Good morning. What a delight to be here with you. I
was in Washington DC recently with some top level executives and I asked them
two questions. Question number one is do you have a dream? One hundred percent,
as you would imagine with this level of people, said yes I have a dream and
then I asked them the question have you achieved your dream? Seventy five
percent said no I have not yet achieved or accomplished that dream.
For the last several years, I’ve wanted to write a
book on helping people achieve their dreams because I believe you have one. How
many of you in your lifetime have had a dream. Can I see your hands? We all
have dreams. And yet many of us never achieve it and so over the last several
years, I’ve wanted to write a book that would help a person achieve their
dream, and to be honest with you, I’ve been frustrated a couple of times of the
attempts because I thought that the book was a little huffy and puffy. Didn’t
have substance. It wasn’t solid. So recently, as I began my attempt for the
book now that has just been released, Put
Your Dream to the Test, I came to realize that the more valid reasons you
have to accomplish your dream, the higher the odds are that you will. If you
only have one reason to accomplish your dream, it’s very possible that life
will kind of get tough on you during the journey and you’ll kind of back away
from it, but if you and I have several valid reasons to achieve our dream, the
odds are that we will. And that’s from my book; Put Your Dream to the Test. And I would like to now go to Joseph,
the greatest dreamer in the bible. And I would like us to see how he put his
dream to the test, just as you and I can, in his dream journey to go from a
believer in the dream to a buyer of the dream. Where you see one of the ten
questions in my book is the ownership question: is your dream really your
So let’s look at it and let’s look at the life of
Joseph and let us watch him show us how to go from a believer to a buyer of our
Point #1: Don’t let others talk you into your dream.
We’ve had that happen, haven’t we? We’ve had somebody else, maybe a family
member, a very close friend who wanted to see us be something or do something
and all of a sudden we kind of bought into their dream, not our dream and so
now we are beginning to pursue a dream that is not ours. I know that for a
fact. When I was young and just getting into first grade, my parents thought
that I had great music ability. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. And if the parents
don’t think you have great abilities, your grandparents surely do. And then,
they talked me into taking piano lessons and so I started taking piano lessons
in the first grade and I kind of personally thought I was good, also. Until
about the first year we had our piano recital and a girl that had been taking
lessons only six months, she was in the recital, she was a friend of mine, her
name was Elaine Mosely and when I played my piece, I thought that was pretty
good, and then when she got up and she played her piece, I looked at myself and
I said to myself this is not your gift. But for the next four years, I
practiced the piano and took piano lessons because it was a dream for my parents.
I remember the day that I had to go talk to them
about this because you see when I was in the 5th grade, I went to
the first high school basketball game and I watched these high school players
play basketball and the thing that impressed me the most were the
introductions, when they turn all the lights out and the spotlight was on the
ball player and they would run out in the middle of the court and they would
announce their name and I thought oh, oh, that’s what I want to do. I don’t
want to play the piano. That’s my parents dream. I want to play basketball. I
went home and I shared with them I wanted to play basketball and my parents
said okay let’s go for it and they put a little ball court out by our house and
I practiced and when I was in the 5th grade and the 6th grade, our team went to the finals of the city. And I’ll never forget the first
time I went to the gym where I had seen the big boys play, while the other guys
were out there practicing, I went over and sat at the same place I had watched
them sit and I closed my eyes, that’s turning the lights out in the gym, and I
called my name and I ran out to the center court. And it just felt so good and
I thought this is what I love. This is my dream. You see Joseph, as you go into
chapter 37; he understood that this was his dream. It wasn’t given to him by
his father, it wasn’t given to him by his brothers, in fact three times it says
Joseph had a dream. He owned it. It was his. And I would say to you today in
going from a believer to a buyer of your dream, the first thought is don’t let
others talk you into your dream.
The second thought is don’t let others talk you out
of your dream. Because that happens, doesn’t it? We have a dream and we kind of
share it with others and in the beginning stages, that dream is quite
vulnerable and I think we’ve probably have had all times where we would maybe
share something we wanted to do, something we kind of felt in our hearts,
something it was kind of important to us, to have somebody walk into our life
and say oh we don’t think that’s good. We don’t think you can do that. We don’t
think that’s possible in your life. In chapter 37, when Joseph told his father
and his brothers about his dream, the bible says his father reprimanded him.
What’s with all this dreaming? Am I and your mother and your brothers all
supposed to bow down to you? Now his brothers were really jealous but his
father brooded over the whole business. You see as Joseph, a very young
teenager, began to share his dream with his family, they began to try to talk
him out of that dream.
I read of an interesting experiment recently of four
monkeys that these scientists put in a room, a long pole with bananas at the
top. And as the four monkeys were in the room, of course one of them spotted
the bananas and began to climb the pole and got almost to the top of the pole
and they doused the monkey with just a strong torrent of water and the monkey
came scampering down without the bananas. And then, another monkey tried it and
doused with water and the third monkey, the fourth monkey, all the monkeys
tried to get the bananas and then they would be doused with cold water.
Finally, of course, none of the monkeys are going to go up that pole to get the
And then they replaced one of the original monkeys
that had been doused with water with one that didn’t have that experience and
he came in the room and he saw the bananas and he started to climb up the pole
but this time the other monkeys would grab him and wouldn’t let him climb the
pole. Slowly they replaced one monkey with another until now four monkeys later
are in the same room, none of them have ever been doused with water, none of
them have ever had a bad experience but they’re pulling each other down and not
letting each other reach the bananas. I thought how true that is to life.
People sometimes who have never achieved, some people who have never realized
their dream and yet they try to talk us out of our dream and keep us from
reaching and being what God really perhaps intended you or me to become. Don’t
let others talk you out of the dream.
And thirdly, don’t let others knock you out of your
dream. Because in Genesis chapter 37, as Joseph came to his brothers, they
spotted him off in the distance and by the time he got there, they had cooked up
a plot to kill him and the brothers were saying “here comes the dreamer. Let’s
kill him and throw him in one of the old cisterns. We can say that a vicious
animal ate him and then we’ll see what his dreams amount to.” You see to go
from a believer to a buyer of your dream; you first of all don’t talk yourself
out of the dream. You don’t let others talk you out of the dream but then there
are times when people will try to literally knock you out of the dream as they
did Joseph. But here’s the most important point this morning.
Point #4 – Don’t talk yourself out of your dream. If
it’s a dream that God has given you, I would encourage you to make it a part of
your life. You see the most important person that you’ll listen to; the most
important person that I’ll listen to all day is me. And I want to make sure
that I say the right things to myself. And that’s true in Joseph’s life. He
would have been tempted at times to talk himself out of the dream but he
decided that he would pursue the dream that God had given to him.
Let me share with you a story that involves Dr.
Schuller. As a young pastor, Margaret and I, our first church was in Southern
Indiana, Hillham Indiana. The first Sunday in our first service, there were
only three people and two of them were Margaret and me. There was an old lady
who lived by the church whose name was Maude, and it was Maude, Margaret and
me. That was it. But we just absolutely fell in love with that little rural
area and of course I had a dream to build a great church and I didn’t know how
to build a great church. I grew up in a kind of a denomination that was just
kind of non progressive, in fact their idea of progress was moving backwards
slowly. And I said if I can just get to great men and if I can just get to
great churches that have been built and if I can ask questions, I know that
they’ll teach me how to build a church because it was my dream and so I got the
list of the great churches in America and the pastors of these great churches
and I began to slowly talk to them or call them on the phone and they didn’t
know who I was. I said my name’s John Maxwell, I have a little church, but I
have a dream of building a great church and I’ll give you a hundred dollars if
you’ll give me thirty minutes of your time. Now I was only making about $6,000.
That was a lot of money. But I was so desperate to hear people who had already
achieved their dream so that I could learn how to do it, so I would slowly,
over the next few years, I would go to these towns and I would sit down and I would
talk to these leaders and they would talk to me about how they have built their
church and I would take notes and many times afterwards they would lay hands on
me and pray over me, and I would go out into the parking lot and sometimes I’d
put my notes in the seat beside me and I’d just lay my head on the steering
wheel and I’d pray and I’d cry like a baby and I’d say God if You did that for
them, You can do that for me. If You helped them build a church, You can help
me build a church.
It was a great experience in my life. I met a lot of
great men, attended a lot of great churches, got a lot of great advice. People
that came along side of me to love me, to encourage me, to help me and lift up
the dream that I had in my life. It was a wonderful experience. It helped me to
go from being a believer of a dream to a buyer of the dream. But Dr. Schuller
was one of those leaders. Dr. Schuller, I have in my hands a book that I picked
up in a bookstore in 1970. It’s entitled, Move
Ahead with Possibility Thinking.
picked this book up and I just devoured it; every page. In fact at the
beginning of the book, he tells the story of himself going to a great church in
Dallas, George Truitt’s church. And there had his dream kind of fired up because
he saw this great man who had built a great church and so that was the
beginning of his call to come to California. And as I was reading the story, he
said something in this book that greatly touched my life. He said the greatest
churches are yet to be organized. And I remember reading those words, Dr.
Schuller, and the spirit of God speaking to me and say John, he means you.
can build a great church for God. And I, oh I wish you could see this book, I
mean the inside I had just quotes of his all over, I mean this was in 1970 I
wrote these things down. I have a place in my office where I have books that
have greatly impacted my life. And this book is one of them, in fact Dr.
Schuller; two of your books are in that section of my library. You’re the only
author in the world that I have two books that have greatly impacted my life
and this was one of them. And I just want you to know, as I wrote Put Your Dream to the Test book, I
thought of how many times you had put your thoughts and your ideas on paper, or
in message that just greatly impacted a lot of lives, including mine. This is a
treasure of mine, in fact I brought it to you a few years ago, and you wrote in
it, this book, John I wrote the book, you’re proving it. Your friend, Robert
I tell you my friends, millions of people in this
world, millions, could say that this man helped them to realize and receive the
dream that they had. So Dr. Schuller, just this week my newest book Put Your Dream to the Test has just been
released. And this is a special Hour of Power edition of Put Your Dream to the Test and this is the first copy, in fact I
just saw it this morning when I came to church. And I asked them if I could do
this and they said that I could, I would like Dr. Schuller to give you the
first copy of this special edition because you had helped me to realize my
dream and just like the dream journey of Joseph, who as he walked and was
faithful to that dream, God brought things to pass that would not have happened
if he wouldn’t have had a dream and would not have held onto it if he wouldn’t
have gone from a believer to a buyer in the dream. You’ve done this for me, so
from my heart to your heart, and I know from the heart of this congregation and
all of the television viewers around the world, we greatly love you and respect
you and here is my first copy of the book Put
Your Dream to the Test. God bless you.
John Maxwell. I’ll tell you I thought so much of this book that we’re going to
offer a copy of it to all of you who write in and send a little gift, of
course. And I’ve never done that, I don’t think, with another book except
Norman Peale’s, The Power of Positive
JM: Power of Positive Thinking.
Maxwell, Put Your Dream to the Test.
And where’s the hundred dollar bill, in here?
I’m surprised that he didn’t ask it with interest, since that was 35 years ago.
May God bless you as you realize your dream. Thank you very much.