Everybody take a breath, deep breath in. One more time cause you’re going to need it today. The Holy Spirit got a hold of you? Spirit of the Living God, descend on this group, bless them, bless them with Your words today, in Jesus’ name.
Okay, I’m ready to go because your life is about to change forever this morning. You didn’t realize it when you woke up and decided to come to church, you didn’t realize it when you turned on the television to this program today, that your life was about to change. And it will never be the same because this past week I prayed a prayer for you. I prayed a prayer and I said, ‘Lord, what do You want to say to this congregation today? What I have to say doesn’t matter. Apart from You, I’ve got nothing to say to this group of people. Nothing. What do You want to say to the people today,’ and instantly boom, that quick, boom like a lightening bolt, I got a word from the Lord. So this isn’t my message for you today, this is God’s message for you today. Do I have your attention? Do I have your attention? Because God has a message that you need to hear. Are you ready for it? God said to me to tell you its time to dream again.
Now in case you missed it, in case you missed it, God said to say to you its time to dream again. Its time to dream again. Because many of you, in fact I might say all of you have forgotten how to dream. You have been so beaten up by the newspaper headlines of this economy and this recession and the trouble that you’ve seen and lives and the break up of marriages and families falling apart, you’ve been so beaten up that you’ve forgotten how to dream. God said to me you’ve forgotten how to dream. Today, that ends. Today, you need to start dreaming again and that’s from the word of the Lord. You need to start dreaming again.
Now as you think about that, it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been through a divorce; the pain is still fresh, it still hurts. God says to you its time to dream again. You’ve lost your job. You’ve spent months looking for a job, maybe you’ve spent a year looking for a job. God’s saying to you today, its time to start dreaming again. You’ve lost your business in this economy and worse than that, you’ve lost your nerve. You’ve lost your nerve saying I can’t do this again. God is saying to you its time to dream again. You’re a student wondering where you’re going in life, trying to figure out where you’re going to go to college, what you’re going to do for a career and fear: f-e-a-r has taken over your life. God is saying to you its time to starting dreaming again.
You’re battling sickness and pain. Your body is racked with pain. In fact, you may have months to live. The doctors may have told you, you may have weeks to live. God is saying to you, you are not dead yet. You are not dead yet. Did you hear that? Yogi Berra, the famous baseball player, you’ve heard this quote before, he was famous for saying “it’s not over till its over.” He got it half right. When your life, when you are living inside of Jesus Christ, it’s never over period. Never over period when you are living inside of Christ. Because God’s word says to you, “you are more than conquerors through Him who loves you.” “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” “You are the light of the world.” “You are the salt of the earth.” That’s scripture. Scripture. Anyone seeing a pattern here? Does anybody see a pattern here? Have you woken up yet this morning? What’s our theme? Wake up God’s Dream in You. Have you woken up this morning because God’s saying to you, its time to dream again. But oh wait a minute, there’s the push back. I’m not sure that words for me, Jim. I’m not sure that’s for me. It can’t possibly be for me. What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work? I know where your mind’s at. What if I fail? God has an answer for you because a lot of you are thinking that this morning. What if I fail? God gave you a word, gave it to me to give to you this morning. From Holy Scripture, that’s just for you. This is to light your fire.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” That’s from Hebrews 12 and 1. God’s saying to you this morning, run the race.
I didn’t know Jason was going to be here this morning. We were actually sitting on a plane going to Houston a few days ago, and Gretchen says to Sheila, ‘the guest that was supposed to be here next week, their schedule got wrong and they had him coming this week.’ And she said to Sheila ‘do we have the time to have this guest,’ and Sheila says ‘of course. God must have something in mind.’ I didn’t know Jason was going to be here. A guy who runs races! And this is the scripture God gave me to give to you this morning. God is saying run the race.
Now if you notice anything about athletes that run races, they get down into that crouch and their hands are down and their muscles are taut and they’re ready to go. And boom the starter’s pistol goes off and they run. They don’t know if they’re going to finish the race. They don’t know if they’re going to win. They do not know if they’re going to pull a ham string, and never run again. They don’t know that. They just run the race. Why do they do that? Why would they run that race? They have something that you and I need. They believe something that you and I need to believe. When they get down into that crouch, they have faith that they’re going to finish. You hear that? They have faith that they’re going to finish.
Are you running on that kind of faith? What you don’t see in a track meet is that athlete get over here, get down into that crouch, their muscles are taut and boom the starters pistol goes up and they stand up and they do this: I don’t feel like running today. I’m just not feeling it. I’m just not feeling it. How many of you have been at that starting line, the gun goes off, boom the fear kicks in and I’m just not feeling it today, Lord. I’m just not feeling it. That’s why God wanted you to have this message this morning. It’s time to dream again.
Now how in the world are we supposed to run this race? How are we supposed to do it? How are we supposed to start dreaming again? Well the scripture just told us, it says to throw off everything that hinders. Let me hear you say everything. One more time. God says its time to throw off everything that hinders. Everything that hinders. That means, you’ve got to hear this carefully, its time to doubt your doubts. Its time to doubt your doubts because Christ never said to you, you can’t do it. Christ never said to you, you can’t move mountains. Christ never said to you you’ll never do greater works than I. Christ never said that to you, did He? Find it for me right here in the scripture. He didn’t say that. He said “you are more than conquerors.” “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” “You are the light of the world.” “You are the salt of the earth.” Is the message getting through? What time is it? It’s time to dream again. It’s time to dream again.
And then Hebrews tells us to “throw off the sin” that so easily entangles. Now here, let’s go back to our runner. You’re out of the blocks, you’re running neck and neck with the runners beside you, and then boom you stumble. In our lives that’d be sin. God maybe is on a different time table than you are. You’ve been trying to do this dream and it’s just not coming true because God’s on a different time table from you and so okay, now you start taking short cuts. Cheat here a little bit, lie here a little bit, little white lie not going to hurt anybody. Going to steal here a little bit. Oh my relationship’s not going so well with my wife so I’m going to look over here a little bit. Pretty soon, you’re looking back and saying where’s God? And you know this applies. Where’s God? Well you left Him back here somewhere. We all do. That’s why Hebrews says throw off the sin that so easily entangles, easily entangles.
And when you need to start dreaming again, you need to get rid of the things that are standing in your way, mostly that’s yourself. Because you have so much doubt that you can do anything. I was that way. I spent 20 years working in this ministry, 20 years with never once a thought about standing in front of you. Never once. And then one night, a couple of years ago, God gave me a dream of a message and it scared me enough that I wanted the first ticket out of town. I was like Jonah in Sheila’s message last week. I wanted the first ticket out of here. I didn’t want any part of that. But God said, He gave me a dream. He gave me a dream and when God gives dreams, you need to embrace it.
But don’t feel bad if you feel like I can’t do it because there’s a long line up of people in the bible who said I can’t do it. Moses said ‘who am I?’ David said ‘who am I?’ Jeremiah said ‘I’m too young.’ Abraham said ‘I’m too old.’ And Sarah actually laughed when she said ‘I’m too old.’ Peter denied Christ, and are you starting to see a pattern? When God gives a dream, sometimes it scares the tar out of us. That’s when you need to go for it. That’s when you need to run the race because there’s a race marked out for you. And your next question is going to be Jim what’s God’s dream for my life, because you’re all asking that question. God’s saying its time to dream again; what is God’s dream for me?
Well I’m going to lead you through a very simple prayer, but it comes with a warning label. I’ll warn you right now, it comes with a warning label. If you pray this prayer, be ready because God is going to change your life, I guarantee it. Close your eyes with me just a minute and pray this prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, with an open and sincere heart, I come before You now. My King of kings and Lord of lords reveal to me Your dream for my life. I only want what You want for me, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Now here’s your job. Listen carefully. Over the next days, could be hours, could be weeks, it won’t be long. God’s going to start tugging at your heart. He’s going to plant that dream in you. I don’t know how, I don’t have to. God created you. He knows why He created you. He’s going to plant a dream in your heart. Your job is not going to be to run the other direction when He does because it may scare you. It just might scare you.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Now what does it take to run this race? It takes faith. It takes faith. And that leads us back to where we started. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,” who in the world is that and what’s that doing in this scripture verse. Who is this great cloud of witnesses? I’m going to introduce them to you. This is who the great cloud of witnesses are: they are your encouragement for faith in your life. Now as I read this scripture, you can keep your eyes open, you can put your eyes on the cross, you can close your eyes, but focus on the word of the Lord to hear the encouragement that you need this morning to run this race and dream this dream that God’s putting on your heart.
This reading that I’m going to give you comes from Hebrews 11. It’s the chapter that precedes Hebrews 12:1 that we just got done reading. “Now faith is being sure of what we hoped for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as a righteous man. By faith, Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God and without faith, it is impossible to please God because everyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Are you earnestly seeking God? By faith, when warned about things not yet seen in holy fear, he built an ark to save his family. By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go to a place, would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going. He didn’t know where he was going but he went on faith. By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren, was able to become a father, and from this one man, nearly as good as dead, came descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky and countless as the sand on the sea shore. By faith, Abraham, when God tested, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” That means give your all to whatever dream God’s gives to you, give it your all.
“By faith, Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw he was no ordinary child. They were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose, chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith, the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient and what more shall I say. I do not have time to tell you about Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith, conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised, who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword whose weakness was turned to strength and became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. These were all commended for their faith.” God, it says here, God had planned something better. God planned something better for you.
Ladies and gentleman, there is nothing, there is no difference between you and all of these people that are talking about the live by faith. There is one difference: they lived by faith. They lived by faith. Folks, its time to ratchet up your faith because God is saying to you, it’s time to dream again. Say it with me: it’s time to dream again. One more time: it’s time to dream again.
Lord God, there are doubters in this congregation, there are doubters on TV. Pour Your spirit of courage and strength into everybody that’s listening. Let them have the faith to say yes when You pour a powerful dream into their life. The world will never be the same after today because Your dream is going to be poured into countless people all around the world; in Jesus’ name we claim this, amen, amen.