#2043 – Put Your Dream to the Test I – How to Go From Believer to Buyer (03 May 09)

The Message

Dr.John Maxwell

Special Guest

Michael Franzese

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
O Jesus, We Adore You/What a Friend
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
We Walk By Faith
Marie Barlow-Martin – How Great Thou Art
Heav’n is Here/Sweet, Sweet Spirit

The Message

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 dream?

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 dream.


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 bananas.


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.

RHS:   You’re kidding.

JM:      I 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.

RHS:   Yes.

JM:      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 Schuller.


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.

RHS:   John, 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 Thinking.

JM:      Power of Positive Thinking.

RHS:   John Maxwell, Put Your Dream to the Test. And where’s the hundred dollar bill, in here?

JM:      Hey 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.



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