the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree, planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season. Its leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” The first key to living a prosperous life is: don’t hang out with negative people. Don’t walk with the wicked, stand with the sinners, sit with the mockers.
Notice the progress. First you walk with them, then you stand with them, then you finally just sit down with them. You’re being drawn into their negativity. I want people in my life like God talks about where, “Iron sharpens iron” – they challenge me, they stretch me. I don’t need people who say, “It can’t be done.” I need people who say, “Have you thought about this, have you thought about that…” That’s different from people who say it can’t be done.
We need positive God-inspired attitudes. We tend to perform at the same level of those who are closest to us.
When you get tired, you lose vision. You start settling for second best and letting the details slide. Many people will throw a pity party. You get satisfied and complacent. That’s dangerous. Is your goal victory or is it survival? Don’t give up, just get some rest. Just look at what happens to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-10.
It’s discouraging to fail. Remember, if you’re not failing, you’re probably not risking enough. Failure is never final.
Don’t build on your failures. Build on your hopes and dreams.
There’s something wrong with every good idea. Don’t trouble shoot before you dream the dream. Get a clear picture of the dream and then ask, “how do we overcome the problems?”
Dreaming is free. It doesn’t cost anything to dream big dreams for your life. Today’s impossibilities are tomorrow’s miracles.
William Carey was a shoemaker in England. When nobody was going around the world to reach people for Jesus, William Carey felt God’s call to go to Burma. Everybody said, “You’re crazy.” He talked to one group about raising money and they said, “If God wants to save the heathen, He’ll do it Himself. He doesn’t need you.” But He got on a boat and went to Southeast Asia to become the first modern missionary. Here’s what he said,
“Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.”William Carey, 1st modern missionary
When an ordinary person dreams a big dream, it makes that person great!
5 KINDS OF DREAMERS
A lot of people live from day to day and their only goal is just to make it through. They just want to survive.
In Mark 10:51, Jesus came to a man on the side of the street and asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Isn’t that an awesome question to be asked by God? What do you want God to do for you? Ask Him! He can do anything!
Have you ever gone shopping without a list? I’ll go into the store and just wander around for hours and then come out there with things I don’t need and forget the things I went in there for.
There are 3 results when you don’t have a dream:
- Frustration: You are just in reaction mode. You’ll never accomplish anything that’s very meaningful or important to you.
- Boredom: You don’t have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
- Regrets: Without a dream, you’ll look back and say, “If only…”
There’s no challenge in that. Some people say, “My dream is to retire.” Big deal!
Why do we usually set dreams too low?
1) Dreams make us accountable. We don’t like that pressure. There’s something about saying it out loud that holds us accountable.
2) Fear of failure, “What if I don’t do it? I’ll be embarrassed and it will make me feel bad about myself and look stupid.” So many people don’t ever set a dream because it makes them accountable or they may fail or…
3) The fear of criticism. People might laugh at us or criticize us. They may judge our motives. Never be afraid of attempting something great if it’s for the glory of God. If what you’re doing is for the growth of the body of Christ and the glory of God then it’s worth putting your reputation on the line. If you’re doing that, even if you don’t reach it, you can’t be considered a failure because you’re attempting the greatest purpose in the world.
Make sure you’ve got the right dream. We have people in our church with off the charts talent. I know brilliant people with great potential, but some are giving their life for something that won’t mean much in the end.
Don’t give your first class allegiance to a second class cause.Cole Phillips
One day, you’ll stand before God and He’s going to hold you accountable for what you did with what He gave you.
You don’t need to waste your life trying to impress other people. The applause of the crowd never lasts. There’s only one thing that will last forever and that’s God’s kingdom!
You might say, “I want to use my life to serve God! I want to make my life count!” How? Jesus was intentional and purposeful. When Jesus was only 12 years old, He said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” And then when He died, He said, “It is finished.” That’s a successful life. He knew what He had to do and He did it.
These are people who have discovered God’s vision for their life and they are going for it with everything they’ve got!
The Process of Dreaming Bigger
STEP ONE: Open Your Mind to God (Inspiration)
Spend quiet, focused time with God. Get God’s perspective.
“A man is foolish to trust himself. But those who use God’s wisdom are safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (TLB)
We don’t just go by what we think, because what we think can be totally wrong.
When people say, “I had this idea to start this business, but it didn’t work out.” Why not? Well, maybe it wasn’t God’s idea to start with. So instead of praying, “God bless this thing that I’m doing,” pray, “God help me do what You’re blessing.”
Get a picture of who God is and how Great He is!
“How great God is— God is more than we imagine.” Job 36:26 (CEV)
No more little dreams!
We want to do something so BIG for God that is bound to fail without God, unless He shows up in a BIG way!
We want to know God’s will and then do that.
Key Question: “What is God’s will?”
STEP TWO: Get the Facts (Information)
“What a shame – how stupid – to decide before knowing the facts!” Proverbs 18:13 (TLB)
“Get the facts at any price …” Proverbs 23:23 (TLB)
You might have heard from God and you’re excited about it. Now, do some research. Don’t be ignorant.
Question: “What do I need to know?”
STEP THREE: Get Wise Counsel (Consultation)
This is the “Been There, Done That” Principle.
“The more advice you get, the more likely you are to win.” Proverbs 24:6 (GN)
“Get good advice and you will succeed.” Proverbs 20:18 (GN)
You learn from people by asking questions so you can avoid some mistakes that they’ve made.
“The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them!” Proverbs 18:15 (TLB)
Question: “Who can help me?”
Sometimes we just like to act like we know what we’re doing. We want to look smart so we don’t ask or listen to advice. But you will look foolish when you crash and burn because you didn’t ask questions. Remember, there are no stupid questions. Show some humility. Leaders are learners.
STEP FOUR: Sweat the Details (Attention)
Think it through. Develop a plan and a strategy.
We have a plan and a strategy that has been effectively working.
Matthew 25:23 (AMP) His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.
To accomplish BIG dreams, we have to do the small things.Cole Phillips
Even though everything may be clicking, sometimes it’s one detail that makes all the difference.
Small tweaks can lead to big peaks!
Key Question: “What small actions will make a big difference?”
STEP FIVE: Count the Cost (Evaluation)
“It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.” Proverbs 20:25
Ask yourself: “Is this necessary?” and “What will it cost?” Not just money, but time and leadership. “Is it worth it?” Is it worth my life? God’s Church is worth every bit of energy I can give it. It changes lives.
STEP SIX: Plan for Problems (Preparation)
“Don’t go charging into a battle without a plan.” Proverbs 20:18 (GN)
“No wise builder starts building without a budget. No king goes off to war without counting the cost.” Luke 14:28-29
What is the risk? What’s the risk of not doing it?
“A sensible man watches for problems ahead and pre pares to meet them. The simpleton never looks and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 22:3 (LB)
Expect the best, but plan for the worst. Like Murphy says, things will go wrong.
Don’t ignore the problems, just hoping they will go away. Run to problems. They only get worse.
We’ll never be 100% successful. We do more things that don’t work than do work. We don’t call it failure, it’s called, “an experiment.”
Key Questions: “What are the challenges I will face?” “How will I respond?” “What if we fail?”
STEP SEVEN: Face Your Fears (Confrontation)
“Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety.” Proverbs 29:25 (LB)
Courage is standing up in the face of fear and doing the hard thing.
“Reverence for the Lord gives confidence and security.” Pr. 14:26 (GN)
If God is in it, then He’ll see you through it.
STEP EIGHT: Do it Now! (Initiation)
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
Some people sit on their dreams too long. They sit on the launch pad.
The way I knew God was totally in The Connection Church and this was God’s church was after I got here. I stepped out in faith. I didn’t have anybody on board when I moved here. And I remember writing out on the first week of our first service about a dozen things that God did that only He could do to confirm that The Connection Church was His church! From a newspaper reporter calling, to equipment, to the people.
What are the dreams you’re dreaming for your life and ministry this year?