Preparing for the Dream. Maybe you detoured from what you really wanted. You began doing something else. Today, you want to pursue the dream again but you don’t think you can. I want to encourage you and tell you, you can. All you need to do is to begin preparing for your dream.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Preparing for the Dream
Preparing for the Dream – Delbert Young
Scriptures: Acts 2:17-18, Revelation 3:8, Nehemiah 1:3, Matthew 19:26, Nehemiah 1:4, Nehemiah 1:6, Nehemiah 1:11, Nehemiah 2:4, Nehemiah 2:4, Nehemiah 2:5, Nehemiah 2:8, Luke 14:28, Philippians 1:6, Acts 11:25, Acts 11:26, 1 Corinthians 16:9
Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 2:18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
God has promised to place in your heart and my heart a dream – a vision. I hope that by now you realize that God has actually put a dream in your heart.
The Lord desires to give us an abundant life. That abundant life can only come in full if we are living our dream. The Lord wants us to fulfill his will for our lives. God’s will for our lives is wrapped in the dream given each of us.
However, as badly as the Lord wants you to live your dream, it will not just happen. There is no magic dust that you can sprinkle. There is no magic wand to wave that will make your dream come true. The primary thing that will make it happen is preparation. Without preparation, your dream will remain a dream and never become reality.
TODAY THE DOOR TO YOUR DREAM may be shut tight. But one day the Lord will open the door of opportunity. That is what happened at the church of Philadelphia.
Revelation 3:8 “I know you well; you aren’t strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied my Name. Therefore I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.
Those people had remained strong in their faithfulness. Then one day the Lord opened the door of opportunity to them. Every one of us will have a day – a time – when opportunity opens. However, we must be preparing so we can enter.
IT’S TIME TO DO SOMETHING. When Noah built the ark, it wasn’t raining. Yet, he was ready when it began raining. It may not be time to quit your job, move your family, get a loan from the bank, etc. But it is time to do something.
Benjamin Disraeli, a Prime Minister of Great Britain said, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
What are you doing so that when the opportunity comes, you can walk through your door?
The Bible tells us the story about Nehemiah who had a dream to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 1:3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
The Hebrew people had been released from captivity and had returned to Jerusalem, but the city remained desolate. Nehemiah was the Jewish food and wine taster for the king in Babylon.
Nehemiah had a tough job didn’t he? I’ll tell you a joke. After a worker drowned in a vat of beer at the brewery, a co-worker commented that he never had a chance. “I wouldn’t say that,” said a witness. “He got out twice to go to the bathroom.”
Nehemiah had a great and easy occupation, but he was not happy. He had a dream in his heart. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. You will never be completely happy unless you are living your dream.
NEHEMIAH’S DREAM WAS BIG. It was to rebuild the walls and gates around an entire city. It would be a massive undertaking. In our economy today, it would cost billions of dollars for the materials and the labor. It was an impossible task for a wine taster.
Our dreams are this way. It is impossible for us to live the dream at the beginning. However, though it is impossible for us, it’s not impossible for our God.
Matthew 19:26 …With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
The Lord wants us to expect the supernatural.
Nehemiah began preparing. He knew that in and of himself his dream would never happen. But he knew that his God could do it. He couldn’t quit his job. He couldn’t borrow the money needed, but he could do something. So, he did what he could.
Nehemiah began by doing three things. He prayed. He made a list of what he needed. And he prayed.
Nehemiah began praying.
Nehemiah 1:4 …I mourned and fasted and prayed…
Nehemiah 1:6 …hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night…
Nehemiah 1:11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants…
Nehemiah 2:4 …Then I prayed to the God of heaven…
Nehemiah prayed. He prayed daily. He prayed night and day. In other words, he constantly kept his dream before the Lord.
I encourage you to do that. Talk to the Lord every day about your dream. Keep it before him all the time.
Obviously, the praying led Nehemiah to make a list of what he would need. He would need credentials from the king and he would need the materials. He had a plan. Nehemiah was prepared when the Lord opened the door. He had been preparing.
Nehemiah 2:4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven,
Nehemiah 2:5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Nehemiah 2:8 …And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.
Nehemiah was able to make his dream become reality because he was prepared when his door of opportunity opened. Nehemiah was preparing.
God will do that for you as well. He wants you to be successful. The Lord has his hand upon you. Be preparing now. Be prepared when the door opens.
I have shared about how I wanted to preach, teach, and pastor since I was a child. I’ve told you how I would watch Oral Roberts and how I would preach to chairs. My dream was shelved for many years because I had gotten away from the Lord. In 1978 I came back. I began praying and seeking the Lord and you know what happened? My dream stirred again.
I was 28 years old. I had been to college preparing for a different profession. I had an occupation. I had a family. I had debt. My dream had been shelved and my life detoured, but the dream was still there.
I think a lot of you are that way today. For whatever reason, you detoured from what you really wanted. You began doing something else. Today, you want to pursue the dream again, but you don’t think you can for whatever reason. I want to encourage you and tell you that you can. All you need to do is prepare. Begin preparing now. Pray, make of list, and have a plan. One day the Lord will open the door.
THE QUESTION IS NOT IF, BUT WHEN and how God will open the door and turn that dream into a real opportunity.
William J. Eiegel said, “Men don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.”
Jesus said it this way,
Luke 14:28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
In other words, plan and prepare. What’s it going to take? Be ready. One day the door will open and you must be ready to walk through it.
I had a degree in accounting and a degree in management. I was working in management level for the largest corporation in our area. I had advanced up the ladder, but I was not happy. I knew what I wanted to do, but how in the world would that ever happen? I had several primary obstacles.
The first obstacle was my debt. I liked boats and cars and houses. I like to buy things. Plus, I had a family and a child that was about to go to college and there wasn’t any money put back for that. I couldn’t quit my job and chase my dream being in debt as heavily as I was. Preachers just getting started aren’t paid very well and I was used to a good paycheck.
The second obstacle was that I was not trained to teach and preach and pastor. My training had been business and management related. How could I convince a church that I would be a good pastor if I didn’t have the necessary credentials?
So, I prayed just as Nehemiah prayed. I made a list of things I needed to do. I began taking Bible courses. I began the training. I began teaching a Sunday school class. I got to preach from the pulpit from time to time. That eventually escalated to where I was being invited to speak at other churches and other gatherings. I learned how to better minister to people.
The other thing I did was to get out of debt. I had a plan to sell the house we then lived in and build another hopefully, with God’s help, debt free plus pay off all my bills.
We put the plan into action. “And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” We did build that house. We moved into a new house debt free. I acquired my first degree in Theology and I was ordained and earned a license to preach. As I remember it, the church in this city was the third or fourth church to ask me to pastor. For some reason, the others never felt right. I don’t know exactly why this one did. I think it was because of the arrangement we made together. I would drive in and minister and keep my day job until we knew this was what everyone concerned wanted and here we are 19 years later.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE from the time I really began praying, making my list, and developing my plan? If I remember correctly, it took about three years. We had lived in that new house two years before we moved here and I had begun taking the Bible courses about a year before that.
My point is that when the Lord opened the door, I was ready.
I KNOW THAT FOR MANY OF US, this has been a good series and it has stirred us up to think about our lives. But for some of us, it is more than that. You truly want to do something. You really want to reach out there and give life a shot. You want to get out of the boat and walk on water. I want to encourage you today and tell you that God is with you.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Paul said to be confident. Don’t doubt. Unless Jesus comes, God will perform it for you. If you will prepare, it will happen.
I WANT TO TALK FOR THE REMAINDER of our time about having a flexible plan prepared for your dream.
I didn’t know that it would be LaFayette, Georgia that I would find my dream. The only thing I did know was that where I went, the people would love teaching and truth. I knew it would never work any other way. What I am trying to say is that you can’t be so specific that you miss the door that the Lord opens. I had a plan, but it was a flexible plan – flexible in that the Lord could adjust it and me.
Do you remember the story about Paul the apostle? Paul’s initial dream was to achieve great things for the Pharisees. Paul was a Pharisee and had trained to be a Pharisee. His desires were to go up the Pharisee ladder. The Lord intervened and adjusted Paul’s dream with something bigger and better. What if Paul had not been flexible? What if Paul had rejected Jesus?
Paul didn’t sit and wait for miracle dust to fall from heaven. He knew God had called him. Once he knew what he wanted to do, Paul began preparing himself. The Lord had already made certain that Paul was trained in the word of God. Paul began praying and seeking the Lord. He spent time alone in prayer with the Lord in Arabia. He did some “part-time” ministry in Damascus. He tested the waters to see if what he had been given was indeed a commodity that the Lord would bless. He went and talked with Peter and James. Paul was checking out the turf. He prepared and then he waited. The best theological viewpoints say that Paul waited for a few years.
Think about this. The apostle who wrote most of the New Testament had to wait until the door opened. No one enjoys waiting. I believe that Paul did like I had to do. I kept preparing as I waited. I continued studying and teaching anyone who would listen to me. One day the Lord opened the door for Paul.
Acts 11:25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
Acts 11:26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Isn’t it interesting that suddenly the door swung open and Paul entered his dream? Paul was prepared. He was able to move to Antioch and step into his dream. Later Paul said this.
1 Corinthians 16:9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me…
Paul traveled all over the world fulfilling his dream. The same God who opened doors for Paul will open doors for you also. The Lord will open the door. We need to be prepared to walk in.
I want to give you a few thoughts about preparing.
- Pray.Keep your dream before the Lord constantly.
- Begin a journal about what you have done and what you need to do concerning your dream. I wrote my prayers in a book. Also, I wrote what I felt the Lord was instructing me to do. I can look at them today and be encouraged by seeing what God did in my life
- Attend trade shows or conferences that emphasize your dream’s topic. I went to conventions, seminars, anything. God honors those things.
- Read books and listen to audio tapes pertaining to your dream. To this day I listen to tapes and CD’s every day and every night. I want to be as prepared as possible. I am prepared when a door opens.
- Talk to people who are experiencing what you want to experience. I constantly talked to preachers and pastors. I took them out to eat when they visited our church. I remember once that we had an entire family to our home. We fed them and took care of them. Spend time with people doing what you want.
- Go on a spiritual retreat. My pastor and I would go off alone and pray and fast. Get off where you can be alone with the Lord. Paul did that.
- Pray. Nehemiah wrapped his dream in prayer. Paul wrapped his dream in prayer. Don’t just think it. Pray it. There is power in your creative words.
The Lord has put a dream in your heart, but there is no miracle dust to sprinkle or magic wand to wave. It may not be time to quit your day job and borrow money, but it’s time to do something. One day the door will open for you. Be ready to walk into your dream. If you will, God will take you places you have never thought. He will do things in your life far beyond anything you can ask or think. You can have the abundant life that God has planned for you.
How many here are going to be prepared when the door opens? Give the Lord a shout and a hand clap.
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