Dreaming And Planning For Big Changes

The most famous speech of the 20th century, I Have A Dream, was delivered by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, whom our nation honored on Monday’s federal holiday. Dr King was the son of a Baptist pastor, who grew up in the South during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Like almost every other African-American living in the South, he was well acquainted with the varieties and actions of racism. Dr King was a very intelligent man, who entered college at the age of 15 without completing high school. Later on he was valedictorian of his seminary class, and he earned a PhD. in theology from Boston University. Dr King began his pastoring career in a church in Montgomery, Alabama, and later also pastored a Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Using his pulpit as a platform, he led African-Americans in nonviolent resistance against racism and injustice in his day. His perpetual pursuit of a color-blind justice system was instrumental in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And later on he was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was helping prepare a massive march on the nation’s capital in 1968 to raise awareness of the extent and ravages of poverty when he was murdered. He will always be remembered for his passion, pursuits and for his dream. And he was able to lead the way in bringing much change to our nation and world because he had a big, big dream.

Nehemiah was also a man who had a dream. His dream was to help the Israelite people in Jerusalem who were terrorized by other groups of people because their city didn’t have the walls and gates they needed for their protection. So because of his burden and dream, Nehemiah developed a passion and plan for rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem. And when he shared that plan with King Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, he received permission from that King to pursue his dreams and plans. We’ve been learning about the great work that God was beginning through Nehemiah for the last two weeks at Celebration, learning lessons that help us pray about and plan for pursuing our God-given dreams. If you haven’t been able to join us, you can catch the services here.

My question for you today is, “What’s your dream?” I’m not asking about what your financial, relational or vocational dream is. I’m asking specifically about your ministry dream. I’m asking, “If there were no hindrances or barriers and you had lots of resources, what would you be doing for God and to help others?” That’s what I want you to focus on praying about throughout the rest of the week as we finish out our two weeks of prayer and fasting.

And here is what I want you to know. If God can use a “cupbearer” or butler like Nehemiah to accomplish great things, He can accomplish great and mighty things through you and I as well, as we take time to dream, think and pray about a “ministry dream” during the rest of this week.

Speaking of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, I’ve been greatly impacted by learning about his life and mission, but I’ve also been impacted by reading his speeches, writings and quotes. Here are several of my favorite quotes from Dr. King.

  • “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”

  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

  • “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish as fools.”

  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others’?”

  • “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.”

  • “The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.”

One of the ways that we can get into God’s will for our lives is by connecting with other Christians in a small group like a Life Group. This coming Sunday at Celebration is Life Group Connection Sunday. Life Groups are small groups that meet in homes, coffee shops, business places, schools or online to study the Bible. In these Life Groups people grow in their faith and knowledge of God’s Word, they develop strong Christian friendships, they learn how to live out the principles of the Christian life, and they get involved in ministry with others. Life Groups are where real Christian community and life transformation takes place, which is why we want all of our Worship Service attendees to be involved in a Life Group.

At Celebration we have Life Groups for teens, college students, single adults, married adults, senior adults and men and women. Some Groups meet exclusively in person while some meet exclusively Online, and others are hybrid groups with people meeting both in-person and online. You can learn more about Life Groups by going to my.celebrationchurch.org/lifegroups.

Be sure to join us this Sunday (either in-person or online) as we continue our Steps To Success sermon series, and as we learn how to “Accept Our Assignment.” And bring someone with you who needs to experience the Lord’s help or who wants to experience success in some crucial part of their lives.