Many years ago, I heard someone – I honestly can’t remember who, I’d credit them if I could! – talking about ‘our wildest dreams’. I spoke for many, many years – often for a week, sometimes two – on YWAM schools on ‘Goals, Dreams, & Visions’ – encouraging young people to dream much, much bigger than they were already….the King James Version of Proverbs 29:18 is this: ‘Without vision, the people perish’. Wow…. no vision = dead.
Since I started on the current ‘journey of my life’ – 35 years ago now – I’ve learned to dream bigger, and bigger, and bigger. I’ve often been told I’m crazy – that’s ok, the Apostle Paul said he was, of himself: 2 Cor 5:13 (my paraphrase!) – ‘If I’m out of my mind, it’s for Christ’s sake: if I’m in my right mind, it’s to keep the religious people happy’. Dreaming big is SO Biblical, so God….Joel 2:28-29 talks about visions, dreams, and prophecy increasing in the last days. From those verses, I’m an old man – dreaming dreams: I’m young at heart, seeing visions: and whatever has happened to my parents, I’m still a son – prophesying. C’mon God, stir up the fire that is in many people, no – cause THEM to stir it up, that was Paul’s instruction to Timothy. It’s something you have to choose to do.
The Bible is full of dreamers: from Moses, Abraham, and Joseph, through to the visionary John in Revelation. And yet, I don’t ever recall, in my younger years, being told to dream big dreams for God, to let my imagination run riot as to what I could do with God on my side and alongside me. Joshua, Nehemiah, Samuel, the disciples and hundreds more… dreamers all. And look what they did. They changed the world.
The speaker who talked on ‘wildest dreams’ used Abraham as an example. Abraham & Sarah had longed for a child, but, with Abe 90+ and Sarah not far behind, I imagine they’d assumed their time was well past. I used them in my ‘GD&V’ talks…. ‘have a baby? What? At 100? Sarah and I haven’t even kissed for 20 years, let alone done what’s necessary to make a baby!’….
….until God told them that even their wildest dreams weren’t even half wild enough…. you know the rest of the story. What about the time when God asks you to SACRIFICE your greatest treasure? I know a little of what that feels like, and even more what Job felt like… that’s not a boast, truly, it’s just fact.
I DO know this: I wouldn’t change any of the past if it meant sacrificing what God is doing right now, these days, this year, the coming year. My dream, just a small part of it, is to see God invade, more and more, the favelas of Cali, Colombia: to see more and more of what would once have been called ‘cartel bosses’, saved… when you have one who God has touched, who fills every home he invites you to with sick people who need Jesus, and who need healing, you know then that your dream, and the sacrifices, are worth the cost. My dream is to see the adorable Ana Beiba’s ministry increase, to see her home for those tragically abandoned old people, finished, in it’s construction – at least of the current phase. All it needs is £23,000: AU$40,000: US$37,000. Peanuts, really, when you think it will mean ANOTHER 80 people, mostly past their 70th birthdays, will have a true home for the latter years of their lives. A place where they can enjoy love, friendship, and companionship: and, in the case of the oldest, 100 years old – try to teach a young man (me – young compared to her!) – how to do the salsa! (the famous Colombian dance, for those who think it’s something you dip Doritos in!!!).
I’ve been under pressure from some folk – often for years – to ‘charge’ people for what they invite me to do, where I feel God wants me to go. I CAN”T. Why? Because God has freely chosen to bless me, and I have no option but to freely give. That ‘dilemma’ about charging for ministry is something that the enemy has used as a divisive tool. Matthew 10:7 is Jesus’ answer to that, as far as I can see.
God showed Abe and Sarah that TRULY NOTHING is impossible for Him….part of my dream is to keep doing this for the next 30-40 years of my life (from one day after my 61st birthday!), and, if it’s part of the plan, to die doing it. David Livingstone said that when he died, he knew that people would want to take his body back to England: then he added, ‘but please, bury my heart in Zambia’. That’s exactly where it is buried, from what I’ve been told. Right now, I’d say the same about Cali. When my lovely mum was alive, she used to worry about me so much, especially going to what she regarded as dangerous (illness or violence) places. ‘Paul, you might get killed, or kidnapped, in Colombia!’ – she gave up saying it long before dementia disabled her ability to say it, as I think she realised I’d never stop, unless God told me to. I tell you what – I’d rather have written on my gravestone (if anyone bothers with one for me – I think I’d rather be pushed off the edge of a boat in the Pacific Ocean of Colombia, so funeral costs are simply down to the sharks!) – ‘Paul was shot/died having been kidnapped, serving Jesus’ – than ‘Paul died, hit by a 90 year old driving a car in England, trying to preserve his life’…..
As far as I can establish, the only thing that Jesus said that is recorded in all 4 gospels, and Matthew includes it twice, so FIVE times in all – is this: ‘If you try to save your life, you’ll lose it. If you’re willing to lose your life for my sake, you’ll surely find it’….(Matthew 10:39, 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, John 12:25). For me, the ultimate defeat would be to arrive in heaven, and for God to say, ‘I gave you this opportunity/that opportunity… but you didn’t take them…’
Dream dreams, ask God for vision: Steve Chalke says this – Vision gets out of your head and into your hands and feet. Vision changes the way you spend your days, the ways you spend your money, the decisions you make, the things you do…. it changes you!
Helen Keller – better to have vision and no sight, than sight and no vision – a pretty amazing statement for an astonishing missionary who was deaf and blind.
DON’T LET ANYONE ELSE BUILD YOUR ROOM, BECAUSE THEY’LL BUILD IT TOO SMALL.
General William Booth: God loves with a special love the man who has a passion for the impossible.
C H SPURGEON: I would rather risk a tornado of spiritual excitement than to watch the air grow stagnant with religious formality
and, perhaps, my favourite quote of all time: Jim Elliott – He is no fool he gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
The son of Nate Saint (Steve), one of the 5 missionaries massacred when Jim Elliott, too, was killed, Steve Saint, took his family back to the tribe who’d killed his dad, and was asked by the tribal leader, who’d been the one who put the spear through his dad’s head, to go back and live there – you probably know the story of how the tribe found faith in Jesus when the widows of the 5 went back to Ecuador, to forgive them. A few years ago, I heard and then met, Jamie Saint, Steve’s son: he was there when the tribe leader made his request to Steve. Jamie said words to this effect: Dad said the greatest Christian excuse for putting off vision and calling. ‘I’ll pray about it’. The tribe leader was having none of that, and, pretty soon, the family were living with the Huorani tribe, who’d massacred Nate, Jim Elliott, and the other three missionaries.
Wildest dreams. Will they cost you? In all probability, yes. What will they cost you? In many circumstances, everything. Will it be worth it? Without a doubt, yes.