son and I had planned very carefully the four messages in
this series based on the four chapters of the most recent
book I have written, "If You
Can Dream It, You Can Do It!" It is the smallest
and shortest book I've ever put together, because I wanted
to offer it free to teens and young people. I wanted them
to grab hold of this central message: If
you believe, you can achieve ... go for your dreams!
today I am as stunned and shocked at the Columbia shuttle
tragedy as each of you are, and I asked the question, "Is
my message, "If You can Dream It You Can Do It"
as you pursue your dream there will be risk involved, but
God will bless you throughout. It doesn't mean He will protect
you in from bloodshed, but it does mean that God will have
the last word. He will protect your immortal soul, and He
will proclaim His love to you forevermore.
message of this book is in four simple, but powerful action
2) I can!
3) I will!
4) I believe!
I very carefully thought about how I would close the little
book, and I chose a true story, which I have shared with
you maybe a hundred times in my almost fifty years as your
friend Dr. Dan Poling had a son, Clark, who was a chaplain
in the Armed Forces in World War II. And then the day came
when his ship, the Dorchester, was torpedoed by the Germans
and it sank. That headline was as shocking as today's newspaper
(February 2, 2003). Then, all of America picked up their
daily papers and they saw a picture of four chaplains, Clark
Poling, who was a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew and another
Protestant. The four young chaplains, with arms around each
other, were bowing their heads and praying together as the
bow of the ship slipped between the waters and they were
gone forever. They had given their officers' lifejackets
to four enlisted Navy boys. They sacrificed their lives.
headline that appeared in the paper in World War II ...
"Four chaplains die with hundreds
of sailors" ... was as shocking as today's newspaper
with the headline" "Columbia
is lost. The shuttle burns up over Texas, killing all seven
crewmembers." And beneath the headline are the
pictures of the seven astronauts in their space suits.
God Calls Us To Dream
their stories and you will see how these seven astronauts
for years and years had a dream that they could become astronauts.
It was a choice and they made it. Yes, and they succeeded.
They went into the astronaut program, knowing very well
the risks involved. They were doctors. They were educated
intelligent people. They were engineers who knew that machines
could break down and there could be problems. They all very
intentionally made the decision to carry out their lifelong
dream knowing the risks. More than one had a special word
they wrote to their loved ones if they didn't come back.
They knew they were going into space ... that it was dangerous,
but they were truly alive because they believed in their
dream. They had faith. They were believers. Yes, you make
your dreams come true when you affirm: I
am! I can! I will! But ... if the ship goes down,
those who remain will have to go to the window like Clark's
father, Dr. Dan Poling and say, "I
believe! I believe! I believe!
a wonderful faith Christianity is! There is no other faith
that can match it. There is no other religion that has as
its central character, Jesus of Nazareth. At the age of
thirty-three, two thousand years ago, the wisdom that poured
out of the mouth of Jesus Christ has never been surpassed
by any psychiatrist, psychologist or clergy. And the text
for my message this morning are His words,
you can believe, all things are possible to those who believe." (Mark 9:23)
called to dream the dream, take the risk ... then what?
What if there is disaster down the road? Then it's time
to say: "I believe! I believe!" Dan Poling would
never see his son, Clark, again. But he said, "I believe!"
Today many families and loved ones will never see their
beloved astronaut again. The seven brave heroes, who on
the way home fell to their deaths, knew there would be risks.
what does this say about God Almighty? Does He inspire us
to dream great dreams ... make the commitment ... pay the
price ... receive the laurels ... and then go down in a
disaster? What does that say about God? Read Psalm 121 ...
the key line in this Psalm is ... "He
shall preserve your soul." (Psalm 121:7) That
is the last word. Read the Bible. Look at how God calls
us to dream. He'll equip us to succeed. He'll see us through
to honorable success. Then we pay the risks. And if, for
whatever reason, sometime through human errors, sometimes
through our own sins, and sometimes through reasons we will
never understand or know, disaster strikes. Don't
blame God. He is not finished with you yet! When you enter
the death zone, God is ready for His last move. He will
then move in and preserve your soul forevermore. And that
will not be the end of the story. It is the beginning of
eternity, with Him, for you. Wow.
Believe in Your Dream
are your dreams? You must have some dreams. I gave communion
this morning to Neita Armstrong. She is a Lt. Col. In the
United States Marine Corps and is being deployed this week
to the danger zone in the Middle East. Neita has been a
member of this church for 17 years. I baptized her. She
was raised in a strong Christian family. Her mother is still
living and on December 17th, 2002 Neita's mother made the
news. Why? Because she had a dream since she was 21 years
old. Her dream was that someday she would fly an airplane,
solo. She always had her goals and her to-do lists. Most
importantly was her goal to raise her four children, three
of whom received advance laurels in the Marine Corps, including
Neita's mother did not give up on her goal to someday
fly an airplane, solo. So, 59 years later her dream came
true and she made the news only a few weeks ago. The newspaper
showed her picture with the airplane. The paper quoted her;
"They put me in the plane. Then they locked the door
behind me and I realized I was alone so I started the engine
and took off." The headline was: "Eighty
year old woman solos!"
believe in dreams. We believe they come from God Almighty
who pours the passion into our lives so that we will be
motivated to do God's will and change the world as His redeemed
believe that our dreams come from praying for God's plan
for us to do something that will bring glory to God and
make this world better in the one life we live. That's the
heart of the Christian faith. Yes, we must be prepared to
take up our cross, follow Jesus Christ, and pay the price.
But always God promises His ultimate
God will have the last word ... and it will be good.
we lost the shuttle many of you, like myself, have been
thinking of the time in 1986 when the Challenger exploded
as it lifted up from its pad. Watching that horrible tragedy
was the wife of the commander, Dick Scobee. June and the
wives of the other six astronauts who died in that tragedy.
June Scobee felt that it was her responsibility to comfort,
encourage and build up the faith of all of these families
who together, watched the Challenger explode right in front
of them. Later I urged June, now June Scobee Rodgers, a
dear friend, to write a book to share her positive faith
and turn her scar into a star. June did and the book is
entitled, "Silver Linings." 
this book will be a comfort to the grieving families of
the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In the first pages June quotes
the poetry of John Gillespie Magee, Jr., who at 19 years
of age, in the Canadian Air Force, lost his life in World
War II. Before he died he wrote these words:
Oh! I slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung.
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
-John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 
Dreamers of great dreams take risks, but they have a belief!
believe that the dream is for them. They believe in the
dream they have to do. They believe the dream somehow was
put before them by God, that somehow it will be the meaning
of their life and they believe that somehow, whatever happens,
God will have the last word and it will be good.
of the dream will touch the face of God and be happy that
they went for the dream God planned just for them.
the opening page of her book, "Silver
Linings," June Scobee Rodgers included this
famous quote of Carl Sandberg:
happens unless there is first a dream."
make life happen. Make things happen that will make our world
more courageous ... more loving ... more encouraging ...
more peaceful. Dare to dream a dream for God!
there are no answers, there is Jesus."
is a personal message June penned to me in the inside cover
of her book. That's what got June Scobee Rodgers through
the grief and shock of her husband's tragic death. That
is what enabled her to turn her scar
into a star when suddenly she was a widow of the
commander of the Challenger, and now surrounded by the widows
of the other six.
believe in a God who chooses a dream. Yes, there will be
risks involved. God does not promise us and guarantee that
errors or sins or interventions of human and other factors
that accidents will never happen. But God does promise us
that when the accident happens, that's not the last word!
Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve
your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your
coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."
kind of a God do you believe in? I chose, and I still choose
to believe in a God who created heavens and the earth. I
believe in this God who created creatures called human beings
and shares with human beings the capacity to be imaginative,
to dream of what they can do ... what they can be ... how
they can make a difference. And then when they experience
risks and dangers, in prayer they continue on their pathway
to glorify God.
"If you can believe, all things are possible" (Mark 9:23)
when you lose your loved one, you can live again, somehow.
All things are possible to those who believe. Connect with
Jesus. I believe in Him. I believe that Jesus came to earth
and through His life He showed us the face of His Heavenly
Father, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and so
I have chosen to believe in Him. I have chosen to believe
in the teachings of Christ. I have chosen to believe that
Jesus Christ is my Savior forevermore. I've chosen to believe
in the dreams He gives me and the courage He inspires within
me. I've chosen to believe that one day I will stand before
Jesus in that day in which there there is no sunrise and
at Jesus ... that's the kind of a God to believe in ...
and He shall preserve your soul.
O God, it doesn't take any faith to live a safe life, but
it takes a lot of faith to live a real life. Thank You for
giving me dreams that can make the world better. Thank You
for risks that make my character stronger. Thank you for
the guarantee that the last page will be Good News to every
believer as we hear the angels sing, "Well done, good and faithful believer. Enter into the
joy of the Lord." Amen.