- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 6, 2005

The following are excerpts of a sermon given recently by the Rev. Rod Stafford at Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax.

I want us to look at how we can use 2005 to dream bigger dreams for God. The ability to dream, to have a vision for something that is not yet a reality, is a God-given gift. God has given us the power to be creative, to visualize, to plan. It is one of the things that make us different from the rest of God’s creation.

Every person, every organization, every church, every ministry needs a dream. Nothing happens until someone starts to dream.

When it comes to dreams, there are four types of people: those with no dreams, those with selfish dreams, those with other’s dreams, and those with God’s dream.

How do we have God’s dreams? First: Seek God’s direction. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to bless whatever we decide to do — even if we are followers of Jesus Christ. Our dreams have to line up with God’s dreams if we are going to experience his blessing. The question we must continually ask ourselves is, “What is God’s dream for my life?”

The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

Not only does our sinful, human perspective lead us in the wrong direction; it also continually underestimates what God can do. Ephesians 3:20 says: “God, by His mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.”

Secondly, ask more questions. It is a good thing to learn from your experience. It is an even better thing to learn from someone else’s experience. We don’t have the time or the energy to learn everything in life by trial and error. In Proverbs 18:15, we are told: “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.”

Thirdly, start small. Dream big, but start small. The reason many people do not live out God’s dreams for their lives is because they do not understand the Kingdom principle of the mustard seed … . We are told in Matthew 13:31-32: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

The problem is that most of us are too impatient to operate on the principle of the mustard seed. We want to have a big impact now. We lose sight of the small things and just keep trying to do something huge for God. When we do that, we usually fail — because that’s not how God’s Kingdom operates.

For the last 18 years, we have witnessed the principle of the mustard seed at work. God has taken this little church at the end of a dead-end street and has continued to increase our impact in this community and around the world. As we transition to our new building, I am confident that God will continue to increase our impact.

Fourthly, focus your energies and resources. Jesus used another metaphor to help us understand how the Kingdom of God operates. It’s a metaphor from farming. In Luke 9:62, Jesus says: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

A farmer hooked up to a pair of oxen and plowing a field must keep his eyes focused straight ahead. If he turns to the left or to the right or starts looking back, he will not be able to plow a straight furrow.

Jesus is saying that’s how it is in the Kingdom of God. The secret of effectiveness is focus. We have to continually ask, “God, what is it that you want me to focus on in this season of my life?”

Fifthly, stay the course. Most of us start out with big dreams. But as we face the challenges of life, our dreams begin to shrink. One of the challenges we face is negative people. The book of Psalms begins with this reminder: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

God’s greatest dream for our lives is that we would enter into a personal relationship with Him. That relationship is only possible because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. He paid for our sins and offers us the free gift of salvation.

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