Rick Warren - Dreaming the Future God Wants for You
Now if you take out your message notes inside your program, we're starting our annual spiritual growth campaign this weekend. It's going to take us all the way up to Easter. And I am so excited about this campaign. We've literally been planning it for a couple years. I actually tried to start it about a year ago And the Lord said, "No it's not the right time". This campaign is gonna be called Time To Dream, Trusting God To Open Doors. Time To Dream, Trusting God To Open Doors. Now I realize that some of you are new to Saddleback and you don't even know what a spiritual growth campaign is.
So I wanna spend, sorry but just a little bit of review for the rest of you, why we do a campaign, what it involves and what it's all about. There on the front of your outline, what is a Saddleback spiritual growth campaign? It is a concentrated 40 day, spiritual boost to your life that we commit to doing together using multiple learning styles to equip and energize us for our future. Now, that's a mouthful and I need to take it apart word by word and explain it to you. But let me just say this in the 40 years, we've been a church family, we have done well over 30, maybe 35 spiritual growth campaigns in 40 years, almost one a year. In about eight of those, we have had an offering at the end. But in all of them, we have a commitment time at the end where we just say, we're committing ourselves to growing closer and closer to Christ.
Now I want you to circle some words in that definition, a concentrated 40 day spiritual boost circle the word boost. One of the reasons we do campaigns is because we naturally grow in spurts. If you look at anything in nature, they don't grow continuously, they grow spurts. They grow in seasons, things grow fast in the spring, slower in the summer, they stop in the in the fall and they're shut down in the winter. Nothing grows at a constant rate all the time by nature. Naturally, we grow in spurts. And so we do this we have a concentrated spurt every year in our church, where we focus on our personal spiritual development. And we put a big emphasis into it in about 40 days we do it in burst.
Now why do we use 40 days? Why do we use about six weeks? Well, the answer is it takes six weeks to develop a new habit. If you're gonna develop any kind of new habit and basically you're the sum total of your habits in your life. If you're gonna grow, you've got to develop new habits. It takes about three weeks of doing something every day for it to become comfortable and then it takes about another three weeks for you to actually turn it into a habit. The reason why most Christians still today don't have a daily time with God, every day of prayer and Bible reading is 'cause they've never gone six weeks without missing. And it takes doing it every day for six weeks for something to become a habit in your life, you got to do it every day for six weeks.
If you have a quiet time for two or three days and then you stop and then you have a quiet time for two or three days and then you miss a day and then a quiet time for two days and then you miss that's like rolling up a ball of twine and drop it, roll it up and drop it, roll it up and drop it. You're not making any progress. You have to do something every day for about six weeks for it to become a habit. And in our spiritual growth campaigns, we focus on spiritual habits the habit of a daily quiet time, the habit of prayer, the habit of being in a weekly small group, we focus on the habits that help you grow spiritually. And so that's why we do 40 days. If you study the ministry of Jesus, in the three and a half years that he spent with his disciples, he has about six, seven, depending on how you count them spiritual growth campaigns in his ministry, where he puts a strong emphasis on, we're really gonna grow right now we're really gonna focus on our growth.
And then he says, "Fellas, you deserve a break today. Let's pull back to the mountains". And then he'll go out again for another intense period of ministry or mission or maturity. And then after about five or six weeks, he'll pull back so let's go to the desert where there's palms and springs, its Palm Springs, it's actually what it is. And biblical justification for palm springs vacation, there you go. But he didn't always try to push people forward at constant bay, people will burn out that way. Does that make sense? So we grow in spurts that's why we have a burst. We naturally grow by seasons, we're getting ready to go into a season of intense spiritual growth for you.
Number two, it says that to boost your spiritual life that we commit to doing together, circle the word commit. We don't just grow in spurts, we grow by making commitments. Every time you make any kind of commitment, your character grows. I've talked about any kind of commitment. If you commit to buy a car, over a period of months, if you commit to buy a house, over a period of years, if you commit to a job, if you commit to marriage, every time you avoid a commitment, you don't grow. You don't grow in character, you don't grow in maturity, but every time you do make any kind of commitment, even if it's just a little one that is a spiritual step in your growth you're actually going to be more mature every time you make a commitment. And so during our campaigns, we focus on committing our time, our talent, our treasure, focus on committing our lives. Because the more steps of commitment we make, the more we grow.
So we're gonna boost, we're gonna commit, it says we commit to doing together, things we're gonna do together, circle the word together, we not only grow in spurts and we not only grow by making commitments but we grow in community. You grow much, much faster if you have other people supporting you, in your spiritual growth. You develop a habit much faster if you have other people supporting you and that habit. If you decide to go on a diet by yourself or you decide to go on a diet with three or four friends, which one are you more likely to be consistent at? Yeah, you know that. Or if you're gonna have a lose weight or any new habit when you have anybody else helping you, you grow much, much faster.
So in a campaign once a year, we as a whole church family in all of our campus, we go, we're going to do this together. And we're going to pray for each other, we're gonna help each other. And there's power in making cool, smart, intelligent changes in your life. When you do it with other people than when you just do it by yourself, that makes sense? And so we're gonna do it, we do it in the burst. We do it by making commandments, we do it together. And then it says a concentrated 40 day spiritual boost to your life that we commit to doing together all of us together, using multiple learning styles, to equip and energize us for our future, circle learning styles. We all learn in different ways. I'm going to come back to this in just a minute, so I'm not gonna explain it right here. But we all learn in different ways. Now, for the next 40 days in this Time To Dream, Open Doors campaign, what are the goals? Well, we actually have four goals. I want you to see here on the screen.
Number one, our first goal, if you want to write this down or if you don't I'll send it to you. We wanna prepare you for your future. The first goal of this campaign, Time To Dream is to prepare you for your future. Why? So you don't waste it. The only part of your life you have left is the future. Past is done, it's over. Your past is past. You can't change it, so don't worry about it. Your past is past, present, well, that just happened a second ago. All of your life will be lived in the future. So in the Time to Dream Campaign, we're gonna focus on you making the best use of the rest of your life. Using your future to prepare you for your future. The Bible says this on screen Ephesians 2:10. "God made each of us what we are. And he created each of us for a life of good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do". God has already prepared his dream for your life. He's not thinking of that now. Before you were born, God thought up his dream for your life. It's more important for you to get God's dream for your life than for your own dream for your life. All right, we'll come back to that too. But it we're gonna prepare you for your future so you don't waste it.
Number two, second goal is to prepare us, not just you, but all of us together for our future together as a church family. Now, couple weeks ago, I shared that 2020 vision message where we're going as a church family. And if you missed that, you can go back and watch it online. But we're gonna prepare us for our future together and you could see from that message, we've got some really big dreams for our church family. That may be the most important thing you do with your life. Maybe the most important thing you do with your life is what you don't do by yourself but what we do together. Because you by yourself can't do a whole lot me by myself can't do a whole lot. But together, we can move mountains. We can do, one drop of rain doesn't make any difference. But a million drops rain can turn a desert into a garden. And God will use you in a way with other people that He could never use you in a way by yourself.
So we have goals and we have dreams for your individual life. That's your own dreams and vision. Then we have goals and dreams, God's dreams for our life together on the screen, 1 Corinthians 12:27 "Together you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is an important member of His Body". I'm not the body of Christ by myself. You're not the body of Christ by yourself, but together, we are the body of Christ. So we're going to prepare us for our future together as a church family. Third goal, on the screen, to help each of us discover our unique role and contribution. You're not put on this planet to just suck up air and resources and take up space. God puts you here to make a difference with your life. You can make a difference that I can't make. The person next to you can make a difference that neither of us can make. We're all needed. It's like a jigsaw puzzle.
If you have the whole puzzle built but one parts missing what do you notice? The parts that's missing. If you don't do your part, the world gets ripped off. The world gets cheated. If I don't do my part, you get cheated. If you don't do your part, I get cheated. Other people get cheated because we're here to help each other. The Bible says this, 1st Peter 4:10, "God has given each of you a unique spiritual gift". You got at least one and more likely you've got dozens of them. "Unique spiritual gifts to help others. Let his gracious generosity flow through you"! So we're gonna work together to help each of us discover what's unique about you. What's your unique contribution your unique experience your unique... What you do to make the world a better place. Then there's a fourth goal, here it is on the screen and it is to prepare us to support each other in doing God's plan, God never intended for you to do your dream or His dream for your life by yourself.
The one thing God hates is loneliness. First thing God said when he created man, Adam says not good for man to be alone. God hates loneliness we're made to be in community. We're made to be in connection. We're made to be in a group. We're made to be in a spiritual family. Whether you're in a physical family or not right now 'cause physical families die, marriages end. You got a family that's gonna go on forever. That's the family of God. The Bible says this in Romans 1:12, "I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you".
This is what we do, and why we do a spiritual campaign every year. Because today, the next six weeks what we're gonna do, you're not gonna do by yourself. We're gonna do it together. We're gonna not do it as individuals, we're gonna do it as members of the family of God, which means I'll help you, you help me, I'll support you, you support everybody else. Your faith will help other people grow other people help your faith grow. That's why you have to be in a small group and a spiritual campaign. Now, that's the four goals. What are the tools we're gonna use? Well, again, this is review for many of you 'cause you've been through five or 10 or 15 campaigns. But let me show you what the campaign tools are.
Number one, first tool is that concentrated focus. And that's why I said, For the next 40 days, we're gonna shut down a lot of stuff in our church. We're gonna not do a lot of stuff that we normally do. We're clearing the decks, we're clearing the table, we're clearing the calendar, we're clearing the schedule. So we can have a concentrated focus on this theme of your future Time To Dream, Trusting God To Open Doors. And so we're going to focus on you and your dream, and us and our dream together, and it'll be a concentrated focus for 40 days. And it's kind of like a quick start, in many ways it's like a boot camp. Or it's like if you wanted to lose a lot of fat real fast and you went to one of those fat farms, or you went to a recovery said, I need to get into recovery, I need a jumpstart. I need a bunch of people around me to help me get going, in an area that I wanna get going in. It can be in all kinds of different areas. But we're gonna have a concentrated focus.
Second tool, as you can see is small group support. This next 40 days will be worthless to you. Worthless, if you don't get in a small group, 'cause that's where all the action starts. Now, you can start a small group yourself if you're not in one, it's really easy to host a group, H-O-S-T. H, means you have to like people, okay? If you don't like people, you can't start a group, okay? O, open up your home or your apartment or room at work or Starbucks. S, serve a snack, my favorite part of small group, serve a snack, okay? T, and you can rotate that around, T, turn on the internet. We used to say turn on the DVD, before that we said turn on the VCR. That's how long ago we started campaigns. We know nobody uses the VCR anymore and we don't even use DVDs, most of the time we have available. But now all of the lessons which I've already videotaped are already online.
And anybody who's got a laptop or a TV that can connect to an internet, then your small group can watch online, the streaming videos every week, you don't know how to do that, that's okay, we'll teach you how. Say or get a friend to help you out. I don't have a friend. I will buy you a friend to teach you how. Okay, don't worry about the tech part. We got that covered. All right, so the first thing is connected focus, second is small group support. You got to be in a small group. If you're not in a group, just start one, get a couple friends. I'm not talking about 10 friends, I'm talking about two or three or four. And you're not asking them to do it forever. I'm not asking you to be in a small group for the rest of your life. I'm asking you to be in a small group for the next six weeks so we can do this together, everybody do it.
And already since I started announcing a couple weeks ago, we have formed over 1000 new small groups at Saddleback Church, over 1000 new small groups have started. So anybody can do this, a senior citizen can start a small group. A 14 year old can start a small group of 14 year olds, anybody can do this. I had a little old lady one time in London, she said, I've been in church all my life, I've never done anything but I'm gonna host a small group. I said, great what's your goal? She said, 15 people. I said, how many people do you have in your church? She said, 15 people. So I went to the pastor of the church, I said, how many people you had in your church? He goes, well, we got 15 people in our church. I said, well, what's your goal for your church? He said, we want 75 people in groups. I said, that's cool.
And so I said, how you gonna do that? Because everybody in my church, gonna be a small group host. All 15 people gonna be a small group host, okay? Some of you remember the first time we did this, I stood up on Sunday morning, I said, I need 3000 of you to be small group hosts. 'Cause we're gonna start this thing call small groups. Show up tomorrow night, Monday night and I'll meet with you for 30, 40 minutes and teach you everything you need to know about being a small group host. It's really pretty easy. The next night, Monday night, 3200 people showed up in this auditorium here at the Lake Forest campus. And I stood up I said, well you know now, if you wanna be a host, probably be a good idea for you to know the Lord first.
So, if you don't know the Lord, you need to accept him in your life need to be saved. Anybody need to be saved? 17 people raised their hand I say great, so I led them in a prayer right there, we all pray together, they gave their lives Christ, everybody applauded. Okay, then I said, probably a good idea if you gonna be host probably be a good idea to be baptized. Anybody need to be baptized? 400 people raised their hands. Says it, let's go outside. I baptize them all. And then we started that week, we started almost 3000 new small groups in one week. Anybody can do this, you can be a host, okay?
Here's the third campaign tool. Multiple learning styles and reinforcements. What I'm gonna teach you right now, almost no other church in the world does. But we do it. And it's one of the secrets of Saddleback's vitality and strength and maturity. It's because we know that people learn in different ways. So in a campaign, we use different learning styles, so everybody can learn in the way that they learn best. For instance, some of you learn by listening. You learn through the ear gate, you are an auditory learner. And the way you like to learn is you like somebody to explain it to you using their mouth, and you hear it, you're an auditory learner. If you're an auditory learner you learn through the ear gate, you love church 'cause that's what we do most of the time. It's like what I'm doing right now, sit still, while I instill, I'm talking, you're listening. But this is actually not the most effective way to learn, because we forget 95% of everything we hear in 72 hours.
If you want a statistic that oppress a pastor, that's it. I work about 20 hours to prepare a message and I shared on the weekend, realizing that by Wednesday, you will forgotten all of it, but 5% and that will just be the joke. Unless you write it down, that's why I never teach without handing you an outline. Because the shortest pencil's longer than the longest memory if you write it down, you got it for as long as you've got the notes. If you just try to sit there looking spiritual, it's going in one ear and out the other. And I've got all these pearls of wisdom up here and I toss them out and I here's my first pearl of wisdom, I toss it and it goes boing and it bounces right off your head. And here's my second pearl of wisdom, boing, bouncer. You forgotten it all before you even get to your car unless you write it down. But some people are auditory learners, they learn by listening.
There are other people that no, no I hate to listen, I don't like to listen. But I'm a visual learner, I learn through the eye gate. I want to read it or I wanna see it, or I wanna watch it on a video. You're a visual learner. I wanna read it or I wanna see it or I wanna watch it on a video. Okay, that's great. But then there's some people who say, I don't like to listen And I don't like to read, but I like to talk. Those are oral learners. If you're an oral learner, you'll love small group. 'Cause in small group, you get to talk. And some people, your mind doesn't actually engage until your mouth does.
Now there's nothing wrong with that, okay? Nothing wrong with it. It's just sometimes people say, you know I've always thought and they've never ever thought that. They didn't think it till the moment they started to form it with their mouth. And they have to say it in order to think it. That's the way some people are. They are oral learners, they learn through speaking. And if you like to speak you'll like a discussion, you'll like the small group. Oh, what about this? And what about that? And you can question and you can get feedback. And you learn that way.
Now, there are some people say, "I don't like to listen. And I don't like to read. And I don't want to talk". They're called men. Alright, men, typically our hands on learners. We are kinetic learners. We learn by actually doing. Nobody ever learned to play football, reading a manual. Nobody ever learned to play basketball, reading a guide. No, it's let's go out and shoot some hoops. Let's go out and to the driving range and tee up some balls. Let's go throw, play catch. A guy if he says, "Don't give me the manual let me just get under the hood here and see if I can figure figure out this carburetor here. And don't bother me with the manual I'll just tinker around with it all, I'll figure out a way how set up this stereo or this TV system or I'll figure out how to download this app or how to install this program. Don't give me a manual". You learn by doing. Does that makes sense? That's kinetic learning. It's just another way we learn.
Now, I grew up in a church where the only way we learned was through the ear. My dad was a pastor, and he would teach and it was good messages. And I think, how is it that somebody could sit under my dad's teaching for 20 years and still being a cranky selfish gossip. Like it hasn't changed him at all. It's like they've been listening to the word of God for years and years and years but it didn't penetrate, why? 'Cause we're good forgeters. Nobody was taking notes. And so I thought, what would happen if all of a sudden we start teaching a spiritual truth, like God's dream for your life. And we did it in a concentrated period, like over 40 days, and we heard it, and we read it, and we studied it, and we memorized it, and we discussed it and we watched the video on it. We had a project for it, we did it all. That's like taking a nail and driving it five times instead of just once. That makes sense?
So if you just come for the next six weeks, and you hear a sermon from me, it's like taking the nail going one hit. But if you get in a small group, and you watch the video, that's another hit, and you discuss it with other, that's another hit. And you talk about the implications, that's another hit and you get the materials. There's a book that I've written "Open Doors". And every day you read one little portion of that every day. That's another hit. You're gonna hear it, you're gonna read it, you're gonna study it, you're gonna memorize, you're gonna meditate on it, you're gonna practice it, you're gonna do it. And now all of a sudden, the truth is driving deeper and deeper into your heart. Oh, thank you. Let us thank, Vanna White right here.
If you laughed at that you're very old. In the small group pack, you're gonna get the video, the DVDs of the messages on six different open doors that God wants to open in your life. The door to a new you, the door to authentic relationships, the door to greatness, the door to God's blessing, the door to your world and the door to your eternal legacy. There's a study guide with it. You're gonna hear you're gonna read it. You're gonna get this book which is 365 days devotional and each day, you'll read a day. What am I doing? Multiple learning styles. That make sense? So you're not just gonna hear a sermon on it. But we've planned this. So you're gonna have reinforcement, seven different ways in your life over the next 40 days, you're gonna grow faster. I'm going to tell you this, you're gonna grow more and faster. If you sign up to commit to covenant with us to do this together. You'll grow more in the next 40 days than you will in the whole year, just the way grow, and then you're gonna be consolidating that growth for the rest of the year. So multiple learning styles reinforcement.
Then number four, is we're gonna pray for each other. We're gonna give you these little prayer cards that fold over the like a tent, and I want you to put them up on your table at home. So when you eat breakfast, or you eat dinner or you wanna put them at lunch, you're going to remind yourself to pray for everybody else. Now, what does that mean? If you're praying for everybody else, everybody else will be praying for you. During this 40 day period does it make sense? So it's reinforced prayer. That's another key that drives the nail deeper deeper into your life. And then number five, is a three year covenant that we make together of time, talent and treasure, which God, you own us for the future. We want to do your dream for our lives. And we're gonna do that at the very end of this campaign, every campaign comes to a statement of commitment, why? Because you only grow by turning up the heat in your life. You only grow by making a commitment, by taking another step, another step, another step.
Now, the title for this spiritual growth campaign I'm sorry for those of you that was all review, who've been through many, many campaigns. But there are new folks here who needed to know where we're going for the next 40 days. What we developed it we invented this at Saddleback Church, we've been doing it almost 40 years, has now been copied by tens of thousands of other churches. In fact, what we're gonna do this campaign, Time To Dream, will be copied in the next few years by maybe 30, 40,000 other churches. Well, how do I know that? 'Cause they've done all the others. When we did 40 Days of Purpose, one out of every nine churches in America, did 40 Days of Purpose. That's almost 40,000 churches. And so you're just getting it from the horse's mouth and you're getting it before all the other churches do. But they'll be doing it starting in six months, in a year and a year and a half, things like that.
Now, the title of our campaign is Time To Dream. I need to first just start here, and I'm sorry, I'm spending so much time just introducing it but you need to know, what is a dream? If we're talk about Times To Dream, what's a dream? Well, there are three definitions to a dream. Let me put them on the screen here. Here's the first definition. A dream can be either thoughts and images you have while sleeping. That can also be a nightmare. The thoughts and images you have. Honestly, not all dreams that you have while you're sleeping are good everybody I agree with that. Okay, not all of them are from God. Okay, some of them you just had a bad burrito the night before, okay? Second meaning of dream is this B the desires ambitions you have while you're awake.
Now, look up here. The dreams you have with your eyes open are far more important than the dreams you have with your eyes closed. Make sense? You can ignore 99% of the dreams you have with your eyes closed. Every once while you might get one. But 99% of the dreams with eyes closed. You don't need to worry about those. But the ones that you have while you're awake, the desires ambitions, you're like I've always dreamed of, I've always wanted to do. I've had this goal, I've had this passion. I've always wondered, I've always thought, I've always wanted to that's a more important dream. But there's an even more important dream than that and that's C. Third meaning of dream is the goals and plans that God created you to fulfill. That's far more important than even my own dreams. God has promised to bless everything that I think up I might have thought when I was a kid I had a dream of being a rock star. Shredding the guitar. That was not God's dream for me, okay?
Let me give you some theme verses. I'm gonna give you three verses. Look up here on the screen. Jeremiah 29:11, God says, "I know the plans I have for your life". That's the plans, insert the word dreams. I know the dreams I have for your life. "They are plans their dreams for your good. Not plans to harm you. My plans for your life will give you great hope and a wonderful future". Now notice, your dreams might be messed up but God says "My dreams are number one, they're good". They're not gonna harm you. They're gonna give you hope and they're gonna give you a wonderful future. I vote for God's dream for my life rather than my own. Because some of my dreams would have ended in disaster. Some of you thought you were gonna marry a certain person and looking back now you go, if I had married and that would have been a disaster. Okay, that was a dream you had. Okay? So God's dreams are good. Okay, they're perfect. He says, "They are you're good, they're gonna give you hope. They're going to give you a wonderful future".
Secondly, I wanna say is this God's dream for your life is far bigger than your dream. God's dream for your life will always be bigger, always be bigger than your dream. How do I know that? Because God promises it. In fact, here's what he says in Ephesians. God, Ephesians 3:20, "God can do anything far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request or dream in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by working gently within us". God says, "Think of the greatest dream for your life. And I can top that I can beat your dream. It's bigger than you can think, request, guess, dream, imagine". And I don't do it by pushing you. I'm not driving you. I'm pulling you and I'm working gently within you. So God's dream for your life. And that's what we're gonna look at is always bigger, always bigger than your dream for your life.
Not only that. This is really important when you follow God's dream for your life. Here's the cool part. He arranges the circumstances to make it happen. He doesn't do that on just any old dream. But when you line up with God's dream for your life, that's what we're gonna look at now for the next six weeks. He arranges all of the circumstances so it happens, stuff that you couldn't possibly arrange. I could give you hundreds of examples from my life on this, we just go wow, how did that happen? Oh, God did it.
And there will be things that happened in your life you go "There's no way that could have happened, that I could have met that person at just the right time, that that money could have come at just the right time, that that circumstance that that opportunity would open up just right there". When you get in line with God's will, you can't miss it because God doesn't sponsor floops. Success is inevitable 'cause God doesn't sponsor floops. And so when you follow God's dream, he arranges the circumstances. And that's the second part of this campaign. It's revelation. The Bible says this, chapter three, verse eight, God says, "I have set before you an open door that no one can shut". When God gives you a dream, then he circumstantially provides the open doors for you to make that dream come true.
Now here's the hard part. You have to have the courage to walk through that open door. That's where faith comes in. I've seen a lot of people understand God's dream for their life. And I've seen God open circumstances and open doors this wide, but they were scared to death to walk through the door and they missed it. You can miss God's dream for your life. You can miss it. This is why it's so important. Now, I wanna give you 12 reasons from Scripture why you must know God's dream for your life. It's not optional. What we're gonna talk about for the next several weeks is not some minor subject. It's the second most important thing in your life after, do you know the Lord? Once you know the Lord, you need to know his dream for the rest of your life. God will give you many dreams.
For different ages and stages of your life, his purposes, we've talked about God's purpose for your life, many times, God's purposes never change. He wants you to know Him. He wants you to grow in Him. He wants you to love Him. He wants you to love his family. He wants you to serve Him. He wants you to share Him. Those never, never never change But the dreams that God have for your life, change with age, change with stage, change with maturity, change with growth and change with how obedient you are to the previous dream that He gave you. And if you are faithful in what He gives you in small things, He gives you more and expands your dream and He gets it bigger, and He gets it better. And He gets it wider and it has more impact because you were faithful on the other. So let me give you why we're gonna spend six weeks studying God's dream for you.
Number one, God gave me the capacity to dream. God! God gave me the capacity to dream. I didn't get it from anybody else I got it from God. The only reason you have the ability to dream great dreams, to have a vision to think about the future is because you're made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26, God says "Let us make human beings in our image and our likeness". What makes you different from animals, Is the capacity to think about the future. Horses don't think about the future. Snails don't think about the future. Cows don't think about the future ants don't think about the future. Only they have instincts but they don't think and plan. They can't make plans for the future. They have instincts, but I'm talking about the ability to dream up a skyscraper. The ability to dream up a business, the ability to dream up a piece of art or a piece of music. No animal can do that, why? They're not made in God's image. You are most like your creator when you're being creative.
God made you to be creative. I'm not creative. Oh, yes, you are, you're a human being. You may have stamped, pushed it down. You may have stamped that out of your life everybody's creative just look at the little kid. Every little kid is creative. And by the time they get sixth grade, we've educated them out of it. And now they're drawing in the lines. And then now they've conform to what we think they ought to be doing. God gave us a capacity to dream. Guess what? He expects you to use it. If you don't dream, you are sinning. Because God gave you the ability to dream great dreams. And it's not like God puts you here on earth to not dream. He gave you the capacity, He expects you to use the capacity and one day you will be evaluated on that capacity.
Number two, without a dream, I'm dying. Without a dream, I'm dying. Proverbs 29:18, one of the most famous verses in the Bible says this, "Where there is no vision, the people perish". Without a vision where there's no vision the people perish. I tell pastors Where there is no vision in a church the people go to another parish. People hang around here 'cause we've always got a bigger dream. We're always saying, God, what do you want us to do next? Without a dream, I'm dying. You're either dreaming or you're dying. Some of you start dying a long time ago. You die before you die, because you stopped dreaming. Guess what I'm gonna do as your coach as your pastor, somebody loves you. I'm gonna drive up the dream machine and you again. Okay, I'm going to drive up the dream machine and you again, and let's make whatever time you got left the best. Let's make all the past prologue. Let's make the last 40 years of Saddleback look like a Sunday school picnic. Compared to what God wants to do next, in your life and in our lives together. Without a dream I'm dying.
Number three, everything starts with a dream. This is why we have to spend at least six weeks on it. Because everything starts with a dream. You look at anything that has been created. Somebody dreamed it up first, either God or a human being. God dreamed up every tree every mountain. God dreamed up this planet. God dreamed up the universe. It all started as a dream. And then He created you and He gave you the ability to be a dreamer. He is the dream giver. God is the dream giver. They all come from God. God gives you ability to dream new hobbies, to dream new businesses, to dream new ministries, to dream, making a difference, to dream, changing the world, to dream making an impact. God gives every dream, everything starts with a dream.
Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". Now that's a pretty significant statement knowing who made it. One of the smartest, most knowledgeable men in history said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". He said, "Imagination rules the world". Not knowledge, imagination, the ability to think it up. This is a God given ability and without a dream, I'm dying and everything starts with a dream. That's why Ephesians 1:18 says this, "I pray, that your heart will be flooded, that your heart will be flooded with light so that you can see something" just "something of the future that God has called you to share". That's the dream. The dream is the future that something of the future that God has called you to share.
Paul says "As your pastor, I'm praying that for your life in the next six weeks, that you're gonna get a new dream" A new vision for the woman, God wants you to be, a new dream for a vision of the man God wants you to be. The husband, the dad, the Father, the businesswoman, the business leader, the student, I want you to dream great dreams. You know this thing about dreams it doesn't cost a penny, doesn't cost any money to dream. It's free. So I dare you to dream great dreams in the next six to eight weeks. Everything starts with dreams.
Number four, this is the big one. Dreams show what God wants to do through me. A dream shows me what God wants to do through me. A couple of weeks weeks ago I read the original dream of Saddleback Church. God gave me a vision of what he wanted to do through me. God wants to give you a dream of what he wants to do through you. He wants you to see your future. Why? Because when you could see a little bit of your future, He's not gonna show it all to you. But you can see a little bit of it, then you realize you can cooperate.
Now, when God gives you a dream, it's not like the plan is all laid out, you can see it from beginning to end 'cause if you could see the end of the dream of God's dream for your life, it's scary to death. What it is, it's kind of like a scroll, where you roll down a little bit and you read that part of the dream, and you do that, then you roll it down a little bit more, and you do that, then you roll down a little bit more and you do that, and eventually you get to the end. But he's not gonna give you the whole picture front. It'll scare you to death but what I want you to do is just get a peek, a peek of what God wants to do in your life. Everything starts with dream and it shows what God wants to do through me. God does this even with non believers. Did you know that?
Look at this next verse here on the screen, "Joseph told Pharaoh who clearly was not a believer God has given you two dreams, to let you know what He has definitely decided to do, and that he will do it in your future". God let Pharaoh see in advance what was gonna happen. They were gonna be seven years of famine, then set seven years of plenty that seven years of famine and Pharaoh was gonna be able to save his nation because God gave him a peak and advance. The guy was not a believer. But that's the graciousness of God. Dream show what God wants to do through me.
Number five, my dreams define me. My dreams define me. We shape our dreams, and then our dreams shape us. If you don't have any dream, you don't have any definition of your life. Why are so many people today confused about their identity? One of the biggest problems in our society is identity confusion. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What am I supposed to doing? Does my life matter? Is there any significance to my life? Is there meaning to life? What is it life all about Alfie? And the reason why is because your dreams define you and if you don't have God's dream you don't have any definition to your life. You don't know who you are. You don't know the woman you're supposed to be. You don't know the man you're supposed to be. My dreams define me.
So you better make sure you got the right dream 'cause you don't wanna be dreamed in the wrong way. Jesus said it like this Matthew chapter six here on the screen. Verse 22, and 23 He said, "Your eye is the light for your body". Your your eyes like the window to your soul. It lets light into your body. Your eye is the light or the lamp for your body. "If your eye" if your vision is good. It's clear, it's bright. "If your vision is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your vision your eye is evil, your life will be full of darkness".
Your dream defines you. A great dream will define a great person. Small dream will define a small person. An evil dream will define an evil person. It's your choice. Your dream defines you. So pick your dream wisely. Make sure it's the dream God has for your life. Because the dreams define us. If your body is full of light, if your vision is clear, then your body will be full light. If your vision is unclear, it's cloudy, or it's dark, or it's evil. Then that's what the way you're gonna end up living, okay?
Number six, a dream keeps me growing. This is one of the reasons I wanna teach this to you is because it is in having a dream, you keep growing a dream forces you to develop skills that you don't have. I have had to be on a learning curve my entire life. When God called me and gave me the dream at 25 to start Saddleback, I had none of the skills zero zip that I was gonna need to lead a churches big, none of those skills, not one of them. They might have been latent. They might have been hidden. But I certainly didn't know I had them. You don't even know what you're good at until the dream pulls it out of you. And then you go, "Oh, I didn't know I had that skill".
I didn't know I had that spiritual gift. I didn't know I had that ability. I didn't know I was shaped for that. It is only in the dream that it pulls you out of yourself forces you to be bigger than yourself to grow beyond yourself. So you're not selfish anymore. Dreams make us great. I really have decided I've read hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of biographies of great people. And I really just come to the conclusion, there aren't any great people. They're only great dreams. But when an ordinary person goes after a great dream, she or he becomes a great person. There are no intuitively instinctively great people on the planet. We're all born the same way coming out of our mommy's crying, knowing nothing except how to wet our pants. We don't even know how to eat we know nothing. We all start at the same level. And I just have concluded that we're all just ordinary people. But some ordinary people attach themselves to an extraordinary dream.
And in attaching yourself to an extraordinary dream, you become an extraordinary person. You have no idea what God can do in your life. I want Saddleback to be famous for great dreamers. I want people that's the church that doesn't know any better than to believe God. That's the church that dreams great dreams. They attempt great things for God. They expect great things from God. That's a church full of great dreamers. Those guys are the most creative people on the planet. You wanna learn creativity, go join Saddleback, 'cause those people there, they trust God. They let God stretch their emotions. They let God stretch their imagination. They let God stretch their thinking. They dream great dreams for the global glory of God. That's our choice.
Most of the things in your life that control your life, you had no choice over. I call them the sovereignty factors. You didn't choose who your parents were. You didn't choose when you were born. You didn't choose where you were born. You didn't choose your race. You didn't choose your gender. You didn't choose your parents, that's all God's choice. But there's one thing you do have 100% control over. So 100% I have control over in my life, and you have it in your life. And that is this you have 100% control over how much you choose to believe God. That's your choice, believe God for a little you have a little in your life, believe God for more you'll have more in your life. You believe God for great things. God will do great things in your life. You believed God for big dreams, God will do big dreams in your life, according to your faith will be done unto you.
A dream keep you going Philippians chapter three says this verse 12 to 15. Paul says, "I know". Paul admits he's the greatest apostle. He goes "I know I'm not yet what God wants me to be". Well, thank God Paul admits it 'cause we can all admit that too. Everybody I agree I'm not all what God wants me to be everybody agree with that? Okay, we're all in the same boat on that we're not all what God wants. I'm not you're not. None of us are what God wants us to be completely. "I'm not yet". I love that word yet, circle that. "I'm not yet what God wants me to be". "I haven't reached that goal," that dream. "But I keep moving toward it to make it mine because Christ made me and He saved me for this".
You were saved to make a difference. "I know that I haven't yet reached my goal. But there is one thing I always do forgetting the past". That's a good starting point. "Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead". That's the dream ahead of you. "I keep my eyes focused on the goal so that I may one day win the prize that God has called me to receive through Christ in the life above. All of you who are spiritually mature should think this same way". If you don't wanna have a big dream for your life, you are not spiritually mature. The mark of spiritual maturity is that right there. I have a dream that's so big for my life. I couldn't possibly do it on my own. It's gonna take all of us working together. I can't do it on my own guess I'm gonna need God to step in. I'm gonna need other people in my life. I'm gonna need a small group. I'm gonna need support.
If your dreams doesn't scare you it's too small. And it doesn't require any faith says "I'm not what I ought to be but I just keep moving forward toward the dream that God has called me to receive through Christ". And he says, if your spiritually mature, you'll get this, you'll understand this. If you're spiritually mature, you go I'm in for the next six weeks, I'm in, sign me up whatever it takes. I'm in for the next six weeks, I will do all, I'll cross all the boxes. I'll do whatever you asked, let's focus on this together. I'm in.
Number seven, a dream focuses my energy. A dream focuses my energy. By now you've learned that you can't do everything. Everybody agree with that you can't do everything. But you hopefully you've also learned, not everything's worth doing. That there's some things that are more important. God doesn't expect you to do everything. I don't expect you to do everything you shouldn't expect yourself to do everything. God doesn't obviously expect you to do everything. So, what really is the key to life is selections, the name of the game prioritization, to know what matters know what doesn't, to know what counts and know what doesn't count. To know what dream is worth my life and what dream is not worth a second of my life. Like the dream of being famous. That's not worth a second of your life. Because it's fleeting. One minute, you're the hero the next minute, you're the zero. One minute you're on the cover some magazine next week, it's in the trash. Going after trophies is the dumb goal. Why? Because given enough time, all your trophies are gonna be trashed. Somebody is gonna throw them out.
If not this generation, the next one will. So don't live your life for trophies. And whatever record you set is gonna be broken by somebody else. That's not a big enough dream you need a dream that affects eternity. A dream focus of my energy. 1 Corinthians 9:26. Paul says this, "I run straight to the goal". That's the dream. "With purpose in every step". He's purpose driven. "I fight to win. I'm not like some boxer, punching the air or playing around". I'm not shadowboxing. When I pull a punch, I punch to win. I wanna hit something I want to score. I'm gonna just shadowboxing not playing around with my life. So I said last week, we're not in the shallows of baby beach anymore. A dream focuses my energy I run straight to the goal. You waste a lot of time when you don't know the dream for your life.
Number eight, related to it. A dream stretches my faith. A dream stretches my faith. The Bible says "According to your faith be done unto you". You get to decide what God does in your life. A dream stretches my faith it forces me to trust God.
Number nine, a dream keeps me going in tough times. A dream keeps me going in tough time. If you don't have a dream, you're gonna flame out, burn out, give up when things don't work out immediate. Every dream has delays in it, every dream, it's not instant no dream is instantly fulfilled, is gonna take the rest of your life. But if you have a dream, it actually gives you the ability the motivation to keep going, when you feel like giving up. You've heard me say this many, many times. You know I wanted to give up this pastor? Every Monday morning. When I get PMS. Post Message Syndrome. God, surely somebody could have done a better job than that. That sermon stunk. It didn't help anybody. Surely God, you could find somebody who's better at this. But you know what has kept me going for 40 years, a dream that won't let hold of me. Won't let go. What is that dream, your maturity to present you before Christ as the man, as the woman God intended you to be.
I'm growing my fruit on other people's trees. I wanna see fruit in you. I wanna see you become all God made you to be. I'm not gonna let you settle for less than the best. I'm not gonna let you play in baby beach anymore. I'm gonna push you to become the woman, the man that God knows and you know instinctively I'm not what I could be. It's not too late. It's never too late to start dreaming, never too late. And so a dream keeps me going through tough times. This was the problem with Job. When he lost everything, here's what he said, Job 6:11. Job goes, "I don't have the strength to endure". Why? Because I don't have a goal that encourages me to carry on. That makes sense? A dream keeps me going in tough times. It says "I don't have a goal that encouraged me to carry on".
Number 10. A great dream inspires others to dream. This is one of the reasons we're doing this. I want your life to be an inspiration to others. I can tell you from personal experience, it's a cool thing when you know you've inspired somebody. It's a real, it's a good feeling. Wow, I'm glad I encouraged that guy. I'm glad I encouraged that woman. I want you to experience the joy of being an inspiration to other people. I want this church to experience the joy of being an inspiration to other churches. That's why the are in the doors.
Of the five big goals we're gonna go after is gonna be rejuvenating and revitalizing other churches. Because I know we have been given something God wants us to share. And I want you to be an inspiration to others. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like the feeling of knowing you've been used by God. A dream inspires others to dream. Proverbs 11:27. "If your goals," that's dreams. "If your goals are good," you will be what? Respected. Now you got self-centered goals, you're not gonna be respected. But if you have unselfish goals, you have godly goals, you have big dreams. You have great plans, you have a make a difference. You wanna help people. You wanna make the world a better place, guess what? You're gonna be respected. Respect comes from having a great dream.
Number 11. My self-discipline, which is good. That's what it's gonna take to reach your dream. My self-discipline will be rewarded in heaven. Not only are the dreams that you're given here on Earth, good for Earth, but you're gonna be rewarded in heaven. For the character to you developed and the discipline and the intensity that you put in to go after your dream. 1 Corinthians. The Bible says in 9:25 "All athletes practice strict self-control". You got to be disciplined to be an athlete. They do it to enterprise that'll fade away. I mean, who's gonna remember the Super Bowl next year. They do it to win a prize little fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. My self-discipline will be rewarded in heaven.
And then number 12. God given dreams are a gift of the Holy Spirit. God given dreams are a gift of the Holy Spirit. God's Holy Spirit gives us the ability to dream. Another one of the theme verses for this next campaign of A Time To Dream is Acts 2:17 and 18, which Peter preached on the first day of the first church in Jerusalem. And here's what he said, he was predicting the future he was prophesying. Acts 2:17, 18. God says, this is from the book of Joel. "In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will proclaim my message. Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams, yes on all my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will proclaim my message".
Regardless of gender or age. He says sons and daughters, young and old men and women, as I said last week, who's left out of that? Nobody. Everybody gets included. And he says, "When I pour out my Spirit," what's gonna happen? You're gonna have visions and dreams they are a gift of the Holy Spirit. That's what brings revival to a church. It's what brings revival to a nation. It's brings revival to a world when God's people are so attuned to the Holy Spirit, that they start dreaming again. They start dreaming again. Now, here's my homework. There on your outline. what to do and week number one of time to dream. First, each day, I want you to read the devotional in the "Open Doors" book. I had that here earlier. You just read that February 16 to 22. As for this week, each day, read the daily devotional.
Okay, that's first thing. Second, in your time to dream, small group. I want you to watch and discuss video, lesson number one, which is on the first open door, and the first open door is a door to a new you. And third, I want us all to memorize this promise. Revelation 3:8, "I have set before you an open door that no one can shut". Come on, you can memorize that. All right, now remember, when you're trying to memorize the verse, you say the hardest part to remember is the reference, the address, Revelation. What is it? Revelation 3:8. And what does Revelation 3:8 say? Say it with me. "I have said before you and open door that no one can shut". And where is that found? Revelation 3:8. Okay, what is Revelation 3:8? "I have set before you an open door that no one can shut". Revelation 3:8. All right?
If you say it over and over this week you'll get it. Why don't you get it because God's gonna bring that to your mind and you're gonna find an opportunity and you're gonna go, what! Where'd that come from? And God's gonna say "I've set before you an open door that no one could shut". And another opportunity to come up, what! I've set before you an open door that no one can shut. And then you get another opportunity, what! I told you I've set before you an open door that no one can shut. We're going after dreams guys.
All right. Now, I just wanna tell you this happens every time when we do a campaign, when you start getting serious about spiritual growth, first expect a lot of joy 'cause you're going to see some miracles in the next eight weeks, guess what, 'cause I've set before you an open door that no one is gonna shut. Yeah, where is that, by the way? Revelation 3:8, good, good. By the way, what is Revelation 3:8. "I have set before you an open door that no one can shut". What! That's a new opportunity. All right. Now, next week, we're gonna look at how do I know a dream is from God? How do I know I'm not just making this up myself? How do I know? When your like is it the taco talking? And when is it my mother talking and when is it something I read yesterday? How do I know when it's God? We're gonna talk about that next week.
Now, I want to start off this holy time by taking communion together. And I'm gonna ask the ushers to come and serve communion right now. We'll wait till everybody's been served wait to everybody has the the juice and the wafer, and then we'll all eat together. But while they're serving, look up at this verse on the screen. The Bible says in Luke chapter 22, this is where Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper the night before he went to the cross. This is the very first communion. Luke 22:19 to 20, "Jesus took bread. And he gave thanks, and then he broke it. And he gave it to them saying, This is my body given for you eat this to"? Remember me. The purpose of communion is not to save you. The purpose of communion is to remind you that he saved you. "Do this to remember me".
Communion doesn't save you. Communion is to remember that Jesus died on the cross to save you. "This is my body given for you, eat this to remember me". It's a memory tool. It's an object lesson that Jesus died on the cross for us. "Then in the same way he took the cup, and he said, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you". So He says "The bread represents my body and the the juice of the wine represents my blood". And He said, "You're to eat these as a reminder of how much I love you". Jesus is the dream giver. All of the great dreams come from God. He is the Creator. I'll say it again your most like your Creator when you're being creative. On that verse, can you put that verse up again? The Bible says, "This is the cup of the New Covenant".
Okay, I want you to notice that word covenant. What is a covenant? A covenant is a promise. By the way, marriage is not a contract. It's a covenant. Big difference. You can break a contract. You're not supposed to break a covenant is supposed to be unbreakable, okay? This cup is the new covenant, it's a promise. And he says, I'm promising to save you with my blood. When you remember to drink this and eat this. Remember that I've promised to save you, okay? Now, the Bible is full of quote, covenants between God and people, covenant that God made with people and covenants people made with God there that. And covenants are important part of your spiritual growth. They're very important part of your spiritual growth, which is why in just a minute, we're gonna make a covenant together to start this new campaign. I'm gonna read it to you on the screen in just a minute. But covenants are a biblical thing where we make promises to God and to each others saying we're gonna do this.
Let me just give you I can give you hundreds of examples. Let me just give you one. Here's one from Nehemiah. The people in Nehemiah's day the whole nation said this "Today, we're all recommitting ourselves to the Lord". They've been committed in the past, but they've kind of fallen away from God. "Today, we're all recommitting ourselves to the Lord together". We're not doing this as individuals, we're doing it together as a spiritual family. "All of us, including our leaders, are signing our names to a spiritual covenant". Signing our names to spiritual covenant.
Now I don't I don't have a covenant for you to sign tonight, or this weekend. But I wanna say we become what we're committed to. And we only grow through making covenants and making commitments. They give meaning to our lives. Now, put up the covenant for this campaign, Our Growth Covenant Together. This is a covenant we're gonna make together for the next six weeks. Because I want God's dream for my life. And because God led me to this church family, I want to commit this is the covenant together the next 40 days, to participating in all the growth elements of the time to dream campaign. And here are the elements.
Number one, I will listen to all six weekend messages live or online. If you're sick or you're out of town, you can't be here in a service. Obviously, that's okay. I understand that. But you'll say I'll go online I will not miss any of the six messages 'cause their tent poles their steak poles, I will listen to all six weekend messages live or online.
Number two, I will host or participate in a small group study. If you're not in a small group study will help you get in one this weekend. Just go out to the table and will help get you some materials you can invite some friends will help you get set up to start a new group. As I said, we've already started a thousand new groups will start another thousand new groups this weekend. This weekend, you'll be one of them. So host or participate in a small group study you'll get all the materials.
Number three, I will read the daily Open Doors devotional that's the book that you're gonna get when you sign up to host in a small group.
Then number four, I will pray for everyone else participating. Everybody else is gonna be praying for you. You're gonna be praying for everybody else. We're gonna do this together, we're better together.
And number five, I'm gonna ask God, what is my contribution to be in the future? What does God want me to do with my time, with my talent, with my treasure, with my life? God, I'm open to whatever your dream is. That's the covenant we're gonna make in a minute. First, on the night, Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and he blessed it. And He said, "This is my body, which is given for you do this, to remember me". As you eat the say, Lord, thank you for dying for me. The Bible says Jesus also took the cup. And He said, "This is the cup of the New Covenant, the new promise". And the promise is God says, "I promised to save you by my grace, if you'll just trust me". So as you drink this, I want you to say, "Jesus, I trust you for my salvation". Let's pray:
What a wonderful God you are. Literally everything we have comes from you. And we wouldn't have anything if it weren't for you. We have life, we have air, we have breath. We have water, we have food. We have family, we have minds. We have the ability to dream. Raise up an army of great dreamers. The Bible says "Young and old will dream". May young people in this church dream great dreams. May middle age people in this church dream great dreams. May people facing retirement dream great dreams. May elderly people in our church dream great dreams. Lord, if we're still alive, you're not finished with us. Make our church and embarrassment to the devil. Make our lives and inspiration to others. Forgive us for small thinking and petty, grieving and complaining. Help us to see the future you have for us. The fact that we're still alive means you're not done. I pray that the days ahead will be the greatest days of Saddleback. And that the months and the years ahead will be the greatest months and years of our family. May we commit to pray for each other in these next 40 days, so that together we'll be better together that will grow as a family. And today, Lord, we covenant with you to do these things that will help us grow. And we pray this in your humble name. Amen.