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I can’t tell you how many preachers/motivational speakers I’ve heard say these words, “DREAM BIG!”  Am I right? Even you, the Reader, can remember times in your life that you have heard this phrase spoken to you.  When I was in bible college I heard this phrase over and over again. “Dream big! Go make a difference in the world! Dream big!”

A year after I graduated college, my wife & I went to be Student Pastors at a church in Oklahoma. Not a small church, around maybe 400-500 people. There are people that flipped out when they heard we were going to be Student Pastors. While I was there I heard a story about an old preacher that still came and visited the church office sometimes. A friend of mine was talking to him and he started telling my friend about his life and ministry and, in lesser words, this is what he said.

He said that he had never, in his over 50 years of pastoral ministry, pastored a church larger than about 30 people.  [When I first heard this I was both surprised and, in my arrogance, thought, ‘Gosh I hope that isn’t me when I’m that age.”] He said that God had called him to heal broken and hurting churches. He would come into a church that had split or had a pastor run out on them, and he would stay there and bring emotional, spiritual and mental healing to it until another full-time pastor could come in. Then, he would move on to another church…b/c we all know churches that are in that situation.

In my time of meditation this story wouldn’t leave me. I kept playing over “fears” [and I put that in quotations to denote that they weren’t really fears] that I would end up like that man. I had always been told to “DREAM BIG!” and normally that had visions of granduer of pastoring or teaching 1000s of people! And what if I ended up like this man? Would my talents be wasted on a just a few? [Arrogant, I know]

And then it hit me…it’s not my job to dream big. In fact, it’s not my job to dream, really, at all.  It’s simply my job to obey.  This man, this servant of God, went about his life doing what God had commissioned him to do: to heal hurting people – what greater call can there be?  I couldn’t help but think that this man would be rewarded more than most. And it was in that moment I repented and asked God to simply help me obey. I asked him to help me dream HIS dream for my life. I surrendered my life to Him all over –  I had flashbacks to when I was 12 and first heard the call of God – and I felt as though He was calling me all over again. I felt…free! Free from the chains of “success.” Free from what others might expect from me. Free from what I expected from myself.

Our society looks at people with large bank accounts, large cars, large houses and large churches and says, “Wow, they’ve been successful!” But doesn’t God judge success on a much different scale? I’m not saying people with those things aren’t successful…I just simply believe that they are dreaming God’s dream for their life. In the world’s eyes, this man I’ve spoken of would not be considered successful…but in God’s eyes…?

I have friends that are pastoring small country churches, I have friends that are on staff at churches that have 1000s of people attending, I have friends that are in roles right now that are preparing them to be who they will be in the future. I find myself involved in the best work of my life helping to plant Journey Church in Denton.  It’s so easy for us to look at other people (and ourselves at times) and when they aren’t doing the things WE think they should be doing, to consider that they aren’t going to be or will be successful – when, in fact, they may be one of the most successful people in God’s eyes.

I simply want to challenge the reader, as I have been challenged…don’t dream big…dream God’s dream, and that will be enough. Learn to accept & learn obedience, learn to accept your role in this world, learn to accept who God made you to be and what He has tasked you to do. Because whether you are successful in anyone else’s eyes or not, in the end, isn’t God’s opinion the one that matters most?

2000 years ago people were confident that the Roman Empire would go on forever

1000 years ago people were confident that God wanted them to kill Muslims in the Crusades

500 year ago people believed that the earth was flat

100 years ago people still didn’t believe true flight was possible

50 years ago people thought it was impossible to go to the moon

We as a human race become confident in our confidence.  The things we choose to believe, whether about faith, purpose, technology, etc, is all that we can see. For the modern world, it seems ridiculous to think that the world is flat. It is horrifying to believe that God would want us to kill people of a different culture & religion and absolutely stupid for us to think that flight can’t be possible.

Yet what will future generations criticize US for believing and having confidence in?  Will they look back at some of the things we believe in so confidently that WE are the ones who appear ignorant? Will they look back and say, “How could people not believe that Mars would be Earth’s first colony?” Maybe you don’t have time to think about some of these things…

When we look back over church history, the Church has been confident in some jacked up things in the past (i.e. the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, etc). But what will future generations in the Church say about us?  What things are we so “confident” in, that future generations will say, “Wow, they made a big deal about THAT?”

What I’m simply saying is that we so often say, “This is the way it is” in regard to just about everything in the world…so, what are we saying that about in our belief systems? I worry about people who say, “This is the way it is, so just believe it! This is the way it is.” My youth pastor growing up taught me an incredibly important thing that I’ll never forget…”Question everything.” One of the things that annoy me the most are closed-minded people. Those people that you present an idea to and they simply dismiss it b/c it doesn’t fit with what they are “confident” is the “right way.” Why not question? Why not dig a little deeper? I’m not saying that everything we believe is wrong, but there are issues that people have such great confidence in that I think it deserves to be revisited: tithing, tongues, Church leadership, prayer…I could go on and on.

These are all just thoughts on paper, and my simple point is this:  we put such great confidence in things that sometimes turn out to be wrong. So sit down and start evaluating the things you are most confident in. Keep the things that are true for all time (sacrifice of Christ, etc). Identify things that are questionable, study them, show yourself approved, discover where your confidence can rest.

I think in the end, we just have to realize that we don’t know everything about everything in regard to God & faith…we say that we don’t…yet sometimes we act & live as though we do.

Every Tuesday morning the leadership team of Journey Church gathers together for prayer.  We meet at our Lead Pastor’s house, and right out back you can see they are building a new house.

Now, I’m one of those people that usually likes to walk around or sit quietly when I prayer, and yesterday morning I was in the mood to walk around.  As I was meditating on what God is doing in us and through us, beginning a new community of believers, I started watching a team of guys building this house.  It interested me b/c we’ve watched this house being built from the ground up.

This house had it’s foundation poured and now they are putting up the studs and I-Beams that will support the second floor.  All the little, seemingly, insignificant steps in building this house are being looked over by a foreman who has in turn received the blueprints from the architect.  If you had never seen this building before, you wouldn’t know it was going to be a house until it started to take more shape.

In this house being built, I started to see Journey Church. The foundation has been laid, which is Christ and His call & direction for Journey, and we are slowly taking shape.  What we will eventually be, I don’t even think WE know that yet, but we know that the architect has the plan.  When we look back over the last 7 months that we’ve lived in Denton, I begin to see all the little things that seemed insignificant at the time, to be some of the most important things we’ve done!

What we have to remember is that a house isn’t built overnight, and neither is a community of believers.  And in reference to building the dreams that God has placed inside each person, too many people get impatient.  And in so doing, they give up when they lose sight on the completed work.  None of us may know what the completed work looks like, but we have to trust our Architect knows the plan and knows how to get us there.

Yet in our patience to see the work completed…we must not cease to work. We can’t become complacent and satisfied with the build so far…we have to keep going, we have to press forward, we have to add more/new team members who are specialists at their particular trade to help make the building as quality as it possibly can be. The person that does the concrete doesn’t also do the electrical work. The person that does the electrical doesn’t lay the carpet…

Wow – the comparisons go on and on. Think about the dream in YOUR life…have you given up building up? Are you passionately pursuing it? Are you patiently building and following the plan? Sometimes steps seem insignificant and a waste of time…but don’t fall into that trap.

KEEP BUILDING!

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