I have some really good friends that are dreaming something big. They are praying, processing and seeking scripture in regards to what God would have them do in their lives and it is exciting to watch and possibly be a part of. This week, as I have prayed for them, I have been struck with several stories past where I have seen God work in some of the same ways that he is working now. I am no longer surprised when God’s spirit intercedes and takes control of a situation or a group of people and let’s them know that there is a dream that is way bigger than themselves that they are to be a part of!
Years ago, at a camp in central Iowa, God gave me what was the closest I have ever experienced to a “vision.” I was working with middle and high school students during a two week period and I remember clearly hearing and understanding that I would do this vocationally when I got just a little bit older. It was after we had devotional time at night and I had just taught a simple lesson from the book of Mark to teenagers. They seemed to get the lesson that we were talking about that night and it was exciting. Then one of them said, “Chris, I think I am going to be some sort of pastor or something when I get a little bit older.” We talked about this for a little while and it was clear that he was not just blowing smoke but that he actually meant what he said. I was excited. After that conversation was when I could clearly sense God’s spirit working in me to say that I would continue to do that. We baptized that particular student at camp the next day and today he is in full time ministry and has planted a church in inner city Las Vegas. It’s a crazy place an he is a courageous young man for Jesus doing crazy things for his glory and honor. I never thought that out of that night of teaching the simple lesson in Mark that this particular individual would go to the height that he has in leadership and loneliness. He recently told me that even though he is experiencing exactly what he believes God wants him to be experiencing, it is extremely lonely to do ministry in ‘sin city.’ He told me that he would love to experience community in a Christian community and that someday, the church that he has planted will grow with believers that are seeking God. I get excited every time I think about what he is doing there.
Then there is another student that I worked with for just a few brief years in Orange City. She came to Orange City already having an idea of what God wanted her to do and there were all sorts of mentors and people that had inputted into her life. Her Senior year she continued to ask what God had for her and she was thinking on the edge and trying to grasp what God truly had for her life. You see, for her, college wasn’t exactly where she saw herself. She saw herself jumping in the trenches of ministry overseas right away. It was not culturally popular, but she ended up doing something crazy and taking some time after school to do a “mission year” where she experienced all sorts of things. She followed God wholeheartedly. She bucked the cultural norm that was surrounding her and gravitated towards what God has for her. And she is living in the midst of the Holy Spirit doing some amazing things. I recently got a newsletter from her and she is doing great. God is working in her life and ministry that she is a part of.
And then I think of one other student that I worked with in Orange City. I started working with him when he was a freshmen. He was a great puppeteer and a great kid. I enjoyed his attitude that said that he would do whatever it took to love people and live out truth. His personality was such that he was well liked by people. He began working with the middle school group of students that we had coming to our youth group and invested in their lives significantly. He desperately wanted them to understand the faith that he has. And then he decided that he wanted to be a youth pastor. He did something crazy. He went to college to be a youth pastor. And today, as long as he keeps his nose clean, he’ll do great when it comes to working in the local church.
As I processed the group of friends that I have right now that are thinking crazy things, the word crazy comes through all of the stories that I mention above. It is crazy to think that we can do anything on our own, but with God, crazy things are possible! When we begin to let ourselves imagine and be inspired by the word of God, I think we are challenged with it’s mission and challenge to us.
God had some crazy things for me to do in my life and he has crazy things in store for the future for me. I never dreamed that I would be a resident of Wichita, KS leading a student ministry that I am currently leading and working with a bunch of guys that are passionately following God. I never dreamed that I would be in the midst of a Holy Spirit movement that I can’t control. And the future gets even crazier. That’s why it is good that I don’t know it!
To those guys and girls that are imagining and dreaming big things to glorify and honor Jesus Christ, dream big, be imaginative, remember the power of the gospel and don’t be boxed in by cultural standards and expectations! Run hard after him and remember that Our God supercedes ALL of the cultural, relational, and constricting sinful vices that hold us so tight!
My prayer is that I never stop imagining or dreaming of what God can do because “he can do more than I can ask or imagine!” That doesn’t stop me from dreaming though!