Tuesday, March 20, 2012

dreaming big

In my world, there's a lot of pressure to dream a certain dream.  In law school, we're supposed to dream about getting into a "silk stocking" law firm, where a first-year associate can expect to make six figures and a partner makes millions.  We're supposed to dream about a beautiful car and a great house and the prestige of being a leader in the community.

The broader culture seems to give us a script as well--we're all pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, right?  And for most of us, that means a house in a safe neighborhood, maybe with a white picket fence.  We dream of 2.5 children and retirement that's only a few years away, when we'll really get to do what we want to.  So we buy into this dream, and we work away the best years of our lives waiting for those dreams to materialize and our lives to be perfect.

And we especially dream of living without pain or tragedy.  We hope never to face hardship.  Instead, we try to use money and comfort to insulate ourselves from the realities that our less fortunate neighbors find themselves in.

But what if it is possible to dream bigger than all of these things?  What if the best things in life were actually spiritual things.  What if our dreams consisted of seeing the name of Christ preached to all the nations, of the day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord?  What if our dreams were to simply wake up every day and present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, ready to go out into the world and love God and love other people into the kingdom?

The Apostle Paul put it this way: "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything lost compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him--not having the righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing with him in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow to attain the resurrection of the dead."  Philippians 3:7-14.

And what is the power of his resurrection but the power to change lives--the power to move someone into abundant life and relationship with the Eternal One now.

Every December I go away to a quiet place and think and pray through the coming year.  I ask God to give me his dreams for my future, and then I pray for those things throughout the year.  This year I really had the sense that one of those dreams was to be a part the conversation about helping the coming generations to know the power of the resurrection.  And I have seen God opening some amazing doors.  This summer I'm heading to Madison, Wisconsin for a conversation with 119 other young leaders in the nation who are doing amazing things for world evangelism.  I've seen other barriers coming down and other doors opening.  I've just been in awe of how God moves when we make his kingdom and his Name the priority in our lives.

So what dream does God have for your life?  How can you dream bigger about being involved with God's desire to see all people come to know him?  How can your Christian community pray for you and support you in working toward that dream?

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