“Swing the Bat”

20140612-084401-31441706.jpgI put the title in quotations because these are not my words. This last Sunday, my Senior Pastor shared a message with our local church family encouraging us to, “Swing the Bat!” We were all encouraged to get away this week and dream a little.

This morning, I got up early, made my coffee, sat in my usual chair, read a Psalm, and then stopped. I realized that I needed a little variety this morning. So, instead of spending more time in God’s Word, I got out my journal. Since the birth of my my wife and I’s first son, for some reason, I have practically stopped journaling. Journaling sometimes feels so slow and time-consuming. Yet, it is probably for these reasons I need to be journaling more than ever. It is good to slow down. It is good to sit in silence. It is good to be still. It is good to stop looking at a screen. It is good to turn off all notifications. It is good to stare out the window. It is good to breathe deeply.

Psalm 46:10 NKJV
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

As I sat, The Lord finally had space and time in my life to give me a quiet nudge in a particular direction? What direction? A simple reminder that my senior pastor encouraged us to take time to dream. This morning, I did. Then, I took it a step further. I wrote down my dreams! Dreaming is one thing, but once you write them down, there is something in the human heart that takes them more seriously. And if you want to take it even further, then share the dreams of your heart with someone close to you. Say them out loud! If you are like me, if what you share really is a dream, you will feel a little sheepish and stupid. After all, for genuine followers of Jesus Christ, your dream should have at its core the following characteristics:

1. Your dream is ultimately not about you, but the unique, interesting, significant way that you in particular are wanting to bring glory to God. Achieving a dream is not the end, but the means, simply a vehicle for making Jesus famous. This so often is where Americans go wrong. We dream, but it is more about self-fulfillment (an Aristotelian notion) than it is glorifying God. Do not get me wrong, walking out God’s dreams for your life will satisfy you more than any other mission in the world. However, this is a by-product, not the goal.

2. Your dream is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE…in your own strength. There is a major difference between a “goal” and a “dream.” Goals are easily achievable if you are willing to do the necessary work. A dream is also something you must work toward, plan for, sacrifice for, etc. However, a dream is still that thing which no matter how hard you work, it will still require an act (or acts, plural) of God for it to come to pass. Do you have anything in your heart that is still a dream? Or is your soul a mere collection of intentional goals? In other words, is there anything left in you that will actually require faith? Here is another way of putting it: If Jesus disappeared from your life, would that much change? A God-given dream ought to bring a Christian to his/her knees for weeks, months, years, even decades. Get out your crockpot, dreams do not happen overnight (or overweek, overmonth, or even overyear; and yes, I am aware that these are not actual words). A dream requires a Provider who has more resources and connections than you do. Ergo, God.

3. As a Christian, your dream should have at its core something like this: “This is how I want to help people. This is the contribution I want to make both inside and outside the church.”

4. You must be willing to sacrifice money, time, and anything else required to get there. A reorientation is in order if walking out this dream really matters to you. You will have to give up certain things, even really good things, in order to make room in your limited life (all resources such as time and money are limited) to prepare and position yourself to walk out that dream.

5. The thought of it not coming to pass makes your miserable.

6. Patience. God is a God of process. Destiny moments come, and oh how sweet they are, but they are moments. Enjoy getting there. Dream the dream and fight the fight.

To end, I want to share one specific dream I listed today in my journal. The Lord has allowed me in this season to step into one of my bucket list desires. I now teach an Intro to Philosophy and a World Religions course at a local college. The Lord has made it clear to me, “You are My missionary in this environment.” He put that in my heart when I was 20. I am 35 now. It took 15 years of hard work, late nights, and hundreds upon hundreds of hours studying to prepare for this. Now, my dream is continuing to evolve. All God stuff undergoes a process of evolution.

My dream for The Lord is this: I want the day to come, sooner than later, when as I teach, the Holy Spirit shows up (in a “secular” college!) and begins to give me prophetic words for the students in my class. Can you imagine?! Prophecy and words of knowledge spilling out in a secular Philosophy class. I have a hunch that this, to an experiential generation, would be the greatest apologetic! I want to “see” and “hear” things from the heart of Jesus for students who do not even believe in Him.

In the words of Martin Luther KIng, Jr., “I have a dream!”

Psalm 126:1 NKJV
[1] When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream.

Genesis 37:19 NKJV
[19] Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer (Joseph) is coming!”

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