#148 (26/09/04)
Living the Dream

The Message


Special Guest

His name is James Caviezel and he is the star of the Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of Christ.”

Bruce Wilkinson
International speaker and best-selling author, Bruce Wilkinson has been featured on NBC, Larry King Live, CNN, as well as in the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, and Time Magazine. His wildly popular book, The Prayer of Jabez, has sold over nine million copies worldwide. A graduate from Northwestern Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary, he has also been awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary.

Special Music

"Joyful, Joyful..."
" A Mighty Fortress is Our God "
"O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink"

" Old Time Religion Medley "
HOUR OF POWER ORCHESTRA – “Variations on Duke Street”

Acticle of The Message

Good morning, everyone. I want to talk about dreams. Of all places in the world to talk about dreams, this isn't it. Because Dr. Schuller is not the patriarch, I think, in the world about living your dream. I was telling Bob that. I said, if your father's the patriarch, Bob, what are you? He said, well one thing's for sure; I'm not the matriarch. I am Bob.

But I want to talk to you about your dream today. That part of your heart that if you let your heart think about it you become emotional about it. It's that dream that you wish if I had all the money in all the world and I could do whatever I wanted to do, that's what I would love to do. That's called your dream. And before the end of this service a number of you are going to break through towards your dream in a way you never thought possible.

Because in a sense, the great Dreamer himself, God in heaven, has also a dream, it's called His plan, from eternity past to eternity future. And He has a part of this plan right here, from point A to point B, that He wants accomplished in the earth, in time and space. And He puts that in this hand and then with this hand He begins to shape and craft a human being with gifts, with strengths, with passions, with desires, with weaknesses, and He puts that dream inside of this person. And it's those people that follow that dream that not only please heaven but they love their lives.

And as I travel around the world and speak and meet all kinds of people, I ask groups everywhere, "what percentage of people in this country do you think follow their dream? They live their dream?" What do you think they say? They say between 5 and 10%. Would you agree with that this morning? That means 90% of everybody seated in this room maybe not 90% here, but in most places, people take their dream and they kind of bury it and they lose sight of it. And something happens when a person does that, a part of your life leaves when you don't let your dream come out. And if you don't watch out you can bury it so deeply that you don't even believe it exists anymore, or it's too late for you to have a dream. It's never too late. And maybe you're saying, I don't really believe in a dream.

Well I was having a conversation like that with a man who's a producer in Hollywood. We were having lunch and I was trying to convince him that everybody has a dream. And he said, "Listen, Bruce, you may have a dream and I may have a dream but don't tell me every single person in this restaurant, they all don't have dreams. You don't really believe that, do you?" Well, in a minute the waitress came up and I began to think, I wonder how I can show my producer that everybody has a dream.

So I said to this lady, I said, "Before we take the order can I just ask you a question? Are you doing what you always dreamt you would be doing? You may be doing that and then that's terrific but maybe not. Did you dream you'd be doing this?" And she said, "Well, no. I didn't dream I'd be doing this. I wanted to be a nurse. I'd have been a really good nurse." I said, "How long have you wanted to be a nurse?" "Well, I wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. My mother's a nurse, my sister's a nurse, my aunt's a nurse. I used to play, not doctors, I used to play nurses. I wanted to be a nurse."

I said, "If you could, would you be a nurse right this minute?" She said, "I would love to be a nurse." I said, "Well then why aren't you a nurse?" She said, "Well, I was studying to be a nurse and then I fell in love." I said, "Well, that shouldn't stop you from being a nurse."

And she said, "Well, then we had two children and before long we couldn't afford it anymore and I dropped out of school and the years went by and now I'm working 2 jobs." I said, "Do you still long to be a nurse?" "Yes." "What's stopping you right this minute from being a nurse?" She said, "I'd have to go back to school." "Why don't you go back to school?" "I don't have the money for a babysitter for two children." I said, "If you had the money for a babysitter would you go back to school and would you be a nurse?" "I would love to be a nurse."

I said, "Let me ask you kind of an unusual question, do you believe God wants you to be a nurse?" She looked away for a moment, she said, "You know, I think that He does." I said, "Well, if God wants you to be a nurse and you want to be a nurse then there's a way for you to be a nurse right now. So who is there in your life at this moment who would baby-sit your children for nothing, because that person is there right this minute?" She almost burst into tears and she said, "It's my mother!"

I said, "I thought your mother's a nurse." "No, she retired two weeks ago. She loves our kids. She'd probably pay me." I said, "Well that can cover the tuition. Maybe you should do that." I looked across the table at my Hollywood producer friend, his eyes are this big, his mouth's hanging open and he's shaking his head. He said, "If you'd told me this happened I would have never believed that was possible, but now I saw it with my own eyes."

I turned back to the waitress. At that moment, behind her back, a booth over here, somebody else slid in. She turns around, it happens to be, turns out to be a good girlfriend. She stops talking to us, drops her pad, slides in the booth, starts crying and says, "I'm going to be a nurse!" Right in front of my eyes.

Three nights ago I was on a cigar club in New York City. A bunch of businessmen from Wall Street invited me to come speak to them and we had a tremendous time, if I could see them. And we were around this table with high power guys and I began talking to them about their dream. And the man right next to me had a dream to have his own television program and he was the MC and he was fabulous. And I kept on talking to him and said, "How long have you wanted to have your own TV show?" He said, "15 years." I said, "15 years? When are you going to do it?" "I don't know, when God lets me."

I said, "Sir, don't you be blaming God for not doing your dream. Do you believe God wants you to do this? That's the key question." "Yeah, I do." "Then there's a way to do it." I said to him, "Will you be on TV by January?" He said, "How on earth can I possibly do that?" I said, "Sir, that's the secret of a dream. You never know how you're going to do it before you commit to doing it."

When God gives a dream in your heart it's always too big for you to do. In fact, it overwhelms you, isn't that true? And when I go around and begin to talk to people, if you can put your finger on their dream, they'll become emotional. And I've had so many people, male or female, begin to just tear up and so many of them say, "I've never told anybody my dream."
You see it's so precious to you and so precious to me. Do you know why it's so precious? It's the center of who you are. You see the dream of God determined everything about you. You didn't determine you were good at this and bad at this. You didn't determine how smart you were. You didn't determine what you look like. You didn't determine what family you were born into or what time in history you were born. That was all predetermined to you and I promise you one thing, you didn't determine the dream that was in your heart.

You see the dream of God is the reason the way you are. You don't start with the way you are wondering; I wonder if I could get a purpose out of this. The purpose precedes who you are.
And I want to talk to you about that, because I talked to that man. He didn't want to commit and I said, "You know you will live the rest of your life not fulfilling your dream because you will not commit to do that which you believe you're supposed to do until you know how and that's not the way dreams happen." Dreams happen when you accept the fact that is my calling, I don't have to know how, God will give me the way if I just proceed and accept the dream.

We kept on talking and I said, "What's always stopped you?" He said, "money." I said, "Money? Money doesn't stop a dream." He says, "Well it stopped mine." I said, "No sir, it didn't. You stopped it." "Well, I can't afford a pilot." I said, "A pilot? Is that the issue?" "Yes." "Will you commit to be on TV in January?" He looked at me, "So!" Finally got emotional and said, "You mean right here?" I said, "Yes, sir, with your friends." "I commit."

I said, "Now watch this. So who at the table's going to take care of his pilot?" Within one minute a man said, "I am taping some television, another guy on television, at the end of this month, at the end of this month and I will do your pilot for you, no cost to you." Another miracle because somebody said, "I'll follow the dream." Is the dream too big? Yes. Is it too hard? Yes, of course. Do you know how? Of course not.

Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse number 5, and it says this. God is speaking and I want you to listen to these words cause it's proving what I've just been saying. "Then the word of the Lord came to me, Jeremiah, saying this, 'before, before I, God, formed you in the womb - watch this - before I formed - not by accident - I formed you in the womb, before I formed you in the womb I, God, knew you.'" What? You knew me before I was? Yes, of course. I don't live in time and space, I'm God, and I knew you before you were here. I know the end from the beginning. And I knew you before I made you because that's the basis on which I made you. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I set you apart. It's like walking down from this beautiful stage and walking around and picking that lady right there in the red blouse, that's what it means. I set you apart. I picked you. I picked you. Before you were, I knew you, and before you were I picked you.

You mean there's a purpose in the Dream Giver's heart? Oh my goodness! Is there ever a purpose and whenever a man or woman or a young person agrees with God's right to put the purpose in your heart and to give you that longing to do that. What makes you long to do that? Is it you? You're not there saying, I should long to do the dream. You long to do the dream and you have to kill the longing cause it won't leave you alone. Is this true or false? This is true.

Why am I so intense this morning? Cause I want you to break through at the end of this meeting. I do. This happens all over the world when a person lets their heart open and stops guarding it and saying, "You know what? This is right, this is true. I'm no different than anyone. And there's a sadness that I'm so tired of in my heart cause I know I should have done it." Cause when you don't do it, my friends, you're not fulfilling who you are. You never go to bed at night when you're doing the dream God's put in your heart, saying, "I don't know if today was worth anything, or I don't feel very successful." When you're doing the dream, watch this, the dream determines what you're good at. Everybody loves doing their dream. You don't have a dream you don't like no matter how young you are. When I'm in these poor villages in Africa, Bob, I will stop and ask these young kids, who I love, what do you want to be when you grow up? And do you know, you know this, there's not one of them I've met anywhere who didn't have an immediate answer. Why? Who put that in there? They didn't sit down and say, 'let me consider the options of my dream.' Who put the dream? God put the dream and every single dream that God puts in a man or woman's or a young person's heart they love the idea of the dream. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. And I, in this case for the life of Jeremiah, I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations." God did You appoint Jeremiah, of all the people in time and space, to do this one thing? Yes I did. Yes I did. Yeah, but You didn't really do that with everybody, do You? Well then just read Jeremiah. I did it for him. Read it for Paul. I did it for him. Read it for David and you can find it in Psalm 139. I do it for everybody.
I don't know about how you feel about that but that sets my heart free cause instead of thinking God, if I surrender to God He'll make me do something I hate. If I surrender to God I'll be doing what I love to do.

But you know what happens, and I'm on the first half of the first chapter of "The Dream Giver" right now, this is the first stage. If you don't come to grips with your dream you don't need to know the rest of the book cause it tells you how to go from here to the dream. But the second you accept the dream, here's what's going to happen, here's stage 2: the dream is always outside of where you're comfortable. It's never.. let's just say for a moment that this is where I'm comfortable. I'm getting more comfortable here. This is nice. This is let's say this is my comfort zone. You have one and I have one. It's what we've been doing. But the dream is never here, is it? It's never what you're comfortable with. The dream is always over there. The dream is always way over here. And it scares the daylights out of you, isn't that truth? That's what happened to Jeremiah. As soon as he heard the fact that God formed him, that God knew him, that God set him apart, and that God appointed him to do that, he had an immediate reaction that's universal, it's chapter 2. It is "then I, Jeremiah, said to God, 'Oh, Lord God, behold, I can't do this. I can't speak, for I'm a child." Do you know what everybody's first reaction is, ladies and gentlemen? It's the same one. I have it. You have it. It's called the wall of fear that exists at the edge of your comfort zone.

And I used to pray when I was younger, "God, please bless me, please expand my territory. Let me do more for You." And God would bring me to the edge of my comfort zone, I'd feel anxious and upset and frustrated and I would feel afraid and I'd say, "If that was of God I wouldn't feel afraid." And because I felt afraid I would run back to the middle of my comfort zone. I'd get in the fetal position and I'd get the little clicker. And then I'd pray again, "God, would You please expand my territory," and He'd bring me out and I'd feel fear again, I'd say, "That can't be the right one cause if it was the right one I wouldn't have any fear," and I'd run back into the middle. And I did this time after time until there wasn't a two lane highway there was an 18 lane LA highway between the center of my comfort zone and the edge of it. No one told me that is how everyone feels. No one told me.

And I thought I was the only one. You see when God told Moses the dream, what'd he feel? Afraid, so what'd God say? Don't be afraid. I used to think if I was only positive this was the dream I wouldn't feel afraid so God tells Joshua, "This is the dream." What does Joshua say? I'm scared to death. Then I realize it's the normal response to the dream in your heart to feel afraid. You must take the fear, watch this carefully, I'm out of time. Take the fear, don't focus on the fear, focus on the dream. Only when you focus on the dream, watch this carefully, and the dream becomes more important to you than the fear. Until I stopped being afraid of being afraid, until I stopped being afraid of being afraid and said, "My comfort isn't the most important thing to me. Being comfortable isn't the most important thing in life." That's selfishness at times, isn't it? This is what I've been made to do, therefore what do you do? You don't wait for the fear to leave because, friends, that man at the table, that fear didn't go away. And before the night was over two other men in the same table had a same breakthrough. Why? It's the will of God that we follow the dream. That's why I wrote the book. More of us need to be doing this. Cause if you don't follow your dream, do you realize how many people will be affected cause you didn't follow your dream?

You see a dream is helping somebody else's need. It's God's dream and God's dream is never selfish. It starts out selfish but eventually it doesn't. A dream is helping other people. And therefore you go toward this and you can't imagine the more you pursue the dream the more God is going to use you in ways you never imagined possible.

But now enough talking, enough preaching. Something very unusual is going to happen right now. Sunday morning, some of you are going to make a decision right here. I wish I was sitting at a table in a smoke filled room with you to ask you eye-to-eye, "Okay, don't you put it off a moment more. You know what you're supposed to do. Will you, this morning, right while I'm talking, will you come to the Dream Giver of heaven and will you say to Him, "I do surrender to the dream. I'm taking my fear in one hand and I'm taking courage and I'm going to do the dream." If you're one of that people that you would say, "Starting today I'm going to follow the dream," I want to pray for you because you're the people that are going to change the world. That's how I got to South Africa, following the dream.

So if you're that person and you want me to pray for you and you could care less about what anybody else thinks, would you please stand up and would you come and stand down here and let me pray for you, right this minute?

And a little bit of quiet organ music, if we could, just quietly in the background as people come forward. Hundreds are coming forward this morning. What a touching moment this is to me and to you and to heaven above as men and women respond to the call of God to follow the dream that He has placed in their hearts. To not say no to fear anymore, to not say "I can't" anymore, to not say "I won't" anymore, but to say, "Lord God, please let me do the dream. Please let me do the dream." Hundreds are coming from every direction. What a turning point this is going to be.
And I want to speak to one or two of you who are still frozen in fear. I want to say I know the fear, but you are the one I'm talking to right this minute. Don't you dare say, "I'm too old." Do you remember Caleb was 80 years old when he said to God, "Let me have the men, the giants and the top of the mountain. Let me go for the dream. I'm still 80 but I'm still got life. Let me go for it again." You're never too old and you're never too young. Now many are still coming from the balcony. Here comes a gentleman right now. Here comes a Caleb. Cane in one hand but a heart burning in the other hand. Let's give him a hand. I love when I see that. There comes some more. Now it's time to beseech heaven. Would you bow in prayer with me?

Our Father in heaven, this church, this staff, this team has stood for following the dream for decades. And I have been the recipient many, many times from the messages from this pulpit from father and son. I thank You that they have encouraged me all these years to follow the dream. And now I stand by their side proclaiming the truth of God's word once again. And that we come before You with all these men and women, these young people, and we proclaim this is a holy moment in heaven, this is a holy moment on earth. And we will not succumb to fear again, we will not say "I can't" or "I won't" again because we believe when You call us there is a way cause You make the way. Therefore accept our apologies from the past, we set it aside, we turn toward the future and by Your grace and for Your glory we'll be known as a man or woman in heaven who followed the dream that God put in our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen and amen.

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