Dreams That Change The World – Pt I

Ps Dermot Cottuli
8 September 2019

Excerpt

Dreams are different to vision. Vision is a picture of the future that you can imagine, along with steps that need to be taken to see that picture come to pass. We often talk about vision in the context of leadership and the growth of an organisation. Dreams however are a whole nuther level above vision.

They are creative pictures of a future that given the state of our current situation, appear completely out of reach. They are the birthplace of all human creativity, a creativity that’s birthed and grows in our imagination.

Dreams That Change The World Pt I

This morning I want to start talking about something that God has been stirring in my heart over the past few months which I believe will resonate with all of us here today who call Grace Church our spiritual home. I’ll also be talking about it again next week and then we’ll see where we go with it afterwards. 

When we first moved to Clarence Plains and started meeting here at Emmanuel, God spoke to me from Revelation 3:7, 8

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

I created a slide for our Sunday service at that time with the words of that promise on it which hasn’t changed in the past 3 and half years (although this week I made a change to it that I’ve been wanting to for some time to make it even more personal to us as a church) and I added a head line to it which said – “It’s time to dream again.” I chose those words partly because of the previous season we’d been in as a church where we’d crossed the river with high hopes of establishing a centre in Cambridge and a new era in the life of our church only to hit a wall and see all of our dreams come to a crashing halt. I wanted to encourage us that what we had experienced was actually part of God’s plan and not to allow our discouragement over the past to determine what we were hoping for, for our future. There’s a life lesson in there for all of us. If you think your best days are behind you, they probably are. Never let your past write the narrative of your future, no matter how good or how bad its was.

That promise launched our church into a season where we’ve looked for opportunities within our community to get involved, serving and helping out where we could. We’ve seen door after door open up for us to care and to help others and it’s been a joy getting to know so many great people here in our local area.

I believe that God has been quietly working in the background getting us ready for significant engagement which revolves around the dream He has for our lives and the community He’s placed us in.

This morning I want to talk to you about dreams – the things that capture our hearts that are so far outside our experience of life that we have no idea how we’re ever going to bring them to pass.

Dreams are different to vision. Vision is a picture of the future that you can imagine, along with steps that need to be taken to see that picture come to pass. We often talk about vision in the context of leadership and the growth of an organisation. Dreams however are a whole nuther level above vision. 

They are creative pictures of a future that given the state of our current situation, appear completely out of reach. They are the birthplace of all human creativity, a creativity that’s birthed and grows in our imagination.

To understand why dreams are so very important we need to go right back to the start of the bible.

I want to draw your attention to two things that we find in Genesis.

The first is the creation of the physical universe from nothing. Now whether you’re a 6000 year creationist or an assisted evolutionist I don’t think there is any question that the world that we see around us today didn’t come into existence by random chance. It is the culmination of a process the started in the imagination of God. To explain that concept I want to point you to the opening statement of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Before anything came into existence the thought of it was present in God’s mind. The universe remains the single greatest demonstration of creativity that you and I and all of humankind have ever witnessed. And it all started in the imagination of God. He had a dream which became reality. It moved from His imagination to the physical reality that you and I experience every day of our lives. 

Science itself is convinced that everything that is, was created out of nothing that was. They call it the big bang. We call it, God’s first attempt at painting. And what an amazing attempt it ended up being.

How did He kick it all off? “Then God said, . .” He released His dream though speech. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

1) So the first point that I want to make is that the very first thing we learn about God in the Bible is that He is extraordinarily creative. Creativity is the very first behaviour we see God demonstrating. 

Nowadays we call creative people artists. They pale into insignificance compared to the artistry of God displayed at the creation of the universe. God is the original dreamer, the original artist, the original creator, the original author. He started everything off and it all came from His imagination. The picture He created in His mind. The dream that He so clearly saw and then spoke into being. 

Even though it’s the first thing we find out about God from the Bible we brush over it way too quickly. Now there’s a very important reason for us not to do that and I’m glad you’ve asked the question, “What is it?”

2) When God created humankind, what did He do? What was His goal?

Genesis 1 says,

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.”

We’ve just had God create everything there is from nothing other than a picture He had in His imagination and then He creates human beings in His image stating His intention is that we would be just like Him. Wow!

What does that tell you about you?

If you’ve been created in the image of God to be like Him then what does that actually mean?

It means that every one of us has the God given creative ability to dream of things that have yet to happen and then see those dreams come to pass. 

The creative ability to imagine something that doesn’t exist is part of your DNA. It’s part of who you are. If you accept the existence of God and the truth of your creation in His image then you have residing in you the same potential that saw the creation of the universe happen out of nothing. 

Now we have no idea how old God is, or how long it took Him to picture the universe in all its diversity so I’m not saying that you can go out and create your own pocket dimension with a little universe sitting inside it. But I am saying that the ability to dream and imagine something that has never been seen before, resides inside every little girl and boy who has ever been born on the face of the planet.

When you travel across the earth it’s not long before you see examples of the creativity of humankind on display over and over again.  In every culture, in every people group, in every location that humans live there will always be examples of their incredible creativity that effects the world around them. From simple things like the humble nail clipper to soaring feats of architecture that were built 1000’s of years ago and still to this day baffle our technologically advanced society with regards to how our ancestors built them in the first place.

Humans are inherently creative because of the template that was used to create us, and the creative process starts in our minds’ ability to dream dreams. To imagine the unimaginable. To picture a future that isn’t here in the natural, yet.

So what does all of this have to do with you and I today sitting here in Rokeby Tasmania in 2019?

I believe that within every one of us there resides a God given dream that we are responsible to deliver to our generation. There is within each of us something that the world will never see if we don’t give birth to it. If God hadn’t spoken out the dream that was within His heart, the universe would never have come into existence. 

Miles Munroe said it like this,

“The wealthiest spot on earth isn’t the greatest gold mine but a cemetery, because many people take their wealth/their purpose to the grave. Buried there are great books & music never written, businesses never started, visions that never became reality. The grave yard should never get a dream that you were born to give to your generation.”

I want to make an important clarification right now. I’m not talking about your dream car or your dream house or your dream job. I’m talking about something way higher than a comfortable lifestyle. I’m talking about a dream that will leave the world in a better place than it was before you were born. That’s the dream we’re talking about this morning. It’s the dream that releases the power of the creativity locked up within your DNA, to bring about change in the world around you that will leave it a better place for others who will come behind.

Now you can use the power of dreams to selfishly feather your own nest. To destroy rather than build. To oppress rather than liberate. To anaesthetise yourself to the pain and suffering in the world around you. And we see that happening down through history, time and time again. Where men and women have used there God given creative ability for evil rather than good. You have a Hitler on the one hand, and a Nelson Mandela on the other. Both used the power of a dream to bring about change in the world. 

The challenge we all face is to dare to dream a dream that will change history and help align it with the dream that God originally had for all humankind. That we would flourish and multiply, living in harmony with each other and the world around us. You have the potential to change the world for the betterment of others.

But you need to bring your dream into the light of day. You need to articulate it, to speak it out. To give it breath.

Remember, you don’t have to know how it’s going to come to pass. It’s a dream that we’re talking about here, not a vision or a plan or a goal. It’s a dream. The very nature of dreams puts them outside of what is doable in the natural. They invite ridicule and will sometimes be laughed at by those who have lost sight of their childlike wonder in the world around them.

God spoke his dream into being and we need to as well. 

Who here know’s their dream? Did you have a dream once but you’ve let it slide? Have you forgotten it? 

If I were to ask you, what is it that you would love to see happen for the world around you, the people in your life, and then get you to describe that to me, could you? If not, would you do something for me? Would you take some time this week to open up your imagination and dream afresh. To invite God to help you imagine a world that is far better than the one you currently live in. And then start to speak it out or at least write it down. 

Now you might be asking the question, “What difference will it make if I speak it out if I have no idea of how to bring it to pass?” My answer to you would be simply this. I have no idea how any dream comes to pass but one thing I do know and am completely 100% certain of is this. No dream  has ever came to pass that wasn’t first birthed into the world. And the easiest way to give life to a dream is to speak it out or write it down. Don’t take it to the grave with you. Allow it to see the light of day. Allow someone else to hear it. Find someone you trust and share with them your wonderful audacious dream. 

Now I said I have no idea how any dream will come to pass and that’s true, however AFTER a dream has come to pass it always appears obvious.

So this isn’t me being frivolous and silly with your time this morning. I believe it’s time to revisit the dreams of our childhood. To dare to dream new dreams, bigger dreams, huge dreams, God ordained dreams, world building dreams. You’re not responsible to have it all worked out, that will come after your dream becomes a reality. But you are responsible for the creative ability that God has placed within you and the releasing of it to your generation. 

It’s time to Dream again and when you do you’ll be amazed by who comes alongside of you to help you bring it to pass. But that’s part of next weeks message.

All joking aside … if you want to become a great painter you need to spend time honing your craft, hopefully under the supervision of a master painter. We have someone here today that would love to assist you to dream once again and see your dream come to pass. He’s the greatest artist / creator that our world has ever known and his name is Jesus. Through him everything that was created was created. He’s the Master of creation and the only reason that you and I are alive today. 

We’re going to spend some time reflecting on my message as Sarah comes and shares with us a song she’s written for our church.

Next week I’m going to give you a very personal and practical message on what this process looks like and we’ll touch on some of the things that you need to overcome if you’re serious about leaving the world a better place after you’ve passed through.