The sermon we are talking about today is called The Danger of a dream, given by Pastor Steven Furtick, based on the story of Jacob, with the anchor scripture being Genesis 37 verse 5.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.Genesis 37:5
What an anchor scripture and way to start right? And especially because for some of us it may have a little truth to it. For me personally, it’s not that I have a dream that I am at odds with people or have at some point been at odds with people, but because I decided to follow it. And also maybe because of how I decided to follow it? The general feeling from people when I decided to leave work and not get a full-time job was generally not positive at all.
And here is the thing, I was willing to get a part-time job that wouldn’t take all my time while I use the rest of my time for writing. People were not really accepting of this idea either and maybe this was because getting a part-time job in Zimbabwe is not easy? Or maybe they just felt the whole thing was crazy in general and I needed to get a practical job and do this writing thing at night. But I just couldn’t do, I had tried and failed, I needed to change things a little. I needed a year work on my dreams before I joined everyone in working for survival.
Either way, let’s just say that people were not happy with my dream and I still see proof of it six months later into my year. But let’s get back to the sermon.
Pastor Steven said a dream will make you bold and he told his story of his first dream, which was to be a punk rocker. But he followed this by saying that a lot of times, the dreams we start out with, that we see in one stage of our life, will show up later in our lives in a different dimension. And it will be such a different dimension that we will not recognize the dream as the original dream.
And I’ve got to interject already because ain’t that the truth. My dream has always been to write and to draw, maybe even sing some and play the piano, and right now about 14 years later, I can neither sing, play the piano, nor can I draw, and my writing isn’t that good either but the dream is still there. Wishful thinking? But hey, one day, right? However, I see that the way I thought I would be writing and what I thought I would be writing has definitely changed some.
My reason for writing and drawing had completely changed too. And even as I re-learn how to draw, I pretty sure the direction I envisioned at 13 will not be the same direction I will be taking. I have in the past two years discovered lettering, something I never knew about and it’s definitely going to be a part of what I do.
Anyway, Pastor goes on to talk about Joseph and how had a dream and shared it with his brothers who hated him for it. He mentions that we can argue about whether Joseph was wise to share his dream with his brothers because there is such a thing as sharing too much and talking too much. And that we shouldn’t think that everyone wants to hear what has God has put on your heart.
AND guys, just how true is that? Or maybe it’s just true for me? I don’t know, but I realized that when I shared with people what I wanted to do, I found that people were definitely not for it. And this sharing I did, only opened me up to doubt and discouragement from people. Being the ‘INFJ’, that I am, I stilled followed my own path instead of listening to them, but now I did it with an extra load of discouragement, doubt, guilt and self-condemnation that came about as a result of conversations with other people. Like I didn’t have enough anxiety before
Back to the sermon, Pastor Steven went on to talk about how what we can agree on is that Joseph was different and that having a dream makes you different. Joseph’s brothers already did not like him because he was the favorite of all the sons, born from Jacob’s favorite wife. Pastor Steven then said he is trying to teach his teenage son the following:
People accept what is the same, but they eventually respect what is different. People eventually come around and respect what stands out.
Joseph was not afraid to wear his coat, while it may have been unwise in that it made others hate him, Joseph was not afraid to be different because he was clothed with the fabric of the favor of his father. And then Pastor asked if we were courageous enough to wear our coat because God will begin to show you things about yourself, about your life, about your calling, about your direction, what He has put inside of you and the gift He has given you. And then he said that but someone will beat the distinctive out of you if you don’t know clearly enough that you have a calling from God, who is greater than people, and if HE is for me, who can be against me.
Pastor Steven then encouraged us to say I am going to wear my coat, even if people criticise me for it, I am not ashamed to walk in the love and the favor of God. He said that we needed more Christians who are unashamed to be optimistic about the future because you know God is already there if He is the Author and Finisher of your faith. A dream will make you different and it takes courage to be different. If you get a dream from God, or better yet a dream gets you, it will make you walk, talk and eat differently, it will make you different. Do we have the courage to be different?
So here are my thoughts and feeling about this, it is important to have God walking before you and leading you in your dream. I only had the courage to keep following my own dream because I felt my dream was from God, maybe not the whole of it but at least part of it. I didn’t, and still don’t know how it supposed to be in it’s entirety but I knew all I had to do was to trust Him to lead me in the right direction. I had learned from Pastor Prince before that God puts dreams onto our hearts and He can lead us to accomplish those dreams for His purpose.
There had even been moments where I felt that another Pastor had spoken into life and said I would make a difference for God in the entertainment arena. And just as I was about to go on this journey, God spoke to me about something I had been questioning for so long, and I felt that because of that word my life was about to change.
And this just gave me confidence that even if I was completely unclear where I was going and how I was going to get there, He was with me and He would make all things to work together for my good. He had a purpose for me, and HE was going to give me whatever I needed to get there. Even if the dream did not turn out as I thought, as long as He was with me, I would be okay.
Pastor Steven went on to say that people are attracted to what it different but at first they fear it. He said that Jesus is different, He is grace and truth at the same time. We need to be different, and yet not just for the sake of it because that is annoying. We need to be different in substance; because we have a different set of values and have a different dream. When you have a dream, you will start making sacrifices and people will think you are crazy because of what you sacrifice.
But then Pastor Steven then asks us if we have been dumbing down ourselves because to be different is too painful. And if we are not careful, we will be conformed to the patterns of this world rather than being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Christians are supposed to see different, think different, understand different, it’s a different perspective.
Sometimes the pain of being different will cause you to downplay the distinctives of how God made you, to fit in with a group of people who ultimately have no trophy to award you, or Grammy to give you. Pastor Steven said that it’s a shame when you see somebody who was carved out of something unique by the hand of God for a calling that surpasses human understanding compromise. People, just for the need to fit in and assuage the loneliness of being different, will begin to compromise the unique properties about themselves that make them so special, set apart and necessary for the kingdom of God.
And when you are set apart for a purpose, it makes you different. And the problem with being different is that people accept, what is the same, and reject what is different, at first. But ultimately if you live long enough, you will find out that while people may accept what is the same, they ultimately respect what is different.
And then Pastor talks about how he always thought that Joseph’s life was a story about perseverance. He thought it was about not giving up because eventually, you will achieve your dream yet, that is a cultural understanding of dreams and not a Christian one, it’s not a scriptural understanding of dreams.
And he said we have a bad habit of taking a concept, like a dream, and overlaying our own preferences, and our prejudice, and so we make it what’s it’s not and we miss what it actually is. Pastor Steven said that it’s common to say Joseph had a dream, follow your dreams, but when you study the scripture, it actually talks about how God was with Joseph and how in every situation he was in God promoted him.
Pastor talks about how that’s what the text is really about, the story talks about God’s presence and God’s purpose on Joseph’s life, not about following your dreams and persevering through till it comes to pass. It’s about holding onto your dream, where you can make it from the pit to the palace.
And I really think that is life-changing and brings us back to what’s important. As we live the vine life, it is truly important for us to let Him establish our steps, and that means we could have a dream that needs to change because it is not God-given. Is your dreamed based on what’s truly on your heart or is it because it’s something that will make you popular or make you money? When we think about our dreams, what is the purpose of them? As a branch, what is your why? What is your purpose for your dream because that determines where your life is going. Are you just coming up with your own dream and expecting God to bless it? Or are you willing and open to God changing your dream because He has a totally different plan for you than you want?
9 A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
There is a sermon I listened to by Pastor Prince where he said that when he was young, he asked God to give him a word that would give glory to God and bless His people. And he encouraged us to pray for God to give us a dream or vision that gives glory to Him because that is a big part of our purpose.
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
While I have always wanted to write, this became my WHY at some point, so obviously what I write, or draw, or anything I create would be centered around this. However, maybe God doesn’t want me to do this through writing, or art, or any of the things I may want to do, and if that’s the case, I am open to Him showing what He wants for me. Because this WHY, it’s just not something I fit into what I do, instead, what I do, should come from it.
And here is the thing, God already has a plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, a plan to give you a hope and a future. And while dreaming is something we should all do, we need to ask if our dreams are still aligned with God’s purpose for us. Pastor Steven in The Danger of a Dream goes a little bit more in this direction but I am going to have to end this part here and talk about this in the second part. This post has already gotten a little too long.
The second part will be: Follow after Jesus, not your dream. In this part, Pastor asks us an important question, what if your dream is just a first draft, are you open to a revision?
But what do you think about this first part? Are you open to being different or you want to be like everyone else? What did you have to fight to follow your dream and to be different? Do even have a dream, and if you do, do you think it aligns to the purpose God has for you? Comment down below or send me a message. Let’s chat.